Hypergraphia is a condition that causes people to transcribe their thoughts uncontrollably. I don't suffer from it in the clinical sense, but I may be borderline. My blog is the cyber-wall where I spray paint my thoughts for all to see. By the way, if you came here directly through blogger --if your page has no yellow frames and no pretty pic of me in the top left corner -- you may want to visit my main site at www.hypergraffiti.com, where you can read this blog and much much more.


I'm Trudy Morgan-Cole, a writer from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. My books include "The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson," "Esther: A Story of Courage," and "Deborah and Barak." I'm also a married mom of two, a teacher in an adult-ed program, and a Christian of the Seventh-day Adventist kind. I blog about writing, reading, parenting, teaching, spirituality, and shiny things that catch my eye.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Happy Birthday (Now You're 64)!

My aunt Ruth and uncle Bob are visiting from Tennessee. Since their visit coincides with Ruth's birthday, my mom and dad hosted the whole family for dinner at their house last night. One of many good things I will say for my family is that they like to celebrate and they know how to mark people's milestones. We had a lovely dinner, complete with balloons, cake and presents, and it was a warm evening so we got to sit outside on the deck afterwards while the children ran freely as they would do in the wild.

It happened to be Aunt Ruth's 64th birthday -- I wouldn't publicize her age on the internet except that it happens to be relevant to what I want to say here. At my dad's suggestion Jason & I had put together a very short birthday CD for Aunt Ruth, consisting of just two songs: The Beatles' When I'm 64, and a classic old Newfoundland folk song that gets all the old folks up dancing at weddings: Now I'm 64.

Ironically, Aunt Ruth's birthday comes just a couple of weeks after the 64th birthday of Sir Paul McCartney, who penned "When I'm 64" when he was still a teenager. Even more ironically, this song celebrating a lifelong love is being revived everywhere just as Sir Paul's second marriage is self-destructing in a way that's spectacular even by celebrity-divorce standards.

To be fair to Paul McCartney (which we here in Newfoundland have had a hard time doing lately, but I suppose we could just jump on the bandwagon and blame Heather for the whole seal-hunt-protest thing) his first marriage was remarkably durable, by show-business standards. No doubt Linda would still be around needing and feeding him now that he's 64, if she'd had any choice in the matter.

That's the catch, though -- we don't always get a choice. Presumably both Sir Paul and the unknown folk-song writer chose 64 as the age to write about because it rhymes with lots of things, but when you're young and in love, 64 seems a long ways out on the horizon. It strains credibility to believe you'll last that long, much less that you'll still love the same person then.

One more good thing about my family, apart from birthday parties: for the most part, they're good at staying married for the long haul. Aunt Ruth got to celebrate her birthday with Uncle Bob, to whom she has been married almost exactly as long as I've been alive. My parents, who hosted the event, are a little ways past 64 and are about to celebrate 44 years together. The other representative of the senior generation at the party was my Aunt Bernice, who was married to my Uncle George since way back in the dawn of time. Like Linda McCartney and like the missing sweetheart in the "Now I'm 64" folksong, Uncle George died a few years ago -- a poignant reminder to me that despite anyone's best intentions, even the most long-lasting love affairs will eventually come to an end.

And that rather sobering thought brings me back to my recurring theme: life is short (even 64 doesn't seem as far away as it used to!) and every moment, birthdays and warm summer evenings included, is there to celebrate. When I'm 64 I mean to look back on lots of celebrations and lots of good times with my wonderful family and with Jason, who I hope will still need me and feed me (and find my keys for me) when I'm 64 and long afterwards. And all good wishes to Aunt Ruth and to Paul McCartney, with many more good years still ahead for both, I hope! (And better luck with the next trophy wife, Sir Paul).

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Today I Did Not Throw Up

...but it was a near thing, I'll tell you.

I took the kids to Thomas Amusments (for those who aren't local, this is a little travelling fair with ride that migrates around Newfoundland all summer, spending a few weeks in every mall parking lot). They were eager to take me on a ride they went on with Jason over the weekend called
Starship 2000. If you click that there link you'll find a description of the physics of the ride. My version is: it's one of those centripetal-force rides that slams you against the wall of the ride. You experience the sensations of being spun around rapidly, tilted backwards, and rolled over with a giant steamroller, all at the same time. During the process I felt much like a set of bagpipes being played by an enthusiastic drunken Scotsman on roller skates.

I staggered off some two minutes later feeling closer to hurling than I have in a very long time. Told the kids Mommy had to sit down on a bench for a few minutes. They held my hands and were gentle with me. I wanted to die, but I didn't.

I won't be going back on the Starship 2000.

In happier news, I put a bunch more book reviews up on Compulsive Overreader, so you should read them and comment. I need lots of feedback. It makes me feel happy and validated. Comment, comment, comment.

I may need to lie down again for a few minutes

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Enterprise Education

Technically, I'm a social studies teacher, although it's my second subject area and I've done much more teaching in my first area, which is English. But as far as the government of Newfoundland is concerned, I'm more or less qualified to teach any course on the social studies curriculum. So far I've only ever had to teach Global Issues and World History, which is good because I actually know something about those. My recurring nightmare is that someday I leave The Murphy Centre (actually that's a nightmare all by itself) and go to a school setting where they offer a much wider variety of courses, and I somehow get conned into teaching Enterprise Education, or whatever the kids are calling it these days. Capitalism 101, basically.

Now, quite apart from my political views on the ideal economic system -- which are, shall we say, not such as would warm the heart of the late Senator J. McCarthy -- there's also the teensy fact that I am the least qualified person on the face of the earth to teach Capitalism 101, because I am the least enterprising, least entrepreneurial, least business-minded person on the face of the earth.

I can't tell you how many good ideas I've had in my life that have been cut short when I realized, "If I were to do anything with that, I'd essentially have to start my own business." End of story. The mere idea of hustling to promote a business -- not to mention keeping the books -- is enough to wither a good idea right on the vine. Whatever I've ever aspired to be, Newfoundland Businesswoman of the Year is not it.

But here I am with these two children whose fondest dream, whose greatest idea of summer fun, is to open a lemonade stand. I don't know where they got the idea -- I certainly didn't put it into their heads. Television, probably. Another thing we can blame on television.

We ran a pilot project last summer, which was so wildly successful over its two-day run that the two little entrepreneurs begged to do it again this summer. They've been begging for weeks: "As soon as school's out, can we have a lemonade stand?" I finally gave in and said that today would be the day.

Last year, when they ran their stand, two other children a few blocks away had a stand with lemonade and cookies, and a reporter from the Telegram happened to drive past and think, "How cute, children with a lemonade stand," and put a picture of these random children in the paper. Well, you can bet I didn't hear the end of that. No matter how I tried to convince them that it was sheer blind chance that the reporter drove down Linscott St. and not Freshwater Rd. that day, Christopher and Emma were certain that it was the cookies that made the difference. If they'd had cookies, they'd have made the front page of the paper. Ergo, this year, we had to run a cookie-and-lemonade stand.

In keeping with my firm belief that young entrepreneurs should experience the real rough-and-tumble of the business world, I stayed as remote from the project as possible. I laid out the cookie ingredients, and dealt with the oven aspect of the cookie-baking operation. I brought the small picnic table from the back yard to the front. Everything else -- making the cookies, making a sign, setting up the table -- was left to the enterprising duo.

All went well until they got out there and found business was a little slow. From my safe seat up on the deck or inside the house, I advised them on the necessity of self-promotion: you have to actually ask people if they'd like to buy lemonade or cookies. Chris didn't want to do this; he wanted Emma to do it. That's reasonable: she's very cute and I imagine she would pull a fair amount of trade. Except that she didn't want to do it either, and what Christopher wanted to do was criticize her for not doing it. Suffice it to say, there was some unrest in the marketing department.

Despite that, they attracted a few customers from passing trade, though no reporters this time. Today was surprisingly profitable, largely because of the arrival of Grammy and Grampa, Aunt Gertie, and a few neighbours, all of whom grossly overpaid for their lemonade and cookie. ("Here's $5.00 -- no, no, keep the change!") I'm not sure what lesson this teaches about entrepreneurship -- you can always milk your family and friends for extra cash, perhaps?? I guess that's a valid enough lesson, in its own way.

They got weary of the hard work after a couple of hours and packed up the shop.I let them know that my initial grant of seed money for development would not be repeated and if they wanted to do it again the cost of lemonade would have to come out of profits, but I'm not sure if they're going to try it again or not. Instead of slaving away under the blazing sun peddling lemonade, we spent the afternoon in leisure at my parents' cabin, dangling our feet in the water. Enjoying the fruits of capitalism, so to speak. Maybe I'm not ready for the workers' revolution just yet.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Ain't it Good to be Back Home Again...

Jennifer and I drove back this morning from our weekend in Eastport. Eastport is one of the most beautiful places in Newfoundland, which by default makes it one of the most beautiful places in the world. I have been going out there in June for the Writers' Guild retreat every year since the early 90s; it's a cornerstone of my year and the way I know summer has begun.

What did I do out there all weekend, you may ask? (other than visit the internet cafe?) Well, I slept late every morning. I took naps during the day. I read almost all of Philippa Gregory's The Constant Princess in several long sessions of reading without interruption. I walked on the beach several times, and yesterday, when we got some hot sunny weather, Jennifer and I did some bona fide laying-out-on-the-beach. No swimming, though. I attempted it several times but the numbing pain of the icy North Atlantic would not allow me to get in any deeper than my knees. It was enough. I've been in the ocean; it's officially summer.

Yes, I did a little writing -- I wrote one essay that I'm quite happy with, and half a chapter on my fantasy novel which I'm trying to get my head back into. I enjoyed lovely relaxed evening workshops with the Guild women, and great potluck meals. And I relaxed ... totally and completely ... which is a rare experience for a busy teacher and mom of two young children.

Then I got back home, and Emma came tearing over from Aunt Gertie's house next door and threw herself into my arms. "I missed you so much!!" she said over and over. Then she insisted I come downstairs where she performed a dance with scarves and a song she had written for me. I can't remember all the lyrics of the song but it was along the lines of:

You're the best Mom I ever knew
And I should know...because I'm your girl
You're the best Mom I ever knew
And I give thanks...to yooouuuuu!

Christopher showed up during the concert, a little less effusive about the joy of seeing me again, but still apparently OK with having me back. He contributed a few instrumental pieces to the concert and then asked if we could take our lunch as a picnic to a park.

So we spent the whole afternoon in Bowring Park, the kids playing in the playground while I read the last few pages of The Constant Princess, stopping approximately three times per page to answer cries of "Watch me, Mom! Watch me! Can you lift me up here? Can you give me a boost? Watch me! Watch me!" We walked to the duck pond and saw the ducklings and cygnets and we petted some dogs and talked and laughed and had the obligatory argument about how it couldn't be time to go home.

I've loved lots of people in my life, but honestly, none of them has ever felt the need to compose a song in honour of my return from a three-day trip. Nor does anyone else so completely rely on my attention that they need me to watch what they're doing every single second. I figure I have a couple more years to be the centre of their universe and I'd better enjoy it while it lasts.

Bottom line? When your kids are six and eight, it's hard to know what's better -- going away, or coming home!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Quick Hi From Eastport

Much to my surprise, I am posting from Eastport. Eastport, for those who don't know it, may be one of the last places on earth without reliable cellphone access, and the White Sails Inn, where the Writers' Guild always stays, doesn't even have a regular phone in the building. The nearest phone is a good 10-minute walk away, so I'm used to being pretty cut off while here.

But Eastport now has an internet cafe! And Jennifer and I are here, cyber-catching-up before we go back to the inn for supper.

This writers' retreat is gruelling, folks. I woke at 7:00 this morning, couldn't get back to sleep, went for a walk on the beach, then went back to the cabin and slept till 11:00. Then I ate breakfast, showered, read a bit, and took a nap. Looking forward to more sleep and reading. I may actually get some writing done at some point too!

Don't know if anyone's reading this, but if you are, I'm alive and VERY well in Eastport!!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Funny ... isn't it?

After two sappy end-of-school-year posts this week, I promised to be light and witty. I'm about to head out to Eastport for my annual and long-anticipated writers' retreat, so to tide my faithful readers (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!) over the weekend, I thought I'd post something funny.

Except then I started to wonder about what's funny.

A little while ago I got a package from Amazon with some books I’d ordered. The package also contained a CD – “The Best of Dr. Demento.” It’s a survey of some of the high points in twentieth-century novelty tunes, from “Shaving Cream” to “Fish Heads” and much, much more.
My acquaintance with the good Doctor and his radio show – a compendium of all that is bizarre in the world of music – goes back to my college days at Andrews University in the early 80s, when we used to hear Dr. Demento on a Chicago station on Sunday nights. I’d grown up appreciating the fine art of musical parody -- my father used to sing the odd few lines of various Allan Sherman songs (not just “Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda,” which everyone knows, but more obscure things like the one about the knight who wanted to give up smoting). Alan Sherman was kind of like the Weird Al Yankovic of the 1960s, and Dr. Demento provided me with a link to the great novelty artists of the past as well as current performers.

Our “Greatest Hits” CD includes, besides a bunch of great novelty songs, a few spoken word comedy sketches. One of these is “Bulbous Bouffant” by the Montreal comedy troupe The Vestibules (formerly Radio Free Vestibule). Jason and I first heard this on the radio a few years ago and almost drove off the road laughing. I said to Jason, “You know, the English-speaking world is probably divided into people who think this is the funniest thing they’ve ever heard, and people who would listen to it and go ‘Huh? What’s funny about that?’”

The second time we listened to the CD, we were gratified to learn that our two children were firmly in the first category. By now they practically have “Bulbous Bouffant” memorized and will happily perform it for you if you ask. Or even if you don’t ask. Sometimes they’ll perform it even if you ask them not to.

This got me thinking about the whole business of humour – what we find funny. Any of my college-era girlfriends can tell you that my number-one quality in a prospective boyfriend was always “sense of humour.” It was really the deal-breaker: does he laugh at the same things I do? I still think it’s one of the best indicators of connection between two human beings: you may not find all the same things funny, but if you can’t share at least a few laughs, why spend time together? It’s certainly the cornerstone of my relationship with Jason – at the end of the day, no matter what’s going on and how crazy we’re being driven by the kids, work, and each other, we can always share a laugh. We laugh at the same TV shows, the same comedians, and, most importantly, at each other. Laughter is definitely the glue that holds us together.

But even with Jason, there are things one of us finds funny that the other doesn’t. Everyone I’ve ever known, no matter how closely their sense of humour matched mine, has had these “blind spots” where we couldn’t agree on what was funny. For example, most of the people who laugh at the things I laugh at, also like Mel Brooks movies. I can’t count how many times people have told me, “Oh, you would love Blazing Saddles!!” Nor can I count how many times I have watched the first 15 minutes of Blazing Saddles and turned it off, thinking, “This is just not funny!”

Usually the sense of what is or isn’t funny is so vague and indefinable that you can’t put it into words, but my cousin Jennifer made a valiant effort one time, and it has provided me with food for thought ever since. It was, again, the early 80s, and I was reading Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series for the first time. I thought it was the funniest thing I’d ever read. I shared it with Jennifer, and she, too thought it was hilarious … for the first couple of chapters. Then she stopped laughing. She tried to explain that it was funny while the action was on earth and Arthur Dent was trying to prevent the destruction of his house. As soon as they left earth, it became so bizarre, so detached from reality, that it wasn’t funny anymore. The humour, for her, came from the juxtaposition of the everyday and mundane with the ridiculous. Out in space, it was all ridiculous, so there was no more incongruity.

I’ve spent more than 20 years playing around with this idea and trying to figure out exactly what makes things funny, for me. (Some might suggest I have too much time on my hands). All I’ve come up with is a few broad generalities. For example, the humour I like is almost always verbal. If it’s not about words, it’s not funny. So for me, mimes can’t be funny. (Well, that’s me and about 99% of the world, I think).

Also, slapstick isn’t funny for me. I don’t laugh at pratfalls. This may be partly a gender thing – virtually every man I’ve ever known (except my father) laughs hysterically at the visual image of a person falling down or getting hit in the head. I think of Jamie rewinding a scene in Throw Mama From the Train to rewatch someone getting hit in the head about 15 times. I just didn’t see what was funny about it.

I’ve mentioned my dad twice so far in this essay, which is far from coincidental in an essay about humour. If you asked five people to describe my dad in three words, I’m pretty sure everyone’s list would contain the word “funny,” and certainly both my parents, and my extended family, were instrumental in shaping my concept of what’s funny and what isn’t. As we say, “There’s only two kinds in this family – the quick and the dead.” If you’re not “quick” – i.e. quick-witted, sharp, fast with a comeback – you’re destined to fall to the bottom of the Morgan family food chain. (Fortunately this rarely happens, as we are genetically programmed to marry funny people so we can breed funny offspring).

And yet, while you might think my sense of humour was shaped by the Morgan family ethos in general and my dad in particular, there are still areas where we don’t meet. I’m sure my love of verbal humour and my distaste for slapstick comes directly through the genes, but a lot of things that make me laugh – Hitchhiker’s Guide, the more off-the-wall Monty Python skits and movies – leave my parents cold. I’m not even sure they’d like “Bulbous Bouffant.”

Whether it’s nature or nurture, I have to conclude that each individual’s sense of humour is as individual as a fingerprint. I also have to conclude that I promised to write a funny blog and instead I wrote a blog about being funny, which is not the same thing at all. So I think now, I'll just conclude with
my own personal Top Ten list of the funniest books, movies, TV shows and music I know.

10. Mad About You. One of the truly great sitcoms of all time, especially in the early years. Later…not so much. But still a treasure trove of brilliantly funny lines.
9. Fawlty Towers. “Don’t mention the war!” Pure comedy classic, and a lesson here for American TV producers who always seem to believe they have to milk a show for seven seasons or more. Fawlty Towers has earned a permanent place in TV heaven with only 12 episodes, ever.
8. The Far Side by Gary Larson. If there’s a dictionary definition of “off the wall,” a Far Side cartoon panel should be in the column next to it.
7. The Princess Bride. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” This is the movie that probably spawned more quotable one-liners than any “cult classic,” ever. And now our kids love it too….
6. Early Friends. People like to snark on Friends as the ultimate neurotic-yuppie sitcom, but in the early seasons, the one-liners were pure gold. (“You’re…over me? When were you…under me?”) Sadly, it long outstayed its golden years (see comment above about Fawlty Towers and the shortcomings of American TV).
5. Weird Al Yankovic – the complete works. Remember my comment above about nearly driving off the road while listening to Bulbous Bouffant? That was the second time that happened to me – the first being when I first heard Weird Al’s “One More Minute.” The only reason it didn’t happen more often was that I learned not to give my first listen to a Weird Al album while driving! The man is a genius! A genius I tell you!!!!
4. The West Wing. Surprised to see a “serious drama” so high up on the comedy list? Don’t be. True Wingnuts know that the humour in this series (especially in Aaron Sorkin’s first couple of seasons writing) was unparalleled. Actually, to a true Wingnut you wouldn’t need to say that. You’d only need to say, “Shibboleth – the turkeys – CJ’s office?” and you’d both collapse in gales of helpless laughter.
3. This is Spinal Tap. “These go to eleven!!” And so does the humour in this classic “mockumentary.” Christopher Guest, who stars in this one (but didn’t direct it), went on to make a long line of funny mockumentaries with some of the same cast members, but Tap is the gold standard.
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy” by Douglas Adams. Five cheers for the five-volume trilogy that redefined space travel. And RIP Douglas Adams, a militant atheist who I expect will be thoroughly surprised when he finds himself in heaven, admitted on the basis of being the funniest man ever.
1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail. There aren’t even superlatives in the English language to say how funny this movie is. But … “Dennis, there’s some lovely filth down ‘ere!”

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I'll Miss You, Dead Rats and All

(Yes, I was sappy in my last blog and I’m going to be sappy in this one. Deal with it. I promise to be light and witty sometime in the future.)

Today I picked Emma up from daycare. She was almost in tears; this was her last day at the daycare where she's gone for three years. She said a sad goodbye to her best friend Lydia (after exchanging phone numbers) and we left the building. Every milestone -- entering the elevator, leaving the elevator, walking out through the main doors -- evoked a little sob, because "It's the last time!"

I know just how she feels.

Today was the last public exam at The Murphy Centre -- my World History course. I'll be at school for a few more days doing teachery stuff, but this is the last day the students will be there. I said my farewells, said "Have a good summer," and "Stay in touch" and was even coerced into a few hugs (I'm not a natural-born hugger, but I will do it if the need is great enough).

Some goodbyes were harder than others, even knowing that we'll try to stay in touch. The occasional drop-in visit or email from a former student can’t take the place of the hours spent together hanging out and occasionally even learning in my beloved, shabby classroom/office where the plaster is peeling off the walls and the mold lining the window frames.

We're moving out of the building in a week or two. The new building is shiny and clean and freshly painted and refreshingly free of HUGE DEAD RATS like the one I found while I was packing up recyclables in the basement the other day. Not gonna miss the peeling plaster or the mold or the HUGE DEAD RATS. I will miss my two big windows with the view of Water Street. I’ll miss the Play-Doh on the ceiling and the walls that have encompassed so many memories. In a few weeks I'll be focused on making new memories in the new place with new people -- and a few of the old ones, since some of my students will be back in September for another year. But right now, this is my time for saying goodbye.

Only one other room I’ve ever worked in has left me with so many wonderful, unforgettable, bittersweet memories as this room has (for those keeping track, the other room would be my first Kingsway office where I spent the first two years of my teaching career). Memories, of course, are really all about people, but they get connected with places and then it gets hard to leave those places behind.

I'm putting in two pictures so you can see what I'll be missing. One is of me and Paul and Ellie hanging out in my room. If I had a dollar for every hour I’d spent hanging out with these two, I’d be well on my way to being repaid for the chocolates I’ve bought to fill the cup on my classroom table. The other is of me with Ryan and Chris at Achievement Night, beaming over how I proud I am of these two graduates.

These are just four of the many students I have loved spending time with this year. They represent all my best memories –- the raucous laughter, the off-the-wall humour, the wildly inappropriate classroom behavior. (And that’s just me – you should see what the students are like!) They represent the quieter moments too, the shared conversations where we touch on a little of the past, the future, and the meaning we find in the present moment. I love these young people like crazy, and I am insanely proud of what they are accomplishing, and I will miss them over the summer. Yes, I’m looking forward to sunny days in the backyard, trips to the pool, and our family vacation – but another part of me can’t wait for September so it can all start again. In a different place with fewer big windows and fewer dead rats, but the same chocolates on the table, the same Play-Doh on the ceiling, and the same love and laughter carrying us through the day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Next Stop, Morning Town

I think we all know that I am not one of those Weepy Mommies. Not like a friend of mine who recently confessed that her son started crying about Kindergarten coming to an end, and she began crying too, and they lay on the bed in each others' arms weeping because he is moving to Grade One in the fall. No, if you ask me how I feel about my baby being promoted out of Kindergarten, you're more likely to get an answer along the lines of "Thank heavens! Finally we'll be free of that insane Kindergarten schedule! No more mid-day pickups! No more trying to remember whether she's in mornings or afternoons this week! Praise the Lord!"

The fact is, I actually love seeing my children grow up. I've loved every stage they've been through so far, but they just seem to keep getting better and more interesting, and I haven't experienced any broody longings for the baby days. I enjoy watching their growing independence -- after all, isn't the process of good parenting simply working yourself out of a job? I have no hankering to return to the days of toting two toddlers through the supermarket, thank you very much.

So, having enjoyed Christopher's Grade Two concert a few nights ago, I went to watch Emma's Kindergarten Farewell evening with a happy and proud smile on my face. Emma, of course, did a wonderful job of saying her piece and singing her songs, even though she was obviously nervous and concerned about getting it right. All went smoothly until the very end, and I place the blame entirely on the principal.

The principal of my children's school (the smiley man pictured above handing Emma her Kindergarten diploma) is a different type of principal from the ones I knew back in the day. (Back in the day of: "There' s nothing wrong with this school; it's just the prinicipal of the thing!") Rather than striding the halls, ruler in hand, instilling terror in the hearts of students, he walks the halls smiling, and little children run to him and voluntarily tell him how their day has been and what they're doing that's fun. He is approachable to a degree I had never imagined a principal could be. He also likes to end some of the school concerts by picking up his guitar and singing a little ditty for the kids, sometimes one he's composed himself.

So when he sat down to sing at the end of Emma's concert, I was prepared for a nice heartwarming principal-composed tune that would wrap up the evening nicely. I was completely unprepared for him to start singing "Morningtown Ride" and have all the children join him on the chorus.

"Morningtown Ride" is very emotionally loaded for me. It's the song I remember my parents singing to me when I was a baby, and Jason and I in turn sang it to Christopher and Emma when they were babies. Something about the line: "All the little travellers are snug and warm inside" always makes me well up with tears. So when I saw my baby -- my baby -- sitting up on stage with all the other Great Big Kindergarteners, singing backup for that very song -- well, suddenly it hit me that an era in our lives was over. And I began to cry. Openly. Copiously.

It didn't help that he followed it up with "Turn Around," another multigenerational lullaby from my family which was also sung by my dad at our wedding. What, does the principal have some kind of secret inside track on what opens my emotional floodgates??

But you know, it felt OK to cry at that moment. There are times when a good cry is exactly what you want.

Congratulations Emma, my Kindergarten graduate. Turn around, and you're a young girl, going out of the door.

Not quite yet, please.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Pair of Queens

This unlikely-looking photo from church today shows me with my friend Sherry and my cousin Jennifer (I'm the one without the crown). It was Women's Ministries Sabbath and the theme was on the book of Esther, so (for fairly obvious reasons) I was asked to take the sermon. Actually I was asked to "do something creative" with the sermon, so I recruited two of my best friends in the world, who also happen to be fantastic actresses.

I led out in my role as Zenobia of Babylon, host of the most popular daytime talk show in the Persian Empire, interviewing two remarkable women who had never before consented to be interviewed -- Queen Vashti and Queen Esther, on the topic of "Women Who Defied the King." It was a blast. The best part was doing it with Sherry and Jennifer, who really are a pair of queens. (No, not that kind of queens!)

This seems like as good a time as any to pay tribute to both these women. It may not say much about my ability to get out and meet new people if I confess that my two best friends are a blood relative and someone I met in Grade 5, but nothing beats lifelong friendships and these two women have gone the distance with me. Not only are they both able to immediately slip into the character of ancient queens and start fielding interview questions without a trace of a script between them, each in her own way is a total class act and I admire them both more than words can tell.

A tribute to two of my favourite people -- here's to you, Your Majesties! And thanks for your help, today and everyday!

HUGE Geek Alert!!

I just found out something so cool and it is about me and a Star Trek personage, so all my geekier friends will really appreciate it.

A little background: about 15 years ago my aunt, Bernice Morgan, wrote a novel called Random Passage which became a bestseller here in Newfoundland because it's all about early settlers here on the island, etc. About six years ago, a TV miniseries was made of the novel. It was filmed here in Nfld, in a remote outport where the film crew recreated an early 19th century settlement. Although many of the actors were local, a lot of the major roles were played by actors from away, including, in the lead male role, a certain Irish actor who appeared in not one but two Star Trek series. Out of our whole family, only my husband and I appreciated how cool this really was.

During the summer of 2000, while the movie was being filmed, my aunt was invited to tour the movie set, so of course (being the kind of family we are) we all came along -- me & Jason, our two kids, my mom and dad, as well as my aunt and uncle, their daughter & her husband and two kids.

Now, at this point you're probably thinking this is going to be a story about how I met Colm Meaney. Wouldn't that be cool? But no. He wasn't on the set that day. Remember I said the cool thing is something I JUST found out? If I'd met him 6 years ago, I would've remembered that.

Anyway, we had the site tour, watched the miniseries when it came on TV later that year, etc etc. Just this year I was teaching the novel Random Passage to my class and decided I should own the miniseries on DVD, so I bought it and for the first time checked out the Special Features disk. One of the features is "Random Passage Author Tours the Film Set," and it turns out to be footage of that visit we all made six years ago. The camera mainly focuses on Aunt Bernice, of course, but there are glimpses in the edges of the frame of me with Emma in her Snugli, and Jason with Christopher up on his shoulders, as well as (poignantly) shots of my uncle who has since passed away ... it was a very cool little blast from the past to see it.

So cool in fact that it took me awhile to grasp the full geek significance of the moment. But now ... hold your breath in awe when you speak of me, because ... I appear in the very same DVD boxed set with Colm Meaney!!!!!

This is about as close as I'm ever going to come to fame ... Chief Miles O'Brien and me, conveniently packaged in the same slipcase for your viewing pleasure. Don't miss it.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Welcome to my Lab

It's all a big experiment. I'm trying to see if I can recreate the wonderfulness that is Hypergraffiti on Blogger so that I can update more regularly. If you're reading this, it worked.