Tuesday, 8 July 2008

The Burning Bush

sunny, blistering hot (for some), temps 34

Unbelievable day. Scalding. We're so lucky to be in the country. Can't even imagine how hot it is in Montreal, with the heat radiating off the buildings and the pavements. Out here our feet burn when we walk bare-footed to the pool. Happily, we have a ... pool. amazing relief.

Well, I think I'm on the shortlist for World's Worst Employer.

you might remember back in the autumn when Lise joined me as my assistant and we gave her a special vase (since she's also a gardener) as a welcome gift. Turns out that vase, made out of some funky rubber material, looks a lot more like something men are given during long hospital stays, than a vase.

Seems we'd given Lise a "Welcome to the Job' urinal.

Now comes word that with the summer season, we've poisoned her. In the summer she shifts to outside and does our gardens as well as others lucky enough to have her. She's wonderful...even worse then that we've, well, you know...poisoned her. here's an excerpt from an email I received yesterday:

Well guess what.... there is actually a plant in your garden that does not appreciate me.

You should see part of my back shoulder and my neck. I am blistering right up. The culprit is your Gas Plant (Dictamnus albus), the little devil did not like the fact that I staked it back up in the proper position. Well, let me tell you I will not make that mistake again.

I just hope it doesn't spread the word to all the other plants in your gardens to attack me!

Then later, this update...

Found out the "gas plant" also known as the "creosote plant" is considered a poisonous plant in Canada.

Went to the walk in clinic and it is very rare that they see this particular dermatitis....s.s.s. (whatever on the spelling), but it turns out that it is the combination of the oils on the plant and the ultraviolet rays from the sun that cause the burns to happen. I have never before had to stake that particular plant because it is such a strong standing plant. But all the bad weather knocked it down so I staked it. Being a warm day I had on a tank top and used my shoulder to help with the staking, from there I kept cooking. Anyway, I know have a tube of "steroid" cream to apply for 7 days and it should go away.

Poor Lise. Hope she's this understanding when she realizes we're paying her in licorice sticks. Might change that to nettles for next month.

Went to Dave's funeral this morning. Lovely. Especially the hymn Abide with Me. Went to the basement after for sandwiches etc and realized in a rush that this was the exact setting for Jane's funeral at St-Thomas's chapel in Three Pines. Felt very comfortable being there, which is a real gift on a sad occasion.

Have had a busy day fielding invitations. Had to decline to run a workshop for a Canadian government initiative for artists and to host the CBC Radio Morning programme for two weeks this summer. Editing book 5, as you know, and I have too much respect and affection for the current host, Mike Finnerty to want to 'break' his show.

Did however agree to an event in Collingwood, Ont. next year and one in Bancroft, Ont in Sept 09. We're booking a year and a half ahead, and getting packed. Will soon need to push bookings into 2010. How strange to write that.

Did agree, as well, to a signing at McNally books in Toronto in Nov 08, as well as speaking to the Grade 11 boys at St George's school in TO this fall, where DEAD COLD is part of their curriculum.

And said 'yes' to contributing to a new column the Globe and Mail is running for the next couple of months called, 'The Summer of Love.' They're asking authors to write about a romantic experience. Michael was pretty chuffed. Ego. But, of course, he's right. It will be about him. Who else?

had some good news too from the vet. Took our eldest, maggie, in because of her limp and she seemed bloated. The vet decided we were just worried parents and the bloating was in our heads. Not the first time that's been the diagnosis.

speak to you tomorrow.


Elizabeth said...

The funeral you attended reminds me very much of one I attended many years ago for Bill's spinster Aunt Winifed. She had been a schoolteacher in Saint John and her funeral was held in there with the burial in a rural village on the Bay of Fundy. Her funeral was attended by hundreds of people, including friends, relatives, teacher colleagues and former students. Bill's grade 1 teacher was there and still called him "Billy", much to my amusement and his embarrassment. The graveyard was in a meadow overlooking the ocean and I have never been in such a beautiful, peaceful place. I was pregnant at the time, which probably heightened my emotions.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Elizabeth,

you took me there too. Thank you. Isn't it amazing when we have those moments of deep peace?