As usual, I don't have much to report. But I will attempt a 2011 year-in-review seasonal letter in short spurts, with illustrations, to keep you interacting. I truly believe that my life, or at least reading about my life, is a sure cure for insomnia. So, pleasant dreams.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Work: Fiction and Non-Fiction
My contract with INAC, the residential schools settlement, ended March 31. I applied for my CPP which does pretty much cover the mortgage now, but I haven't been able to motivate myself to look for more paid work yet. There is too much else I'd rather be doing. The Shaw man came recently and hooked up my free cable Internet for one year. I still use the telephone Internet line upstairs in my office but the TV room hookup to my laptop is wireless. I use the Internet a lot for the work I am doing on my Annotated and Illustrated Morag which I hope to be able to present as the "first" annotated Canadian novel, available world wide to students of CanLit. Perhaps e-self-publishing through Amazon will be the way this thing flies. Of course, all my writer friends understand the convention of not talking about on-going projects. The fear of jinxes; the fear of thieves. I'm still working on my first published fiction, Anything You Say, and the possibly e-publication mentioned above is about my favourite writer, Margaret Laurence. Four of the seven books I am in the process of reviewing for Prairie Fire are about her.
Kettle Valley, Midway, Greenwood, Kelowna, Vernon
I took a holiday in April. For the first time in sixteen years, I drove east over the mountains to visit my aunts and uncles in Keremeos, Oliver, Midway and cousins in Kelowna and cousins and aunts in Vernon, and then back over the Coquihalla Connector. I worried that my old 94 Hyundai might not make it, but I got home all right. It was different seeing Vernon without my mother living there. Three uncles also used to be there and all are gone. My aunts are in their 90s and in good homes now where there is help and company. I had a good visit with cousins who always seemed "way older" than me when we were kids, Linda, Marge, you know who you are, but now somehow we are the same age? Although my younger cousins, Caroline and Susan, probably don't feel that way.
Agassiz, Rosedale, Harrison, Bellingham
Brother Harv & Donna drove out from Manitoba for a fast visit in August, on their one weekend without wedding cakes to deliver. We went to Minter Gardens, Harrison, Agassiz to a garlic festival food fair, and went to Bellingham for lunch. It was the first time I had used my new passport which I got two years ago when I was in Winnipeg. It was good to be a tourist for a change. As it was a bit too rushed, Harv says the next time they will use air miles.
Brigade Days Parade
I also had a couple of visits with Roy, #1 nephew, who was out in Chilliwack for weapons training. He is still with Canada Border Services, 11+ years. He came up to Hope on Brigade Days, the weekend of September 11, because he had rented a car to take a group to the Peace Arch commemoration that Sunday. He was staying in the barracks at the RCMP training centre in Chilliwack. I picked him up one other Sunday and we went for coffee at my dad's cousin's, Wilma, who is about my age, and her husband Gord. Wilma's older brother Verne was there; it was the first time I had ever met him. Really, I still have first cousins I have never met. Roy did well on his course but was glad to get home to Manitoba to more hours of work and to Amy, Quinn, Aiden, and Jade. Hope to see them all next time.
Cousin Marge from Vernon also came down this way and visited me in Hope in September. It was great to show her the sights. She said she felt like a kid, going rock hounding in the river, but I said we all do this all the time here in Hope.
I had to buy a new old car in October after I took mine in for an oil change and got that "oh, no!" phone call from the garage, something about a broken coil. I asked a friend who directed me to a friend who had his mother's car for sale. It is only one year newer than my old one, 1995, a Fort Escort station wagon, but it has less than half the km of my old one. 128,000 km, which is really good for something from the last century. My garage checked it over for me and said "Go for it!" It is starting to feel like mine. The gas tank is bigger but the mileage seems to be about the same as the old car, which is good. And I like the turquoise colour. I swore I'd never buy another black car because they just disappear in the dark. Camouflage is not the goal for defensive driving.
In November I went into Port Moody for a week to help out a friend, Marilyn, who had an operation on her foot. My car got me there and sat unmoved in the underground parking for eight days. I loved being able to walk in the city, although I did skip two days when the rain was too heavy. Did not make it down to the used book store, which is probably a good thing.
Playing, Shopping, Lunching, Shooting
I still play Scrabble with a group every Thursday and with Molly every Sunday. And way too much on computer, from a DVD I bought in Bellingham. On Wednesdays I meet for coffee at the Blue Moose and talk about "art things" and local "news." I went in to Vancouver in early December on the "Art Bus" to Granville Island. I did minimal Christmas shopping and spent some happy time snapping photos. My favourite is one of an art gallery window, Eagle Spirit. A glass eagle juxtaposed over beams looks either "soaring" or "crucified." It also has a little tattoo which says "The Keg" (backwards) under its right wing. I am still enjoying my digital camera. Playing around with the decorations, I came up with the merry winter solstice moose; he makes me smile.
I have also started attending the local genealogy club once a month. I made PowerPoints of three family histories--Hayne family, Bubar family, Bridgeman family, and one for my youngest brother Harv, his baby pictures, etc. I may participate in a presentation on "being your own best archivist" which means leaving a proper paper trail so the people three generations from now who are researching us have something to work with. Not sure what all it will include: origins, ancestors, parents, births, naming histories [why that name?], schools, certificates, employment, marriages, deaths, burial places, towns, provinces, countries, home addresses, houses, work & careers & hobbies, children and grandchildren, friends, pets, travels, newspaper notifications and public achievements, personal stories and legends. And then, what format to present it in and what to do with it after completion. It was fun doing the PowerPoints. [Zzzzzz] I found out I had a Bridgeman relative who was a prison guard and a wrecker in Cornwall 270 years ago. Wish I'd known that when I toured Cornwall in 1989. For Genealogy Club Show and Tell I took my Metis sash. I know it comes from Manitoba, circa 1880, but does anyone know whether I received it from Great Aunt Beatrice Hamilton from Golden or from Grandma Bubar from Kettle Valley?
I'm reading a novel right now which is about the same thing, documenting a life for future generations. Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson who is from Idaho which makes me consider her "local" as there are some border crossings in BC which take you directly into Idaho. Can't remember if it's Trail, Salmo? Oops, the map says Creston or Yahk. I do set myself an annual goal to try to read 52 books in the year. I'm a bit behind because one "academic" title I'm reviewing for Prairie Fire magazine took me days longer than usual. Right now I'm pushing #47 or 48. Do I adjust the goal to 50, or do I go to the library and borrow some children's books? Ted Harrison's Yukon Alphabet has been on my list for a while. Hmmm.
Well, are you still awake? I'm just starting to feel the spirit of the season. Made my famous Lemon Curd. Shot the poinsettia and played around with last year's gifts to come up with these Happy Winter Solstice Moose. Hope they make you smile too.
Greetings of the Season.
Love to you and yours.
Have a great New Year.
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