Spring Forward, Fall Back.

The air is warm and there is a faint smell of barbeque sifting through the air.

It is that day of Canadian spring. The first day. The first day that you can almost feel the melting. The first day that you leave your coat open with a breeze on your chest. Comfortable and clean and you keep your hat in your purse.

Keep your hat in your purse, where it damn well belongs.

The first day that your spine is warm in months.

And it will storm tomorrow.

I don’t mind. I’ve had a taste, and now I can hold my patience a little longer.

But I took my hat out of my purse. I will need it in the morning.

I am in Niagara Falls rehearsing a play. The first play that I’ve done in a very, very long time and I am overjoyed. It’s been pretty terrific. We’ve been cursing a lot and screaming and laughing and it’s good work.

I missed this.

I like this town, especially my street. It’s referred to as part of Downtown but it’s kinda mid town, I guess. I met some new friends at the pub across the street. A lovely diner and a sweet bakery hold court close.

My home.

Old lamps and artwork and curtains hung to separate our rooms. A comfy couch to rest on and a bed that sits above in the loft; a creaky little ladder that leads to sleep. It’s so calm and quiet, maybe because you can basically hear everything. This place is warm and soft from use and adventurers and there is a spry orange cat named Chicken.

This is an artists space: a cozy haven for the lines of dialogue dancing in my head and the insane amount of Netflix television series that are on rotation when I hole away at night.

Which reminds me that you should watch Luther, True Detective and Downtown Abbey.

Days of our Lives episodes can also be watched in their entirety at Globaltv.com.

You’re welcome.

I try to be asleep by midnight.

This in itself is a vacation from reality.

Goodnight. Let it snow.

On Today’s Episode:
http://www.globaltv.com/daysofourlives/video/episode/days+of+our+lives+mar+10/watch.html?v=190077507638#latestdaytime/video

  1. Nicole is trying to convince Eric to sleep with her but he’s a priest. Later, she speaks to God.
  2. Abigail spills her tea when Sami explains to her that unprotected sex plus all the symptoms of pregnancy can lead to a diagnosis of pregnancy. A very brief flashback reveals her kissing a man in a waterfall. Her pregnancy secret is almost foiled by a friend who offers to take her out for a caffeinated beverage.
  3. In a surprising turn of events, two characters attend to their children. Repeatedly.
  4. Jennifer is having computer problems. At approx. 27:00, she tries to perform a warning scene True Detective-style but it doesn’t really work.
  5. A strange man visits Dan in his home and gives no new information.
  6. At 30:00, the ever present glamour shot of Stefano DiMira from the DiMira Mansion is visible in the upper right corner of your screen.
  7. Shit basically hits the fan for everyone at the end after Sami and EJ have a puke worthy make out session and his eyes bulge out when he hears of Abigails pregnancy. I had to refer to the final paragraph of the frequently updated Wikipedia page dedicated to EJ DiMira in order to be brought up to speed on his shenanigans. They use the word ‘horny’.
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Smoke and Mirrors

Pamela Anderson has been quoted as saying that she doesn’t like mirrors because she’s hotter in her mind.

I know that there are a few holes in that reference.

A) Her confidence in her physical appearance may need a little less coddling than the Average Joe.

B) I’m not citing Ms. Anderson as a beacon of logic. She just visited Newfoundland as a PETA representative offering $1 million to the sealers to end the seal hunt, which would amount to approx. $167 per family to abandon their livelihood. That may be the most self indulgent shit I’ve ever heard. And let’s be honest: I write this blog about what I got for Christmas in 1986 and how terrible I am at cooking.

But, at the end of the day, I tend to agree with her view about mirrors.

I was taken by a documentary I watched yesterday about a nursing village in the Netherlands for patients with severe dementia. The village is accesible by one entrance point and everyone within the walls is either a patient or an employee of some sort, employees outnumbering patients 2:1. There is a hair salon, a grocery store, various restaurants and cafes. No money is exchanged and everyone who works at the establishments is trained to deal with dementia.

I was a bawling mess watching the stories of these patients. My reaction rivalled the time my hormones boycotted the estrogen pumped birth control I was taking during university and I had a near emotional breakdown due to a particularly touching episode of Oprah.

But there is controversy in the concept.

Are the patients ultimately being mislead?  Is that world a lie? Is it fair to perpetuate this lie?

Sure. They are being mislead. They are living in an alternate reality that allows them to feel like they have control. An alternate reality that provides some dignity and safety to live life.

And I think it’s wonderful.

Why can’t we take more care to cater to each others perception of reality? If it doesn’t hurt other people, why can’t we just live and let live? Our soapbox culture perpetuates a false sense of free will, free speech and truth. We are so desperate to connect that we are collapsing under our opinions. I’ve heard more debate over whether or not people on Facebook should be upset over the recent overdose of screen actor Philip Seymour Hoffman than any attempts to examine the root of a drug culture that is all at once celebrated and berated as much as the celebrities we love to hate.

I think we’ve lost perspective.

And it’s Facebook. It’s like watching toddlers duel with pepperoni sticks. If people want to talk about Philip Seymour Hoffman and that somehow offends you, maybe you should just take a chill pill and shut down the IPad for a day or two until there is a new tragedy for us to collectively pine for.

If someone is sad, let them be sad. My heavens, we’ve lost a ton of compassion and care for each other.

In a world that pushes us to share every interesting experience or thought that we encounter in our day through hashtags and Instagrams, we’ve put ourselves under microscopes and on pedestals and yet somehow have lost the decency to respect or honor the experiences, thoughts and feelings of those around us, all in some pursuit of ultimate truth.

Is the illusion of freedom in a controlled environment akin to the illusion of beauty without a proper point of reflection? I wonder if the patients of Hogewey, if presented with the reality of their situation, if they would feel lied to? I wonder if they would feel deceived.

I doubt it.

At 15:40, Ina gets her hair brushed and it will make you feel so warm inside. Heart swelling pride. I don’t know how to describe it. I absolutely don’t know.

The model of Hogewey is an example of catering an environment to a disability, as opposed to forcing people to adapt to the same conditions despite drastically different abilities and needs.

I don’t think of it as a lie, per se. I think of it as a beautiful mansion with covered mirrors.

I have been wandering around the concepts of truth and reality. And I don’t have the answers to any of these questions. I just woke up at 6 am still thinking about it.

Recommended Reading:

http://www.ctvnews.ca/entertainment/pamela-anderson-s-1m-offer-to-end-seal-hunt-gets-cold-shoulder-in-newfoundland-1.1597228

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Dancing Shoes

I don’t water the plants.

I just don’t.

Not out of laziness or principle. It actually doesn’t occur to me to do so. I am around the plants. I’m sitting with them. I just don’t think to give them a drink.

It’s a good thing Renee is around. She remembers to do it at least some of the time.

I had a little apartment on Bloor Street for years. It was a third floor walkup, above a shoe store with a motorized display case that we called the Dancing Shoes. Whenever I gave directions to this place, I would tell the person to look for the Dancing Shoes. The owners were very nice and they were always open for business. Sundays, holidays… always. In fact, if you received scarves or gloves from me for any occasion between September 2008 and May 2011, it was because I forgot to get you a present and they were open and convenient and nice. And ultimately, I forgot.

Glad I got that off my chest.

Anyway, when I moved above Dancing Shoes I didn’t really own anything. I’d moved to Toronto with 2 suitcases and a Wonder Bra display bust that I’d found covered with dust at a Bay Roberts thrift store. Over the next couple of years in the city, I’d managed to acquire a bed from my friend Susan and a desk from the street. Everything else I bought for $300 off the young, heavily cologned Italian man who was vacating above Dancing Shoes. Everything. His couch, table and bed. His glassware, cutlery and spices. Everything in his fridge and cupboards. I even ended up with a course study manual on Business Ethics for ESL students and his towel. I had everything. Except a plant. I decided that if I was going to be a grown lady with her own apartment, that in turn it was time to get a plant.

So I bought a plant.

But I never watered it. Relatively never. At first, I did it every day, then soon it’d pop into my head once a week. A year in, maybe once a month. She survived on second hand cigarette smoke and the delicious sun from my large window that looked down on Hakim Optical. I’d talk to her sometimes, and even then, I wouldn’t think of giving her a drop. Not one thought of it.

We took care of our friends dog Misty this past weekend and she is the best dog ever. She doesn’t make a peep and loves to cuddle and is a babe magnet in the park. Misty has serious game. I took her for a walk by myself and was afraid to let her off her chain in case she wouldn’t come back. Renee assured me that she always does, but I was too afraid. I didn’t trust her. Or myself, I guess.

It baffles me that the dog would come back. Why would the dog come back? It’s too much for my brain to handle.

It baffles me that my plant survived. And that she didn’t make it to Ossington.

A bunch of stuff stayed in that little apartment above Dancing Shoes. I gave away most of the young Italian mans stuff in a failed attempt to have a Craigslist sale that turned into a desperate plea for people with large vehicles to come make the stuff disappear.

I should have taken the plant.

It baffles me why I didn’t. I have no reason. No excuse. Exactly as I don’t have a reason why I didn’t give her any water for over 2 years.

I left it all behind.

Except the Garlic Steak spice.

And to be very honest, the towel.

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A Little Elizabeth

Nanny Moss.

Nanny Moss wore white, short sleeved blouses and long skirts.

She played her guitar in her spare time.

In her house, she only drank tea from bone china. Her daughter does the same. Her daughters daughter does the same as well.

Nanny Moss would have a day of setting her curls and then they were done for the week. A perfect grey page-boy style bob, as the thickness of each strand could hold the curl in an effortless way.

Everything effortless.

A woman with strange thoughts and strong principles and a colourful life. A life so colourful that I never knew the depths of it until stories I heard after she passed.

A seasoned woman. A feisty, brave, bitingly hilarious woman.

When Nanny Moss passed away, I was very upset. We had a special relationship. Her friendship was my religion, my effort as a young one in finding something to devote to myself that meant something to me. I thought I was giving. I got a lot more out of it than I expected, I think.

And it did. It meant a lot.

When Nanny Moss passed away, I was very upset at her funeral. Especially before she was buried. They took off her rings. Nanny Moss had beautiful rings. One was a perfect rose, clusters of small diamonds. The other was a ring. Just a ring, but present always. It meant something to her, as simple as it was. It was constant.

I begged for them to put her rings back on her fingers. Her daughter told me that she didn’t need them anymore. They would be taken to be kept. To be kept for safe keeping. If not, someone else might take them.

That daughters daughter composed herself. The rings really meant nothing. The spirit means a lot.

When I moved to Toronto, I had a romantic idea of moving to a big apartment building. I had a dream of sitting on my fire escape and playing my ukelele with my rollers wrapped in a scarf, singing and staring into a summers night.

I don’t play the ukelele.

Those were dreams from the romance with my grandmother and the influence she had on me to be brave and bold and pin my curls and argue religion and drink from the finest china in the smallest house.

We may even be just several strong spirits housed in welcoming people.

I always thought I loved Audrey Hepburn. I really think that I just always thought she was my Nana.

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Questions

We have a game we play at work.

It’s called Questions.

It’s a very simple game.

We write questions. We put them in a pint glass. The special Questions Pint Glass. And throughout the shift, everyone answers the questions.

It’s a very simple game.

Emily reminded me that Questions is actually the child of Quizzes, a Friday lunch shift time-passer that involved writing Questions on a sheet, circulating it around the building and everyone writing their answers to share at the end of the shift.

Also a very simple game. A simple game that is more Questions than Quizzes, but we don’t need to examine that right now.

The Questions often inquire about loves lost, sexual adventures and food preferences. These are the most popular topics. Yesterday, we were strangely nostalgic.

Do you have a teddy bear?

Yes. Yes, I do. But not really. A teddy dog. His name is Furey. Furey was given to me in 1983. Furey is a small brown dog with longish ears and brown button eyes. My sister Amanda was given a teddy dog, too. A little beige one. We said they were brothers. Furey and Fluffy. I think that was the brothers name.

Furey was loved to a point of near deterioration. He had the ear yanked off him more than once, which led to kitchen surgery performed by my mother and her sewing kit. One of these surgeries gave Furey a facelift, but only on one side. Furey still looks like both a Before and an After photo; his eye is raised in speculation. Patches of fur left a trail through a life of being dragged around and loved by a little girl, and the matted remains had spun around our washing machine a few trillion times, as any mess that I got into was splashed on Furey, too.

Amanda couldn’t care less about Fluffy. Fluffy is still as soft and symmetrical as the day is long. And Amanda couldn’t care less.

She had her own little companion.

Germ.

Germ was a doll with blonde curly hair and a blue dress. Germ was named Jeremy by Amanda. We don’t know why, that’s just the way it was. Amanda adored Jeremy. When Amanda was seven years old, she got sick one Christmas and it was soon found that she had Meningitis. Amanda had to stay in the hospital for over two months. It was a contagious environment. A sterile environment. A lonely environment. I wasn’t allowed to visit. My parents were there as often as they were allowed but there would inevitably come the the time that the lights would go out and my little Amanda would be by herself.

But Jeremy was there.

But in order for Jeremy to be allowed there, my mother had to sterilize him constantly. His hair matted from washing and was slowly cut shorter and shorter. Frequent bleaching drained the colour from his face and drew it to his forehead, creating an odd brown mole where the pigment had been drawn. The dress was gone. Jeremy was soon a bald, pale, nude little baby doll.

Jeremy was now Germ. And Amanda loved Germ more than ever.

I don’t know where Germ is now. Probably still kicking around my mothers house. Amanda has never been terribly sentimental about that sort of thing, but she loved that little freak of a doll so very much.

Furey has followed me to every house I’ve laid my head. When I lived with Jason, he would make a voice for Furey. Furey would do dances and give me romantic advice. Jason gave Furey a Mr. T bracelet that he has worn as a chain ever since.

Furey, I guess, is my oldest friend. I don’t think about it too often, but it is very special to decide when you are so small that you love something so lifeless so much. You give it spirit. You give it life. You give it a voice, just because you love it.

Next Question?

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Cozy Disarray & Rule to Write

The day after.

The day after a big party, a big fight, a big storm. I assume that the next days weather will be different just because I feel different, because I’ve been affected.

I don’t know why, but I do.

Today feels like a different day, like a day I’ve never had before. I am looking out my front window through the sheer curtain that shields the walking public from eyeing into my office. My office is my living room and the dress code is underpants-casual. There is a small tree that has a home within a plot of grass within a sea of cement and the leaves on the tree are moving gently. Gentle but constant enough that you might think it was quite cold outside. Quite breezy. And I know it’s not. My IPhone tells me that the weather in Toronto is 23 degrees, which with the humidity is basically ‘Melt your Face’ degrees celsius. And I don’t mind that. I may have officially given up wearing pants for the summer, but today I’d like to pretend it’s cold outside.

The back-up kettle is on and I am on my third cup of tea. I burnt out the primary kettle yesterday. I was painting my nails and watching The Killing and completely forgot about the water boiling. Thank Heavens for the smoke alarm. And the back-up kettle.

I live in a state of cozy disarray. My room is a constant tornado of clothes and scripts and streetcar transfers and shoes. There are a lot of shoes. Way too many shoes for these two feet. If someone was to enter my bedroom on any given day, they would assume that I’d been robbed: The place is in shambles and there is nothing of any real monetary value in sight. I often come home late at night and am shocked by the state I’ve left things in my usual mad dash to leave the house. If I see my laptop, I know I haven’t been robbed and breathe a sigh of relief.

This happens once a week.

So now I am drinking tea and sitting in my house. I am pretending it is cold outside and trying to write. Well, writing, I guess. I am writing this right now.

I am drinking tea and pretending it is cold outside because I desperately want to write today and sometimes it’s hard to do. Sometimes there just isn’t much to say.

Today isn’t a day after. There was no big party, no big fight. There was a big storm but that didn’t really affect me at all. Yesterday I had a good audition, a good time serving a pop up dinner. After work, the usual suspects sat around Table 20 at The BTaps playing Family Feud but the only real gem to come from that is that of 100 surveyed Americans, none of them think it’s a bad idea to bring a newborn baby to a wedding.

It was a good day. Not much to write about though.

Except this. I guess I wrote this. About today.

I must force myself to write about nothing to get something. This is my rule. The only real rule. The only real rule to my writing. My writing about nothing.

And I just made up that rule.

I think that I may just have to suck it up and go outside and play.

 

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The Pour Boy

I was walking in the rain.

It was one of those days where it relentlessly poured all day. It was also one of those days that dragged me all around town, from an audition to work to rehearsal. A lovely day of being completely worn out doing things that you love to do. I find that when I am working in a creative way that I far more enjoy working in a don’t-bounce-the-rent-cheque way. A good, long day.

I left my rehearsal and found myself at the familiar corner of Bloor and Bathurst. After racing around all day, I was left with nothing to do. I crossed the street at the light. And just kept crossing. North, West, South, then East, ending up right where I started, wondering which way to wander.

The battery in my phone was dying and I was meeting up with my superbud Emily later. That provided some purpose. A few hours to kill, but some purpose.

Get thee to a place with an IPhone charger. Do not go home. Stay out. Go out, rather. Go on.

The Vic. The Victory Cafe, my old watering hole when I lived a few blocks away in the Annex House that I shared with Jane, Dennis, Sarah and the downstairs neighbour CSIS and his Latina Lover.

Go on. Go there.

As I waited for the light to change, settled on the Southeast corner, a young man sidled up beside me. He was hiding under an umbrella and stopped himself just as he was about to speak. I nodded at him to continue.

“Do you know how far away Ossington is?”, he said.

I sure did.

“Where are you going?”, I asked.

“Just Ossington. I don’t really know.”

There was a moment where I could ask more. I didn’t.

“A 15 or 20 minute walk, I guess. But the subway is right there. That would take no time and get you right there. It is raining. But it’s also kinda nice out, warm, you know? I don’t know. I don’t know what I’d do if I were you. I’d probably take the subway. Yes, that’s what I’d do.”

He was perplexed by my rambling answer, I think, and argued effectively.

“I don’t think Torontonians like to walk.”

And with that, we did. Walk. We started slowly walking westward across the street.

We talked about walking. We talked about Toronto. We talked about Americans, because he is one. We talked about why he wanted to go to Ossington if he didn’t know where he was going.

“My friends told me to go there. For the bars and stuff.” he said.

“Okay, now I know where you’re going. You need to get to Dundas. You should take the subway, then the bus.”

“I’d like to take the streetcar.”

“You can’t.”

I started to explain, but we were at Markham. This was my stop. This was where I was to get off this ride, to go to the Vic, to charge my phone, to carry out my wandering plans.

I didn’t. We kept walking.

“Do you have paper? I will draw you a map.”

The pouring rain drove a little harder, almost mocking my silly suggestion to draw this man a map while being pelted with aimless rain.

We stopped and checked our bags. No pen.

“Would you like to go for a drink?” said I.

I had taken him by surprise. I had kind of taken myself by surprise.

“I don’t want to sound odd, ” I continued, “but I was going to charge my phone and have a glass of wine, somewhere, wherever. And I am going to do that regardless so I’d might as well invite you and I can draw you a map and you can go on your way.”

“I should probably just keep going,” he answered, obviously a little freaked out by the offer.

We kept walking. I explained that I was leading him to Christie Station, and what he needed to do to get to Dundas, to my neighbourhood, and where to go first, and second, and third.

We walked towards Pour Boy, a sweet little bar that I would visit with my buddy Luke when he lived up the street from it. I decided to go there. It was time to go.

“This is my stop,” I said. “Good Luck.” I reached out my hand for a parting shake.

“Can we still grab that drink?” he said, a slight apology in his voice. “I could probably use that drink. And that map.”

And off we went.

We sat for an hour and had a drink. We talked about acting, and travelling, and passports, and airports, and Pakistan truck art (cause that’s what he’s into), and Days of our Lives (cause that’s what I’m into) and Newfoundland, and what it means when two strangers sit at a bar and talk about all those things.

I drew him a map.

He invited me to join him, but I declined. We had enjoyed a nice time, and I knew that it was done. We had our time. We paid the bill and shared a hug and parted ways. I now have a friend in Washington that owes me a beer and a map.

I know it sounds crazy and dangerous and odd, but it felt right. And necessary. And wonderful.

This is an amazing life.

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ten daies after

I spent the day with 500 Grade 9 students.

I was asked by my awesome friend to host an event to encourage Teen Volunteering and it was wild. The energy of 500 Grade 9 students should be bottled and sold in dark taverns. They had such great ideas, and angst, and honesty.

I knew it would be like this. And I was terrified.

I figured they’d want me to be ‘cool’.

I didn’t know how to be cool around Grade 9’s when I was a Grade 9.

I would describe my Grade 9 experience like riding a ferris wheel. You are excited to get on, but once it gets going, you are half bored and half afraid, and you only want to get off when you are at the top and when you can get off you really don’t want to. And if anyone ever brings up ferris wheels, you always think fondly because you are picturing a picture of a ferris wheel. Not dangling feet and loss of control.

But trying to write something for this crowd was daunting. And to be honest, I have spent the last two weeks learning Shakespeare monologues, so the fact that I was able to put something together that wasn’t a sonnet or in reference to the volunteering history of the local apothecary meant that I was ahead out of the gate. But it gave me a bit of a belly ache. When I woke up this morning, I was even light headed.

Like when I have to write something important, learn lines or stand for a long time.

The third doesn’t seem to belong, but I have a history of getting woozy when standing for long periods of time. At least I did in Grade 9.

Coincidence? I think not.

I am referring to the time that I nearly passed out when we were visiting the Stations of the Cross. I contemplated telling my mother that I could no longer be Catholic due to health reasons, but decided against it when I noted that myself and a few of my school chums had snuck behind the church to share one Players Light rollie and 2 cans of RC Cola right before the service. Catholicism had not been the cause of my dizzy spell that day, and in retrospect, I am glad that I didn’t bring that argument to the table. If a fainting spell during church service would be a medical cause to stay away from organized religion, my mother would also have to keep me from jumping castles, docked boats and boiled eggs, which all had a tendency to make me woozy in that delicate year.

I sometimes work myself into a stress tizzy. And it’s silly because it is usually around things that I am excited about. At auditions for roles I am drooling over. Before my favorite band plays at a concert. When I wake up on my Birthday. Before a movie starts as I lean over to the person next to me and tell them to have fun, and really hope that we do because I picked the movie. When I go to Sephora. When I hear my nephews laughing in the background on the telephone.

Excitement.

I have to remind myself that the feeling is excitement.

I tried to write and tried to write and in the end, didn’t really write at all. I remembered that when I was in Grade 9, I didn’t find many adults cool. There were adults I liked, and adults I trusted, but I didn’t find many of them particularly funny and they certainly weren’t cool. So I just did what I was supposed to do. I talked to them about volunteering and introduced people who were cool and knew more about it than I did.

And I learned alot.

And I think they thought I was nice. And that was good enough for me.

Excitement.

Yes. That feeling is excitement.

I wasn’t allergic to Catholicism. Or boiled eggs. Maybe I was just in Grade 9 and really, really excited.*

* I fainted the summer after Grade 9 at The Brigus Blueberry Festival after jumping in the jumping castle. Although it was a riveting experience, the cause was dismissed as excitement and attributed to low iron levels by a trusted physician. Anemia, not excitement. I took cod liver oil pills and my ears burned.

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The Impossiblist

Wesley is having a birthday party.

At school. Tomorrow. He will be 8 years old on Sunday and they are going to party.

They sent home a note to the parents of the kids in his group that a special lunch will be provided and that there will be treats. As my mother told me this during our phone chat, I could hear him giggling in the background. A birthday party with his crew of little pals. Treats. Hopefully some puzzles.

My darling Wesley adores puzzles.

When I was 6 or 7, my mom planned a birthday party for me at the Brigus Firehall/ Community Centre.

The excitement was unbearable.

That day I woke up from my slumber in my polka dot linen nightdress and chiffon robe. I loved this night ensemble so much that I insisted on wearing it every single night. My mother spent a lot of time doing laundry for a child who was basically mirroring the bedtime habits of an aging Zsa Zsa Gabor. I dressed for school and applied my favorite plastic toy lipstick. I can still remember the smell of the plastic toy lipstick and have never smelled anything like it since. I love memory smells. A scent that completely defines a moment in your life and takes you right back there. Favorite memory smells for me are those of Golden Books and Musty Polyester. The former smell places me in my mothers living room, reading my stories and playing with Mr. Potato Head. The latter transports me to Garfield Ralphs, a general store in South River that housed fishing tackle and Communion dresses. The attic had racks of old clothes from the 60s and 70s, and it became my very favorite place to shop in high school. My very favorite place.

But pardon me as I digress.

Birthday.

I went to school that day and suffered through with valour, as each moment that passed brought me closer to my birthday party. The sun was still shining when we arrived at the hall to set up. And then the kids rolled in.

Party. Party. Party.

We danced with no shoes on. We ate hot dogs. We ate burgers. We ate coleslaw.

I know it may be odd that 7 year olds were having coleslaw at the birthday party, but it was my favorite food at the time. Had I not discovered Curried Singapore Noodles, Oysters and Duck Confit Ravioli in the years that followed, it would still be high up there. But at the time, and with my sophisticated palate, Coleslaw was my requested birthday dish.

We played tag. One kid slipped and cried. One kid hit another kid with a giant piece of bristle board and both kids cried. Ryan Gushue gave me a Popple that was a prized possession until University, when it became a parting gift to my roommate Lindy when she moved back to Toronto. At the time, I never thought that I would live in Toronto, too. I sometimes forget that Popple and I now live in the same city.

It was the best birthday. At the time. But I guess every birthday is the best birthday if you eat your favourite food and dance with no shoes on.

I am so excited for Wesley. I am so very, very excited.

Happy Birthday DJ Fresh Wes xoxo

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The Mean Reds

I took myself out for a little adventure today.

Bundled against the chill, pounding the pavement on fresh wet snow, I navigated to Front Street for a $5 movie at the Rainbow and a bite to eat.

I was battling the Mean Reds.

I have my own Tiffany’s. The Rooftop Patio at The Park Hyatt. I buy myself a Corona and sit on the patio. I eat fancy complimentary nut & olive combinations and look out over the city. See the city. The huge expanse of buildings and people and whatever is overwhelming me doesn’t seem so suffocating.

But I wasn’t looking for a drink or a seat in the wet snow. So I decided to go to a movie.

As I got to Front Street, my hunger was building as the coffee I’d chugged during my morning meeting had done wonders to keep my eyes open but little to ease my grumbling stomach.

I find myself at a French bistro, lured in by a sandwich board advertising Mussels & Frites. I was obviously the first customer of the day, so I was given a prime seat in the window, perfect for my joy of people watching and general nosiness.

My lunch arrived within minutes and it was just what the doctor ordered. The server had asked me where I was from earlier, and my response that I was from Newfoundland prompted him to tell the chef that he’d better make the Mussels extra delicious for his East Coast customer. And they were lovely.

I saw a man entering the restaurant. An older gentleman in a heavy black coat who slowly removed his gloves and hat before engaging the hostess. I’d figured that he was treating himself to lunch, too. Maybe he was also going to the movies. Maybe we were going to have a date. Maybe we’d start talking and he would become my surrogate Grandfather.

I had never met my Grandfathers.

He had actually come to the restaurant to make reservations.

“I’d like to take my wife here tonight for dinner. 7 pm.”

The Hostess asked his name, he replied, she wrote down his name and bid adieu.

It may seem like a simple event, but I was enchanted by him. The idea of going to the restaurant in person and organizing his evening. His treat. His date with his wife. Most people call or email or tweet. Maybe he works upstairs or lives next door and he was really just being convenient and not romantic at all. But something about him making reservations in person, and the announcement of taking his wife out to a French Bistro on a Tuesday night… It just took me right aback.

For a moment I fell in love with the old man in the black coat.

He slowly put back on his gloves and pulled on his hat. He went back out into the world, walking down the street in the wet snow.

Maybe he was going to buy his wife some flowers. Thats what I think he was going to do next.

I finished my lunch and paid my bill, and soon I too was thrust back out into the busy city streets.

I made my way to the Rainbow and was surprised at how many people were there. Not hoards of people, but a fine sampling of all walks of life. The doors were yet to open and we stood outside in anticipation. There were a few couples who made pleasantries. I think they must be $5 Tuesday regulars. There was a group that I assume were from a group home or a movie club. They got their tickets one by one, as the group leader ticked their names off the list. I got my ticket and followed the group down the stairs to the theatre. They were excited. I was excited too. The Mean Reds had transitioned to an Aimless Orange, and although I still felt a little lost, I felt like I’d found the perfect place to rest my bones.

I sat alone in the theatre for a long time. I guess my Grandfather wasn’t coming. I read the Metro and ate 3/4 of my popcorn before the previews rolled, which is what inevitably happens when I go to the movies.

I really love popcorn.

And I really loved the movie. Silver Linings Playbook. I thought it was a beautiful and perfect movie for an Aimless Orange day. It made me want to call my parents and tell them that I love them. It made me want to tell my sisters how proud I am of them. It made me want to hug a stranger and look everyone in the eye for one second longer than what is comfortable.

That is sometimes my favorite thing to do.

The usher came in to clean the room as I was leaving.

“Did you like the movie?” He asked.

“I did. I really, really did.” I replied.

“Me too.”

I guess he’d sat and watched. I would like to think he did. Maybe we had been on a date and neither of us knew until that moment. I am glad we both had fun. I gathered my stuff and left.

It was time to go.

My walk to the subway was slow and calm. I was covered in calm. The snow had stopped and the air seemed warmer. The sky seemed so bright after a few hours in the dark and I’d realized I’d made it to Mellow Yellow.

My calm carried me through the packed subway station, onto the futuristic Yonge car, around the frantic mini mall and onto my empty streetcar.

A tall man came on the car. He was handsome and blonde. And listening to his earphones and wearing a casual jacket. A casual jacket on a cold, wet day. But he looked comfortable and warm. As he passed me, I caught his eye. And I held it for a second too long. With a start, I turned my head way. And then I couldn’t look back. He was behind me and I wanted to but I couldn’t. Even as I was waiting to get off, and I was right in front of him, I knew I couldn’t look at him because I would probably fall in love with him. Right then and there. I may have already fallen in love with him.

Maybe thats why people are so afraid to look someone straight in the eye.

I got off the car. When I glanced back, I saw that he had too. I became warm, too warm on the cold day that had become warm, warmer than that, and I ran across the street. When I glanced back, he was gone.

I wasn’t intending on falling in love so many times today.

What a strange beautiful day.

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