A Raconteur  by the Name of Gervase Phimm;  Growing Contentment with Life; The Haven and Heaven of the YWCA Compared to the Equinox and Dolphin Square; Full Circle 

 I have a new word. Usually words just come to me as I write, so I look them up confirming their definition, use and then define for my gentle readers. But this time raconteur came in an email, not knowing the meaning I looked it up. Raconteur, a noun, a person who tells anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way. The emailer, a man without a nickname,  attended a performance in the UK and reported back. “Gervase Phimm  is a funny, clever, wise raconteur using his knowledge, and love, of children and education as a government inspector of, mainly, primary schools.Here is a typical story:
6 year old girl trying , and failing to make sandcastles with sand, a bucket but not using the water in the nearby container. Gervase tries several times to persuade her that the castles would stay up if she mixed the sand with water to no effect.
He illustrates it by taking some sand , mixing it with water form the container  and showing her that the castle stays up.
He: Now you try it he says.
She: No
He: Why not ?
She: Because John has just peed in it.”
The man without a nickname (MWNN) further state, “.Its a bit like silent comedy, you know its coming but its still funny.”Humour and storytelling are such great things, particularly when  intertwined, and then, of course, shared.
I am growing increasingly satisfied with my life, and do believe that it is because of the YWCA, conveniently located on Hornby Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  It is not just because it is a great place to meet men. (but that helps of course). It is a great place to meet men because there is a meeting ground. Well, not exactly a meeting ground because it is the jacuzzi and the steam room. Men come to the YWCA to work out and to swim and others to for rehabilitation, a class offered at the Y for those with industrial injuries.  Incidentally, there is nothing quite as sensuous as a man masterfully swimming the Australian crawl. Perhaps it is just me, but that is far superior to a testosterone driven man with bulging muscles lifting up a 200 pound (or more) dumbbell. The men at the Y are appropriately dressed in bathing suits, showing their bare chests – better than the T-shirts and sweats of more conventional gym attire.  The quality of men at the YWCA are superior to those at the Equinox.  They are, in the main, professionals – engineers, computer geniuses, some educators and some retired men with a history of long professional careers. There are few, if any, real estate people or scammers. They exercise and then go relax in the jacuzzi or pool. They lead a balanced life, if does appear. They are cheerful. open and friendly.
The women at the YWCA are amazing as well. There is a large cross section of ages – many retired woman (such as I) but also working women and students. It is such a comfortable and natural place to be – the locker room is often the scene of fascinating conversations. One woman and I were talking about our arthritic knees and she suggested a salve that has as its main component marijuana. But there are discussions of housing, schooling, fashion, politics and admittedly, the foibles of men. I love the word and it does describe many men.
we tolerate each other’s foibles: weakness, failing, shortcoming, flaw, imperfection, blemish, fault, defect, limitation; quirk, kink, idiosyncrasy, eccentricity, peculiarity. ANTONYMS strength..
Now I am not knocking men but many do have shortcomings, flaws, limitations, quirks and kinks. I am aware that I have been described as eccentric but, do let the record reflect,  that I prefer kooky and calling me Kooky Bear brings great laughter to at least two men.
But back to the YWCA, there is a sense of community, a sense of caring,. There is social fabric, so essential in this city – the most unhappy in all of Canada. With all of this praise I should be receiving a discount on my fees. But that is unnecessary as fees are so inexpensive, particularly compared to the Equinox. Now this is hysterical. Faithful readers will know that I paid to have Hottie personally train me three times a week. No such indulgences yet at the YWCA but members upon joining get a card which is punched every time the member attends a class. The accumulation of twenty punches merits a free personal training session with one of their personal trainers. Now this is the truth – one of the trainers has the same last name as Hottie. My funny friend Jenn W. has suggested that the Y guy be called either Lukewarm or Bald Hottie. I have 17 punches – so I am getting there. Here is the icing on the cake – if I do like Lukewarm and decide to go back – he is half the price of Hottie.($65 versus $130 an hour) This is a win/win situation. I could afford to go straight to personal training but I love the feeling that I deserve it because of the punches.
I had an immensely satisfying experience yesterday. One of my bathing suits went missing. So I asked if there was a Lost and Found at the YWCA.
She: Yes, there it is in the cupboard marked Emergency Kits.
Me: Hmmmmm. It could be an emergency but fortunately I have three bathing suits.
I sorted through the stuff and there was my bathing suit. I was so happy!
Me” It is here! There is a God residing here at the YWCA.
The Y is in marked contrast to the atmosphere and people at the Equinox on West Georgia in Vancouver. It is also in marked contrast to the Dolphin Square Fitness Square in London, England. I attended water aeries there for about eight months. I wrote about this experience in the blog of March 13, 2017. Do read it – it is hilarious. It is very long and very insightful. The women in the water aerobics classes at the YWCA are, I would say, diametrically opposite to the women in London. Most of the instructors at the YWCA are volunteers but the quality is excellent. There appear to be no cliques, everyone is respectful to the energy and commitment of the volunteer instructors, the staff at the YWCA respect the women in the class and the feeling is mutual. I do help the instructors by putting away the flotsam and jettison   Often one or more women assist – but I have noticed that ones that do not assist often have English accents. One thing is similar – I am sort of teacher’s pet because of my enthusiasm. I love playing in the water, bouncing up and down to the great tunes. One instructor said:
She: I love to have you in my class.
Me: I love being in your class! And I will overcome my water phobia.
Amanda teaches deep water aerobics and I remain phobic of deep water. So I exercise in the shallow water (with her permission) but have decided that I will slowly work my way to the deep end. My goal is to be there by the time I leave for London at the end of November. I suppose I could go to the water aerobics class in London when I am there as my hotel is not far from Dolphin Square. But I do not think so – why be miserable when you can be happy? My hotel has the loveliest of spas and I can just relax. I will have earned it. Again, I write from bed with the trusty hot water bottle. I am stiff – muscles in my stomach and arms hurt because of the exercise. But it is a good feeling.
I am not sure that this has been revealed. I graduated from the University of Alberta in 1964. My first job was with the Edmonton YWCA. Things have come full circle.

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