Sunday, July 21, 2019

workshop heaven

Such blessings. My garden workshop today, thunderstorms predicted, and not only did they not come, the day wasn't even too hot - just breezy and mild until late afternoon. The whole day could not have gone better: a lovely group of 11 writers, interesting, brave writing, good food - if I say so myself - and good timing for the various prompts. By the end of these events, I am drained but thrilled, to share my garden and what there is of my expertise with a group brave and/or crazy enough to commit time and money to sit poking about in their own entrails. Some had been students, but half of them were strangers, and yet, by the end of the day, they were all almost like family.
 Before

During

What's so important is not just the writing, but the quality of the listening. We were all listening with careful attention to each other. How valuable that is.

Now to recuperate, eat leftovers, wonder what's the name of that bird singing such a loud song at dusk. I'd run these workshops more often, but they're exhausting - not just guiding people through the process of telling the truth safely, but the food and drink, making sure everyone is comfortable physically as well as psychically, and that the house and garden are in good shape.

But by the end they were all telling their most important truths, the stories that mattered to all of us. A treat and a gift.

Speaking of a treat and a gift, here's a photo that brings me joy - Macca played in L.A. recently and Ringo came onstage to play two songs with him. There was a rave, an absolute rave, of Macca's show in Variety, which is no humble mag. Reminder: he's 77, and Ringo is even older.
This morning I awoke to a brand new pimple on the side of my face and had to scrabble about for the Clearasil. The Clearasil. I'm going to be 69 in two weeks, and still with the pimples. Is that fair?

But the good news: my raspberries are overflowing. In all these years, this is the first time I've had a bowlful, with more to come.
Come on over and share. I promise,  I won't make you write a story. Or perhaps I will.

Now my summer really begins.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Ben is four

Sitting here in front of the fan with the AC on too, at last - it's brutally hot outside with a storm predicted, a blessing for the garden. We're still clicking happily together, my new Mac and I, though it does something annoying; it likes to add periods before I do, before I've finished writing, as if it's editing me mid-sentence. Have to figure out how to stop that; it's bad enough with human editors cutting us to bits without machines doing it too.

Yesterday's joy - Mr. Ben's fourth birthday party. By some miracle, it was meant to thunderstorm, which would have meant myriad children rampaging through the apartment, but after a light sprinkle the sun came out and so did the children, straight into the wading pool, where the submachine water guns were waiting. And that was it, they were out for the rest of the day.

What made me marvel was that, of the ten or twelve children there, my two grandsons were the only Caucasians. The mothers originated in Sri Lanka, the Caribbean, Japan; a First Nations grandmother, one of Anna's good friends, is raising her 3 grandchildren for her daughter who's working and in school. These women know each other - and each other's children - from the drop in at the school run by Miss Claire, who was also at the party. One woman brought her tiny 8 month old baby who'd been born premature; every woman at the party held that baby. Anna said she's the "therapy baby"; any woman longing to have another child can hold her for a bit and maybe satisfy that itch. Miss Claire said when the principal of the school is having a bad day, she comes to the drop in and says, Where's that baby? One hug and she feels better.

When I was eleven, a girl from the Caribbean arrived at my Halifax school. She was like a Martian to me. My parents had a few African friends, it wasn't as if I hadn't met any people of colour, but they were exotic rarities, few and far between. Eli and Ben have grown up so immersed in a multicultural world, they simply do not see colour. For that matter, because many friends of their parents come in all shapes, sizes, and sexualities, they don't see any of that either. The way we should be. (The very fact that I'm writing this post about it means that I DO see colour. A dinosaur.)



I escaped from the party to my friend Lynn's; she has a shady, plant- and tree-filled backyard, a forest glade with a wonderful pool like a tiny lake. We floated and chatted for an hour before emerging for rosé and supper and a second swim. I can feel that cool water on my skin even now. Wish I could create a tiny lake in my own yard; the summers are not going to get cooler. Maybe I'll get my own wading pool, and a slide too.

Today, hard work getting ready for tomorrow's Write in the Garden workshop: twelve writers arriving at 10 a.m. to spend the day in my garden, with lunch. I have lots of interesting prompts ready; today was about making four big salads - potato, tabbouleh, tomato/bread, pasta with veggies - cooking the quiches, cleaning the house, doing the garden.

And then sitting in front of the fan.

PS. I see that I started posting 3482 times ago. Feels like yesterday.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Welcome to the Silver Hammer

Welcome into my world, sleek gleaming steely grey new computing machine whom I have named MacSwell's Silver Hammer. Oh that satisfyingly snappy clickity clack, the speed of typing, fingers skimming over the keys, the brand new keys. I am poor but happy. Very poor. Very happy. No idea what happened to the last one. People keep telling me about their ten-year old machines, and mine went completely bust at a year and a half. And I was careful with it. Just my luck.

But now there's the Silver Hammer. Onward. Will have a session with my personal genius Matt tonight, to get me back into the cloud and to download Office and get my camera, printer, and phone linked up. Can't post pictures yet.

Very hot today but with a breeze; editor friend Rosemary was just here for lunch on the deck, as we sweated and drank and got caught up. For dessert we walked to the end of the garden and picked raspberries to scatter on ice cream.

Wanted to say and couldn't because of no computer - that at Ruth's cottage I finished Middlemarch. What a joy. It was difficult and long, lengthy passages about 19th century issues incomprehensible to a modern reader, but George Eliot's humour and wit, the depth of her understanding of all her characters, major and minor - breathtaking. Magnificent.

And - the Wimbledon final was tragic. All of us, surely all the world, was rooting for the marvellous, indomitable Federer, grand old man at 37. At the end, after more than 4 hours of exhausting play, he was up several points, just needed to finish the job to win - and he missed two shots and lost. This is a man who has hit a tennis ball a trillion times, but the two times he needed most to hit it perfectly, he didn't. How cruel is that! I know, the firstest of first world problems, but still. Djokovic is like a tennis machine. We love our Fed.

However, as compensation, Grantchester was back Sunday night with the divine James Norton. But sadness again - it was his last show. Talk about eye candy. Come back, luscious James.

Okay, so here she is, drivelling on because she can. I've missed being able to zip out a message to you. The Silver Hammer and I - onward.

PS 9 p.m. All working.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The joy of sadness

Weepy today. It’s the Wimbledon final, Federer versus Djokovic, and my mother and aunt should be watching. Avidly. I really don’t care about sports but I love federer, as Mum did. A great wave of anguish swept over me about the missing. Dad died in July, just after Wimbledon. He lay in the living room as Mum and Do watched. I miss them all today. I just called Una, one of Do’s best friends, to get caught up and reminisce. They’re playing Scrabble today as always. But two key players will not be there.

So, weepy. Not to mention the sudden need for a new computer, plus the estimate just received from the electrician- $1300 to wire my office. I had no idea this had not been done and would be needed.

First world problems. It’s a gorgeous day, fresh and bright, the raspberries are coming in, and I’m going across town soon to visit my boys. I’m even glad to be sad. It’s good to know that the living remember the dead. That the missing are stored forever in our hearts and minds. At least, until those of us who remember die too.

And now as the summer air wafts in with the scent of lavender, mint, and roses, time to weep some more.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Mac misery

Purring computer literally on the blink - was working perfectly then screen began to blink on and off, like a neon sign. Hot bike ride uphill to the repair store to leave it with Jeff. He just called. It’s kaput. The $500 plus repair fee will go towards a new Mac. It’s a year and a half old!!!
Ah well at least my genius Matt has stored everything in the cloud. But until I get a new machine I can’t access my documents, or my bank account since my password is stored in a document. Think I have enough liquid cash to pay for a new Mac. Phooey.
However John repaired the hose. Small mercies.