Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Rebecca S!

Wishing you a long and happy life!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Spring Cleaning in the Garden!

Spring usually comes early to Victoria (lovely, lovely city with a very mild climate). I've been toiling like a peasant farmer all week, tidying up the yard. The tidier it gets, the more slovenly I look. The large pile pictured above is awaiting our community 'yard clean-up' day, when crews with front-end loaders, trucks and shovels come around to gather debris from the boulevards.
The second picture doesn't begin to do justice to my little shade garden. I'll take pictures a little later in the year and you'll see! The brown-looking branches in the upper left of the shot will turn into a glorious display of lilacs with a carpet of lily-of-the-valley beneath. There are violets in bloom there now. The stone wall will be covered with roses and there's a pergola to the right draped with more roses, plus wisteria and kiwi. Each corner of the garden is a separate vignette, with seating facing different directions. There's a little path to a separate 'room' with a simple wooden bench, a small St. Francis statue and a disembodied concrete head. Jon found the head years ago when he was playing on the beach. He spotted a nose in the sand and dug down to unearth it. (Kind of horrifying at the time, you can imagine my relief on learning he hadn't discovered a corpse!)

I'm putting in new soaker hoses this year. You'll see that I haven't quite managed to get them in place yet. There are potted bulbs to move and I need to upgrade the nighttime lighting. It's such a joy to be back in the garden!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Twenty-Six Years

It's our twenty-sixth anniversary tomorrow! Not the best picture of me, but Peter still thinks I'm gorgeous. (We've always been snappy dressers...)
It was his idea to marry on Valentine's Day, romantic old buzzard. We'll be pulling out all the stops - plan to go to a fancy dining place called "Swiss Chalet". I think it'll probably be the house specialty, chicken, and maybe summa that store-bought pie.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Is Something Wrong Here?

Canadian news reports that a violent Polish sex offender has managed to avoid deportation simply by refusing to sign travel documents. The man has a long criminal record (1981 - 1998) for rape, uttering threats, unlawful confinement, fraud and drug offenses. He refused to participate in sex-offender programs while in prison. His latest conviction was for the armed sexual assault of a teenager and deportation was recommended. Released from prison in March 2004, he has been held in immigration detention pending deportation. By refusing to sign the necessary travel documents he has successfully stymied efforts to deport him. Apparently, under Polish law, he must agree to be deported.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Salon - February 10, 2008

I finally finished "Organize Your Corpses" and it wasn't the worst book I've ever read. Really, it had its moments. I think I was too critical; I simply wasn't the target audience.

Now I've started a novel by a Canadian author. Wind Tails, by Anne DeGrace is a lovely book! Can it be that I'm just responding to the strong Canadian voice? The author is another librarian, from Nelson, British Columbia. She also wrote Treading Water.

The writing in Wind Tails seems effortless and fluid, suggesting to me that it was sifted, filtered, written and re-written. The clarity of this writing! Just wonderful. Like a cool mountain stream, the words spill out and are perfection. The subject matter is quite ordinary and commonplace, the characters believable. It's an ideal book for the person who observes humanity. Set in a roadside diner, various characters pass through the narrative and we see their interactions.

The characters I've met so far are quite likeable. Some may be flawed, like the amoral Irishman who seduces both the main character and her mother, but the portrayals are very human. Eamon (the cad!) isn't a total villain. The central character is Jo. She is attending her first year at university when her mother announces that a distant relative will be staying with the family while he looks for work. Eamon moves in and charms the lot -- mother, father, and daughter. He spends his days lounging, drinking father's whiskey and occasionally reading the help-wanted ads. Given the opportunity, he seduces Jo who naively believes that their relationship is something that it's not. She becomes pregnant and sick, hurries home unexpectedly one day and discovers Eamon in bed with her mother. Fast forward - the baby has been born and surrendered for adoption. Jo leaves the hospital, crosses the road, and starts hitchhiking. Her third lift is with Archie, a trucker, who takes her to Cass' Diner. Archie and Cass are old friends and seem to adopt strays fairly regularly. The characters could easily have become poor cliches, but they're not - they are real people. You'll be sure you've met them somewhere.

The second chapter tells us more about Cass and hints at the relationship she has with Archie. Cass is in her late sixties, single and childless. She "never wanted a kid or a dog or a cat or a husband." It strikes me that in one way or another Archie has been filling Cass' needs for years. He brings her people in need of help and thus Cass is able to experience a kind of motherhood.

Next we're introduced to "Pink" a young American who claims to travel only in the direction the wind is blowing. (This is going to explain the book's title.)

I've reached page ninety-one and another character, a bitter old woman, has passed through the diner...I love this book!

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