I conducted my sixth rite of passage ceremony of the year this past weekend. (The current score is two weddings, four baby blessing/namings, if you’re filling in a scorecard.) It was a particularly meaningful one, as it united two dear friends whom I’ve known for a combined total of about forty years in front of 120 people, and it was beautiful in several respects. The wedding party (and some of the guests) chose a medieval/Renaissance theme for their dress, and the effect was very pretty. We told the boy everyone was dressing like knights and ladies and he got very excited, so I found him a small basic shirt and HRH made him a wooden sword and shield that he painted and varnished, which were a huge success. Had we more time, I would have tracked down some Buchanan tartan fabric and made him a tiny kilt to match HRH’s, but my local fabric shop yielded nothing but every other tartan under the sun and I didn’t have time to go into town to track some down.
It was really special to conduct a ceremony for an audience of that size. The compliments we got on the ceremony were very gratifying, and went beautifully apart from one or two minor hiccoughs. I’m used to being in the north for a ceremony, so of course west is to my right, yes? Except I was in the west, so south was accidentally designated west, and west was, well, west prime. I believe the two pieces of music for the attendants’ entrance and the bride’s entrance were switched, but it worked very well. And in general, it was just wonderful to be able to priestess such a special ceremony for people whom I love dearly, and then to see so many old friends and spend time with people I don’t see often enough. Also, it’s always great to see one’s friends all dressed up. The boy had a wonderful time running around with a small army of children, too.
There was car drama this weekend, too. We had a nor’easter hit Friday afternoon and evening, and our car chose that particular time to die. The battery, we discovered, was the original one, and no longer held enough of a charge to turn the engine over, even when boosted by another car. What was curious was that all the accessories such as headlights and radio still worked. Fortunately HRH’s parents were on their way over to stay with the boy while HRH and I went to the wedding rehearsal, so they rescued us from sitting in a parking lot in the storm and took us home, then helped call a tow truck for the car (who hooked its leads right up to the engine in the back and kicked it into operation, though it tried to die whenever HRH slowed for a stop sign). HRH bought a new battery but we didn’t have time to install it before we left (very late!) for the rehearsal in my inlaws’ car. The next morning HRH installed the new battery and everything worked perfectly. As the tow driver had said, seven years on the original battery is a pretty darn good run. As much as it played havoc with our schedule this weekend (we had to cancel the boy’s follow-up appointment with the behavioural psychologist researchers at McGill on Saturday morning, which disappointed both of us) we’re very, very thankful that the battery didn’t decide to roll over and die on our Thanksgiving drive either to or home from southern Ontario.
I finished my proposed table of contents and a sample chapter for a book project my editor asked if I’d be interested in writing, and she likes it, so we shall see if it’s ultimately approved. It’s a relatively short book that would be due in May of 2011, it’s a topic that interests me, and it would require research, something I love to do. I’m in the home stretch of the repurposing project as well, due on November 15.
The boy is doing splendidly. School is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do, get him excited about discovering new things and giving him tools to do it on his own. He sounds words out everywhere, and makes lists of words that begin with the same sound. His drawing skills have gone up a level or two as well; he uses a pencil to draw an outline and then colours it in carefully, and his art is getting ever more recognisable. He loves taking different things and mashing them together to make something new and creative, and that goes for three-dimensional building toys as well as two-dimensional art. He’s coming home with poems and songs, French words and rhymes, and it’s wonderful. He has even done two book reports; the kindergarten version, anyway, consisting of drawing a map of the places in the story or a picture of something he learned from the book. These reports are kept, and they eventually form a record of all the books the child reads from the school library. He loves school, and I love that he does.
I’ve arranged to buy a friend’s used iPhone in January. It just makes sense. It will replace my iPod, my cellphone, I will be able to make voice memos with it (something I dearly wish I could do easily while driving), record cello lessons and practice sessions with it (something I can’t do with my first-generation iPod Touch), play podcasts away from the computer without having to find speakers to wire into it (again, the first-gen Touch doesn’t have a built-in speaker), and take decent photographs with it. All I need is a pay-as-you-go voice plan, because I work at home and use wifi, so a data plan would be pointless. It means I don’t have to buy a Mac-compatible microphone that the Mini will recognise or a new camera (I may want a better camera than the iPhone eventually, of course, but it will serve my basic needs as well as or better than the eight-year-old borrowed camera I’m using now, and the battery will last longer!).
What else? I think of things to journal about now and again while I’m doing stuff but don’t have a chance to make a note before I forget them.
It’s getting colder and colder. I got an earache from the wind at the boy’s bus stop the other day, so I am knitting a hooded scarf. The house seems to be holding heat pretty well. I’m about halfway through spinning the 8oz of wood violet-coloured fibre, and I’d better get a move on if I’m returning Lady Jane in a week and a half. I pulled out a piece of fabric I’d woven early this year and laid it over the middle of the white chair in the living room, because it’s getting coffee drips and crayon marks on it as well as general dirt from cats and people, and I quite like how it looks. So does HRH, who, when I said I would weave a wider piece to cover the whole chair, suggested I weave another matching one to go on the settee. (The sheepskin is currently on it, and Nixie won’t touch it; she stretches and contorts herself to step around it. Odd little cat.) Good thing the yarn is a Zellers standby. This time, though, I’ll use the same yarn for warp and weft and weave it on the 32″ rigid heddle loom, and make the weave a bit less loose.
I had a cello lesson today, and orchestra is tonight. I’ve tried to avoid driving out there twice in one day, but it’s an exception; my teacher’s substitute schedule went haywire. Cello is going all right. I feel like I’m on the verge of grasping something and I can’t quite do it, or even put it into words. I feel as if I’m juggling a trillion tiny balls — rebalancing bow hand, rebalancing left hand, minute shifts with thumb, practising vibrato, minute movements of the left elbow to readjust left hand, large movements with right elbow to propel the bow while not allowing the wrist to get the upper hand (so to speak), minute adjustments to extensions from one position to another… and then handling subtle dynamics, being musical, and precise with phrasing on top of it all. Sometimes I almost get it. Then I have to think about one of the balls and a bunch of others drop. I”m trying to get into the habit of playing the cello first thing in the morning before turning the computer on to handle correspondence and news, and it’s tricky because it takes my hands and fine motor skills a while to rev up in the morning; always has.
Okay; that’s all I’ve got right now. Time to go meet the boy.