chapter lx

Archive for April 2010

Posted on: April 18, 2010

Spring blossoms

April showers. It has been raining all day, but that is good because the trees are getting more and more ready to leaf out. I have been struggling all day to get a slideshow up here, but I think to do that you have to pay money. Hmm.
It has been a good week, busy but I don’t really know what I did. Went to a gallery opening last Sunday, a young local painter who was all about colour and sky, but also some wonderful light-filled charcoals. Her dad was there and so proud of her. He has another daughter who is a physicist – imagine an artist and a scientist, isn’t parenthood wonderful? The physicist is dyslexic, but was able to get enough support and learn coping mechanisms to succeed all the way.
Went to the book club at the library, discussing Thomas King’s “The Truth about Stories.” It was a really wonderful, thought provoking book about the stories we tell ourselves, and stories about the Native experience in North America. He has such a subtle style, banging you over the head but you don’t even feel it, just the lingering questions he plants. I had a haircut this week, too. It is probably the best cut I have had in over a year, and I feel so good – it was long overdue, you know when you get to feeling too shaggy, try pinning up or back or anything just to get it out of the way. I am so pleased with this one – man, it’s hard to find a good haircut, and one of the hardest parts about moving, I think.
Started facilitating the nonviolence program, and once again am reinforced in my belief that as much as one would like to give away something so important, unless people pay something, even a minimal token amount, they don’t take it seriously. We had week two, and half the group didn’t show up. We’ll see what happens this week.
I have found a new skill – modeling for life drawing. I did my second stint this week, and enjoy it. The artists all are very grateful and enjoy my poses. It makes me want to find my pencils, and begin drawing again.
Making more contacts for editing, and am working on getting the word out for photo DVD’s – scan photos in, make a slideshow and burn it to a DVD. There are so many people with pictures in a shoebox, never look at them, forgetting who they are. I made some slideshows from my own photos, and enjoyed it so much, looking at my children through their lives, so beautiful, so many smiles, so many lovely memories. I smiled and laughed out loud looking at them all, and came up with some nice slideshows. I think it’s a service I can sell.
Then, started going through cd’s I have in a box, and found old writing, pictures I haven’t seen for a long time, other memories. So what do we do with all this?

Another spring day. The weeping cherry and apple trees outside my window are getting ready to bloom. It’s very windy though – so windy a couple nights ago that it kept me awake for awhile – steady strong wind making such a racket. This morning the house was groaning in the wind, sounded like an old man moaning.

I watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on TV last week. It is the first movie I ever went to a theatre to see. I was maybe four years old, and Dad took me. It was so exciting to go into the dark movie house, but when the witch came on I was so scared that I threw up, and Dad had to take me home. Meg threw up at Return of the Jedi. Too scary. But, Snow White was always one of my favourites. i remember going to the drive-in to see it when  was about 10, and couldn’t see it, my eyes had gone short-sighted and soon after I was wearing glasses. Watching it again, I realize that it was another early influence that sent me to the woods. The little house where the dwarves lived was so charming, but more than that was how all the animals were there to help, all pitching in first of all to save Snow White, and then helping clean the house, wash the clothes, make a meal. What could be a more perfect life than to live in the woods in harmony with nature? I enjoyed it again even with my adult analytical mind unpacking the theme of a woman living with seven men and keeping house for them, although she treated them like naughty children. Their mistrust of her – a woman – was also supposed to be comic, but what!!!! Nevertheless, evil is conquered, love redeems and all live happily ever after. Be cheerful, whistle while you work, keep love in your heart and live in harmony and openness.

Went to a pilot radio show a couple days ago, Bluenose Opera House. It was fun, and lots of great music. Coco Love Alcorn is a rising star, and lovely to see her live. It was in a large hall in Riverport, a small community on the river! The hall had no heat, but is set up for recording and hopefully will become the studio for the new program. Today went to a film by a local filmmaker about food sustainability in Nova Scotia – how many farms have been lost over the last few decades, 85% of our food is now imported. We could be self-sustaining, but there is not much incentive for farmers to remain on the farm. It was disturbing but inspiring as well. Makes the support of local food producers seem more urgent – go to the farmers’ markets, buy local, grow something at home, be aware of the source of our food.

Mom is going in for surgery to relieve water on the brain next week. I’m confident it will help her symptoms but feel a little apprehensive about the prospect of an 83-year old woman going through any surgery. Keep good thoughts and grace surrounding her.

Gabe is 35 today – holy cow. Hard to believe it all happens so fast. I am so blessed with him in my life, and so proud of the man he is.

There is a little bird that I have watched the past three mornings. He stops on a wire across the street, with a twig or grass in his mouth, and then starts to look wildly around, this way and that way, over and over as though he can’t remember where the nest is. Perhaps his mate is calling the entire time, because then he will take off as though he knows exactly where he is going.

Started facilitating the nonviolence program yesterday. Good to be back at it. It seemed to go well, people are looking forward to coming back next week. I should get out there and market it. I do enjoy small group work, and every time it is new. Meeting with a publisher tomorrow to pick his brains about getting free-lance editing work, and another one next Tuesday, who wants someone to proofread and edit, and also do some office work to keep things organized, but is afraid she can’t afford me. I guess I’ll have to find out what she has in mind, whether I can afford to work with her.

Finally took the sandbags out of the back of Bella – ballast. It feels so light now, that back end free. I wonder if it will make any difference on gas mileage – going up again tomorrow by 2-1/2 cents.

Well, I’ve been away too long. But I’m back, and hope to be more regular about posting. Made it through the winter, and today is just glorious. Sat on the porch this morning after church, where the bells rang long, and listened to the other churches in town ringing bells. We have the early service at St. Norberts.

The birds are back and happy. A couple weeks ago I heard a flock of geese flying in the dark – the head goose “honk, honk, honk, are you all coming along? Keep up with me” and the goose behind “whank, whank, whank, we’re all here, it’s okay, we’re behind you”. Of course I couldn’t see them, but was delighted to hear them. A couple days ago a kingfisher came and sat on my porch railing – the same one that was near here last year? I had a dream a few nights ago that Gabe and I were watching birds going in and out of a large hole in a tree in my yard. First a cockatiel came out, a large male, and then two cockatoos, fluffy green and blue. We were so amazed that they were here!

So, my life until now. Made it through winter, I’ve paid my dues, Nova Scotia. It was mild as far as winters go, but not easy to survive. There are barriers to finding employment here, among them few jobs, coming from somewhere else, and age. So I was accepted into a program sponsored by Federal and Provincial for “older” workers, Putting Experience to Work. We are subsidized for twenty weeks, and have gone through all kinds of self-assessment on what are our skills, where would we like to use them, what do we want to do, what is our passion, how do we get there? The best part of the program is being in that room with eleven others like me, with many skills, lots of experience, great knowledge, and not in the work force. But there was the weekend that I really freaked – the van was not heating up, and a preliminary look at the garage suggested that the head gasket was gone – no use fixing it, too expensive and I don’t have money to buy even a clunker. I got home from that hard news, and tried making a phone call, got a recording “service on this number is suspended” and thought it was my phone that was cut off. I really had to talk myself down all weekend – this is your life, right here and things will work out somehow, just can’t see the road clearly now. As it turned out, someone phoned me, and I realized that my phone had not been cut off – yet – and when I took the van back to the garage, it turned out that I didn’t have strong enough anti-freeze in the rad, and it was a simple fix. Whew.

So that has been my winter – getting by. Some web research/writing, a project transcribing a year of letters written home from England by a young woman in the ’40’s, a few hours a week in a bra boutique, whatever has come up. And getting by with the kindness and generosity of friends – the bag hanging on my doorknob one day with not only potatoes, onions, pasta and beans, but two beer – what a treat. Or the bags of frozen fish from the friend who’s husband works at the fish plant.

I went to an opening at the art gallery last week, and realized how many people I know, and how connected I feel. I just do feel surrounded by love – yours, anyone reading this now or ever, all the people I have ever loved are still with me, and all the new friends I have made here. And it has been a year now. I have an opportunity to facilitate the non-violence program, I sing at St. Norberts on Sundays and serve breakfast in the parish hall once a month, where 70 or 80 people come for eggs and beans, belong to St. Vincent de Paul, have started a women’s group, out of my need for a forum in which to share and support each other. I feel good that there are enough women I want to share with and learn from. I’m also in a writer’s group which is just forming, and I’m glad to be sharing and supporting with them too.

As far as paying the rent and putting food on the table, things are moving forward there too. I’m not sure how, but the more people I know, the more I am known, the more possibilities open up. I have two seasonal jobs lined up, a base to work from. I hope to build up enough freelance editing jobs to keep going – there are many small publishing houses in the Atlantic provinces. I also hope to get to a position where I can buy the equipment I need to do video editing, and add that to the income stream. Ultimately, I would like to have enough coming in from those ventures that I can open a small thrift shop – pretty things, not junk, not clothes but household things, small appliances, lamps, small furniture, pillows, linens, bowls, etc. I have a good eye, there is nothing like that in Lunenburg, and it would be fun to find and have a shop again.

So, life is good and it is here. I have laundry out on the line, a front porch with a water view, the sun is shining, birds singing, water sparkling. It doesn’t get any better.