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Long live all maidens

easy and beautiful !

Long live mature women also,

Tender and loveable and full of good labor. 

Gaudeamus Igitur

Our lives became intertwined the day we began to slide clandestine notes back and forth during a writing course. Consequently, once the course ended, we embarked on a series of emails and surprisingly, an epistolary adventure unravelled. In these exchanges we bare our souls about love and life … things are never quite what they seem.

While we want to be courageous in our re-telling, we ask you to keep in mind the words of John Irving – please remember that all memoir is fiction.

Adria and Sarah

Thursday
Oct082009

Of Books, Music and Turkeys

Hi Adria,

I hope choir was as invigorating as usual. I’m looking forward to the Brahms German Requiem Concert on the 17th. Here are a few other items for your calendar if you are interested: Trinity is having its fall book sale – Oct. 23/24. I love going. It marks the fall season with a fine tradition. Also, the teacher at school, who is a member of The Irish Players Theatre Group, that I mentioned last year, is rehearsing for A Crucial Week in the Life of a Grocer’s Assistant (don’t you love the title?). There will be a matinee performance Nov. 1/$15 tickets /very reasonable. There is also our plan to visit the AGO, once again, this time in November. Who knew it would be so crowded last Sunday?  At least we had fun eating our way through the afternoon. We can talk about all of this when we meet on Wed. I won’t be as early as I expected, as, guess what? That’s right. Another meeting. It’s that time of the month again. The admin. promises to finish by 4 pm. We’ll see.

I’ve been meaning to ask if you know what novels are studied at your school. I’d love to see any curriculum stuff or book lists. I’m sure that the English Department must give detailed information to every student.  I am teaching Catcher in the Rye to the University class - the kids still love it, although I’m always in search of a modern Holden, but cannot find anything suitable for them (ages 18 to 21). Two of my students, who have read Catcher in the Rye several times (because they move around to so many schools) are reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. At least they know about the Holocaust.

Read an excellent article in Walrus about the publishing industry and how everything is geared to a few bestsellers, and of course the hope for a miracle, i.e. Oprah’s touch or just plain luck. The writer maintains that e-books are the way of the future. So, I am really thinking hard of publishing my ‘novel’ online or a chapter or a few pages a day, somewhere. Something to think about.  Busy getting the house in order, buying Thanksgiving gifts (small tokens) for people at school, and making sure all my corrections are up–to-date and marks entered (Computer Marks Book) before the weekend and that my lessons are prepared for next week.  Since we are leaving for Montreal right after school on Friday, I won’t have time to do anything on the weekend. I am looking forward to getting away and seeing my Aunts. I’m hoping the fall colours are still around in the Kawarthas. 

I have to say that my students are sweet this quad. Okay. Not all. But most. And I’ll settle for that. I’m actually enjoying the teaching part of the job.  I hope I’m not jinxing myself.  

 Have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, Adria.    

Regards to the family. 

Soon–to–be-Stuffed Sarah

Thursday
Oct082009

Potentillas and Ruysdael Sky

Dear Sarah,

Can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving! I’m so behind with everything but I do want to comment on all your news.

James Dickson’s death struck a chord deep within me. Not that people around me are all dying, exactly, but just that talk of illness is flying at me from all directions: a neighbour, an uncle, my eldest cousin in the Netherlands fighting a terminal cancer, a close friend needing instant mastectomy, ultrasounds for this and that, MRI's. Life around me is starting to sound like Atwood's The Year of the Flood. Apocalyptic. Damn and damn!

About your moral dilemma, living each moment to the fullest or saying fuck it because we never know … well, strangely I find myself saying the ‘F’ word quite frequently these days. Don’t know why exactly. It could be while I’m driving or just … anywhere, under my breath. It’s probably that fuck has replaced shit (from the sixties) so that’s a bit of a relief! Listening to Espace Musique on the French station keeps me in line when I’m in the car. Love their World Music. There’s a plus to being in this music business. When I listen to music, I feel like it's always Old Home Week, having inevitably had some connection with the performers I'm hearing, whether it’s the Amadeus Choir, Antonin Kubalek’s pianistic pyrotechnics or a composition by John Beckwith. All there at the touch of a button. I always have company!

Hope we can get you over to Hildegarde Academy ASAP. It just isn't all exuberance as it may appear from my emails. The bright smiles, the polite door holding, the deference, all these learned behaviours are very natural to our girls for some reason. But I see the stifled yawns, the efforts at yawning (yawning becomes almost impossible when overly fatigued). Or the older girls coming in for a lesson … I'm tired. Their excuses for never having touched the piano in one whole week: I had four projects, three tests and was at my Dad's house for two days. He doesn't have a keyboard so I have to wait till I'm back at my Mom's. It's started already.

By the way, not all the men at our school are handsome. That's only in the movies. They're a total mix: guts hanging over, albeit camouflaged with freshly laundered, Downy-scented cotton T's, cell phones tucked into their belts (I always worry about testicular cancer), the beanpole set (men can be anorexic too) who never stop gorging themselves on whatever leftovers they can scrounge from lunchroom platters, and the artsy ones, the wandering nomad types, with the single earring and the look of constant bewilderment on their faces. I do have my favourites of course, one in particular with his tight bod, dynamic buns and shiny triceps (you can see them better in the hotter weather when he wears little short sleeved shirts ... also tight…). There seems to be a new crew of males on board this fall and many of the trusted, familiar faces have been efficiently replaced. 

There was a Ruysdael sky this morning as I drove to work alongside Lake Ontario: low lying North Sea clouds (my favourite) of varying greys, deep blues and charcoal. They remind me of standing on the sandy white shores of Scheveningen (near Amsterdam) where I gobbled down the Hollandse Niewe (herring) in the company of my three sisters a few years ago. The maidenhair trees are yellow and some maples already fiery. But potentillas are still in bloom in hope of new seeds. At my point in life: constant déjà vu.

By the way, don't go for the spiked hair! Stick with your classy styles. 

Till next time,                                      

Adria

Friday
Oct092009

Tight Bods and Spiky Hair

Wow! Adria! I hope I get to see HIM, with his tight bod, dynamic buns and shiny triceps.  Please. And no spiky hair for me, I know. We did our colors at school and I wanted to be Rebellious Orange as well as Creative Blue, but I was mostly BLUE.

Lovely description of the sky. 

I’m keeping this really short, as I have a few more things to add to my suitcase and a few more notes for Dan - do this and this and this. I would prefer to come home first to check on everything (Controlling Teacher) and then leave, but I’m working on just letting go. Ha!

 So Dear Friend, enjoy, enjoy. Will write more after The Visit to Montréal.

Toujours Sarah

Tuesday
Oct132009

Bless this House

Hi Sarah,

So the turkey was lasagne. But it was great because I didn't have to make it. No, really, it was delicious because my daughter made it. Besides, according to Beppi Crosariol (a male foodie in last weekend’s Globe) it's in to serve alternatives. Families are down in size from Dickens' time and it seems hard to round up enough people to finish off an entire bird. People are actually looking for the non-traditional. I am starting to catch the meaning of weltschmerz

Speaking of which, my last student on Thursday oozed attitude, as usual. Lizzy doesn't like her daddy's second wife from Italy. I think that by now she's got six grandparents and how does a pubescent youngster keep up with all that. Lizzie plays piano with something akin to penguin flippers and avoids using her third finger entirely. And here I'm reading lofty books like Artistry in Piano Teaching by the well-known Menahem Pressler. It's a challenge to apply his insights to this particular student, although the chapter, Principles of Relaxation, could fit the bill ‘cause she’s so fuckin’ tense. Lizzy arrived at the lesson for the second time this year with no books and with wet hair from a previous swimming class. Admiring herself in the gleaming black piano she proceeded to thread her fingers through her hair, shaking small sections of it vigorously, creating a makeshift dryer while spraying the keys. Needless to say, one of my famous lectures about proper behaviour ensued. Even her freckles turned red!

Such a relief to take off to Niagara for the weekend! Once I was settled on the train with the glorious fall colours all around me, I delved into my saved up articles re. e-books, Kindle and DRM (digital rights management, similar to copyrights) According to author Anthony Zuiker (he must be a fellow Dutchman of mine with a name meaning, sugar) the digi-novel will eventually wipe out all books and libraries as we know them today. Yeah, right! Check out his Level 26:Dark Origins. It's all about the importance of the interactive element in writing. Will save an article for you about St. Mike's Kelly Library, Tomes, e-books and Coffee. It’s on the same topic.

Bless this House oh Lord we pray! Make it safe by night and day: That was the solo sung at Sunday morning's Thanksgiving Mass at St. Paul's (where my daughter Catherine was married this past summer). I wandered for a moment back into my days of being fourteen again. I don’t know what it was that gave me chills that morning -- probably the combination of hearing those eerily familiar words, plus sitting beside my now grown daughter and her new husband. It was just so my era, that song being the most meaningful solo reserved for special occasions at Notre Dame Academy, my alma mater. In my head, Mrs. Funella was standing up there again, singing the early morning Requiem from the chapel balcony (we attended Mass daily, well before classes even started). Every morning as we stood beside our desks, before even opening a book, we sang God Save the Queen. After school the Glee Club worked on Dvorak’s Goin’ Home from The New World Symphony with Sister Dorothea waving her arms in time to the grandiose phrases, the sleeves of her black habit swaying like sails in the wind. Hildegarde is not quite like that but a bit of a blend where the sentimental merges well with all things 21st Century.

I’ll find out about the course of studies. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, being originally written, as you say, for a younger audience, was particularly poignant for me as I had just visited Auschwitz when I read it and I could picture every room the commandant had entered. Disturbing, but nevertheless educational. The Globe Books section mentioned one of this year's Giller Nominees, Colin McAdam, who wrote Fall, set in an Ottawa boarding school 12 years ago. I haven’t read it yet but apparently there are undercurrents of Catcher in the Rye. You may find your modern Holden there.

Time to make the hot chocolate. It's that time of year and I need to relax and rev up again for the next lap that'll take us to Christmas. I wonder about this crazy speeded up world. Nothing anymore like the Bless This House era. Not at all!

Adria

Sunday
Oct182009

Of Music and Brawls 


Hello!

I hope your concert went beautifully.  I‘m sorry I missed it.  It seems our plans have been thwarted this week, first the school visit (hope your foot is better) and then the concert. I love your concerts and should never deprive myself of such genuine opportunities to experience great talent and a few hours of bliss.
  
 It’s been one of those weeks, chaotic actually. By Friday evening I was comatose, after a major incident during the last period of the week. Someone just flung open the classroom door and yelled: Miss, have you seen the old white guy who can’t speak English. This student is always trying to get a rise out of someone. The teacher he was asking about is a 50 something man of impeccable manners with a gentle East European accent and a professional by all accounts. I forced myself to pause so that I wouldn’t say anything nasty.  Finally I asked:  If someone were looking for you, how do you think he or she might ask? He smirked and was about to spew out one of his gems, no doubt, but then another voice, yelled: Hey Miss, have you seen that dumb black guy around?  At that point I wasn’t sure where the voice was coming from. I just knew it wasn’t mine.  I stood up right away and walked to the door, but it was already too late. The two boys were facing each other and all I heard before the punches started was:  See what it’s like, Delroy?  No one talks about Mr. K. like that. By the time it was sorted out, the police had been called for a second time that day. And so ended another week at Franklin.

But I still have my two great classes and I hate to see them go. This quad is almost over. Didn’t school just begin?  My grade 10 (the ESL class) is still noisy and somewhat immature, but the kids have great personalities and a desire to learn.  Their English is really improving.  I’m putting the finishing touches on the timetable and hope I can switch the 12 U for the11 C so I can teach them for one more quad.  In most schools getting to teach the University classes is a privilege and often only the senior teachers get them.  At my school, no one seems to want those classes. I know the workload is heavier, but I have to hope that that’s s not the reason.

Could you please bring the literature from your concert when you come over on Wed.? It will soothe my soul. 

Battle- fatigued- Sarah

Sunday
Oct182009

Hoods and Redemption

Hi Sarah,

Ahh! Last night's concert leaves me feeling hopeful about this world (until I read your email ... just kidding). But the major work we sang, it being a Requiem, did leave me with peaceful feelings about the hereafter. The German words, primarily from psalms and the Bible, matched the music so perfectly. Such poetry: patience, comfort and redemption (if you've earned it). “ Ich will euch trösten, wie einen seine Mutter tröstet …As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you …”.  These exquisite lines, sung over and over, began to acquire more and more meaning for me: one long meditation with such an absolutely otherworldly feel to it. What a brilliant composer, Brahms. And to think he walked the streets with the buttons of his coat in the wrong buttonholes, a distracted genius, jeered at by thoughtless boys.

I counted eleven of my faithful supporters at the concert. Standing ovation and five curtain calls. Parked late into the night on Queen St. for post concert party on Crawford.

Tonight I’ll just do nothing. 

Your account of the incident in class last week leaves me cold. How do you put something like that into perspective? But it seems to fit into this pattern of escalating freneticism that I sense just about everywhere. While you were having to deal with this ridiculous male piece of work, invading your classroom, I was most likely in the school library trying to keep my eyes from shutting, (boredom on one of my breaks) half listening to two students having a simultaneous conversation with their laptops (giggle, giggle, oh my gawd, oh my gawd!)  I was trying to read The Year of the Flood (I could no longer bear it after page 170 and decided to return it to the public library). I have never asked you about your actual fear level. I would be so freaked out. These guys are full-grown adults. And then the presence of the police, that’s always unnerving. The only time we would see the police at our school would be for a lockdown practice or for survival exercises in case of a bomb explosion or another unforeseen disaster. 

No wonder you couldn’t make it to the Brahms last night although it may have offered you the same hope it gave me on so many levels.

There's always a next time.

Adria

Monday
Oct192009

Work Awaits

Good morning! 

Blue sky and sunshine always look good even if it is cold. The promised Indian summer, I think.

Exactly on this day, only a few years ago, my dear Mama passed away in Canada’s west. I recall that evening vividly and still see myself standing by the telephone as I was about to leave the house in my choir outfit, prepared to sing our fall concert. When the call came it was not unexpected. I had to leave. I immediately made the sad announcement to my fellow choristers at St. Peter’s. We would sing the concert in memory of my mother. Surely it was her soul I felt drifting toward the heavens during Allegri’s imploring Miserere. I was helping her on her magnificent journey. 

A moment, please …

OK … imparting some brainwave activity to you this morning: the realization that Margaret Atwood's writing is probably just tongue-in-cheek diversion. You know, winking at you the whole time? I always wonder what she herself is thinking when she reads to her faithful followers in that monotone drone of hers. But I don’t mind it.

Alice Munro? A different story altogether. Just started her newest short stories, Too Much Happiness. Dark, at times. Nothing futuristic here. All realism. Maybe a bit of Fear Factor and Twilight Zone combined. She jumps right in, headfirst. By page 17 of Dimensions we know all about Doree and all about her wacko husband. The cover on the back of the book reads: "Welcome to the world of Alice Munro, safely settled inside the gates of Literature". Ahh! Perhaps a touch of Hitchcock here. Has that feel to it.

Glad we decided to postpone your Hildegarde visit and check out writing courses instead. I’ll bring the George Brown and U of T Continuing Ed. calendars. We’ll have to check Ryerson’s on-line. This all reminds me of the first time you and I met at that Humber writing class. Crazy how Francine kept track of me the whole evening and how she was obsessed with my ‘talking’ to others around me. So you slipped me a note instead (like bad students did in the past … today they just talk out loud): “ … and did he?”  You were dying to know the outcome of my involvement with the priest, and whether he would ever abandon the Sacred Heart fathers to marry me! So we were in cahoots right from the start. Meant to be.

I think I’ve managed to actually find a course we could both get excited about. We’ll discuss.

I am feeling slightly more normal but am still recovering from a weekend of non -stop activity. Also slightly fuzzyheaded and a hint of a headache signals it’s time to buffer the immune system. Am taking Advils to school.

Till we meet on Wednesday (your place still OK?),

Adria

Monday
Oct192009

Keeping the Faith

Your tribute to your mother, dear Adria, was very moving.  I once read that the tears one sheds at the death of a mother are the first tears without her comfort. Not the exact words, but you know what I mean.  We’ve spoken before about how comforting, (selfishly comforting) it would be to see our mothers, even for just a few minutes. Time enough to tell them whatever it is that we have to say, but unfortunately no second chances here.

It is such a privilege to have your talent and lifelong commitment to the choir. Bravo.  I don’t feel so bad now that I know you had eleven of your faithful supporters (though not me!) at the concert.   

Your weekend sounds wonderful! You are a true social butterfly and a real trooper. Keep the faith, Adria.  Better to think about Brahms and the afterlife (I must ask you about this) than my pugnacious students. Although considering the clientele at my school, kids who have been or still are in trouble with the law, there are relatively few fights. And we have never had a lockdown. We figure that our students know that this is Last Chance High, and as a few cynical teachers say: since we finish so early they have plenty of time to get in trouble after school, somewhere else.  And no, I am not afraid. Nor are most teachers. The students are generally very protective of us. Perhaps it is only an illusion, but one that most of us need. A certain amount of fighting and bullying in schools has always existed.  I remember one incident in Montreal, during the 70’s, when guys from a rival school beat my brother with chains. Then it was the French against the English and vice versa and so it goes ... 

Enough about brawls and more about beauty.  I worked quietly, meditatively in the garden. The rhythm of raking, the rustling of leaves and the wind in my face renewed my spirit.  In between moments of bliss, I did tons of marking, mumbling mantras that were not pretty. Without these corrections, I might even be a little more social myself, instead of a recluse and part–time misanthrope.  We’ll see once I give it up. 

We do have lots to discuss on Wednesday.  If I’m lucky, we may not even find time for Atwood and Munro.  So I’ll expect you around six, and as discussed earlier, we’d better keep the visit to Hildegard for later.

Hope your head feels better – too much parteeeing, eh?

Sarah 

 

Friday
Oct302009

Montreal 

Bonjour, 

Sorry, I keep leaving the e off Hildegarde (but spell check shows it as a spelling error). Thanks for bringing all the writing info. last week, although we needed more time to go through everything. Let’s hope the next course we choose is as much fun and as inspiring as Francine’s was. Maybe, we’d better sit apart this time, so we don’t get into any more trouble. No wonder I have challenging students! 

 I meant to tell you that I loved so ‘the turkey was lasagna.’ That was a few emails ago.  

We haven’t even had time to talk about The Montreal Visit, which, of course, is full of good writing material. Dan and I stayed at my aunt’s place. (She’s now in the hospital.) She’s lived in that studio apartment for the past 35 years!! It is the size of a hotel room and everything in it is small; dollhouse size Dan says. He spent the weekend tripping over stuff and bumping into furniture. Aunt L. weighs less about 40 kilos, so for her, the surroundings are perfect. I’d say they serve as a metaphor for a shrunken life. 

Both my mother’s sisters are now in hospital: one in a wheelchair and one uses a walker. These are women who at one time led busy, interesting lives. L travelled the world and finally settled in California while M was married to a banking executive. Both were married very young and were totally dependent on their husbands and they never fully recovered from the shock of the divorce. Some women manage to rebuild their lives, but they never did. Aunt M told me that even 40 years later, not a day goes by that she doesn’t curse her ex and his present wife. She says she has never stopped loving him. He was also a great favourite in the family: handsome, an athlete, generous. He’s in his 80’s now and still around. So is his younger, second wife.

 While cleaning the kitchen cupboards, I found my aunt’s cache of pills. I’m sure there were 20 different kinds. One has to wonder if that’s why she fell and broke her hip again. What do all those pills do to the brain and the body? I hope I am not genetically doomed to such behaviour. I tell myself daily that I am different; I am active, alert, involved.   

On Saturday, Dan and I walked to what is affectionately known in Montreal as The Main. It was originally The Historic Jewish Quarter and the setting for so many Mordecai Richler novels (I always expect to see Duddy Kravitz swaggering down the street). At one time, it was also the haunt of Leonard Cohen, Irving Layton and Doris Giller of Giller Prize fame. Not sure the original group of writers would appreciate the fact that writing has become a competitive sport. 

Every Saturday morning, after I was married, I would take a streetcar to meet my sister-in-law, who is Austrian, and whose parents came from the ‘old country’ to shop at Warshaw. The supermarket was a fixture in that area for half a century (a smaller version of St. Lawrence Market.)  Although messy and crowded with a crazy mix of ethnic groups and staffed by poker-faced butchers and cashiers, we loved it!  Sad to say that an antiseptic Pharmaprix has replaced Warshaw. Dan and I also went to Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen – Home of surly waiters who drop plates and cutlery on tables from standing positions and boisterous multilingual patrons who sit shoulder to shoulder amid the waft of spicy herbs (no longer mixed with ubiquitous cigarette smoke found before Purification and Sanitation).  It’s still the best smoked meat joint in the world.

 That evening we walked to Rue de la Montagne where we used to dine in Parisian type bistros, went clubbing all night, and ate breakfast at Dunn’s at 4 in the morning. Years later, when we were more respectable, we brought Jesse to this area for violin lessons.   

Time for one more side story. The hospital where my aunts are at the moment, Notre Dame de la Paix, (don’t you love these oh so Catholic names leftover from the time when the clergy ran Quebec), is situated on the Back River, with million dollar views on one side and a maximum-security prison on the other, which is next to the special courthouse built specifically for the Hell’s Angels Trial a few years ago. My aunts love the excitement when there is police action at the prison. It breaks up the monotony they say.  

There are so many stories just like your Dutch relatives’ stories that you were telling me about the other night. I look forward to hearing more.  I guess we should meet to discuss our final choice for the writing course and maybe go to a play. Think about it. 

A Bientot, Sarah

Saturday
Oct312009

The Race 

Good Morning Sarah!

Not sure where to begin. So much to say. 

Going to Montreal now can never be the same for you as when you went clubbing in your "dirty days"! (a term I had never heard, till used by a former choir member at the post Brahms party two weeks ago. He was referring to our rowdy pubbing orgies in Yorkshire some eons ago when we were both in the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir). Good God! At a very late age I did not even know what a hard-on was! Now what has all this to do with your and my old aunts? Plenty. It's all about The Race.

When I stood in my mother-in-law's home last week, Philomena was resting in the convalescent facility with her new hip. As Carlo and I entered her house a dead quiet seemed to inhabit every room. Her pink satin bed covers seemed extra smooth, her dresser tops gleamed (Endust?). Her numerous little lists (black marker on cardboard cereal box cut outs) on the kitchen counter reminded her to buy cabbage rolls at Polish Centre, get Ready Whip at Sobey’s, ask Daniel to check my email outbox (something stuck), get laptop for Florida. Several walkers and canes stood ready in front of the mahogany stereo cabinet in her living room. In the kitchen her new toaster oven replaced a recently purchased microwave, now relegated to the basement storage area. I didn't like it. At 82, she is embarking on a new phase in her life, having devoted herself to an unwell husband for such a long time. She hadn't counted on having that new hip though. I thought I was perfect she’d said to her doctor as a tear rolled down her cheek. After a day and a half in The Home, Philomena signed herself out. The bed was too hard. Her other hip had begun to hurt. The air outside her room was too dry from renovation activities. Just yesterday she had the coffee clan over to her house for the usual.

My Dutch relatives are so very precious to me. As you said, they are an amazing link to past family history and constant reminders of my childhood in Holland. All my life these wonderful aunts were eager to communicate with their family in that cold country, Canada: first it was pen and ink on blue vellum sheets, written in painstaking penmanship (what’s that?), these were followed by typewritten messages on ready-bought airmail sheets whose edges you folded over and licked closed, and now everyone sends these fast flying emails. Occasional pieces arrive per snail mail and then it’s always a bit of an emotional experience: opening the envelope, feeling the paper, often embossed or with specially chosen floral designs, something the sender, most often elderly, had held in her hands and had taken the time to fill with beautiful words that tell of her daily life, that give me comforting advice. I can say I’m proud to be the Family Archivist, a kind of Grand Central Station; ask Adria, they say. She’ll know.

My mother’s eighty-five year old cousin died recently, my second cousin, and my great aunt’s only child (out of wedlock, as the expression went). Out of the blue, I got a phone call from a close friend and tennis partner of his. They’d found my telephone number among his old letters. Marcel was a famous soccer player.

An aunt of mine struggles with her husband's Alzheimer's and in our emails we sometimes communicate in English in case he is reading over her shoulder. She constantly conjures up images of when they were madly in love. This helps her a lot she says. 

 I picture the laneways, the little castles and quaint museums in the villages, visualizing the traffic circles and cobblestones in their city streets (cobblestones have such a backward connotation in America but their use is simply a smart way of not having to constantly repave roads as we do here in Toronto). The fens, bogs, and heath, the forest glades; it's all there whenever I cycle along the endless paths of my childhood.

The challenge for us is to integrate all these amazing memories, to somehow fit them all into the present, because I just know that the cumulative contributes to the whole and that it's easy to miss out if we don’t try to fully live every moment.

 I don’t usually sound this serious. 

A few updates: Lizzie with the penguin flippers has opted out of lessons for the time being. Whoo-Hoo! School life plus extra curricular were overwhelming for her. I am not getting any flu shot, are you? What do you do to boost your immune system? Your pumpkin looks like a porcupine. Aren’t we lucky to have canes and walkers available to us in this amazing country? 

I adore Tarragon and am thinking of seeing The Drowning Girls. This murderous terror kills off the women he marries, one by one, and cashes in on the insurance he buys for them. Now there’s a race for you! Wanna try it? (the play, I mean) I’m not finding it easy choosing this writing course. We’ll keep searching.

Adria