Where I’ve been

RainforestFalls

Not Niagara Falls

May 28 – Niagara Falls, Ontario
The meeting starts at 8:00 a.m. and I arrive at 7:00 to make sure the internet connection works, put out the name plates for the attendees, distribute expense claims, test the conference phone. With everything ready to go, I stroll outside. At 7:30 on Sunday morning the town is quiet. I saunter along the path following the lip of the Niagara River gorge to find fog and mist obscuring both the river and the Canadian falls. Continue reading

Worth the risk

All day, I sat in a windowless meeting room in the basement of a hotel in Halifax, Nova Scotia and listened to very important people talk about very important things. Immediately before the meeting my bowels had erupted, protesting as they often do to the change in input when I travel. I also forgot my acid reflux meds at home in Ottawa. And so the day began.
Continue reading

Do you reside or live?

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French Canadian woman looks down on symbol of English oppression – the Bank of Montréal.

Reside as a word to describe where you live sounds forensic to me, like something you’d read in a police report. “The victim, a 59 year old female with two gold fillings, resides at 123 Dull Street, in Ottawa East. It rings of resignation and victim-hood.

Montréalers do not reside, baby, they live, Live, LIVE! Don’t bore me with that old joie de vivre bullshit. Montréalers are way past that borrowed colonial French cliché. They’re on a whole different planet of life. Continue reading

How to be less cranky when turning 60

  • Buy a coffin.
  • Put the coffin in your living room.
  • Fill the coffin with clothes that don’t fit, books you’ll never read, lists of people you don’t talk to anymore, every regret you’ve ever had, all your lost dreams. Add a picture of you at 28.
  • Stop plucking the hairs on your chin. For fun, see how long they’ll grow.
  • Stop gluing down the three hairs on your left eyebrow that poke out like past sins.
  • Burn your 36 DD bras. Fly free.
  • Stop buying self-help books. If you own any, add them to the coffin.
  • Do 10 squats a day so you can get up and down off the toilet when you’re 70.
  • Eat bread and pasta and potatoes and white sugar and milk chocolate if you want.
  • Walk outside, not on a treadmill. The treadmill is a symbol. So is being outside.
  • Give your better angels a voice and tell the bitter bitches who talk over everyone to fuck off. Better yet, throw the bitches in the coffin.
  • Obsess about now.
  • Practice listening to your dog, your cat, your budgie, your goldfish and then go listen to your best friend.
  • Talk to people the way you talk to your pet. Chances are if you say “Who’s a good friend?” they’ll beam with pleasure.
  • Look up at the sky and not your feet. The view is better.
  • Practice what you preach.

 

 

Memory map

Map1963

Map of Canada – 1963

When the Canadian Oxford Desk Atlas of the World dated 1963 was published, I was six years old.  The first map in the book shows the land mass of Canada and the scale is one inch to 300 miles.  In this atlas the islands and inlets spattering the west coast of my childhood are, like my memories, unnamed. I know now those islands grew from cataclysms and it makes sense that the route through them – the way home – is dangerous. Continue reading

Mexican horses

TodosSantosHorse

Untethered

 

1968
We moved to Vancouver Island when I was ten. One of the selling features for the new location offered by my dad was horses – I could learn how to ride. Lessons arranged, I showed up at the barn on Saturday morning. The group lessons had started the week before and so the trainer gave me the last horse available – a  16 hands tall beast named Jet. I needed a leg-up to get into the stirrups. Continue reading