The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

31 March 2010


We made a break for it today. Because Number Four Peanut is finally 'official' (he finally got his birth certificate - at the age of 3! - but that's another story) we hopped in our Beast of Burden (BoB, the van) and headed for the International Border. That's right folks, we were invading America!

I should mention here that the big draw for our outing was the duty free shop. Watch for more on this below.

The first adventure came on our side of the 49th when our fun-loving highway signage folks neglected to identify the exit we needed off the highway. That caused a slight delay by way of a detour, but never mind! The sky was blue, the temperature crept ever higher and we were shiny happy people. We speculated that in a grey cubicle somewhere, a group of people were huddled around a roadcam, laughing and high-fiving every time they caught another vehicle in their sign-free web of confusion.

Soon enough we found ourselves in line at the border crossing. Do you find yourself feeling guilty, though you couldn't be any less of an international threat if you tried? We were asked to open the side door of the van, take our sunglasses off, and answer innocuous questions - all expected of course, but I wish I'd had a chance to study. When asked what country I came from, I answered, "Canadian. Um, I mean, Canada. I'm from Canada..." and my brother-in-law went into the whole story about how we used to live in blahblahblah and have just moved to yaddayaddayadda. The customs guys asked Four if that was his mommy and daddy in the front seat, to which he helpfully replied yes, and those were dogs, and police, and bad guys and we're going to the bridge, and the truck goes vroom.... More than he was expecting to hear, I'll bet! We were rather spellbound by the sight of burly and well-equipped (with guns and water bottles - important to stay hydrated, you know) members of whatever security force is stationed at the border complete with sniffer dogs marching up and down the rows of cars. The only contraband we were carrying was some sweet-n-salty granola bars, but I fully expected those fearsome fangs to bare themselves in our direction.

However, we were released on our way, with the admonition to have ourselves a good day. I took that as an enforceable order, so I did have myself a good day.

After filling BoB with some exceedingly affordable American fuel, we allowed ourselves to be lured into the parking lot of a Tops grocery store, and let me tell you, Dear Reader, what a giddy hour we had therein! It was just a little store, along the lines of the old-style neighbourhood groceries they used to build before everything went super-sized. Prices were comparable for the most part, but oh my, the diversity! The variety! The options! We inched our way up and down the aisles, calling giddily to each other, tin or jar in hand, "Look at this! Hominy!" "Pomegranate salsa!" "37 kinds of barbecue sauce!" The selection of organic offerings was staggering, and there was a whole row of gluten-free options. Brands of cereal, tinned goods, condiments, coffee we'd never heard of. And they have different sizes of cans, too. Super huge, and nicely medium such that we don't have here. I tell you, this was very exciting for us! The celebrity endorsements were good for a giggle: Peyton Manning on cereal, Arnold Palmer with his golf clubs on something else, good ol' Paul Newman on more than salad dressing, Cheryl Burke on shoe polish, and Mario Batali on tomato sauce (shockingly at $7.00/jar!!) I'm sure store staff were rolling their eyes at each other, "Oh boy, more Canadians in aisle three, Merle" But, here's the real kicker. Brace yourselves for this. Ready? Milk was $2.00/gallon! Forget duty free liquor! We're bringing home the milk, baby!

Onward to the Fatima Shrine which was just lovely, then a state park from which we could see the Toronto skyline. Our big city looked so tiny and inconsequential from that perspective. Considering there are as many people in that one state as we have in 10 provinces and 3 territories, it's kind of endearing how small we really are.

Then, with a wave to Oma (Hello, Prince Edward County! ala You've got mail)across the lake, we put BoB in gear and headed for home. The border crossing was marred only by the information that we had to be out of the country for 24 hours before we could bring back any booze. Woe! Poor BIL needed consoling with that news.

And so, home again. We think it would be fun to live among the 'merican's for a while. I hardly ever say 'eh'... wonder if they'd find me out?

25 March 2010


Keep the wire safe, cause I'm going to stretch it all the way to Hawaii (Four, pressing the cord from the ear phones into my lap while listening to my MP3 player)

The Peanuts were talking about how nice it would be to have a sister. I told them there was a nice family of all girls, and their mommy and I had agreed that we should arrange marriages between the two families. The response?

Oh, girls. (With a dismissive wave of the hand from One)
I'll bop her in the accounts. (Says Two)
I'll break her piggy bank and take her money (Very decidedly, from Three)

Oh! Help! Help my rocks! You have to help them! (Four had a handful of little pebbles clutched tightly in his fist. He tripped, and they spilled everywhere. He was very distraught, and when little Five helped him pick some up, Four patted him on the top of his fluffy white head, crouched down to look in his eyes, and said "Oh, thank you! You saved them!")

Time to get off now. Please take this swing off of me. (Four, in the park, deciding he'd had quite enough of swinging for the day)

21 March 2010

Tree house

Today is a perfect, tree house kind of day. It's a little overcast, a teeny bit grey, hinting at a little rain later on, but for now, it's just gently moody. I like days like this if they're sprinkled between gloriously blue-skied sunny periods. I'm missing my last room which had a chair perched in front of a low window, so I could sit as if perched right in the tree outside. From where I write now, the trees feel more distant. That's ok though... they are there, which I appreciate. There must be something I'm allowed to read tucked on my bookshelf somewhere. Or more likely, squirrel away in a box in the basement.

A day like today just begs for some good reading. It calls for Sense and Sensibility, or A Tale of Two Cities. Too bad I've given up reading fiction for Lent, 'cause that's exactly what I'd do today. Instead I have the book Talking about Jane Austen in Baghdad, which I've mentioned before. I'm floundering a bit, 86 pages in. One of the women involved is not terribly sympathetic (and when she's the woman at risk in Iraq, the whole premise of the book is shaky) so I'm not very motivated to keep turning the pages.
We have very nearly survived March Break, here at the House of Nuts. Peanuts One to Three have been home from school and thanks in large part to the wonderful spring weather we've been having, they have done a superb job of pretending to be civilized creatures. (I'm teasing them, of course. They are all of them, really good boys.) There has been very little recourse to movies (to keep them quiet) as they have spent the bulk of every day out of doors, giving their mother heart attacks with their bicycle tricks and tree climbing. They've gone for long bike rides, and long car rides, long walks and shopping trips. The secret is to keep them occupied; boys don't seem to do well when at loose ends. I'd love to get my sister to write a book about raising boys. Maybe I'll ghost it for her.

What I'm really doing today is wallowing in football. That's right, Dear again. There was a really big game today, you see. TBTE (Manchester United) at home against Liverpool (also known as 'pool, Liverpoo, and Scousers). The two teams are bitter rivals as one is a former powerhouse and one is the current Team To Beat. Sadly, the last three times pool played United, they have won. So it was important that United win today, not only for points, but for pride as well. And they did, Dear Reader, they did! 2-1. But that's not all. Right this very moment, Chelsea (also known as Chelski in honour of their Russian oil baron owner) is playing as well. They are nipping at the heels of United (and Arsenal, who are also hovering in reach of top spot) with the advantage of a game in hand (meaning they have one more game to play than United, which is one more chance to gain three points) Chelsea have a secret weapon in one of their players who is built like the Uruk hai from Lord of the Rings. He's a scary fellow, and has a real knack for scoring goals. It's important for United that Chelsea not win outright today. A tie would be ok, but a loss far preferable. So far they're leading but there's still a lot of football to be played.

Here are two of the best commentator quotes of the day:

"He's wearing lilac boots. An interesting fashion turn, today. I didn't even know what lilac was, before this."

"It's Fletcher... Carrick... the shins of Evra..."

19 March 2010

Tea pots

'They' say that you should not wash your tea pot, that tea tastes better if the pot has a patina, as if old tea stains impart a better tea flavour. Do you have an opinion? I have recently discovered that steeped tea tastes much better than tea brewed in a cup but I can't tell if it's because of those stains or not.

I've known people (of the British persuasion) who timed the steeping of their tea. It had to be precisely three minutes (or whatever) and they held very firmly to this practice - to the point that a friend once refused a cup I made because I didn't steep it properly.

There is probably a correlation between finicky tea drinkers and those fussy about their boiled eggs: just this long - no more, no less. Not being a big fan of the boiled egg, I didn't have strong opinions about it, except that I prefer there to be no runny bits on my plate. For some reason that bothers me. As for the tea, well, I used to load it up with so much milk and sugar it could have been warm cod liver oil for all I knew. Oddly enough it just might be that I'm now making it 'properly' but I quite like the tea for its own sake now, and not for the sugar delivery system it used to be. I also really like my plump tea pot, and get a great deal of happiness from seeing it sitting on the counter. It's the simple things, folks!

18 March 2010


It's March Break. What that means is all five Peanuts are home. All week. That's nine days! You know what? It's been really wonderful. It began for me with a lovely visit from a dear friend (Carly, who is up in a tree) and eased into day after day of absolutely beautiful, incredible, honest-to-goodness Spring weather. Flower beds have been tidied, grass has been raked, cars have been cleaned, bikes and balls have been unearthed from the shed, Christmas lights and baubles have been taken down, and boys have been playing out of doors from breakfast to supper every day. Hoorah!

Now I am impatient to see things turn green and grow. You know I am no gardener, but last year my sister and I undertook to nurture a few potted things through the growing season. That tentative proposal became a full-out campaign to establish an entirely new paramecium-shaped flower bed around the tree in the front yard, planting unknown but enticingly-named flowers alongside the front walk, pruning a defenceless shrub within an inch of its life, engaging in a battle royal against the squirrels, chipmunks and grubs that were determined to eat our poor plants, and proudly displaying several pots of herbs, greenery, two failed tomato plants and some glorious crimson geraniums.

This year, at this house, we have a neighbour who does the pruning for us. She told me yesterday, quite confidentially and rather sheepishly while pointing to some very tiny brown sticks poking out of the ground in her garden, "I couldn't make myself stop once I got started!" and then pointing out a round bushy thing of ours beside our driveway, "I couldn't take it, so I came over and did a little pruning one day. Just a little, I couldn't help it." She has advised us to wait until its a little warmer before doing any more pruning, but I think we can safely leave that task to her. I'm planning what I want to grow this year, and have already found great satisfaction and ... am I really going to say this?... tranquility, from doing a little digging in the soil. With gloves on of course. I don't want to have any bugs crawling across my hands. Ugh.

Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, a big feast day for Irish Catholics...and anyone else who enjoys a green beer. Today is the tenth birthday of my Number One Nephew! (Happy birthday, oldest Peanut! I remember the day you were born. Wasn't it yesterday?) and tomorrow is the feast day of St. Joseph. He is one of my favourite men, and certainly one of my favourite saints. He's the patron of Canada, of families, of workers, of the sick and dying and much more, but just that short list makes him someone you want to keep on your short list. The Catholic Church has a tradition of praying novenas - 9 prayers or 9 days of prayer leading up to a feast day for a particular intention. I had many prayer intentions for my Papa Joe, and having my own dear Pop to add his heavenly assistance, I know they will be answered.

However, all this feasting and warm-weather-revelry has thrown my routine off balance. So many days have gone by now without me doing any writing worth writing about (and zero motivation, inclination or inspiration to try) that I suddenly find myself behind with my assignments, and now I must scramble to catch up while still trying to learn something from the work. It's been a blip.

17 March 2010

Poor Patrick

The beloved saint of Ireland was actually born in Scotland, did you know that? He was taken from his family in a raid at the age of 14 and brought to Ireland as a slave. Like St. Valentine who is now associated with sentimental greeting cards, boxes of chocolate and plump little cherubs, and St. Nicholas who has been morphed into a jolly fat man in a red suit who talks to flying reindeer, St. Patrick has been reduced to quaint stories of housekeeping (driving the snakes out of Ireland) and is honoured with green beer.

Patrick escaped Ireland at the age of 20 and was reunited with his family. He studied and became a priest, was ordained a bishop, and returned to Ireland in order to preach the gospel. After a life dedicated to the work of God, much suffering, poverty, and traveling, he died on this day in 461.

I'm not remotely Irish. In fact, I don't think a single person in my whole family tree ever stepped foot on the lush green grass of Eire, but today I'm wearing the green in solidarity with this remarkably gentle and devout man, and in gratitude for the work he did.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, and in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

~ Prayer of St. Patrick

12 March 2010


Since I'm about to tell you a thing you've heard from me before, I may as well tell you two:

I got my hair cut yesterday. Phew! First time in a new town, it was a nervy undertaking. It's important to choose a cutter carefully as it can be a traumatic experience for them, for me, and my hair. It has often taken my hair months to recover, whereas I, with a few cups of tea get back on my feet in a week or two. How the scissor-wielding fiend manages, I've never investigated, but I assume they get back in the saddle right quick and carry on.

I'm quite new to small town living (army bases are also small, but totally different) and have never been to a typical small town salon. It was great fun from an outsider/anthropological perspective: women popped in to chat; all the clientele knew each other and traded neighbourly gossip (they talked about real people, not reality tv or celebrities); each had their own 'the usual' which the stylists were familiar with - obviously long-time, loyal customers; several women sat in various stages of their beauty process, quite happy to wait their turn, enjoying this time out to be with other women.

The cut seems to be ok, so far. The real test is when I wash and wear it for myself. Will I be able to make it behave for me, or will it be bossy and unmanageable? The final exam will come in a month's time when it's grown out a little. We'll see.

Anyway, the second thing you've heard from me before is that I am practicing procrastination. I've gotten quite adept at it - a result of the diligence with which I practice it. Once again, I have an assignment due... ummm, today in fact. It's a grey, rainy day today so I can't be tempted by sun and bird song to escape this desk and the interview I have to transform into a 1,000 word personality profile, so instead, I am shamelessly using you, my dear Reader, as the reason why I can't work on my work right this minute. I'm sorry for it, particularly as I really have nothing worthwhile to say. I have devolved into someone who blathers on and on about the inconsequential.

I will say, however, that I just finished reading the screenplay for Good Will Hunting, which is one of my favourite movies. Movies are (or can be) a very powerful medium for telling a story. They can provide a lush landscape, actualize a sumptuous location, bring tantalizing characters to life through the talents of fine actors, accentuate the emotional journey with a sensitively chosen soundtrack... but it still is built on the words set down on a bare page by a writer (or five or six). A good script denuded of all the trappings of a moving picture still contains the essence of the story. Much has been made of the fact that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were mere babies when they wrote this script (and while they have since gone on to movie stardom as actors, have not yet produced another such screenplay) which is only right. There is such depth and honesty in this story of Will Hunting, the arc of his character development rings true, the importance placed on forgiveness and receiving a father's blessing provides an emotional climax, not to mention the vast array of knowledge Will exhibits which they had to work realistically into the script. It's a masterpiece, and certainly worthy of the Oscar it won more than a decade ago.

10 March 2010

Of United and Becks

Today, dear Reader, is a big, big day. The Brave Boys of the North, the clever and talented Manchester United are engaged in an important battle today in the Champions League. If they win (on aggregate score) they will advance from the round of 16 to the games that 'really count'... but with the pitch littered with injuries, they have to sweep away the fallen and see who remains standing and able to take on the enemy today.

To those of you for whom this is a lot of blah blah blah, let me say this: David Beckham. You may know nothing and care less for the Beautiful Game, but I'm sure you've heard that name: married to a Spice Girl, a son named Romeo, paid billions of dollars to play in LA and the prettiest face in sport. When he's on break from the LA Galaxy, he plays with AC Milan because he wants to be 'match fit' in order to be considered to play for England in the upcoming World Cup (92 days from today). What dedication to his profession! But before the big move to LA, he played in Spain for the monolithic Real Madrid (a pox on their name)... and before he basked in the sun he played for... Manchester United.

Who are Manchester United playing today? AC Milan. Where are they playing? On their home ground at Old Trafford. So Becks, the golden boy, is returning home, to play against the manager who discovered and nurtured his great footballing talent. The press is having an absolute field day over this, and I'm quite eager to see what Beckham's reception will be when he steps onto the pitch, playing for the opponents. I wonder, will Posh (Mrs. Becks) be in the stands?

United won the first leg against Milan, but just barely. They cannot afford to surrender any goals today, and the worry is in the number of injured players, most of whom happen to be responsible for defence.

A big, big day, dear Reader. Wish me luck.

* A big win for United! 4-0 on the day, 7-2 on aggregate. Well done, lads!

09 March 2010


I'm so bored... somebody help me! I'll lick worms, anything! (Two, after a day full of bike riding, a long tramp through the neighbourhood, hockey games, art projects and movies)

I'm Pop! Call me Pop. Pop goes the weasel! (Four, randomly at the lunch table)

I'm doing snow throwing! (Four, to an unknown person walking by, while tossing little piles of snow in the street with a shovel more than twice his size)

Five did his bit to contribute to the big 'help the snow melt' project by carrying tiny handfuls of snow over to a puddle and dropping it in. He'd run from one side of the driveway to the other, again and again, perfectly content in this way for half an hour.

Five exhibited his love for corn tonight at supper. On a plate of carrots and corn and brown rice and roasted chicken, he searched the plate carefully, bobbing his head up and down, scanning from side to side, then carefully picking out the golden kernels and leaving everything else behind.

What I learned today

Girls with long hair should not walk in the wind wearing lip gloss.

I mean that, most sincerely. I spent most of my walk dragging my hair away from my face. And lest you start imagining me some sort of diva, let me inform you it was Blistex or something like it, from a squeeze tube. It was medicinal rather than a beauty aid. I am quite capable of facing the great outdoors without first putting my face on.

Many people were shoveling snow from their lawn and spreading it over their driveways or pushing it out into the street in an effort to speed the Big Melt along. We're all eager for green grass and budding trees. I can't wait (though I must) for the blossoming of apple trees and to see peach and pear trees in bloom. Do they bloom? I will soon find out! Stores have started to bring out their seed displays, and I'm eager to do some more gardening this year... a pot of basil I think. And maybe some of the Gloria I tried last year but lost to frost and squirrels. Argh... those squirrels!

I saw an old man through the window of a house and I could hear big band music playing inside - I think it was Benny Goodman. It made me think ahead to my old age (God willing) and wondering what young people will think of me when they walk past my house. What music will they hear? Will they think, "Oh, that's so sweet" as they identify Depeche Mode or Soundgarden as music from long ago?

I haven't mentioned them in a while so it's time for a Crazy Car Family update - you may remember that they drive away and return home again at least seven times a day in one of their two SUVs. They now have three SUVs and a fondness for letting them warm up for 10 minutes in the morning. Lovely. I should introduce them to the Crazy Car Lady from the last place I lived, and to our neighbour in New Brunswick who drove his big dump truck up and down the driveway (laneway, as they call 'em back East)several times a day.

And one last thing: here's a reason to be glad you don't live in the South of France

06 March 2010

The Origins of rain (fiction)

People of the Netherlands know a thing the rest of us do not. It is a thing children are taught with their sums in school: the world we inhabit is writ large in another. We are reflected ever smaller into infinity, one world to another, diminishing until all that remains of what began a universe is a grain of sand.

The great sun rises in the mind of God and shines its light on all, causing trees to grow tall and bear fruit; mountain streams to run; and animals to bear young according to their season.

The light travels - brilliant or soft - through the skies and windows of each world until even the grain of sand glows luminous, and so, flourishes.

Wind blows as the voice of Creation calling out from one reflection to another, until, at its most minute, it breathes gently in a whisper.

Likewise the rain that falls as oceans from skies heavily laden, running over water falls, and landing afresh on newer, thirstier ground.

And so it is with all things: nothing is ours to hold, for what is had was given, and is ours to give once more.

(a response to the prompt: why does it rain)

A look through our window at 5.30 pm

This is what you might observe if you joined us at table:

- Three saying 'bustle spout' over and over again, being corrected each time by five other people. Occasionally there would be a chorus of 'brrrrrussel sprrrrout'. One got sent to the stairs for being rather too emphatic in his correction, and I piped in with the helpful query, "Aren't they are called brussels sprouts?" at which the chef (being Mama Nut) got up to check the package and we all learned that we were indeed eating brussels sprouts. Who knew there was so much entertainment value in that tiny, humble cabbage? (No comments from the peanut gallery, please!)

- In demonstration of the oddness of these children I live with, there was general excitement around the table that those tiny cabbages were included in the meal, and lamentation that there were not more of them. Three even said, "Poor me - I don't have any more bustle spouts!" These same children picked rather halfheartedly at our last birthday cake, so that most of it now sits in pieces in the freezer. Not good for those of us in the house who are fond of all things chocolate, but who are also attempting to maintain our Lenten fast!

- During the brussels sprout exchange, Two began having a conversation with himself, sotto voce, gesturing with a fork adorned by roasted vegetables.

- Four laying across his chair, legs and feet dangling over one side, head and shoulders over the other.

- Five, reclining back sideways against the parent beside him, pushing his plate as far away as he could reach when he'd had a bite, then squawking when ready for more. Usually accompanied by a whack or two on the arm to get the attention of that fortunate parent. The reward for enduring such treatment, however, is to see him wiggle his little body in his booster seat with absolute delight at getting what he wanted.

- The sounds of that same delightful child, Five, erupting in toots which ricochet and echo around inside his booster seat. His response? "Oops!"

- At any time during the meal, you will hear repeated multiple times: use your napkin, not your clothes; stop talking; sit on your bum (to the child perched on his feet like Cato about to pounce); keep your chair on the floor (to the child who tends to end up on the floor saying, "Oh! How did that happen I wonder?"), stop talking; sing in your head; don't eat my asparagus ("your pasaragus?"); stop talking; can I have more (sometimes asked before everyone has even picked up their fork); get your feet off the table (don't worry, that's to the two year-old); stop talking!

- Just your typical meal time, really. Doesn't this sound like supper at your house?

05 March 2010

Off the map

I had an appointment to keep last night, which pulled me out of my warm and cozy family and my warm and cozy flannels, and thrust me out into the cold world of other people. Being the prepared sort I am, I double checked the directions and was ready to go once the Peanuts returned from swim lessons. I planned to arrive early, in part because I dislike being late (and if I'm not five minutes early, I'm late) and in part because there is a good magazine shop nearby and I wanted to browse the new issues of my glossy addictions.

Everything went well, to begin with, until I approached The Big City and noticed a long line of red lights ahead of me on the highway - something I've not seen since leaving The Last Place where the local NHL team was responsible for tying up traffic both east and west once a week during the season. This turned out to be a simple road closure, which promised an interesting evening.

Let me exlain that I used to have a good sense of where I am, and where I want to go. I've since had to revise that: I'm good with direction when the place I live in is right-side up. SOHOE, I'm sorry to say, is not even simply upside down, it is tilted slightly to the right (east) and pulled out of shape like taffy. It doesn't help that the map I bought has little squares of the area on separated pages, and none of it connects together like in a proper map. But I digress.

I've done a fair bit of exploring since moving here, but that has consisted entirely of sitting in the back seat while someone else does the driving. So while I can tell you that the trees are beautiful, and the hills remind me of Germany, I couldn't tell you where they were. I also don't know where to get refills for my favourite pen, if anyone does a good Linzer Torte in town, or where on earth to get my hair cut. (Not the time to rant about that, Tess!) And of great importance to my family of Peanuts, which parish will be our home? But again, I digress.

There was a detour sign off the highway, which was very helpful, because I would have been confused otherwise: do I get off here or...oh, wait, this is the only option, considering the police have blocked the highway ahead! Thank goodness for the sign. It was the only sign I saw for the rest of the night as I wandered the dark streets of an unfamiliar city in an unfamiliar car. If I have one complaint of SOHOE it is the extremely poor road signage. If there is an actual street sign, it is going to be very small, and its anyone's guess which corner of the road it will be on - which fact did not make my wanderings any more enjoyable last night. I almost ended up at home again, and a little later I did end up exactly where I got off the highway. By that point I was not well pleased with the city planners who have a very slipshod philosophy of signage. Enough said about that.

I did eventually arrive at my destination so the story has a happy ending, but tonight, I think I'll stick with my fam and flan and leave the adventuring for someone else.

04 March 2010


I'm in the process of making changes to the Lighthouse - in the way that men with heavy machinery stand around talking about roadwork. I'm thinking about it, mulling over the possibilities and somewhat unhappy with the idea of doing the work. I don't want to shake things up too much because I'm really enjoying the connection this provides with 'you out there'.

When I first climbed up into the Lighthouse more than a year ago now, the purpose was to induce myself to write regularly, and to uncover my creativity. It has accomplished both objectives; but, looking at the result, my inner librarian is unhappy with the structure. I've undone all the laws of Dewey and thrown every category onto one shelf... and created a behemoth of a list of labels to boot.

I'm not sure if the answer is to have a separate page for the creative writing, and keep all the chatty stuff on its own. Or can it all live happily together on that one shelf?

If you have anything to say on the subject, do please let me know.
Grazie mille di cuore!

03 March 2010

Pop and The Brown House

Actually, the house is called "The Ugly Brown House" but it seemed rude to call it such in the title - just in case the owners read this blog.

The Ugly Brown House in question is located in the backyard of my parents' home. Not quite on their property, you understand, but that property's side yard marches alongside the parental backyard, and each house enjoys a view of the other.

The UBH has good bones. It clearly was a lovely building at one time, but it ihas been the victim of unfortunate renovations. (Like certain celebrities we could think of.) It's been on the market for some time, standing on its lot all forlorn, very neglected. Over the years UBH has taken its place in our family lore as we conjecture about who once lived there, what it looks like inside, and the people we see go in and out of the place.

The village grapevine in its efficiency recently informed Oma that the house has been sold. What excitement this has stirred in the local community -- I was tickled by the news and I live three hours away! We hear that the New People are Dutch, which is already a reason to like them. I'm prepared to hear many wonderful things about them, and I hope they prove to be good neighbours.

I'm thinking about my dad - how much he would have enjoyed watching the procedings from the window, speculating about the newcomers, critiquing their lawn care habits, and the vehicles they drive. He would have been absolutely tickled by it all, and I'm very much missing being able to share this news with him. I'd so love to be able to pick up the phone to get the latest, to hear him say "So... guess what the new people have done now?"

He had a way of naming people. The guy across the street has been christened Mr. Sock; Wilbur lives down the road; Gumpy is a slightly cranky friend. Before he was a year old, Number One Nephew had picked up several nicknames (oddly, he's the only one who now goes by his full and proper name) and even random people we'd pass on the road would be named Crow or Hortense.

We'll keep you posted, Pop - this could be interesting.

And by the way... thanks for the gold medal in men's hockey.