Tuesday, August 26, 2014

hitting the road....


Going out to the car for a fast loop through the closest shopping mall, pharmacy, bank, coffee shop, and then back into the now-packed vee-hickle and THE OPEN ROAD.  

By tonight I should be back in my calf-country, or one segment of it, and snugged down in the motel I've been returning to for, oh, the better part of 40 years off and on.  Not every year, but most.  And then into the hot springs.  Soaking out the aches and pains and perhaps some of the Original Mean.

Hoping to make some gentle side trips away from my base of operations, north or south in the great Columbia Trench, tallying up the visible osprey population, drinking Fair Trade Coffee -- the whole East Kootenay region floats atop a gigantic seething reservoir of Fair Trade Coffee, I believe.  Other places have magma etc., they have coffee.

"Sat" the elder granddaughter last night, Thing One, and we discussed our summer travels; she was quite sure she could "come with" Grandma to the mountains and just maybe we would see a BEAR.  Apparently she canvassed this possibility with her parents over breakfast this morning also.  One of these days, I told her.  One of these days!



Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday again, woo hoo, I think, anyhow...


Up and full of good resolves this morning, some of which I've even carried out.

It is a constant, repeated (I don't know whether I mean "continuous" or "continual" or both of them) business managing what I need to do, what I want to do, what I have to do, and what I can do -- not to mention "what I FEEL LIKE doing" which usually has nothing to do with any of the above.

Part of this -- I think of it as "ergonomics" in a sense -- has to do with noticing when there is energy and when there isn't -- against a backdrop in which the constant is "less energy than there was, more than there will be" -- which is disconcerting at the very least.

Part of this is learning to ask the question, "What and how much of it do I need to do today in order to feel contented when I turn in, tonight?"  because there will always, always, be more on THE LIST than can be done in one day.  Not to mention more things in the "henh" file.  I am very fond of the concept of the "henh" file. (It contains all those items which you pick up, or remember, or think of, and then say "henh" and lay them down again.)

I have letters to write.  I have nearly finished the laundry.  I have made two business-like phone-calls.  I have scheduled some deliveries.  I have done all the newspaper puzzles over my breakfast this morning -- a sign of sufficient sleep last night.

There is ironing.  There are groceries to manhandle into meal-form before dark.  There are pots to wash, books to read, carpet to vacuum, and a kitchen floor to scrub...and somewhere in there, a walk; and somewhere soon a foray to buy new bedding for a new bed, a brand-new bed, to be delivered next week--very exciting.

And there are books to shelve, papers to sort, archives to shred, garments to mend, projects to complete.

And there is a parish on the horizon--six weeks' interim supply work in last summer's venue, "Little Prairie Town Halfway to the Jumping-Off Place" as we might call it.  Long, long drives every Sunday, but I'm looking forward to it.

But the Blog Post is done.  So now that comes off the list.  It suffices.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Three, and counting

After a fair-ish night's sleep, up in good time and did a complete patrol of the house.  Part of the new daily discipline will be to go into every room of the house, every day -- and when weather allows, to walk the perimeter of the front and back yards, every day.

I am more and more aware that if I do not continue to push -- physically as well as mentally -- into the corners, the corners will draw in and the world will grow steadily smaller and smaller.  As I said to my Helping Neighbour last week -- "I have to cut my own grass just often enough to keep me from thinking 'Oh, I can't'.  Because if I start to believe that, I can't continue to live in the house."  He agreed that that made sense.  Same goes for snow-shoveling, and a degree of house repairs.  Same goes for digging in garden-space.  Push the edges, all the time.

Besides...if I don't look at the rooms, I forget what is in them.  I have too much stuff (I know I'm not alone) but the corollary to that is that one doesn't OWN what one can't FIND.  So, working on that.

Went out midday and had a long catching-up visit over coffee with a good-friend.  We were in a mall coffee shop a long way from home-base -- and still, two or three other people who knew one or both of us came by and joined in the conversation -- it's delightful.

Just before I went out, made a verbal arrangement for six weeks' pastoral and liturgical supply in the wonderful parish I served as interim last summer...will try for 6 - 8 weeks' tenure there starting in September, before the weather and travel conditions become too daunting (it's 200+ km., one way).  Looking forward to this -- looking forward to seeing the dear folks again and the lovely terrain between here and there.

Let us be candid, the "re-MEW-neration" is not unwelcome either!

Then stopped at the library on the way home and handed in TWO books and picked up Roz Chast's memoir of her parents' decline (Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?) -- and just for frivolity, a volume of Carrie Fisher's memoirs.  So there is a lovely varied little stack of "stuff to read," here.

Had a bite of early supper and went off to ride herd on Thing Two, my junior granddaughter, while her parents did chores around the house and in the yard.  We had a fine playtime with snacks and about five books, and then I helped her Mom with bathtime.  Thing Two's sibling is due in about six weeks or two months, so it is timely and appropriate if Grandma hoists the little girl in and out of the tub...  Much enjoyment.  Son Unit and DIL Unit and I accounted for a box of Haagen-Das ice-cream bars -- so home to put the garbage out for early-morning pickup.  Chasing Shackleton on the TV.  What a story.  (What a MAN!  Whoo!)

Tomorrow, I think, at home all day and -- I hope -- working productively.  Library reading -- and I have Slow Church on the reading pile (this morning I bookmarked the videos of Stanley Hauerwas talking about SC -- looking forward to hearing his perspective also).

A good day with lovely affectionate moments to look back on -- helps with the recurrent feeling of being at odds with the ENTIRE KNOWN WORLD, which burbles up from time to time.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Plus Two Days...

Today has been very warm in these parts -- about 85 F this afternoon when I returned home to Tether's End -- but the house had been shut up tight since 8 a.m. and it's only 73 F indoors (without A/C, mind you), and that is pretty easy to bear.  After a bit I'll go and invent some supper.  

I had to take Harriet-the-Chariot (ten year old Echo) in for regular service and some squeaks and rattles; we anticipated it would be an all day session, so there I was on the "funky" south side of Prairie Metropolis, with my tote-bag and my bus-pass and my big shady Tilley Hat -- almost a "picture hat" with a lovely broad brim.

Found breakfast, sat over LARGE coffee with a couple of newspapers (and their puzzles), some reading matter, a folio of letters to write, scrap paper for the making of notes; then sauntered along easily until I was ingested by a notable used-book-store... by sheer strength of character I was able to flee without buying more than 2 books, a Wendell Berry title and a graphic-novel-style biography of Walter Benjamin.  Walter Benjamin is my King Charles's head.  I am determined to find out who he was and what he was important for and why (and whether) I should care.  This last purchase may accomplish that.  But oh dear, I had made such solemn resolves not to buy any more bookses...at least these were not expensive, nor terribly bulky -- but heavy enough to be a proper penance to carry with everything else in my bag incl. water bottle etc.

More sauntering, and brief bus-riding, and I rendez-vous'ed with a very good friend for a lunch-hour meeting of an interfaith group, to hear a presentation by a "Faith Leader"... we came away debriefing on how intelligent, educated, right-minded, well-intentioned people can be so blithely and unapologetically ... inept. It would have made a classic case-study.  Brains to burn, degrees out the wa-zoo, and they couldn't hit the ground with their hats, two times out of three. (and the Rambler lets it get to her every time, which is HER form of practical ineptitude.)

We came away alive (thankfully, for we had about 45 people in a room which would have held 15 comfortably, and in those circumstances -- ONE doorway -- I can't help but think, "and if there's, say, a FIRE??????") and resorted to a nearby eatery and lingered over a delicious lunch, and got calmed down.

Then ambled away in the opposite direction, stopped off to deliver a book I had long promised to lend to a friend, hopped on a bus and picked up the vee-HICKLE, whose repairs cost less than estimated, AND SO HOME and into the cool, to find a phone message from yet another dear friend--coffee-date tomorrow, and a message about maybe a bit more part-time employment, and today's mail...

I think a quick library run later (two in, one out); and perhaps some laundry; and then luxurious reading until an early bedtime.

This retirement thing is a good gig!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Moving along

Aha.  Back again at 70+1 day.  Got through a Eucharist this morning with active help from "Sound System Guy," "Musician," and "Acolyte," not to mention "Rector's Warden" and others in uncredited roles.  Preached -- about three times longer than I meant to.  I have a strong feeling the congregation was finished listening well before I was finished talking.  However they were polite, and did not retract the honorarium.  We had good coffee afterward and pleasant if desultory conversation.

One of the Rambler's birthday gifts yesterday was a set of beautiful bedsheets.  Of a size incompatible with the Rambler's current bed.  Which has been her current bed since 1967.  Indicating the impatience of her family with her SLOWTH in the replacement of worn-out furniture.

So this afternoon I must ramble forth and take advantage of a momentary mattress sale (but when are mattresses ever NOT on sale, we ask ourself), and then investigate a suitable bed-frame, like, you know, with a headboard and a footboard and side-rails, and like them.

And then grapple with the whole SEQUENCING problem -- delivery of new bedding, delivery of new bed-frame, removal of worn-out bed, possibly ripping up of worn-out bedroom carpet somewhere in the one-two-three-four of that process?

And the lovely Robot Lady at the public library has called to tell me I have a book on hold, so I should pick that up this afternoon also.

And think about some supper, and the week's doings ahead of me.

Avanti! Away I go.  No Sabbath nap this week!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Milestone

As of today -- I have turned the corner into a new decade -- this is my seventieth birthday, and I have very little vision of what that means -- sixty-ish, yes; eighty-ish, yes; but SEVENTY??? 

Partly I want to ask, "HOW did this happen?"  but I know the answer to that one well enough.

I have enjoyed a day of almost entirely untrammeled self-indulgence (well, it's a start....) -- up and a long phone conversation, very affable, with the Father of My Children -- then rushed off to get my haircut -- home and met my neighbour between our two houses and heard him apologize that he hadn't got my lawn cut for me before I cut it myself, earlier this week (it looks a bit like a kindergartener's self-hair-cut, but hey)...then I chased down my weedkiller/fertilizer technician and made him sort out the invoices that he had put in the wrong mailboxes...then I repelled the earnest efforts of the Jehovah's Witnesses (ah, Saturdays in the summer)...then I went to the Library and played on their computers and handed in one book and took out four more, all slender and non-challenging... then I did a little reconnaissance on the dinner-venue for this evening...then stopped at a cafe for a mid-afternoon treat, came home, and in due course got myself out of the house again for supper with 2/3 of my children and 2/2 of my grandchildren, one DIL, one SIL, and the co-grandparents of one of the little granddaughters.
Dinner was Italian, in a right-sized private dining-room where the granddaughters could hoot and holler and play tag around the table when they were tired of eating (Italian food which they both like, and watching the 20-month-old smack the table and demand more OLIVES was a highlight of the evening)...so after wonderful charcuterie and wine and pizzas and pastas and -- for me -- praline gelato in a bowl about as big as the average washbasin... and lovely cards and presents ... "and so home," like Samuel Pepys...

Tomorrow I'm preaching and presiding again for the first time in a couple of months; must look out a clean black shirt etc. and make sure my vestments are packed and in the car.

Time to take one more look over the sermon notes...I feel very very "guest-preacher-ish" this evening and the sermon is perhaps somewhat idiosyncratic also... But I don't think I'll do them any harm.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

a day to remember...

Well, dear allI would love to strew this post with picture-proof, but I am on a "borrowed device" (public library) and not sure whether I'll EVER have access to my own pictures, documents, etc., EVER AGAIN.
New computer time, in short.  Actually new computer time + 10 days.  Ah, well.
Yesterday WAS ANOTHER DAY, however.  Annie and her intrepid parents and I met at the local summer fair, which has been called all sorts of things, some of them printable, but for the moment is called "K-Days" again.  Do not ask me.  Il ne faut pas chercher a comprendre.  Just take my word for it.
Now a week or ten days ago the Notable Annie, Thing #One, spontaneously expressed an ambition to RIDE A HORSE.  After some dialogue she agreed, "Pony would be better.  Little would be better.  And a seatbelt" (the thought of which makes me helpless every time I think of it).
Are you keeping in mind, O Best Beloved, that Annie is 28 months old???
Inevitably, FATEDLY, not long after we embarked down the midway, there were RIDABLE EQUINES.  Parenthesis here to note that she and Grandma had already met the Clydesdale pair in the farm-animal display...individually in box stalls, with their heads down in the hay-box.  Until they straightened up.  I had just a glimpse of how big a Clydesdale looks to a 2-year-old.  When that big head comes up into view, it might as well be the Kraken.  But "did she tremble, did she blinch?"  She did not...took in the spectacle with utter satisfaction and aplomb.  Heart of a lion, in this little girl.
Back to the RIDABLES.  The usual panoply of pony-sized critters harnessed to a windlass-arrangement, walking solemnly in a circle.  In due course it was Annie's turn.  Her Mommy put her in the saddle and walked around with her while Daddy and Grandma cheered on the sidelines.  First round, considerable consternation on the face (but not distress); second round -- all tranquil and calm; third round, HUGE grin.
Her Mommy reported that throughout the ride, which was substantially long ("Grandma, I went ROUND AND ROUND AND ROUND"), there was a constant inner bubble of delighted laughter in that little mortal frame.
This all bodes delightfully well.  I see clearly boots and a little black velvet helmet in the future.
Oh yes -- and when it was over, and Annie was lifted off -- "Mommy, I think I jus' have to give Horse a Little Kiss"  which she did.  He took it well.
Some other time I'll tell you about the Rubber Ducky game and Annie's triumphant win of a small non-specific green/blue stuffed dog, christened "Loola."  Oh yes, and the sheep-shearing at which Annie interpreted the bleating of the patient...
And a good time was had by all!