Thursday, September 27, 2007

The gold-tiled airport

Bought my tickets to Winnipeg for the next family/research trip - nearly $600! What the heck? Is Winnipeg in such high demand? In November? Are the airport bathrooms tiled in gold? I'm confused.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Back from Haitus

Our week in Oregon was wonderful, and it feels like the fall is stretching out in front of me like a new adventure, pristine and shiny and unexplored. Some client and volunteer projects have wrapped up, more or less tidily. Some cyclical things are underway again. The summer trips and visitors are over. Aunt Lou's diaries are transcribed and sent back to Canada.

I'd like to try to travel lightly through the coming season, not too heavily burdened; lean and focused on a few things that I can do well and experience fully. The house is clean from all the visitors, and it would be satisfying to actually keep it that way, not so much out of a sense of duty but to create an environment as uncluttered as I'd like my life to be. Maybe I'll paint the den after the new windows are installed. Or maybe I won't. Who knows. The world is my oyster.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Looking ahead

Next week we head to the Oregon Coast, where my parents have rented a house for two weeks and family are coming in from far and wide. I am greatly looking forward to it, and just to be sure I'm extra appreciative, I will wrap up my week by solo facilitating an all-day board retreat for one of my clients, guaranteed to leave me utterly brain-dead and ready for a vacation. Maybe Moxie will be able to beat me at Boggle, heh heh.

Whether Toby will be ready is another question. The tenacious wound between his foot pads a few weeks ago? It's back. Sneaked up on us. Worse than ever, so bad that he didn't even want to put weight on it on Sunday (and for Toby to not want to be up on his feet - well, that's a problem). Happily, he's already on antibiotics because his other foot problem turned out to be an infected toe, rather than his run-of-the-mill allergic itchies. It says something about Toby's summer that I'm thanking my lucky stars for his puss-filled toe.

Seriously, we're going to the beach. Where the dogs will want nothing more than to romp around and get coated in sand and sea water. Open oozing wounds are not a good fit. Will Toby just yearn and bark and make a pest of himself the whole time if we can't get him healed enough to romp? This is where Enrico just smiles serenely at me and says, it will all be fine. One way or another. Thank heavens for Enrico.

Another thing on the to-do list before we go is fixing yet another leak in our roof. Maybe we should've forked over the extra couple thousand dollars when we replaced the roof three years ago, or maybe it's just the crazy weather of the past year. We'd had a torrential rainstorm and as I was just ready to head out the door yesterday morning, I heard the unmistakable pat-pat-pat overhead in the attic. Stripped off my work clothes, put on grubbies, hauled the ladder off the carport rafters and into the house, put on the headlamp, and hauled myself up into the attic. Which is dark, lacking any flooring - thus the need to balance carefully on the rafters lest you fall through the ceiling drywall into the house - and littered with rat turds. Just how I dreamed of starting my day.

But I got a bucket and tarp placed, and managed to find a roofer to come out and suggest a fix that he can make on Friday, before we leave town. Meanwhile, because of the leak, I was running late and for that reason I was home to receive a call from our friends B & J, who just returned from two months abroad. B reminded me that we had the keys to both of their cars. I knew they were due back in town the night before, but had completely forgotten about the car keys. So, had it not been for the leak, our friends would've been without transport for the whole day, their only day to run errands between their intercontinental flight and the first day of school for their three kids.

So you see, it's lucky that the ceiling leaked exactly when it did, and it's lucky that Toby's toe is infected. I won't say these things happen for a reason, because I don't believe in that. But it's all good.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Voice from the past

I have been transcribing the 1889 diary of great-great-aunt Lou, which I must send back to Canada via my aunt at the end of our upcoming Oregon trip. I have become quite proficient at reading Lou's handwriting, but she left so many mysteries hanging. Were my friends and I like this when we were 16 years old? Flitting from crush to crush, eternally feuding for a moment with our girl friends, only to make up just as melodramatically? Secretly reading romance novels, and searching for the perfect dress?

"Macduff" was waiting for us when we got there. (“Sit still my heart!”) We had great fun as everyone was so jolly we went into Mrs. Matheson’s when we got cold and had coffee and sandwiches. Alick gave me back my ring after a great deal of “fuss.” A great many other “side scenes” which I won’t relate here but which are treasured up in a remote corner of my heart.

I would love to publish GGAunt Lou's entire diary, but I am not their owner so I suppose there are copyright issues. Enrico said, "just transcribe the good parts," but the thing is, there are none. What makes it so compelling is the whole. A year of mundane entries, a precise half-page per day, which slowly reveal this girl's life and times. They take classes in Scripture, and Roman History, and Music, and Grammar. They take walks nearly every day, even in the harsh Winnipeg winter. To the sign-board. To the post-box. To the deaconry.

Nora and I walked together to the concert, met the Rev… Had a very pleasant time, a gentleman sang “Till the moon grows cold.” H.N. took me home, and I froze my ear. Very tired after effects, my ear like a sail.

The first third of the year she is completing school, followed by a summer of leisure, and then her first work experience, as a housemaid. Though it is alluded to with so much discretion as to be easily missed, I know that Lou becomes engaged during this time, only to lose her fiance to an unknown death, after these cheerful journals end. By I have not transcribed that part yet; she is still a schoolgirl.

Went in Lily’s room in the afternoon, ate cherries and read. Saw a lot of people pass up. Mrs Mulligan’s invitation is bothering me a great deal, hang it! Why can’t my poor relations leave me alone? Had lovely jelly-cake for tea.

The girls are banned from seeing their brothers, presumably due to the threat posed by the brothers' friends. They write letters to their families far away in the north. They go to church twice on Sundays. They frequently have cranberries and buns for tea. When not walking to the sign-board, with an eye out for boys.

The Detectives are evidently on the watch. I’m afraid they have found out something, for somebody (?) has been mean enough to read Rose’s diary. I hope no one will ever read this, if they do they will find it rather mysterious for there are too many abbreviations.

Indeed. Mysterious, and yet not mysterious at all.