Friday evening's Puffin Awards Benefit went really well. Bill Conall, Mona Anderson and I read from our various work, Kate Oland and Bill Conall performed two of Kate's songs, and Gary Walsh was our emcee. The picture is from our improv story circle, which was hella fun (I love improv stuff). I wish the Puffin Awards every good thing and hope it continues to encourage young writers for a long time to come.
In other news, I've world-built and outlined my next long project, and I'm finally caught up on my backlog of shorter...more
We had what might be called a perfect Christmas. On Christmas Eve, the power went out, forcing us to fill the house with candle and fire light. We opened gifts and then remembered a friend living nearby in a tiny cabin with one electric heater for warmth. So we went to check on him, and indeed he was glad to come home with us for the duration. So we stoked the fire, served holiday drinks all around and popped popcorn in the wood stove with my new camp fire popcorn popper.
By Christmas morning, the power was back on, and we had a hearty breakfast that included frozen banana purée topped with home-made brandied pears we made some years ago and were saving for our first Christmas in whatever home we bought. By lunch, the power was out again, and we were midway through...more
The island is awash in colour and music, and we are about to become tourists in our own home. We likely won't do this every year, but we've bought lots of tickets to concerts, and we plan to attend some workshops and demonstrations as well.
Festival Club is on the docket tonight, but we might not make it, since we're backed up on the household chores. Tomorrow we'll be at Catriona Parson's Precenting the Gaelic Psalms workshop and Festival Club later in the evening for sure. Sunday, there's a cool blacksmithing demonstration called...more
So, I was in Cape Breton yesterday doing pre-close house things and had two experiences I wanted to share.
The Post Office in Baddeck
I was in line behind this guy with a huge, oddly-shaped package he was insuring for thousands of dollars. He offered me the opportunity to cut in front of him if my business was brief, and when I politely declined, I asked him what was in the package.
He answered, "A wolverine and a grizzly bear."
I thought he was joking, but then he told the postmaster about the polar bear pelt that was stolen from his airplane luggage once. He really was mailing a wolverine pelt and a grizzly bear pelt, probably to himself, in Nunavut. I was gobsmacked, but I took it for the warning it was. Sean and I are going to have to be like wind and water, not earth and fire, as we integrate in this new place.
The Herring Choker
Right outside Baddeck on the 105, there's a seasonal sandwich shop and bakery called The...more
Our house bid has been accepted by the seller and signed, so now I am comfortable writing about our soon-to-be new home. As I mentioned before, the house is in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, chosen by National Geographic as a Traveler's Best Trip for 2013 and a regular Lonely Planet top destination. I know I sound like a tourist brochure, but Cape Breton really is that special; so beautiful even in foul, autumn weather that it makes you want to weep and so sacred that softens even the most cynical of hearts. Around here, my Gaelic and 'Caper' friends all say they feel suddenly better when they cross the Canso Causeway onto the island, and it's absolutely true of us as well.
We toured the house we're buying last fall while we were at...more
We've had a few irons in the fire here at Taigh MacCath-Moran and haven't been quite ready to talk about them until recently. But now that things are sorted, I wanted to announce a couple of cool changes in our lives.
First, we're finally permanent residents of Canada, which means we're not tied to our working visas any longer and can move about as we please, not that we'd ever live anywhere but Nova Scotia. There's a celebratory pub night in the works, so if you're local, consider yourself invited (and if you're not and want to come anyway, consider yourself invited to stay at our house overnight). I'll post the date on that once it's finalized.
The other cool thing is that it looks like we'll be bidding on a house in Cape Breton in January, and not just any house. We're hoping to buy a bed and breakfast near Baddeck, almost within walking distance of the Gaelic College. Of course, it's possible that someone might buy the place out from underneath us in the next six...more
Our first Celtic Colours was a resounding, smashing, amazing success. We were only in Cape Breton for four days, and I've only been back a few hours, but I already feel so far away from home. Thursday, we drove Gaelic friend L up to the home of Gaelic friend J in Whycocomagh, where we were invited in for tea and conversation. Afterward, we made our way up the winding, oceanside mountain to Ingonish, where we found our cottage at the Ingonish Chalets cozy and welcoming in a rough-hewn, log cabin sort of way. By then, it was raining cold and hard, so we dropped our things, set Winter up with a litter pan and food and went out to pick up liquor and dinner.
3 Parts Cream de Cacao
1 Part Triple Sec...