Travel Issue Double Feature!

Mostly pics today. Writing up this entry in Vancouver Airport while waiting for the third and final flight on our way to Oregon. Am dull, and it shows. So much laughter last night, I’ve been mellowed into numbness. But anyway, it’s Wednesday, and the blog show must go on! Excuse me while i nap…

I. Two Happy Visits

Stayed over at Toronto last night. Had already arranged to meet Tina and Paul for supper, but also managed to squeeze in a coffee with my vet-tech niece when she got off work at five. Both visits were great.

This is my niece. Has eyes like her father, my brother. Uses expressions like her cousin, my son. Talks with her hands like her aunt, me. What's not to love?

This is my niece. Has eyes like her father, my brother. Uses expressions like her cousin, my son. Talks with her hands like her aunt, me. What’s not to love?

This is Tina in her home, the one she raised her children in. Out loud, she's discussing the recorder. Inside, she's thinking, "Y'know, I could compose my thoughts a whole lot easier if that camera wasn't covering your face."

This is Tina in her home, the one she raised her children in. Out loud, she’s discussing the recorder. Inside, she’s thinking, “Y’know, I could compose my thoughts a whole lot easier if that camera wasn’t covering your face.”

None of these faces is Paul.

None of these faces is Paul.

===================
II. How To Tell Canadian Airports Apart

Saint John: one prop plane, no walky tube.

Saint John: one prop plane, no walky tube.

Toronto: And this is just the Air Canada corral.

Toronto: And this is just the Air Canada corral.

Vancouver: the regulation roadside evergreens are taller than those of the other airports.

Vancouver: the regulation roadside evergreens are taller than those of the other airports.

Countdown to Oregon

Our choirmaster, Tucker, just called to wish us a happy vacation. It must be true, then. Away we go!

We’re heading out tomorrow morning, dogs in back seat, to drop them at the dogsitter’s farm before catching the noon flight to Toronto. Attending to final details today.

Brrr.

Brrr.


Am doing some laundry. Got the recorders all washed and dried yesterday. Dropped off the fuchsia plantlets to Grace to babysit. Will drop some snapdragon seedlings off to another friend to babysit. Hand a housekey to the Good Neighbour. Freeze leftover food. Pack clothes. Pack Cai and Fergus’s “summer camp” things. Pack recorders. Try not to panic.

I told Tucker how E.g. had tried to calm my nervousness and squelch my shyness regarding the recorder workshop, by advising me to “find one good question and ask it. People love sharing knowledge.”

Tucker, a retired schoolteacher, added, “and you may even hear an audible sigh of relief when you do ask. You might think you’re the only one who doesn’t know something, but oftentimes others want to know too, and will be glad you were the brave one who spoke up.”

All right, then. I’ll give it a whirl.

Think warm thoughts.

Think warm thoughts.


Dunno how busy we’ll be, but my iPad is coming along for the trip and if I can post anything as we go along, I will.

Ta-ta for now!

Windy Easter

Home away from home.

Home away from home.


This morning, E.g. and I took the dogs and went to visit her Yukon cousin Stuart and his wife Chris, who are staying at their St Martins trailer for the week. Stepping inside from the brisk air, I admired the tiny model cars and zoo animals that served as proportionate decoration over the built-in sofa. One item differed from the others.

I cupped it in my palm. “There’s a story here.”

Gone.

Gone.


“Yes,” said Chris. “I’ll tell you after lunch.”

We dined on samosas and Greek salad, followed by a dessert of Smarties and Scrabble. Then it was time to go. I asked again about the little charred object.

“Maybe next time.”

“It must be a hard story.”

“Well…” And then her words tumbled out, a tale that reached back eight years and culminated less than a month ago. Stuart stood by, silently weeping, as she spoke. I’ve remembered only a fraction of the story, and probably have some details wrong, but I hope there’s enough here to explain this post’s title.

Eight years ago, when their Golden Retriever Windy was still a puppy, Stuart acquired a little toy bunny. It came with a white plastic clip, and when squeezed it said “Cluck-cluck-cluck.”

Stuart showed the toy to the puppy. Windy looked it over, sniffed it, licked it, and took it in her teeth.

“Cluck-cluck-cluck.”

“No, no, Windy,” cried Stuart in mock horror, “Mustn’t bite the bunny!”

Windy understood that Daddy was kidding her, and “Mustn’t Bite the Bunny” became their special game.

About a month ago, Windy couldn’t get up. Cancer, the vet said, all through her.

The good-byes began. Final details were planned out. On the appointed day, Chris drove their pet to the vet’s. But when they pulled into the parking lot, Windy suddenly sat up.

“What’s wrong, honey? Do you — do you want to go home?”

Windy stayed sitting. Home they went. Stuart bent down to Windy, holding the bunny.

“Cluck-cluck-cluck” went the bunny between Windy’s teeth. Thump-thump-thump went her tail on the floor as she wriggled in glee.

Then she lay down and never sat up again.

They built a funeral pyre for Windy, and held a wake there in the snowy field. Friends came into the dark Yukon night, telling stories, making music, laughing and crying, drowning their sorrows. The fire was lit and did its work, transforming Windy, some flowers, her food bowl, and her toys into flame, ashes, and breeze.

Maybe a log landed hard as the great fire collapsed in on itself, or maybe the heat activated the mechanism. At any rate, no one disbelieved the close friend who silenced the gathering with the startled cry, “I heard the bunny, it went cluck-cluck-cluck!”

And the wind blew.

In the morning, the bereaved couple gathered the few remains — some bones and the metal food bowl, which had glowed white from the heat the night before — to bury in their garden.

Then something caught Chris’s eye: a white plastic clip. It wouldn’t budge when she pulled on it, so they pried at it with a shovel.

Still here.

Still here.


Windy had left it for them.

Begin Again

Exactly three weeks ago, gentle readers, this scene of carnage met your tender, unshielded eyes:

First corridor made.

First corridor made.

How times have changed! As the s**w has retreated, I’ve been out raking bits of lawn on three separate occasions. The frontest of the front yard is now cleared of sticks and autumn-leaf mulch, the upper backyard is swept of sticks and deep-freeze doggy-doos, and…

It's, um, it's opaque rain, that's what it is.

It’s, um, it’s opaque rain, that’s what it is.


It’S SNOWING???!!!

Well, never mind. If the plants can rise above this morning’s flurry with dignified calm, so can –

THAT DOES IT! THE NEXT ONE OF YOU CLOWNS TO SING “I’M DREAMING OF A WHITE EASTER” LOSES YOUR BEER TICKETS!

Ahem.

Greeting the (now admittedly half-over) Spring are perennials located at three spots in the following photo: in the corner where the public walk meets the front walk; in a patch framed by the wrought-iron diamond; and along the stepping-stone path between the stones and the house. Say hello, plantlets!

"Hello!"

“Hello!”

First. When the rest of the front yard had been laid bare, the corner where the sidewalks meet still had a slab of ice over it, making it a less fortunate spot for spring bulbs than I had imagined when I planted them here last fall. At last, though, a quarter-inch spike of greenery appeared yesterday.

A-one, ...

A-one, …

When I went out for a photo op this morning, two of its buddies had joined it. Scoobly-doobly-bop-de-woo-woo…

... and a-two!

… and a-two!

Next. A few years ago, E.g.’s childhood friend Gordon and his husband Martin came for a visit. Gordon brought several plants, one of which was a Great Blue Lobelia in an itty-bitty pot. I’m happy to announce that not only have I managed not to kill it, it gave a nice show last year and is raring to go for this year.

A native plant, Lobelia siphilitica. Don't worry, it's sposta be a cure, not a cause.

A native plant, Lobelia siphilitica. Don’t worry, it’s sposta be a cure, not a cause.


This is how it looked in September.

This is how it looked in September.


Finally. As part of last year’s “gardening rewards program” freebies, I brought home some out-of-place foxglove seedlings in late summer from E.g.’s parents’ place. On the understanding that they like to reside on the edge between shade and sun, I set them along the stepping stones that run between the front walk and the parking pad. And look, here they are now!
Two of the foxglove seedlings that made it. Upper-right corner shows some woolly thyme, still blue with cold.

Two of the foxglove seedlings that made it. Upper-right corner shows some woolly thyme, still blue with cold.


Welcome, Spring!

Tempo Fudge It

How music should sound: glowing, ethereal, beautiful but ungraspable.

How music should sound: glowing, ethereal, beautiful but ungraspable.


Having awakened several times between twenty-to-two and three-fifteen this morning, I finally got up and stayed up. I checked my watch when letting Fergus out, because there were robins singing. Three-seventeen. Robins must be vermivores, all right.

Thinking a bit of math would coax me back to sleep in our still-relatively-new easy chair, I tackled the troubles of tempo. All common tempos begin with either “a” or “l”, and so I can never remember which one is faster or slower than which other.

So I studied tempo definitions.

And I made a chart.

This oughta help.

This oughta help.


And I’m still up.

And it’s now ten to seven.

Home sweet hovel.

Home sweet hovel.


But maybe now that today’s blog entry is out of the way, I can drift off… the dog-stomach alarms aren’t ringing yet… Ta-ta.

What a musician needs to know to produce the sound the listener hears in the first photo.

What a musician needs to know to produce the sound the listener hears in the first photo.

Two Words

At our last rehearsal before putting on Monday’s skit, Tucker gave staging directions and Merrilee offered the use of a Loyalist cap that she had made for some previous theatrical occasion. Having never seen me wearing anything remotely feminine, the two of them approached the subject of the cap with delicacy and trepidation.

The truth is, however, that I’m quite happy to dress up for play-acting. A trip to the Salvation Army store down the street on Saturday scored a Jane-Austenesque costume — I only had to cut and restitch the throw — for $16, oversized lace handkerchief and all. After preparing the shawl thingamy, I dressed up, took pictures with the iPad in front of the mirror, and sent Merrilee two photos in an e-mail with the subject line “Two words”.

Below I’ve exchanged the home photo for one from the performance, so that the cap — an essential element considering the length of my hair — could be included, but kept the two captions as they were. The joke was borrowed from an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess.

Have a good weekend!

Thespian

Thespian

Lesbian

Lesbian