Monday, 8 November 2010

Lazy Weekend

I have done everything possible to avoid writing this weekend.  I hate my Nanowrimo novel attempt this year.  I have decided to stop and simply write short travel pieces instead.

So, how did I manage to procrastinate this weekend?

I read a good bit of Great Maria by Cecilia Holland. It is an historical romance (all history should be written this way) about a woman who lived in France during the era of Christian knights fighting the Saracens.  Maria is the focal point of the novel and is a fully realized character.  We see the woman, the wife and the mother, but we also understand the time and place through her story.  I found the juxtaposition of cruelty and kindness; of harshness and gentleness, of strength and weakness most striking.  All the important characters are very believable partly because Holland shows how these extremes of human nature co-exist in them.  The setting brings out the extremes more clearly than a modern day environment would, but  of course  people today are equally complex and contradictory, just more sophisticated, and therefore better able to mask their true natures.

On Saturday I had the underside of my car oiled. I was delighted to learn that despite the filthiness of the vehicle, the old girl is still pretty rust-free.  Next summer Denis will do a thorough cleaning ... steam and shampoo ... before oiling.

I took Kenya for a long walk while the job was being done.  Hadn't been to that area for a long time.  Lots of memories of walking dogs and kids there.

Kenya and I walked here daily, but the walks have not been as energetic as they usually are, because I have been forced to keep her leashed.  When hunting season ends next weekend, it will be a relief for all of us ... the dogs which must be restricted, the humans who don't dare walk in the woods, and the deer which are constantly being harried.

I unpacked the pieces of a Muskoka chair kit and then wondered whether I really wanted to attempt putting it together or whether I should paint it first.  After checking with a friend who will likely do the actual construction for me, I decided to paint the pieces..  That is how I will avoid writing next week!  It will be good to get back to painting furniture again.

And I watched three movies ...

On Friday it was Coming Home  (the sexiest movie I have ever seen ... one steamy scene in the 2 hours and 19 minutes ... and that between Jon Voight, a man who returned from Vietnam dead from the waist down and the woman he loved played by Jane Fonda..) The other two hours were filled with compassion, empathy, love and laughter. 

On Saturday, I watched The Young Victoria, a very different love story. 

Tonight I watched The Queen, a portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II at the time of Diana's death.  The contrast between Elizabeth and Victoria was remarkable.  Elizabeth was about my age and had been reigning since she was not much older than the young Victoria.. Both women were vulnerable, but Victoria had yet to learn to hide her vulnerability beneath an iron exterior.  Both were bound by the restrictions of rank. Both had prince consorts, but, oh how much more human and humane Albert was than Philip.  Many of the differences  between the two women were the result of  the times and circumstances, I suppose, but also of the disparity in their  ages.  Elizabeth had carried her burden most of her life and her character had been fashioned by her responsibilities and disappointments, whereas Victoria had still to experience life and loss.

I also tidied up my catalogue of films and the actual shelves where they are kept.

And I played a bit with the format of this blog.

I moved the feeders around and established a little centre for the squirrels where I placed pecans.  When I looked out later, the nuthatches, chickadees, and sparrows were darting from the woods to the line and the feeders.  Two grey squirrels and a red squirrel were scrounging around on the ground cleaning up the mess left earlier.  And the table was alive with blue jays.  The nuts had disappeared.

A weekend filled  to the brim with  the mundane  but at least I have extricated myself from a thirty day time waster which was giving me no pleasure or satisfaction at all.


Barbara Carlson said...

I had hoped for the shedding of the writing straightjacket you had inexplicably put yourself in
(easier in the end that you probably thought it would be).

Like the new photo header a lot. Life out of death, eh?

Fauna in the winter has an urgency to it. John is painting in the woods near Mer Bleue and the chickadees are now fighting to get onto John's hand to take seeds. In the warm weather they politely took turns. When he leaves at day's end they follow him out to the parking lot, looking baleful he says.

The area's red squirrel has finally -- after many weeks -- figured out that the nuts (in their shells) that John has been lobbing to him are food! Esp. (a clue?) since the blue jays instantly swept down and carted them off, leaving the red squirrel watching in bewilderment.

The chipmonks have cleverly figured out the source of the nuts and go right down into the big bag to get them, occasionally frantically looking for a way out through the clear plastic, their little faces pressed against it.

It is all so Dr. Doolittle. John is surrounded with woodland creatures -- with birds on his brush, his palette, his hat, his hands. He loves it.

Oma said...

I am relieved too, Barbara ... and loved your story about John and Mer Bleu ... When I lived in Cumberland, I used to love cross country skiing there because the place was alive with chickadees. The jays and woodpeckers are more impressive birds, but I like the small, fearless, friendly nuthatches and chickadees that buzz me as I feed them. Nuthatches have racing stripes. Did you know?

Barbara Carlson said...

(But then I don't get out much.I have to rely
on Benn the Intrepid.)

kingmisha said...

Here in my corner of the world I spent the afternoon putting up the winter feeders with suet, nuts and seed. I plugged in my birdbath heater so they can have a drink when everything around them is frozen. I pulled the last annuals out of the pond and clipped down my dead perennials. I am no longer feeding my Koi because food can kill them below 55F. I watched them swimming around in a school - three generations of fish - parents, teens (yearlings) and this year's babies. The pond de-icer is already installed to keep the water from freezing. I have yet to install the bubbler and put the screening over the top. Then they will be bedded down for the winter and I pray for no prolonged power failures through the cold months. The frogs have already gone into hiding under the bottom mud. Sleep well dear pond.

Switching to Standard Time is avery hard time for me. I suffer ever more acutely from seasonal depression, in spite of anti-depressants, daylight bulbs, and vitamin D. I really wish I could be a bear, eat large amounts of comfort food, den up and go to sleep for the winter.

But I'm not a bear so I'll just have to keep myself busy and cope.

Oma said...

Oh, kingmisha ... I enjoyed your description of preparing the pond for winter and readying yourself for winter bird feeding.

I am sorry about how the darkest days affect you ... I feel more down now too ... we will both have to avoid fattening up for hibernation and keep busy I suspect. You with your clay ... me with my paint pots.

And maybe we should plan for a get together soon?

kingmisha said...

I had expected you in late September or October. When that didn't happen, I put it out of my mind. You are more than welcome any time. The only time I'll be away is when Willy and I go to Maya's and Glenn's place for the holidays.