Accounting for: June

In June, our (grown-up) kid from Toronto came for a visit. Since it’s only an annual event, I took time off work and made a proper vacation of it. We made a plan to get everything done:

  • Visit with extended family
  • Visit with local friends
  • Meals out and shopping
  • Cooking at home
  • Eye exam and dental check-up (no insurance)
  • Visit ocean beach
  • Visit tourist trap attraction Peggy’s Cove

Since Link usually visits in December, we wanted to do some summery things. We strolled the Public Gardens, walked our favourite beach, and made a day trip to Peggy’s Cove. You might think Peggy’s Cove would be highly over-rated and just another fishing village and lighthouse, but the geology is amazing. It sits on a remarkable outcrop of granite. I can’t get enough of the glacial rockscape at the site – the agile can climb on the rocks for a couple of hours and get stunning views in every direction. We love it!

Link cooked several meals for us and it was a good counterpoint to all the dining out that week. We were hoping to watch some Studio Ghibli DVDs together and just managed one, Arrietty, which I had missed at the theatre.

We visited with Link’s grandparents, aunt and uncle several times over. (New readers: Link is genderqueer and transgender, and they came out in stages to the family over the past 10 years). Once again, I counted my blessings. Link showed up with facial hair/scruff and no one batted an eye. The older generation still struggles with new names and pronouns but it is clear their hearts are in the right place. While there is probably a lot that they wilfully ignore, family belonging comes out on top.

My brother and his partner have a new home and they invited us over for a campfire and toasted marshmallows. Bonfires were a feature of our family reunions, which stopped a few years ago due to numerous folks being unable to travel, so I hadn’t been at a campfire in years. It is so relaxing to poke at the embers (and less so to live with the bug bites!) Rom is terrified of charred food and had the most lightly toasted marshmallows ever 😊

Besides extra meals out for Link’s visit, we tried out the new local Turkish restaurant (will definitely return), had everyone over for Father’s Day, and went to a deluxe brunch for our anniversary.

I saw a few movies in June but nothing like May’s marathon. In university, I had studied Peter Shaffer’s play Equus, but had never seen a production of it. I remember acting a scene from it in class. Since I was not an acting major, I played Hester, a very manageable role compared to the rest! The movie (1977) was quite a tour-de-force, and was even more sexual than we innocent 18-year-olds ever imagined when we were students. After watching the DVD, I re-read the play. What stood out this time was Dysart’s envy of Alan’s passion, even though it was misdirected. Shaffer is quoted as saying, “Passion, even unholy passion, has something enviable about it.” I won’t speak to the plot, but if you love horses, don’t watch it!

Then I re-watched Amadeus (1984), also based on a play by Shaffer, which I hadn’t seen since its release 30+ years ago! Shaffer imagines that an undistinguished contemporary of Mozart, Salieri, was so jealous of Mozart’s talent that he schemed to destroy his life and eventually kill him. It was a wonderful period drama, but I did find it dated in the way that Salieri spoke to the audience in long monologues, a technique Shaffer also employed with the character Dysart in Equus.

Next, we went to a nostalgia screening of Quadrophenia at a local theatre: a movie from 1979, the same era as the two above. I had only seen it once before, in recent times, and I had to puzzle out the ending/beginning, which left me feeling somewhat hopeful. Quadrophenia is set in 1964 in London and Brighton (two cities that Rom and I visit every year), and it’s based on a real-life battle between Mods and Rockers. Ultimately it is about a young man’s fear of growing up and “working for the man,” choosing to immerse himself in youth culture instead. The film reminded me that “teenagers” are a recent phenomenon and before their invention, youth were not indulged with an extra decade to grow up: the working classes were sent out to work as children and were not supported by their parents. It is an exceptionally grim movie, but the settings (Brighton Beach and Beachy Head) were spectacular on the big screen. It was an immersive experience, and food for many discussions.

Interestingly, Quadrophenia had something in common with Equus: clearly, the writers/directors believed in the romance of young men’s passions, even when they were destructive to themselves and others. They both speak to (some) older men’s nostalgia about the vigour of youth. Of course, I could debate the romanticization of macho culture all day!

Today I’m hoping the rain clears in time for the concert and fireworks tonight. I am celebrating Canada Day but with a much-improved awareness of how our country came to be.

How was your June?

If you have adult children who visit, what kinds of things do you do together?

25 comments

  1. Love the photos, especially those with Link. You have a beautiful family. I remember being deeply affected after watching the staging of Equus many years ago now. I also remember you telling me in a comment how you had played Hester. It’s good to hear that you’ve revisited it. And oh, Happy Canada Day, Dar!

  2. I’m on uni break and have a huge backlog of blogs to catch up on. It’s so lovely to ‘hear’ from you!

    I’m so glad to hear that Link had a lovely break and that you all had nice times together with family.

  3. what a great break, love the pics.

  4. jbistheinitial

    It sounds like you had a great visit from Link, I’m taking notes of good places to see ahead of my trip next year!

  5. Great photos, thanks for sharing

  6. I am the adult child who goes visiting and I am quite envious of Link having such a wonderful family with their hearts in the right place! Happy Canada day, sorry (that is the right greeting, isn’t it?) 😉

  7. Such lovely photos!! Sounded like an amazing trip!

    Emory

  8. Peggy’s cove looks really interesting like the large rocks we discovered by accident in Huelgoat in France. Hope you had a good Canada Day. Nice to spend time with LInk and the family and in the summer – a lovely family picture. I confess I have never had toasted Marshmallows!

    • I looked up photos of Huelgoat, very cool! Someday I’d like to see the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. When you toast marshmallows over the embers, they often catch fire and blacken, and most people will eat them anyway!

  9. Glad you were able to do so much with Link. Summer visits are so much more productive that winter ones. Unless you like being outdoors in the cold. I am with Rom and the lightly toasted marshmallows. 🙂

  10. It must have been so nice to spend time with Link! I hope all is well! 🙂 We’re getting ready to move to Cape Breton so June has been insane, and July is going to be far busier I’m sure!!

    • Oh my, Carla, I can’t believe I am so far behind on your news – sorry! I will have to go back in your archives and see what is bringing you to CB and who is coming with you! I am sure you’ll pass through Halifax at some point and we must meet up. I will stay tuned!

  11. When I read “you may think Peggy’s Cove is overrated”, I was thinking, “No, because I had never heard of it, so wasn’t thinking anything.” Now I have some investigating to do!

    Now my eldest offspring has moved out, we catch up more formally. As in, he or we make an effort. Catch up is normally over dinners out or family dinners. While we live in the same city, we’re very far apart. It takes nearly an hour by car, more if traffic is bad. We have gone to a concert together. He and I do some major comedy tours. He will be going with his brother and father to see Midnight Oil.

    He is now spending 3 months working down the snow and except it is the same place we go to ski (and where we currently are for 10 days) we won’t see him for the ski season. He has had dinner with us nearly every night here. For reasons of eating our yummy coooking as much as seeing us. He skies in the day with his dad.

    I don’t think I’d like for him to be so far away for a long time that we couldn’t just catch up in the flesh when we felt like it without it being a big thing.

    • Yeah, it is a bad feeling, knowing that all the day-to-day stuff is passing me by. I remind myself that I moved across the country at 23, my parents experienced the same thing and we still have a good relationship. Glad you are spending time together and staying in touch well. I would love to see Midnight Oil!

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