chapter lx

Posts Tagged ‘getting settled

Hello and Happy New Year. I had wonderful holidays, and really feel new with the new year. I spent the time off settling in more here – yes, I am staying for a long time. I got home and noticed little piles of things on the floors – no closets, storage is a challenge. Went to Canadian Tire and bought a tall bookshelf, and one thing led to another. I feel like my place is transformed, rearranged, tidy and cozy. I even went back to C T today to get another one – if one is good, two is better and there are more things I could put up on shelves. They are sold out, it was such a good price, but I got a rain check so it will have to wait. I even bought a large plant, get some life in here. I’m not packing up and moving anywhere – don’t even have a van anymore. The only thing that isn’t working so well is where the computer is now – lots of glare from all the windows. I think maybe I’d like to get blind for the windows – not right away, there are lots of large windows. I never have really liked these drapes, but they were quick and easy, and the amount of fabric it would take to make drapes is way lots. For now, they work and are lined so help keep the cold out. A couple of the windows are only single pane – no storms! I got that film to put on again this year, but can’t find my hairdryer. Bought one last year to put up the film, and never use it for anything else. I think I put it away somewhere, but where? I don’t think I gave it away, but maybe.

New living room

It didn’t stop there – every room got a going over, and I finally bought under-counter lighting for the dark and poky kitchen – whoowee, and got a flusher handle for the toilet, which has been broken for some time so I lifted the lid a couple times a day to flush but was too lazy to replace. It just seems like time to pay more attention here. So it all feels good.

I went even farther – took the second-hand clarinet I bought a couple months ago to a man who is going to refurbish it. I knew it needed cork, as I could barely get a sound out of it, it leaked so much. He says the whole thing really needs rebuilding, pads and cleaning and everything, but it is worth it. After he’s finished it will be like new, sound good and play well. And as he says, I can always sell it and get my money back. I would rather play it. So I’m excited to get it back, and make some nice music.

I have also renewed my body. Got an electric toothbrush, teeth feel so clean and smooth, and face serum – take care of this saggy skin, Kiehl’s shampoo from Alex at Christmas, lovely wonderful shampoo. Feel beautiful inside and out.

It has so far been a very easy winter. Today was a bit below zero, but really only a few days here and there have been cold, and no snow on the ground. It snowed a bit last night, but by morning was gone. I love the winter gardens here. So many plants have a wonderful look when they’re bare.

Winter garden

I’m waiting for an interview for another position here. It should be this week sometime. It is one of those win/win situations – if I get it, great, if not, I have a job that I’m happy with.

I have just discovered a singer named Paolo Conte – what a voice, full of life and knowledge, sort of an Italian blues singer but rich like Johnny Cash or Leonard Cohen. Anyway, I’m sitting here listening to jazz and just feeling so mellow. Tomorrow back to work and routine. I read that a British study found that January 5 is the most stressful day of the year! People report that even the sound of their co-workers breathing is stressful. I don’t know if I’ve ever been that stressed. Watch out tomorrow, do something nice for yourself.

I promised myself I wouldn’t let another day go by without posting. Had to fiddle with the photos to upload, and I’ve just come back from another wonderful concert. I’ve heard such a variety of music in the short time I’ve been here. This one was in the beautiful St. John’s church again. It was young people from Iqaluit, Nunavit and Halifax. The group from Nunavit came to Lunenburg because they had a cathedral there which was destroyed by fire in 2005. St. John’s also had a fire a few years ago, and this congregation has been raising funds to rebuild the church in Iqaluit. So, the children from Nunavit are throatsingers and drummers. It was enchanting. One of their leaders then performed a couple of his own songs; the drums are skin stretched over a hoop, which is waved as it’s played. His graceful movements were as much song as the drum and voice. He sang a song of missing loved ones, and one to seals. The Halifax group was a string ensemble, and they were enthusiastic and great. There is a series of early music coming up in the summer, and a folk festival in August that has been going on for about 20 years, and on Sundays during the summer there is music at the bandstand in the center of town, and I don’t know what other delights lay ahead.

The past couple days have been glorious. I don’t know if it’s that, or just finding a new rhythm in my life here, but I have felt a new energy. Finally finished clearing all that horrid bamboo from the back; four loads of it to the dump. Now I can decide what to put in all that space. There are three large pines, so what would be happy growing under pines? I’m wondering if a few rhododendrons would be happy there. And then there is a slope that will be mostly shady once the trees are leafed out.

All at once they bloomed

All at once they bloomed

Talking about trees, it seems that yesterday they all decided it’s about time to blossom. I think the one next to the driveway is an apple – will know in another couple days. I’m pretty sure there is a weeping cherry in front of that.
Blossoms

Blossoms


I moved all the furniture around the past couple days, and hung paintings; I think you have to be in a place for awhile to know what should be where. It makes it look more settled, not so perching here but I have put down stakes, or nails in the walls. I am going to look at a love-seat pull-out on the weekend that I found on Kijiji – attention, anyone who would like to visit, there will be a spare bed.

Part of the rearranging furniture was to maximize the view. The desk was in the back room, facing a wall, which was not how I had imagined it at all. In my dreaming this, I saw sitting at the computer, looking out at the sea, so moved the desk to the front room where I can look out the window at the water, and sky, and boats and birds. So the back room has the sewing machine, and a dresser for storage, and lots of things still piled on the floor and still lots of room. And I changed the bed to the opposite wall, and it seemed to open that room too.

I have finished a sweater that had been put aside for too long, and stenciled a baffed out little table that I bought, and made a shopping bag besides all the work in the garden.

Trips to Bridgewater tend to take all day – it is about 1/2 hour away, and I try to get in not more than once a week, to do laundry mostly but there is also a large grocery with a good selection. I don’t know, now, what takes so much time when I go in, but there you are. I met a kitten yesterday who will be ready to come home with me in a month. Sweet little black cat – aren’t they all sweet? with a white bib and a little orange on one ear. I liked her face and feel like we will be friends when we get to know each other.

The farmer’s market opened today – will be every week though the summer. Not much in season yet, but there were lots of baked goods, plants, homegrown beef and pork, and fish. I have been eating much more fish here, of course. A whole package of smoked salmon for $5, lobster $5/pound although I don’t have a pot large enough to cook a lobster yet. I can’t wait for fruits and veggies to come in season. There is someone who makes homemade sauerkraut which I understand is a local favourite.

I am blessed to be here, and to have this time.

Mother's Day flowers from my sweeties

Mother's Day flowers from my sweeties

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.

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

Spent yesterday driving around, phoning places for rent, talking to people to let them know I’m looking, exploring possibilities and places that might be nice to live. I did look at one little house, about a half hour from Halifax in the country, way back on a side road. It is a one-bedroom, cute and affordable so I know that there are possibilities. The questions I’m asking as I look are where – town or country, close to Halifax or Bridgewater, apartment or little house. Of course, there is still the question of how will I pay the rent, but the first thing is to get an address, unload the van into a new home. I am meeting a couple people on Monday, and there are others to connect with.

For now, my friend John is being generous with room, food and information and I am lucky to have a guide in much of this newness. Today we took a long walk to Labrador Castle, high above the tree line. It was a perfect spring day for a walk – muddy but sunny and warm. On the way there, John showed me the thrift shops, the used furniture places, the grocery/general store with fresh produce right there next to the barrel of nails.
We had coffee at the top of the world, made with a very clever “Kelly Kettle.” The water is in a reservoir around a hollow chamber, sitting on a small container for fire. It boils water in a flash, with very little wood, no mess and the whole thing is compact.

Tomorrow more phone calls, more exploring and more enjoying the discovery.

The Buggy Bank in Berkeley has offered amazing service helping sell my car. If you are ever looking for a decent used car, or want to sell one I highly recommend talking to them. I am so relieved that I left my car with them.

At Labrador Castle

At Labrador Castle

Walking to Labrador Castle

Walking to Labrador Castle

On the way to Labrador Castle

On the way to Labrador Castle

From the top of Labrador Castle

From the top of Labrador Castle

Boiling water in the Kelly Kettle

Boiling water in the Kelly Kettle

View from the front door in West Dublin

View from the front door in West Dublin