Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Neighbourly


The other day, the doorbell rang -- an odd occurrence these days. One of my neighbours was standing on the deck with a mask on her face (but of course) and a gift in her hand. She'd noticed that we still had (have) a pumpkin out front and figured it was time for us to shift seasons. 

She brought us this lovely little wreath she had made. To match the "Peace to all who enter" flag by our door, she made it in the shape of a peace sign (hard to see, as it's now interwoven with the black metal knocker). 

Besides getting me into a little bit of the spirit, the wreath has made me think about just what this year's Christmas will be like. 

It doesn't look as though we'll be able to have friends or family over for any kind of celebrating (not even the traditional Solstice celebration), as with rising numbers, we all need to be vigilant towards keeping safe. 

So instead, I plan to make up tiny gift packets for my neighbours. I'll leave them on doorsteps and pretend that Santa's responsible. 

We can all only hope that this year's Christmas with its restrictions and worries is one we'll never have to observe the same way again. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Picnic by firelight

Because it gets dark so early now, it's easy (and fun) to have a 'campfire' at home. 

Last night, with a fire in the chiminea and no rain (for a welcome change), it seemed like a good night to have a picnic supper. 

Nothing very fancy -- buns and sausages along with a pot of beans. Homemade quince cider in big metal mugs. 

I suppose this is a post that should likely show up on the old "What's fer supper?" blog, but the celebratory feeling from eating outside by the fire made the meal feel like something better than just 'supper'. 

These days, we keep seeking (and luckily, finding now and then) ways of bringing a bit of spice into the restricted lives we're all now leading, even if tonight that 'spice' was mostly raw onions on what some would dismiss as 'hot dogs'. 

Every now and then, some silly idea comes along, delivering some joy to break up the dullness. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The wonder of the light

Today is the 12th anniversary of my mother's death. The little angel in the photo is an item she gave to me -- a gift I am pretty sure was something 'regifted' -- but I'm thinking that makes it all the better. 

I heard part of an episode of Tapestry today, a CBC show that deals with matters that might be called spiritual. Author Richard Van Camp was doing what he does best: telling stories. I loved the one he told about heaven (being like the West Edmonton Mall). But even more, I liked his idea about a full moon practice -- giving things away, which is why I like the idea of regifting, especially of things we love. 

It isn't full moon yet -- not until month's end. But what I'd like to give away today is the idea of forgiveness.  

In truth, I don't think it's all that easy to hold a grudge, but some of us seem better than others at this. 

I'm in the process of writing a letter to someone I love, and I'm hoping that his heart will soften enough that we can be close again. 

But the person I'm sure my mother would most like to see in my life again is my youngest sister. The last time she spoke to me was at our mother's funeral. That seems like an awfully long time to lug around whatever transgression she believes I committed against her. And yes, it would help if I knew what it was, as it would make an apology so much easier.. 

But maybe that's the little miracle I can hope for today (or soon). In the meantime, the little angel stands guard over the tealight candle in the kitchen.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

New traditions, old remembrances

I love that even our buses help us remember, especially where this is a year when we can't have any gatherings to observe Remembrance Day. 

We listened to the ceremony from Ottawa with its speeches and haunting bagpipes, and even managed to catch a glimpse of the old planes doing their flyover here. 

And a new tradition (one that won't be repeated) is the fact that this is the day I send off my manuscript so review copies can be printed. It certainly feels right, being that the book is about Harold and Maude, a film with such strong anti-war sentiments. 

But that's not all I plan to do today. Our local arts council has set up a number of online activities to help us observe the day. My favourite is an excellent demonstration of watercolour technique. I think I feel inspired enough to try painting my own. 

And beyond the traditional poppy, I've started my annual amaryllis bulb, and hoping it will bloom in time for Christmas. And yes, that will be the day of Alex Trebek's truly final Jeopardy, so the bloom -- in addition to brightening up our home -- will serve as a kind of virtual gift to him, one of both remembrance and of gratitude. 

Monday, November 09, 2020

Awww, Canada...

It was a weekend when two memorable Canadians died. 

The first reported was the much-loved host of Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek. Tributes and remembrances have been on every news outlet. My kind-hearted sister expressed concern over how sad I might be, as I'll admit to having been a fan of that show for years. In truth, I remember the first series with Art Fleming, as my gramma watched it, with me by her side, probably pitching as many answers (er, questions) as I could come up with. 

Less notice or fanfare went to the passing of another Canadian, Howie Meeker -- not only a great hockey player, but a longtime feature on Hockey Night in Canada, a program that was a Saturday night tradition in so many households. Meeker had a unique style as a commentator, overly excitable, and with a high-register voice (brought to our attention by the satirists at SCTV). News reports reminded us not only of his many accomplishments, but (as was also the case with Trebek), his humanity. And really, it seemed all too appropriate in this morning's NYT crossword puzzle (one of my addictions) to have a clue, "Golly!" with its three-letter answer -- completing a phrase used often by Meeker -- "Gee". 

Both men were recipients of our country's highest honour, the Order of Canada. Two of our greats, Adieu.


Saturday, November 07, 2020

Whew!

This has been a difficult week, filled with uncertainty and worry. There've been a few personal concerns too, but those were mostly overshadowed by the unsettled (and unsettling) results of the US election. 

The other day I was down at the beach, mostly I suppose, seeking some kind of solace. 

It was only for a moment, but I managed to catch a part of it -- beneath a sky filled with glowering dark clouds, a band of sunlight broke through. 

It brought me the comfort of a small bit of hope. And now with this morning's news, I'm feeling that the whole world can finally exhale. 

Monday, November 02, 2020

Ghostly

That's kind of how it felt on Halloween. It was the first time in just about forever that we didn't celebrate by handing out goodies to Trick or Treaters. There were quite a few houses decorated for the holiday, but I don't think we were the only ones holding out with the treats. 

And here it now is already November, the day I was raised to believe in as "All Souls' Day" -- a day when we were told we could say a certain set of prayers, and a soul would be released from the agonies of purgatory -- sort of a 'get-out-of-jail-free' card is how it seemed. 

The traditional Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos) is the celebration in Mexico today, though it doesn't seem anywhere near as grim as the day of kneeling and praying I was supposed to observe. 

And tomorrow, well who knows what that will bring. I can only hope it means a change for calm, respect and peace. Otherwise, it's hard to say what the rest of this long winter might bring. 

As for me and my love of holidays, I can't help but wonder about Christmas -- probably not a long table full of friends and family sharing the traditional Swedish meatballs

Still, we can only hope for the best, can't we.