View From The Glen

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Snow White

I took the girls to Ottawa to see the ballet on Saturday. Snow White. They've been to the ballet before, but this time, they actually seemed old enough to really enjoy it.

I've never thought of myself as a fan of ballet, though love the symphony and the opera, so I went with a little trepidation as I have a tendency to grow bored.

But this time I loved it. Maybe because the girls are older and I din't have to spend the whole two hours whispering answers in their ears.

It's just started. The prince doesn't show up until later.

Yes, that is Snow White. No, her dress is not the same as in the Disney movie.

There is no talking. It's a ballet. They just dance.

I already told you - the prince doesn't show up until the end.

(Seriously, what is is about girls and princes?)

This time, I got to listen to the other mothers and grandmothers whisper these things while my girls sat in rapturous attention at the music, the sumptuous costumes, the stunning visual stage, and the talented dancers.

Before I get too smug though, all the other little girls were dressed in tulle and lace and silk and looked beautiful, and my girls are complete tomboys who think dressing up is clean pants and a hair clip.

Still beautiful though.

Monday, December 3, 2012


There are a few things I HAVE to do in December. Christmas Traditions.

  1. Listen to Handel's Messiah. Just because.
  2. Write Christmas Cards by candlelight.
  3. Go for a snowshoe walk by moonlight (if there is snow).
  4. Have a cheese fondue by the fire.
  5. Enjoy a long Christmas lunch with a friend or two at a nice restaurant.

Friday, November 16, 2012

My dearest Creature...and other things

Love 'em, I do.

But they are camping tonight, and I am home alone.

By the fire. With wine.

And music.

A stack of papers to mark (but a short stack...)

And a literature course to update - I found some really great resources that will hopefully spark some deeper thought and analysis for my students this winter.

Later, I have a book to read. An old classic, falling to bits, that I pulled off my shelf around Hallowe'en to re-read.

And oh, I had forgotten how funny it is. How subtle and ironic and hilarious the writing is. Forgotten how this book, for a period of time, had a friend and I treading the hallowed halls of Kennebecasis Valley High School in gales of laughter at the ridiculousness of the language, the relationship, the wit. For a short time, all the notes we exchanged were addressed thusly: My Dearest Creature....

My dearest creature....I would write. I don't know why it took you so long at your locker. Do you want to walk to the store and have lunch?

My dearest creature.....she would write back. Physics is taking such an age. Do you think Mr X will ever stop talking?

Etcetera. It all came back to me in chapter 6. The foolishness of being 16.

Anyway. That's my plan tonight. Mark. Plan. Read.

(Wait a second - it does sound remarkably like many other nights. What a gripping life I do lead!)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day 2012: I Remember Still

Some years are warmer than others and many years have bone-chillingly horrendous. Sometimes the November sky is steel grey and frigid and other years, the sun has shone down warmly. I've heard the moment of silence interrupted by crying babies, laughing children, birdsong, beeping watches, foghorns and train whistles

Having participated in Remembrance Day ceremonies from coast to coast for well over twenty years now, there is one thing however that always seems to be true. Perhaps I imagine it, but at some point in the ceremony there is a moment of unorchestrated beauty that eclipses everything.

Possibly it is because in that silence, in the lament of the pipes or in the bugle's mournful call, there is time to pay attention. But it's there, that moment.

In the cold high street of Saint John, New Brunswick, my bare knuckles frozen to my black wool naval greatcoat and my toes numb from the frost and from standing at attention for so long with the navy, I saw a white flock of birds rise into a shaft of light as the last notes were played. I've seen the sky brighten, the snow start to fall, the clouds clear, the wind sweep a golden shower of leaves into the air. This year, at the college, on a dreary day, the St. Lawrence River turned silver suddenly from a sunbeam that broke through just after the silence ended. Little things all, but they raise my spirits and make me think that in some small way, there is a collective awareness and appreciation from somewhere of this continuous act of remembrance.

I've written stories from our family's personal histories and a shared memories, and posted my own thoughts and comments on past parades. For the last few years, the torch of remembrance has been passed to my children who participate with the Scouts. Those who feel this generation does not remember would be proud to see our kids aged 5-13 out in uniform, laying wreaths and honouring the day.

I was going to give you a poem that Grace wrote yesterday about Remembrance Day. She wants to enter it in a competition, so I can't post it in its entirety, but the way she ended was with this:

Poppies grew
And I remember...
       I remember...
       I remember....
Poppies grew on Flanders Field
And I remember still.

Erik and his fellow Scout, Brianna, laying the wreath on behalf of 1st Lancaster Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and the congregation of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
March Past

Grace, Erik and Anna, Remembrance Day 2012

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November is....concert month

 There have been a handful of concerts I have seen in my life, and I have enjoyed them all, however, I don't usually go to concerts. Sometimes I hear about them and want to go, or think about going, but rarely actually bother. I wanted to see Springsteen in Ottawa last month...but not enough to fight for tickets when the box office opened.

But the concert stars have aligned this month, and there are a bunch of concerts I am planning to see right here at the Aultsville Theatre.

Tonight was this stand up comedian....a last minute idea when I heard him on CBC radio the other day. He was very funny.

Coming up soon are these guys.

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings

I saw them at the United Church in Creemore, Ontario once at a benefit concert (the same church and benefit series at which I saw Garnett Rogers (brother to Stan Rogers), the Barra Macneils, and Murray Mclauchlin....quite possibly my biggest three year stretch of concert going ever until this month.

Oddly enough, the next concert I want to see is Stan Rogers' son, Nathan, singing a tribute to his late father.

And in early December, I am taking the kids to see our favourite East Coast Christmas singers...the Barra Macneils again.

So it just happens to have all come full circle since my years in Creemore over a decade ago.

In the name of full disclosure, the only other concerts I have seen are: The Spoons (remember them? I barely do) during high school; a Michael Jackson tribute when I was in Junior High; Sarah Maclachlin (twice), Bare Naked Ladies, and Rita Macneil when I lived in Halifax (at the marvellous Cohn, the Flamingo Nightclub, and the Civic Centre, respectively), and a Chris de Burgh concert that my two navy buddies took me to when I was 19. That's it, really.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Run Into The Wind

I walked out of my office just after 3 pm this afternoon. The St. Lawrence River was iron grey in colour and white caps, whipped up by the incoming winds of Hurricane Sandy, crisscrossed the surface giving it texture and making it look wild and tempestuous.

There is a path from the college along the waterfront that I often walk when I have a few minutes. Today it beckoned me to run along it, to run into the wind. I was struck by the memory of another run I took along the same St. Lawrence on a windy night years and years ago. I was teaching in Quebec City at the Naval Fleet School there, and the wind came howling up on the heels of a snowstorm. I can't quite recall why, but I threw on my coat and boots and went out into the weather enjoying every second of the wind whipping around me; the power and passion of a stormy evening.

I did not run today. Had to get home, meet the kids off the bus. But I wanted to. To abandon - just for a moment - routines and commitments and possibly even sanity, to run face into the wind.

Instead I am home. I've got the fire in the kitchen going and the old farmhouse is warm and cozy. The wind is whistling around the chimneys and tree branches are waving in at every window. Dinner is on, the girls are doing homework; I sent Erik out to get anything that might blow away; and I'm thinking after today, reshingling the old garage is going to be even more necessary than before.

It's a different kind of satisfaction, being in away from the storm. Watching the darkness roll toward you and knowing that it can come and we are ready for it. I hope everyone on the eastern seaboard fares so well.

Friday, October 26, 2012


I have a date tonight.




(Not unlike my husband)


(Well...except for the rich part)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I paused this morning. 

Faded jeans, steaming mug of coffee, and a moment of solitude. From the top of the stone steps, I see the curve of one garden, tumbled and full of faded beauty. See the tumbled rock wall that keeps the muted foliage of another garden from spilling out over the grass. One tree - a flowering crabapple, planted two springs ago - has lost all but three of its leaves and even as I stand there, one more flutters to the ground like a yellow butterfly. Other leaves, mostly maple, some poplar and oak, have started to fall and lie poetically scattered across the driveway and the steps of the veranda.

The golden and crimson splendour of Autumn's glory days has faded now to burnt ochre and orange and yellowing shades of copper, and in the austerity, there is something elemental and moving. And inspiring.

To pause is to breathe. There are days when we forget to really do that. Especially when we are busy.  September and October fly past in a blur of school and camping and work and activity, and in the race from out the door in the morning to tucked into bed at night, it is easy to forget to take some time to just stop and pay attention. 

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.         (George Eliot)

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Carved Pumpkins lit up in spectacular displays at Upper Canada Village's first PumpkINFERNO.

Word of advice: Buy tickets online. Grumble at the outrageous service fee if you must (I did), but be glad you don't have to stand in a line of hundreds to get it when you arrive.
Wedding Bells

A little Darwin

Positively Medieval

Three Wise Owls

Couple of Crocs

Little Mermaid

Friday, October 5, 2012

Love Me Do

Fifty years ago, these guys had their first hit...and rocked the world from their home in Liverpool., UK.

Which just happens to be where my family are from.

In fact, I believe my mother knew Paul, John, George Harrison and Pete Best quite well when they were still The Quarrymen playing at The Cavern Club. Today, 600 Liverpudlian school children gathered at Pier Head to sing Beatles songs long enough to get into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Hear their first hit (it only went to #17) at this you tube site.  

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fat and Happy...

Every once in a while, something happens to jolt you out of your stupor. Today I had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Marilyn Scott, a professor at McGill University in Montreal, and she did just that.

Dr. Scott was speaking primarily about the plight of people in the third world. The hunger, the lack of medical care, the education issues, the poverty, the basic human rights. Nothing we don't all know already, but I'm embarrassed how little we really think about these things in any more than an abstract sense.

Sometimes I wonder if instead of making things real to us, the media desensitizes us. Seeing a refugee camp or hearing about one is far, far different from the reality of such a camp. The reality is equal parts hope and despair, and  no matter what you are doing or have done or plan to do to help, face-to-face, that reality makes you feel completely helpless.

We had a chance to speak to Dr. Scott after her presentation and  it turned out she also teaches in the environmental program at McGill. She was interested in Anna's environmental projects and we had a great discussion about the wall we are heading towards (in terms of environmental disaster), the real costs of gas and fuel (that we should all be paying....maybe?) and the technological intervention that may be required by the next generation in order to change things for the better.

It seemed funny to speak about extreme global poverty on the one hand and western society's glut, greed and excess (that contributes so much to the environmental issues) on the other.

Made me feel sad.

We have so much. And contribute so little.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Such a nice mother...

Tidying up the kitchen tonight while everyone is out - and may I just say that next time I design a kitchen, every counter is going to tilt when not in use to prevent everyone and their dog from leaving stuff all over every horizontal surface <end rant> - and came across this note which proves beyond doubt that I am...

...must be

...the most awesome mother in the world

...or not.

It's a chore list for the PD day they kids had off a week ago.

Along with my instructions to ensure the non-school day wasn't a total academic write-off.

I wouldn't want any of that mindless down time while stacking wood in the basement to be wasted.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Tonight the rain is falling and I am happy and content with music and books and wine and the company of one delightful 9-year-old who decided against going on a three-day canoe trip to Frontenac Park with her dad and siblings. She thought it might be too much for her to keep up with them, and though I disagree, I can't say I have minded having the company on this wet and gloomy weekend.

We ate hot buttered crumpets and drank tea on Friday afternoon, before heading to a friend's house for dinner. Today was lazy until mid afternoon when we went shopping - an activity I usually abhor, and by the end of the day, remembered why that is so (crowds, lineups, general impression of bustle without real purpose) - and then came home to the simplicity of scrambled eggs on toast and a watching of Dragonheart which Grace likes because of the dragon, and which I like because it has a haunting soundtrack and the voice of Sean Connery:)

Draco in Dragonheart

Now Grace is in bed, Lady is curled up on her cushion after snagging the last sausage roll, and the cats are snuggled together on a chair. I am reading, writing, thinking, and blogging all while listening to a playlist that includes Elvis, Chris de Burgh, Roger Whittaker, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Aviva Chernik, The Irish Descendants, Rita MacNeil, and Natalie Cole. It's a playlist that doesn't come out very often, but it felt sort of moody and retro and fit in with the rain and the overall lazy nature of today.

I hope the rest of my little family are warm and snug in their sleeping bags on the shores of Big Salmon Lake, and am kind of imagining the romantic sound of raindrops on tent canvas even while I know that pleasurable camping trips in the rain are more illusion than reality (though the kids do seem to remember the hardships with a great deal of gusto - we'll see how they feel about that when they get home tomorrow after a kilometer-long portage on their last leg of the trip!)

For me though, hearing the rain on the windows is just about right. There is something both soothing and calming about a rainy night.
Joni Mitchell Cover Both Sides Now

Monday, September 17, 2012

O Galadriel!

Thank you, O great Galadriel.

Without that morning offering
We poor humans would surely not survive 

At least, that's what she thinks. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Welcome to September

Made it through the first, crazy week of September. A week where everyone is excited, where there is so much to get done, where we get up early and turn in late.

Back to School
It's the first year we've had back to school without it being a headache. All three kids are happy with their classes and teachers and the mix of students in their class. Erik started in grade 7 at the high school and has made the adjustment so easily, I am starting to wonder if he's the same shy kid or if some wood elves swapped him in the night. He even got up to run with me one morning, has decided to try both the chess club and a team sport (!), and is considering mentoring a group of younger kids to teach them Lego Robotics in his spare time. Plus he is taking the lead in organizing a canoe trip with his scout troop and working with the other senior scout to plan routes and menus.

It's a bit WTF but in a good way.

No surprises with the girls. Anna one of a solid group of grade 6 keeners who brings home extra math because it's her weakest subject and she wants to improve, and who already has the book read and the report done for the project due in October. Whose kid is she, anyway? Grace loves loves LOVES her french immersion class and took on the teacher's 80-item challenge this year - we're still not 100% sure what that entails.

All of that makes the first week go by quickly. I was at the college too, helping out with orientation on the Tuesday. As part of the day's events I participated in the faculty challenge on behalf of the Arts and Sciences students - and I got to race in a bouncy castle obstacle course, through a tunnel, around stalagmites, up and over a wall and down the other side. I lost to the Pre-Health Science department BECAUSE THEY CHEATED AND USED A TALL ATHLETIC STUDENT INSTEAD OF FACULTY and really, how was I supposed to compete against that, despite the roar of support from some of the students I taught last year. It was a fun day, though I ended up with burns on my knees and elbows from the damn bouncy course, for which there was NO sympathy on the homefront (and to be honest, if one of the kids had complained to me that they'd hurt themselves on a huge inflatable kids' playground, I'm not sure I'd have been sympathetic either).

On the up side, I was mistaken for a student by three first years, which made me think I should put my hair in a high ponytail more often.

Before the fun of orientation, there were staff meetings; afterwards, there was the fun of marking 650 post admission placement essays before classes started for real this week.

And now, one day into week two, and I'm pretty tired. Working my days prepping for classes, and my evenings editing books. It will get easier as the routine settles into place, and I am planning NOT to have to work on weekends too often. Got a weekend booked to see a play in Ottawa, a weekend to myself while everyone else in the house goes canoeing, a possible weekend trip to New Brunswick (hi Julie), another trip to Toronto to try and organize...not quite sure how the empty spaces fill up so quickly.

But first there is tomorrow evening - and the welcome back school barbecue/meet-the-teachers night.

Welcome to September.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Trading Summer for the Winter....

Friends of mine in Halifax used to sing a song called Trading Winter For the Summer, which was a toe-tapping upbeat kind of number. This time of year I am thinking about going the other way and trading Summer for, well, if not Winter exactly, then Autumn at least.

Mostly, I'm okay with that. Very excited to be back teaching again in the next week or so. Love the feeling of fall on campus. And while I do whine a bit that fall doesn't have the same freedom of summer, really I quite like getting back into a regular routine. More time for reading, for one thing.

So today we cleaned out summer clothes and got ready for the first day of school tomorrow. I'm transitioning slowly, and this week is largely orientation and post-admissions testing so I have a week's respite. But it seemed smart to go through my own closets at the same time as I went through the kids'.

And it's a little bit sad trading these...

 For these...

I'm still resistant. Just a little.

Friday, August 31, 2012

All the news fit to print....

Because I am a former journalist and newspaper editor, friends often ask me why I don't blog about current events or hot-topic issues. It's true that with a few exceptions, I use this blog more as a personal journal than as a forum for analysis, and it is heavy with references to the kids and our activities. Even those exceptions tend to be issues that affect us directly, like the zero-grade controversy that rocked educational circles earlier this year (this links to my original response but I should note that I have modified my opinion slightly over the subsequent months).

Partly, it's because this blog is for friends and family scattered over the globe and they are far more interested in what we've been up to on the soccer field or the lake than they are interested in my ranting on one subject or another.
Ottawa Citizen
Partly it's because the news depresses me, and when I blog I don't want to be depressed. I'm usually at the keyboard in the evening or in between projects as well, and responding to news in a way that would be unbiased and informed and well-thought-out frankly takes a great deal more time and effort than I am willing to give. In general I find the state of journalism sad these days and find there is too much reliance on sound bites and opinion rather than factual reporting or even deep editorial commentary. If I write as a reporter, I am not going to do a half-arsed job of it.

The Globe and Mail

Partly it's because I want the freedom to say words like arsed without worrying about offending someone. And I don't really want to invite the comment trolls (the ones I see on news sites make me despair for humanity) into my life.

National Post
But sometimes I wish I did more analysis. Every day I read a variety of news sources (and am amazed how important a source of information Twitter has become for me - with links to all sorts of incredible things), and every day there are things I want to say or could say. There are so many stories I am passionate about...some of the key stories that have stood out for me recently are pictured throughout this post. Being a writer means I think best with a keyboard and that's usually how I formulate opinions. If I don't have the opportunity to write about an issue, when something comes up in conversation (like it invariably does at book club) I end up feeling like I am merely ranting, rather than putting forward intelligent and thoughtful ideas.


I made a conscious decision to keep this blog light because I don't believe I can do some of the big stories justice in the short window I have to draft blog posts.
It doesn't mean I don't have an opinion. If you want my thoughts on politics, philosophy, education, religion, or cultural mores, you just have to ask. Preferably while you hand me a glass of wine...if I don't have a keyboard, it's the next best thing!

Sunday, August 26, 2012


This is really it....the last week of summer. It's still very warm - warm enough that I turned the A/C back on over the weekend, after a few gorgeous, breezy, cooler days mid week - but there is no denying reality any longer.

Back to school shopping happened yesterday and the girls spent this morning sorting out their supplies. Scout meetings are being organized and we had the group over for a planning meeting and barbecue on Friday night. I'm back on campus Monday to Wednesday this week for meetings, and the kids are planning a mini camping trip sometime in the next few days because I promised them they could do an overnight on their own this summer.

And so here we are, with just a few more days to go....

I love summer.

But as everyone who knows me is aware, Fall is really my favourite season. So while part of me is saying noooooo because I love summer dresses and lazy mornings, grilled salmon, and strawberry daiquiris, part of me is mentally brushing up my wool skirts for work, digging out jeans and a chunky sweater for weekends outside, and thinking about making boeuf bourguignon and sipping rich red wine the colour of maple leaves.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer School

I went easy on the kids this year and our annual Summer School was decidedly more slack than usual despite my best intentions. Still it gave me some insights into their respective strengths and weaknesses, as well as their approach to work (see pictures).

Anna is a very studious worker. Diligent and careful and really enjoys research, writing and collaboration

I also organized it differently. In addition to our usual "unschooling" (ie: letting them focus on whatever interested them as long as they incorporated reading and writing about it), I sent the kids emails and expected them to work on assignments together using Google Docs, thus encouraging them (ideally) to have input into each others' work and give them a chance to do some editing before submitting final essays to me.

Once Erik is in a routine, he just gets it done as efficiently (not always as professionally) as possible. But he also tends to procrastinate. If he leaves it long enough, maybe I will forget....

In some ways it worked really well - I am a firm believer that technology is the future of education - and I was happy that they seemed to have no difficulty accessing and creating files and working with a variety of on-line media. They also liked having the flexibility of working with their laptops or on the bigger computer.

Grace is half Anna (studious and keen) and half Erik (procrastinator). Oh, and she takes her cue for how to work from me. Except she doesn't have a daiquiri in her hand. LOL

In some ways it needed work. For example, I thought that by providing a weekly email with a list of assignments, links, and suggested extras, it would give them a chance to be independent. What I found was that this was a bit overwhelming for them and that it might have been better to send simpler daily emails. I also completely overestimated how much work we would get through in a week...that's my problem because I always think I can accomplish more than reality supports. I also envisioned getting my own editing done while they were doing their work, but they often needed more input from me than that, so it wasn't as easy as I hoped.

Okay, I don't have a daiquiri in hand either. It's an unjust universe.
Overall though, it went well. I aimed for 2 hours a day in the mornings (plus reading, which we do anyway-though I chose one of the books for each of them this year), but really, it was more like 1 hour a day. Other things (scout camp, visits to Grandad, weeks at the cottage, sailing) also interrupted the summer, and we certainly didn't push it, with some weeks decidedly more productive than others.

I do wonder if it's a good idea. They don't seem to mind - or at least have accepted the inevitability of it over the years - and I think they get something out of it. But sometimes I feel guilty of pushing them too much.

What do you think? Do you "home school" your kids in the summer? How far do you take it? And is it worth it? 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Going for Gold

All season I tell the girls Win or lose, it doesn't matter. Play hard. Play strong. Play fair. It's about having fun.

It's a relaxed league, no stress. I'm happy to lend a player to the other team if they are short because I'd rather play a good game than take advantage of a missing player and win. I mean, these are 8-10 year olds we're talking about.

And the refs are young, so if they miss a call or make a bad one, it's okay. Having been on the receiving end of obnoxious 15-year-old girls the first game I ever refereed back in 1996, I have added sympathy for newbie refs on the field.

But something changed tonight. Semi finals night, and our team being in 1st place got to play the 4th place team. And man, our opponents put up a good girls really had to pull up their socks to get the victory.

And I found it a whole lot more stressful. I actually knew what the score was the entire game. So much for my non-competitive nature.\

6-4. Good game. Playing on Sunday in the finals.

They're a great bunch.

Grace with her 1st place medal and Best Defender Award
It was an extremely harrowing game today 2-2 at the end with Grace on fire in nets (and where my girls got their goal tending skills from I will never know). We went into Penalty Shots and were even after 5, and then went into Sudden Death which we narrowly won to win the championship. Honestly, I would have taken the loss happily - it was great to play such a close game against a team that kept us on our toes - but I have to say it felt like a well deserved win for a bunch of girls who have played their hearts out all summer.

Anna's team were playing for third place (with Anna also in nets). She is the youngest and smallest on her team (of 11-14 year olds) and boy, does she look tiny in the huge goal. But she did them proud and they won 3-2, narrowly avoiding a shoot out which would have been hard to watch.

Anna saves a goal

Erik's team ended up ahead 5-2 to win their championship game. It was the first time I've seen the boys play because I coach Grace's team at the same time, but I tell you, despite having some amazing players in the girls' league, watching the boys is like watching a whole different game. Really fun to see.

Erik Post Game
Great Season Everyone! Maybe mom will treat you all to dinner out tonight!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Til the End of All Time

Cuppa tea and listening to Gordon Lightfoot this morning.... This song is just right for an overcast morning when I need some poetry.

How I long to hear 
you whisper in my ear
Is there anybody home?
Don't you know I'm all alone?
All I can do
Is love you til the end of all time

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Still Time

We had a wonderful four days away at the cottage. Got in some sailing and some swimming and some kayaking and some reading. And that is what it's all about for me. I've blogged about the cottage so much in the past. The beautiful Canadian Shield. The land. The water.

I always come back refreshed and happy (albeit with a general feeling of exhaustion from packing too much in) and ready to face the world again.

Summer wanes - it always feels that way after the Highland Games. But the Williamstown Fair - the oldest fair in Canada - is on this weekend and we're all set to spend the afternoon there on Friday. I don't expect to see the kids at all, but the consolation is of course that there will be plenty of other people I know to socialize with. And a beer garden. (Now, if only I drank beer! Or if it were a Shiraz garden.)

But there is still time.

Time for swimming in the pool. For a few more dinner parties with friends on the veranda. For sitting and daydreaming on a warm and lazy afternoon. For reading and relaxing in the shade. For watching the kids run and play and grow (yes, I can almost see them growing this time of year) and having long casual conversations over iced lemonade when the midday sun is at its hottest.

Still time. Summer is not over yet.