Friday, 7 December 2007

That's a funny looking dog.

Overcast, 5 cm of snow expected - beautiful

Tony, a wonderful man who helps us with the property, put our outside Christmas lights up - on a huge honeysuckle right outside our kitchen solarium window. We used to have all white lights, which were dramatic, but after a while we felt it was a little cool, a little stylized for our taste, so this year we went with multi-coloured lights. Very joyous and warm. And when we turn the lights out in the kitchen at night the splendid outdoor lights bounce off the snow and the colour floods into our kitchen. We wonder why we didn't do this years ago.

Came back from doing a couple of radio interviews in Montreal yesterday. One with a real radio legend - Bob MacLean. Formerly of CBC Radio and television and now doing a show on a Hamiliton, Ontario radio station - fortunate Hamilton to have him.

Then was asked to be on the CBC flagship radio show, Sunday Edition, with Michael Enright, to discuss the sentencing of Conrad Black. His attorneys had submitted character letters from 100 friends, attesting to Lord Black's kindness and generosity. In a taped interview we discussed issues of character - and how useful letters of these kind are - and as a journalists and novelist, how I go about constructing character. And the obvious duality of criminals. The often kind and compassionate public face - and the private actions. How often do we hear from neighbors (after the arrest), 'Well, he seemed like such a nice man.'

That will run this coming Sunday on CBC Radio. Also gave me a chance to have lunch with two wonderful CBC producer and friends - Susan Mckenzie and Jill Walker. Almost missed the interview we were having so much fun.

But - the good news for me and for a weary public, is that that was my last event until January!!! Now I can concentrate on Michael and Christmas.

First thing Michael and I did was gave each other gifts from World Vision. In gratitude and recognition of how much we have. We pledged 2 goats to a family and some chickens to another - we stocked two medical clinics and bought school books. And a bunch of other things. And you can too - if you feel like it. We needed to, because frankly there have been times I've been almost nauseus with the amount of good luck I've had this year. We try to give back as we go - but I don't think we can ever get even again.

Anyway - if you feel the same way, you might check out I suspect it operates in other countries too. US, UK etc.

I remember Bill and Melinda Gates saying that it's easy to give away money - but it's very difficult to give it away effectively. At the time I had very little, and wasn't in a position to give much away. That's changed. And I understand what they mean. We give out quite a bit locally - to projects and individuals. But we also wanted to act globally. Since Michael has a medical background, the clinics appeals to us (and he had a goat as a child - one of my favorite stories. He lived in downtown Montreal - in an area of extreme privilege called the Golden Mile. While others walked their standard poodles and King Charles Spaniels, little Michael walked his goat) and I work for literacy, so school books also appealed to us. WorldVision offers all those programmes and many, many more. At various levels of financial committment. And we've checked it out - it does good work. As do many, many other organizations.

Here's to lights - all sorts of different colours - bouncing into our homes. It's good to be home.


Hilary said...

Plan (Foster Parts' Plan) has a similar program as World Vision -- goats cows school supplies, etc. I gave goats and books last year on behalf of my daughter and her partner. This year I'm looking at the One Acre Fund - gives farm families (mostly headed by women) seeds, fertilizer and training to quadruple their yield and save their lives. Just $10 will produce 1,000 meals!

That's a year's worth of food for someone for the price of a couple of Starbuck's.

And it's self-help, which is the best help.
Marry Christmas.

Hilary said...

Please excuse typos. Edit didn't take.

It's Foster Parents' Plan.

And...of course...Merry Christmas, although Marry may be a Freudian slip......

Leslye said...

Yes, gifts for others are a lot of fun. I, too, have given through Foster Parents Plan... pigs in China on behalf of my brother, school books for my sister-in-law, etc. We are all so fortunate to have so much.

Louise Penny Author said...

Wonderful - will check out Foster Parent's plan too. Thanks for the info - and Marry Christmas to all and to all a good knight.