Summer has brought remarkable profusion for a first year garden (and this was back in July!)
What a wonderful roller-coaster ride! New experiences come thick and fast and I often don’t get around to blogging – the living is more important! So hear is a summary of recent highlights:
- Nuit Blanche – an amazing Toronto-wide all-night street party based around weird and wonderful happenings (see my other blog, Passage to Joy, for our impressions).
- Our first Thanksgiving – we were very busy working on our garden and deck, but still managed to celebrate with a walk amidst the fall foliage (very much part of the custom here) and the traditional turkey (sweet potatoes with maple syrup, topped with candied pecans will definitely be adopted for future years), followed by pumpkin pie (we prefer butter tarts, another Canadian sweet treat). In Canada, Thanksgiving is earlier than in the US (beginning of October) and relates very closely to harvest festival.
- Our ‘Canniversary’ – one whole year in Canada (and only two more before we can apply to become citizens). We celebrated with a party for over 30 of our friends. Even though it was October, we were able to sit outside on our newly completed deck and begin to have a sense of our back yard as the garden it will become.
- Halloween Canadian style – although we were here last year, we were still in B&B accommodation and didn’t really experience Halloween. Ours is a young neighbourhood, so it swarmed with small and not so small people in strange costumes, not all of them scary (a football field stands out!). We hung out with our neighbours at the front of our house, enjoying the spectacle and dispensing candy (ours ran out way too soon – we’ll know better next year, though one young friend spent $120 and still didn’t have enough!). Joining in the spirit, Paul fashioned an expert Jack O’Lantern whilst I delved into the traditions of Samhain to create an incarnation of the blue faced crone for our door.
Halloween 2010 - based on Samhain traditions, I created the mask to represent one manifestation of the crone connected to cutting away those things you no longer need. Halloween 2010 - based on Samhain traditions, I created the mask to represent one manifestation of the crone connected to cutting away those things you no longer need. Halloween 2010 - Jack O'Lantern
- CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) Conference & Zoomer Show – I volunteered for both of these as a way of developing links within the field of re-visioning aging (Paul joined me at the Zoomer Show). I was given the key role of presenter liaison at the Conference and a similar role on the activity stage at the conference (I will be writing these up shortly!). The events are produced by the same organization as IdeaCity and the conference in particular was similarly inspirational.
- This week, our first frosts of this winter; the grey-green of the grass lit up by the blaze of fall trees in the hazy morning glow took my breath away!
Coming soon . . .
- Winter – in an El Nino year, rumor has it that we may be in for a particularly cold and snowy winter. The first flurries are expected in Toronto tonight. We are very glad we had arranged for our snow-tires to go onto our car this week and are looking forward to getting our skates on . . . ! I wonder how we will feel by April?
I spent last weekend creating a front garden, doing all the planting, following a whirlwind week of landscaping by the professionals – lots of rocks!
Some thirty friends, neighbours and acquaintances (plus small children) warmed our first Canadian home by their presence on Friday evening.
We were thoroughly spoiled, not just with bottles of wine but with a number of more personal gifts – totally unexpected and heartwarming. Paul’s Tyco colleagues live at some distance, so didn’t make it, but we were taken completely by surprise by the appearance of an ‘Edible Arrangement’ from them on our doorstep, a lovely gesture which we much appreciated. It made a great addition to the spread of finger foods I’d prepared. I’ve never really done this kind of food before, more usually offering a full buffet, but received good reviews!
The party ran from 6pm, as we know many of our neighbours have young children – till 8 or so, there was a pleasant pandemonium! It was an interesting experience to open the door to one or two people we had never met (we invited all our closest neighbours in our street, as well as a couple who had contacted us by e-mail to welcome us), but it worked well. We were also really pleased to be able in some small way to say thank you to the many people who have been so supportive during our first few months.
As often happens, a smaller group of closer friends stayed on, with the party winding down by around 11.30. This was perfect, as Paul had an early start to go to PodCamp on Saturday morning (a podcasting and social media conference). And we also had a party to go to in the evening (champagne cocktails to chase away the ‘winter blahs’), as well as a gala opening at a friend’s gallery – busy days!
The last month; hard slog (too many late nights to mention) and the pleasure of seeing a house begin to become a home. Unpacking is sometimes tedious, sometimes joyous, occasionally sad (one smashed pot). I carried every book we own up two flights of stairs!
There is much more we hope to do in the next few months and other things we would like to do if we stay long enough, but we do now have a comfortable home. As we did not significantly change the decor of our last home over the last 15 years or so, I am enjoying the sense of evolution in creating a new space for our possessions that reflects the people we have become but also nods at where we have come from.