The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

30 January 2013

Of plumbing and packing

The depth of my reluctance to do this packing business cannot be plumbed. It is remarkable how creative I have been to avoid the task and how small the obstacle can be to halt any forward momentum. It's raining? Clearly I can't go out to find boxes when it's raining!  I definitely have to make a cup of tea before I sort through the box of Christmas ornaments. Only once I've made the tea, it's perfectly obvious that I should try to finish that book... and before you know it, it's time for bed, another day has gone by, and still no boxes packed.

If you happen to have a spare supply of willpower, determination, or drive, please do send it my way. Unless   you'd care to come and do it for me?  I promise to make endless pots of tea and read to you.

28 January 2013

Bosky on words

I feel intoxicated.

Have you seen "Lincoln"?

I've just come home from the theatre and it's too new for me to have anything intelligent to say about it except that the dialogue was beautiful. The words spoken were inspiring and moving and concise and eloquent. How I wish we still used them to such effect.

Of pride and prejudice

You must allow me to tell you how ardently
I admire and love you.
Oh happy the day two hundred years ago that saw Pride and Prejudice published for all to read and reread and read again.  Happy the pen that wrote it, and happy the mind that conceived it.

Surely Pride and Prejudice is one of the Great Books. It in its turn has inspired endless volumes of fan fiction (other authors 'continuing' the story) and many film adaptations (most notably the 1995 BBC version with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, shown in the pictures here) and P+Pesque stories (Dear, dear Bridgie) . Jane Austen is on my list of people to invite to dinner.  As is Fitzwilliam Darcy.
I am excessively diverted.

27 January 2013

A hint of Tolkien: There, and back again

It is official. I was there and now I'm going back again. There being Sohoe, a true Slice of Heaven on Earth. I left there to come here, to New Town, and now, just to keep things interesting - or complicated, depending on your view of it - I'm going back there, or close to there, to a place I'm going to call Lake Town.

I'd like to tell you the whole story, but it gets complicated - or interesting, depending on your view of it - so either pay attention or let your mind drift to the weekend sports results, as you prefer.

We, the Peanuts and I, left the First Place, a big city because small town life and grapes worked their siren song on us. Actually, that's why Mama and Papa Nut moved to Sohoe; the Peanuts moved because they had no choice and I tagged along because nothing else made sense. Things were fine and good, but when it came time for me to return to the world of work, nothing was happening. I had sent cajoling cover letters and resumes to the local library systems with nary a nibble. Not even a nibblet. Only one library sent a letter back thanking me for my interest with sincere expressions of regret that nothing was available at the time. Four years passed, and every time I drove by that library, I thought to myself how appealing it looked and that I'd like to work there.  You know what's coming, don't you?  That library was in Lake Town.

The time came when I couldn't put it off any longer. I had to seriously look for work, so I applied to any library posting I found, whether it be in Regina (for you non-Canadian readers, Regina is Canuck for "Freezing my tushie off") or Woodstock. New Town is the one I didn't think I was qualified for, but New Town is the one that worked out. I'm very glad that it did. So often, in the moment, our circumstances don't make sense. I remember the moment my present landlord told me he preferred month-to-month rather than a full year lease agreement, I knew with complete clarity that I wasn't going to be here long. I wondered what was the point, but it has been worth it. I've learned a vast amount, professionally, and I've been confronted with realizations about myself as well.

Still and all, the New Town position was only for ten months and as the Christmas holidays approached, I new I had to start looking around me for the next step. That's when I saw an opening at the Lake Town Public Library. I was interviewed and offered the job just in time to give two weeks' notice. Last Monday I began a week of training for a very complicated job that promises to offer a lot of professional growth. Two days later I found a beautiful little apartment only a 10 minute walk from the library. Somehow all the pieces will fall into place, and in a month's time I will once more be back there again.

There is one puzzling piece to this story. My dear friends and former spiritual director are moving from The First Place to New Town. Why are they being brought here just as I am leaving? I don't understand that part, but I know if I pay attention, that will be made clear with time.

Through the whole process, from last May to today, I feel a very strong nudging to not worry (my default setting), to not fret over the whys and hows, but to relax, let go, be patient, and let God give something to me, whatever it may be, rather than try to make something happen on my own.  I find it difficult, and yet I have to say He is doing a fine job of it! This just might be when I finally learn to trust.

As far as journeys go, I have enjoyed being here, but am very glad to be going back again.

22 January 2013


I heard something horrifying on the radio while driving to work yesterday morning. It was a documentary piece about advertising. I thought I'd hear about cunning and predation and I certainly did. I learned that the US Navy set up recruitment booths inside theatres when Top Gun was ruling the box office.  Right inside the theatre to take advantage of the resultant desire of young men to be as cool as Lieutenant Pete Mitchell.  Apparently applications increased a lot that year. That was certainly a smart move by the navy...but a little predatory as well, don't you think?

There were a few other examples of advertisers being in the exact right place at the exact right time (a tiny fly fishing company having a small article about its ground breaking lure in the Time magazine issue devoted to Marilyn Monroe just after her death received something like three million orders for their lures. They only had three employees at the time.) but the story that appalled me was about Target.

Advertisers consider new parents to be the ultimate demographic to win over. Consumers tend to change their buying habits during times of transition, such as graduating college, and if retailers can snag them during the transition, they will likely have gained a loyal customer which translates to increased profits. Having children is the biggest transition there is and new parents tend to buy a lot, making them very desirable bait. Target got to thinking, why wait until they have the child? How can we discover if they're expecting a child before any other retailer knows? Well, they figured out there are roughly thirty products that women tend to start buying in their second trimester; things like cotton balls, unscented lotions, supplements. By tracking a woman's purchases (stores know a frightening amount about us, and even things we haven't volunteered while chatting in the check out line) they were able to make a highly educated guess she was pregnant, and they would start sending her child-product specific advertising. In one case, a father berated a Target store manager for sending his 17 year old daughter fliers for baby products. The manager apologized profusely and even called the next day, which is when the father softened his attitude. Turns out his daughter was pregnant. He found out the good news via the junk mail.

After women began complaining about being targeted (by Target, haha), the company changed their tactics somewhat.  They now send women with "I'm pregnant" shopping patterns flyers advertising lawnmowers, frying pans... and baby goods.

18 January 2013

Candle candle burning bright

I was given a gift recently, a candle in an absolutely beautiful glass jar with a fitted lid. I admired the craftsmanship of the container, the charm of the label...oh, what does that say? The wick is a new design, meant to crackle like a real fire. Patent pending.

I love gifts that carry some element of risk. The open flame of a regular ol’ candle is really quite tame, wouldn’t you agree? Let’s ramp the experience up a notch with an unpatented wick. I’m game!

I have it burning on the mantel beside me.  I’m a candle girl. I often light the living room with nothing but candles. I write letters by candlelight, listen to Brahms by candlelight, enjoy bubbles by candlelight... it’s always candle time. They are soothing. They light a lady perfectly. They give my imperfectly painted walls a genteel glow.

This candle, however, is not so relaxing. This is Extreme Candlelight with a bouncing four inch flame that sounds like it’s coming from an old gas lamp. It’s stressing me out!

16 January 2013

A room of my own

The old ways were good ways, some of them. One I like is that of renting rooms rather than an entire house or even an apartment. That would be the perfect housing solution for me: I'm single, so I don't need a lot of space. Nor do I like to cook for just myself so I'd rather spend less on rent and have meals out, or make use of a tiny kitchenette for a simple meal or to make a cup of tea. Only needing a few pieces of furniture would make the constant relocation process so much easier.  Books, bed, a table, a chair or two of my own, a few precious treasures - who needs more than that?

14 January 2013

Song of the moment

It's a man's world, but he ain't nothing without a woman.

Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.

13 January 2013

Simply, the only way to go

That was an intentional comma.

Do you know the TED series?  Short talks on various topics... I'm not even sure who or what TED is.  I hope it's not something I'm going to have to oppose once I learn what it's all about.  Until then, I'm enjoying (most of) the talks I've watched. (Some of them are very very guilt-to-all-who-don't-hug-trees-and-eat-granola).

This particular talk was about how to solve traffic congestion.  It's a big problem because there are so many cars on the road and we are becoming more and more dependent on driving everywhere. Interestingly, the speaker was Bill Ford, great grandson of the Mr. Ford. He happens to love cars but is also concerned about the environment. As he said in his talk, we can combat the emissions problem, but a traffic jam is still a traffic jam. Then he showed a picture of the craziest thing I've ever seen: a traffic jam that stretched for 60 miles and lasted for 11 days. Can you imagine being stuck in your car for 11 days? Mr. Ford also told us that on average, people in Beijing spend five hours commuting a day. I tell you, a major factor in my decision to move from New Town is because it’s too big and traffic irks me. I’m looking forward to being back in Sohoe and dawdling along the country lanes.

Then, this evening, I started looking through a book I brought home from the library (my supplier) earlier in the week: Tiny homes : simple shelter by Lloyd Kahn. Apparently microhomes is a growing movement. People are choosing to live in truly tiny homes hovering around the 100 square foot mark. They are embracing simplicity and enjoying the resulting freedom. When finding space for one object means getting rid of another, you begin to question whether you need it – or either. The book shows cob houses, timber frame homes, yurts, converted horse boxes, narrow canal boats, straw bale constructions. Many were made with reclaimed materials, resulting in costs as low as $200 for the entire build.

While I marveled at the unique homes for their ingenious architecture, I was also drawn to the simplicity inherent in living in such places. One home owner in the book explains the process she and her husband took, progressing from a typical suburban lifestyle, to a home of roughly 125 square feet, and the result: “Purging our lives of clutter and debt has not only made us happier, but we have purchased less stuff. Since we started the downsizing process, we feel psychologically ‘lighter’.”

I’m sure microhomes have their own challenges and are certainly not for everyone. I’m not sure they’re for me, even. I do try to live simply, and as I look around my flat with an eye to packing once more, I think I’m doing pretty well. I will be carefully considering each little thing before I go to the trouble of moving it, however. It has to earn its way into a box by being essential.

Regardless the size of home we live in, I do believe most emphatically that many of us are suffering from having too much, doing too much, wanting too much. If you have to sit in traffic for five hours a day to support your lifestyle, something has gone seriously wrong!

I think of the monks of Chartreuse, praying, working, eating, reading, in their cells. When I do, I feel such peace and contentment. I am determined to have that atmosphere in my own life, though I live and work in the world. For me, it is simply the only way to go.

11 January 2013

The House at Tyneford

Isn't this wonderful?

"I knew I wasn't being British. An Englishwoman would have kissed her boyfriend lightly on the lips and said, "Darling, I'm quite fond of you, you know. Try not to get into any bother," and then waved politely, perhaps concealing a stoic tear in her handkerchief. Then she'd make herself a nice cup of tea and get back to darning socks."

It is from The House at Tyneford, a novel by Natasha Solomons. It is about Elise, a young Jewish girl from Vienna who goes to England just before the war to be housemaid at Tyneford. She falls in love with Kit, the heir of the estate. In this scene, he's about to go off to sea to rescue British troops stranded in France. Kit, Englishman to the core, doesn't quite know how to handle his Continental beloved expressing her feelings so freely, but Elise continues regardless,

"Everyone I love in England is about to climb into that wooden boat and disappear across the sea. Sail carefully because you sail with everything I hold dear on this funny, damp little island."

This is turning out to be a book I can't put down.  But darn it, I must get ready for work.  That's the wonderful thing about books, isn't it?  Everyone in them waits for your return before carrying on.

09 January 2013

Where happiness lives

Happiness lives in a cozy bookshop with good music.
(Mumford & Sons - White blank Page (Bookshop Sessions)

Happiness is

... fresh sheets, clean jammies, and a good book.


07 January 2013

Ready, steady....

It seems 2013 is going to start with a bang.  A starter's pistol sort of bang.

2013 is going to involve starting a new job, finding a new place to live, packing, and moving.

Just before Christmas I interviewed for a job back in the Sohoe area. Today I will be submitting my notice to  New Town Public Library. If it didn't involve the packing and moving and the finding of a new home it would have been a dead simple decision to make. The packing and moving and finding of a new home was almost enough to convince me to stay here and take my chances that work would appear at the end of my current contract.

I've been moaning to God about wanting to be back by the lake. I miss the beauty of Sohoe and grumbled to God a great deal about how the beauties of New Town are hidden from me. (Seriously, they must be a great local secret, because I haven't been able to find them.)  I would be foolish to turn this opportunity down, wouldn't I?

02 January 2013

The Notebook

I write things down.

This is simply good practice when you have a brain as sieve-like as mine. I used to remember the things I needed to, especially once I'd written them down.  Now - and this might be a result of early onset Alzheimer's - it's no longer enough that the thing is written down somewhere, I actually have to read it again to remember it.

I had a notebook dedicated to a writing project.  Did you catch that?  I had a notebook dedicated to a writing project. I've spent the better part of today looking for that notebook.  It's frustrating, because, honestly, where on earth could it be? I'm positive I've used it since moving to New Town, so it has to be in this tiny apartment, doesn't it? More than that, it's a sad loss because it contains such a lot of work and for it to be gone... devastating.

I'm hoping this is the last of the old year's mind-goofs, and not the start of the new year's forgetfulness.