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Archive for April 2009

I saw a magnolia in bloom today. There are daffodils everywhere, and the trees are really getting buds now. It was so warm on the weekend that everyone was outside. It was so nice to open the windows, let some fresh air into the apartment. I began clearing the garden in the back – it has been neglected for a long time, and was overrun with some kind of bamboo, the dead stalks standing and lying willy-nilly all over. My neighbours were all so glad to see someone paying attention to this yard, and it felt good. It has been awhile since I have had earth to play in. It is daunting, though. There are just piles of these stalks now, and where are they going to go? How to get them out of here? My neighbour Fay has offered to help me load her pickup and take them to the dump. But even that seems daunting – such stacks!

I went to the animal shelter on the weekend to see about a cat/kitten, and then got cold feet. Something in me just backed off the idea of sharing my space with a stranger, and I remembered all the cats I have loved; Spot, Ruby, Willoughby, Flora and wondered if any of these cats could be as wonderful. I guess it is taking on responsibility, too. I just don’t feel ready for a pet.

Went to an Acadian Kitchen Party on Sunday. It was a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity, and had music – cajun and good old stomp your feet fiddle, and a buffet of homemade food with a french flavour – Acadian, Cajun or Quebecois. It was fun, even though I understood only about 1/3 of what was going on. The food was delicious and the music varied and enjoyable.

Had a job interview Monday, and feel encouraged that I had the opportunity, and hopeful that it won’t be long until I have some kind of work. I think it would be a position I enjoy. In any case, if not this, something else. I am going to help out at the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival – another way to connect and meet people.
I have been feeling flu-ish the past couple days – fever, aching, slept practically all day yesterday and no appetite. Feel somewhat better today, but not very energetic and still achy. Hmmm. I did have a flu shot last fall, so maybe just a mild case if it is flu.

Some of the dead bamboo

Some of the dead bamboo

Where will it go?

Where will it go?

I lay in bed last night listening to the fog horn; low, steady as a heartbeat, comforting as watchful eyes, the sound of the sea itself. Occasionally the wind would howl through a window or wall, a scream or growl. I remembered other night sounds.

There was the train when we lived on Ingleside, Mary and I in the attic room. It was probably a nine o’clock train, every night, still steam then, whistle blow and then the chug chug chug as the cars passed in and out of hearing. There was a nightly train on Bowood, too. I would lie there and try to picture just where the tracks were physically, where they came from and where they went.

Then there are frogs. In the cabin, the night chorus of peepers, and a bullfrog or two? or more? They are so loud it is hard to know just how many are singing. And peepers in Orinda, sometimes so loud you couldn’t talk on the phone outside. What a surprise to move from there to the city and have the Muni every eight minutes! So loud and frequent that I would lose whole sentences from a DVD.

Rain on the roof. I have often lived on top floors, under the eaves. I like the sloped ceilings, the coziness and knowing the sky is just above. I always wanted a skylight above my bed, and when I finally had one, on Major, it was disappointing to find that I couldn’t actually see anything at night, no stars, no moon. A romantic illusion that bit the dust. However, it was a lovely place to sleep. In the winter, the snow would cover it and the light coming in was filtered and softer.

The sound of rain on the roof is comforting until it becomes audible in the room, plop plop plop. The roof on the cabin didn’t always keep rain out. Surprising that it held up under the snow. There was a particular bird that sang in the evening in Maynooth. I may never know what it is called, but the sound would come from the woods with an echo, a trilling, thrilling sound. I never saw the bird because it was already dusk before it began, and even if I’d looked for it, almost impossible to spot.

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Another beautiful sunny day here. We have had a string of them – enough to hope that this is it, spring is proceeding and it will only get more beautiful. I went to a concert yesterday at St. John’s Anglican church, one of the oldest churches in Canada. It is all wood, and both the interior and exterior are wood. The style is “carpenter gothic” which reflects the ship-building tradition of the Maritimes. The vaulted wooden ceilings provide wonderful acoustics, and there is a huge old pipe organ. The concert was Peter Togni, a Canadian composer and his consort, and the Ernst Family, a local family of parents and eight of their ten children who sing together. They were wonderful. Peter played the organ for some of the concert, booming, vibrate your bones sound, but most of the pieces were a capella. The program included chant, Rachmaninoff, a Missa Brevis by Palestrina, gospel and devotional music. I am so glad I went, it was a treat.

I found a few more pieces of furniture last week – a small armoire and two cane-seated chairs that are so beautiful.

small armoire, gets things out of boxes

small armoire, gets things out of boxes

sweet chair

sweet chair

another place to sit

another place to sit

Janice has lent me a small table for the kitchen, and today David brought a dresser that has been in their garage too long. I can see it now; the place is filling fast, and the memory of that first night sitting on pillows with candles burning on the mantle because I didn’t have a lamp is becoming nostalgic. I think of other places, first nights, empty space and wonder how many more will there be? Each day, though the place is more mine, more familiar and home. While I laugh at what I hauled across the continent, and what I left behind, I am glad that I did bring things that give me pleasure when I see them. I am all with Morris, whose philosophy was that those things we use everyday should also be beautiful. There is no reason we have to clutter our lives with junk.

Spring is a tease. It snowed Monday, thick flurries and very cold; yesterday I sat on the front porch reading for an hour without a jacket, the sun was so warm. I think I can see buds on some of the trees, or maybe just hoping. It is hard to believe that only a month ago I was driving down that beautiful street in Mississippi lined with white blossoms. Or even the rain and wind here a week ago – today was clear and warm and sunny again, the water calm and blue. Yesterday I saw a small boat come in with lobster traps piled in the back, and then a boat that must have had fish, because the seagulls were following it in.

Went for a walk with Janice on Monday on a trail that circles the town – old rail bed and a lovely walk. We saw a heron, and a dozen deer on a hillside across an inlet of water. I think the trail is 2 or 2.5 km, perfect for a stroll. I am walking to the post office every day to pick up mail, and the library is only about ten minutes. Also, back to the morning yoga routine, and it feels so good. I am feeling like I must begin to structure my days a little more now. The major settling in, looking after details has been done. I don’t want to let this time get away from me until I start a work routine; it is so valuable, my own time. It’s ok to do nothing, I don’t think busyness for the sake of being busy is so good, but I also don’t want to look back and say, what did I do with all those weeks?

Got the oil changed in Bella today – overdue. I feel like she has been so good to me, and I have been negligent. The mechanic said it looked good though, and was amazed when he looked under the hood at what good condition everything is for a seventeen year old vehicle.

Tomorrow off to a farmer’s market in the morning in Mahone Bay. I hope I find some fresh maple syrup.

Heron

Heron

Well, a busy week and good. It seems I spent a lot of time on the phone, canceling things, setting up new services, following up on others; how do I retrieve messages from the phone? the cell? how do I configure the router? how do I get a confirmation of driver’s license? on and on. But things are coming together. Did get a bank account. So now I have an address, phone number and bank. The rest will come.

Wednesday I rode into Halifax with John who went to get wood to build a boat. We went to a warehouse with every kind of wood you can imagine, from all over the world. It was beautiful; red, black, purple, brown, white, fine grain and course. Each had its own weight and smell and texture. I am so glad to have seen such variety. It was a sunny day but very windy – driving back with large sheets of ply on the roof felt like we could become airborne.

Began singing at St. Norbert’s on Thursday and through Easter – what a wonderful time to be singing liturgy – latin and allelulias. There was a Good Friday service with all the churches in town involved – carrying a cross from church to church and then to Blockhouse Hill. There was a good crowd, and it was lovely and low key.
easter3Little by little, the apartment is coming together. Found drapes and curtains, and Janice gave me a chair. easter2It is wonderful to sit and read. The people I bought the living room drapes from are leaving the home that her ancestors built and lived in. I think that there are many who have lived here forever, but are moving to simpler lives, closer to Halifax without so much property. The couple I bought the bed from are moving to Spain for their retirement.
pole4Walking yesterday, I took photos of the decorations on the lamp poles along my street. Another one of the charming features of this charming place.easter
Job prospects look good. I am not worried – yet. There were three last week that I feel well qualified for, and would enjoy doing. If nothing else, I know that there is seasonal work around town, and that would get me through the summer and a chance to meet more people for something more long-term. I do know that I don’t want to work as hard as I was. One reason I chose Nova Scotia is the possibility of living comfortably without all the stress.

There are so many details to look after when you relocate. Of course, getting an address is important, and I am so happy with the place I live now. But the details! Spent Wednesday unpacking what I could and had a good soak in the tub – something I had not done since leaving San Francisco – and fixed a bed on the floor. I am glad I brought all those pillows; slept on them, sit on them, pillow on a box works as a chair at the desk. A rug and sleeping bag, pillows below, duvet on top and quite comfortable. How many times have I said this – we really don’t need very much. Thursday went out to get some of those things that make life a little more comfortable – plates and bowls, plug for the tub, shower curtain, garbage container for the kitchen, torchiere with a dimmer for the living room. Explored shopping in Bridgewater, the larger town close by. Lunenburg has a population of about 2300; Bridgewater about 5000. There is a Wal Mart there, Canadian Tire and Zellers. Zellers is like Target or K Mart, with an eye to design in some departments. There is a line of household goods, Debbie Travis who seems to be the Canadian Martha Stewart, but rather than the patrician Stewart, we have the practical and thrifty Travis. Good old Canadian Tire – great selection, great sales and good quality. And you get Canadian Tire money, which is a handy means of exchange even outside the store. I ran out of gas once going home to Toronto, late at night and rolled into a gas station with no money – had helped buy food for dinner at the friends I was visiting – and paid for enough gas to get home with Canadian Tire money, a couple TTC tokens and stamps!

It rained all day Friday, and the fog horn was a constant call, low and steady in the background. It really blew in that evening – I guess it was what you call a nor’easter.

The bed

The bed


Finally got a bed on Saturday and am so happy to be sleeping on it. It is another place to sit, too. The people I bought the bed from also threw in a bedside stand – I can see it now, before long I will have an apartment full of furniture. What I would like next is a comfy chair to read and sit, and a small kitchen table and chair. I did see a sweet little table made right here about 150 years ago, well made with pegs and a fluted support below. More than I want to spend just yet.

Went to Mass at my new parish yesterday, St. Norberts. It is a small, simple, intimate chuch and people sing there. Last evening was an ecumenical Lent service and a reception after. I met Janet who sings in the choir, and will begin singing with them this week. I’m excited – it will be fun and a great way to become involved in the community.

So today it’s driver’s license so I can open a bank account and be more official. Also waiting for the pink slip on the van to arrive in the mail so I can register Bella. And today begin a job hunt. I took a long walk yesterday around town, and will keep walking each day until I’ve covered the whole town. I have been trying different roads when I’m out driving, too so I can see where they go, and how they connect to each other. The thing that confuses me is that when I step outside in the evening, the sun is setting to my right! I try to orient myself on the continent, on the planet, and can’t quite make sense of it yet. I guess the ocean is off to my left, and I am sitting on the harbour, angled in and facing south?

The Lunenburg Hump

The Lunenburg Hump

There is a particular feature of architecture here – the Lunenburg hump. The town was first settled by Europeans in 1753 and some of the houses are nearly that old. The hump was a feature that appeared as the town became more prosperous in the mid-1800’s. It has always been a fishing, ship-building center, and still is. The whole town has a nice polish, without being slick.

I am feeling so blessed, so grateful and content. I know that the good wishes and caring of all you reading this has brought me here with grace, and that this is a good move – things are falling into place with such ease.

All this space!

All this space!

The kitchen - room on the other wall for a table and chair

The kitchen - room on the other wall for a table and chair

It's pink!

It's pink!

The bedroom

The bedroom

I moved in today, and am tired but so pleased. It is a lovely apartment – see the photos. It is large and sunny with beautiful wood floors, and wainscotting in the bedroom, mantle in the living room – not a working fireplace. The view out the front is onto the bay, and down the street into the main part of town. I’m tired, although it didn’t take even an hour to unload the van. Only fifteen steps up to the front door. There is a nice porch which will be lovely in the summer to sit on. There is also space for a garden in the back, and a clothes line. One minor annoyance – I can’t get the CBC on the radio – must find an antenna and see if that works.

I have unpacked most the boxes. One unusual feature – no closets. And of course I don’t have a bed. Tomorrow is shopping for some of those basics, but in a couple weeks. Lunenburg has “spring clean-up” when people put things they don’t want in front of their houses, and anyone can just take anything. I love a good scrounge.

It snowed yesterday; today was sunny and warmer. I am sitting outside the library in the van because the library is closed, but I can connect to their wireless from here. I won’t be connected at home for about a week. Did get a cell phone yesterday, and ordered home service but am still waiting for that to be connected. I don’t even know my phone number yet.

My love to all who are reading this. Things are going so well, I just know this move is a good one. More later

View from the porch

View from the porch

Living room

Living room

Another room

Another room