The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

28 June 2009


I can't believe I was born, and that I like guns. (Number 3 Nephew, who calls the dollar store "The Weapon Store" and is able to turn anything into a weapon.)

I like my life, but I wonder what it's like for other people. It's hard for me to tell cause I'm in it.
I wonder what I really look like. I can't tell when I look in the mirror, 'cause that's just a reflection, not the real me
(Both from Number 2 Nephew, who turns out to be quite a philosopher at the ripe old age of seven.)

15 June 2009


Dear readers,

I am going to take some time away from the Lighthouse just for a few days. I have some important work to do, which in order to be done well really deserves all of my focus. I promise to be back shortly, and hope you will rejoin me then.

If you are so inclined, do please say a prayer for me and my endeavors.

Thank you!

10 June 2009


There was a British sitcom called Keeping up appearances. It was about a woman named Hyacinth Bucket who insisted her name be pronounced Bouquet. Hyacinth lived to impress her neighbours, and was constantly embarrassed by her own family who didn't measure up to her own strict standards. Poor Hyacinth.

This post has little to do with any of that, except that JB and I have a theory about Crazy Car Lady and her crazy car antics: being new to Canada and North American car culture, she isn't entirely comfortable with the notion of owning a car, and doesn't really know what to do with it. She is trying to learn by observation, but can't really make sense of all the to-ing and fro-ing of cars up and down our street. She tries to participate, but doesn't get it quite right. She's keeping up appearances.

Bill tends to think that JB and I exaggerate every story he hears from us, and the CCL episoded were no different. Until he witnessed it himself yesterday. CCL came out of her house, got in the car, drove into another driveway, reversed, and then parked on the street in front of our house. In front of our driveway in fact. Right in front. She went back into the house, came out again, and moved her car forward so that it no longer blocked our cars. Odd, right?

Today, as I came home from work, she came out of her house, got in her car -- which was parked in her driveway once more -- and drove away. But in the opposite direction from what I was expecting. We live on a crescent, and one way is very short to the main road, and the other takes days to the main road. (well, come on...obviously not, but I'm making a point here). She took the long way. By the time I had gathered groceries and such, there she came again, and parked on the street in front of her house this time. She had driven around in a big circle so she could move her car onto the street.

This is becoming quite a lot of fun!

08 June 2009


There is a brand of chocolate called Bliss, which seems entirely appropriate to me. (Personally, I think chocolate should be covered by OHIP, as it is a (near) medical necessity for many people (ie. women) I know)

If you don't happen to have some blissful chocolate on hand, however, life does present happy moments, if you're tuned in to the proper frequency. One of those moments was presented to me on a silver platter last week, and if I try hard, I can rekindle the glow even now.
First of all, it was a Friday. Who doesn't glow a little on Friday? Friday comes with its own glow-inducing qualities, doesn't it? Then, I went for a drive in a very nice brand-new-satellite-radio-equipped vehicle into the wilds of another province to wander around a beautiful provincial park. I had to do this for work...I mean, I had to: I had no was my duty as a hardworking and responsible employee to undertake and complete this task to the best of my ability. So I squelched my reluctance and rallied my inner fortitude, left the office and went out into the big wide world which was (for once) bathed in bright, happy sunshine.

When I was growing up, my family often went camping. We had a trailer and would head out as often as possible, in every kind of weather, and most often to provincial or national parks. I remember so vividly the sounds, the smells...the very atmosphere of those parks. Even the colour scheme of the signage is so familiar to me, that seeing it again on this particular sun-kissed Friday was like a welcome home banner. It felt so good to be there, after far too long away.
Approaching our site, we saw a deer, so calm and untroubled by our presence there. As I climbed out of the car, there was the familiar sense of 'hush' as all sounds generated by the campground were muffled by the trees and centuries of wilderness dominance. Human activity has not left much of an imprint there. The very best moment of all came when I stepped into a patch of light in the clearing, circled by tall and venerable trees, and I could smell the pines and cedars, warmed by sun. That is happiness. That is carefree childhood: long days out of doors, multitudinous mosquito bites, dirty toes, and hot dogs flavoured with charcoal from the open fire served on plastic red plates that are melted a little on one side, all to the accompaniment of that wonderful scent of warm pines trees.

07 June 2009


Loll: to act or move in a lazy or indolent manner. Now there's a good word: indolent. Sundays are often indolent in this house, during which we loll about. One floor below me, two couches hold one sleeping adult each. On one snoring adult lies one small child, reading a Tin Tin book to himself. On the floor between the couches lolls a still smaller child, also reading a Tin Tin book. (I'd like to take a picture, but I won't, to protect the innocent) Just outside my door is Two, quietly playing on the "computier". Four and Five are sleeping soundly and obediently. After a week of tumble-forward activity and sporadic catastrophe, I can feel peace settle into the corners... and so our house is at rest.

04 June 2009

Seven random things

Conversion Diary, a blog I always look forward to reading, does a weekly 7 Quick Takes on Friday. I thought I'd try for seven random things:

1) On my way to work (at the crack of dawn) I often see a tattood lady on a bike. Not remarkable in itself, right? She looks a pretty professional sort of person: corporate-acceptable length walking shorts, conservative hairstyle...and tattoos completely covering her legs from the knees down, except for one bare patch on the side of one calf. The first time I saw her, I thought she was wearing socks, but nope - tattoos.

2) Also on my way to work, I pass a sign which reads: Walk in dentist. Are they directing dentists to walk in? Do they take dentists off the street?

3) I am blogging by candlelight. Due to an unfortunate toilet paper experiment conducted by a curious two year old, much water found its way to places water shouldn't ever be, such as light fixtures and other electrical things. As a result, several areas of the house have had the electrics switched off, my room being one of them. The battery of my laptop was fading fast, and I thought I was done for the night, but I discovered one outlet is still active. The laptop cord reaches, but the lamp does not. I feel like a time-traveling Jane Austen.

4) Among the best books I have read is the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy by Sigrid Undset. Set in Norway during the Middle Ages, they tell the story of faith, repentance, forgiveness, Undset, a convert to Catholicism, won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The importance of her faith, and the clear-eyed honesty with which she portrays humanity in need of mercy and redemption are vividly present in her writing. I highly recommend these books...and realise I should read them again myself!
5) June. I have itchy feet (feeling restless, like it's time to move again). While it happens every year at this time, I'm never really prepared for the symptoms. As someone who also likes to stay close to home, am I a frustrated wanderer, or a frustrated homebody?

6) World Cup qualifiers this weekend. Hoorah! Let's hear it for Germany! And now that the European league season is at an end, transfer rumours will begin to fly. Will Cristiano Ronaldo stay at Manchester United? Does it matter? I almost wish he would move to Real Madrid, and we could focus on the team again, rather than his drama. Footballers, I tell ya! Sheesh.

7) Living with 5 small nephews is a delight I am deeply grateful for. I am struggling with the challenge, however, of making a time and place for the quiet I need for prayer and writing. I need to establish a routine that will foster both, especially as Fall approaches and I go back to school. I wonder if The Cone of Silence is a commercial product? I should check ebay.

What not to ask

This post is fertile fodder for 100acrewood's own blog, but I am going to borrow the content for The Lighthouse, hoping some light will be shed on my wonderings.
Much (too much) has already been written here about my general aridity of late; there is no need to go into that topic yet again. I am struck, just now, of the irony of the word I chose: aridity. Aridity, besides meaning disinterested in life, also means excessively dry. Dry = lack of water.

Water is not something we're short on around here. First of all, there is the almost daily rainfall, which, along with the very cool temperatures, is wreaking havoc on our tender young plants. Then, there was the leak from the master bath down onto my head as I sat one day at the kitchen table. Today, Number Four and Number Five were playing in the upstairs loo. The actual loo, not the room. I think they were testing how much toilet paper would fit, and how long you can hold down the flusher. The first sign something was wrong was when my sister heard water dripping. Drip is too gentle...perhaps gush is a better word. She heard water gushing, and realised it was in the pantry. Water was filling up the light fixture - one of those upside down bowl affairs common in most modern suburban homes. Water was running down the wall of the pantry, and further down to the basement. JB (my sister) and Bill ran upstairs to see what on earth was causing this flood, to find Five sitting as if swept away by the raging waters just outside the bathroom, sopping wet and somewhat stunned, though giggling ever so slightly, with bits of tp stuck all over his head. Four was beside the source, also giggling, and saying over and over again "Sorry. Sorry Mommy...sorry". The room was deep enough in water to float a small navy.

It makes for a funny story, and for the rest of his life, poor old Number Four is going to hear of how he flooded the house one day. But this comes after some financial flood/aridity troubles, vehicular leak issues and so on. The question I'm afraid to ask is What else? What next? What can possibly go wrong now? I'm afraid of getting a tangible, empirical answer, and just falling completely apart, in a soft, mushy, fading away sort of way, like the toilet paper used in today's experiment. Troubles are supposed to make us stronger, and there is no doubt a very good lesson to be learned from all of this. Some would say that things must be good, spiritually speaking, to be receiving so many challenges.

All I know is: my umbrella broke a while ago, so I'm getting quite thoroughly soaked. I'd really like to come in out of the rain for a while.

Ordinary paradox

After 50 days of celebrating Easter, the Church has reentered Ordinary Time. (I use capital letters because I hear it with that emphasis in my mind, in a radio announcer's voice, full of echo and reverb -- Frad could do it perfectly) Ordinary should almost be ExtraOrdinary, considering there are so many fast days, feast days, memorials, commemorations, dedications and so on throughout the year.

Ordinary gets a bad rap these days. Nobody tries to sell you ordinary laundry detergent. Colleges do not woo potential students by leveraging themselves as the place where ordinary people hoping for ordinary futures go. You don't hear about ordinary vacation destinations, or homes for sale with ordinary siding, ordinary kitchens, ordinary backyards. To be of value, it would seem a thing - or a person - must be out of the ordinary way.

Ordinary is pretty nearly the perfect condition for a human being to be in. Ordinary is where we mix and mingle and be. Ordinary is where God meets us every day as we clean the dishes, or pound the keyboard for a living. However, as in all things God-related, there is a fundamental paradox: I am a bespoke creation - there is not another one out there quite like me. There is nothing ordinary about that.

Should have paid attention

I've got the news talk radio station on in the background as I get ready for work. I perk up when I hear the traffic and weather, 'cause that's the important stuff for me, in this sleepy state. However, I just heard the announcer say " considered armed and dangerous..." and really wish I'd been paying attention.

03 June 2009

Revisiting the neighbours

Mr. Crazy Car Lady exhibited some pretty interesting behaviour yesterday. His vehicle was the only one home - Crazy Car Lady was not in evidence. His vehicle is a sporty SUV type of the sort that has the spare tire perched over the tailgate, which both lifts up and flips down. I'm sorry if you need more automotive-specific terminology to know what I mean, but I don't know from cams and trannies. I can tell you it's a lovely shade of dark blue with a hint of sparkle to it though. It's quite nice.
This sparkly blue vee-hicle was parked in the usual way, unassumingly in the driveway. The man, however, was removing things from the trunk area of the car, piling it in the driveway,then putting it back in the car. Now, to you reading this, you are imagining yourself doing the same thing, aren't you? Perhaps you've been on a camping trip, and there is a defined lot of goods which need to be packed in the car, and you may have to take things out of the trunk, and try all over again, in order to make it fit. Mr. CCL was not doing that sort of dance, however. He would take something out, close the trunk gate thing, circle the car, open the trunk gate thing, put the something back in, maybe open the back car door, close up the car, go to his front door, then return to the trunk. All the while, stuff is being shifted from trunk to driveway, occasionally to the back seat and so on. It was most peculiar.
My sister pointed out that Mr. and Mrs. Crazy Car Lady may not, in fact, be married. They may be brother and sister, or perhaps strange and indifferent acquaintances, randomly sharing a suburban home. That could be very true but I`m so accustomed to the names I`ve given them, they shall remain Mr. and Mrs. CCL to me. I miss her, actually; it`s been almost a week since I`ve seen her drive up and down her driveway. She may have racked up the courage to tackle the wider world, now that the roads are clear of ice and snow, and is even now on her way to the Quickie on the corner.

01 June 2009

Five and oh

I was very aware of yesterday. I'd been watching it come for a couple of weeks with some trepidation mixed with curiosity: how was I going to handle the 5 month anniversary of Pop's death? It sounds like a long time, but it often feels like it just happened...or it happened a lifetime ago. Almost as if he had never really if he was part of a recurring dream I used to have, and then haven't had in 5 months.

I haven't looked into whether that's a natural part of the grieving process, and is therefore 'ok' for me to be experiencing, or if this is something I've constructed myself in order to stop the daily occurance of that moment - the one where I remember he's gone, that death really did happen to him. In order to maintain that illusion, however, I've had to shut down contact with reality in many other ways. Oh, I'm not wandering around town believing myself to be in Saint Tropez, with a tinfoil hat on my head so I can hear Walt Disney when he calls to say it's time to thaw him out. I've just had to reel in my receptors a bit, so I don't feel things quite so much for a while.

That's all well and good -- psychologically speaking -- but professionally speaking, it leaves me with nothing to write about... except the fact that I have nothing to write about! The Five Month day had another focus to it, and one which forced me into a confrontation with myself. That could be a juicy piece, but from here in my shell it looks far too earnest. No thanks.

There's a bit I'd love to write, about the things I see on my way to work each morning, but my inner landscape is so dry right now, I'd suck all the fun out of that piece: Tattoo lady? Humdrum. Walking dentists? Unremarkable. Massive, hard-core military survival vehicles used for urban leisure driving? So post-modern. How about two year old boys 'gardening' with their Tonka trucks over the potted tomato plants? I got nothin' people!