samedi, août 22, 2009

Good things

-iced americanos with coffee ice cubes
-free haircuts
-house plants
-working washing machines

jeudi, mai 28, 2009

Power Skirt

I've been wearing 'grown up clothes' for almost a year now, and it's almost stopped feeling like playing dress-up.

Confirmation came last week when a St. Laurent-clad lawyer complimented an outfit (black heels, black blouse*, pearls at throat and ears) anchored with this skirt.

It's hard being a perfectionist, and though I've let go of most of my AR tendencies** I'm a stubborn shopper. Schooled by my sewer-mother, (who in turn was schooled by her seamstress mother) my picky-ness and taste often exceeds my time and means. If the fit isn't perfect, if it's not lined, if if cuts my arms off at the widest point... no matter how much on sale or how cute or how much I just need one more dress... I won't buy it.

Actually, that's not entirely true. I do buy stuff. All the time. But then I try it all on at home and grimace and return it the next day.

So I find myself spending a lot of time shopping, with little to show for it. But I'm learning about the age-old thrill of the chase; stalking the shops of Queen West and the Eaton Centre, waiting to pounce on a swath of fabric that will add a soupcon of maturity to my dead-last finish in the rat race.

*evidence that I am nowhere near full maturity: the word blouse sends me into paroxysms of giggles.

**any family member reading that clause just choked on their coffee.

samedi, mai 16, 2009


(Long Horn Diner, Chattanooga TN)

Saturday mornings I'd smell the scrambling eggs before I opened my eyes. Or the whirr of the ancient blender mixing orange juice concentrate and tap water into a froth. Once in a while I'd wake to the muted growl of the stove fan - which always started-up with a clunky reluctance and then increased to a frenzy that suggested it was trying to escape the confines of our bright and cluttered house.

On special Saturdays, apparently determined at random, there would be pancakes. Made according to a recipe in my dad's head, we'd all sit around the kitchen island waiting for batches hot off the flat-top. Slathered with yoghurt and fruit syrup, or white sugar and lemon juice, we'd eat and talk and listen to the finest of CBC radio one and fight over who got to start the Globe's crossword.

Pretty much the poster family for Can-con.

After I moved away from my parents' house, Saturday breakfasts diversified: classic english fry-ups, mid-afternoon grilled cheese sandwiches, cafe brunches, huevos rancheros wrapped in naan, strong coffee. Most were consumed on the tail-end of a hangover. Most were location-specific.

Consistency was coffee and the Saturday Globe, sometimes a few weeks old, that my father sent me every week for the three years I lived overseas.

These days Saturday mornings are still often hungover. And I have better access to the Globe than I ever thought I would. But he doesn't really do breakfast, and - spoiled by years of smelling scrambled eggs - I am loath to put in such effort just to assuage my grumbling stomach and yearning for an evaporated perfection.

So we compromise.

jeudi, mai 07, 2009

not quite a year.

This is the Tennessee River. Which winds and moseys its way across the landscape of the not too southern South.

Apparently, you can never step in the same river twice. But sometimes you do. Sometimes you just keep wading into the same river, until your shins get numb and the rock indentations in your feet harden, and the act of striding across the current takes every iota of your focus. Because the other options - being carried away downstream, or standing in mud on the bank - turn all of you numb. Not just your thoughts. Or your shins.

mercredi, août 20, 2008

mardi, août 19, 2008

technicolor city

yes. I ran away a little bit.

vendredi, juin 20, 2008

shoeshine girl

The light is beautiful this morning.

I woke up to the incessant clamour of an unfamiliar alarm, courtesy of having two pints too many and deciding not to cycle home. The owner of the alarm was already in the shower, and, as I groggily stumbled around in borrowed pyjamas trying to source and eliminate the beeping, a shaft of sunshine grazed my cheek and stopped me in my tracks.

This city's been grey for weeks.

I waited for water to boil in a rarely-touched saucepan. My gracious host, leaving for a business trip at 8:30, ran out to pick up drycleaning. The morning was off kilter. There was tea in the cupboard and milk in the fridge but no kettle or teapot. English breakfast steeped in a stein. When my host returned, it was with half a suit: somehow his trousers had been misplaced.

All of a sudden there were not enough minutes to pick out a different suit, iron trousers, decide upon tie, collect papers, shine shoes. Ironing abandonned, I found myself sitting on the kitchen floor, armed with an old toothbrush and a dishrag, shining a pair of well worn shoes.

I can't remember the last time I shined a pair of shoes. I can't remember not knowing how to shine a pair of shoes.

My mind flicked from past to present as though I was looking through a viewmaster. The drawer in the back hall stuffed with plastic bags and rags and pucks of polish in various hues. Flecks of sticky black on white kitchen tiles. My dad's voice reminding me to make sure I really worked the polish into the seams. My host's incredulity at this hitherto unnounced skill.

I've spent this month grasping for my father - simultaneously aching for and terrified of catching a snippet of high resolution memory. I worry about forgetting. I worry that by the time I can revisit all of the days from before two junes ago and still remember to breathe, the memories will have faded from lack of exercise.

There is a vast literature on grief, most of which I have not read. I think I don't want to find, in what is to me a vastly a-typical situation, that all of my feelings are textbook responses. So I don't know which stage I am in. I'm not keeping a "personal journey" journal - other than this oft abandonned forum - nor am I in therapy - though I'm considering it.

Instead I'm hanging on to what I know is true: I can shine a pair of shoes in 3 minutes. The light is beautiful this morning.