Thursday, May 24, 2007

Eczema by Clare Dudman

I'm sick again - went to bed hours earlier than usual last night. Before I turned out the light I read Clare Dudman's short story Eczema from the collection Logorrhea. It's a remarkably complex story to fit into just twenty-five pages. The first sentence captured me - "crows?"

I turned out the light to a feverish, perhaps delirious sleep during which I struggled with a strange re-working of the story. I don't know what I was doing - collecting sentence parts, rearranging chairs. I'm not sure that Clare actually intended it, but in my fitful sleep I found a number of 'born again' Christian elements to her story. Interesting, strange - you really should read it.

I haven't read any of the other stories in Logorrhea yet, but Clare comments on a pair of them here. I'm very happy with the book at any rate. Eczema alone justifies the purchase. I'd be interested in hearing someone else's 'take' on the story.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Take a look at this! Make sure to stay around for the slow-motion version too.

Ian Hocking has a post with writing tips. Very interesting content, and I particularly enjoyed his link to this page. I've 'borrowed' the picture, but I don't think this miniaturized version does it justice. Do click on the links here!

Monday, May 21, 2007

An Anniversary

A year ago today I tried to comment on Debra's daughter's blog and found that I'd unwittingly signed up for one of my own. A year, and my boys still don't know that I'm blogging! It's been interesting. I rather regret that I haven't yet come up with a 'theme'; "In Over My Head" is very random and casual. Perhaps that's the best I can do...random and casual.

Anyone care to venture a guess on how much longer I'll be able to keep this blog a secret from the family?


Martha sent me this link. Interesting story, but I can't sympathize with the players. Actually, they seem pretty loathsome.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Introducing The Brother!

left to right, Don, Cindy and Peter

We had a lovely visit with Don and Cindy, our newly-discovered kid-brother and his wife. They've got a very nice country-style home with plenty of room for their three dogs to roam. Even the dogs were charming. Bruce, the big male, was temporarily banished to the yard while we were there. He responded by standing a foot from us, on the other side of the window, barking to be let in. Once inside he was happy as a clam and quite interested in the company.

Don and Cindy are kind of an 'alternate universe' Peter and Susan. They're active and productive, a very commendable pair. She's a retired paediatrician and I can't help but think that she was wonderful in the job - a petite, sweet lady who wouldn't frighten the children. As for Don, he was a policeman and he's got a policeman's bearing. A big, robust fellow, the resemblance to his father is nothing short of amazing.

We're glad Don found us. I had forgotten until the other day, but I think that I actually played a part in making the reunion possible because at one time I was a very active campaigner for adoption reform. It's twenty years ago now that B.C. introduced an adoption reunion registry and allowed adoptees access to identifying information on their birth parents. When the changes were being discussed in our legislature a couple of politicos introduced me as I sat in the gallery (scroll down almost to the bottom of the page, under "Accountants (Chartered) Amendment Act, 1987") So long ago, I'd almost forgotten. I hounded those people relentlessly, hoping to find a half-brother, the son of my mother. A social worker had told me that my only hope would be to change the law and while I was just one voice among many, I think mine was a fairly shrill voice. I haven't found my mother's son, Jolyon, but Don has found us and that pleases us mightily.


Monday, May 14, 2007


A good day for books today! I bought "Summer Stories", selected by Alberto Manguel, at Costco. When we arrived home, there were two Amazon packages waiting for me. I'm looking forward to "Logorrhea", edited by John Klima. (Clare Dudman has a story in the collection.) I also got "At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances" by Alexander McCall Smith and "The Origins of the British, a Genetic Detective Story", by Stephen Oppenheimer. I just wish that I could count on having an uninterrupted span of twenty minutes to read...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Trip to the Big Smoke

Peter and I are going to visit his brother in Vancouver this week. I don't know if you'll remember, but we had a telephone call last September, from a funeral home. Peter picked up the 'phone and I overheard a very subdued conversation: "Yes...uh-huh...yes...yes...uh, sure, that would be fine" I sat nearby drinking tea and wondering if I should offer advice along the line of "Just tell them you're not interested!". He hung up the 'phone and said "That was Sand's Funeral Home. They said they've been contacted by a retired Vancouver police officer who thinks your father was also his father. They wanted to know if I was willing to talk with him."

We had our first telephone conversation with The Brother on September 10 which, coincidentally, was The Brother's birthday. There's been a lot of e-mailing back and forth and photo sharing, etc. (the brother looks to be a virtual clone of Peter's father) and there was a brief meeting on December 26. We really like the fellow. His demeanor is so like Peter's that I felt instantly at ease with him. I sent him an email after the visit and asked if he was o.k. with my posting pictures on this blog. He didn't respond, so I let it go. It's possible that he missed the question in all the excitement, so I'll broach the subject again on this visit. Of course, the trick will be to ask when Peter's not around. (I've been blogging for almost a year now and my boys are still blissfully unaware!)

We've been assembling a collection of photos to take with us as a gift. I scanned quite a variety of family pictures - mainly the father-in-law, but the rest of us too. There are some excellent WWI RNAS pictures and I've carefully deciphered and copied the captions. Here's one: "Returning from a spotting patrol over Chanak. I had to ditch just short of the island of Tenedos, August 1915." It actually seems remarkable that we have so many good quality pictures from the First World War.

Fred (Peter's father) is in uniform in most pictures. He served in the Grand Fleet, RNAS and during the Second World War he joined the Canadian forces. A very robust man, he took ten years off his age in order to serve in WWII and the doctor who did the enlistment physical told my mother-in-law that he had the physique and constitution of a man in his thirties. Fred was born in 1892, so he had to be close to fifty at the time.

I found a photo box for the pictures we've been scanning and chose one of the 'older' pictures of Fred for the lid.

I do hope I'll be able to post some pictures of Peter and his brother here later.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

What To Wear

...when your wife has a job for you to do.

Stupidity or Serendipity?

I had a lovely little package arrive from Amazon yesterday. I put it aside to open when Jon wasn't around because "The Children of Hurin" is for his birthday. The package also contained two Alexander McCall Smith books ("Blue Shoes and Happiness" and "Portuguese Irregular Verbs"). I don't know how I managed it, but instead of the book I ordered a 4-CD version of "Portuguese Irregular Verbs". I'm a little disappointed, but perhaps it will turn out to be a happy mistake! I haven't had a book read to me in ages. This might be fun! If I love it the way I expect to, then I'll just order the book as well.

I'm reading McCall Smith's "The Good Husband of Zebra Drive" right now and I find his writing delightful. There's a Sunday School feel about it - sweetness, kindness and simplicity - what a lovely change of pace! (I think I need to order every one of his books. )

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