The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

27 February 2013


Hello Dear Reader, if there are any of you left.  Circumstances beyond my control are putting me on an internet fast, and I miss you greatly.

Some of you know that I have moved, and am now in Lake Town. It is lovely. The move itself, despite all my anxious frettings went remarkably well, thanks to other people and not at all to myself. Crazy things kept happening, such as a picture falling to the ground, wrecking the frame but the glass remaining intact. And a set of bookshelves tumbling down, nearly on my head and narrowly missing the computer. So books are still in boxes, but that shall be resolved soon.

The new job is satisfying and challenging and busy.  Incredibly busy. But that is good, too.  Do you need a book borrowed from another library?  I'm your gal!  Have some new books to be catalogued? Send them my way! Would you like a new membership, or to perhaps borrow a few DVDs?  I can do that, too.

I have realized I am incredibly blessed, and not because I have done a single thing to deserve God's great generosity. I am humbled by all that has been done for me these last few months. I asked, and have been given in full measure. All my life I have struggled with accepting that God is Love, that He is merciful, and that it is not His desire to wear me down for my own good. He loves me because He does, and because I am.  That's all.

Technical glitches continue - first several mixups have caused a delay (of three weeks!) to the internet connection, and now my poor old laptop has given up entirely. It will be a while until I can replace it. So, all this to say, I don't know when I'll be able to return to regular posting. But I think of you often, especially in these days leading up to the end of the pontificate of our beloved Benedict XVI.  May God bless him, and grant him rest.

15 February 2013

Last time

Here it is, the last I will write from New Town. At this very moment I should be carting bins and bags downstairs to the car but it feels like this is a moment for sitting and remembering. Bins and bags can wait for tomorrow when the strong men are here.

I remember the flurry of being offered the job at New Town Public and finding this apartment. The details are hazy from this distance of eight months, but it happened so quickly that I didn't have time to pack - my family threw my belongings in the back of the van and my heroic brother-in-law carried everything up The Scary Fire escape himself.

I was utterly charmed by this flat. It has gobs of character, and despite the hole in the ceiling where a raccoon once came through, the electrical sockets that gave off fireworks when I tried to use them, the hootin' and hollerin' neighbour and his dog Harley, the world's loudest creaky floor just in front of the kitchen sink, the twenty-two shaky steps of the fire escape, and the radiators I could never get really clean nor regulate the heat from... it has been a good home. (Especially once my mom came to visit and magically transformed the place by rearranging the furniture) All manner of inconveniences can be ignored for a high ceiling and proximity to work.

I know this New Town chapter in my life has been for a purpose. I can see all the ways I failed (I won't bore you with the details) but much has been learned here, as well. Professionally, I gained a great deal in knowledge, experience, and confidence.  Personally, I learned a lot about myself, and oddly during a time when I was less introspective than usual. I went well out of my way to circumvent quiet time with God, and He found me anyway.

This Lake Town opportunity - the job, the apartment, the potential of a wonderful way of life - are pure gift from God, not any kind of reward for being a good person, a good Catholic, or deserving in any way. It has been given to me because He wills it, because He loves me.  I have learned that His love is not dependent on my good behaviour, attentiveness, or virtue. That is a humbling realization.

So. Tonight I sleep with The Nuts, and tomorrow brave BIL will carry everything back down those twenty-two shaky steps (please God, the weather will allow) and I will close the door on New Town.  For the blessing it has been, I am grateful.

For those of you who remember the CTKS posts (Cute things kids say... the kids being Numbers One through Five Nephews, aka The Peanuts) I will be spending more time with them again, and will be able to document the wonderful and silly things they get up to.

Two weeks ago when I was sleeping over, I brought pizza for supper.  Four, very earnestly leaning across the table in my direction said, "Tantooya (my Jedi name), you used to be awesome, and you still are awesome!"

The next morning at breakfast, Four was rolling his eyes at me about how his little brother always followed him around. "Every time I look, there's Five" he said.  "He loves you" I told him. Five, who has an endearing way of rubbing the top of his head on you to signal affection, leaned over and pushed his head into his brother's shoulder, and said, "It's because you're hot.  I love you because you're hot."

Signing off from New Town,

14 February 2013

What a difference a typo makes

It should have been:
Fantastic Four : rise of the silver surfer

I typed:
Fantastic Four : rise of the silver surger

One is a hip and cool super hero on a surf board.
The other sounds like an old sewing machine.

Oh, and when I wrote the date on today's stats log:

Dec. 14  Happy Valentine's day!

11 February 2013

Holiness in service

You have served us well, Holy Father.  I trust that God is leading and you are listening.  May our heavenly Father bless you and keep you with us a little longer.

09 February 2013


We’ve been Nemoed. Why they named the biggest winter storm in five years after the cutest animated fish you ever did see, I don’t understand, but so it is. Snow fell in tremendous amounts over night. I must admit I was scoffing the meteorologists who seem to be always predicting apocalyptic weather events. I laughed with friends that Toronto would probably call out the army again to help them dig out. It’s snow, people! We’re in Canada!  I changed my tune when I blithely thought I’d pop out to get some packing tape late in the morning, figuring the plows would have been out and the roads would be fine. I’ve lived in Ottawa. I know about winter driving. When I landed knee deep in the snow drift that once was the sidewalk, I realized my weatherman-directed derision was very misplaced. We were, in fact, experiencing a bona fide winter weather event.

 And just like that I felt like a kid again. I became giddy and wanted to share the experience with other people. What is it about deep snow that cries out for frolicking? I walked as far as I could in an upright position, wiping snowflakes out of my eyes, grinning like a mad thing at the man who owns the hair salon across the street, pretending he could win the battle for a clear sidewalk against the falling snow. His neighbour the chiropractor brought over another shovel and the two of them went at it. Up and down the street I saw people stop to chat, acknowledging the magnitude of what was happening around us. There at the crosswalk a young man helped a younger boy over the snow bank.

 I think these people all felt a kinship of survival. Maybe that element of shared experience broke through the walls of protective isolation so many people build up, particularly in cities. An occurrence out of the ordinary opened their eyes to the world around them. Many were inspired to reach out, to connect, to offer assistance. And while all that was going on, the world was beautiful, and sparkly, and still.

 You know the moral of this story, don’t you? We may be dealt a Nemo now and then but if we dig deep something wonderful can come of it.

08 February 2013

All apologies

Well, it seems the forecasters were right this time: it did snow. A lot. Usually their hysterical predictions of apocalyptic storms are grossly exaggerated (this is going to be the winter storm of 2013!!!!), network news folks look silly sending reporters out to cover a few snowflakes falling in a business-as-usual city centre. Canadians in Ontario not from Toronto tend to laugh at memories of the winter when Toronto called in the army to dig them out from what was a pretty ordinary snowfall. Well, ordinary for Canadians in Ontario not from Toronto. We don't need to go into why Torontonians are special. This time, however, they - the weather predictors - were quite right and then some. Turns out the folks who decided last night to close shop for today were right on the money and ahead of the game. Those people were much luckier than my former colleagues at the New Town library who laboured to get themselves through the snow, safely to work, only to sit in an empty library because the other citizens of New Town were smart enough to stay home. The library closed belatedly just after noon, sending the employees back out onto barely cleared streets while it was still snowing heavily. I was going to go out myself at one point, but as I stepped off the front porch into a knee-high drift of snow, I realized I wasn't going to go far. Public advisers were quite right when they urged people to forego all unnecessary travel for the day. Packing tape isn't quite essential, so I struggled back through the snow to the front door, and have been holed up where it's nice and warm ever since. Apparently something like 90 cms of snow are expected on the East Coast. I'm not at all sorry I no longer live there. I'm a short person - 90 cms of snow barely leaves me room to breathe! Anyway. The world looks beautiful covered in snow in the way that women look beautiful by candlelight. All sounds are muted imparting a sense of peacefulness. There is a feeling of camaraderie among fellow survivors making strangers friendly and helpful with one another. Life gets stripped back to the essentials, and I realize how very blessed I am to have food in the cupboards, a roof over my head, and heat pumping through the radiators. I'm also grateful that my slothfulness in packing means I still have hats and mitts and a pan or two here! Here's a little something for your musical enjoyment as the snow falls

07 February 2013

What I know so far

After spending one night in the new flat in Lake Town (on a mattress on the floor, kindly provided by The Dutch Couple (my landlords)) here is what I can say with confidence I know so far:

a) I am not young anymore.  Sleeping on the floor is no longer fun, and is, in fact, barely survivable.  I am typing this in a hunched over position with my head roughly on level with my elbows and very stiff hips.

b) The washing machine is not whisper silent.

c) It is possible for a furnace to sound like the Mission To Mars about to take off.

d) Tiles are very cold on bare feet first thing in the morning.

e) It is quiet in the country.  Very quiet. Though the New Town flat has my comfy bed, it also has Le Grand Highway right outside its very flimsy windows. The New Town flat is not quiet.

f) It is pretty fabulous walking to work in five minutes.

We're expecting a monster of a storm, apparently.  Here's hoping I manage to get home tonight.  Once I figure out which home I'm supposed to go to.
Take care of yourself, dear Reader.  Stay warm, stay safe.

05 February 2013

The disregard of timekeeping

Happy Monday!

Yes, yes, I know it is actually Tuesday, but if Monday means the first day of work, and "I don't like Mondays" and "Monday blues" then for me, Tuesday is Monday. It is really lovely having Mondays off, but inevitably, return to work I must, and Tuesday is that day.

You've noticed too, haven't you, that time at the weekend zips by at the speed of sound, while when sitting in the walk-in clinic waiting to see a doctor in a room full of germ infested people it positively creeps by? Also, those few seconds before the elevator starts moving, or supper is reheating in the microwave take forever, while the 'just ten more minutes' of reading a book before getting ready in the morning not only fly by, but multiply, turning into twenty while you weren't paying attention.

I tend to be a clock watcher.  Not as compulsively as I used to be. I used to have to always know the time and I had weird quirks about timing things and how I couldn't start a task at awkward times, like 10:13 but would rather wait for 10:15.  The fives were ok, but I preferred the quarter hours. Fortunately that oddness is behind me, but I do still obsess a little about how long doing a thing takes, the result being I rush and multitask.

Lent is just around the corner - the corner being next weekend. This time next week we will be eating pancakes and saying fond farewells to chocolate. Alongside the usual fasting from treats, I am going to try to fast from timekeeping. I want to be able to really sink into reading and writing, and particularly praying. I want to declutter my daily activities, weed out the time suckers, and keep only those things that bring peace, creativity, and contentment. (This means, basically, no more endless hours spent online with inane surfing or watching tv shows).  This year the beginning of Lent coincides with Le Grand Move, both of which should conspire to help me break bad old habits and establish new routines, new priorities. During my time here in New Town, my interior life has become jangled and cluttered. This Lent, will be about reclamation.

I shall be practising the disregard of timekeeping.

03 February 2013

Attention must be paid

Let us take a moment to reflect on, and honour the passing of the penny.

The Canadian penny is no more.  As of Monday February 4, 2013, the penny is no longer in circulation. Prices will be rounded up or down to the nearest nickel (for as long as we have nickels). Here's hoping we all remember the principles of rounding we learned back in grade 3: when do you round up, and when do you round down?

I will miss the little maple leafed-coin.  It feels particularly poignant because I do not like the new $20 bill, and if that is the way all our money is going to go, it really will be 'funny money' as it's been called in other countries. I mourn our money of yore.  I miss yore.

I'd pay a pretty penny for yore.