resolute: repair

- make and repair more, and buy better and less (I need a darning egg)

When my mum and dad were first married, my dad broke a candle holder of my mum's and felt awful about it. Before Christmas that year, he carefully dissolved the substrate from the gemstones that had studded the holder, then re-set them in white plaster, using a glass jar as a base. He was always going down to the basement laundry room late at night and coming back up to my parents' apartment with stained hands. My mum thought her new husband had a burgeoning drug habit. 

The re-made candle holder sits on the piano for the entire month of December, every Christmas. Ros and I loved it. The Christmas I was 10 or 11, my dad made holders for the two of us. Ros's had mostly red gemstones and a few blue; mine had mostly blue gemstones and a few red. Until I moved out, we only lit them up on Christmas Eve and Christmas night--we were allowed to go to sleep with tealights lit in our bedroom and spots of colour projected on the wall. In my own apartments, my candle holder has always sat on the windowsill. I've probably posted half a dozen pictures of it. Two years ago, a cheap tealight (I think it was from Superstore--Ikea tealights are superior) leaked out of its aluminum casing and cracked the jar. One year ago, at Home Depot buying things for the new house, I bought a carton of plaster of Paris and decided I would do with my own candle holder what my dad had done with my mum's. Over Reading Week this past February, I finally started the repair. I'm pleased to say it's finished now. 

baking to soften the old plaster
chipping out the gemstones

trying to place the gemstones with double-sided tape (I had to use school glue in the end)


first layer of plaster 
more plaster, plus verathane = finished
a bit knobblier than the original

Last Rose of Summer Tea

Ros and Grace, two of my little sisters, put on a tea party. Scones, cucumber sandwiches, Victoria sponge, lemon squares, lemonade, clotted cream. Coconut cream for my sister's sinuses and my mum's Orthodoxy. Black tea. Red plums in miniature. Roses and shortbread. Something about a fully laid table suggests fairies  before anyone sits down.

Reading our etiquette colouring books at ages 7 and 8, this is what Ros and I wanted to concoct. 

For your hours of work, blatant care and planning, genuine elegance and courtesy--well done, sissies. I was in awe.

Tim Put

Though we couldn't pin an exact date on it, this August marks five years of togetherness for me and Tim. And what do you know about him? Precious little! I should have mentioned these things long ago.

Firstly. Tim is smart.
As any of our friends or most casual acquaintances or the regulars at Transcend will tell you, even before they hear about his official IQ, he is, actually, a genius.
And he is good at explaining things.
He will help someone with their high school chemistry, and then turn around and talk protein spaces with a biologist.
He never politely acquiesces to someone he disagrees with, but neither does he ever launch a personal attack.
He is the least spiteful person I've ever known.
He does not take pleasure in other people's misfortune or degeneracy.
He does not take revenge.
He wants to help me with my projects, and his advice is sensible and perceptive.
Did you know he is a luthier?
He has made bass guitars and is working on a violin.
He's designed an espresso tamper that keeps a barista's wrist straight and prevents repetitive injuries.
Half our coffee friends have already ordered one.
He defends scientific ideas from abuse and misguided politics.
His knowledge is wide-reaching and coherently arranged; he will outline Godel's proof and then sum up its implications for epistemology and computing.
He makes delicious food.
He likes to play Age of Empires, Mario Bros., Portal, Halo, Zelda, Pokemon.
He's going into the last year of a BSc in Math, with a minor in Philosophy.
He's ridiculously good-looking.
He has forearms that make me swoon and he can get up past 50 km/hour on a bicycle and do one-handed push-ups.
He has coped with three years of my panic attacks.
He has helped me to stay sane.
He eats enormous bowls of oatmeal with strawberries and chocolate chips almost every day.
He knows a lot about electronics; he designed and built a pair of speakers.
He loves Brahms, Bach, Chick Corea, Dave Holland.
He introduced me to jazz.
He notices things.
He gives wonderful presents--both my pocket knife and my kitchen knife, 23 by Blonde Redhead, chemical handwarmers, most recently: an amazing box I plan to photograph and show you.
He's agreed to let me make him a sweater, and has this morning put up with repeated calls to come and look at some ravelry pattern or slightly different type of yarn.
At this moment he is researching the Edmonton protocol for rescuing stray cats.
He just mowed our endless lawn.
He likes the BBC as much as I do.
He has the softest hair.
He can play the acoustic, electric, and bass guitars.
He likes both Valrhona and the hot chocolate powder from Superstore.
He tells me about the things he reads.
He is excited about the new Mars probe.
He is the best person I know.

a book for Grace

My little sister Grace is a fantastic writer.

And though I feel a smidgen of guilt that the book I've made for her is possibly too pretty to want to mark up,

nothing else will quite do for her Christmas present.

I may have to buy her a practical Hilroy coil bound as well.

But sometimes surely everyone thrives under the pressure of potential and the blank white (peacock blue) page?

Merely agonizing over how to fill a notebook can be a creative exercise.