Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Come On, Get Happy

It's been grey and rainy and windy for about five days now. The weather is starting to get to me. And everyone else. Seems like time for a list of things that are making the weather a little more bearable:
  • Mint Juleps - Mint, bourbon & a hint of sugar - classic, retro and potent.
  • Friday night music - who knew that a local coffee shop in an office building was bringing in great singer-songwriters? Not me until recently. On Friday we saw Owen Steel and Lovestorm - both fantastic. And now I really, really want a ukelele.
  • Saturday breakfast - made this strawberry-citrus salad and this sausage, fontina & bell-pepper strata for my parents and grandparents. Delish!
  • Doc Watson's recording of "All About You" - I was playing a Doc Watson album while my grandfather was visiting. He seemed confused, "What are you doing playing this kind of music?" But you can't hear this song and not smile.
  • Community talent shows - the latest zany adventure for Luke and me. It cannot be described. It can only be experienced. I will say this: Marysville has produced some very ardent entertainers.
  • NPR - have discovered that their web-site has tons of great free music and concerts. That and Obama almost make me want to give up universal health care. Almost.
  • Goofiness.

Well, I can hear that it's raining again so I'm off to watch Jimmy Stewart spar with Margaret Sullavan in The Shop Around the Corner.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ladies Who Lunch

The only real downside about leaving my old job is that I don't get to see these lovely girls every day. There was a time when we could gather each morning in M-A's office and discuss headlines and lovelives over coffee. But things change and now our catch-up sessions are less frequent but more meaningful.

Today we opted for lunch in the sunshine in Officer's Square. And we all had the same reaction: "We've worked mere blocks away for years - why didn't we come here before today?!"

I love the sort of things that make you say those sort of things.
And so - hopefully! - a new ritual is born.

In the meantime, some summery shots from the heart of my little town.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.


The pause between posts was not supposed to be that long. I planned to write something on Sunday night about the shiny happy people here in this photo but I got distracted by this (yay!) and this (ew!).

I have some other posts I'm mulling but for now a few thoughts...

Two months ago I started a new job. For the first time in nearly decade I was going to a brand new office, with brand new co-workers, new responsibilities and a new schedule. It was a big, much-needed change. The 10 years, I'd spent at my last job were an incredible experience that offered unique opportunities and brought amazing people into my life. But it was time for a change.

There couldn't have been a better time. During my first days on the new job spring was just beginning to hit full force. Everything was new in the world. It was the perfect time for a fresh start not only in work but in life.

So I've turned off the TV and picked up my books, I've started this blog to help open my eyes to the interesting things around me and I'm letting go of bad habits and making more time for people who inspire and energize me. Because, as my friend Lori often says, how we spend our days is, after all, how we spend our lives.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Our Little Corner of the World - The Owl's Nest

ser*en*dip*i*ty ~ noun: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for; also: an instance of this
I love order. My library is divided up by genre... the literature shelves are arranged chronologically. (Yes, I considered doing it by author. Chabon and Chaucer could live nicely beside one another but I prefer to see the evolution of literature at a glance). This website is my new guilty pleasure. And if I could create a card catalogue and make my friends sign out the books they borrow without seeming totally insane, I would.

I love order. But I also love the Owl's Nest.
I can't get enough of Fredericton's sprawling used bookstore. Confine yourself to the front room, where the classics and fiction sections generally abide by alphabetical order, and you might fool yourself into thinking it not so different from any other book store. But keep going. Like Alice down the rabbit hole, things get curiouser and curiouser as the store goes on... and on... I think I'd been going there for well over a year before I discovered the second floor room straight out of Funny Face (complete with rolling ladder but minus Fred Astaire).
While I occasionally make a quick stop with a particular book in mind, the Owl's Nest is best experienced on a Saturday afternoon, preferably rainy, when you have no where else to be. Meandering in and out of rooms, navigating around piles of books, these are the moments that yield the best discoveries. I've come home with favourite childhood classics to pass on to the children in my life and out-of-print books for boys I loved. I've unearthed a long-forgotten volume of James Thurber's memoirs of his New Yorker years and a whimsically illustrated 1951 guide to Paris with a preface by Jean Cocteau. Just today I picked up a 1946 Penguin edition of Shaw's Plays Pleasant; a great find for the iconic Penguin cover design alone.
The Owl's Nest isn't for everyone. Those who don't like dust, boxes or the occasional cat strolling past should probably stick with Chapters. This is not a place designed for efficiency but for exploration. It's a place for people who, every so often, like to let go of order and surrender to serendipity.