Jane's Space

Jane's news and thoughts.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Facebook and the Bofa News

Facebook was why I stopped working on the BOFA news each month. Joining Facebook inundated me with joy. It was glorious to “see” so many people, and “talk” to them. Soon I didn’t feel like doing the news, and I didn’t do it. It’s quite difficult to do, but so many people check it out, over 1000 a day, and so many people have contacted other people through it, that I felt it had some importance. It was sort of my gift to Bofa and improv and lately Lit, and Canterbury. And a connection to so many people I have worked with and loved. And then I realized, as I was once again wrestling with my guilt at not doing it, and my feeling that I should do it, that an underlying truth was working in me, like a current in a river: Facebook, with its constant, lightning-speed communications, made the Bofa news irrelevant.

Over Christmas though, quite a few Bofa people asked, “hey, where’s the news- and your blog? You quit? What’s up with that?” And then I had a call from my sister, a computer teacher and website designer who created and looks after the site. “You know,“ she said, “it’s been 4 months since you did the News. The statistics show more people are looking at it than ever. More than any of my other sites. Do it, or decide not to.”

So I did it. The January news is up, and I am working on the February news. It all seemed worthwhile again. And not everyone is on Facebook, after all.

The news is a lot of work, but only for about three or five days each month ( if I stay on top of it.) And as for Facebook itself, it really is a phenomenal invention! Once again I am in love with it.
I am not very good at it. ( “Facebook” should be a verb. I expect it is one now, along with such abuses of the English language as “message me.”) Sometimes I can’t figure out where the messages are, under the videos and jokes and applications and gifts and various screens - and I go away, and leave it all for another time. But then, a gift, I return and find a new person, or someone finds me, I see a beloved face, and my heart lifts.
I’ll do the Bofa news.

I always thought angels were for making Major Announcements, or for shining royal blue stained-glass windows, or for the top of Christmas trees - or for poets. Or country songs.
And then I met one.

There has been a lot of ice around here lately. In fact icicles melted and then froze, in a vicious wind, an inch thick all over my windshield and the side of my car. I was unable to open the car door. It looked as though the ocean had frozen in waves on the hood and windshield. I had to cancel my evening plans that night, call my son and wait for help.

So today I was in Loblaws, looking for salt and not finding any, because there had been a run on it. A manager told me about ice-melter, near the front doors, and offered to get me a bag. I haven’t been able to lift anything heavy since ‘98 and The First Surgery, and I wasn’t sure how I should handle 22 pounds of ice-melter. You need to understand the problem: first there is getting the ice bag into the cart; then there is getting the bag onto the belt to pay for it; then there is getting it back into the cart; then there is getting it from the cart into the car. I usually put heavy things on the seat of the cart, and then tip them into the trunk. And, last, there is getting it into the house. I often get help with that.

Today I heard the woman in front of me in line at the cash telling someone in front of her that there was ice-melter at the front of the store. She had overheard my conversation with the manager, and we had smiled at each other as he brought me the bag. She turned to me, and indicating the bag of ice-melter, she said, “can I borrow this for the cashier to scan? That way this lady can pay for it and just pick up a bag on the way out.”
“Sure, “ I said.

That’s what happened. My lady then said, taking the bag back from the cashier, “I’ll just put this on here (the belt) for you,” “Great,” I said, “Too many surgeries make that a problem for me!” “Oh, then I’ll put it in the cart,” she said. As she put the bag in the cart, I blurted, “oh, could you put it in the seat instead? Then I can tip it into the car.” And she did.

After I paid for my groceries, three lifting problems solved easily, I headed out with my cart, over the icy parking lot, in the sunshine. I was putting the groceries onto the back seat, when out of nowhere my lady appeared. “I just saw you as I was leaving,” she said,” and I thought I would move this for you.“ She grabbed the bag and lifted it into the car seat for me. I saw her car beyond her, the driver door open. “Omigod,” I said, “you are an Angel. A real one.” “It takes two minutes,” she said, and she smiled at me as she drove off, and I felt through my whole body how lucky I was.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

September 22, 2007



It seems like forever since I wrote this blog.
The summer has sped by, and I am trying to catch it now. Luckily for all of us, summer is lingering into fall. But today is gusty, the red roses are whipping in the wind, and there are yellow maple leaves scudding around the lawn and driveway, offending my pink and blue colour scheme.

Summer was so busy that for the first time in seven years I didn’t put up the Bofa news. I forgot that when you are looking after kids you have no other life. Has it been that long? But I did have the joy of my grandchildren and of exploring summer with them.

Summer was a season of falls for me. Three on stairs. I tore a knee meniscus, (twice), and then a toe, and then sprained an ankle. Not so good. Ice and crutches have worked wonders, and physio is looking after my ankle now, but I am anxious to be ‘normal' again.

Summer meant:

* The Poets’ Pathway was pretty well in abeyance.

* Going to Stratford. Such a treat! I went with my first Drama babies from Laurentian. From 1976, 7, 8. We had an idyllic trip, full of laughter and happiness. We loved the plays - well not Merchant of Venice... we drove home from Hamilton listening to the soundtrack from Oklahoma, through soft summer air with a full orange moon riding low beside us, hearts full .

* Visiting Toronto, seeing Stephanie and Glenn’s new house.

* Making my garden beautiful.

* Spending time at Marjory’s lodge, watching my grandson swim and learn to row, watching him come home in the boat with two really big bass - the first fish he ever caught.

*Going to a cottage, movies, beaches, swimming pools, the Fools’ Twelfth Night and the Odyssey show. Attending more than 20 concerts at the Chamber Music Festival, and more at the NAC and the Governor-General's home, and getting drunk on piano and violin and Beethoven. Even though I was on crutches I saw quite a few Fringe plays in the muggy heat. (Ottawa U has a lot of sidewalks and stairs around its theatres!)

*Visiting with Marjorie Malpass and Erin Pleet, who started me on Facebook, and Michelle Rakos and Adam Denault and Levon Henderson and Neil Smith and Sheri Segal - seeing Mike Valliant-Saunders and his two lovely children, and Duane Keogh and Christie Watson and Steve Fisher and Cari Leslie and Martin Gero. And Carol.


I saw Margaret Atwood in the flesh! She was a guest of honour at the opening night party of The Penelopiad at the NAC. On Sunday I am attending a workshop, and she will be speaking in the afternoon in the Studio. It is interesting to compare her natural voice with the one I am used to in her work. The Penelopiad is a compelling production, and highly visual; stunningly disciplined. There are 13 female actors in it, no guys. Margaret Atwood was composed and witty, dry and honest and composed and intelligent, of course.

We went to see Duane Keogh and The Town Pants performing at Grace O’Malley’s. Poor Duane was sick, but still full of energy, bouncing and singing, resounding off the walls - I don't know who has more energy than the Town Pants. They are amazing, and a packed house loved them.

I learned how to do Power Point for some presentations for the Poet's Pathway, in the fall. I had a wonderful time taking photos of spots along the 35-kilometre trail, and finding poems by the Confederation Poets to go with them. Mind you, often I was trying to find photos to go with a poem, and that's more difficult.
It wasn't nearly as much fun speaking at a microphone at the NCC's first public forum though, while someone kept waving at me to hurry up.

I am still taking piano lessons, and practising every day; this summer I had a meltdown over my piano playing when I heard myself on tape for the first time, at an electronic piano. But now I can't wait to get into the grade 6 Conservatory book, silly I know, because of course it will be even harder than the grade 5 book, which still has lots of challenges for me!

My first study guide for the NAC was due in November. It was on Macbeth. I worked maybe 200 hours, maybe 400! but I loved doing it.
It's on line, as are Jim's study guides, on the NAC site, in a section called Arts Alive. Or here ( if you want to study Macbeth some more!) : http://www.nac-cna.ca/en/allaboutthenac/publications/education/macbeth_guide.pdf
Part of preparing for it was attending some wonderful workshops - one with the brilliant Peter Hinton (artistic director of the NAC) and one with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Young People Fucking

Going to Martin's movie was a joy.
So many people everywhere, milling and excited and laughing, Martin exhausted, my son-in-law, Glenn, (a producer of the movie), exhausted, Stephanie exhausted; people sleeping on the apartment floor, people in the restaurant afterwards, bemoaning their lack of tickets which were all sold out, the staff lining up to say goodbye at the door. A sunny day, an early movie: 9:30am. And on every street corner, copies of NOW and Martin's face and Aaron's, looming large! And the movie, so funny and good-hearted and sometimes, well, where do you LEARN that stuff?


I saw Adam before he left for the great green north of BC.
Adam asked, do you like shrimp? Then he arrived, lugging a heavy shiny pasta maker.
I couldn’t help peel the shrimp, ugh, grey sluggy things- and Adam made pasta, mixing it right on the counter, cooking the shrimp to pink perfection – the meal was delicious. Truly, it was. The best shrimp I have ever tasted, tender and sweet!

Stephanie and I went to Stratford to see the workshop of David Nugent's stunning musical.
Jim went too, and Ben and Naomi, in fact there were hundreds of people watching. A dozen of Stratford's best singers lined up facing each other and sang and read their lines at music stands, with four musicians behind them. The musical was funny and touching and horrifying, as Dave satirized small-town morality and capital punishment.

Incredible, really. Barely a decade after graduating, Martin has made a popular film, and Dave has written a musical and workshopped it at Stratford.