A Good Home

Meet Rosie Riviera-Lopez

The most challenging thing about painting is knowing when to stop,” says Rosie Riviera-Lopez, an artist and educator who recently moved to a small town in Northumberland County, east of Toronto.

I did this interview for the Northumberland Festival of the Arts. (Link below)

A Good Home

Emancipation Day comes to Canada

Robby Robin's Journey

There’s so much happening in our little corner of Canada this weekend.

You might say that in New Brunswick we are being emancipated from the emergency restrictions put in place to combat COVID.  Starting yesterday, the province that cut off non-essential travel not just with Maine but also with all provinces west of here way back in March of last year, is now fully open to Canadians from across the country, with no border checks, registration requirements, or COVID tests.  Yikes, that will be a bit unnerving.  Masking and social distancing will now be up to individual establishments and individuals to determine.  That will take some figuring out.  One day in, most people are wearing their masks in most indoor places. Personally, I hope it stays that way.

NBmask

Tomorrow is New Brunswick Day, a statutory provincial holiday when we all get a summer day off to appreciate how lucky we…

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A Good Home

Days off in South Africa – Part 1

Reposting this.  It still gives me chills…

While training TV journalists at the South African Broadcasting Corporation in Johannesburg, my colleague Marie and I were offered a weekend loan of a friend’s cottage a few hours drive away.

We could hardly wait.

While there, we planned to visit another friend at his farm.

There, we’d see something extraordinary.

~~

Just before leaving work that Friday, I ran into a journalist I knew.

“Don’t go, Cynthia” she warned.  “A lot of hardcore racists live in that area.”

I shivered.

It was the mid-1990’s and Mandela’s ANC had recently won the election, putting a public end to apartheid. But Marie and I were Canadians who didn’t know the country well.

And now, someone who did was urging me to cancel the trip.

Not Marie. Just me.

~~

The difference in our skin colour had never been an issue between us. Not in Canada and not in South Africa.

Marie and I shared a small apartment near the SABC building in Johannesburg.  We shopped, cooked, ate supper, laughed, missed our families,  planned the next day’s work together. Though I was the leader on this project, Marie and I were friends and equals, colleagues at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation where we both held prominent leadership roles.

~~

Of course we were aware of race – we were in South Africa, after all.

“I was so proud of you today,” Marie had told me after our first day at work at the SABC.

I’d been thinking the same thing — about her. About how privileged I was to have this wise, thoughtful, brilliant woman as my partner on this ground-breaking project.

“It was great to be there and to see the impact you had on everyone,” she said.

Ah.

~~

A senior South African journalist, Sylvia Vollenhoven, had explained it on a phone call to my home in Canada one night.

“We’re glad you’re sending your team, Cynthia. But you also need to come here yourself. It’s important to us.” 

She paused.

“You’re a woman. And you’re Black. And you’re in charge of all this.” 

Ah.

~~

Not wanting South Africa’s racial divisions to hang between Marie and me, I did a very foolish thing that weekend.

In a place where race was everything, I said nothing about the warning.

I did not want it to disrupt this trip.

~~

Driving along lonely roads, we consulted our map occasionally, but I was too quiet, lost in fearful thoughts that I didn’t share.

I should have, of course.

My silence was an elephant sitting in the car between us.

The trip was already disrupted.

~~

 Dedicated to my friend and former training partner Marie Wilson.  Working with you and our S. African colleagues at a crucial time in the country’s history ranks as one of the great privileges of my life.

PART 2 HERE

A Good Home

A Gardener’s Question to God

When you said we should love all your creatures

And I try – you know that I do

When you told us that we should love them

Did you mean mosquitoes too?

**

Yes, I know that some humans are awful

And I know we’ve not done very well

And it’s true that I felt some relief, God

When the Vatican redefined hell

mypestprevention.com
mypestprevention.com

**

Cause I have to confess that when bitten

My thoughts would make even you blush

And I really can wait for your answer

There is truly no need for a rush

Blog Photo - Garden bugs 2

You know how it hurts me to kill them

How I wince and regret such bad things

But please tell me why you made some creatures

Why on earth did you give them their wings?

wikipedia.org
wikipedia.org

Take that Japanese beetle for instance

In fact, I implore you, please do

Cause that Japanese beetle’s created

Leafy holes big enough to see through

Blog Photo - Garden bugs1

God, those beetles will be my undoing

As they munch on our healthy green leaves

Did you see what they did to our garden

Do you not think them terrible thieves?

Blog Photo -Garden bugs Greens

And another thing, God, that I wonder

For those earwigs are such awful pests

Who have set up their homes in our veggies

Did you mean them or just all the rest?

**

So dear God, I must ask you this question

Cause I know you like people with spunk

When you made such troublesome creatures

Were you maybe a little bit drunk?

Blog Photo - Veggie Garden Lettuce

There are people in my blogging network

Who’ll be horrified that I’m so bold

But I really do need to be honest

Cause I like being part of your fold

**

So again I must ask you this question

And I know you will tell me the truth

Do you not think that some of your creatures

Are a tiny bit mean and uncouth?

Blog Photo -Garden bugs Clematis 1

Blog Photo -Garden bugs Eggplant leaves

I am sorry to bug you with nonsense

And I know that I should never fuss

For some people are dealing with big things

And they never complain, swear or cuss

Blog Photo -Garden bugs Half-eaten Clematis

But dear God could you give me an answer

One day when you’ve got some free time

As to what I should think of these insects

‘Stead of writing ridiculous rhyme

**

When you said we should love all your creatures

And I try – you know how I do

When you said that we really should love them

Did you mean all the awful ones too?

 **

Somewhat Inspired by Theologian C.H. Spurgeon, and by the current gypsy moth infestation of trees.

© CSReyes