Saturday, December 31, 2011

¡Feliz Año 2012!

Last family picture with my dad in July 2009

As I have done in these virtual pages since 2007, when I started this blog, the last day of the year is a good time to reminisce about the good and the bad and the not-so-bad. In looking over my calendar for this year, I am reminded of how busy it was with travel and scholarly projects.

Before December 2010 ended, I traveled to Annapolis, Maryland, to be with my family for a few days as they gathered, for the first time without my dad, who left us that year, to celebrate the New Year. That was in keeping with the tradition he instituted in 1999, when he thought the world might "end" due to the expected computer crash caused by the change to a new century -- the infamous Y2 scare that thankfully ended up being a dud.

In early January, I flew to Los Angeles, California, my first ever visit, to present a paper on Hawthorne at MLA, a presentation that yielded a query from a book editor about my work.  In February, we traveled by car to a seminar on immigration at the University of Chicago, which was a disappointment, but the visit yielded an advance contract for my book manuscript from that editor. In March, my husband and I traveled to Puerto Rico for our usual spring break respite, and we got in the car again in early June to travel to Annapolis for my nephew's high school graduation and then to Richmond, Virginia, to visit a good friend. In August, I traveled to Puerto Rico to be with my mom for a medical procedure and then in early September we got in the car again on our way to Canada to the famous Stratford Shakespeare Festival to see Richard III played by a woman actor. In October, we took the car to Boston, where I celebrated my 50th birthday on the same day that the Storm of the Century hit most of New England.

I am grateful that 2011 was a good year, with a successful pre-tenure review completed in the spring, many scholarly projects undertaken -- one article written, revised and soon to be published, a chapter for an edited book collection accepted and sent by the editors to readers for comments, a proposal for an article on Approaches to Teaching Hawthorne accepted for a collection on such essays, the book manuscript started with one full chapter completed -- and two faculty development seminars attended. This was also the year in which I won two teaching awards, one of which serendipitously gave me a one-year leave to finish the book manuscript for which I got the contract in early spring.

Indeed, 2011 was quite generous to me. But because it was very challenging for most everyone else, on a national and personal level, especially for those I love dearly, I cannot celebrate 2011 as a great year and am glad to see it end. Hopefully, 2012 will be kinder, and gentler, and more generous to everyone.

After a year of so much traveling -- five road trips (counting Maryland and Virginia separately) and three airplane jaunts -- my husband and I are happy to stay home to welcome 2012. This will be, however, the first year the family isn't together to mark the end of one year and the beginning of another, as had been the tradition. Still, almost all the nephews and nieces got to spend time together with my mom and sister at my brother's house after Christmas, which might just be the start of a new tradition in itself.

In the personal arena, my main resolution for this coming year is to spend a lot less money on myself and do more for those who have so much less than I do.  I pray 2012 is a prosperous and healthy year for everyone. ¡Feliz y Próspero Año Nuevo!

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Nochebuena, or the good night, has always had a special place in my heart and not because of the expectation of presents the next day.

Actually, I never did care much for Santa Claus given that I grew up on a tropical island where he represents the imposed traditions of a colonizing culture, which every day endangers the celebration of the much more lyrical Three Kings Day.

I have always preferred the legend of three wise men crossing the desert, who bring glorious presents to the poor newborn babe in a manger, to the overweight white man in a tacky red suit (with fur!) who simply feeds today's shocking commercialism.

For me, Nochebuena was always about the lit up tree not for Santa but to celebrate the birth of a Savior. While I am not particularly religious and way too much of an iconoclast to fit in any institutional church, the tradition of celebrating the eve of a new day where change for the better is possible seems lovely to me. I guess that's why I love Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" so much.

In that spirit, may you all have a lovely Nochebuena, full of love and joy and possibility. Hope you enjoy this powerful rendition of "O Holy Night" by Mariah Carey, which brings down the house, and brings me to tears of happiness.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The quilt is nearly done!

This is what the quilt looks like with the border and you can see a little bit of the backing in the edges. When it's finished, the piping or binding (the outermost edge of the quilt) will be in the dark fabric edge that frames the blocks.

A new quilt for the New Year.

First snow

There's nothing like a cardinal sitting on snow to give you a sense of the beauties (admittedly not very many) of winter, which doesn't actually arrive officially until Thursday but which is very much here already.

Today is our first snow of the season and it's falling light and quick out there, covering everything in a white blanket that feels like the shaved ice that the piragüeros in Puerto Rico use to make delicious piragüas or snow cones with flavored syrups.

In quilting class today I finished the front of the quilt and basted it to the back and I started quilting not "in the ditch" but just next to it. The actual quilting is the hardest part especially for straight-line challenged people like me who can't cut or sew straight. But I'll try to do my best so that the quilt is ready on Jan. 7, when we'll have our last class and put the binding on.

The semester ended yesterday so I expect the college grounds will be quiet when we go walk Lizzy. I am looking forward to being able to devote more uninterrupted time to piecing together my book manuscript now that the first half of the school year is finally over.

Yesterday I received the great news was that I won the competition for the best essay by junior faculty submitted to the Nathaniel Hawthorne Review competition. Papi would be thrilled. The win means a little bit of money (don't know how much) and will be announced at MLA, the major conference in our discipline. While I won't be there to receive the prize in person, I am going to enjoy this small success for a little while to come.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Return to quilting

After a long hiatus in quilting due to illness in the quilting teacher's family (all is better now), the class met again today. While I was the farthest one behind, I ended up being the first one to finish the larger "face" of the wall-hanging and now will work on the borders before our next and final class a week from today. For someone as impatient and as short-tempered as I can be, quilting is almost a Zen activity because I force myself to be patient and not to expect perfection but to do the best I can. And that's enough. And that makes it fun.

The last two weeks have been busy with end-of-the-semester events and meetings with advisees but I have been able to make steady progress in getting my first chapter finished. One of my colleague friends has generously agreed to read it after Dec. 20 so I plan to have a full, edited version then and move on to the last chapter, which is pretty much done (these are both dissertation chapters that are being re-envisioned and, hopefully, much improved). The goal is to have two full chapters finished by the year's end so that I can focus on working on the two rougher chapters (one is about half drafted) and the last to be done (the third one) must be constructed from scratch.

I hope to be done with the book project by June 1, 2012 so I can devote the summer to planning classes and getting ready to return to teaching and to full-time work in the fall. I have agreed to teach the honor's seminar for my department and am very excited about the possibility since, although it will be in the fall semester of my tenure-review year and involves a new prep, many of the books I will teach are regulars on my syllabuses, including The Scarlet Letter and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

For this year, I am looking forward to the semester ending next week and then to the open days when I can devote myself to working on my project with little, if any, interruptions. Putting together a book manuscript isn't very different from quilting: you need commitment, discipline, an eye for detail, and lots of patience and faith that you can do it and finish what you started.

These holidays we'll be staying at home and I'm looking forward to having no more traveling until February, when we'll be going to Puerto Rico.  I also am looking forward to a quiet time with my beloved husband and furry children (and perhaps visits from a College Daughter or two). Here's to 2011 ending on a good note for all of us!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Boston memories

On Wednesday, Oct. 26, my husband and I took off in the car on our way to Boston to celebrate my 50th birthday on the 29th and for me to do research at the Harvard Houghton Library, which holds many of Louisa May Alcott's manuscripts. We also stopped in Concord to see Orchard House, where Alcott lived for most of her life.

Unbeknown to us, the Storm of the Century would hit right on my birthday and dump a record amount of snow in New England and surrounding areas. For us, on the lucky side, that only meant that we didn't get Legal Seafoods for dinner, as we'd planned, and that a good friend, who lives in Massachusetts, couldn't make it to that dinner, and that the next day we didn't get to see our College Daughter who know teaches in western Massachusetts. And while the weather forced us to head back early Sunday morning to make sure we could get back here by that Monday afternoon, we didn't get buried in snow or had to suffer power outages or the other difficulties that many people woke to that Sunday morning.

Unlike Ohio, where the trees were already barren by then, New England was dressed in all its fall glory (before the storm) and it was a delight to see scene after scene of glorious colors (inspiration for a fall quilt next year?) even with the mounds of snow that had collected everywhere we drove by.

That round trip ended up being the fourth, and last!, of this year, in which I've traveled six times, counting two trips to Puerto Rico. We have sworn to ourselves that next year we'll be a lot more circumspect in our travel plans. But just being in Massachusetts makes me happy so I'm glad that we did this and that I had such a memorable 50th birthday.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had nine people over for dinner tonight, counting the two of us. Our College Daughter and her mother, three students who stayed on campus, and a couple of friends. The table had to be expanded creatively but it didn't feel crowded and we had a lovely time.

The 19-pound turkey came out looking beautiful after nearly four hours of roasting and it tasted good though, in my book, it could have used more seasoning. Next year, I will season the turkey early in the morning the day before and let it stand overnight. This one I seasoned late in the afternoon yesterday and it didn't absorb as much of the garlic, olive oil and Herbs de Provence adobo as I'd wanted. In addition to tons of turkey, we also have enough stuffing and mashed potatoes to feed a small army. We could do a second Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow!

The apple and pumpkin pies (the first one made by me and the second store bought) are all gone, but I'm left with most of the sweet potato pie. I was the only one to eat that pie so it was not a winner tonight. Everything else was, though, so one strike isn't bad.

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving Day. It's not a bad idea to count blessings and to feel very fortunate to be able to do so.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The quilt blocks (almost ) finished

An inordinately busy October kept me from these pages for almost a month. First, my mom was here for cataract surgery for about three weeks of that month and, thankfully, all went well and she had a very nice visit.

Then, my husband and I drove to Boston for my 50th birthday. We took the opportunity to visit the Louisa May Alcott home (Orchard House) in Concord as part of my research for the book manuscript. I also worked at Harvard's Houghton Library and got to handle LMA's personal scrapbooks (her handwriting was almost illegible because of hand cramps!). There are many photos upcoming of that trip, which found us in Boston on the day that the Snow Storm of the Century hit.

Going on the fourth road trip of this year (my husband counted Chicago in February, Annapolis/Richmond in May, Canada in August and Boston in October, plus two airplane trips to Puerto Rico!) meant missing my quilting class on the day of my birthday so I was quite behind when I arrived early yesterday for a scheduled make-up class. But, as life will have it, the teacher's father had to have heart surgery in Columbus so she totally forgot (with reason) our appointment. After returning home late Friday night she had to go back yesterday because he had suffered some complications. I'm praying that he will be alright.

All was not lost in the class department, though, because the lady who arrived to volunteer to help at the shop is a consumate quilter and she was enthusiastic about helping me catch up. This meant that, although my "flying geese" have yet to be sewn together, I was able to make the "pinwheel" block and the special "applique" block for which the teachers left us a hastily hand-drawn pattern so some of my classmates are struggling with having it fit right over the square of the larger block below. Thankfully, that doesn't seem to be a problem for me.

There is, of course, more to the quilt than these blocks (the blue background on the photo is only the carpet in one of our rooms where my husband took the photo) and still lots more work to be done (I think we'll run into three more classes and not just the two that we're supposed to have in December). But I'm very happy to be caught up with the rest of the class and ready to start the finishing touches for my third wall-hanging or table top quilt. There will be another full class starting in January and I am tempted to take it with an eye to getting to where I feel I've mastered the "beginning quilting" level. I guess that's the great thing about quilting, that you don't have to move grades until you're ready.

Meanwhile, I am working away at my book manuscript after a very busy start to the semester with advising and events I helped plan. I work best with deadlines so I've decided that I want to have at least two chapters fully finished by the end of this calendar year and the whole manuscript done by May so that I can only worry about class planning in the summer. I'm going to hold myself to that since the hardest thing about being on leave is that it's all up to me. Which is both good and bad.

Next up, photos of our trip to Boston and of the Storm of the Century. Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The "real" block

Finished the "real" block for the quilted wall hanging. I got a little ambitious with the yellow squares and the block is still not really 12.5 inches square, as it should be, but the new machine is a dream to sew on.

My husband and I have decided to retire my abuela's old machine to the guest room, which has her antique bedroom furniture in it, so that it is near all the other things that were hers and are now with us.

Now it's on to "flying geese," which are even more a challenge than the triangles on this block. Thankfully, I have a lot of extra fabric from my mother in law so more practice blocks will come before the final one is done.

A great surprise!

Today, when I arrived at my quilting class, I noticed that the large table where five of us (the students) work was all taken up with machines. My first thought was: "I don't have a space to work on..." And then the group started singing Happy Birthday and pointing me to the brand new machine with the pink polka dotted ribbons set on the space where I usually work.

Turns out my sneaky mom (who left yesterday after a three-week visit), and my sneaky husband had conspired so that she gifted me the machine for my upcoming 50th birthday and he went and bought it and conspired with my quilting teacher to have the surprise ready for me today.

Thanks to the fabulous machine, I was able to finish the practice block that I started yesterday and the "real" block with the fabric I bought, which will grace my quilted wall hanging when it's finished. Photos of that are upcoming.

I don't usually like surprises but I have to say that today's was among the best I've ever had in my life. I think what made this surprise particularly lovely was not the much-needed machine itself but more the lovely gesture from my mom, my brother and sister (who participated in the good wishes), my husband, my quilting teacher and even the relative strangers in the quilting class and in the store, all of whom were happy for me. It was a great surprise, indeed! It reminded me once more of how fortunate I am to have the life I have and such people to love and who love me.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Second practice block

After a busy day of taking my mom to the airport early in the morning and then running errands before rushing back to campus for a lunch with faculty of color and students and then a meeting with a prospective student, I decided to spend part of this quiet night working on my quilting and doing a second practice block.

I still have a lot of leftover fabric that my mother-in-law gave me a long time ago, and I loved this print with the moon and the sun and the other print with the gold stars against a white background. And I liked the way the red print contrasted with both of them so I decided to work with these combinations. I am not displeased with the result but after sewing the rows together my old abuela's machine started giving me so much grief that I'm going to quit while I'm ahead.

Tomorrow, hopefully, when I go to class, I'll get myself a new machine and this process will become a lot less frustrating and I'll be ready to get to the actual block with the more expensive fabric I bought for my quilted wall-hanging.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Practice doesn't always make perfect

This is the practice block I worked on today because these triangles and the "butting of the seams" are both real challenges for me. Although I've done quilting before (twice!), I find that cutting, piecing and sewing are the types of endeavor where practice (at least not the little I've had) does not make perfect.

I'm going to try for a second practice block before I cut into my more expensive fabric, in the hope that the third time is the charm for these darned triangles and seams. (To give you an example of where I'm not up to snuff: while the entire block is supposed to measure 12.5 inches, mine is about 1/4 inch short all around and it's not an even square.)

Today I spent about 45 minutes in class trying to get my abuela's machine to behave and was so frustrated by the end that I decided I will invest on a new machine, which I hope to buy next week, before the next class. I will then retire my abuela's machine, which, after all, I did use to sew my first wall-hanging last year.

In the meantime, I worked some more tonight with scrap fabric my mother-in-law gave me a long time ago, which I put to good use for this practice session. There is more where that came from so the next practice block also will showcase some old scrap fabric of hers. I love having all that fabric to iron out my kinks, so to speak, before I cut into the nice fabric I bought for the new wall-hanging I'm working on.

While practice may not make perfect with quilting in my case, it'll at least should get me to "good enough."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Falling for Fall

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The first block is finished!

New beginnings

October is regaling us with glorious weather (in the high 70s and even low 80s!) and with cool, cool nights that are helping turn the trees (with the shorter daylight hours) into feasts for the eyes.

October, which also happens to be not just my favorite month but also the month in which I will celebrate half a century (oh, dear, how momentous that sounds!), is a great time to start quilting again. Today I had my third beginning quilting class (yes, I'm going back to the beginning rather than moving on to more demanding classes), and we began piecing together the first large bloc of our wall hanging. Last year, I made a fall-inspired quilt that now hangs on the wall of Papi's Room but this time around I'm going for my favored rose and pink prints.

I'm still using my abuela's old machine but am considering spending on a newer machine. I'm also considering sewing a wall hanging and a wrap from a glorious fabric a graduating senior from Indonesia gave me as a present. (I guess I've been watching too much Project Runway because I'm really disappointed that I didn't pay more attention at all those sewing classes my abuela put me through when I was a little girl. There's a fabric at the quilt shop that would make a fabulous jacket, if only I knew how to make one!!)

I really love piecing and sewing. It's such a different brain activity than everything else I'm involved in, like reading and writing (mostly), or thinking through other people's (mostly students') problems and challenges. I'm really looking forward to working on this project and to be more purposeful and careful about it. Perhaps then I might feel like I'm ready to move on to intermediate. Perhaps.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Fall is my favorite time of the year, although this one has started a few weeks before it was supposed to, so that today, the first of October, it's already in the 40s out there. Brrrr.

Last night, I gave Lizzy a quick walk outside just at the time after the sun had set but there was still a little illumination to give me this view of a quarter moon and the advancing darkness.

I'm always grateful, at dusk, my favorite time of the day, that there are no actual vampires to ruin such views.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Today, my husband and I embarked on what might end up being our last motorcycle ride of the year and we had a lovely time visiting the tiny town of Charm, Ohio.

Squarely in Amish country, but not a tourist trap, the town boasts a great "Amish-style" restaurant called Grandma's Homestead. My husband had eaten there a decade ago and has been talking about it ever since, so I'm glad we finally made it there. All good things come to those who wait, they say.

I had the pan-fried chicken with mashed potatoes, which was very good, and my husband had a veggie burger, which didn't disappoint him. Then it was on to pumpkin pie for me (the first of the now-official fall season) and he had cherry pie, which he was kind enough to say wasn't as good as the one I make. Of course, the one I prepare enjoys the advantage of a pricey cherry pie filling courtesy of Williams-Sonoma, which is unbeatable. (I did try to pit my own cherries once. The feat will never be repeated. I'd rather pay for the pricey filling...)

While my hubby went off to take pictures, I visited a nearby cheese factory and secured some famous baby Swiss for him and Amish Butter Cheese for me (it's as delicious as it sounds).  Then we embarked on our return trip and decided to stop at a place where we'd seen a sign promising the "Longest Covered Bridge in Ohio."

We were not disappointed.

The aptly named "Bridge of Dreams" is felicitously located in a bucolic site, which provided the perfect setting for the end of our first fall 2011 bike adventure (well, to the extent that I do adventures on a bike). This was a lovely day, well spent with my favorite person in the whole world even after more than 17 years of marriage. It never ceases to amaze me how, despite how difficult and stubborn we can each be, we are still such good company to each other the vast majority of the time. I can think of no greater blessing in my life.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Studies in sunlight

There are times of the year when the light changes. My favorite change occurs in the fall when the sun becomes more ocher at sunset.

Today, as the sun set, we could espy it playing with the shadows in our bedroom and lighting a few trees and objects with its fading golden light, like the spinning blue flower my mother-in-law recently gave us.

My husband, with a much better camera than mine, was able to do justice to these "studies in sunlight."


Sunday, September 11, 2011

A decade later...

All through my childhood, I remember people around me mentioning how they would never forget where they were, and what they were doing, the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I always wondered how a historical event could cause so many people, even in different parts of the world, to feel like they were a part of that event.

9/11 was just such a date for many of us.

Ten years ago today, I was getting ready to go to school, to a modernism class I was taking as a non-degree student at a nearby university. That fall, I was taking advantage of their community service program, which allowed me to register and take a class for a minimal fee. Though I was about as old as the professor, whose name, Desmond Hamlet, couldn't have been more literary, I was perhaps the most eager student in that class.

But not that day.

Confused and horrified, like everyone else, I had watched the TV morning news at home, as I was long used to do each morning (that's how I saw, more than a decade earlier, Challenger disappear in a puff of smoke on screen), and had listened to the car radio all the way from our home to the university. I went to class, uncertain of what was going on (it would be a long while before we knew it had been a terrorist attack on the Twin Towers), uncertain of how we could possibly hold class on a day like that. I had no cellphone so I had no way to call my husband at work and ask for his thoughts and to give and seek comfort.

As I walked into the classroom, I saw that the other students, so much younger than I and wholly inexperienced in this kind of horror, were quite agitated and had very little access to news and information. This was way before the time of PDAs and laptops so we were all equally lost.

Then Prof. Hamlet walked in and said, in his deep, resonant voice and British accent, and very calmly: "Though we are still unclear of the reasons behind what has happened today, it is undoubtedly a most horrifying event. For the next hour, let's seek refuge in the world created by William Faulkner (we were studying The Sound and the Fury). Later, there will be plenty of time to deal with what has happened this morning. For now, let's immerse ourselves in literature."

And so we did. Now that I am a professor I will never forget Professor Hamlet's aplomb and his ability to calm us down and make us focus on the task at hand, that of making sense of Faulkner's confusing masterpiece, a blessed respite from the reality that was unfolding beyond our classroom, a reality more incomprehensible and unfathomable than anything fiction could have imagined.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A tiny bit of Canada

Over this Labor Day weekend, my husband and I drove a total 809 miles to Niagara Falls, in Canada, then to Niagara on the Lake, and, finally, to Stratford, Ontario, and then back. Our final destination was to see Richard III at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, which had come highly recommended by friends and colleagues at my small college on the hill.

Our first stop was Niagara Falls, which neither of us had ever seen, and the falls themselves proved to be as glorious and majestic as we imagined.

In Niagara Falls, we stayed at the Villa Alexandrea Bed and Breakfast, which I found was well recommended on Trip Advisor. While our "French Room," was spotless and the most economical at $129.95 a night (with a lovely breakfast included), it was less comfortable or nice than our own room here at home, something that greatly lessens the enjoyment of sleeping somewhere other than on your own bed.

But what was perhaps the greatest culture shock (in addition to the sticker shock of prices, which included paying $6.27 for a Starbucks I regularly pay $3.90 for!) was the Las Vegas-crossed-with-L.A. feel to the Clifton Hill area of Niagara Falls where we were hard pressed to find a "normal" place to eat.

There was the Jurassic Park-themed mini golf, and the Frankenstein-themed Burger King, or a haunted house (the gargoyle below is from "Dracula's Castle") or wax museum in every corner with blaring advertisements and videos.

Most disappointing was our dinner at Mamma Mia's Original Italian, which was basically a culinary highway robbery. For $40, we each had one glass of wine ($8 a glass!) and I had a $14 plate that was advertised as "spaghetti and meatballs" on the menu but which came with only ONE meatball. And it was a very sad meatball at that. The spaghetti was so overcooked it seemed like they had boiled it for about 20 minutes. My husband was sorry that he didn't take a picture of the lone meatball for posterity.

Things improved that Saturday when we drove out of Niagara Falls and visited Niagara on the Lake (where we got a $25-dollar ticket for failing to display a parking pass that we had trouble obtaining because the parking meters would not accept U.S. credit cards!), and then continued on to Stratford, where we stayed at the Caversham House. This B&B, while significantly pricier than the one in Niagara Falls, turned out to save the weekend. Our room, the Sheridan, was small but lovely and we spent a few hours hanging out on the nice porch where we learned a lot about the festival and about Canada from the very friendly inn-keepers.

That night we had dinner at the Keystone Alley Café where my husband had a $24.50 "vegetable stew," which he actually enjoyed. The meal was nice and we got to taste great Canada wines, and while it was more expensive that we would've liked, we certainly didn't leave feeling cheated. On the walk back, I visited a store of indigenous art and bought a beautiful carving of a howling wolf and a gorgeous scarf depicting a native story of "the Raven stealing the light."

Both Saturday and Sunday we had a nice time walking around the area near the B&B, especially since there is a lake with a trail around it, which we walked in its entirety on Sunday morning after having a hearty breakfast of waffles with ginger sauce and roasted pineapples and home-made granola. We enjoyed watching the black squirrels, the hundreds of ducks around the lake and the tiny seagulls.

Sunday afternoon we saw Richard III (which had given us our initial wallet jolt at $250 for two tickets) and it was decidedly the highlight of the trip for me (my husband not being much of a Shakespeare fan). The actor who played "Dickie III," as the innkeepers endearingly referred to the play, did a fantastic job and the direction and staging were superb. We decided that while most of the trip hadn't gone as we'd imagined, we may return to the festival some other time but drive directly to Stratford.

Unfortunately, while we drove for long stretches on the Queen Elizabeth Way, we only got to see a tiny bit of Canada. I have been to Montreal and Quebec, but never to Ontario and was sorry to only get to see so little of what is a huge expanse of beautiful country on the map.

While we both would like to see much more of Canada, we've also started looking for other Shakespeare festivals closer to home, which may (we hope) represent a significantly lesser expense.