January was a month of spectacular kindness on the part of friends.
Over the past few years, I’ve become a fan of marmalade, and I’ve started making my own. As a marmalade lover, you learn fresh Seville Oranges are only available in a brief window between the end of December and early February. Even then, they’re not easy to find. So, in the middle of January, I posted a question on social media about sourcing Sevilles in Toronto.
In a matter of hours, several amazing folks, including Sarah B. Hood, author of We Sure Can!, Christine Manning of Manning Canning, and Joel MacCharles of Well Preserved and author of the Batch Cookbook, offered suggestions about when and where to look. Topping this, my friends James and Trish Feistner of Grinder on Main let me know their supplier sent notice Sevilles were available, and would I like to purchase some? Oh, wouldn’t I? In less than 24 hours, I had a case of 57 Seville Oranges on my doorstep!
Thanks to you all, I spent a certain Friday in January ignoring the coverage of the U.S. Innauguration and making Preserved Seville Oranges, Seville Orange Marmalade (recipe forthcoming), and a fabulous Seville Orange Pie. And, now, my freezer is stocked with enough oranges to have another full round of Seville-ing this summer!
Thanks, as well, to thank Nathalie Foy of Plenty Magazine for hosting the party to end all parties, to which I brought the orange pie. Not to mention her support this month as I wondered how to bring my websites, The Lunchbox Season and Summer of Funner, to something of a close and started vetting my ideas for a new adventure (i.e. this Journal).
I’m also in awe of writers, social organizers, and activists Bianca Spence and Jessica Westhead, who were on the committee for the Women’s March on Washington: Toronto this January. You’ve inspired a spirit of volunteerism in my daughter, Bea.
Finally, I want to thank cake goddess and glorious soprano Teresa van der Hoeven for providing me with dress rehearsal tickets to two phenomenal performances at the Canadian Opera Company: The Magic Flute and Götterdämmerung. [The shows run until Feb 24 and 25, respectively.] Elena Tzallagova’s Pamina in Flute was inspired. And, Ain Ainger’s Hagen and Christine Goerke’s Brünhilde in the Wagner are not to be missed. Not to mention the fabulous choristers…
Götterdämmerung was a particular delight. As some of you know, I’ve spent the last several years writing a novel about the mysterious circumstances surrounding the brief abduction of a Wagner-maniac in the late 1960’s, a mystery which is puzzled out and put to rest by her family and friends during the week of the opening of Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre and the Canadian Opera Company’s first full production of Wagner’s Ring in September 2006. [You can read about The Week in Radio on my professional site. But, while that’s being re-built, try searching for #wkrad on social media.]
My chief joy at the opera was when I got a nudge, here and there, from my husband, Blaise. He not only loved the performance, he also recognized some of the breadcrumbs I’ve left for die-hard Wagner fans in the final section of my manuscript. The raven clips, for example, on the dress of a certain unexpected guest at a family party in my book recall the words and actions of Waltraute, Brunhilde’s unexpected visitor in Götterdämmerung:
Seine Raben beide
sandt’ er auf Reise:
kehrten die einst
mit guter Kunde zurück,
dann noch einmal
– zum letztenmal –
lächelte ewig der Gott.He sent his two ravens
on their travels:
if ever they return
with good tidings,
then once more,
for the last time,
the god will smile into eternity.
“Good tidings,” here. And, all in one month? I can hardly believe it. Let this be the first of many wonderful months in 2017.
With thanks and love,