Saturday, 13 February 2010

Opening ceremonies

light snow, windy, temps minus 5

One of those chilly days that gets into the bones. Last night too. The problem, always, is the wind. Late yesterday afternoon Michael came down from his study all chilled. His study is the coolest (not in a good way) place in the house - but not cold. Just cool enough that you don't notice yourself getting a chill until it has already happened. So off he went to bed with his flannel pajamas and a hot water bottle I boiled up for him. Felt better after an hour or so. Appeared (perhaps not completely coincidently) in time for dinner.

Then we both repaired to the bedroom and watched the opening ceremonies.

Wonderful. Those whales? The first nations! The dancing and joy. The images on the floor...the continental ice breaking up and splitting the clans. Amazing.

Like everyone else, our hearts broke for the Georgian athletes - and indeed for the Olympic organizers and volunteers who'd worked years and years - and then to have this tragedy happen just when it was time to let loose and celebrate.

Still, I think they did an amazing job of striking the appropriate balance between honouring the young man, marking his death, mourning it - but also allowing for a celebration.

Just two slightly odd things for us...everytime the camera panned to the VIP platform the guests looked uninterested. The athletes were waving and using their 'candles' - the 60-thousand in attendance were cheering...but the VIP's often looked asleep. Bored even. Perhaps it was just bad timing...and perhaps they were exhausted. And maybe they felt a certain gravitas needed to be shown. But I also think they could have looked happier. Or more engaged.

the other thing I thought was slightly odd was the decision to put Wayne Gretzky (I believe they might have found someone else to light the flame...I'd have loved to see Betty Fox or Rick Hansen or Nancy Greene) on a pickup truck at the end of the ceremony, shipped him across town, to light the outdoor Olympic flame, so far from any the 60-thousand people, the athletes, the snoozing VIP's did not see it live. Just felt a little low rent after a beautiful, elegant, joyous opening ceremony.

But those are tiny things compared to the amazing achievement. Such soaring pride I felt. It was not an opening ceremony that will be remembered for anything in particular, I believe. But it was warm, welcoming, lovely - happy.

One of my favorite parts was the beat poet. He was great. I'm always astonished at people's poise. I cannot begin to imagine how many ativan it would take to get me up there.

Had breakfast this morning with Gary and Cheryl...lots of fun. Off to a meeting tonight. Quiet few days ahead. Bliss. We've dug out from the messages and mail and chores always waiting. God bless Lise for fielding most of the work while we were away.

Some of you wrote to ask about the calendars... Yes, we will definitely be creating them. Lise, Michael and I worked on the design yesterday, choosing appropriate photos from around here to compliment the months - and a few photos of Michael and me, and Trudy even slipped into one.

We have one of those perpetual calendars up in our kitchen and consult it everyday to see who's birthday or anniversary is coming up. Without it we'd be lost! Sadly with it we have no excuse for forgetting birthdays.

We hope to make the design very easy, simple, clear - and reflective of the Gamache series without being too in-your-face. Hitting the tone, really, of Three Pines. So we're being quite careful, and consulting each other a lot over choices. happily both Lise and Michael have an artists eye. I provide the words, which in a calendar turns out to be quite easy.

We hope to have it ready by April...which in a regular calendar might be a problem, but in one that is not year specific should not matter.

Am off to soak in a bubble bath and see if there are any Olympic events on. I love it!


Anonymous said...

Awesome! I so enjoyed the Opening and thought the right tone was struck - respectful, celebratory - such a feast for the eyes and ears! Canada is doing a lovely job.
-Daisy in AZ, where the sun is shining in a dazzling blue sky, temps in the mid-70's (now is the perfect time to visit!)

Lee Ann said...

The poet was astounding! But then, there were a lot of astounding people performing last night. I thought the minute of silence for the athlete who had died was very moving: that pause to honor the lost has never failed to bring me to tears.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Gov-Gen was asleep too ... until I noticed that there were TV monitors all along balcony at knee level!

Candy said...

My husband and I fell in love with Canadians and Canada when we visited Vancouver Island last spring. I'm so pleased that your country has the honor of hosting the Winter Olympics this year.

I'm also happy to find that you blog. We gave ourselves a trip to the bookstore for Valentine's Day and I purchased a copy of Still Life. I've only just started reading it, but had to take a short break to tell you that you delighted me from the very first sentence of the acknowledgement. I will be a frequent visitor to see what's happening in your real life. Now, back to the book.

lil Gluckstern said...

The Opening Ceremonies were just lovely, and evoked so many marvelous images. I also thought the beat poet was great, and the snow boarder was such a neat beginning. What a beautiful province British Columbia is. I look forward to the calendar, and I hope you all warm up.

Shelagh said...

Candy - I, too was hooked from Louise's acknowledgment in "Still Life", but I cried reading "Brutal Telling" acknowledgment. If you read Louise's past blogs you will know the reason.

Louise - love the idea of a perpetual calendar. May we please have more than one picture of Trudy (after all, Gamache has a dog(s)!)

Glad you are back home. Really enjoyed your St. Lucia trip - thank you.

Hugs, Shelagh

Dana said...

Louise and Michael,

I would like to refer you to
It is giving a great commentary on the Games and noticing those athletes who are amzaing without winning medals. Written by former Olympian/Canadian astronaut finalist/physicist Peter Giles. I think you will enjoy it.


Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

Thanks for the blog recommendation, Dana! Much appreciated.

and welcome, Candy. You're amazing to take the time, so early in the book, to find me and be so supportive. Thank you.

Oh, so maybe they weren't all asleep. It did seem odd that they should look so dispassionate and removed, as one often does watching TV - or asleep - in the middle of a loud and live event. Now I feel better. Ha - serves me right for making mean assumptions.