Say what you will about the candy commercialism of Hallowe'en, but I just met every last person on my street. Each one ooh'd and ah'd over how cute my kids are (and they are) as they dropped fistfuls of yum into their bags. One house was even doling out shots of rum to weary parents.

And, it was (and still is) a beautiful, starry night. Just a bit of chill. The furnace just kicked in and the rads are starting to make that warming up sound.

Cape Bretoners have a thing for fireworks at Hallowe'en. I keep hearing the pops and bangs. I watched a stream of them out my back window a few minutes ago as I finished up the supper dishes.

The girl's asleep, and the boy's nearly with her. I think it's time to cull out the candy that's not good for them.


I was taking a walk on my lunch hour the other day, and happened to stroll under a maple tree. There was a rustling sound in the (few remaining) leaves, and I looked up. At just that moment, a chicken bone fell from the tree to about six inches from my left foot.

The crow that dropped it took off in a cawing flurry to a power line about 100 metres away.

I kept on my walk. When I passed by, he meowed at me.

I never gave crows much thought before I lived in the arctic. There aren't any there, but ravens are plentiful. I was so amazed by this bird which not only survives in the coldest, darkest, rawest environment on the planet, but has enough spare time to mess with the minds of dogs.

I remember watching a raven toying with a dog that was tied up by the sea ice. By the time I got there, the raven had figured out how far the chain would let the dog stray from its pin. The raven would slowly inch its way into that radius, sneaking in, step by step, until the dog couldn't take it anymore and would explode in a barking rage to the end of the chain.

The raven got away every time. Casually. Easily. And every time, the dog felt stupid for choking itself. You could see him vowing never to be fooled again. But he was. I watched the raven lure him back about a dozen times.

When we moved to Saint John, there weren't many ravens to watch. There are lots in rural NB, but we had only crows in our neighbourhood.

I heard a cawing commotion out my back door one day last summer. When I went outside, I found about 20 of them had discovered a powerful updraft created by a steep hill by the pizza place up the street. They would ride that wind about 30 metres straight up, then tilt their wings backward to kick out of the draft. Without a flap, they'd free fall to just above the ground, then glide forward a few metres to catch the updraft again and go shooting back in the air.

It looked like a ferris wheel.

In our new neihgbourhood in Cape Breton, we have both ravens and crows. It's nice to hear the low, mechanical 'quonks' of the ravens again.

Pole Cat

I just walked in the door from my second week with the Cape Breton Chorusmen (the other CBC). It's sounds lame, but the barbershop harmonies give me goosebumps.

Have you ever been singing, and the chords rings so true that it makes your face hurt from smiling? That's what barbershop does. When the four notes hit just right, it creates a fifth note - an overtone - above and beyond the actual notes. It's a wonderful feeling. Like god is making you a quintet.

I love the sense of history with barbershop. They try to rely as little on the sheet music as possible. Partially because some of the guys can't read it, but also because you can learn so much by listening to the guy singing beside you.

I sing tenor (which is waaaay up in the falsetto) with one other guy, named Tom. Tom learned most of the songs we sang tonight 28 years ago from another guy. That other guy learned them when he started 30 years before that. It's a neat feeling... especially when I pointed out Tom's been singing a mistake for 28 years.

He blamed the guy who taught him.

There was this hilarious moment tonight where, during a song with a march tempo, we all got up and marched around the church basement. Two by two, we clomped around the room. It was wonderfully cheesy. I can't wait for next week.

Six Years

Erin and I were married six years ago today.

I remember, I showed up at the old stone train station and most of the guests were already there. Erin looked so calm and beautiful in her cream-coloured, felt dress. She had made this simple bag out of scraps of maroon canvas and old, oversized buttons. What a lady.

Yesterday, I found little Jane playing with that bag. She had put her two favourite toys, Big Baby and Little Baby, inside. She carried it around the house looking proud of her beautiful bag and beautiful babies. So much like her lovely mum.

Happy Anniversary, Erin. Wear the moose hat tonight, ok?

Part IV: A New Hope

An amazing few moments of silence while the kids sleep. It almost seems like I've got the house to myself. Mumma E's accross the street at a costume party with all of our new neighbours. She's dressed up like a moose. Funny, she makes the antlers sexy somehow.

We're attending this party in shifts. She wandered over about half-an hour ago with a beer tucked in her coat pocket and a plate of pate under her arm. Again, sexy.

She'll be back any second. Then I get to sport the moose hat and make an appearance. I know it's useful to make an effort at these things in the early days of a new place, but damn, I hate mingling. Normally, I have a baby in my arms to shield me from small talk. Tonight, I fly solo.

Ah, the anters and beer will help.

I think I've got a few minutes left to myself. Might get a few rounds done on the hat I've been knitting.