Salmon and Sticky Rice

We made Ella Risbridger’s Stuck in a Bookshop Salmon and Sticky Rice for supper last night. I’d resolved to make something outside my typical flavour palette and this certainly was: marinated grilled salmon over chorizo- and garlic-infused Thai black rice, a smooth-vs-nutty contrast. It’s from her Midnight Chicken cookbook.

Two Good Islanders

We lost two wise, compassionate Islanders this week, both dedicated to service.

John Andrew died on Tuesday. I met John when he ran for the Green Party following the death of Josh Underhay, and found him a shy, intelligent, thoughtful person. His eyes lit up when, standing in his front yard, overlooking Andrew’s Pond, he talked about the history—human and natural—of the area. I’d always hoped, in the years since, to catch John’s eye as I canoed that pond; I’d have welcomed the opportunity to thank him for his dedication to enhancing such a brilliant and storied natural area within the city limits.

Two days later Mait MacIsaac died. I met Mait only a few times, through PEI Home and School Federation, an organization he held dear, and to which he devoted much effort. Mait was a legendary educator; I was a direct recipient of the spirit described in his obituary: “Mait was genuinely curious, could connect with anybody of any background and possessed a knack of asking just the right question or spending whatever time it took to listen.”  We are blessed to live in a province where so many educators, after retirement, take what they’ve learned from their formal careers and devote their lives thereafter to sharing, reflecting, discussing, improving; Mait was at the head of that class.

John, Mait, you will be missed.

Annals of Phlegm

I am entering week two of the Mother Of All Chest Colds.

Things started off slowly, a week ago Wednesday, with a fever of 38.6ºC for about 12 hours; the fever broke, all was well. I made English muffins. I cleaned up the back yard.

Friday was fine. Bullet dodged!

On Saturday, though,I developed a sore throat, a cough, and ever-worsening congestion; my time since then has focused primarily on phlegm management. Bonus symptoms: headache, fatigue, lethargy. The congestion’s risen up into my sinuses a few times, then settled back into my chest.

A trip to the nurse practitioner on Thursday showed my vitals are good, I’ve not got pneumonia, and, as it’s likely a virus at play, I’ve no choice but to wait it out. She reported that she’s seeing cases last as long as three weeks. Ugg.

For those of you similarly stricken, some tips from the field:

  • Cepacol lozenges are the best I’ve found. They’re also less popular, so more likely to be in stock when brands like Halls are missing from store shelves.
  • Mucinex was a help when I needed to loosen things up, and clear my most-congested chest. The only downside was that my nose ran for hours and hours.
  • I’ve never been a taker of pain-relievers, but Advil has been my friend this week; I wouldn’t have been able to sleep without it.
  • Secaris is a nasal lubricant I picked up on the recommendation of a clerk at Murphy’s Parkdale Pharmacy (it’s on the back wall near the cough drops); it really help when long nights of nose-blowing resulted in a raw nose.
  • Head-over-boiling-water-in-a-bowl has really helped, a couple of times a day.

Every time I think I’m clear of this beast, it rears its head again; fortunately for the past three nights I’ve been able to sleep clear-through, which has been a big help (before then I was spending long stretches of the night on the couch, coughing).

This is the longest I’ve been sick in years, and compared to COVID, which, for me, was a walk in the park, this virus packs a wallop.

Wish me luck.

A Message About Solos

In this Facebook thread kicked off by a friend and co-conspirator from the Peterborough days, Clifford Maynes, much is said about guitar solos, from people who know. Starting with:

A message about solos and fills for all guitar players, myself included:

  • play fewer notes — mix in some long slow notes and bends — make it sing
  • play melodic solos — the tune is a good place for inspiration — talk to the people — say something that needs saying
  • don’t rush to go nuts in upper register in  the second verse — build slowly, keep something in reserve\

I appreciate the comment from Richard Connolly: “Stop chasing notes. The right notes in the right place are what works best. That is the quest.” It mirrors what Laurie Murphy tells us all the time when crafting improv scenes: the answer is right there.

Laurie Murphy, Spin Time DJ

My friend and improv teacher Laurie Murphy took a turn as the Spin Time DJ on CBC Mainstreet this afternoon, talking about her return to PEI, how she first got involved in improv, and what she’s up to now, with an eclectic trio of tunes (I know from experience that boiling a life-so-far down to 3 songs is a Herculean task).

Laurie was very kind to tip her hat to me and my improv experience to date; as I’ve written here before, it’s her skill as a teacher that is so responsible for so much of that.