Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016: Separation anxiety


Changes already – I’ve modified how these posts now appear. Instead of writing them as Facebook status updates, I’ve set up this simple WordPress blogging site and then I’m putting a link to each blog post in a Facebook status update. So I’ll own the content, not Facebook, although I’d still love to get your encouraging likes and comments on Facebook. At least for now as I figure this out.

Leaving the home I love

The photo shows just a portion of the expansive ocean view and spectacular sunsets typical of what I enjoy from my light-filled, eighth-floor apartment in Kerrisdale, a leafy West Side Vancouver neighbourhood not far from the University of B.C. The southwest vistas that nourish my being will be very hard to leave. The place I’m buying in Vancouver Cohousing on the East Side at 510 square feet is 40 percent smaller, has almost no direct light, and what I see is the apartment across the courtyard.

Now I’ve always said that if I couldn’t have a view, I’d like to be in a courtyard setting. There’s a beautiful mountain view and acres of shared space in our huge common house, including a studio for yoga and other activities, shared office space, guest rooms, community kitchen, lounge, and much more. And most especially, there are the amazing people who make up this collaborative, self-selected community. Over the almost four years we’ve been developing Vancouver Cohousing, we’ve made all of our decisions by 100 percent consensus – everyone agrees – increasingly efficiently, without going crazy, and with lots of hugs and laughter. In my life I’ve had a lot of acquaintances, but not many close friends. In cohousing I’m looking forward to deepening my friendships in our community.

Part of the reason for moving into cohousing is in lieu of partnership. The search for such a connection led me this afternoon to another blind date, this time with S. from North Vancouver, who contacted me on Truth in advertising this time. We had a very nice conversation at the Elysian Room cafe on West 5th and will probably do it again.

This morning I woke up before 7, in time to see Canadian men’s tennis No. 1 Milos Raonic lose an exhibition final in Abu Dhabi to Spanish No. 1 Rafael Nadal in straight sets. At least I put in more than an hour on the treadmill desk watching it on my computer monitor. Then I did five minutes each of chanting, meditation and yoga, before preparing a Moroccan Spicy Carrot Salad for the kiddush lunch after Shabbat services at Or Shalom, my spiritual community not far from cohousing.



Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015: Sitting is the new smoking

Last night a friend asked if I was aware I was posting in Public mode. This morning a family member questioned why I was chronicling my life on Facebook: “Does it have to be public? A) Facebook owns all of your content, B) privacy and C) security reasons.” I suggested I might post instead to my lapsed blog site, and then update my status on Facebook with a link to each post. Please help me navigate these new waters. Any advice? In the meantime, I’m posting now in Friends mode.

Two years ago, I gave myself a Hannukah gift – a treadmill desk. They say sitting is the new smoking and I was spending too much time sitting at the computer, especially when logging many hours of editing work. With the treadmill desk, I can walk slowly while working, and quickly watching the news or Netflix. It’s very effective for burning off calories. My weight tends to yo-yo. Last spring, I got down to a lean 175 pounds on my six-foot frame. The last several months I put weight on – generally late-night snacking, filling an emotional hole. Monday, Dec. 21, I was 194.2. This morning, I broke through to the 180s hitting 189.8. Tennis, racquetball and yoga, and eating less, also help.

As the construction liaison for my Vancouver Cohousing community, I spent time this afternoon at the building site photographing progress and getting an update from our project manager. Cohousing is a style of living, first started in Denmark, where people come together to develop and own their own homes while sharing considerable common space – in our case a 6,500 sq. ft. common house. Our community started with a public meeting at the WISE Hall in February 2012 and our 31-unit complex at 1733 E.33rd Ave. between Knight and Victoria Drive is scheduled for completion at the end of next month. All 29 owner-occupied units are sold; we’re accepting applications for two rental units at our website. Tonight a party with new friends. Blessings for a Happy New Year everyone.


Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015: Turning 69

Today I turned 69. This is the first of an intended year of diary posts marking the experience of entering my seventh decade on the planet on the leading edge of the baby boomers. I’m inspired by Globe & Mail writer Ian Brown, who did something similar on Facebook when he turned 60 and turned his posts into a new book, “Sixty – The Beginning of the End, or the End of the Beginning?”. I’ve edited and designed books, written a small chapter in one, but never created a book of my own.

The photo was taken through the rain-splattered window of the 8:30 a.m. ferry from Horseshoe Bay near Vancouver to Departure Bay near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. I’m celebrating my birthday with a potentially romantic adventure – a blind date with D. from Courtenay, who is picking me up after contacting me through the Plenty of Fish dating website.

I know that long-distance connections are extremely challenging and usually foolish to pursue, but I have a hunch. As my darling daughter says, “Dad, you’re a dreamer.” There are some red flags: D.’s lovely photos are not dated and she had no time to Skype. If nothing else, I will have a mini-cruise on my birthday. Stay tuned.

Part 2

Perhaps I should pay more attention to my red flags than my hunches. When D. picked me up at the Nanaimo ferry terminal, she was lovely but clearly older than her photos. And when we sat down for coffee, she admitted she wasn’t the 62 stated in her profile, but actually 71.

I understand why people fudge ages – they want to be included in dating site searches. But old photos are harder to forgive – mine are recent and dated – and D. avoided my questions about when they were taken. I didn’t belabour the point, and we talked amiably for almost four hours. In the end, it turns out she’s an atheist and I need a spiritual connection.

The spark of mutual attraction can be a blessing, but connecting at a distance can be a curse. It stretches the heartstrings so painfully tight. When you’re together it’s like you’re married, and when you’re apart you can’t even have a cup of coffee together.

Back in Vancouver this evening, my buddy Roni Rachmani took me out for a birthday dinner at Cazba, a bustling Iranian restaurant on Davie Street in the West End. Same place we went Christmas Eve after a movie. I enjoyed his good company, and dill rice with broad beans, a tender shank of lamb and a good glass of pinot noir.

Well, that’s Day 1 of Being 69. I don’t have much discipline for doing things on a daily basis beyond eating, sleeping and brushing my teeth. But your encouragement is very motivating – thank you.


 With Roni Rachmani at Cazba, a great birthday treat.