Sunday, January 27, 2008

January Blues

I just read my daughter's blog. She's blue. I don't know how I feel at the moment. There is just too much going on... Rob and I keep sorting and clearing. At the moment, I am doing the company books - a job I hate because I only do it once a year. Bad. I swear each year that this year will be different but I'm not going to lie to myself this time, though given the lack of work in the film industry - what with the fickle American dollar and the writer's strike - there will be few figures to add up. Rob finished his last film at the end of September last year. I've made just over 400 dollars on design work. There ain't a lot of money in our coffer. In fact, there's none.

We've been trying to sell stuff but people don't want to buy in January. Probably because they spent too much during the holidays. I've been counting our pennies. Truly. Last week I went to the bank with a plastic bag full of rolled coins. I had 27 dollars worth though then I went out and bought 30 dollars worth of chicken. (We still have some in the freezer.) And Rob's been cooking up some good meals. Gill gave him a personalized cook book for Christmas - one she made with recipes from family and friends. Rob's loving it - has been trying all kinds of different recipes. We've been eating well. I can tell by my nicely rounded belly.

And so life goes on... It's rather humbling being without money. Rob laughed the other day when I suggested we splurge and go out for breakfast. "That's not really a big splurge, Yvonne."

I feel a little foolish saying we're poor because we live well. This week we've lived very well indeed. On Thursday evening, a good dear generous friend took Rob and I to Le Gavroche, an elegant French restaurant in the West End. We hadn't experienced fine dining for ages. I can't remember the last time, I dressed up and feasted in a white-clothed, candle-lit restaurant. To celebrate the occasion, I did something that I haven't done in a long time. I curled my hair...

Old Woman with Curls

and felt kind of silly... and when Rob took a picture of me and showed it to me, all I thought was "do I ever look old." Sigh. I try not to worry about looking older but sometimes it sneaks up on me - especially when I look at photographs... but enough of this nonsense. The dinner was a delight, an indulgence - organic greens with hazelnuts, goat cheese, and baby beets, followed by braised lamb shank with garlic mashed potatoes, and completed with an ice wine creme caramel. And with each course, we were given a small goblet of BC wine to peak our taste buds.

My thought was that I could live on the memory of that glorious meal for a long time but, lo and behold, we were invited out a second time this week by my sister's in-laws (one who just arrived in town with her spouse for a few days.) So while the baby of my nuclear family skied at Whistler, Rob and I enjoyed her extended family.

Adopted Sisters

We walked down the hill to the Beach House on Dundarave pier as Lee and Tim wanted to taste some North Shore cuisine. Again the tables were decked in white with candles. Again, the food was excellent though not as fancy as the French one. And again we were treated. I doubt anyone would know that we are counting pennies.

Because we are about to put the house on the market and it must shine inside and out, I've been worrying about our garden... it's a pig sty and what with all the work I'm doing - counting and clearing, organizing and designing, I don't have the time or the cash for a major gardening project. So on the advice from a friend, I've organized a garden party for next weekend. I'm pleased that those invited have enthusiastically responded.

Garden Party

And so it goes in my little world. I'm worried about a hundred things and my attention is here, there, everywhere but I will survive. And I will write...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It's About Time

the Young women wrote a blog. Sometimes life is just too crazy, too full of emotion and action to alight for a minute and pick up a pen. I don't know where Gill's head is at the moment but mine is full of angst. I don't know what the future holds or what I want it to hold. "There's not a peaceful bone in your body," my mother used to say. She's right. I hop from one job to another.

The house feels as if it's in chaos although, in reality, it is becoming clearer and sparser. A week ago, a couple came and took the old filing cabinet from the basement. Several days ago, a book store owner went through out books and took a dozen or so boxes away. (We still have a room full.) Yesterday, a man picked up a dresser. Today a young woman is coming to pick up another dresser and book shelf. Another is coming to look at our son's filing cabinet. But we still have too much "stuff."

When we put the house up for sale in the next month or so, I want it to be free of clutter - even the closets. For my peace of mind, I want it to appear a calm oasis. I want to be able to find something without searching high and low. And once I accomplish this, I want to continue to live with just the essential. It feels good though getting there can be gut retching.

A few nights ago, I had around a hour discussion with my middle son. I was going through boxes of his stuff, asking "do you want this? that? No. Nothing from your school years? No." After our conversation, I started wading through his school years from kindergarten up through high school. I had already been through it once and so only the cream was left - his art work (cartoons mostly) and dozens of sketch books.) All were so rich, so full of imagination, so technically good - even in his early years - that I caught the development of a very talented artist, one with a unique vision. And I thought of Hillman's book that I've put aside for the moment, that speaks of each individual's gift, talent, that which he or she should be pursuing, that can often be seen most clearly in childhood, before other stuff gets in the way.

This son was different from my other two children - a little wilder, less settled, more frustrated with himself. He often complained that he couldn't do what his older brother did - with his hands, his body. I told him that his brother was four years older... and so he grew.

When Gill was home, she went through her stuff and threw all of it away. She didn't even want her first baby doll. My eldest son, the most ascetic of my children, doesn't want anything either.

I have kept a little - not much - though I worry that in later years, all my children will regret having little from their childhood. I worry also that they won't, as I am doing, be able to go through their stuff, and see their own essence. Is this necessary? I don't know. For myself, I would like to be able to do this now - if only for an affirmation of self.

Still this letting go is exciting and, in a sense, liberating. I can create a new life without the old baggage - or so I hope. But I think getting rid of the physical evidence is a good first step. Could my children be right?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Farewell 2007

Growing older