Sunday, July 26, 2009

Smile

When I got home the other day this was all that was left from a bowl of cherries.
I know I often see faces in various things that others think of as a bit of a stretch but this time I had to take a picture. I love the crooked smile.

Friday, July 03, 2009

lovely

Because the majority of my contact with these flowers is on the thorn side of things, they are among my least favourite flowers. But I can agree that they do look lovely.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

update

So after daily sending in my resume to different potential jobs, taking personality tests as a result, sitting through various styles of interviews, explaining that I am a quick learner but no, I didn't have French... I caved and sent a short message to a landscaping company this Tuesday afternoon and I was working Wednesday morning. There are aspects of the landscaping culture that I appreciate. I can survive and even thrive in a world where they care more about seeing how you work than interviewing and looking at a limited list of your accomplishments/deeds. Thinking about it, all the jobs that I have held I have not had to have even one interview. I have always been hired before even meeting my bosses. I feel much more comfortable being able to get to work and show how I can adjust and work well rather than try to be assertive and tell people that I am a hard-worker. Because even if it is true, I find that as soon as I am forced to toot my own horn either I am not forward enough and downplay myself too much or I feel as though I am lying about my abilities. Either way I'm sure I don't come across very well.

Anyway, yes I am back at landscaping. I am enjoying being outside and working with plants to the same extent as I did in my last job but unfortunately (as I suspected) it is not even to be compared to my last job on any other front. Thankfully the people with whom I work are all friendly so far but nothing like the fellowship I had with Marc and Chris and Jan will be found. I remember always being happy when Marc would repeat how we won't cut grass but there's more to it than avoiding a boring job--this crew cuts grass and are grass cutters. Everyone else who worked with Marc (me excluded) had at least a horticulture diploma (and often other forms of education) whereas here the expert on the horticulture aspect of things apparently sat in on a few classes but doesn't have his diploma. He knows what he's doing and I don't want to be snooty and say people need to have degrees before I'll speak to them but there often is an attitude that comes with education and a love of learning that I forgot was not possessed by all and sundry. Thankfully, however, I can come back home at night and will be sure to be refreshed in a congenial atmosphere. That is, if I can stay awake enough to soak it in at all...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Roses

I was sitting outside reading this afternoon and the first sign I had that the roses were finally blooming was the scent wafting over the breeze to me.




I haven't taken pictures recently. Unfortunately this weekend (the first I've made it home in a while) I forgot to bring my camera. This is particularly unfortunate because the gardens are at their peak in many ways at our house this time of year. The lupins in particular are spectacular (an adjective not always applied to our gardens) right now and I am sorry not to have caught them on film. But we must work with what we have and so I have taken a few pictures of the roses in the garden here in Ottawa.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

fading to yellow



Confessions

When I finished reading James Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner I decided that I should read Thomas De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater to follow a bit of a theme and perhaps compare the two (a friend suggested that I should perhaps read the shopaholic confessions also but we'll see about that). Of course there are differences: De Quincey's confessions are autobiographical while Hogg's twist from one narration of supernatural events to another also De Quincey seeks to explain how he turned to the wrong while the protagonist (if he may be called that) in Hogg's book will at no time admit himself to be anything but righteous. In fact it may turn out to be easier to list similarities than differences between these two books.

What I found and find most difficult within the reading process itself about these two books is their lack of chapters or chapter-like divisions within the texts. The Justified Sinner has breaks at each new narrative but they are far enough apart that it gives no real sense of being able to stop at a good point, while the writing and subject matter do not hold up well to prolonged reading sessions (unless one wishes to get it over quickly).

I have read almost through half of the Opium Eater and have just stopped at a small break--the only one of which I can remember having encountered. But beyond this annoyance, I have been enjoying De Quincey's narrative immensely. It seems at times more a collection of essays centred around and inspired by a life's narrative than a biography. At this point, however, I am thoroughly satisfied with it. I have come thus far and he has eaten not a drop of opium yet so perhaps the book takes a turn to the gloomy side soon.

He originally wrote his Confessions in 1821 and subsequently, by 1856, published a revised version. I am reading the revised version and have been interested by the several remarks he inserts on the subject of his revisions and his various statements on the nature of narrative and truth. He uses footnotes extensively (sometimes a footnote will take up almost an entire page itself) and although they can distract from the central narrative, I have never really found them to detract from it. His style, as I mentioned when speaking of the collection of essays, is disjointed at most times so I sometimes question if there is a purpose to putting some of the asides into footnote form while leaving others in the text itself. It would be interesting to look into further. I also would like to read the original and compare the two because he speaks of how he has changed some things, put some thing in that weren't there previously and so on. It has been a fascinating read so far and I shall try to write more on it if other thoughts worthy of recording come up while reading the rest of the book.

I found I have written little about Hogg's book but that might be because I have read several other books in the intervening time and it is not fresh in my memory. Also I have already had the privilege of discussing it because it was read as part of a book club so I don't feel the need to get my thoughts on it out at this point. In any case I can still outline briefly the things that I found I liked about it. I found the aspects I found most interesting in reading Justified Sinner also had to do with its conscious production of the crafting of the narrative. I am interested in the way that there were so many stories and frame stories and various points of view within the book and I would like to puzzle a bit more over why the author employed this means of telling the story. Also I found it quite interesting that the author placed himself (or a version of himself) in a limited and a discounted role within the story.

Anyway I was not put off from my Calvanistic and Scottish tendencies and heritage by the reading of an account of how such things can go too far (into the realm of antinomianism and perhaps even beyond...) but I shall take it as a warning and call to seek to live a balanced life. That may be one of the hardest things we are called to do in this life but we must try for it nonetheless.

I did not get much enjoyment from the reading of the text, however, and found most of the time that I was reading merely to finish it but I am happy that I have read it and come to the point where I can focus on certain aspects of it while not having to have the less-savoury bits still on my tongue.

Monday, June 08, 2009

coming up for air

so after a week of feeding and cleaning up after a pile of doctors they have all gone home. I'm feeling relieved but also saddened by the sudden quiet. Now life must resume where I dropped it or rather where I dropped it along with the accumulation of a week or two of things I have ignored or put on hold while busy. I have also been blown away by hearing a friend play piano at a high level of skill and have come down and made the decision that instead of giving up without a hope of ever attaining such a level, I should instead practice more. As much as it is easier to say with Lady Catherine "If I had ever learned I should have been a true proficient" it is better to have tried. And thankfully he'll likely never hear me play so there isn't much fear of comparison there.
I've also been thinking about bigger issues and themes deriving from the conference itself and from various books I have been perusing but at this moment while I am still recovering I just want to write a short post about very little so please forgive me for being shallow this once.

Friday, May 22, 2009

cop out

I am currently listening to a recording of the piano transcription of the second movement from Beethoven's seventh Symphony. I have the scores for Liszt's transcriptions of all of Beethoven's symphonies but have only recently jumped into a serious attempt to play them. I've fairly easily figured out the famous first movement of the fifth (it's most recognizable and probably among the easier movements to play technically speaking from my narrow viewpoint) but have had a little trouble with the second theme in this particular movement. The way the notes are printed give it a strange looking timing so I wasn't sure how to play it by sight and couldn't remember how it went by ear so I caved and am listening to it with the score before me. I feel slightly guilty about this in much the same way that I feel slightly guilty that I don't always push myself to try doing a fairly easy puzzle without looking at the picture. I'm sure if I exerted myself even a little bit I would be able to do it just fine but things are sometimes just easier when there is an easy out at hand. I could work the timing out on this piece and come up with the same result but perhaps life isn't always about how much one can challenge oneself. Perhaps there is something to be said to enjoying listening to a recording and perhaps even having my own playing of the piece improve both in the timing department and in that of dynamics, for example. Maybe I am trying to justify my laziness (I know I have my fair share of it and it doesn't need to get away with as much as it generally does) but maybe this is an area I don't really have to worry that much about. I don't think I'll ever really get over that slightly guilty feeling, though. Oh well.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Western fun

I just got back from a trip out west and of all the aspects I could record or muse over I think I shall merely post a picture of one of the fridge poems I wrote out there.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Bushels of beautiful biscotti

M has been making biscotti for her cousin's wedding and, as sometimes happens when she bakes, I spent some time taking pictures of the finished product (or at least what has been finished so far--I believe more batches shall be made tomorrow but I shan't be here). I think we should start an online baking business where she bakes, I take pictures and then we ship the product out. It's fun to think about in any case. Here are some of the myriad of pictures from this batch.




Monday, May 04, 2009

before they drop

There is a beautiful mature Magnolia in the backyard here at the College. I have been looking forward to living here while it bloomed this year and at last the buds have finally opened up and look gorgeous. Yet I am leaving tomorrow for the rest of the week and likely only have a small window of opportunity to enjoy this tree before all the petals drop. So, instead of mourning fate, I have taken a few pictures of the tree this afternoon and will post some of them here.




I am happy that I have not missed the blooms entirely and that it is such a beautiful day today to enjoy them. And now I think I shall get off this computer and get outside to do just that.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

the eye

Even though this is regularly a transitional part of the year for me, the transitions this year seem to have affected me more than usual. Perhaps it has hit me harder because this time it is the people and things around me that seem to be changing more than me. I am not graduating, I am not moving from the routine of studies to the routine of summer, I am not moving anywhere; yet on every side, my community and friends are swirling madly while I stand in the centre, hoping for things to settle soon. It is a strange vantage point and I believe I am beginning to understand (or at least come to acknowledge) part of the sorrows a mother experiences as she is less and less able to accompany her children through all the changes of live.

People in general believe themselves to be the hero of their own stories until life comes along and--bit by bit--shaves away their pride and shows them their proper places. Perhaps there are some who play main roles but I am finding, more and more that my place is likely in the chorus. I've been reading a couple books lately in which the idea of the importance of the main character is discussed. In both it becomes evident (and, interestingly--along the lines of self-awareness and all that jazz--is fairly blatantly claimed) that the point of the book is not an exploration of the central character but of the extraordinary events that occur around him. It is true that in many cases narrators are utilized not for any outstanding merit or talents within them but rather for their being at the right place and time to observe events. This device is common and doesn't topple our idea of the importance of the central character unless it comes out that this narrator is the central character and is still of no importance. It is a fascinating possibility. I am not saying by this that I consider my life to be of no importance but rather that my importance more and more does not seem to lie in playing the central starring role. I think I'm getting better at appreciating that. In the mean time I suppose I shall just have to try to help my friends as best I can while they go through their various and sundry transitions. I'm thankful I have this opportunity.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

dry skin


(from a garlic clove)

further studies

After going through a time when my future was--for the most part--up in the air, I have finally heard that I am accepted at Carleton to do my MA in English lit. It's a little strange because I tend to set my expectations low in order either not to be disappointed or to be pleasantly surprised but this time I had really convinced myself that it wasn't going to work out. It was good to have gone that far because I meant that I started looking at other options but it made finding out a huge surprise and readjustment of thinking of the future. This whole situation also makes my summer plans easier so hopefully they shall fall into place more readily now that I know something for certain.

Life is funny. Last night I was telling someone of my lack of plans for the future at the same time that the acceptance e-mail was sitting in my junk folder (yes, Yahoo doesn't seem to think it important enough to send to my inbox). It gives a different perspective on life and our expectations of what we know of the future and how things actually will work.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

abuckabook

The other night I went out to pick up a few groceries for the College and 'happened' to stop at the one-dollar book table outside the bookstore conveniently located across the intersection from the grocery store. Four dollars and four books later, I went for groceries.

Today a few of us went on an adventure across town in search of one-dollar books and I came back with a sufficiently larger pile (to make up for the greater inconvenience of bussing out to Nepean and back).

Does anyone have a one-dollar bookshelf that I can have on which to store these books? I'm running out of room.

Friday, April 17, 2009

watch the flowers grow

We're having another bout of beautiful weather and yesterday morning I was able to clean up the back yard (I cleaned the front last Friday) and edge all the beds, prune/trim some of the trees and bushes and generally make the place a bit more spiffy all-round. The tulips, daffodills and crocuses are all popping up and look as though they will be blooming soon.

I can't tell you how delighted I was to be able to do yard work again! It made me think that perhaps landscaping should be more than just a stepping-stone to better things... Anyway, one consolation is that no matter what job I end up with whenever I get around to growing up, I should always be able to garden at least on the side.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Patience

I'm off in a bit to an interview with the govt. It will be strange because I know I won't hear anything more for ages (that is, providing it goes well). This whole process began in October and I feel as though I'm no more than halfway through the steps it takes. I have a theory that the actual test for whether or not someone is suitable for the job is not the interviews themselves but rather the wait between times; if one is able patiently to endure the extreme lag and stick with things, then one might be able to function within the governemental system.
Well I have nothing to lose by waiting so we'll see if my theory holds.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

It's April


One of the ways we celebrated this foolish day.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

How?

It seems impossible considering what I claimed in my last post but life just got better. Today was a day to remember and cherish. My two student buddies and I spent the entire beautiful afternoon touring around downtown. I love Ottawa and it was so much fun to rediscover how much I love it while showing them all the little nooks and crannies that I used to frequent. A few paths are still closed/wet/snowy/muddy from winter but for the most part everything was open and wonderful. I wish I would have brought my camera along but when setting out we didn't know the extent of our explorations. We have vowed to go back within the next couple weeks so I shall have to hope that the light is as beautiful then as it was today. We toured around behind the Supreme Court and Parliament, looked at the grave of the Unknown Soldier and through the Market. Often my past rambles downtown were with a good friend of mine from University who I haven't seen much in the past little while so I was thinking about her quite a bit while revisiting the site of many a walk. We stopped in the bookstore of my dreams and browsed the enticing titles. As I was in the children's section, what to my wondering eyes should appear but that very friend from University! We were able to chat a bit and catch up and hopefully we'll be able to get together soon. Then we spent some time at the Basilica and then along Sussex to the Rideau falls. We sat on the wall of the viewing deck between the two falls and were still. The time we spent there is beyond description so I think I will leave it at that. We then made our way back home making a few detours and stops at other beautiful sites along the way. Not only was it good to be home but it was good to be home to chicken soup and apple crumble and an evening spent at my Gma's. I will say it again: "Life couldn't possibly, not even probably, life couldn't possibly better be."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Joy

There is no circumstance in particular to point to as the culprit. I could start listing things but they would not give the reason for this state, merely illustrating aspects of it. I am so happy to be exactly where I am right now. I cannot imagine a way to improve my life. As Danny Kaye sings in The Court Jester "Life couldn't possibly, not even probably, life couldn't possibly better be."



I love life.

Friday, March 20, 2009

papery paperwhites


They have dried out but still have so much beauty to give.

Green Green Grass

It has been so unseasonably warm the past few weeks that one would think that at last the weather has been minding the calandar. I have been enjoying the weather and, despite dour predictions of the horridness of summer that follows close on the heels of spring, I am happy for the change. I would also be happy had it remained cold but I like to enjoy what I have when I have it rather than looking forward to a time not yet here or back to a time past in either longing or dread and missing out on what we have. So as much as I like the way that the last picture I posted with the lemons looks against the blue background I think I shall also like the way it looks against the green background. We shall probably get at least one more dump of snow before winter leaves completely but that's great too. We have had beautiful weather this winter with not much to complain about so I am thankful.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Advice

When life hands you a lemon...


take pictures.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Two


This picture is a combination of the two things that have been on my mind (and about which I have posted) most recently. It also brings to mind something that I have thought about in the past--the place that environment holds in one's experience of something. This lovely copy of MacLennan's novel is a delight to read, easy to carry around, and lends a certain dignity to the material that would not be present (at least to me) if I were to read it in paperback form. It reminds me of the time when Em and I read King Solomon's Mines for a book club. The copy we read was a trade paperback with a garish cover and a sloppy-looking painting depicting the savage king and witch in all their glorious hideousness. We read the adventure story with much delight, enjoying both the reading and the (good-humoured) mocking of it. The others in the book discussion, however, had copies that were respectable, modest little hardcovers. Those who had read it in the hardcover versions were more ready to take it seriously or at least not immediately to categorize it as a boys' adventure story.

In similar manner I have noticed the very great difference than can come about concerning the effectiveness of a photograph with the change of background. This was brought home to me especially in my quest to photograph all things yellow in this house because in it I often took several pictures of the same object but in different positions and with various backdrops and the very tone of the yellow could be changed drastically with the slight change of any of the elements within the picture.

I am by no means a relativist but I think it would be good to keep in mind how much our opinions on certain things may be changed by aspects of our environment and that it is advisable not to put too much weight into something that may be just as easily swayed to the opposite extreme by such things as a bit of undigested potato or some underdone pork. All I'm saying is that although Marley really had more of the grave than gravy about him, it is still probably not advisable to swallow the toothpick.

a study in yellow

I finally took some pictures today and although I started with the usual assorted pictures of plants, within a short time I began to make yellow objects the exclusive subject of my pictures. Being my favourite colour, it probably is not surprising that yellow happened to figure prominently in my pictures but I have never previously photographed it to such purpose or extent. I would like to share a few of them but the narrowing down of my favourites is difficult. Here are a few of them:





I think that is enough for now but I shall likely be posting more in the next little while.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Canlit

I just finished reading Settlers of the Marsh and have decided that I should give Canlit a second chance so have determined that for the next little while a portion of my reading should be dedicated to this category. I've started MacLennan's Two Solitudes and am appreciating many things about it. I do remember enjoying Barometer Rising when I read it and am finding more periperal things to enjoy about this one although I find it has less direction and tension towards action (or at least from what I can remember in comparison to the other) but tension and action do not seem to be of much importance in this book. I could be wrong but so far not much has really happened that one might call exciting. I am enjoying it none the less and would like to post more once I have more on which to post.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

saving music

I do like people in general and the students in particular but there are certain times when it is such a relief to get to the point in the day when they have all gone or retreated to their rooms and left this house to silence and to me.

Or not always silence: tonight Em and I are listening through Raising Sand, an album by Robert Plant and Allison Krauss. I am really enjoying it; it's the best music I've come across in a while. I like the balance between heavy and light with their two voices. I love the banjo, the bass... There are other good things about it but I think I'll refrain from displaying my inadequacy in matters of description by simply telling anyone interested that they should check it out for themselves. It's a great way to finish off a people-filled day. Or any other type of day. And I should probably add that it's effectiveness likely isn't limited to the end of the day; I'm sure that it would be great to listen to at the beginning or the middle or any other increment between the two extremes of any day. Good stuff.

Monday, March 09, 2009

books and architecture

Several of the blogs that I occasionally will check consist mainly of lists of acquired books and reviews of the same books once read. I always enjoy reading such posts but have not previously thought too much of writing posts in like manner. But now I do feel like emulating those whom I admire so will start things off with a review of a book I just finished reading. The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton first caught my eye because it was in the bargain book section but I was quickly intrigued because a quick perusal of the cover and snatches of the contents brought me to believe that he was dealing with issues of which I would wish to know more. For some time as I was growing up my dream was to pursue architecture. I was not interested in the architecture of big commercial buildings but rather of that of private houses. I knew that there were things about some houses that made them homes and that were missing or only poorly imitated in other houses and I wanted to remedy this. Eventually I realized that I would need to study more math than was at that time palatable and I gave up this dream but I continued in my fascination with things pertaining to well and poorly designed houses.

Alain de Botton addresses this exact issue (the question of whether architecture can make the difference between a house and a home) in the book as well as addressing other issues about which I have been interested in contemplating. He takes us on a tour through the changes of the ideal of beauty through history both in art and architecture (these two are, of course, closely linked), discusses why certain ages are likely to be drawn more to certain particular aspects of aesthetics than to others, he demonstrates how we have a tendency to attribute human qualities to inanimate objects and how because we are used to discerning and interpreting body language and expressions through the reading of minuscule variations of line and contour, we naturally (and for the most part unconsciously) derive different feelings from variations in lines and contours of our buildings or furniture or even drink ware. Throughout his discussion he goes into great detail of description to illustrate his point and at each description there is a corresponding photograph (or usually, set of photographs) so that the reader can follow along and feel the difference. That he takes the time to do this makes a lot of sense because much of his argument deals with one's reaction and feeling on seeing the building or object and in order to follow along with the argument the reader should see for himself.

I enjoyed this book thoroughly and would recommend it even to those who may not have as keen an interest in architecture as I. There are so many interesting issues raised in this book that it is sure to fall along the lines of at least one area of interest for most people. And what is more human than the making comfortable of one's abode? I didn't find answers to all the questions I have on this topic but there was certainly a lot for contemplation and I almost feel as though I would like to re-read it and lift a few of the quotes from it. One aspect of it that I had to adjust myself to is that it is not written as a direct essay with thesis and conclusion but rather it brings up ideas and plays with them. The parts outlining the history of architectural thought were, obviously, more linear but once I grew accustomed to the style of writing I began to be quite enamoured with it. I am now interested in finding out and reading more of his books if possible.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Too Late

I began the day yesterday with another skate on the canal. Once again I brought my camera and, once again, I ignored the opportunity to document another beautiful morning preferring to experience the full enjoyment of the time first-hand rather than to sacrifice part of it for future enjoyment. Little did I know, however, that that was to be the last of such skates this year. Later on in the day my skating buddy informed me that the canal was scheduled to close down for the year that very night. I am very thankful that I was able to enjoy my skate that morning and that we were able to go for a farewell skate that night (both highly enjoyable in different ways) but it is sad that I shall not be able to post any pictures from the canal this year. Life is so transient. It's a reminder to me not to pass up opportunities too readily. Carpe diem!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

camera shy

These past few days have been beautiful and I have had a growing longing to document the beauty with my camera. But I am out of the habit of bringing a camera with me or, more importantly, of pausing in my walks to take a picture. One excuse that I have is that it is cold outside and consequently not a friendly environment for my camera or the hands that hold it. I walked through UofO on my way to the canal this morning and would have loved to have taken pictures and then I would have posted them here for all to see but because it didn't happen my reporting that the pictures would have turned out beautifully is going to have to suffice.

Friday, February 27, 2009

relief

There is nothing quite like the injection of a shiny red umbrella into a grey February day.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

old friends

It is interesting to me to think of the various people I know and the ways in which my relationship with each one of them changes over time. Immediately obvious would be the way that friendships wax and wane (I do strive against and lament the latter but it is a fact of life and can be beneficial in allowing room for the growth of other friendships). But beyond the obvious there is also the way that a relationship that never moves to the arena of friendship can still impact one's life at different times and in different ways. The following incident is what sparked my thoughts on this topic and illustrates most of what I am trying to say.

At the Ash Wednesday service last night I talked with (and received a ride home from) an old acquaintance. She has known me since I was an infant because she homeschooled her boys at the same time my brothers and I were homeschooled. This family was not in the immediate circle of my friends (the boys were not quite my age) but nevertheless, both being founding members of the local group, she and my mother knew each other quite well. We moved away from the city and years passed in which I probably never gave that family a thought. The time came, however, when I moved back to the city to attend Augustine. She was connected with the College as the part-time Professor of Art. I remembered her, of course, but was unsure of her memory of me (having changed much in the intervening years). She did remember me, however, and our relationship grew a bit and adapted to the circumstances. Once again, on finishing at Augustine, I moved on and for four years probably saw very little of her. But I was drawn back to the College this year to be the RA. Her position at the school has changed to one of lesser-involvement but I still have had occasion to chat with her at various larger events. Then she attends the church where we went for the Ash Wednesday service and because of that our conversation on the drive home followed lines which probably never would have come up in previous conversations. I also feel as though I am now in a completely different position in regards to our relationship from what I had previously held. Of course, growing up does that sometimes but I think because we have met--however briefly and perhaps superficially--within several different contexts, the relationship mirrors that breadth.

Having Wendell Berry in mind for several different reasons, this line of thought about the depth of relationship I have with this woman without ever having approached friendship (according to the terms to which I am used) makes me see the value in sticking close to one's roots. Yes, it does occurr at times that one who has travelled and moved around the world (to go to the extreme) still runs into someone from the past who knows them well and who also has moved around the world but I believe one's chances of this happening are reduced the further one moves from home. Perhaps the merit of such a relationship is overshadowed by the merit of seeing other cultures and forming new attachments but I am not sure of it. Forming new relationships is healty and good but I feel that no amount of new relationships can take the place of an old one. New acquaintances will never have known the old you. I am a homebody and have little desire to live with any permanence far from where I have grown up. Perhaps I shall in future but it is not my desire. Because of this it is hard for me to determine if arguments for the superiority of maintaining roots merely appeal to my own preference or if they truly have merit. And so the struggle for understanding and a coherent outlook continues.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

good ice

I finally got around to skating on the canal late at night and it was almost everything I could wish it to be (my imagination is still a bit stronger than that but nevertheless, it was for the most part quite excellent). The contrast of this with my rather nasty last post is a good reminder that in some situations waiting it out is all that is required for the improvement of circumstances. Not that I need to learn the lesson of letting things pass (I should rather be learning lessons of getting on the ball) but I suppose I could always go for more patience and joy in all circumstances.

We got down to the canal sometime around 1:30 I should think and in the entire skate we saw one brief shadow of another skater and two people sitting on a bench. It was beautiful. we had the whole canal to ourselves, the ice was newly swept, and all this in occurred in the vast, dark stillness of a winter's night. A lot of my memories of the skate have a dream-like quality. The rhythm of the pace and sound of our skates was quite hypnotic and soothing but at the same time I finished the skate on a huge high in which I didn't think it impossible to float away, off into the night sky. Despite the fact that I woke up this morning still slightly tired and dehydrated I would gladly do it again any night of the week. Bring it on!

Friday, February 20, 2009

ice

It is frustrating that now the strike is over and I have more time, the weather has taken a little turn to the worse and now the canal is in poor shape. Oh well, it should get better soon I hope and once Winterlude is over, we can return to a happier time with fewer skaters to cut up the ice and get in the way. I really can be horrid at times. But I like people individually, just not always so much generally.

Friday, January 23, 2009

25

Turning a quarter century in less than a week I have been thinking of the number 25 more recently than is my usual wont. When I recieved a tag from a friend to do a list of 25 obscure facts about one's self I thought it would be fun. It turns out that I had more fun than I had anticipated and dredged up quite a few memories that had been lying still for some time. So because I feel as though it is a success, I shall copy it onto this blog.
25 random facts because I am a bored narcissist
Having been tagged by Ruth and having enjoyed her note, I decided that I would write one if I ever found enough free time while being in a narcissistic mood. I had thought the convergence of both these factors would be aligned something with the frequency of the emergence of those moons reported to be of a blue persuasion but, as it is one day later and I am writing this note, I now know I have too much of one or the other factor (or perhaps both) for my own good.

Those whom I have tagged fall into one of the following categories: those lucky few mentioned in the list itself, those who might be interested in writing one of these lists themselves, those whose lists I would be interested in reading, and those whom I have chosen at will to swell the number to the expected twenty-five.

So, without further ado, this is a list of twenty five of the more obscure--while hopefully interesting--facts about me.

1. I had a neon yellow fanny-pack and coveted those bike shorts with the neon stripe down the side when I was a kid.
2. One summer I helped my brother, Neil, and my cousin, Noel, build a three-level/storey high fort in our woods.
3. I broke one of my front teeth while playing pick-up hockey with my older brother, Neil; that same tooth was later kneed out by my younger brother, Stuart; and to complete the teeth connection with my brothers: my oldest brother, Tom, also broke one of his front teeth on ice.
4. I face-planted from the jogger into a (thankfully) plowed field as a result of a training accident at the horse barn. The driverless horse then continued his training mile and we caught him while he was turning to do the cool-down jog. It made me consider my expendability in that job. On the lighter side of things, apparently my glasses were stuck in the indent my face left. I would have liked to have seen it.
5. My cousin, Cindy, and I once set her bedroom rug on fire while concocting something derived from the contents of various bottles from the bathroom and inspired by the design of an oil-lamp. Not having learned a thing, I am still a pyro.
6. As they came out, I saved some of my baby teeth in a jar on my shelf. It might still be there.
7. I once found a vase in the middle of a bush while we were on a field trip to a bee farm (I think). Although the vase itself was hideous I thought it was awesome because I had found it so unexpectedly. I'm sure I made Mom keep it for longer than her inclination dictated.
8. I have been to Upper Canada Villiage (a small historic town set in the 1860's) annually on the first Friday after labour day ever since I was a toddler.
9. I would like to get a spinning wheel and take up spinning wool. Ideally I would like to be able to accomplish this before this coming September because when we re-visit UCV on our annual trip I would like to be able to inform the several Janices there (who all spin) that I have joined the club.
10. I have been knocked out many times. Several times involve a ball connecting with my nose (but thankfully neither ever broke), once a ladder, once the corner of a table, once some steps, and once when I tripped. It explains a lot, I think.
11. My cousin, Cindy, and I are born four days apart. My allowing her to arrive first was just the beginning of a long line of courteous acts on my part.
12. My middle name, Evelyn, is my Mom's first name although she goes by her second.
13. I hiccoughed in utero.
14. I used to be lactose intolerant but now I think it's great and should have rights too. To support this view I now consume as much dairy as possible.
15. My brother, Neil, and I used to share a set of cross-coutry ski boots (back in the day when our feet were of similar size) and would happily head out together for an afternoon along the trail each with one ski and one snow boot on.
16. I have created various objects out of gingerbread including: a replica of my co-worker's Jeep, several horse and sleigh sets, a snowmobile, a snowman, a christmas tree, and (of course) quite a few gingerbread houses.
17. I cried the first time Mom sang "Oh Susannah" to me (I was less than 6 at the time) but I tried to hide it because crying is girly.
18. At one time or another (hopefully still) I have known all the words to the following: The songs from The Music Man, Holiday Inn, Oklahoma, Guys and Dolls; most Christmas carols; many of the popular songs from the '20s to '60s that my Dad would play on the piano; The Messiah; the scripts of Peter Pan, Cinderella, The Great Mouse Detective, Pride and Prejudice (1995); and the text to that definitive children's book, Cowboy Dan.
19. I have been taken for a virgin buffalo farmer. Concerning which noun the adjective modifies, I leave it to others to decide.
20. I had scarlet fever and whooping cough as a child and now have only to die of consumption properly to round out my list of desirable literary illnesses.
21. I was once hired to play piano at the re-opening of the furniture store in Kemptville. As important as this sounds, in reality I was stuck in a corner with a little keyboard and given barely enough to cover the gas costs along with as many sandwiches and carrot sticks as I could stuff into my pockets on my way out.
22. One of my ancestors, on the boat with William the Conqueror just prior to Hastings, earned himself lands and the title 'Titchbourn' (or some similar spelling)--which were to be bestowed upon the first to touch land after that historic crossing--by cutting off his hand and throwing it to shore ahead of the boat. I like to think we descendents continue to display just such ingenuity all these years later.
23. I have a freckle on one of my teeth.
24. I have eaten several mystery meats, one of which was likely horse.
25. I once was part of a dance to the song "I'm from the country and I like it that way" (choreographed complete with rakes) performed on a hay wagon. That same day I dressed in a holstein costume for a Q & A highlighting the differences between dairy and beef farming. Classy, I know.

two of my favourite things

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More Aurora

Many feverent souls
Strike rhyme on rhyme, who would strike steel on steel
If steel had offered, in a restless heat
Of doing something. Many tender souls
Have strung their losses on a rhyming thread,
As children, cowslips: - the more pains they take,
The work more withers. Young men, ay, and maids,
Too often sow their wild oats in tame verse,
Before they sit down under their own vine
And live for use. Alas, near all the birds
Will sing at dawn, - and yet we do not take
The chaffering swallow for the holy lark.


I wonder if this applies to me. Do I only feel the need to create because it is one of the things close to hand right now or is it really a necessity for me? I think ad hope that the latter is true. I do not aspire to be an Artist to the extent that she speaks of artists but my dabbling I believe has more to it than a slight fancy and convenience. Time will tell, I suppose.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Year

Once again the alumni have gathered for an extensive New Years party. Today the last of them have left. It was such a good time that a let-down is inevitable so I am thankful that the bus strike (along with other things) has given me an opportunity to make myself busy. Although we're already several days into the New Year, I feel as though tomorrow is truly the beginning and all the little things that I have put on hold in order to join in and host the festivities will come crowding down as soon as I turn around. But for now I have one more night of postponing life.