Your Princess Is in Another Castle

April 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Now I’m off to watch Bringing Up Baby.

Refreshing Vintage Wood

April 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Our bedroom suite isn’t necessarily what Richard or I would choose, but it does clean up nicely. His parents bought it sometime in the fifties, and it’s been moving down the line since then. The mirror originally attached to this piece had a grease smear where SOMEONE scraped the excess acne cream off his or her hand each night for about a decade.

That mirror broke in storage. I did not weep.

Anyway, BEFORE:

A few passes with the sandpaper, a little Murphy Oil Soap, a couple dollops of mineral oil, a bit of spoon oil, fifteen minutes of elbow grease and

Suddenly, it’s practically mid-century modern, yo. Something I quite like having in my home.

Damn it.

April 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Plants That Probably Died Over the Winter

Solomon’s Seal
Bleeding Heart (2 or more)

Shrubs That Have Significant Winter Kill (aka I Meant to Burlap That)

Globe Juniper

At least the patio and barrel hoops still look good.

Weekend Notes

April 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

Best bourbons for under $100 (ha! NSLC stocks, like, two of these)

A mating pair of goldfinches and a female hairy woodpecker at the backyard bird feeder at the same time. It was like the UN up in there.

Tiny $10 luxuries

Sealing wax:

(and playing with the camera’s newly-discovered macro setting.)

Year-Round Activities on the Nova Scotia’s South Shore

April 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

While there always plenty of things to do in Summer, a lot of things close down around here during Winter. And that’s fine— believe me, I understand what it’s like to lose money every day of your life. I also understand the need for artistic types to recharge their creative batteries.

So what there aren’t as many restaurants to visit or museums to see? We can all still have a good time.

There are at least a few museum to visit — The Halifax & Southwestern Railway Museum in Lunenburg. Perfect for the Thomas-obsessed and people like me who eagerly await the return of passenger rail service to every community.

Also, the Wile Carding MIll Museum in Bridgewater, just about the most charming thing in that town, aside from Erica Poole herself.

Nobody brings the outdoors in, do they? Stamping across the icy grass towards a park bench with a thermos of hot mulled cider or (possibly alcoholic) cocoa on a weekday afternoon has to be one of the Northeast’s greatest pleasures. Wear a scarf, fingerless gloves, and a tweed cap and pretend you’re at Dartmouth. There are lots of parks and green space in every town lining the Atlantic Coast. In Lunenburg alone we have six in easy walking distance, and there are four more in Mahone Bay.

If you’ve got cross-country skis or snowshoes, you’re set; if just have a pair of warm, waterproof boots, you’re not badly off, either. And in summer, of course, all you need is a pair of comfy shoes. The Rails-to-Trails network spans the entire South Shore region and beyond…

Nova Scotia Trails Federation— South Shore
Shared Use Trails— Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne, and Yarmouth Counties
Kejimkujik Trails

And, I repeat, there’s Rails-to-Trails in almost every community

Just bundle up against the wind, and a walk along the beach is a great way to spend an afternoon all year round. Hundreds of miles of nearly-deserted beaches line Nova Scotia’s coast in summertime, and they’re completely deserted in winter… you may as well be alone on the planet. Or, if you’re feeling sociable, get together a group of friends and a pot for mulling wine, build a bonfire and have a convivial evening.

As a bonus, winter brings in a dozen species of rarely-seen oceangoing ducks and other seabirds. Here are my favorites on the South Shore, listed in order of preference; please note Queensland Beach is nowhere to be found. I’m not familiar with beaches farther South, especially around Yarmouth, so if I missed your favorite, let me know in the comments.

Risser’s Beach*
Hirtle’s Beach*
Bayswater Beach
Beach Meadows

Crescent Beach (demoted because people park their cars on the beach)
Cleveland Beach
*denotes boardwalk

Year-Round Concert Series

Lunenburg Sessions doesn’t seem to have a website, I’m sorry to report. Every third Tuesday of the month, they present a $5 concert in the Lunenburg Academy auditorium.

The St. Cecilia Concert Series often makes stops at St. John’s Anglican Church in Lunenburg, though it’s mainly based in Halifax, They’ve announced their season to the end of the year, but there’s more to come in 2008.

Live Entertainment While you Sip
You can’t beat it when a pint is the price of admission. As you might have gathered, The Biscuit-Eater in Mahone Bay features concerts, prose and poetry readings year-round for the prices of a cup of chai. All the food and drinks are terrific (they’re listed in Where to Eat in Canada), and the place doubles (triples?) as a used-book store. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon or evening any time.

The Mug & Anchor in Mahone Bay has live music on the third Thursday of every month from 8:00 till midnight, which attracts everyone who’s anyone in the music biz on the South Shore. There’s also a trivia night on Wednesdays. But seriously, just have the beer.

Boston Pizza in Bridgewater hosts an open mic night Thursdays.

Lane’s Privateer Inn also hosts a variety of shows all winter long. I believe last year there was a ukelele series (!!!).

In Yarmouth at Kelley’s Pub, every Saturday brings the Blues Band & Jam, and I understand there’s also a fellow called Simon Leblanc who performs there with his own one-man band machine.

The Knot Pub in Lunenburg also hosts live music, but they live in the stone age (no website) so I check their posters regularly and put the info in Upcoming Events. I can tell you that during the winter at The Knot, every Thursday Night is Trivial Pursuit Night.

Theatres and Playhouses
Of course, live theatre is alive and well all over Nova Scotia. On the South Shore alone, we have half a dozen options. The Chester Playhouse has a fabulous fall season lined up already— I really hope we can get to the Ron Sexsmith-Jill Barber concert on October 11.

And at The Pearl Theatre in Lunenburg has an upcoming Garnet Rogers show on October 6, and another with Matt Andersen on November 10.

The Unicorn Theatre in St. Margaret’s Bay features children’s theatre (nothing on right now), and Th’YARC always has something in the works.

I assume all the locals know about the Empire Theatre in Bridgewater that usually only carries cheesy Hollywood fare, but there are other— dare I say better— options. The Pearl Theatre runs a movie night twice monthly featuring current films (see Upcoming Events for upcoming shows), and there are plenty of places to rent movies.

Elizabeth’s Books on Montague has an excellent selection of just about everything, from recent comedies to classics to foreign (including impressive Marx Brothers and Japanese films), that you can take home for as long as you like at $3 a pop. There’s also a good selection at Blockbuster in Bridgewater, and some surprising choices to be had at the local SaveEasy. The South Shore Regional Library also has some movies, and the head librarian holds the sensible philosophy that fines are silly.

In Mahone Bay, the South Shore Branch of The Council of Canadians hosts an occasional film series, too.

The local Waldorf School in Blockhouse is an interesting collective. They’ve just instituted a coffeehouse (with baked goods and conversation) every Thursday from 3:00 till 5:00pm, and on every third Thursday of the month there will be a Farmers’ Market at the same time. I hope for fiddlers.

Anne Greer hosts a Anthroposophical Study Group every Thursday night— inquire here. They’re also offering classes in Mandarin this winter.

Last winter they hosted an international food & film series that seemed fascinating, but that we always seemed to miss. Camelia says she’ll probably do one again this year, but they haven’t ironed out the details yet. I hope, I hope, I hope….

Did I miss anything? Email me.

I was tired of going to the mall, so I asked Metafilter.

April 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’m looking for a few fun, interesting afternoon activities to do with a 95-year-old relative. She can’t see well, can’t hear well, has some short-term memory problems and is on a budget. But she’s game for anything.

The memory problems are more pronounced in the last few months, but she’s pretty steady on her feet and we do have access to a good wheelchair. She used to like walking through the mall, but seems to have lost interest in that.

We’ve been to all the museums, and plan to re-visit the natural history museum when the exhibit changes. In another month, the Public Gardens will open and she’ll enjoy that. She can’t hear lectures (and doesn’t have the memory for them) and can’t see movies (and again, memory). She’s never been much of a reader, but we are trying a few audiobooks, which might open some new avenues.

She enjoys going for drives, but can’t hear well enough to hold a long conversation without seeing body language/reading lips. We always get a coffee at the end of the afternoon, but I don’t want to spend three hours sitting in a coffee shop.

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Here’s what they suggested:

– fancy meal, possibly setting up a yelp account for her to post restaurant reviews

– spa day

– live music (high school band, at the Public Gardens)

– watching children play at the park or at a playground

– recording her family memories

– tour of Citadel Hill

– Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

– Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

– photographing her, all over the city
– Citadel Hill
– on the ferry
– Public Gardens
– on the Commons
– on Market St.
– on Church St.
– on Tower Rd.
– on Ivanhoe St.
– at St. Mary’s Basilica
– at Province House
– at the Hydrostone
– at the Oxford
– Canadian Martyrs
– Sally’s house
– outside her father’s confectionery

– cruise the harbour

– petting zoo at Hatfield Farm

– Google streetview tour of the Beirut neighborhood where her parents grew up

– a few afternoons with Sadie

– look at the fish in various pet stores

– learn to cook a few Lebanese classics

– go to a few wonderful greenhouses
– Oceanview
– Lakeview
– Bloom on Hammonds Plains Rd.

– a day in Wolfville/Annapolis Valley

– visit a farm or dairy

– crash a wedding or a funeral

– read tabloids aloud (in VERY shocked voice)

– wine tasting

– $10 in quarters and an afternoon at the Casino

– fly a kite on Citadel Hill

– take a walk through Point Pleasant, have a delicious picnic

– a playlist of cute kid/animal videos on YouTube

– a few interesting sets on Flickr

– tour of Keith’s brewery

I think I’ll modify a few of them and combine some others. But we’re already making good progress. Last week, we took the ferry across the harbour and today we trekked down to Chester to take a stroll through the tropicals greenhouse, and stopped for coffee along the way.

I think taking portraits at a number of city landmarks will be pretty fun for an afternoon excursion, and taking a photo every Wednesday will be  nice aide mémoire, maybe giving her a few things to talk about on the phone with her daughter. And hey, I like having fun, too.


Other Items of Interest:

Remember when this happened? It was shitty.

My affection for Hugh Grant remains constant.

How to Steal Like an Artist

The Truth About Race, Religion and the Honor Code at BYU

Late Poem

April 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

” . . . a matter of changing a slide in a magic lantern.”

I wish we were Indians and ate foie gras
and drove a gas-guzzler
and never wore seat belts

I’d have a baby, yours, cette fois,
and I’d smoke Parliaments
and we’d drink our way through the winter

in spring the baby would laugh at the moon
who is her father and her mother who is his pool
and we’d walk backwards and forwards

in lizard-skin cowboy boots
and read Gilgamesh and Tintin aloud
I’d wear only leather or feathers

plucked from endangered birds and silk
from exploited silkworms
we’d read The Economist

it would be before and after the internet
I’d send you letters by carrier pigeons
who would only fly from one window

to another in our drafty, gigantic house
with twenty-three uninsulated windows
and the dog would be always be

off his leash and always
find his way home as we will one day
and we’d feed small children

peanut butter and coffee in their milk
and I’d keep my hand glued under your belt
even while driving and cooking

and no one would have our number
except I would have yours where I’ve kept it
carved on the sole of my stiletto

which I would always wear when we walked
in the frozen and dusty wood
and we would keep warm by bickering

and falling into bed perpetually and
entirely unsafely as all the best things are
—your skin and my breath on it.

— Cynthia Zarin, from her new collection The Ada Poems

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