Monday, July 09, 2007

2007-07-07 and 08

The weekend weather was fair and bright, although my health concerns slowed me down considerably and blurred my inner landscape. After Morning Offering on Saturday I came up to do further work on my quote searches for “shift”, preparing for the Mackinac Island gathering talks. It was fiesta, as Melissa came down from Avalon and Carmen came to volunteer her time. The atmosphere was gay and everyone worked hard. Jim spent his day cooking a turkey, running a host of errands and working in the yard.

Melissa did town chores and helped Carmen with the volunteer project I gave her: a light project. It was Vara who came up with the bright idea, three years or so ago, of lighting the upstairs hall and the flight down to the first floor with theater lighting. It is an economical way to keep a bit of light on all night. I am sometimes wakeful and prefer not to turn on regular lighting if I want to go to the bathroom or hike downstairs to retrieve something. The previous ropes of lighting were damaged when the volunteers moved out, being banged and knocked by the effort of getting large pieces of furniture down the stairwell.

What a job Carmen did! It took her all afternoon and in the early evening she found that she had to replace one rope which was defective, so went to the store and did that, only to find, after putting that rope up, that she still needed one more rope. So she came back early Sunday and finished the job! After that, she visited Melissa on Avalon.

Melissa gave a report to Jim and me on various Avalon matters. She had looked into what needs doing to bring utilities to the farm, a major need for us. I shall need to call the electricity people Monday. The water people are already scheduled to take a look at Avalon and see what it will take to bring city water down the access road.

Melissa also reported that the insects are pernicious there in the meadow and even inside the Sugar Shack. The chiggers are extremely plentiful and there are a huge number of ticks. As well, she is battling an infestation of Japanese “lady bugs”. They look like those innocent, helpful creatures, but the “W” on their backs identifies them as a pestilent beetle. So Melissa is spraying with organic pest control solutions and dealing with 50 chigger bites on her person and the need to comb ticks out of her hair daily. Ah, the joys of rough living! Her hope is to change this situation for the better.

In the afternoon, Saturday, I completed my search for Confederation quotes on “shift” and began the search on “2012”, for my other speech at Mackinac Island. I also had an ongoing e-mail conversation with our web guy, who has been most helpful in giving Jim and me advice on our upcoming Board of Directors meeting.

In the evening, all of us had dinner and immersed ourselves in “Live Earth”, a wonderful concert that swept the world. I understand it is the largest single audience ever assembled for any event of this kind. Alicia Keyes and Keith Urban offered excellent sets, as did so many others. It was packed with good information as well as entertainment. After the show, Jim and I went around and unplugged our chargers for cell phones, our camera and Jim’s iPod. The other energy-saving item the show mentioned a lot was changing to fluorescent light bulbs, which we have already done. What a great effort that was! Al Gore is to be thanked for the effective attempt at bringing people more awareness of our planetary plight.

On Sunday, I was feeling very faint, but went to church and had a good service before coming home and laying my body down for the day. The combination of nerve pain in my right shoulder and arm and substantial abdominal distress was a killer, combined with faintness and dizziness. It could be that I have a passing virus. It is hard to tell, since interstitial cystitis mimics those symptoms. At any rate I was down for the count physically all day!

We actually had a most enjoyable day, resting and relaxing and watching no less than three excellent movies. We started with “Notes on a Scandal” with Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett in a stunningly literate, witty ensemble piece. Dench’s character was an amazingly evil little soul and Dench played the role with consummate perfection, packing real intensity of emotion into a seemingly minor drama. It was delicious! And Philip Glass’s musical score was a sweep of wonderful and supporting intensity, romantic and beautiful. It might be the single best sound track I have heard all year.

After that, we popped “Flags of our Fathers” into the video player. I can see why Clint Eastwood was awarded an Oscar for direction in this piece. It was restrained, thoughtful and gentle while dealing with the exigencies of battle. The music especially was outstanding. Eastwood also created the musical score for the piece. I slept through a good bit of it, so cannot really critique the film except to say that Eastwood’s use of color in the film was so subtle that at times it was indistinguishable from black and white. The cumulative effect was to mute the subject matter in a way that preserved dignity amidst the horror of war.

Mick and I took some time after that to bathe and stretch, after which we sat down with the correspondence between Ian and me and worked on the agenda for our Board meeting upcoming. We are most thankful for our webguy's experience and good advice. We came to a good conclusion with the project and settled in for yet a third film, “The Breach”. It was a cracking good film of its kind, stylish and beautifully played.

Both nights, after the Gaia Meditation Mick and I came upstairs for bedtime snuggles with the kitties and lights out was around midnight.