I made a cake.

May 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

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Orangette’s gateau aux noix, by request. The licorice allsorts were my idea.

What Almost Was, Was Not

November 22, 2007 § Leave a comment

What could have been the worst Thanksgiving ever was saved at the bottom of the seventh by Mr. Wonderful.

I’m thankful for you, tiger.


Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

November 15, 2007 § 2 Comments

Last night just after we’d turned the lights out I used some stern resolve to pull myself out from under the blankets, across the icy floor. My ricepads needed re-reheating, and I suddenly had to pee. Just as I reached the bathroom door, Richard kindly offered to let me just use the bed “because we’ve still got the waterproof pad on, from Mum” and suddenly, looking into the dark, shadowy living room was a bit more frightening.

It;s the silly things that scare me most. When I was a kid I was terrified— sleeping-with-the-lights-on, I-can’t-go-to-the-bathroom-at-night-without-waking-my-Mom TERRIFIED— for months after seeing… wait for it… The Secret Garden. Yes, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic tale of love, determination and redemption. Truly the stuff of nightmares.

I’m not sure which production this was (most likely the 1987 Hallmark Hall of Fame production), but I do remember there was plenty to be frightened of at the beginning of the movie. An early scene, set in India, shows the young protagonist, Mary, entering her parents’ room to ask for a glass of water because all the servants had fled the cholera epidemic. She discovers her dying parents lying on the bed, unresponsive and moaning in pain. But that wasn’t what scared me. Not the fear of abandonment nor the deaths of my parents.

What scared me was the kind old relative who takes Mary in, and who happens to be a hunchback. He’s not a villain in the movie; in fact, he’s barely in it at all. But he walked so slowly, rocking back and forth, and speaking in a low, calm voice… why, you can see how that would scare anyone! A crippled old man! Walking with a stick!

And yet, the idea of him absolutely petrified me. I’d see him behind me whenever I was alone. In the hallway at school, while playing outside, and most especially just after bedtime, walking toward my bedroom door (through a wall, since my room was at the end of the hall). I screamed and screamed and cried and panicked myself into asthma attacks. I slept with the light on. I called for assistance. My brother slept on my floor to protect me. It still wasn’t enough. My mother lost patience and UNPLUGGED MY NIGHTLIGHT and told me the only thing I should be afraid of was her.

As these things usually do, it passed. And I rarely think about it anymore. I doubt my mother even remembers.

I suppose Richard’s mother had some superficial similarities to the old man. She was quite stooped from osteoporosis and she used a walker (when she was feeling docile). Though she had a sharp tongue, she was mostly kind, and I was certainly never afraid of her when she was alive. But the feeling of cold dread I got when looking into the living room last night was the very same that I got when I was a child, imagining I saw the shadow of the old man swaying toward my bedroom door.

So it seems my earliest, most dreadful fear was of old people. But I’m quite sure that the only lingering fear is the dark.

A Mosaic of Recent Flickr Favorites (+ text)

November 11, 2007 § Leave a comment


1. My Personal “Russian” Doll (Matrioshka), 2. Russian Matrioshka Domes, 3. Kyiv at Sunset, 4. A nossa casa . Our home, 5. DINNER´S SERVED!!, 6. 3, 7. Gaupne old church, 8. Medieval wood carving, 9. tocai (il friulano per eccellenza), 10. Bergen #2, 11. Xana & Brownie XL!!, 12. Naked Children Having Splash Behind the Taj, at Yamuna River, 13. Smooth sailing, 14. The Seam Seeker, 15. DSC_5726_kashgar_naan, 16. Tea Time with Owl


I borrowed the second season of Upstairs, Downstairs from the library, and we’re furiously working our way through it. It takes real dedication to watch a whole season in a week, let me tell you, but the librarians seem to expect it. While watching Carnivale in this manner gave me nightmares that still resurface on occasion, the regimin is really no hardship really with all the maudlin goings-on at 165 Eaton Place. Sarah has just delivered her stillborn son by James (who has been packed off to India), Roberts is in fits about having to eat with the slut (the indignity!), and Elizabeth (“Why can’t you think of me, of my feelings for a change!”) is pregnant by her husband’s publisher. One couldn’t ask for more.

So although last night’s snow still lingers here and there, and onight is one of those nights you need a fireplace and a cozy armchair, we’ll content ourselves with the space heater, a venerable loveseat, and leftover pasta. And we will be happy.

Remember, remember…

November 6, 2007 Comments Off on Remember, remember…

the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.

We were busy in the city yesterday, so my vague plans for a Guy Fawkes’ Day Blowout weren’t realized, but we did gather enough wood for a nice bonfire tonight or tomorrow. Tonight, I hope. Because “sixth” fits very neatly into the rhyme, where “seventh” doesn’t.

So there! Decided! If you’re local, we’ll be on Crescent Beach tonight, toasting the traitor— and others more recently passed— with beer, ballad, marshmallow and rhyme. Oh, and a miniature bonfire.

We see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Sweet, sweet summer

June 24, 2007 § Leave a comment


A lovely weekend here. We did a bit more geocaching, but we’ve largely run out of those fun, easy-to-find, we-don’t-need-no-stinkin’-GPS caches. There was a small meltdown (mine) on a rocky beach in Blandford yesterday, but we did find three more. Right now Richard is scouring eBay for cheap, four-year-old GPS units, and keeping one eye on our chequing account, hoping that leprechaun gold will finally show up.

Today we tried to go bird-watching in Shelburne County, and managed to find a well-groomed woodland path managed by Bowater Mersey, but I didn’t wear proper hiking footwear, and I had to pee*, so we aborted the hike about 350 yards into the forest. Richard is always too kind to me when I do things like this (pretty much once a week), so I was kind in turn, and didn’t laugh very much when he threw both hands in up and jumped six inches in the air when a pencil-thin garter snake darted across the path.

Although we didn’t go very far, the path was lush, Arcadian, but utterly devoid of birds. There were ferns and glacial boulders, though, and many bouquets-worth of lady slippers. We used to have a very productive patch next to our house in Maine, but they were gradually trampled and picked by the neighborhood savages. I got just one shot off before the camera’s batteries died.

Afterwards we had lunper (lunner? linner?) at Seaside Seafood Home of the the World’s Best Clams™ where the batter was crunchy and the fish was flaky, but the chips were pre-frozen (the only cardinal sin in Nova Scotia cuisine) and soggy.

We tried a new route home through West LaHave, and hey, Bridgewater! You’re protesting the wrong ‘waterfront eyesore’. The honor of that title belongs to the hideous Bridgewater Mall, which thoughtfully paved over your potential waterfront. Those retired naval ships add character. And I can’t be the first to point out that character is something your town sorely lacks. Also, dude who put that sign out? Your house isn’t very pretty, either.

But I digress.

I love these summer drives. When Richard and I were stuck in Halifax looking after his mother, I longed for the two or three days each summer when we could patch together semi-regular care for her and take off for a day trip to the Valley or Lunenburg. And now that we have them almost every weekend, it’s just gotten better. Last Sunday was our second anniversary, and truly, it’s better every day.

We got married simply for immigration reasons— neither of us minded the institution, but we didn’t think it was for us. Richard was doing me a favor. I planned the “ceremony” in a week, just eleven days after his mother’s death. We were married in our living room, by Richard’s cousin who was a justice of the peace. I wore the black skirt I bought for the funeral and a badly-fitting striped summer shirt. I had only planned on two guests, after which we’d eat minestrone and flatbread pizza (the witnesses’ contribution), then the tropical carrot cupcakes I baked earlier in the day. The whole thing cost about $32.

We hadn’t told anyone but my family and our witnesses, but just hours before the, uh, event, we broke down and informed the rest of Richard’s family via email. They all blew in— more than 20 of them— just before the wedding, utterly shell-shocked, and some of them positive we were making a big mistake. There was wine, music, and chatter— no room to dance.

The next morning, Richard’s four sisters arrived at 8 to clean out their mother’s closet.

It wasn’t an Auspicious Beginning, but every single day since then has been better than I could have imagined. Through the illness, the recovery, the poverty, I couldn’t ask for a better partner, or a better friend. Thank you for that, Roo. I love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow. xo

*Which turned into a bladder infection when we got home. Yes! I am sooo lucky!

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