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December 2007

endings and beginings

They always say “Out with the old and in with the new.”  Well, for me this took on a literal sense.  The mover’s representative came this morning and I walked her around the house so she could see what was going to be leaving and what was going to be staying.  Some of these things are hard for my heart to let go of because there are memories attached to them.  When she left, Ken came into the kitchen to refill his cup of coffee.  “How are you?” he asked.  An innocent enough question to which I responded by bursting into tears, much to my embarrassment.  And bless Ken (he said, last night, that it was okay to put the “en” after the “K”) and his sweet kind soul, he listened and we talked and he stayed with such patience and caring.  Provided such comfort that the sadness has passed and I am much better now.  And we have both returned to our writing rooms.  (He’s probably writing.  I’m blogging.  I’ll work on The Big Muckle when I’m done.)

It’s odd how things can take on a life of their own.  I think part of the sadness came from saying good-by to some things that were accumulated during a more challenging phase of my life.  It’s like part of me feels if I releases the attachment to the thing then I will lose the happy memories as well as the hard ones.  But that is the mistake.  The memories, of my children, my life, they are carried in my heart.  Not in the things and furniture that were part of the background decoration.  So for me to imbue them with that power, is silly. 

And the good thing is, after I’d finished my cry, I called the bookshelf maker and that’s underway.  I talked to the sofa place yesterday, so we should have those soon, and the other pieces we needed to fill in the gaps are arriving the day after the movers come.  And how lucky is it that I did that Porcupine screenplay for Rosie so I could buy this beautiful stuff.  And not only that…A BEAUTIFUL PAINTING’S COMING!  Eeeee!  I’m very excited.  This is all going to be fine.

Anyway, I’m not going to go into the details as to the who’s and the why’s.  I just wanted to mention it here, so when I read back over my blog I remember this day, because it is important for me not to forget what people are capable of.  And although I am going to miss some of this stuff.  And that’s all it is is stuff, I am hoping that where it is going is going to make a happier, cozier home for someone and that they will know and recognize the gift for what it is and give this stuff a good home and cherish and take care of it.

I like to wish all my blogger-friends the happiest of New Years.  And if at all possible put the maximum amount in your RSP or your IRA or whatever other retirement plan you have going.  And if you don’t have one…START ONE TODAY!  Much love to everybody, my family and friends and most especially my children, Emily, David and Will.  xxxooo

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! (I wish I knew how to do special effects because then I’d put all different coloured confetti falling down all over this blog.  But I don’t.  Sigh.  I guess you’ll just have to imagine it.  Shut your eyes and see if you can.  Okay, now imagine me dancing around, waving my arms over my head with a lit sparkler in my hand.  I am flipping my heels up and out and have a big smile on my face, and I’m yelling at the top of my lungs, “Haaaaappyyyyyy New Yearrrr!)

the keyboards are flying

Well…the keyboards aren’t actually flying, but our fingers are.  Wait.  Now I just got an image of our fingers literally flying off our hands and sailing out of the window.  Let me rephrase that one more time.  We are writing tons.  Okay, Phew.  I’m glad that’s cleared up. 

It’s wonderful having writers in the house.  The whole day focused around writing.  It a different energy than when it’s just Don and me. Even though we write during the day in our regular life as well.  It’s a different kind of focus because we’ve put away this chunk of time and other than making breakfast and dinner, we don’t have the regular chores and need-to-do list of things that must be done.  There’s different, stronger kind of writing energy when I get up from my desk for a short break, stretch, to replenish my tea.  Walking into the kitchen I have to go past my husband in his writing room, past J____ pounding away on his computer in the dining room, past the stairway, knowing that K__ is upstairs working hard.  It’s like the house is buzzing with creativity.  And if you were blindfolded and brought into the house, you’d still feel it.  Then after we are fortified with dinner and a glass of wine we read our stuff and get feedback from each other.  Help, tweaks or overhauls, whatever is called for. 

And after the slightly nervous read your stuff/feedback time, where one always feels a little vulnerable, then the relief and conversations that follow make one feel a little lighter, sillier.  It’s such a gift to have this dedicated chunk of time. 

Not only that, but I was really struggling with my manuscript over Christmas.  There was one day last week where I was terribly depressed (I didn’t blog that day) the manuscript was just not working and it was like I was banging my head over and over into a brick wall, but then right after one of the darkest writing days I’ve suffered through in a long long time, the next day, it’s like a veil was lifted and I knew what I needed to do to address this problem that had been plaguing me.  I tried it out, and it didn’t work, but it led me to another idea THAT REALLY WORKS!  Anyway, it’s been really exciting these last few days and I feel very hopeful.

Bye for now. 

Lots of love to my kids scattered across the globe.  xo

out goes one batch in comes another

We took our friends to the airport yesterday and said a fond farewell (the “fond farewell” sounds sort of like those old fashioned books I used to read when I was young.  Little Women, Rose in Bloom, Girl of the Limberlost.  Funny.)  It was a grey day, slush falling from the sky.  Afterwards we stopped at Second Time Around and lucked out.  We found a great coffee table!  It used to be an old library table but someone had cut the legs down and I was real happy because it is hard to find a nice large sturdy coffee table that has room for everybody to put their feet up, place their coffee mugs on and still have plenty of room for the odd box of chocolate, bowls of salted nuts and a few books sprinkled about.  I am so happy to have found such a perfect one.

This will be a short blog because I have to get some proper writing done.  We have two more people arriving this afternoon.  Writerly folk, and friends to boot.  So that will be fun.  We are going to have a writing extravagazana!  Don and I will make a huge hot breakfast, then we will disappear into our prospetive writing spots, write like the crazed writing fiends we are and then emerge blurry eyed in the late afternoon, to prepare dinner and eat.  Then in the evening whoever needs help, or feedback will lie their writing naked on the living room table to be pummelled and helped and enouraged by the rest of us. 

I’m hoping I’m going to get tons done on my manuscript.  I so badly want to plow straight forward all the way to the end, but I can’t seem to with this one.  I keep gettting to these points where something happens and I realize that I need to go back to the begining and rework everything that I’ve done all over again.  This always happens with writing but with this manuscript it seems to be happening WAY more.  I hope it will all pay off in the end and that The Big Muckle will be a pleasurable enjoyable book for people to read.  Actually, let me rephrase that.  I hope that I will be able to get TBM into something that is publishable, AND then I hope that if it gets to that point, that people will want to buy it and read it and have a chuckle.  It’s so different from my other adult books.  Is more like the me you meet when you come to one of my book readings and how I am on this blog.  Sort of irreverant.

Eeks!  I just looked at the clock.  I’d better go write, rather than hang out here blathering to you about it.  Bye.

A Porcupine surprise!

I slept in this morning, when I woke everybody was already up and had helped themselves to dry cereal, toast and fresh fruit.  My husband had this laptop on the kitchen table and listening to hockey updates, so I got my laptop and joined him, munching on a bowl of cereal.  (Rice Krispies, not very healthy, but I remember when I got to go to a friend’s house and watching the Rice Krispies ad on TV and wishing that our family could have Rice Krispies so we could hear Snap, Crackle and Pop talking to us.  So every now and then I’ll pour myself a bowl, listen for a bit and then eat it, wondering why I am wasting the calories on something so bland and uninspiring tasting.)

Anyway, I finished my cereal, checked my email, checked out Rosie’s blog.  Got a little offended about the couple of rude offensive comments that people felt the need to send her on Christmas day.  I just don’t understand that kind of meanness.

My next thing on the list was to disappear into my writing room to wrestle with my stubborn manuscript for a couple of hours, but I felt so cozy that I thought I would procrastinate a little bit further so I googled and saw THIS for Porcupine!!! Sales Rank: #921 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)
Popular in these categories:
#1 in Books > Children’s Books > People & Places > Family Life > Multigenerational > Fiction
#1 in Books > Children’s Books > People & Places > Family Life > Siblings > Fiction
#2 in Books > Children’s Books > People & Places > Social Issues > Death & Dying > Fiction

HOLY SMOKES!  Very exciting.  (And very surprising…in a happy way.)  What a Happy Boxing Day Treat!


Christmas day

I’m sitting at the kitchen table participating by proxy.  Don is playing Scrabble with our friends.  He is playing very politely.  They are new at it and he has pulled in his predator teeth.  It must be hard for him.  Carefully placing down five letter words, no double words lying alongside an old one where he gets to count all the little words as well as the big one adding up to a gazillion points. 

I’m luxuriating in the excuse of the turkey and whatnot.  It needs basting.  I would hold up the game.  (Although, the truth be told, the only way I can play Scrabble is with Don.  I always hold up the game.  It takes me forever to find words, but he doesn’t mind at all.  However if I had to play with other people I’d break out into a cold sweat.  And when one is in a panicky-I’m-going-to-hold-everybody-up-because-I-suck-as-a-speller-and-I-didn’t-go-to-University words NEVER come. 

Be right back, I have to baste the turkey…

Hello again.  The turkey is looking good, is turning a golden brown.  The pecan pie’s on the counter and I made candy cane ice cream as well.  Sweet potato mash is ready to go and the red potatoes are simmering on the stove.  Dinner, for the time being, is good to go.

Dave and his friend Dan just got up, all sleepy eyes and tousled hair.  They humored me and opened the stockings that Santa had magically left them.  Dave has a bit of a cough so I made him a hot lemon and honey.  Then they had a few of the pecan cinnamon buns that I made in honor of Dave (they are his favorites)  Now they are downstairs playing ping pong.  It’s really nice to have him home.

I had a lovely time this morning listening to Will’s description of the morning excitement with Santa and his little brothers.  He sounded happy.  Then Emily got on the phone and while I talked with her Don ran downstairs and got the presents she sent us out from under the tree.  It was so fun to open them with her on the phone.  Emily is the BEST gift buyer in the whole world!  First I opened and read the card, like it was the very first time, even though both of us knew other wise.  Then Don opened his gift which was the classiest grey and black checked cashmere scarf.  Perfection!  I bought Don a scarf a few years ago, that was nice and soft and a lovely green, but the reverse side of it…not so nice.  Lime green to be exact.  So the scarf is nice and warm and lovely to look at, until he moves a fraction of an inch and then..horrors!  So this scarf Emily got was a welcome present, not just for Don, but for my embarrassed eyes as well.

Then I opened my present.  Holy cow!  How she managed to fit all those wonderful gifts in such a small unassuming box, I’ll never know.  Three beautiful tops, one dressy, black, with a little strand of understated elegant sparkle running right around the bust line and then flared out gently so that it will skim my expanding waistline instead of clinging to it.  And then two (she said practical tops, for day to day wear,) but her practical looks WAY better than my practical.  They are beautiful and I feel very loved.  And then to top it all off there was a very classy velvet scarf in colors that make me look like I have rose kissed cheeks.  Everything so thoughtfully chosen.  Like how she knows lots of fabrics itch me and all three tops were made of the softest cottons.  And I’m sitting there on our bed, Don beside me, and tears are running down my face.  Not sad tears, tears of happy fullness, talking to my two children, hearing their voices, feeling them close.  Anyway it was very special.  Thank you so much Emily, and tons of love to you and Will.  xxooo

Okay, the last letters have been drawn from the Scrabble bag, they are almost at the end.  Don’s score is 200, a tiny bit ahead of the others, and they are impressed, marveling at his scrabble skills, but really…on a bad day, Don might get in the low 300’s Usually it’s high 300’s and around a month ago he got 440.  It reminds me of a German Shepard playing with a couple of Malti-poos. (I spelled that wrong but you get the drift.)  Time to baste the turkey again.

Anyway, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!  Love, Meg xxooo

an addendum to the last blog

Don just read my last posting.  “Why didn’t you send your Christmas love to Dave?” he said. 
“Why would I?  He’s going to be here for Christmas, he’ll be getting my Christmas love all day long,” I responded, my face making a that’s-a-stupid-question expression.
“David won’t read it like that,” Don said.  But Don doesn’t know what he’s talking about!  David will know that the reason I sent my Christmas love to Emily and Will is because they are all the way on the other side of the world, enjoying Christmas there with other relatives.  David knows where he is going to be for Christmas, and that I am thrilled that he is coming and am going to love him to bits. 

Silly Don…

Oh and by the way, even though it said on the Internet that the Chinese garden was open today, it wasn’t.  The public Chinese garden was however and a woman told us that it was nicer than the one you have to pay for that was closed.  We could see the other garden through the grate on the other side of the wall.  It was around the size of a large basement.  It was fine enough I guess, but not worth the drive downtown and a morning spent not writing.  For those of you who are visiting Vancouver in the winter, this is a definite miss.  I don’t know how it is in the summer, maybe beautiful, but it is quite small, on the border of a very challenged area of town.  There was a lot of speculation in the car ride on the way home as to how much cash exchanged hands to get this attraction rated as one of the top ten things to see in Vancouver.  It is my opinion that your time would be better spent walking in one of the parks or along the sea wall, or taking one of the hiking trails.

Or to be perfectly honest, better spent writing.  Which is what I am finally off to do at 2:41pm.  Thank God.  (I find I get a little grumpy if I want to write and haven’t been able to get to it.)

Christmas eve

Don’s gone to the butcher shop to pick up our turkey, then we are taking our friends to a Chinese garden that is in the top ten list of things to see in Vancouver.  We’ve lived here for 3 1/2 years and have never seen it.  I’m not sure how spectacular it’s going to be, as it is the dead of winter and anything that is blooming, or deciduious will be just sticks poking out of the ground.  But it isn’t raining and they wanted to go out and at least it’s not shopping. 

I am sort of tempted to say, “You guys go on.  I’ll just stay here tucked into my writing room and write.”  And then when my shoulders got too tired and sore and my head felt like it was stuffed with cotton balls from focusing too hard, then I’d putter into the kitchen and figure out what I feel like making for dessert to go along with the big turkey dinner.  Do I go traditional and do the whole pie thing, or do I whip up some candy cane ice cream for nolstagia’s sake for Dave?  Or do I go the yes-I-am-a-urban-with-it-hostess and make some of my grapefruit-lemon-vodka (I’m not sure what it’s called really…sorbet?  Granita?  It’s kind of a combination of the two)  The thing about that option is it’s nice and light.  OR do I make a delicious trifle, full of whipped cream and fruit and pudding and sponge cake? 

I’ll let you know what I decide.

So, for all of you who do the Christmas thing, I wish you a Happy Christmas filled with laughter and good food.  That is something anyone can manage, even if you are on your own.  Buy yourself something tasty to eat, read a good book, watch a show you enjoy, take a candlelit bath.  I always finds it cheers me up enourmously to think about all the blessings in my life.  It’s odd that in our society it’s like we are trained to always have our eye on what we don’t have, what we wish to attain, rather than encouraging us to be filled with gratitude for what we do. 

Ooh… I’m getting a little preachy here.  I’d better sign off. 

Much love to Emily and Will.  Merry Christmas Have a wonderful time!  I love you enormously.  Hugs and kisses, Mom xxxxxxxxooooooooooooxxxoooo

Grouse mountain

We took our friends up to Grouse mountain for dinner yesterday.  I reserved it a couple of months ago, as soon as I heard they were coming because I thought they would enjoy the spectacular views.  We went to Grouse mountain with Will this summer and although it was a bit touristy, when we came around the bend in the woods and saw an enormous bear, scratching his back on a tree, only eight or nine feet away, but barely discernible because it was late dusk/almost night it was quite magical.  And I was hoping to be able to repeat that wonderful experience for them.  Also, since Grouse mountain is a bit higher up than the rest of Vancouver, I had my fingers crossed that we might be blessed with a little bit of snow to get everybody in the Christmas mood. 

“So what is this Grouse Mountain?” my friend’s husband asked.  “What do people do there?” 
“Lots of things,” I said, brightly.  I had read all about their winter activities when I booked dinner at the Observatory, but I couldn’t remember when asked.  “I’ll look it up online,” I said getting my computer and bringing it back into the living room. 

Tripadvisor was the first Grouse Mountain item to come up.  “Oh, it’s on Tripadvisor, I’ll read what they say,” I said to the room.  I started reading the reviews.  There were a few lovely ones, (probably written by staff,)  and then we got to the disgruntled ones, of which there were quite a few.  Uh…oh.

To top it all off, the morning started out with bright sunshine, but by the time we were ready to leave It was a grey, drizzly, overcast day. “Maybe,” I said to myself on the drive over.  “With the higher altitude, this rain will turn into lovely drifting flakes of snow.  (Because the whole “Thrill them with the impressive view,” was clearly not going to happen.)  “I hope we get to see the bears,” I said. 
“Bears,” said my friend.  “Wouldn’t they be in hibernation?”  Wouldn’t they indeed!  Goodness, I forgot all about that tiny detail.  “Maybe they haven’t started yet?”  I say, in a desperate attempt to convince myself, but even as the words leave my mouth, I know that the bears are nestled cozy in their dens sleeping away.

The parking lot was jam-packed.  Hmm…That’s surprising, given the grim day.  We pay for the parking ticket, get our tram tickets and we are off.  The tram is jam-packed as well.  It is a young crowd, a few families with small children, the rest teens and early twenties, talking loud and wielding snowboards.  There is only one person on the tram that is even near our age and although he is a bit older, (late sixties) he is obviously quite fit, tall and toned, geared up in spiffy red and white skiing apparel. 

I save a spot by the door for our friends and steer them towards it as the tram jerks to a start.  “Look out the window,” I instruct.  “You might see the wolves as we are travelling over the trees.”  (Will spotted the wolves on our last journey.  I didn’t even know they had them.  It was quite exciting.)  They stood, peering out of the steamed up windows, made foggy from all of the breathing bodies crammed into this small space. 

They didn’t see any wolves.  I don’t think anybody did.  If so, no one mentioned it. 

As we passed the towers, some of the people on the tram roared like we were on a fast moving roller coaster.  I roared too.  (the sedate summer crowd did not partake in these shenanigans.)  I hoped the tram wires wouldn’t give out under this enormous load of revelers.  I didn’t mention my worries though.  If we’re going to die, we might as well go out having fun.  And then suddenly, we are there, the tram starts to sink lower and I see beautiful snow ladened tree tops gliding past.  The doors open, everybody squeezes out.  I feel a snowboard prodding me in the back, but I don’t care.  I am back in my childhood.  Lost in the magic of deep, deep snow. 

We tromp around, snow falling, covering our shoulders, our hats, kissing our faces.  Our fingers and toes are the first to feel prickly pinch of the cold.  Skiers and snowboarders glide past.  We play with the idea of renting snowshoes.  I want to, but everybody else is trying to act supportive, but I can tell that they are quite lukewarm on the idea, so we don’t.  My friend contemplates trying out ice skating for the first time in her life, but her husband reminds her of her age and height, and how hard she would fall.  If it was just the two of us, I am sure we would have strapped ourselves into skates and gone toddling around the ice with the children and their parents, full of shrieks and laughter, and yes, perhaps a few bruises. 

We visit the depressed looking reindeer.  It’s my first reindeer.  It is way smaller than I imagined.  I don’t think even with eight of them that they’d be able to handle Santa’s loaded sleigh.  Even if they were imbued with magical powers.  The reindeer is not the magnificent creature that I envisioned, but still, I have to admit, I was quite excited to see one and the child in me had to sneak a pet, amongst all the children. 

We took the sleigh ride.  In the promo film it is pulled by three strong beautiful horses, with tossing heads and jingle bells attached to their harnesses.  Our sleigh, however, was pulled by a tractor.  But at least it was a pretty tractor/snowplow, painted a bright shiny red.  And I was clever, I grabbed the very back seat that no one wanted, so we didn’t have to inhale all the tractor fumes.  The ride was short.  I liked the first part best, where we went through the little wooded area.  I would have liked to have done more of that kind of thing.  It was so beautiful.

Then we saw the film.  (To those of you that go, don’t worry about missing this part.  The pre-show was actually interesting, but the actual “movie” was quite silly.  Not in a good way.  Not only that, but the loudspeaker on the left side buzzed very loudly throughout the whole thing.) 

Dinner in the observatory was very tasty and the service was good.  And although we didn’t get to see the view of the whole lit up and sparkling city, and the world beyond, we saw beauty of a different sort.  The snow, and clouds created the most cozy romantic atmosphere and the good friends, wonderful food, and bottle of wine made it truly a night to remember. 

Going down in the tram, we roared again, passing the towers, and then, all of a sudden we were past the cloud cover and I hear my friend say to her husband.  “Oh my, look at that.”  I stood on tiptoe and I could see a glimpse of the sparkling city laid out, through the sea of tuk clad head and snowboards.  And it was like the cherry on the top.  Perfection.  Like I was able to deliver everything.  Even though, it wasn’t me that made the clouds open for that second, it didn’t stop the giddy happy firework feeling from exploding in my heart.  I did it.  I accomplished the impossible.  My friends got to see the view.

Chocolate and chats

My friend has been on the phone forever trying to speak to an actual person at Air Canada’s lost and found.  This is her fourth attempt.  She is once again, waiting on hold, listening to music and “please hold, someone will be with you shortly,” announcements.  The guys have gone to the Canuck game dressed in their Canuck jerseys, ready to cheer the home team,  stomp their feet and roar in mighty man voices.

She’s been on hold for quite sometime.  So far, no human voice, just a recording.  I brought her a chair to sit on and brewed her a cup of tea.  We figure, maybe she’ll have better luck getting through at 8:15 at night.  Hmmm…Our strategy doesn’t seem to be working.

It was a lovely day.  We took a long hike in the woods.  A bright sunshiny day, the light so sharp when we walked through a patch of it, that I would have to feel with my feet, as I navigated my way through to the shaded parts.  It was lovely.  Molly lay and rolled in every creek and mud puddle she could find.  A huge smile on her face, her spotted tongue lolling out of the side of her mouth.  Ears cocked. (By the way, that’s not my friend, that’s the dog.  My friend walked around the puddles, quite untempted.) 

Don made a lovely pasta and salad for dinner.  We opened a lovely bottle of French wine that our friends had brought.  And then after the men had gone, we sat on the sofas and talked about things.  The kind of things one can talk about with someone one has known for 19 years.  Families, mutual friends, losses, triumphs.  Nothing spit polished and perfectly presented.

Now my friend has looked up, she is wondering if the Air Canada lost items desk is located in India.  She’s just put the phone on the counter and has walked over and handed me a magazine article.  She’s so laissez faire.  I would be nervous that would be the moment they would come to the phone and say “hello?  hello?” and hang up.  She’s back at the phone now.  I hope someone eventually comes.  To hear an actual voice would almost make it worth while. 

Okay, this is probably a really boring blog.  So I’ll sign off.  Lots of love to family far and near.  xo

a hiccup of a blog

Writing went well today.  Soaring along for once.  Then we went out and ordered our new sofas, went by the mailbox and picked up my packages.  See’s candy from my brother and his wife and the cutest picture of their little boy.  Next stop the airport, waiting outside the International customs area.  Out they came, smiles and hugs.  Don did the driving, I did the side seat assisting.  We just arrived back home.  My hands are still throbbing from the tight grip I kept on Molly’s collar.  (She is still learning not to jump up on people.  I’ve had her for 4 months now.  Her training is going pretty well, but when she gets excited, everything she’s learned flies out the window.)  Anyway, our friends are unpacking now and when they are done we shall head out for dinner.  No cooking or dishes tonight. Whoopee!
much love, Meg xo

happy deliveries

The fed-ex man just came and he had two things for me!  The first package was an envelope from my lawyer and in it was the Porcupine movie contracts along with a check!  Wheee.  I consider this movie money, mad-money.  Meaning I can do anything I like with it, since I hadn’t planned on it to meet my year in year out expenses.  Not only that, but if it hadn’t been Rosie, I’m not sure I would have agreed to sell the rights or have written a screenplay in the first place.  So this money isn’t going to be deposited in the bank used for something noble and serious, because good-grief I do way too much of that as it is.  And this money isn’t going to be invested in something that will compound and grow over time.  I am too practical as it is.

I’ve decided to spend Rosie/Porcupine money on making our living space more beautiful.  I’m going to splurge on a new family room seating arrangement.  And I’m going to get this beautiful sideboard to make the kitchen table area even cozier than it already is.  And last but not least…I need a place to store all my manuscripts and works in progress, and works completed.  I had it all set up in my old house because my writing room was actually a bedroom and I used the closet with the built in cabinets and dresser drawers.  But in this new house…nothing.  I was using an old china cabinet, but it’s looks odd and doesn’t have quite enough storage places, and I’m having to double decker things.  SO, I’m going to use my Rosie money on a beautiful set of bookcases for my writing room!  And then every time I look at these things I’ll remember what bought them and feel a happiness in my belly. 

Now, the second fed-ex package, that brought joy of a different kind.  It was from my daughter, Emily.  And it was full of beautifully wrapped presents, (that I didn’t open) and a card, that I did.  I know I was supposed to wait until Christmas, but I think the customs guys opened it already, because the flap was up, so I figured it didn’t count, because I didn’t have to rip anything, it was just lying there, open already saying “read me.”  So I obliged.

The card was very beautiful and the sentiment inside, even more so.  I read it twice, feeling her filling the room, and then I slipped it back into it’s envelope and tucked it under the ribbon of a present.  And nobody will ever know that I snuck read her Christmas card early…(Of course they will, my children and my husband all read this blog from time to time.)  It’s fun pretending to be sneaky. 

I remember when the children were little.  They would spend hours lying on the floor on their bellies, pajama clad.  Rattling, shaking, feeling the lumps and bumps of the mysterious presents lying under the Christmas tree.  Trying to figure out what the camouflaged shapes were.  The excitement, the impatient waiting, little feet dancing and counting down the days.  The creche with Joesph and Mary and the little baby Jesus.  The cow and donkey to be placed.  Moss gathered from the woods to make the manger more comfy.  The three wise men ladened with gifts and their camel would start their journey on the other side of the room, and the shepard and his sheep would becoming from a diffferent direction and each day the children would move them a little bit closer to the manger.  Until finally, they would arrive! 

Christmas time.  So many memories.  For me, the before, the build-up, the dreams of what might appear on Christmas morning, that was always the best part as a child.  The most magical.  The “maybe” and “what-if” possibilities are what made it such a special, special time.  That and all the singing we did in our house, crowding around the piano while Mama banged away at the key board, all of us singing carols together, getting dibs on our favorite kings.  Our meager harmonies and Mama’s lush ones swooping and soaring around our heads.  They had a professional soloist singing at the Christmas evening Will sang at.  She was a mezzo soprano and one of the songs she sang was “Holy Night.”  And she sang well enough, with feeling and all.  But listening to her, I was listening to my mother as well.  And it was my mother’s voice I was hearing, from when I was a child.  The sound of her singing this song, because this professional, highly sought after singer, didn’t hold a candle to what my mother’s voice could do.  And I thought about how sometimes when we wanted a good laugh, we would pretend to be Mama and sing it LOUD in opera style.  But when I was sitting there in that hard pew.  It was like I was hearing my mother sing that song for the very first time.  A grown woman listening, not as an embarrassed child wishing her mother wouldn’t open her mouth so wide, didn’t sing so loud.  As an adult I sat there last week, in stunned, humbled silence, because in that moment, I realized just how amazingly beautiful my mother’s voice truly was. 

setting the record straight!

Don just finished reading my blog and when he got to the part where I mentioned that he decided to forgo the peanut butter, chocolate, banana smoothie because his felt his stomach oozing over the waistline of his jeans, he bellowed indignantly, “I did not!”  And then with his next breath he collapsed with laughter.  His whole face and neck turned red because he was laughing so hard.  He kept laughing right through the rest of the blog even though there was nothing funny written there. 

Anyway…I stand corrected.  Don did not forgo the smoothie out of concern for his expanding (ever so slightly)  waistline.  He didn’t get the smoothie because he decided he didn’t feel like it.

I suppose this is the way things are between husbands and wives.  Sometimes a husband will make a decision and the wife will (in her wifely understanding way) project why she would have made that particular decision, and then figures that was his thought process as well.  I apologize Don for leaping to an erroneous conclusion.  (Although, I still think I’m right, and he’s just not copping to it.)

Empty nest

We took Will to the airport Saturday night.  We got there early, checked in, ate some food, wandered, talked, ate some more.  We ambled into the airport bookstore (I’m not sure, but I think it was called The Great Canadian Bookstore) and THEY HAD PORCUPINE!  They had three of them.  Not only that, the woman who was working there said that it was a very good seller and they’ve had to reorder several times!  I was flabbergasted, because it isn’t a large bookstore by any means.  Not only did they have it, but a girl had pulled it out of the bookcase and was HOLDING it in her hand!  Eeee!  It was so exciting.  And she looked to be just the type of reader I wrote this book for.  I wanted to lurk about and see if she bought it, but I didn’t want to get disappointed if she didn’t.  Not only that, but upon discovering her with my book in her hand, I got the biggest smile on my face that just wouldn’t go away, but I didn’t want her to think I was an even odder person than I actually am, grinning at her from over the top of bookshelves.  So we left. 

Then my husband got the bright idea to check out the other bookstore in the domestic terminal.  So, we did.  AND THEY HAD PORCUPINE AS WELL!  Seven of them.  FACE OUT!  (For you non bookie people, that means the bookstore didn’t just slide the book into the bookshelf but they placed it facing outwards so everyone can see the beautiful cover.  And this usually means that someone in the bookstore not only has read, but LIKES the book and so they place it that way so people will buy it.)  And they had 7 copies!  Seven.  Wow.  They had the book in the adult section.  Which I think is great because adults really love this book.  So, I was happy that the bookstore did that. 

I never expected to find one of my books in an airport bookstore.  Never!  How exciting is that?  I was dancing around the airport on cloud nine, my husband and son smiling indulgently at me.  We walked by a fruit juice place and Will figured he could do with a peach and banana smoothie, so we got him one.  Don tangoed with the idea of a peanut butter, chocolate, banana one, but then he felt his stomach oozing over the waistline of his jeans and decided against it.  And then finally, alas, it was time for Will to go.

I tend to walk rather fast, but I made my feet slow down to a sedate pace to stretch out the time. 

We still arrived at the international departure gate. ( Sigh.)  There are hugs and “I love you”‘s all around.  “Safe trip, don’t forget to phone when you get in.” 

I called out a few more, “I love you”‘s while he was in line and we were standing behind the blue and metal pole barricade.  Will tolerated it with good humor and grace.  Then, finally with a final wave, and me bleating “I love you, safe journey,” one last time, Will disappeared around the opaque glass that encases the security area.  And immediately, I missed him.


Yesterday was Will’s last day of school.  There was only a morning service and then they were released.  The car line up was enormous, with both the middle and the upper school getting out at the same time.  I kept turning my car engine off, in the long pauses.  Which was really quite pointless, because I drive a prius and the amount they pollute is minimal, not to mention, generally, in idle, the battery takes over.  But with the de-fogger going, I could hear the engine running and so I’d turn it off just in case.  It took me 22 minutes to get to the front of the line.  And there Will was, smiling, carrying the empty brownie pan from the day before.  There is something about the way my heart soars when I am out in public and see one of my children coming towards me, out of a crowd of strangers.  The familiarness of their stride, their faces.  The way Will folded his tall body into our small car.  Awkward and graceful all at once. 

His friend was over.  When his mum and little brother came by I fixed us a cup of tea and we ate some of my chocolate chip cookies (No special, secret Meg recipe.  Just look Toll house chocolate chip cookies up on line.  Follow the recipe and use chopped pecans for the nuts.  You don’t have to cook all the dough at once.  I’ve found with less kids in the house that it works best if I only cook a batch or two and put the rest of the dough in the fridge for later.  In my opinion, cookies are always best served right out of the oven and warm.)

Then Will was meeting friends at the movies, so we dropped him off downtown, did a little shopping, had an early dinner.  Splurged on lobster!  Yum.  I asked for a little fresh garlic and salt.  Then I seasoned the warm melted butter just so, added a little lemon and gobbled my very delicious dinner up.  I even had cheesecake for dessert.

The only thing was, I didn’t write.  I used the excuse that the day was too broken up.  That Will was leaving soon.  There was other stuff too.  Stuff that I don’t want to write about anymore here on the blog.  I’ve given that whole situation way too much space.  On my blog, in my life.  I’m am working hard on letting go.  Trying not to worry.  It’s out of my hands.  But my mind takes over sometimes if I’m not vigilant.  (Like right now, for instance) 

Anyway, I had plenty of good excuses not to write and I used them all. 

We talked, watched the tivoed Biggest Loser from last week.  Next Tuesday is the last show.  My husband always cries when the people are revealed, happy and smiling, having made such enormous changes in their lives.  It’s very sweet.

Then we went to bed, to sleep.  I had another bad dream.  There was something in my hair.  Stuck to a tiny strand of hair.  I pulled it out.  It was a lice egg.  Then I pulled out another and another.  Then I saw my boy, flop on the sofa in the family room, relaxed, his head falling back, because he’s comfortable and I realize that he is probably contaminated too.  That the whole house, all the soft furniture, the blankets, the bedding, the clothes, they all must be cleansed.  That I need to be thorough.  Even though it’s hard work.  Because the alternative is a disaster. If I leave, miss even one little egg, it will hatch and multiply and spread until it effects not only us, our family, but everybody that comes in contact with us, and they will be infected too.

I woke up, shaken, sad.  Knowing what I must do, but too tired to want to face it.  Don snoring softly beside me asleep.

getting on with it

Okay, after all that whinging, I walked into the kitchen, poured myself a nice glass of Bakery Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, came back to my desk and filled out that dumb form.  And once I finished, it wasn’t so dumb.  Actually, I’m glad the publicity department is on the ball and wants to help promote the book.  Much better than the alternative. 

It’s funny how the dread of something can run your life, but if you just say, “Okay, this is hanging over my head, now I could put it off for a few days or a couple of weeks or even months if I’m talented.”  But then, you see, for those days or weeks or months, that thing you had to do would own you.  It would taint everything.  And the longer you put the chore off, the bigger it becomes. 

It’s sort of like the dinner clean up.  The worst messes are always the ones that make me want to run from the room and go do something, anything but wash and put away those dishes.  BUT if you wait, the leftovers on the plates and silverware and pots and pans, hardens and congeals and becomes a powerful cement that is virtually impossible to wash.  It will take you 2 hours to scrub what would have taken 30 minutes. 

Much better, even though it’s difficult, to do yucky things right away.  Get them over with.  Off your back.  Much better. 

Okay, I have to go get the chocolate chip cookies out of the oven.  Bye.

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