"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Blogger's Return

When it comes to blogging I've been a slacker--a week and a day of inactivity--because in my off-line life I've been anything but a slacker.

I spent all of Tuesday and Wednesday of last week here.

On Tuesday we had our last legislative Chairs & Vice Chairs meeting of the session--or technically, the first and only meeting of the "special session," scheduled for the following day. Afterwards I went home to the Lodge to do some prep work for a Diocesan Council retreat, then I returned to the Capitol for a caucus on the budget balancing bill to be voted on Wednesday. Followed by dinner with a friend at Margarita's in the old city jail, followed by a diocesan convocation meeting.

Bright and early Wednesday I was back in Concord for the special session. We were told to prepare for a long day, which indeed it was.

The first vote, on Rules for the special session, came a half-hour after the preliminaries, at 10.30 a.m.

There were numerous amendments--14 had been prepared by the start of the session, but I believe we debated 9 of them before passing the budget balancing bill. We then had another crack at a gambling bill.

The last vote of the day, at approximately 6.30 p.m...

...followed by several valedictory addresses from parting House veterans, some of whom had held their seats for years, and even decades.

Unless we are required to go back--we adjourned to the call of the chair which I do not expect to receive--the photo above represents my final vote as a state representative, at least for the time being. Candidacy filing period opened and closed without my trekking to the Town Clerk's office with my traditional 8 quarters from my piggy bank. (The filing fee is $2, I always pay it in coins.) I hold my office and my vice chairmanship until after the election in November but apart from any necessary constituent service there's not much to do. The Governor promptly signed the budget bill, so that long battle is over.

The reasons for my decision not to seek re-election after two terms, and despite being unexpectedly elevated to a leadership position, are numerous. I was urged to reconsider many times and by various people, several of my constituents among them. Someday I'd like to run again...it was a great honour and a privilege to serve my district, it was challenging and interesting and often quite fun and I learned so much and met so many people whose dedication and expertise won my respect. I made a lot of friends and I shall keep in touch with them.

But at this specific time there was only one possible decision. I suppose in some ways it was a difficult one--in that I hate disappointing others. In other, more personal ways it was actually quite simple and easy. The week was so busy that I honestly had no time for second thoughts.

I made no public valedictory address. I bade my seat mate a fond farewell...she and I had a fantastic and often hilarious time these 2 years of my 2nd term, and were completely simpatico.

On Thursday morning I finished up the plans for the Council retreat, had my mandolin lesson, and convened the Council retreat from 4 to 8 p.m. We had pizza, and my FFTNC and I ordered a small one just for us, with spinach, anchovies, and tomatoes. It was lovely!

She spent the night at the Lodge and on Friday morning dropped me at the Mercedes dealership in Manchester so my car could be serviced. The rest of the day I enjoyed being her Best Woman during consultation for wedding dress alterations and trying on the almost-finished engagement ring at the jeweller's. We then had lunch at La Carreta (yes, it was a big week for Mexican cuisine!) and I picked up my car. Stopped briefly at the Lodge to get the girls and headed for the lake cottage.

The Chap arrived on Saturday, and we spend the day setting up for our parish dinner party on Sunday. (I know, I know...such a busy week!) We watched Crazy Heart and during intermission I noticed that the big white boat was gliding down the Bay on an evening cruise--either a dinner cruise or a wedding cruise.

The new engines are so quiet we don't get much warning that she's in the neighbourhood!

Sunday dawned a bit damp but we hoped for better things by the time of our party. The Chap took the dogs back to the Lodge and went to church, then back to the Lodge to give them a big lunch, then back to the lake. Our FFTNC arrived in the afternoon, but by then we'd done all the prep we could do. Another friend--the canon with whom I'd gone to Margarita's on Tues.--also arrived early to help but instead we relaxed on the porch and chatted and enjoyed beer, hard cider or wine, depending upon preference.

The weather was slightly overcast with hints of brightness by then. The first guest, who happens to live nearest, arrived at 4:30, and from that point it was a steady stream of people until all 17 were present.

We had a celebrity sighting--my pet fish Walter. He'd been away for a few days and I thought the small fry on the surface of the water belonged to him. Now I'm not so sure, because he seems to be vigilantly guarding his nest. I had a few worms left, so we put on a fish-feeding show which was very well received.

The appetisers were outstanding.

Here's one of them, the bruschetta.

The other dishes were equally awesome. One of the salads--a work of art!

The Chap handled the grilling duties with great aplomb, and the bratwurst and hamburgers were efficiently cooked and served and the plates loaded with side dishes and the diners seated at the dining room table and at other tables on the porch. Each one had a flower arrangement from the Lodge gardens.

For dessert we had an Italian Love Cake (scrumptious) and an ice cream bar with home-made toffee.

(I got to keep the leftovers...dangerous temptation!)

Everyone seemed to be well-fed and well-entertained. There was constant conversation and even occasional bursts of song and a lot of laughter. At dusk, which comes late these days, people began to depart for their homeward journeys.

The Chap and our FFTNC and I settled down on the porch to admire a long and lovely sunset. (Yes, the sun did show up, somewhat later than we'd hoped!) Then the Chap left for the Lodge, where I'm sure Ruth and Jewel were eagerly waiting.

This morning FFTNC and I had no sooner finished breakfast than we headed for the little market nearby to stock up on worms for Walter. She fed him a hearty brunch. While sitting on the dock we watched 3 male mallards messing about with a female. I'm not sure she appreciated their attentions but presumably she'll settle down with one of them. Perhaps this handsome lad.

I'm here for another couple of days--taking it as easy as possible with pleasure reading, knitting, sleeping late, playing my mandolin. I think I've earned a break. It feels as if last night's party was the premiere event of summer...no more legislating, hardly any diocesan stuff, plenty of girl time with my FFTNC (and any other girlfriend who might choose to stop in, HINT HINT you know who you are!), 3-day weekends with the Chap, who's now on his summer work schedule.

Oh, and some writing. That's right--I should be writing that new, next novel.

Because of this epic posting you now know far more than you ever cared to about what's kept me away. I can't imagine there'll be another long hiatus. I'll have loads of time for blogging...not at all sure I'll have anything interesting to blog about, except for Walter reports and duck and boat traffic, and descriptions of How My Garden Grows.

PS: A later addendum. I dare not reveal for which team I cheered during Saturday's England v. US football match. Either way, I would displease near and far-flung friends, relatives, spouse (well, actually he knew, he heard me...I must swear him to silence!) I'll only say I'd have preferred a more definitive score. I think it's hilarious, though perhaps rather useful, that my favourite online purveyor of mandolin strings is offering a "FIFA World Cup" discount on purchases. The championship runs for a month...the sale is only "a few days." What's up with that??

No comments: