Monday, September 29, 2014


I am so proud of Henry.

Due to circumstances, I decided (with permission) to bring him into the choir stalls with me at church on Sunday.  He first sat through a 45 min. rehearsal, then had a quick snack.  He processed into the church with the choir, sat in the stalls for about another hour and did a quiet activity only during the sermon.  The rest of the time he was observing.

Remarkable.  He seemed fascinated by viewing the church service from behind.  What made me so proud was how he entertained himself with observation, imitation and imagination.  He seemed confident, happy and stimulated.  Perhaps this is a backdoor to his musical education?

Speaking of music, after a hiatus from playing the piano, I just had to play today.  My emotions steer me, especially when they are accumulating and not finding an outlet.  

Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing The Importance of Being Earnest at the UofT Hart House theatre, with my parents.  The play opens with these lines, and when I heard them I blushed.  


Algernon.  Did you hear what I was playing, Lane?
Lane.  I didn’t think it polite to listen, sir.
Algernon.  I’m sorry for that, for your sake.  I don’t play accurately—any one can play accurately—but I play with wonderful expression.  As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte.  I keep science for Life.


And so I offer the first part of Beethoven's Sonata Pathétique (Grave/Allegro).  

It is near 10 minutes long.

It is long.  You may not make it through.

But that is the point.

It takes endurance to play.

There are many mistakes.  

To pace myself, I forgo accuracy, nuance and sensitivity.  

I have not practiced this in months/years.  

The point is, we get one shot at life.  When life serves up challenging times, we don't get a rehearsal.  Each day must be taken on its own, and despite best efforts, mistakes will be made.  But by addressing the mistakes and moving forward, with enough determination, we can make it through to the end.  Emotions are fuel, but they can also be the undoing.  So here is my attempt to express my need to press on day after day, after day...

And...the rest in pictures:

East Lynn - Farmer's Market

Henry insists on falling down over and over and over...

Friday, my friend got me out to the country.
Buying corn for dinner on the honour system.

Morning sunrise.  Wow.

Road trip to antique stores around Lake Simcoe, brought us by Cannington.
I lived here from 0-4, my father being the parish priest...

...we lived here in the Rectory.  

Breathtaking autumn leaves - - especially with sunglasses on.

Old barn, full of antiques.  Amazing we even found the place.

Post-church BBQ on Sunday.
Henry actually sat apart from me at the kid's table.
Good for you Henry!

Boys + sticks.  
And that is the week that was.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cakes, Shovel & Rope

Henry turned four almost every day this week.

The poor kid has been run ragged by his 4th birthday celebrations. 

Last weekend it all kicked off with a visit from one set of grandparents.  Then on Tuesday he was able to open presents via Skype, Wednesday brought another visitor and presents, Thursday was his actual birthday and he spent the day out of school and showered with presents, Friday a party with another set of grandparents and 2nd cousins and more showering of presents, and the crowning glory was his children's party for his school friends on the Saturday.  And of course this was the mother-load of presents.  It really has been too much.   


Grandpa Dan at City Hall

Birthday cake for actual birthday day.

Blowing out the candles #1

School gives every birthday boy or girl a wonderful hat.

Friday's party.

Balloon fun.

Birthday cake #2

Blowing out the candles #2

Saturday party - thank goodness we rented a play space.
I did nothing to achieve this effect other than hand over a credit card.

Fun with friends.

Birthday cake #3.
Blowing out the candles was achieved with a little help from his friends.

More presents?  It's now gotten ridiculous.

On Sunday, weather wise it was a sunny sandwich.  The morning and evening poured with rain.  thankfully the middle of the day was perfect and allowed for Henry & I to spend a very pleasant afternoon at the Beach.

He insisted on being able to scoot in the sand.  


Finally, I wanted to share a song from Shovels & Rope.  I don't listen to music nearly as often as I should, so when I do and find something that I connect with, well, I share it.

À bientôt

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Stepping Forward & Laneways

Another step forward.

And this time it literally includes Henry.  Since he started JK I have refused to carry him on my shoulders and have insisted that he walks all the time, no matter where we are going...unless there is an exceptional circumstance of course, but that has yet to occur.  There is always grumbling, but he does it in the end.  And he has more freedom to walk atop garden walls, pick up rocks, sticks, acorns, etc...

Throwing rocks into the ravine's trickling creek.

Running away at the dog park to captain the rock.

I don't get much feedback from Henry about how school is going.  When I pick him up, he is pretty determined to not talk about school, I suppose just as I wouldn't want to talk about my day at work as I'm leaving the building.  But he doesn't want to leave the playground when I come to pick him up, he actually asked me to come later so he could have more time to play with his daycare friends (who are in different JK rooms).  

So he has taken the transition in stride, and seems to be thriving.  

My own literal steps these days mostly take on the shape of walks or runs.

Toronto, like many North American cities, has a secondary set of streets that shadow the boulevards and avenues.  They are referred to as laneways, although I can't resist calling them alleys.  (I love the word alley---so full of mystery and danger).  

When I recently decided to take a walk, I was feeling antisocial and couldn't stand to walk along the main street.  So I ducked into the laneway behind the main shops, and was treated to an urban amble.  

Typical laneway.

So much life hides and unfolds just off the beaten track.  In places not intended for view.  The pace of change seems unaffected by innovation or prosperity.  In the laneways, it appears to be where the freedom to experiment or display resourcefulness finds a home.  Creating fences out of palettes, gardening out of food containers, practice spray painting, convert an old garage into a studio, and on and on.  

What a mess!  Is this what's connecting our shiny iclouds and ipads?

Henry & I spent Sunday afternoon together, playing with his toys, building blanket race cars, chasing each other down the hall, reading books and whatnot.  We took a walk to the park, and Henry finally asked for me to push his swing a little higher.  He's been very nervous about swinging too high, but when the other swings occupied by younger girls who were swinging higher than him today, he suddenly found he had an appetite for risk.

In a few days, Henry will turn four years old.  While every birthday is a significant milestone for a child, the fourth holds significant weight for me in that up until my own fourth birthday, I have no prior memory of having a mother.  It was just at my fourth birthday that my step-mother joined the family.  

It is fitting then that my step-mother and father are in town this week and can help to celebrate Henry's fourth birthday.  

My wonderful son, who told me in the bath today:

Henry:  Mummy, you have a whisker on your face.

Elisabeth:  Yes, I've got lots of whiskers, which one do you mean?

Henry:  No, the one by your eye.

Elisabeth:  That's just a hair.  A hair from my head.  I thought you were talking about the hair on my face, which is just fuzz.  Kind of like the hair on your arm.

Henry:  The fur on my arm.

Elisabeth:  Well, it's not fur, it's called arm hair.  And the hair on your leg is called leg hair.  It's all just body hair.  But we don't have fur.  

Henry:  Yes we do.  Looking straight into my eyes intently.  Everybody has fur.


And so every day is another step forward.  

Marching into a new season.   

Late summer colours.

Change is heavy in the air.

A bientot.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Start of School & A "Love" Song

Some neat things happened this last week.  

Henry came back from his Manitoulin holiday and we spent two days together, playing with his toys and going out to the Beach.  

Might as well take all the toys out...
Misty Beach Morning.

Then Henry had his first day of school.  Followed by his second, third and fourth...as the change is not too great, he has made the transition very smoothly.  

We are now responsible for packing his lunch.  I'm starting to wonder why I don't just get my own lunch box and do one for me at the same time!

On Saturday Henry & I had fun and drove to a nearby park and ravine.  We stopped and watched this heron do some fishing.  

In other news, my cooking streak has not yet let up.  This last week I've made hamburger patties from scratch (for the first time!), tomato soup (not from a can!), orzo salad, sticky lemon chicken & champ, a lamb stew and chocolate date bars.  

Lamb stew.

Another stress reliever is singing.  And so, here is a new offering dedicated to my neighbour from the drug house a few doors down.