Saturday, November 7, 2015

Leaves in the rain

There's no doubt that Autumn has fully arrived. These were taken in the back yard and on the steps.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

How did I miss Richard Russo?

Isn't it great when you discover a new writer whose work really appeals to you? Especially when there are several other titles to explore. My latest find is Richard Russo, whose 2009 book, "That Old Cape Magic" was selected for our book club to discuss next month.  I really enjoyed the book. It's a traditional American story of a man in mid-to-late life who revisits memories and in doing so threatens his marriage. Russo is a great story teller and quite a philosopher too, as well as being very funny at times.

So I looked at the library catalogue and ordered a few more. It turns out he's both a screenwriter and a novelist and he won a Pulitzer Prize for his novel "Empire Falls." There are also several movies out based on his books.

His most recent work, which I got from the library is "Elsewhere" and happens to be memoir of his life and relationships. I enjoyed finding out about his life and the ways it intersects with the novel I'd just finished.

Now I"m deep into "Bridge of Sighs" and I liking this too. His engaging style and gentle pacing are just what I'm wanting now. He writes from his experience growing up in mill towns in upstate New York.  Probably you know of his work, but if not, check it out.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Yukon Street Hallowe'en

It's hard not to get into the Hallowe'en spirit with an apartment house full of kids right across the street.  And with a spirited witch (aka Sue) living upstairs.  Sue decorated the front porch to be spooky. The cobwebs blocked her door and led the way to the door on the right (not shown) where we prepared to hand out candy. The kids across the street couldn't wait to come and trick-or-treat here.

Here's Sue in her witch's hat vaulting over the dog barrier to answer the doorbell. The dogs including my sister's Sheltie were happy to stay in the hallway.

Here you can see some of the kids from the six apartments across the street. They are all so happy and excited. It was fun to help make their evening special. And it helped to chase my blues away.

On the left are some parents bringing their kids to join the fun. And on the right are the two kingpin mothers from the apartment, Cathy and Alicia, who put so much energy into costumes and decorating. It really was a fun time for everyone. I am so happy to live so near to these wonderful families.

Friday, October 30, 2015


Grief is a funny thing the way it rises out of nowhere and swamps your boat. Forty years ago my son Kevin was born. I was 29 years old. Today he would have been 40--if he had lived past age 9 when he died from a brain tumour.

Every year at this time I am blindsided by sadness. It seeps into the Hallowe'en experience and leaves me without energy or enthusiasm for anything. I don't like this season at all. Darkness, rain and soggy leaves mark the transition into the long tunnel that is winter.

Most years I just push on through the depression and try to find things to lift me out of it. But this year I'm succumbing. I'm spending the day tucked under the covers and reading an Anne Tyler novel and remembering the sweetness of the time I spent with my first little son. Tomorrow I can pick up the oars and start rowing again.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Yay oh yay, change has come to Canada

Whew! We are all breathing a huge sigh of relief with the election of Justin Trudeau as leader of a majority Liberal government. It's like we are waking up from a long bad dream. For the first time in many months or even years, Canadians are beginning to look forward to feeling comfortable and positive about our our own country.                                                                                                         Here on Vancouver Island though, the Liberal surge turned a slightly different colour. The NDP (orange) won 6 of the 7 seats and Green leader Elizabeth May won her seat again.  Although I supported Tom Mulcair, I am very pleased at Trudeau's win and I think he will actually be better for Canada because he's a member of a long-standing party, he's young and enthusiastic, plus he has the support of a lot of young people.                                                                                                                                         Funny thing, although everyone over 50 knows that Justin is the son of famous Prime Minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, I've heard the many young people aren't even aware of that.    
So far Justin appears to be ready to move on the campaign promises he made. Yesterday he held a news conference in Ottawa and one thing he said really resonated.

"Many of you have worried that Canada has lost its compassionate and constructive voice in the world over the past 10 years," said Trudeau. "Well I have a simple message for you on behalf of 35 million Canadians: We're back!"

Hooray. Now we can move on with our lives.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Excitement and dread in Victoria

It's October 19th--a date that we've had our sights on here for most of the last four years--election day in Canada. The interminable and increasingly nasty election has wound down and today is voting day. There has never before been an election like this. If we can't defeat Harper's government our country will never be the same.

Polls are showing shifting among voters and still many undecided voters. There have been attack ads and lies and gaffes by candidates. And the Green Party, which I thought I liked (but can't vote for in this election) has stooped to twisting the truth to try to defeat their opponent here in Victoria. There have been calls for strategic voting and discussion about whether it's effective or not. Only the results tonight will tell. There were huge lineups for the advance polls on the weekend--and we're hoping this is a good sign that change will be coming to Canada.

We came home to the final build-up towards the election. Everyone I meet can talk of nothing else. Everyone is exhausted from thinking about it and discussing the shifts in the polls. I saw a cartoon where a woman is visiting the doctor, and the doc says: Let's see if this nausea and anxiety goes away after the election. Everyone I know is feeling nausea and anxiety today.

Harry I voted before we left on our trip so we don't have to go to the polls today . But most people are heading out to vote sometime before the polls close at 7:00.  It's possible that the results will come down to the votes on Vancouver Island, even though Eastern Canada holds most of the seats because of their population. Today things things appear to go on as usual here but there's a palpable sense of excitement and dread--in about equal measure.

Tonight we'll know if the reign of the evil king is over--and if it is, the very first item on the agenda should be to fix our unfair electoral system so this will never happen again.