In March (and a Bit of April)

Not my photo! From gallery hip (not a recommended site  - suspicious!)

Not my photo! From gallery hip

The rest of March was spent indoors. Just a week after our Colossal Snowstorm of March 18, we got another foot of snow! It has been snowing more since and isn’t over yet. This is the most snow and the latest spring ever – there is no greenery to be seen anywhere!

I have been cheering myself up by learning to recognize bird song – the pair of cardinals is still around. I am trying to entice them closer to the house with premium birdseed, but with two watchful (indoor) cats, it’s not realistic to expect to see them at my window! I am happy to settle for the chickadees and sparrows.

Silver "Suki" jeans  (I also liked the Tuesday ones but they are super-low-rise and baby-boot-cut!)

Silver “Suki” jeans (I also liked the Tuesday ones but they are super-low-rise and baby-boot-cut!)

Because I was expecting a refund, I did my taxes early, and my parents’ as well, and our direct deposits arrived within a week. Rom owes a bit so he’s in less of a rush. Unfortunately, we had to shell out money for yet another boiler repair. We switched to heat pumps but still need the (oil) boiler as a back-up. So, no tax refund money left over. That didn’t stop me from buying a couple of work items at the Banana Republic 50% off sale. Elsewhere, I finally bought a pair of “Silver Suki” brand jeans which I’ve been eyeing for about a year. I think the days of the fancy-ass pockets are probably coming to an end (let alone the boot cut), but I will enjoy them while I can. For Canadian readers, Silver is a Canadian brand you can get at Bootlegger and Pseudio (not a sponsored post!)

Mason Jr. in Boyhood (played by Ellar Coltrane). Photo: beliefnet.com - Interview with Director

Mason Jr. in Boyhood (played by Ellar Coltrane). Photo: beliefnet.com – Interview with Director

This weekend I watched the movie Boyhood, which I highly recommend, especially for anyone who has seen the 7 Up documentaries. It’s fiction, but it was filmed over a period of 12 years, so you get to see the main character grow up from age 6 to 18 onscreen. It got me thinking quite profoundly about how we raise our children and the effect of our culture on them. If anyone would like to discuss the fine points of the film, email me! So much was, wisely, left open to interpretation.

Student and teacher in Whiplash Photo from http://www.whiplash-movie.net/site/ (Sony PIctures)

Student and teacher. Photo from whiplash-movie.net

Then I watched Whiplash, the movie about the jazz drummer, and was really taken in. You root for the kid and think about the likelihood of him (a.) making it in the business, (b.) turning into a decent human being, or (c.) surviving at all. As for the teacher: he is like a weapon of mass destruction. The means justify the ends? I think not. The movie kept me on the edge of my seat. This was a perfect pair-up with Boyhood. What the fuck are we doing to our kids!!

Author and book. Photo by Katrina Afonso for the Writers' Trust of Canada via Flickr.

Author and book. Photo by Katrina Afonso for the Writers’ Trust of Canada via Flickr.

I read my book club selection for this month, The Juggler’s Children by Carolyn Abraham. The author traced her family history through a male lineage by having men in her family DNA-tested. As I mentioned on Goodreads, I became impatient with the author when she focused so heavily on test results and could have discovered information earlier through family records and archives! The book was painstakingly detailed at times, but I loved hearing about all the questions that arose around paternity, race, and privacy. After I read it, I thought, uh-oh, I had better not get back into family tree research again, because it could eat up all my time. Needless to say, I dipped my toes in, and will go where it leads me! I know my first ancestors in Canada through 3 of my 4 grandparents, going back to the 1600s, 1700s and 1800s (one line each), so I don’t feel the need to be obsessive. However, I last got info in the early 90s, before the Internet! The stuff out there now, and the personal contacts I could make, are staggering. I am developing a modest little strategy.

Fish Cakes and Beans (to be served with green tomato chow). Photo: Mashpee Wampanoag Education

Fish Cakes and Beans (to be served with green tomato chow). Photo: Mashpee Wampanoag Education

Despite my recent whine about religion, I had a nice long weekend. My mom makes the traditional Acadian/Northeast Coast meal of fish cakes and baked beans on Good Friday, and a ham dinner for Easter. We got together with my parents, brother and sister. My bro usually gives us fresh maple syrup at this time of year, but the snow has been too deep to tap the trees. Of course, every holiday, we are always aware we are not with Rom’s family, but we make the best of things. Since January, after a break from sweets, I have somehow learned to eat candy in moderation. I don’t know if it will last, but I haven’t snarfed down all the chocolate in the house yet!

Hope your April is off to a good start.

41 comments

  1. Fiona

    I hope you get some spring soon – that’s amazing to have so much snow. Good to have shopping to do and good jeans are always uplifting! I’m intrigued to see those movies now (I loved 7 Up.) My mum is an obsessive family history researcher and I go in fits and starts occasionally helping out. If I was ‘retired’ I would spend lots of time on it. It’s interesting that there’s different traditional Good Friday meals in different parts of the world. Here in Australia, I dread to say, it’s probably fried fish and chips!

    • Any kind of fish goes here too, mostly fish n’ chips, but the fish cakes thing is local/traditional.

      I have a good sense of my roots (I’m at least 6th generation in Canada and in some cases far more) so I don’t have any burning genealogy questions, but would like to know more about local history.

      • Fiona

        Earlier than 6th generation in Canada – that’s a long way back! I initially thought Canada was colonised roughly the same time as Australia (late 1700s.) Just looked it up and was surprised to find it goes back to the late 1500s!

  2. I so want to try fresh maple syrup! I’ve dreamed about it since reading Little House in the Big Woods as a kid. And beans and fish cake. Unusual combination. Are the beans sweet, hot, spicey, smokey?

    I saw some robins in London. So hard to take photos of birds!!! Australian birds don’t sing so hearing the robin was a moment of profound and novel joy for me.

    • I didn’t like real maple syrup as a child – it was an acquired taste.

      The traditional baked beans here are very sweet, made with pork and molasses.

      We have different robins in North America, and their cries get grating after a while. But cardinals and hermit thrushes are lovely. We also have lots of birds that don’t sing, but make cute noises, like chickadees and mourning doves. And lots of screechy ones, too (we get sea gulls and crows).

  3. I’ve been wanting to watch Boyhood! We don’t pay to watch movies though so I don’t know when I’ll get to see it. 😦

  4. Hi Dar – hope you are not still under a heap of snow. The sun is shining here in Scotland although we have had quite a sea mist for part of our days. What is the story behind beans and fish cakes on Good Friday is that Catholic tradition or Canadian?
    We had a 7up program running in England – I think in the last one they were 56 now unless I have missed a series. I am glad the days of raising my two girls are behind me and that I did not have to buy into mobile phones and designer clothes etc as these were not an issue in their era. I hate seeing families sitting together in a cafe but where each is absorbed on their own mobile / ipad and are not communicating with each other! What indeed are we doing to our kids!
    First time I have ever known Australian birds do not sing! Blogging is a mine of information.

    • Lest you think it is all silence, our birds do make noises. Horrible screeches, repetitive calls, loud laughter, tweets. But not the sweet songs of robins. Some do have little rhythms and call and response between pairs but not songs. Wait until you hear the screech of a cockatoo. It rents the sky in two.

    • Yes, we are still under heaps of snow and getting more tomorrow, but it has been melting.

      Fish on Good Friday is a Catholic thing but the fish cakes and beans are local recipes.

      I have seen the series up to 56 Up; I think that is the latest.

      I cringe when I see anybody at a restaurant wrapped up in their phone, unless they are sharing photos!

      • Fiona

        Just a gossipy aside that I can’t resist, but the Aussie participant in the 7 Up series lives quite close to us. I saw him in a large hardware store once and did a double-take. Since then I’ve realised he is a local!

        Glad the snow is melting, Dar! It’s just starting winterizing here; down to 16C today which feels really chilly after the heat of summer. We are putting on jumpers and resisting turning on the heating!

      • Ha, thanks for telling me that 🙂 We had snow this morning but it melted throughout the day.

  5. EcoCatLady

    Can we trade some sunshine for a bit of your snow? Seriously, we’re having lovely weather here in Denver – in the 70’s (about 22C). And while I’ve been enjoying being outside and riding my bike we are SOOOO far behind in terms of snowfall and moisture in general that I’m getting really worried about the summer. Looks like wildfires and drought are gonna be on tap unless something changes rather quickly.

    Anyhow, CatMan saw Boyhood and described it as a “movie that wouldn’t end” – not exactly a rousing endorsement! I LOVED the 7up series though, so perhaps I’ll check it out.

    You’ll be amazed how much easier researching family history is online. My mother’s mother was Mormon so I was able to trace one branch of that tree back to King Olav of Sweden in the year 800 (or there abouts.) Don’t know if you can get American PBS television shows there, but there’s a program called Genealogy Roadshow (http://www.pbs.org/genealogy-roadshow/home/) – they have professional genealogists who research family mysteries for everyday folk. I’m a total addict and keep hoping they’ll come to Denver so I can find out if that King Olav thing is for real or not!

    • I don’t envy your drought!

      Boyhood was lengthy and had little forward-moving plot, it’s true. Not exactly action-packed but for soulful pondering (I would say it’s a chick flick but male critics loved it).

      I was able to connect my partial family tree to an extensive one online a few years ago, and I’ve recently found Facebook pages for some family names and significant places, so I look forward to continuing on. I will have to see if I can get any PBS shows online!

  6. Ginger R.

    We had a good March. April is looking good so far. Nice to have Spring weather again – even if it means tree pollen and rain. I’m ready to get outdoors!
    Family history research has been a hobby of mine since 1985. I love it. I’ve been researching my mother’s family lines through resources available at our large genealogy library in Houston, Texas and through Ancestry.com. I corresponded to several other researchers and found good information through them. I’ve been able to document our line back to an ancestor (my GGGG grandfather) born in 1740 in the USA. But I’ve hit a brick wall there. I’ve always wanted to try a DNA test to see if I can match up to other lines. I have a willing uncle! I think I’ll order the kit this week. I love the television series “Who Do You Think You Are?”. Have you seen it?

    • I am aware of the show but haven’t seen it. There’s a Canadian version, too. Our library offers ancestry.com free. Will be interested to hear what you think of the DNA approach!

  7. Thanks for the movie suggestions. We love when pairs of Cardinals swing by. Our bird feeder is outside our kitchen, breakfast table and den and we get to watch the various birds stop for a bite. Have a great April. BTG

  8. Uh… Shouldn’t it be the other way around? If gov’t owes you money, you can take as long as you want. The gov’t won’t mind. But if you OWE the gov’t money, DO NOT BE LATE or be prepared to be penalized severely! O_O!

  9. Strange you should mention the silver jeans. I just saw a bunch of them in Winners yesteday and spent a good 10 minutes waffling by the rack trying to decide whether to buy or not. I had to remind myself that I was there to buy an ipad case. Let me know how you love them won’t you 🙂

  10. I did watch the 7up documentaries – that film sounds fascinating, great recommendation!

  11. For those who say you can’t work a full time job and still have a life I’d show you as the example that proves them wrong. 🙂 I sure hope your weather clears up soon this winter dragged on too long for me but at least it’s over with (crossing fingers) as we are having 60-70 degree days starting with Easter.

    Never heard anything about Boyhood but I agree with your sentiment on how we are raising our children. What we are doing to them is downright wrong.

  12. Loving the red birdie. Hoping I see some of them when I’m over your side of the pond!

  13. gk

    “What the fuck are we doing to our kids!!”
    Ha! Yes, just exactly what are we doing?!

    Surely you have birds twittering and forsythia peeking out by now…
    If not, it will make it all the more welcome when spring finally arrives.

    Louis Theroux just did a great show about young trans kids – have you seen it?

    • I would like to give myself a free pass for not messing up any kids, however, I am not exempt 🙂 I will look up the show. The birds are out in full force but the forsythia is long delayed.

  14. Glad you got your taxes done! No fun to spend it all on boiler repair but better than that money coming out of your regular savings, right? I like the look of those jeans!

    My hair dresser taps the trees in her backyard and usually gives me a few ounces of the syrup she makes. I didn’t like real maple syrup as a kid either, but now it’s a great treat 🙂

    • Very happy not to dip into savings! This year I’ve been hearing that some people also make a sweet syrup from birch sap – I didn’t know that – and wonder if I will ever find some to try.

  15. I can’t believe how much snow you guys got this winter! And on the genealogy topic, you really should give it another go as online records are so plentiful and easy to access now (check out http://www.familysearch.org).

  16. Pingback: Wardrobe Report 2015 | An Exacting Life

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