It's been ages since I've posted, and I have so much to
talk about I don't know where to start. I want to talk about
what we've done, what we're planning, and how everyone is
doing right now. Perhaps chronologically is the way to go.
When I last wrote it was mid-June. The girls were supposed
to have swimming lessons for the first two weeks of summer
vacation, and then Delphine was supposed to go to day camp
at Riverdale Farm for a week, but both things were cancelled
on account of the Toronto city workers' strike. We couldn't
spend long, lazy days at the park because the bathrooms were
closed (city workers' strike) and we couldn't take the
ferry to the Island and go to Centreville (city workers' strike)
so we tried to find fun other ways. The library remained
open through the strike, and we could go to the park for a
couple of hours at a time. We went to the ROM and the Science
Centre, and Cordelia and Delphine played with friends and neighbours.
Honestly, the three of us are pretty good at just kicking around
together. Blake joined us for some fun—one of the
perks of freelance work is that you can spend odd weekdays with
your family and make up for it by working on the weekend.
One Friday in June, Delphine hosted a t-shirt party.
She had received a "sticker club" chain letter, which
I didn't let her participate in for various pedantic reasons.
She was disappointed, but after a conversation with Blake
she decided she would host a party where each guest brings
a t-shirt (or two). At the end of the party, each guest
gets to take home a different t-shirt. Some of the guests
were perplexed, some were really into it, and one girl took
home the same t-shirts she brought, but everyone had fun
and they all went home happy.
The girls and I went on big Expedition to the lake one sunny
Tuesday. We took the bus, then the subway, and then a very
long streetcar ride all the way to Woodbine and beyond, to
the beach at Kew Gardens. The girls spent a merry morning
playing with pebbles and water, and befriended a little girl
while I chatted with her dad. We were all getting along
famously so we headed over to the playground together, then
took a walk to an ice cream shop before heading home, grimy
and exhausted, at about four in the afternoon. We ended up
getting together with that same little girl and her dad the next
week, but then they went back home to Calgary.
Just as the Toronto city workers' strike ended the girls and
I headed out to visit my mum in Saskatchewan. We were there
for two weeks, and had a grand time. The children love being
at Granny's house, where there are lots of things to look
at, and unlimited television and cookies. (Although even my
mother was getting sick of kids' TV by the end of it.)
Thanks to the indomitable Shirley, my Big River fixer, we
went to a beach at Nesslin Lake, visited a cattle farm,
and went fishing. Cordelia caught a fish and Delphine learned
how to hold a fish up to have your picture taken with it. (You
have to stick your thumb and finger into its eyeballs, which
she did with aplomb. She is not squeamish and she's quite
pragmatic about the fact that things have to die if you want
to eat them.) I caught a few fish, too. I rather enjoy
fishing. One day I'll have to try and fish around here.
I think my favourite thing in Big River, apart from the fishing,
was walking in the woods at Nesslin. We went for a walk in a
beautiful moist forest, rich with fungus and moss and berries.
The forest floor was dense with life, and made me realize how
sterile a traditional garden is, with its empty brown strips of
soil between plants. I would like a garden with the ground alive
with fungus and tiny vines and mosses.
We also got to visit a real straw bale house at Ness Creek, which
seems to be some kind of hippie retreat (with wireless internet!)
As soon as we landed in Toronto, Andy met us at the airport
to take Delphine and Cordelia to the cottage for a
few days. (Blake and I weren't invited.) A fine time was had by
all—the girls played on the beach for three days (getting
nut-brown in the process) and ate corn on the cob for supper,
while Blake and I played at being childless. We went for coffee,
we went for lunch (it was supposed to be brunch but apparently
no-one in our hard-working neighbourhood serves brunch during the
week), we saw a movie, and Morgan treated me to a pedicure. I
spent quite a lot of money on used books, as you've seen. I also
bought a tube of lip gloss and some hair dye, which was more
fun than perhaps it should have been. It's unspeakable luxury to
be able to go to a store, be it a book store or a drug store,
and spend as much time as you want browsing, considering, reading
labels and jackets, without having to hurry up and pick someone
up, or rush because the children are getting restless. Twenty
minutes considering lip gloss! Can you imagine?
We had the girls back last Friday morning, and spent the weekend
not doing much, to everyone's relief. This Monday
brought more excitement with the start of day camp. It's not
a fancy, themed camp, just a week at the child care centre
where Cordelia went to nursery school. It's all day,
though, which is the longest Cordelia has ever been in the
care of someone outside the family. Delphine has been having
a fantastic time—one of her best friends is also enrolled
in the camp—but Cordelia continues to be very sticky. She's
been a mummy's girl for at least six months now and this week
has been especially pathetic. She cries at breakfast: "I wannoo
stay wif you! I don' wannoo go to camp!" Then when I drop her
off she won't let go of me. Once I extricate myself and leave
the room she collects herself within a matter of seconds,
apparently, so I'm not concerned for her long-term mental health.
And I have to agree with her that six or seven hours is a long
time to be away from your Mummy, especially later in the day
when you start to get tired and grumpy and the organized activities
peter out. Kindergarten will be much
easier since it's only two and a half hours. That's barely enough
time to miss me.
Tomorrow is the last day of day camp, and then we have two weeks
of not-very-much before school starts. I'm not expected to buy
school supplies for either girl, and they both have plenty of
clothes, so we don't need to go shopping. We are scheduled for
trips to the optometrist and the hair salon, and I want to go
to Centreville, and see an IMAX movie at the Science Centre, before
the end of summer. Between that and catching up with friends
we haven't seen for ages, the next couple of weeks will be agreeably
busy but not frantic.