For the first time on my walk home from work… the gate by the tracks was open

March 4, 2010

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So I went through…

7.2 minutes later: There I am, inching along a narrow mud-slicked ledge, fenced suburbia to my right, a perilous 20′ icy-cliff drop on my left – with only a paved off-ramp to catch me! One slip and I’m rush-hour roadkill. Clinging to the sparest of twigs, I creep forward, only one thought in my mind…

“This is so cool!”

There’s something ridiculously wonderful about getting lost in your own city, especially on your most familiar route. When was the last time you allowed yourself to explore? It’s spring isn’t it? What better time to dive sneaker-first down a rabbit hole?


Before you can play the guitar… (part 11)

August 1, 2008

Need to catch up on parts 1 to 10? (Click Here)

When the puddle around my sneakers became too big too ignore (ok, ok, I’ll admit to slight hyperbole on that one, but ever so slight), a large bouncer-at-a-metal-concert man asked me what I was waiting for. I could feel his eyes judging me. I knew he saw the yuppy North Face jacket, the industrial designy eyeglasses under the brim of the trying-waay-too-hard scruffy hat. But I used my most confident laid back music chick voice and explained the situation. Needless to say, the man was did not look overly impressed when I pointed to the bulky garbage bags that were slowly saturating his floor mat.

You know, in reading this, I’m thinking most of this “acting cool” and “acting the part” ends up setting me up to look like an idiot. But I enjoy it. Ya, life is more fun when you let yourself really get into a situation. Act the part. Wear the clothes. You might not be up for an Oscar next March, but I guarantee you’ll have some stories to tell!

So I left my guitar for “Steve” the technician, who’d gone home early (of course), with a note listing everything that I’d been told needed fixing. I started to get that knowing itchy feeling in my gut while writing out the list. You know the one, when you begin to realize you’re going to be spending a whole lot more money than you were planning on…

Stay tuned for part 12!


Before you can play the guitar… (part 10)

July 30, 2008

Need to catch up on parts 1 to 9? (Click Here)

…I had to go on rage. The rain squirmed in under my jacket’s cuffs and collar. It crept up my shirt sleeves and mixed with sweat to dribble down my back. Just lovely, I know. It seeped in through my ears and splashed up off spinning car tires, drenching my pant legs. My sneakers squelched deeper into the mud with every step, but I was too wet and mad to care about any of it.

Why can’t it ever be easy?! All I wanted was to play a guitar! Was I asking too much of the universe! Why did it have to be raining? And if it had to rain, why did it have to be raining so bloody hard? And why, oh why, didn’t anyone seem to know that the fabled “yellow awning” I was supposed to be looking for was, in actual fact, a flat BLACK sign!

Turn back, you ask? When I was so close? Never. And it was with great sopping triumph that I finally laid my guitar case down in the middle of the Music store. My jeans had undergone the incredibly economical, but indescribably uncomfortable, transformation from medium wash to dark. Claustrophobia, anyone? Water from my green too-cool-for-school newsboy was dripping into my eyes and I could feel my core temperature starting to plummet. Do you think any of the half dozen wandering/chatting employees noticed any of this? Of course not. Apparently, it takes more than a funky hat to get any attention from this class of hardcore music buff. (TW- take note ; )

Stay tuned for part 11!


Before you can play the guitar… (part 8)

July 21, 2008

Need to catch up on parts 1 to 7? (Click Here)

I had two choices, and the one having anything to do with quitting was not an option after I’d come this far. The afternoon’s weather forecast called for rain, “scattered showers” if we’re quoting verbatim. There was nothing for it but to take the guitar home to suit it up for its coming adventure.

Two garbage bags did the trick, their overlaps secured with a twist around the plastic handle. As for myself, I took a red nylon shell for the afor mentioned rain, and my infamous green tweed newsboy for some serious street cred to take with me to the next guitar store. I was sick of being spotted as a newbie. With that funky cap on my head, I looked like I was ready to rattle off “Me and Bobby McGee” at a moment’s notice. So what if my guitar might be earmarked for the campfire!

If walking down the street with a beat up guitar case is the pinnacle of coolness, carrying said case obscured by billowing garbage bags while wearing a homeless styled tweed hat is the valley – the dark, dark valley. Add rain, not “scattered showers” (as if the weather is ever verbatim, sigh), but a solid sheeting two hour downpour, and you have quite a pathetic figure. Oh, I almost forgot; there’s one more ingredient to set the scene…remember those street directions from the human tambourine? All I’m going to say is nobody is that colourblind!

Stay tuned for part 9!


Dinnerware Drama

August 17, 2007

I have huge, earth-shattering, news for all you blog readers out there. I know you’re all perched on the edges of your seats in anticipation… I bought a dinnerware set this afternoon! Mind you, we’re not talking Denby here, but all the pieces do match (it’s a rustic blue earthenware style). This all got started when I opened an anniversary card from my mother in law this morning and found a rather stern letter accompanying the check. Not to be bullied, I put it aside and thought long and hard about how to pass off a restaurant and mini-put bill as a lasting domestic investment (where the letter insisted the money should go, and who am I to argue with free money). The receipt could, potentially, still be around next year around this time (knowing my sometimes less than stellar tidying tactics). And plus, wouldn’t the memories last a lifetime? 

I dropped by the bank on my way to work and had to battle with my finger at the ATM to stop from putting the full amount towards the bottomless void of our credit card (don’t worry, we writers are notorious for hyperbole). “No, no, something tangible,” I scolded myself and yanked my finger away. 

Halfway between the bank and my good ol’ retail workplace, something red and velvety caught my eye. Two antique chairs were sitting out in front of a little shop I’d never noticed before. They lured me in. I’m a sucker for anything that red and oooo that velvety. The tiny store was filled to the brim with just about everything a person could never want, old videos, eighties fashions, used exercise equipment (gross). But way in a corner, half buried under bricka-brack, was something that was waiting (for who knows how long) just for me. 

I’d better give a little back story on this…

My mother has a rather dangerous china/dinnerware obsession – she even worked a year at Mackintosh & Watts to feed her addiction! She loves the forms, patterns, and histories in each piece, and would come home with random teacups when we were least expecting it. To break a piece of china brought near the same heartbreak as the time I accidentally squirted ketchup all over one of my fathers paintings (don’t ask). Perhaps as a form of rebellion, I developed an “unbreakable” indifference to whatever was underneath my food. If it did the job, well, what more could a person ask for.

I didn’t realize how deep my own “anti-obsession” had become until one fateful family supper gathering in Rideau Ferry. “Forty-six dollars for a dinner plate!!!” I exclaimed, eyes wide, jaw nearly on the floor. Maybe I got a tad carried away, but anyways, the point was made. Poor tragic Cymbria; what kind of a wife balks at reasonably priced Denby? What if she has company over? Paper plates? (less dishes to do in any case). Well, in case you (and everyone else) haven’t noticed by now, I am not exactly a textbook wife (though I do sew a mean overcast stitch and I challenge anyone to beat my mushroom/beef casserole). I am wild woman grown in the deep woods of Quebec, a risk taker (I married my George didn’t I), and just as stubborn as that feisty Rideau Ferry boy. But all that said, isn’t it the biggest risk to leave one’s habits and prejudices, and give oneself over to a brand new outlook? That’s how we get saved. So why not take the same approach with something a little less magnificent and life changing. Perhaps, say, dinnerware?

One day, when I was very small, my mother brought home a neatly wrapped package and set it on the dinning room table. “Let me show you something,” she said. I watched as she pulled back the tissue paper and took out a beautiful shiny blue milk pitcher. It wasn’t like her usual delicate finds. The pottery was thick earthenware and the joints of the handle were strong. This wasn’t something I had to be afraid of. I could hold it and know that it wasn’t going to break in my hands. I loved that pitcher and its speckled blue glaze. I don’t know what happened to it. It’s probably buried somewhere deep in my mother’s collection, but that same sky colour has always caught my eye. 

In the corner of the dark little shop this afternoon, that same colour stopped me in my tracks. Maybe it wasn’t quite as bright a blue as I remembered, or quite so shiny, but my hands recognized the strength and weight of the pottery instantly. I bought the set on the spot; bowls, salad plates, dinner plates, and 6 matching mugs. It isn’t Denby, and I sure didn’t pay $46 for a plate (not even for the whole set!), but I’m going to love it all the same, probably even more.