- It's the late Iris Murdoch's 92nd birthday, and I happen to be reading her novel The Nice and The Good. First published in 1968, it's a tale of a complex household in Dorset that includes a married couple (Octavian and Kate), their two children, an elderly uncle, a divorced friend of the wife whose ex-husband works for Octavian and her twins, a widow (friend of Kate) and her son, a housekeeper, a refugee scholar who lives in a cottage on the property, a cat and a dog. Also in the cast of characters is a friend of Octavians who is in love with Kate, said friend's girlfriend who he is trying to break up with, his manservant, and an ex-lover of the divorced friend. There is also a suicide (murder?) victim who works for Octavian. I had to make a little cheat sheet about 50 pages in to the novel to keep track of who everyone is. But it's a good read and I'm about halfway through.
- Our 18-year-old nephew, Marc, from France has been here for three weeks. He did two weeks of English language lessons at a terrific school here in Toronto, had done the requisite trip to Niagara Falls, spent a weekend at our cottage, and has hung out with our boys in the evenings when they're at home. He's really easy-going and has been a pleasure to host.This weekend will include the new Harry Potter movie and a day at Canada's Wonderland with Alex. He heads home on Tuesday with (I hope) great memories. We've been encouraging him to consider University of Waterloo for graduate studies (he's in Computer Engineering) and I know he'd love to return to Canada at some point. (Photo is Marc and Z at....guess where?)
- We've finally hired a cleaner to deal with our house as I have simply not been up to the task. The "deep" clean was thie past Monday and apparently we had a remarkable amount of dust throughout our house (she feigns surprise). Gleaming Glenn will be back each Monday to keep us sparkling and it will let me focus on decluttering.
- Z was a witness before the CRTC earlier this week at the Usage Based Billing (UBB) consultation. He'll be back next week for more. It brings back my old days at Bell when I was involved in a number of regulatory proceedings, responding to interrogatories and preparing witness testimony and backup. I loved that work and have enjoyed discussing the current hearings. I've been following the twitter feed with much interest (#ubb for any geeks out there.) We're such romantics!
- I've started a family history wiki, private to family members at the moment, where I am trying to compile data, photos, stories, etc about my ancestors. If you're in my family and would like an invite, drop me a line. It's still in a fairly preliminary stage and it's my first time creating a wiki (I'm using the free version of PBworks) but I think it has great potential to become a repository of multiple types of information and a way to pass on the family history after I'm gone.
- Michael is taking Grade 11 Physics at summer school to free up a period in his schedule next year to permit more practice time. He's half-way through the course and it's going very well. A tiring exercise (five days a week, 8:45-3:30), he gets a full year credit in less than a month and, frankly, keeps him occupied through the summer. The teacher is excellent and he seems very focussed on doing a great job. He'll have three weeks break, and then two weeks of music camp to top off his summer, a week of jazz with his trombone and a week of band/classical with his tuba.
- One of the big results of our visit from Gleaming Glenn was his tidying of the boys rooms. Michael was so happy, that he did a whole bunch of additional decluttering and has decided to move all his instruments upstairs, along with the digital piano. He asked for a smaller desk so that this could be accomodated, and we found one at Value Village for $14.99 (less 20% student discount):
It is basically particleboard with an ugly faux wood-grain base. Two cans of RustOleum Universal spray paint (black) yielded this:
Another few hours to cure and it'll grace his room.
Read more Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary.