chapter lx

Posts Tagged ‘Spring

It is a beautiful spring day – sun bright, apple tree beginning to bud, birds busy. I have moved the desk to a side window, and look out on my neighbour’s garden, with an arbor and daffodils blooming now. Image

Time to get the snow tires off, I guess.

Music, music, music. Went to a performance of Missa Gaia last weekend at St. John’s. It was thrilling, with a massed choir – three came together, a gospel singer, Theresa Thomasen, whale and wolf song, and top-notch musicians. I have been a fan of Paul Winter for a long time, and hearing the piece performed live was wonderful. I have just come back from a session with a new girl band. A group of women have decided that we always wanted to be in a band – no one is expert on any instrument, but we are playing together, trying out, jamming and having so much fun. Last time I didn’t bring an instrument, so was handed a fiddle. I have never played violin, not one note, but by the end of the afternoon was rocking on that thing! Today I brought my keyboard, and had a lot of fun, but am more than ever motivated to get the ombrochure back on the clarinet – what is better than making music with people? I am joining the South Shore Opera Company this week to learn The Magic Flute for performance in June. I am excited about that – I love singing in a large choir, and have never done opera at all.

Finished the grief coaching course, still have to do a practicum and a few other pieces to become certified. I’m also doing training for palliative care volunteer, so it looks like I’m heading for end-of-life work. It feels right.

Here are pictures of the caned chair, before and after.Image

Image

I laugh when I look at it, it’s like the first scarf you knit, a little wonky with holes here and there, but I learned so much doing this one, learning the material, how to handle it and you can see at the last corner that I finally got it. I can’t wait to do another one. It will just get better. And the chair is certainly usable, I am using it and it’s sturdy. When I get good, I could be doing canoe seats, and even take the whole thing on the road. There are not many doing chair caning anymore, and lots of chairs out there that need seats. I could post notices in towns as I approach, and make money to keep moving on! Speaking about travel, I just found out that you can get a round the world air ticket for less than $2000!!! Depending on the ticket, you have a year to use it, as long as you keep moving in one direction. Imagine. It is my latest dream. Sio maybe I go around caning chairs until I have enough for a plane ticket, and then hit the skies.

Things are going well all in all. I am picking up work here and there, and enjoying being able to structure my own time. I may have an opportunity to present the non-violence program at Tatamagouche Centre in the fall, maybe the women’s spirituality, too. That would be great, to have a venue like that. I will be enumerating for the municipal elections coming up in October, and have signed on to be a poll supervisor. There is a film being shot here in the next few weeks, and I may have a role as an extra in that. Could be fun. Freelance writing continues to be steady, and one thing leads to another.

Here is a photo that I just want to share, it strikes me so funny. Can’t you see Jack Nicholson lurking outside one of the windows?Image

Pleasant Rest Home. There is a cemetery called Sunny Valley. I’ll try to get a photo of that.

I went to a talk on Friday about Smart Grid. It is an awesome idea. Lunenburg Electric is a publicly owned utility, and there are two more small publicly owned utilities close by. The man who gave the presentation proposed that if the three could cooperate, and bring in fibre-optics on a grid, we could rule the world. Just kidding, but high speed grid is the way to go, rather than increase generating capacity. Smart grid would connect each user to a central monitor, which could control usage and demand – lowering usage during peak times, deferring usage to off-peak times. Each house could control when the water heater fires up, when the dishwasher starts, etc. in response to feedback from the central monitor. It would mean that industry that requires high usage could locate here, everything would be more efficient. Chattanooga, Tennessee has installed smart grid, and has attracted some large industry, and saved a ton of money, never mind not having to build new generating plants. We need to get off coal – the whole continent has to get off coal. Driving through West Virginia on the way to Florida at Christmas was depressing – grey, grey, grey. It all looks about ready to collapse. The challenge here is to encourage the three councils to talk to each other, and inspire the vision. Very interesting and exciting. There are some great ideas coming up here. There is the Prometheus Project, which has one of the largest solar collectors in the world, and is hoping to market it globally. It collects enough energy to melt iron. It can generate steam for power at no cost after the initial collector. Inspiring and exciting

Taxes due tomorrow – I guess I should sit down now and fill out the forms. Aaaarghh. Until next time, be well and enjoy.

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Okay, it’s been too long again. Life is getting busier – I think I have to get a 2010 agenda to keep track. I all of a sudden have lots of work, many small jobs, a little here and a little there, but all good. I think I may have said yes to too many for the summer, but here it’s make hay while the sun shines, and hopefully by the end of summer will have my photo to dvd business established.

I scored an ironing board and vacuum cleaner at yard sales this weekend – a year, and that’s how important ironing and vacuuming are to me. Someone gave me a bike last weekend, too so I’m excited to get out and ride, although my legs have to learn again how to ride, holy cow. But there are lots of trails – picked up a little map today with all the trails around. It will be fun to putter – just a coaster, challenging because it is quite hilly, especially in town because we are right on the harbour and the land goes up from here, but I’ll get stronger and walk when I have to .

Some of the work I’m doing feels so good – doing the non-violence program again, and I do love small group work, it’s a good program and I think I will begin offering it in the fall, when people can make that 10 week commitment. Working part-time for two publishers, doing little odd jobs, but both nice people to work with and could lead to more. I will be back on the wharf this summer; nice way to spend a summer, outside dealing with lots of people. I do love working outside, too. I will be going to work a coffee booth for a local coffee roaster at a farmers’ market in Hubbards on Saturdays, and that should be fun. The only drawback is that I have to be there at 7 am – yikes, I’m not a morning person.

I’ve also found a writers’ group, and that is fun. I need that energy to keep writing, and a deadline – oh, no, we’re meeting Saturday, I better come up with something. I have been doing hack writing – web content, book reviews, which pay but not very creative.

Ferns

Spring has been beautiful. I will get some pictures up soon – gardens all purple, a green house with a red tree in front, the apple tree outside my window that is just beginning to bloom. A cold wind has been blowing in all weekend, but that won’t last. We had glorious days last week and more to come.

There are movies being made here – the town has been buzzing with casts and crews and big equipment trucks. One is a pilot for a series called Haven, keep your eyes open. The other was a feature film, I can’t remember the name but Lunenburg is filling in for a small New England town.

Lobster is all over the place – side of the road stands, $5.5o/lb. I have a couple of tails, and really should buy a whole one at that price. Also mussels; they tell me that May mussels are the best, for some reason having to do with mating I think. Bought some fresh scallops last week at an amazing price. Ah, one of the bonuses of living here. I’ve never eaten so much fish, and it is so good, and so fresh.

Finally found a good hairdresser, best haircut I’ve had for over a year, maybe two. I don’t know about you, but a good haircut makes me feel so good, and it is so hard to find.

Went to a wonderful concert Friday, mostly Rachmaninoff played by Peter Allen in St. John’s Anglican, a wonderful place to hear music. It was stirring, strong stuff and thrilling to hear him pound it out. We are lucky to be close enough to Halifax that performers often come down here for concerts. A couple weeks ago went to a taping for a radio pilot, Bluenose Opera Company. Heard Coco Love Alcorn there, she is amazing, great voice and her timing is impeccable. She was singing with a saxophonist, whose name I can’t remember, but together they were great. There is a lot of talent around here.

All for now. I will keep in touch.

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.

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