Monday, April 18, 2011

Dear Kate,

I was up in Montreal with a friend on Saturday and fell in love with it.  When you're visiting New York next summer, come up to Vermont for a week and we'll swim in the river and take hikes in the mountains and then spend a couple of days in Montreal.   It was frigid this past weekend, with blustery wind and freezing rain, but it will be warm in the summer -- balmy, even -- and we can walk and eat and walk some more, wander through the Marché Jean Talon and see if we can get the fruit vendors to smile.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

At the end of the rainbow

I found the pot of gold.... It was at the skate park all along.
Happy Belated Birthday Anna, love Kate x

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dear Kate,

The world is falling apart, it seems.

So, just for tonight, let's pretend we're somewhere else, like the County Fair.  It rained earlier in the day and it's a little steamy, but that's the way the fair should be, don't you think?  Every time the wind shifts the odor of something new settles over us:  farm animals, maple milkshakes, burned rubber and gasoline from the demolition derby, and the ever-present base tone of fried dough.  Smells like late summer to me.


Watching the demolition derby
Rockin' out at the Fun House
2 tickets to Dreamland
Double the fried dough = double the goodness


Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Dinner on the pier at Lyttelton Harbour.  November, 1986.  Dad (mid-chew), Mom and Leonard.
Dear Kate, 

For the past few nights I've been rifling through boxes looking for photos of Christchurch, but it turns out that I don't have very many.  There are lots of shots of family life in the '70's and '80's -- birthday cakes and napping children and a photo Dad took of Mom standing tall and proud next to her magnolia.  But very little shows how much was lived in the city itself;  no one captured our giggling, teenage loitering in front of the cathedral downtown, or Friday nights spent wandering from Whitcoull's to Smith's to the fabric shop where Mom looked at patterns and planned her next sewing project, or the way we draped ourselves over the bridge railings where the Avon River makes that curve -- you know, round by the boat house and the Botanic Gardens? 

I still dream, at least a couple times a year, of riding the bus up Colombo Street, tracing its route from home to town and back again. And now, of course, home videos show the utter devastation along those same bits of road.  Who knew so much and so many could be lost in a minute or two?

All of this to say how glad I am that your Al goes into Sydney every Sunday and takes photos in its streets; that Mil draws the buildings and trees and sky around you; that you capture that beautiful Australian light and shadow in your prints.   Promise me you'll keep doing it forever and ever?

It's time to go out and take some photos.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My letter in all its handwritten glory will be winging its way to you this weekend. 
Resplendent with ink blotches... I love my fountain pen!
I've not had too much of a chance to read much this week, I did read Hilary Mantels' 'Beyond Black' last week, and if you want a bit of Norwegian, try 'Out Stealing Horses' by Per Petterson, it's an incredible book.
It's funny, Alistair was with my Mother and Stepfather last week out in the wild tundra of Utah, funny seeing him on the other side of the Skype screen, it was strangely touching, Milan saying "So feels so close, but I can't touch him." He's missed him alot "When's Dad coming home? what's Dad doing today? Where is Dad today?" (Although, he's probably just skirting around the question he wants to ask the most, What's Dad bringing me back from America?!).
Today, in Texas. Tomorrow, in Denver then SF and then hopefully on a plane home, we love meeting him from the airport on an early morning as it means there's Krispy Creme for breakfast.
Soon it'll be our turn, tickets booked for home, we can't wait.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

 Hello, sweets,

I'll be waiting for a letter from you in finely scripted calligraphy with a wax seal, please.  I'd like descriptions of life in the colonies and your newest hat;  perhaps a paragraph or two about the lady novel you've just read?  The one with the tubercular heroine and the raffish soldier?

Which makes me think, what are you reading, my dear?  Anything good?  I've been noodling around in piles of old newspapers and interior design magazines after finishing Wolf Hall, because where do I go from there?  Mom just sent a big box of books, which always makes me happy, but then sad, because she's far away now and not driving down for the weekend with all her recent reads in a grocery bag in the back seat of the car.  This batch of books had to come through snow and sleet via the United States Postal Service and while her handwriting on the front of the package is some consolation and the X's and O's on the back are lovely, I wish she was a magical Sallie-in-the-box, curled up inside and ready to jump out once I've cut the packing tape.  She's too far away.  How do you manage being so far from your own mama?

Anyway, those books -- there's Let the Great World Spin and a Jayne Anne Phillips that she liked and oh!  a newish Arnalder Indridason as well!  I think I'll start there; I'm in the mood for a grim Icelandic tale.



Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Dear Anna,
My reply is tardy, in my defence, it would have taken two weeks for a letter to reach you... and at least this way you can read my writing!
We've had floods and heat waves here, cyclones and torrential rain. Do you have green shoots poking out of iced earth yet?
Alistair is in Portland this week, he says it's beautifully bitterly cold and he's loving it.
Meanwhile, I've done my morning 20 laps at the pool and am attempting to get my head around the pile of work that seems to breed when I turn my back. It makes me want to walk the dog all day, or retreat to bed with a good book.
I've bought myself a new fountain pen. 
I'll be writing proper letters. 
With stamps.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dear Kate,

Is it hot there?  Still humid and close? 

It's cold here -- dry as a bone -- and a howling wind has swept down across the Canadian plains into our lakeside valley.  The weather forecasters are calling it an Arctic! Blast! and warning that it's too dangerous outside to do anything beyond scurry from home, to car, to grocery store and back again.  So, I spent the afternoon watching the icicles grow on the sheltered side of the house and eating avocados with a spoon (and mangoes without);  half-dreaming I was some place else, with a sun that burns and steady, warm rain to make the frangipani tower.

But that's only for a minute, that dreaming, because right here, right now, the dogs are chasing snow hares and yelping in their sleep and I have a book and a blanket and a couch for napping.

It's morning there;  what will you do today, sweets?  Go for a swim at Bronte Beach?