Monday, April 29, 2013

The nest just got fuller

Headed to Kingston today with the SUV to pick up Alex and the stuff he's collected over 4 years at Queens. Luckily, he had no furniture that needed to come home today, but he still managed to fill all the cargo space with bags and boxes, lamps and computer equipment. He left a few things there to bring back next week when he's there for a couple of days of work.

We had Dim Sum for lunch at a new resto on Princess Street and his housemate Jerry joined us. He'd helped out with loading the stuff and is a friendly, interesting guy with a good sense of humour.

The so-called ghetto looked pretty bad today, with trash all over various yards, furniture strewn on lawns, and porches piled high with stuff coming in or going out of the houses. I feel sorry for "regular" residents of the city, and by that I mean non-students, who have to put up with this unsightly mess. It's the end of the regular school year as well as garbage night, so it's pretty crazy.

I could be looking at the past through rose-colored glasses, but I have no recollection of this kind of behavior back in the early 80s when I lived there. First, I don't think many of us had that much stuff. We sold, donated, or gave away things we no longer wanted. We bagged what little trash we generated. The disrespect shown for the city and other residents is appalling.

It's great to have Alex here for the summer. He's starting his graduate program next month and is looking for work that will permit him to move out on his own. The four of us had dinner together and discussed possibilities for a summer vacation together. My boys are now 21 and 18, men really. It's stunning to live together and realize that we produced them.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

From the divine to the devil

The Divine

I used to publish a Sunday Choral Report detailing what we sang in my church choir. When we returned to Canada five years ago, we were lucky to land in a parish with a fabulous organist and traditional choir at the 11:30 am mass. We rehearse from 10-11:15 on Sunday mornings in preparation for that mass, so there's no weeknight rehearsal which is best for a choir made up of  professional singers and musicians (who sing)  as well as strong amateurs.

Our organist/director has a love of the Renaissance so we often sing from that era. This  morning was no exception. For the offertory we sang Nigra sum sed formosa filia Jerusalem by Tomás Luis de Victoria. The first line of text (originally from Song of Solomon) replaces the singular filliae (daughters) with filia (daughter) pointing to Mary. The full (English) text is as follows:
I am a dark-skinned but comely daughter of Jerusalem,
Therefore have I pleased the Lord
And he has brought me into his chamber
And said to me: arise my love and come.
For now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone,
The flowers have appeared in our land,
The time of pruning is come.
Chanticleer performs it here.

During Communion we sang Homo Quidam in a setting by Jean Mouton. I cannot find a recording to share, but the text is translated as:
Certain man organized a great dinner and sent his servant at the hour of dinner so that he said to his guests to come: Because everything is prepared.Come to eat my bread and to drink my wine that I prepared for you.
Quite an appropriate Communion hymn.

The Devil

After mass, I travelled south to my my monthly book club meeting where we shared our thoughts onGone Girlby Gillian Flynn. [No spoilers follow.] A psychological thriller featuring an arguably evil protagonist, I personally found it both hard to put down and necessary to set aside as the tension rose. Themes of marriage, life in the big-city vs. small-town South, the fate of print journalism and the impact of the 24-hour news cycle and quest to be first with "the" story were all present and considered by the group. While the book was rated on average 8/10 with a small range (7-9), differences of opinion were expressed about the protagonist's mental state and motivation for the events detailed in the novel. We all loved her plotting (with some debate over how much closure the ending achieved), her sense of humour, and agreed that we'd all see the movie together when it comes out. We had one new member today, and a couple of usual members were absent, but the discussion was excellent. It topped the Best Pick for 2012list.

On my drive home, I considered my descent from the divinity of the mass and the music we sang, to the discussion of evil and how it comes into a person, a marriage, and a world. On arriving home, I was greeted by my husband sitting on the porch with the papers, a whisky, and a cigar, the first time we've had our furniture out on the deck this spring. Life in the middle seems pretty ok.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

New Name and Home!

New Name

After (sort of) randomly deciding to restart blogging yesterday, I chose Domestic Bliss: The Empty Nest as my new blog name. A bit of a misnomer because the nest will in fact be getting fuller over the summer but, you know, I'm working with that goal in mind. I've read that introverts don't suffer from empty nest syndrome and I'm pretty sure that despite how much I adore my boys, life will be quieter (and less messy) when they're gone.

The blog has a new, possibly likely temporary look. It's sitting in a different place, but that shouldn't make a substantive difference to my readers, if there are any left.

Skip down to next section if you're not interested in the nuts and bolts of blogging.

I was greeted with the news that my blogging platform (Posterous) would be no more after April 30. Posterous was bought by Twitter a while ago so I guess this was inevitable, but I hadn't been blogging and thought no more about it.

Until they told me that I had to back up my blog by April 30 or it would be gone.

I had used the Google platform Blogger in the past and that archive was still around, so I decided to simply move my Posterous blog back to Blogger and integrate it with my old blog

Except that it wasn't that simple.

After some extensive googling, it seemed that the only reasonable way to do this was to move my Posterous blog to Wordpress, and then from there to Blogger. This involved setting up a (temporary) Wordpress blog, various stages of importing and exporting files, and then presto! Oh wait. I had to fiddle with my domain host and make sure that the new blog had the same name. But by just after midnight last night, I had it.

Start reading here, if you left me there for a moment.

Bottom line for you, my readers. If you were receiving emailed posts from my old blog, you will need to sign up again (see box to the right). Except for my mom. I took the liberty of signing her up myself.

Some of my posts will duplicate material that I post on Facebook. I have some readers who have not joined the borg Facebook so I like to share with them too. Feel free to delete without reading.

If you just liked to visit, my blog address has stayed the same:

If you want to add me to your feed reader, you know what to do.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Seven Quick Takes Friday


1. Oh look! My computer remembered my password to log into my blogging site. It's been a long time, but perhaps spring is pushing me to get back in the game, so to speak.

2. It will be a busy summer. Boy number one has written his last undergraduate exam and will be coming home from Queens next week. Boy number two is aching to get outta town, but he has to finish grade 12. He'll be at McGill in the music performance program next year, and already has an apartment and a roomate. So we'll have them both through the summer no doubt, and that may try our patience at times, but we're hoping for payback of an empty nest in the fall.

3. I need to get my ass in shape. Seriously. I may be at a personal worst weight-wise at the moment. Am considering getting a hipster city bike if I can find a decent one for a reasonable price. Must also ramp up the walking. With no dog in the house, I have little motivation to get outside and just cruise the 'hood. 

4. I have a couple of house projects launching: we are in the process of swapping my office and our dining room. The latter will go into half the living room, and the former will now be in the room off our kitchen. I want to make these pseudo-built-in bookcases to fit one wall:



We also need a new mattress, which is the best time to upgrade to a king bed. Every time we sleep in a king in a hotel, we remark how much better sleep we get. I've found the mattress I think I want and now need to find a bed to put it on. I kinda like this one:

Source: via Janet on Pinterest


5. I picked up this book when I was placing an amazon order the other day. It was written in 1959 and I'd seen a review of it somewhere. It's rather retro, but still has some excellent advice for women today.

6. I learned how to create a form using Google Drive this week. My book club needed to vote on a book for our summer "big read" and I had the feeling that previous in-person discussions were kind of difficult to manage. The votes are coming in and it looks like the chosen book will be.... not telling! I'll announce it at our meeting this Sunday.

7. If you're a friend on Facebook, you've probably seen some of these items already. I'll need to figure out how to keep the blog fresh with new content, but this is at least a start. Sorry it's been so long.