1 - I've recently discovered that if I Google A Piece of My Mind without any other description, my blog comes up first in the search engine. Yes, it gives me an incredible thrill.
2 - At the end of June, I made the leap from a casual employee to a permanent fulltime employee of the Province of Nova Scotia. No public service employee was ever happier than me.
3 - The Aunt Sheila rose in our front yard had a record 22 blooms on it this year. We planted it in my aunt's memory, as yellow roses were her favorite.
4 - My monster rose bush took over the world this year!
5 - I also had a record number of blossoms on the Japanese quince, which I started as a cutting from the quince in my Gram's yard in Yarmouth. After growing from a six-inch cutting, the quince finally bloomed for the first time last year, a six-year wait. When I walked around the corner this year to a spray of orange blooms, my heart totally sang with joy. Technically, the quince blooms in the spring, but we have such a late season here, it was still blooming by the end of June.
6 - One of my New Year's resolutions was to write more new poetry. So far this year I've posted 10 new poems on the Poetry Train. Go, me!
7 - Enjoyed a fifth writers' retreat, at a cottage near White Point Beach Lodge, Nova Scotia. That's my friend Kelly Boyce, who drove me there and back (I'm the navigator.) Beside us is Lilly Cain. The sun was really beating down on us, but normally the curtains are opened to reveal this lovely scene:
Our group of writers always strolls along the coastline over to the lodge on the Saturday night of our retreat, for dinner at the lodge restaurant. Here I'm sitting between Heidi at left, and Annette to the right.
8 - Discovered a new character, Scorpius, during the retreat. Luckily, he looks exactly like Richard Armitage.
9 - Totally flipped over Wanted. I've seen it in the theatre three times already.
James McAvoy is one of my favorite actors, and his character's journey really puts him through the wringer. By the time he gets to the scene above, he's gone from an office drone with an ergonomic keyboard to a deadly assassin.
10 - Sat in amazement as I watched The Dark Knight. I remember the very early buzz and the announcement that Heath Ledger would be playing the Joker. My little heart raced with excitement.
Now, months later and following the early departure of such an enormous talent, The Dark Knight had a crazy amount of hype to live up to. I'm one of those people that marketing types hate. I'm immune to hype. I get feelings about things, which are always right, by the way. The early production stills from The Dark Knight told me all I needed to know.
Heath Ledger's Joker absolutely flips each scene on its ear. And that's his performance. You can hear the dialogue beneath his performance and realize just where he took things. I couldn't help weeping at his name appearing in the end credits. As an admirer of a truly gifted actor, I still feel the loss of Heath like a stab.
The truly amazing thing about The Dark Knight is that it's far - very far - from being The Heath Ledger Swan Song. It's an incredible ensemble piece with every performance at the top of each actor's game. Christian Bale delivers a generous, introspective performance as Batman realizes what it really takes to be heroic.
Aaron Eckhart's performance as Harvey Dent/Two-Face manages to have us rooting for his truly heroic character without managing to steal the thunder from the title character's movie.
And Gary Oldman gives a subtle, complex performance in his storyline centering on double-crossing and trust.
11 - I celebrated my 16th wedding anniversary on the weekend that my family travelled down to Yarmouth for my Gram's funeral. Since Brad and I spent two years living in Yarmouth with Gram before we all relocated here to Cole Harbour (to be closer to everyone) it was lovely for us to revisit the town we'd called home. We had our own motel room, our dog was at a wonderful kennel - it was a great evening. We had dinner at the Lotus Garden, an awesome Chinese restaurant which was a favorite of ours.
And then we saw Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Cause that's just the kind of couple we are.
I especially loved Prince Nuada, played by Luke Goss. Loved his voice, his moves - excellent fight scenes! He was an extremely charismatic, tragic villain. Just my kind of character.
12 - Enjoyed seeing my Michigan uncles and aunt when they came for Gram's funeral mass. Though she passed away in December, we had her funeral on July 12th so that her elderly sisters and brother could attend.
The two uncles on the left are from Michigan - Uncle Louie and Uncle Warren. Next to them are my mom, Paulette and my second dad/Uncle Charlie.
Down at the Yarmouth waterfront before the funeral: Uncle Warren, my second mom/Auntie Noel, Warren's wife Aunt Louise and my husband Brad.
Uncle Charlie talks to Gram's 'baby' sister, 82-year-old Tante Emeline. (Tante is French for Aunt - my Yarmouth family is Acadian all the way, baby.) To the right is Gram's sister, Tante Adelta, 92, now the oldest remaining sibling. She used to be the fifth of eleven children. Now there are three sisters and one brother left.
13 - Went out to my sister's and her boyfriend's cottage out in Musquodoboit. That's my sister Michelle and my mom. Behind them you can see the dock that got yanked away from its moorings by Tropical Storm Cristobal, which hit here last week.
But do we care about a wee thing like that? Nah. Newt's brother was heading out in the sea-do to wrangle all the floating bits of dock from along the lakefront. Everyone's had separated.
It was the first time Michelle's been able to take us out there, because the cottage has been undergoing major renovations for the past few summers. And it's beautiful.
This is Newt with his sister's dog, Lily. Isn't Newt cute?
Well, that's my summer so far. And so far it's been fabulous.