Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Weasel.

Dressed for disco on a whim. Feet tucked into Tsubo's, a cycling jersey swapped for CM stripes. Ripped around, heels in clips, wind in my hair while bombing St. Urbain. Mike and I went on a driving trip to the outskirts of Montreal's east for dinner in a maple grove this evening. Pate Chinois for dinner, Shepherd's Pie delish. French and english family around a table, quietness and swallows. You could hear frogs through the screen. A wall of green outside the dining room window. Tree line, distinct as the day is long. Enter here, it was so tantalizing. The entire meal I kept staring at the foliage, my insides turning out with longing to run straight into it. Branches folding in like arms, the wall swallowing in on itself. Poof! We went for a digestive walk after the second helping and looked at sugar shacks as we wandered through a tree stand. It was something. The smell of it, well. It was nice. We very nearly witnessed a dog death en route home. It was such a near miss and the scene of it cut to my quick. In the instant before, I thought to myself: I am not ready to witness death yet. Who is ready?

Here are some recent photos. Moms-at-play, wood wanderings, Shira Time, stencil studies around town, Saltwater feet, bare trees, the Spring Shed. Summer is coming! Hallelujah. Looking forward to eating breakfast with Milky again tomorrow. Coffee, hollandaise, watermelon.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Au Revoir.

Queens is no more. If you know me, you will know where to look.

Why am I leaving you ask? I am tired of being tracked by unwelcome and unwanted people. Besides, this post was starting to become too heavy on baby references. From here on in expect short stories, more photographs and mood swings. It is what I do best.

Good riddance Married Men, strangers, sixth cousins and all those people I used to know in elementary.

I have enough. Oh, I have taken a lover. On that note, adieu.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

These people were passionate people.

You were inappropriate on Sunday.
Can you find the correlation?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Swarming like cicadas.

Five generations crowded into Auntie Marj's lovely bedroom today, cooing a tiny lady in a yellow striped onesie on a bed. Maiya, the most beautiful girl in the world worked and worked and worked her mouth and her hands, her eyes fluttering open once and a while encouraging us to break into song and gales of laughter with our identical sets of family hands clutching the hearts in our chests; five wombs ranging from early 20's to late 70's fluttering right along with her. I was filled with hope and want, and the mamas and grandmamas and great-grandmamas were filled with pride and nostalgia. Five generations of cicadas with unseen wings. A room of whirring women around the Queen bee.

At one point my Grandma, my mama and myself bent over the new queen of the family court, undressing and inspecting. She lay, mellow, as we looked at her tummy and I kissed the palms of her hands a hundred times and smelling the back of her neck. Her hands, those hands. This kid is undoing me and I love her for it. I want. I can barely wait to be the calm one in the living room while the vultures in my family grab and hoard my own children in quiet rooms to undress and inspect my good work. Good work Phams, good work Reimers. You make regal babies.

My sincere apologies for writing another entry about babies.
This is Maiya.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Teacher's pet and the pony.

So many things.

As you may or may not have noticed, I have not written in a week. Thus my head is full, too full; full to the point where everything else is slowed because I haven't had time this week to sort my thoughts. JJ left for her home in MTL on Thursday and to say goodbye we sat, eight strong around a wobbly table. Beer in hand, I ended up downstairs holding a microphone with my free hand. Eyes closed, singing at the top of my lungs and horribly off key (bad, bad, bad) beside my new singing partner. "You take the bottom, and I'll take the top". Hearing the words escape my mouth, my mind went to Erin in Cuba, holding a rainbow colored drink with an umbrella probably named something ridiculous like 'Tahiti Treat' or 'Bahama Mama' and right after it went to the Erin I grew up with in the country, driving our dad's truck like a wild indian and singing 'His Eye is On the Sparrow' from Sister Act II grinning and saying "You take the top and I'll take the bottom" right before it started just like they do in the movie. We would sing so loud, and so poorly, but we didn't care. I miss you. I miss you. I miss you. I hope you think of me when you puke rainbows on pavement, because I always think of you when I do. Every time. Anyway, busy bee is me.

Go, go, go, stir, stir, stir, print, print, print, color, color, color, cook, cook, cook, sing, sing, sing, eat, eat, eat, walk, walk, walk, babyhold, babyhold, babyhold, draw, draw, draw, bike, bike, bike, blush, blush, blush.

I cut the pad of my left index finger off using a mandolin while slicing carrots paper thin for a soup and alas I have not been able to type fast. And to recap, my head has been full, full, full due to a (semi) missing finger. I am home now, in my favorite striped sweater, jeans, drinking coffee at my kitchen table enjoying my home on my first Saturday off as the soup lady. I am not a cook, yet. I don't know when the time will come that I can say with full confidence that I am a cook, all I know is that I am not. But I do a lot of cooking. Soup. My life is soup. It is methodical and I sing all the time and I work with beyond good people and sometimes we all sing. We do dance, we always dance.

My favorite time of day is around four, when everyone has gone home for the day and it is just me, elbow deep inside a burning hot turkey. Jurassic 5 is put on, loud, so loud that even the customers in the front of house cannot help but slip into a trance and are confused when they catch themselves head bobbing to some beat they can barely hear. Cleaning the cooked turkeys is a skill I am very indebted to Kent (the music snob) for teaching me. Another lesson. It is also methodical work, but tricky at the same time. It is important to cut to the quick, not to waste a drop because it will all be used at one point or another in that kitchen. At first it terrified me, these giant cooked birds. But then it became a game. Every day I force myself to become better, cut closer, waste not want not; and I do. So I clean them, and somehow still manage to dance fairly passionately to Jurassic 5. J5, hip hop. It is a very new genre of music for me and I am slowly exposing myself. I love it. Yesterday we went on a musical journey (I work with the aforementioned world's biggest music snob [he would be very pleased to read that, I think] and his record collection [copies in the thousands and thousands of vinyl stacked against the walls of his home, reaching the ceiling] puts mine to red faced shame) and we listened to everything from Bruce Springsteen, to Rancid, to Motor City Five, to the Stooges, to Michael Jackson, to Sloan, to Chad VanGaalen, to Neil Young, to Kanye West, to Johann Sebastian Bach. Wild. This is the pace of the kitchen, wild. But I find solace in the lists and recipes I follow, winging it half of the time and shitting bricks the other. But it is always fun. Yesterday I learned it was wrong to roast butternut squash skin side down. Who knew? I didn't. I had never done it before in my life. The day before that I burnt 40 gallons of turkey stock and threw out another soup and it was humbling. Humble pie. Tastes devastatingly delicious.

No one had ever seen kitchen appliances wiped with such attention to detail, with such delicacy, one hand wiping stainless steel in figure eights and the other smoothing out imaginary ripples along the mental. Always touching, always feeling, smoothing uneven surfaces only a trained or neurotic eye would notice. She sat on a blue upturned milk crate and inspected the room with her head craned to the right, childlike. She liked how the light reflected off the bread table making a subtle shadow on the corner wall. Something one would only notice from a child's perspective. "That's good", she said with eyes taking in the room, affirming her own handiwork aloud to an empty kitchen. "That's good for now".

When soup is not being made, time is spent at Martha Street in the low red building. With the start of January came the start of my mentorship with Art School Jeanette. I don't think she would mind if I used her name. She is humble and sinfully talented and she is my teacher. She is also very gentle and I never feel like crying when I leave after a lesson. These are all good things. She is another person that I have met in the last few months who has taught me to be a better teacher. I am not a good teacher because I am a selfish student. Always hungry for more, more, more; teach me, teach me, teach me. Not that this is necessarily a fault, it is just something to work at: be a better teacher to others. On Thursday I had my first Letterpress class and took to it immediately. It is fun, the arranging of tiny typeface is tedious but rewarding work. The letters are made out of lead and so we were encouraged not to lick our fingers or eat a sandwich after class. Using the letterpress felt even better, even more satisfying than printing with the regular press with the wheel. I don't really know how to describe it, but the feeling of dragging the rollers over my carefully arranged type felt good. Really, really good. Mondays I silkscreen, Tuesdays I draw, Wednesdays I sleep, and Thursdays I letterpress. It is a good life. I had no idea winter would be like this, this full, but I wouldn't change a damn thing.

This morning I sat in a darkened pub eating a baby sized breakfast called the Little Tadpole special beside Andrew and across from Rabbi and Alfie. These are my best friends. A collection of brothers and lovers and sisters and friends and coworkers, we ate and did the crossword and talked over each other and passed the salt and drank coffee in unison. This is being young to me. Eating breakfast at one in the afternoon with your best mates in a pub in your neighborhood, drinking coffee, taking turns being the Dad and footing the bill with such joy (because you love these people collectively and individually) and then leaving arm in arm (it doesn't matter whose arm, they are all good!) and then buying records and then leaving each other and walking away laughing. This is just another Saturday and I love my life and the people in it. I bought Of Montreal's new album, Skeletal Lamping and it is lovely. Two records, four sides, interesting inserts and album artwork and it came with a giant fold up poster the size and shape of a pony. I nailed it to the wall in my bedroom, it is that dreamy.

This is the album art, the first thing that sold me.

Today is really lovely, and it is bound to get better. When I was walking home from breakfast at the Toad, a middle aged married couple (I am assuming) wearing matching parkas in a half tonne honked at me and gave four thumbs up. I don't know what warranted four thumbs up, but it made my day. Anyway, I best be off. I have to get ready for the ball, time is ticking. I have a date.

Best regards says Cinderella, dressed in yella'.


Post Script: Beth also posted such lovely photos of my home and sent me these ones as well.

I cried when I saw them. Yes to the switch. She is so dreamy that if it would be socially acceptable, I would pin her to my bedroom wall. Because it is not, we send each other art work and instead I appreciate her work on my walls and not her. Swap, switch. Thank you for the photos, Liza.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Saturday day.

Vegetables were chopped until eleven and then I went to a funeral in a five dollar dress and the things I felt surprised me. Nothing like a funeral to welcome reflection even if it is an unwelcome reflection. Nothing like a funeral to face the inevitable and to swallow the reality of losing loved ones. The funeral was for a man good with his hands, good with wood, was for a dad I wished I had met but never had the chance to. It made me think of losing my own Dad, my dad of the year, a man also good with wood and good with his hands. These thoughts along with the pull of gravity brought upon tears that rolled up and over the apples of my cheeks for the brother and sister who lost theirs. I feel fortunate.

I hope that someday when I pass, a roomful of people will raise their arms collectively in a toast to a full life lived like we did today for their dad. I hope my passing will be a reminder to others to do everything on one's life list, no matter what one's state of health, wealth or happiness. Just go for it. Cheers to that, Papa Don. Eight of us were all sitting around a table near the end with fingers slipped inside the handles of tiny coffee mugs and we laughed together. We didn't talk about loss or regret or grief; we talked about the joys of eight year old nieces, the brutal honesty of kids and how much it is appreciated, the importance of good teachers, babies, buying cashmere even when you can't afford it and it felt nice.

After I was dropped at home, I changed and redressed for winter and walked to the art store in my 'hood. I wandered the aisles for about half an hour, salivating, and felt like a kid in a candy shoppe. It was fantastic. When it was all said and done I managed to drop a hefty chunk of scrilla on a bunch of supplies. You can never have too many black Fineliner pens, I say. You can quote me on that jazz. Delighted face. This was without a doubt the most delightful Christmas gift I have ever received.

On my kitchen table right now, sigh:

1 chartreuse all weather Field Book
3 sharpies
2 Copic aluminum Multiliners
2 Uniball Deluxe finetips
2 spare 0.3 nibs
1 can spray adhesive
6 HB Staedtler pencils
1 wooden sharpener
1 exacto knife
2 Staedtler erasers
1 Faber-Castell 0.1 pigment pen
1 H.J series 10/0 paintbrush
1 can India ink
1 baby Moleskine
12 Staedtler rainbow fineliners
1 glue stick
1 roll of tape
1 tracing pad
1 11x14 bleedproof pad of paper
2 pads of giant newsprint

Good day, I have two solid hours of drawing ahead of me.
Oh, and for those who care Bon Iver is still on repeat, day four.

Shit yeah.
Artist unknown; I love that piece and wish I had done it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Infant Year.

The other day Rabbi referenced the upcoming new year as an "infant year" in a letter, and I couldn't agree more. After a run at last year, this infant year deserves the best dress and the best wine and the best self. Best in show. I leaned on Hilary this night, slow and heavy with tiredness from watching all of the different types of joy in the room, and I mentioned to her that I know my true self best in two separate places: one is at an art show (preferably one of my own), standing in a roomful of people and being quiet, taking it all in; and second is in the basement at Martha Street at the bottom of the stairs when I tie my "We should do this more often" apron around my waist before working my way through the night. It is only this year that I have begun to recognize whole and true and complete sides of myself. Recognizing triggers and locations and groups in which I feel particularly at ease and it is a wonderful knowing feeling.

The evening was wild, slow motion, and breakneck at the same time. Alfie and I started the night with Tara and Crawley over champagne (them) and good Italian limonata (me). We dropped them in the Exchange and beetled to the West End for a dinner party long over. We arrived, horribly late, ate cold food, drank the nice wine on the table, and left, all within thirty minutes. Then we went back to the Exchange, but making sure to drop in at the Lo Pub for a quick hello to old friends. I ended up running into Cremo and was super psyched to chill with him for a quick minute over a plate of fruit. I have known Cremo for at least seven years and it is always a pleasure to meet, talk shop, eat, catch up and then not see each other for a really long time again. We watched each other grow up and it is a nice feeling to still know him. He is one of my only close friends left who have seen that side of me (save for Amy). It was nice. I stole some orange slices (sliced in a very peculiar way considering that they for a fruit platter [peeled and cut into Stop sign shaped disks... odd, non?]) and eventually we moseyed on to the Exchange. Once there, we waltzed into the Albert like we owned the place and were kindly let in despite of the twenty dollar entrance fee. It must have been Alfie's bow tie or my five inch tuxedo heels or our charming antics arm in arm. Who knows, but he let us in without a question (which NEVER happens at that place). We did look pretty dapper for the Albert on second thought.

A few courier boys commented on my footwear knowing full well that I was the same girl who raced them at lights on their courier routes this summer. A cyclist in heels? Come on! (On a girlish side note, there is something about bike messengers that makes me weak at the knees. When they take the time to A). give you the time of day in acknowledging your presence and then B). compliment your outlandish ridiculous footwear, I just want to do a little dance, arm pump, yell "HIYAAAA" or make out with them on the spot). Sadly, none of these things happened and I just stood there smiling stupidly. Anyway, after a quick circulation around the room and a few sloppy hugs later, we looked at each other from across the room and both knew it was time to go. Ten minutes in, max. We arrived at Rabbi's in time for the unavoidable countdown. I hate the countdown, it makes me ill inside. We stood in the living room, awkwardly and counted down, half heartedly and were all relieved when it was over because we could just be normal people at a normal party again and not worry about THE COUNTDOWN anymore. Stupid.

More people kept pouring in with nice wine, cigars, dip, you name it. Kit made a mind blowing dip and at one point she, Rabbi, Hil, Meach, myself and Melissa were all circled around it, dipping like vultures. It must have looked beautiful from above: a sea of stilettos and black tights and legs for miles like a giant female tarantula. A giant, hungry tarantula. I don't know, maybe. For the rest of the night I was curled up in a couch drinking tap water out of a San Pelegrino bottle. It is hilarious how much more socially acceptable it is to hold up a bottle of Pelegrino and say "Oh, I'm not drinking tonight" when someone asks than it is to just make a face and say the same thing, sans San Pelegrino. I found it hilarious, and kept drinking tap water unruffled by my New Year's eve faux pas. NyQuil and alcohol are probably a horrible mix, so I played it cool this year.

Pretty enjoyable night considering the San Pelegrino, but sans the scandals.

I dropped off Mike's snow covered car as sober as a judge around four in the morning and was overjoyed at the sight of people running wild in the streets of my neighborhood, drunk, stupid and happy, just when I thought the entire city was asleep. I walked the dreaded four and a half block journey back to my home in a thin jacket but was wise enough to swap my towering heels for slippers when leaving the party. It must have been the water talking. I am going to be sober again next year, it was awesome.

I caught myself saying "2009, here I come" under my breath while trudging home and had to laugh. God only knows where I will be next New Year's eve--trudging through god knows what, wearing god knows what, mumbling god knows what under my breath. God knows what. Maybe; time will tell.

Until next year, Madge.