Happy 150th Canada

July 1, 2017 at 6:15 am (Life, Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I first realized that Canada was a country and that I was Canadian when I was seven years old.

That was in 1967. Canada was turning 100. I was seven and in First Grade and my older sister, who was eleven, really wanted to go to Expo ’67 in Montreal. She was threatening to hitch-hike. (Spoiler Alert) – She didn’t get to go – She was, after all, only eleven and we were very poor!

Country was a new interesting concept. I knew where I lived. A certain small town in Saskatchewan. I vaguely knew where my province was though I did not yet remember being outside of it. And, of course, we sang O Canada in school and I knew that the song referred to something bigger than my province.

But 1967 was the year I figured out Canada belonged to me. The abundance of celebrations, both inside and outside of school, said come, enjoy, you belong here! Canada was mine!

The next time I felt that Canada was explicitly mine was when I was first old enough to vote. Pierre Elliot Trudeau was running for Prime Minister and I was graduating from high school and becoming a full fledged adult. I had a responsibility, as a Canadian adult, to cast my vote in this very sexy and exciting election.

Is there not an iconic photo of PET in a canoe? You see, canoeing is also very Canadian.

Canada.

Her wide prairies.

The joy of swimming in her lakes.

Our numerous national parks, FREE this year. Go and see how many you can see. I would love to do a coast to coast to coast tour of them all!

Canada.

My Country.

Quiet and soft and safe.

 

 

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Coming Home

July 1, 2016 at 8:15 am (Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

It’s a busy Canada Day weekend here.

My hometown is celebrating it’s 95th birthday and is hosting homecoming.

The last homecoming I was home for was in 2005 when our province, Saskatchewan, turned 100 and New Orleans was flooding. In between homecoming events my sister & I discussed the effects of Katrina and wondered at the race differences that were so apparent in deciding who tells your story.

An old neighbour had a hand that year in telling Saskatchewan’s story.

Naicam Mural

And now it is Homecoming again. I am writing this post a week early because next weekend I will be busy hosting family and attending a historical homecoming.

The town I grew up in is small. The 2006 census gives the population as 690 persons. The town is about 6 blocks long and four wide. It sits in the middle of an expanse of prairie farmland.

I wonder how they survived it? My ancestors who came with nothing, worked extremely hard clearing bush and planting crops, raising children without the distractions of television and internet, and surviving when your nearest neighbour could be miles and hours away.

Why did they do it?

One side came from Scotland in the early years of the twentieth century. He was a grocer’s son. The other side came from Poland ten or so years before the second World War. His father had land.

Why did they do it?

How did they end up in such a desolate and wild country? I hope they came in summer and saw the beauty of a warm summer’s eve before they had to endure one of our winters.

I do love this place. I’m glad I grew up where I did. I just wonder a lot. I wander a lot. From here to there and back to here.

This Homecoming weekend, and whenever they will sit and listen, tell your children stories.

Wonder and Wander and come back home again.

Desolution 2012

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Happy Birthday Your Majesty

April 17, 2016 at 8:15 am (Book Commentary, Faery tales) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The Queen turns 90 on April 21, 2016.

She’s been through a lot in those ninety years. There was Wallis Simpson & the abdication, World War II, the death of her father at an early age, the Diana years, the loss of both her sister and her mother. A lifetime worth of trails and tribulations.

She is old enough to forgive and forget. Myself, I still hold grudges. I still want people to admit they done me wrong and some of these people are dead.

The Queen was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. That makes her a Taurus like my eldest sister. Like most Tauruses, she’s reliable, practical, ambitious, and independent.

On her official birthday during the weekend of June 10 – 13th, there will be many celebrations. There will also be celebrations from May 12 – 15th.

We’re not celebrating Her Majesty’s birthday here in Canada as far as I know. The RCMP Musical Ride will go to London to join the Royal Celebrations there and we are publishing a charming children’s book to mark the occasion.

Our government here in Canada is pretty boring especially compared to the British Monarchy (though there was that Prime Minister who had seances to contact his mum).

We may not have castles but our Prime Minister resides in a very lovely mansion as he governs the country. Honestly, we’ve not had anyone interesting living there since Pierre Elliot Trudeau was Prime Minister! Politics have been boring, boring, boring ever since he left but maybe his son (our current Prime Minister) can liven up our world-wide reputation.

The United States has no connection to royalty anymore (not since the revolution) so they create their own royalty out in Hollywood.

We (I) fantasize about being royal. Does Royalty fantasize about playing at being normal. I love the movie, The Prince & Me. I love its light humour. We are amused (yes that is the royal we).

What has the Queen been fantasizing about lately? Maybe these quick, amusing reads have the answer.

Uncommon-Reader-Alan-Bennett

The Uncommon Reader deals with the Queen as a bibliophile.

What she was finding was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren’t long enough for the reading she wanted to do. (p. 21)

As Queen…pleasure had always taken second place to duty. (p. 31)

To read is to withdraw. To make oneself unavailable. (45)

Once she been a single-minded woman knowing where her duty lay and [her] intent [was] on doing it…(104)

The moral, of this book, is that the love and act of reading can lead to the act of writing which leads to abdication.

A moral, I’m sure, our current Queen would be against considering how long it took her and her mother to forgive Edward and Wallis.

The Uncommon Reader is written by Alan Bennett. Faber & Faber published it in 2007.

Mrs Queen

In this fairy tale-ish book, the Queen takes a melancholy jaunt alone to Scotland to visit the decommissioned Royal Yacht.

People had been writing about her from the very first day she was born in April 1926. (p. 5)

It was Prince Edward [who had] shown her (he knew his mama’s bad habits) a website where she could place a small bet on the races. (p. 8)

She had already called the IT woman three times. She couldn’t call her again. The Queen knew she needed help, but she hated to appear helpless. (p. 4)

The Queen set store by doing everything as Queen Victoria had once done it. (p. 135)

This story is set in December 2002. It is a charming, small, book with lovely black & white illustrations throughout. Here the Queen’s world is populated by many charming and eccentric characters.

There is Lady Anne Bevil, one of her Ladies in Waiting who at seventy has little money left to support herself and is estranged from her son.

Shirley is the queen’s senior dresser. She is sixty and her grandmother and mother worked for the Queen before her. She has no family left.

William is the senior butler. He is gay and has made this job his whole life.

Luke, an equerry and Iraq vet considers his job to be temporary.

Rebecca is a stable girl who takes care of the Queen’s horses. Queen Elizabeth’s latest horse, who was born on the Queen’s birthday, likes cheese. This is a very important plot point!

Rajiv works as a shop clerk at a cheese store and has a sideline profession of taking & selling candid Queen shots to the press. He likes Rebecca (every story needs a romance).

The tale becomes a cozy mystery involving the queen’s household vs MI5. It is very Doctor Whoish. The servants are at friendly odds with each other. They are not sure who to like or who to trust and must find the Queen before it is noticed that she is missing.

Mrs Queen Takes the Train was written by William Kuhn. HarperCollins published it in 2012.

Queen Townsend
After 40 years on the throne, The Queen and her family are rehoused to a council estate because the People’s Republican Party has gotten rid of the monarchy. Everything the Royal Family once had belongs to the state; the new Prime Minister sells off some of royal treasures to Japan and Windsor Castle is turned into a hotel. The former Royal family have no servants, make no public appearances, and they must check in/out with a guard every time they leave the house.

This was subversive fiction written during the Thatcher’s 90s!

The sweetest scene is when the Queen Mum dies and is laid out by neighbours.

Even with all this upheaval, the Queen gets on with it.

The sequel featuring Camilla instead of Diana is not as strong.

The Queen & I was written by Sue Townsend. Methuen published it in 1992.

Hello Magazine

Further readings written by me:

Here is my article about Princess Anne’s wedding.

Here is my article commemorating Elizabeth’s longest reign in September.

It seems Ailsa & I both had books on our mind this week!

Happy Birthday Your Majesty.

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Birthday Tribbles and Bits

April 5, 2015 at 8:15 am (Fun) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The stars in the sky were like candles on the birthday cake of a one-thousand-year-old man. (p. 318)

Easter Bunny

Cheers to:

1) Annual Traditions – every year, sometime around Good Friday, I watch Jesus Christ Superstar. This year I’ve already viewed the 1973 version 3.5 times. It is my favourite version. When it first came out my grandparents (my mother’s parents were strict Lutherans and argued with conviction that JC and the disciplines would not have had long hair and that the popular music was sacrilegious) were very much against us going to see the movie. Thankfully, mom let us go anyway and my younger brother and I spent many Saturday afternoons singing along to the LP. This Good friday, I watched a 2000 version of the play as it was produced in London (England) that is much darker than the 1970s movie.

2) New books that bring me joy and insight and remind me of old homes. Of all the cities I’ve lived in, I miss this city the most. I was English and there during the last referendum so reading about an honest recounting of the French point of view was enlightening.

After the 1980 referendum, everyone with prospects left the city. Everyone here now was a direct descendant of a dreamer. (p. 164)

Heather O’Neill, the author of this book set in Montreal, has a poet’s way with language and an unique way with similes and metaphors.

I looked in the closet for a warmer coat. … Moths flew everywhere around me, like I was in a little snowstorm. It was me. I let winter out of the box. (p. 207)

Arguments lasted longer. They hid behind couches and under the table. (p. 236)

Montreal is Canada’s New York City; it is a place for dreamers, actors, poets, and writers who have no choice but to also mingle with politicians and big business. It is a commercial city and a university town and a dreamer’s paradise as contradictory as that all sounds.

3) YouTube. Ah, but New York city has Broadway. I thank the stars for YouTube. I have been a Broadway Musical fan since forever. I search YouTube relentlessly for clips of past and present plays. It is the only place I have seen Alan Cumming in Cabaret. I so wish I could have seen Cabaret with him and Emma Stone as Sally. I settle instead for YouTube and memoirs. Alan’s new biography Not My Father’s Son is a must read for his fans! I finished it in a day and searched YouTube for clips of his vast acting credits. A very enjoyable day it was. If you’re a fan of Cabaret you must watch this documentary.

4) Memories of old loves. The Girl Who Was Saturday Night describes Montreal men perfectly divinely. Sigh! I miss him.

You could have a graduate class on him at Universite de Montreal. The prerequisites would have to be Russian Realism, The Death of the American Dream, The Bad Guy in Henry James, French Postwar Existentialism, and Seventies Independent Cinema.(p.284)

5) St. Trinian’s. I always wanted to be a St. Trinian’s girl and now to discover a new series of movies with Colin Firth in them. Ah happiness! Ah bliss! I know what I’m watching Saturday night. We (North America) need better access to movies from the UK, the good and the silly. I thank the stars that my library system is so diverse.

Happy Birthday Week to me (why celebrate just one day)!

More Tribbles and Bits here.

All quotes from:

The Girl Who was Saturday Night
by Heather O’Neill
Toronto, Ontario: HarperCollins, 2014

 

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Me Me Me

April 6, 2014 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , )

Me me me. This post is all about me! This weekend is all for me. Today I celebrate me.

Growing up I wanted my initials to spell out something.

Ann Estelle

Like my favourite writer.

M E Kerr…link 1, link 2, link 3.

or the artist ME who uses her initials as her brand.

ME-Ann Estelle

Mary Engelbreit…link 1, link 2, link 3.

I am a writer. I employ a Nom de Plume.

Bkmks 1

I write under a pseudonym. Pseudonym – don’t you love that word. Isn’t it lovely. Isn’t it mysterious. Who is that masked writer?

I am nobody. Who are you?

Bkmks 2

I am me.

This weekend is my happy to me.

I will celebrate by watching the new Veronica Mars movie that I bought on release day and saved for tonight. I have been avoiding spoilers for over two weeks. Exhausting!

Happy to me. Happy to you. Happy to all.

I am me. Who are you?

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Happy Birthday Canada

July 1, 2012 at 8:15 am (Life, Weather) (, , , , , , )

Today is Canada’s birthday!

We are 145!

Flags Flying High!

I am feeling lazy…

It has been a long week of crazy weather (rain, wind, heat).

So I give you pictures.

The occasional fleeting moments…

Here today, gone tomorrow!

Happy Canada Day;

Bonne Fete du Canada.

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