Friday, June 29, 2012

State of Wonder

This was Kaarina's pick for the BPYC book club and provoked some great discussion.

Being summoned into darkness, traveling to the heart of the jungle, and descending into madness... State of Wonder reminded me at times of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

In this case a brilliant doctor has gone rogue.  She refuses to report back to her employer at the pharmaceutical company about her progress developing a fertility drug that will extend a woman's reproductive life well into old age.  The company sends another researcher to investigate, and he is reported dead within a matter of months. Our heroine, Marina, begins a quest to retrieve evidence that will help set his family at ease.

While on one level this is a detective story, the author is actually presenting a far deeper mystery. Snakes, a garden of Eden, and a boy named Easter are some of the clues Patchett embeds.   For me, the state of wonder becomes a question of right and wrong.   Most of the characters create their own rules on some level and invent rationale that allow them to live in their own self-interest.  The biggest example being the doctor. Does she have the right to lie and risk the lives of others for the greater good?  And who determines what is the greater good?  At what point does it all become insanity?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Goodnight, Josephine

Unfortunately, June has been a difficult month for some of the plants in the garden. There have been some regrettable horticultural mishaps.

Henry met with an accident that almost did him in. Half of the vine was somehow destroyed when a trellis was carelessly moved.  To add insult to injury, our kitten Griskit then dove onto the vine thinking it was a hammock and detached it from the fence.  I think Henry will recover, however,  Josephine didn't even turn up this year.

Nellie Moser clematis in my front garden
Another favourite of mine met with their demise after  I followed someone's advice at the garden club.  This frugal gardener suggested lacing pots with compost.  It sounded like a good idea at the time, but is something that works best if you don't have marauding raccoons.  The beasts dug up the pot with one of my brunnera. It took a fatal beating.

A heavy rainfall came and sank the peony flowers to the bottom of the bush, where they stayed with heavy heads. They looked so downtrodden and depressed, their big pink heads muddied in the rain.

And then I transplanted my peony orchids a bit too late, and it doesn't look like they'll bloom this season.  Sigh.

Also this month the lattice on the back retaining wall was taken down, it was rotting.  There is no longer a line there to stop the eye, but the open space feels somehow precarious.  We've repositioned the stone bench on an angle and that seems to work.

On the 'wow' side this past month, the beauty bush was amazing, lush with blooms and heavy with perfume.  The roses are having one of their better seasons, proliferating.  The daisies are opening and the lamb's ears are inviting huge bees.

Overall, things are looking well.  I've been enjoying the countless shades of green and different shapes of leaves, I just don't have much photographic evidence since my macro on the point and shoot is still on the fritz.

beauty bush after the rain

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

On the water

These past couple weekends I've pursued my docking ambitions on windless afternoons.

Caroline took me out for a coaching session for a couple hours.  There were some high and low points.  Low point was getting grounded right in front of the club. Happily someone came to tow us out of our predicament, and there was no (apparent) damage to the boat.  Note to self:  prop walk is to port side.

High points were continuing the practise session, and ending the afternoon successfully sliding into my own slip.  Hurray!

This past Saturday I was able to back out of the dock and navigate through the channel, past the scene of the crime. Took the helm in light breezes, so wonderful on the lake.

Also on board was Griskit, who we are trying to turn into a Nauti-cat.  She likes the winch pockets in the cockpit and chases the flies and spiders about.  She seems to enjoy the view, but also spends a lot of time sleeping in the V-berth.We keep her on leash because we're not quite sure if she understands the blue stuff surrounding the boat is water.

Saturday night there were fireworks at Cathedral Bluffs.  We watched from the boat, rafted up with Caroline and Brian. Alex and Penny were on board. Even Griskit enjoyed the show.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Alex' convocation was this week.  He was graduating cum laude, and there was a dinner to celebrate all the honour students awarded with distinction.

My mom came in from out of town, and Penny joined Rob, Alex and I.

The 'dinner' was held in a basement hall on paper plates.  We were served cubes of cheese, triangle sandwiches, mini egg rolls and squares of cake.  Bad wine was available for $7 a pour.  It was one of the most fun and memorable celebrations of my life!

A big band was playing and Rob coaxed Alex to get up to dance with me.  The song was 'Someone to Watch Over Me', a tune off the Nelson Riddle/Linda Ronstadt CD I used to play when I nursed my son as a baby.  Holding him in my arms, dreaming the best for him...  Then 20 years later, here we are, him holding me, waltzing around together.  Such a very special evening.

Convocation itself was held a few days later. There were so many graduates, the university had to have 5 different sessions of 400 students.  Each one's name was read aloud and each proceeded to the Chancellor, Dean and faculty to shake hands and have the ceremonial scarf placed on their shoulders.  The parade of gowns and smiles was very touching.

The speeches were full of idealism and hope, peppered with quotes like  "You make a living by what you get.  You make a life by what you give."  Messages of social responsibility, personal leadership, courage in the face of challenging times.  Relevant to the occasion, certainly, but also food for all the souls in the room.  Parents, celebrants, academics, significant others, children... several thousand of us joined together in the moment.

As part of the ceremony the graduates were asked to recognize the people in the audience who had supported their success.  Alex not only applauded, he was the first to stand, and started an ovation.  I felt such gratitude at that moment, and looking around I could see I was not alone.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

Some of the lovely ladies from N Dock got together and hosted a Girls Night Out - come as your favourite Diva.  So I spent last Friday partying with Cyndi Lauper, Queen Elizabeth, Donna Summers and Miss Piggy.  Annika was there dressed as Britney Spears.  I couldn't figure out who to emulate so I went as myself, calling on my inner Diva and plunking lots of bling onto my fingers.

A temporary dance floor was installed in the parking lot and went to good use.  High heels stomping and hulas-a-hooping.

The boys ended up drifting over to join in the fun and no one turned them away.  Also joining the party was our kitten Griskit.  I had brought her down to spend the night with me on the boat.  After a lot of back and forth, I decided to try her out in the crowd and she really took to it. Quite the party animal!

p.s. I won the hula hoop contest and a grab bag full of goodies that included a tiara.. an essential BPYC accessory!

Diva Illustration

Monday, June 4, 2012

Full Rose Moon - June

I'm torn between calling this full moon in June a Strawberry or Rose.  I'm sure the moon itself never pauses to wonder about these things, busy as she is, posing in the sky for all the artists and poets and ponderers among us.

a rose is a rose is a rose
- Gertrude Stein

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
- Shakespeare's Juliet

the moon is officially full June 4 at 7:12 a.m.

Rose Moon illustration
Strawberry Moon Illustration

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sail Past and 30th Reunion

It was a blustery day, with winds too strong to take the boat out for a true Sail Past.  Most of the festivities were held in the clubhouse.

Bagpipes piped in the Board in and I have to admit I loved it!  I hadn't been thinking of serving on the Board for a third consecutive year, but this almost makes me change my mind.  I do love a bit of pomp.

Rob was Master of Ceremonies and did a fabulous job again this year, people kept coming up and telling him his speech was a hit.  In it, he used as many of the clubs' 128 boat names as he could to pay tribute to Bluffers Park Yacht Club.  He had everyone laughing and straining to hear the name of their own boat.  The mimosas and strawberries to end the festivities were delicious.

time travel
And then off to a different kind of Sail Past.  As in, time sailing past. My 30th college reunion!  Has it really been that long since I went to film school?

There were ten or so of us gathered in our classmate Hugh's backyard, which was a big turn out for our small class.  When we started in first year, there were about thirty of us and by second year the number had dwindled to 24 or so.  Third year, I think about 15.  There was always talk about how tough it would be to 'make it in the business' and really, not all of us have worked in film/t.v.  I look back on those three years of freedom to make whatever movies you cared to, no clients or bosses or cares.... god we were so privileged and naive enough not to even know it...

Sam M. came all the way from Sault St. Marie.  Alan B. and Maria C. found out about the festivities last minute, joining Randy B, Jim I, Kip S, John G, Dave R. and me, all hanging out.   Mark M skyped in.  It was great to see everyone that could make it.  Looking at these faces, I could see the youthful features from decades ago just below the surface. We're still the same people, burnished and tumbled.

Life didn't turn out entirely how my 20-something self may have wanted.  In fact, in many ways it is far better than I ever could have imagined.  Truly.

The poppies have popped

All done by June, just the seed heads left.  
They were amazing this year, for one whole week the front garden was a wave of bright orange.