Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Til death do us part...

Two years ago today, that's what Chris and I promised each other.

It's hard to celebrate - especially if people don't want to bring it up or forget what day it is... I guess they just don't know what to say. "Happy Anniversary" does seem somewhat incongruous given the circumstances. But it was such a beautiful day and the memories are full of love and I guess that's what it's all about. I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat!

Happy Anniversary Chris - wishing you sunshine on the other side of the rainbow. All my love, your Кошенька

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy birth day

Today is Chris' birthday. I'm not sure what to do, it seems wrong not to mark the occasion somehow. It's a very special day for me, for his family, for his friends because that was the day he came into the world - on his way towards coming into our lives.

We're all changed in some way because of having Chris in our lives. Just as we are by having each other in our lives. We may not know how much but each tie makes a difference... in how we look at the world, in how we think about the events that transpire around us, in how we treat each other. And in turn we affect others - even those we may not know by name.

In that spirit, a group of us including Chris' family and some close friends will once again be walking in memory of Chris in the Kidney Foundation's annual organ donation awareness campaign on Sunday, September 21.

Last year the walk took place on our first wedding anniversary and our team of 16 (including 2 dogs) raised over $4000 towards this important cause. The weather was perfect and we had a great time, met some really nice people, and enjoyed a BBQ as well!

In honour of Chris' birthday, consider organ donation and - most importantly - talk with your family about your wishes. Many people do not realize that their family's decision will be the final one regardless of what is indicated on their donor card or driver's license.

Please consider making a donation to team Carpe Diem Chris in memory of him and the incredible gift of life that organ donation can offer to the thousands of families still waiting.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Light and whispers

Now that I'm home, I've had a chance to re-read the travel journal that I kept while in Iceland and I realize that there are some big gaps in my postings. Scribbling on the fly at a public library or dark internet gaming cafe surrounded by teenage boys is not terribly conducive to the creative spirit - a girl needs a room of her own!

I'm going to add bits and pieces about our trip in the coming days and weeks as well as continue to add more photos (I've already added some to my earlier postings) so stay tuned! You can click on any of the photos to see a larger version.

One of the most beautiful man-made places we visited was the church in Ísafjörður. It was built in 1995 to replace a much older one on the same site that had burned down. It's a very beautiful modern structure somewhat like an origami cubist version of the iconic Sydney Opera House. The church in Ísafjörður has cascading levels of long narrow windows rising above each building section and one wall is punctuated with small openings that reminded me a lot of the windows in Le Corbusier's church at Ronchamp. (There are almost no stained glass windows in Icelandic churches - probably mostly because of the long dark winters.) The interior is typically spare and light Scandinavian in decor with slate tile floors, white walls, and and a soaring blue ceiling, rows of simple chairs instead of pews, and a magnificent organ.

But it's the altarpiece that takes your breath away - a soaring flock of small clay birds seemingly frozen in mid-flight, so life-like despite their dark orange colour. The birds were each individually created by the people of Ísafjörður under the supervision of artist Ólöf Nordal - it is the embodiment of a true community effort but it's effect as a whole is so inspiring! I am no church-goer but one cannot but feel renewed and inspired in such a beautiful, peaceful place. I lit a single candle for Chris and spent a few quiet moments lost in prayer.

Later that day after we returned from our trip to the island of Vigur, we - of course - popped by the library. We had a great chat with the friendly library staff and she told us about the collection and the building's history. The beautifully restored three-story building used to be the regional hospital. The library is on the main floor, in an inter-connected series of sunny rooms with high ceilings. The regional archives, photography museum, and cultural centre are also in the same building.

"Whispers in the Library"

Just for fun, here is one of the panorama shots I stitched together (click on photo for a larger version). This is the Northwest side of Ísafjörður and the soaring fjord cliffs behind, taken from the harbour.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Knee bone connected to the thigh bone...

So I found the computer/printer/DSL and managed to set it up all by my lonesome (this was always Chris' area of expertise)... everything works and I don't have any extra cables left over so I guess I did it right!

The move went as well as could be expected after arriving home from Iceland 12 hours earlier + a 4-hour time difference + very little sleep thanks to a whiney, lonely cat who shall remain nameless. BTW I don't recommend this type of intense insanity.

My success with the computer was somewhat undercut by the TV/DVD/VCR (yes I still have one)/cable hook-up. I even took a photo of the wiring connections before I packed everything up in the old apt! Despite three repeated hook-ups and complete rip-outs still nothing but crackling snow, which is charming on a crisp February morning but not so much after the departure of the cable guy. I gave up and called for help, turns out cable guy # 1 didn't actually connect the cable in the basement to anything! Thank you cable guy # 2.

And then there was the stereo (cue choir of angels). This was usually the first thing Chris set up, having always bought a special "moving in to a new place" CD to christian the event, so I was somewhat nervous about figuring out how to set up a "real" stereo system. Aside from the speaker wires being too short for where I want to put them, all is working so far. Pat on the back for me (and the reasonably explicit instructions and pictures in the manuals!).

But of course every move culminates in the unpacking of The Book Collection (only 11 boxes this time). Because I'm a book/library geek and into design porn (no, not porn design) I decided that when I unpacked my books I would try the sort by colour method that's so trendy on the 'net these days. It does however bring back haunting memories of post-BA minimum wage slavery at SmithBooks when I was often asked for some mysterious book that could only be remembered by its jacket cover colour.

Pictured below is the result of my ridiculously time-wasting little project (collection policy: coloured jacket fiction only, organized in the traditional visible spectrum colour range, many black & yellowing jackets left out simply for the sake of artistic vision, small selection of black covers serve as book-ends to frame the colours, single white cover chosen for its ironic title). Feel free to click on the pic below for full-size version to critique and compare (yes these are all my own books and no I haven't read them all... yet). Now this is just temporary and for fun, I'm waaay too anal to leave them like this!