You know the type. The neighbours who throw a party that starts inside and eventually spills onto their backyard deck. It starts with the pop of beer bottle caps and the trill of merry laughter. Slowly, the music, which commenced with pleasant retro 90’s tunes – a bit of Ricky Martin singing “La Vida Loca” followed by a few numbers from Bryan Adams Waking Up the Neighbours album and everyone sings “Everything I Do” together. When they crank Shania Twain you think maybe you can go over, pour a hefty Jack Daniels and Coke with lots of ice so you too can shout at the top of your lungs “Man, I Feel Like a Woman”. Continue reading
Don’t worry about being good. Instead, be willing to risk being bad. What’s good is often just what’s bad in a fresh new way. If you can’t be good at least be bad in not the same old way. – Pino Coluccio, Canadian poet
I stood on the pool deck, without my glasses, squinting at the four lanes marked leisure, slow, medium, and fast. A man powered through the water in the fast section, performed a swimmer’s flip at the deep end wall, and motored back in a long, smooth front crawl.
“Nope, definitely not going in that lane,” I thought, slightly intimidated. Continue reading
Helvetica’s Viking vengeance
pounds rage, warns
Times Roman’s time’s up,
his sagging crown
burned coffee and
three teaspoons of sugar
congealed in a chipped mug
has nothing fresh to say
but what the hell,
at least is true
Trust me, Didot ain’t it,
linked by sonorific
association to an object – also
not my type. Neither is
a slab-serif screeching
hoary huckster grabbing
space above the fold.
No! Give me
a soft touch. Open Sans
for me, baby.
A daisy scented field
where I read
between the lines,
that’s my type.
152 reasons I love Canada, in no particular order.
Universal health care (Okay, already I lied. This is the best reason for loving Canada.)
Gun laws (A tie for first. And now the rest in no particular order.)
Jody Wilson-Raybould, PC, MP – for speaking truth to power. Canadian politics.
Jane Philpott, PC, MP – for speaking truth to power. Canadian politics
The Toronto Star – for seeking the truth and counting lies
The Toronto Globe and Mail – for giving a voice to memoir writers via “First Person”, a column of personal essays
The New Quarterly – My favourite Canadian lit mag
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, also known as CBC – The lefties we love to hate and love anyway.
Shelagh Rodgers – She makes reading fun.
Fishhook restaurant in Victoria, BC – Best fucking fish chowder ANYWHERE.
Oso Negro Coffee Shop, Nelson, BC – I defy you to find a funkier place to have a cuppa joe anywhere in the world.
Blackberries from Vancouver Island – slightly salted by the breezes from the Strait of Georgia
Logy Bay blueberry thing – my sister’s recipe, best served with family from coast to coast
Bay Bulls Whale Watching – Love the rock and roll of Witless Bay
Cape St Mary’s Ecological Reserve – finest kind of sea birds in North America
Great Big Sea – “Ordinary Day”
The Rankin Family – “We Rise Again”
Gordon Lightfoot – “Canadian Railroad Trilogy”
Blue Rodeo – Jim Cuddy singing “Try” – *sigh*
Donovan Woods – because oldest daughter loves him
Justin Bieber – because youngest daughter loves him
Whitehorse – because middle daughter loves them
Cirque du Soleil – “Bend me, shape me, any way you want me….”
Hannah Georgas – because I fucking love this song.
Burton Cummings – Best Canadian rock voice. Period. “These Eyes”
Leonard Cohen – “Suzanne”. Thank you, Lenny.
kd Lang – singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”
The Group of Seven
Ron Hynes – “Sonny’s Dream”
Chess’ Fish and Chips, St. John’s, NL – not the best fish and chips but where else do you get fries with stuffing and gravy?
The Ship – St. John’s, NL, folk music mecca
Bruce Cockburn – Ottawa’s own – “Lover’s In a Dangerous Time” writer
The Barenaked Ladies – best version of “Lovers in a Dangerous Time”
Sandra Oh – Ottawa’s own – Grey’s Anatomy and Killing Eve
The Rideau Canal skateway – no where better to be in January in -20
Beavertails – Grant Hooker’s – another Ottawa boy – creation. Hot fried dough with sugar, cinnamon and lemon eaten after skating all 7 km of the Rideau Canal in -20.
The Raptors – Woo Hoo! Winners!
The Ottawa Senators hockey team – Losers but we love them anyway despite Eugene Melnyck.
K-os – Crabbuckit
Montreal’s rue St-Laurent, Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, Atwater Market, Walensky’s.
Quebec City – Mon dieu! Je t’adore!
Margaret Atwood -The Handmaid’s Tale
Alice Munro – Lives of Girls and Women
Mavis Gallant – The Pegnitz Junction
Margaret Laurence – The Diviners
Eden Robinson – Son of a Trickster
David Adams Richards – Mercy Among the Children
Wayne Johnston – The Story of Bobby O’Malley
The Friendly Giant
Mary Walsh – funniest woman in Canada
Lorne Michaels – Saturday Night Live producer
Alex Trebek – Jeopardy! host
Donna Strickland, winner of 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics from the University of Waterloo, a publicly funded university.
James Naismith, inventor of basketball
Buffy St. Marie
Douglas Cardinal, architect
Tommy Douglas, father of universal healthcare
Kiefer Sutherland, Tommy Douglas’ grandson
The Peace Tower on Parliament Hill
The Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal in West Vancouver – Taking the ferry home.
The Goose Spit in Comox on Vancouver Island – for the beach parties of my youth
Kye Bay on Vancouver Island – for the stinky low tide
Ainsworth Hot Springs, Nelson BC
Swimming in Meech Lake
Kayaking on the Rideau River in Ottawa
Cross country skiing in Gatineau Park’s 300 km of groomed trails
Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa
Fall fairs in the Ottawa valley, especially the zucchini carving contest
Sunday Bike Days in Ottawa – when the city closes the parkway streets for 5 hours of traffic free cycling every Sunday in the summer.
The Grouse Mountain Gondola ride in North Vancouver
Kayaking in Deep Cove, Vancouver
Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler
The ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay to Gibson’s Landing on the Sunshine Coast
Lawrencetown Beach, Nova Scotia – for the surfing
Baddeck, Nova Scotia, for the ceilidhs
Drumheller, Alberta – Badlands and dinosaur museum. Sage scented air. Sagebrush. Cactuses. Canyons and hoodoos. You. Gotta. Go.
The Redneck Cafe, Cranbrook, BC – Best peach pie.
Butter tarts from Doo Doo’s in Bailieboro, Ontario. Orgasms with pastry.
The Winnipeg Folk Festival
Aust’s General Store, Big Beaver, Saskatchewan. My husband says he’s never seen anything like it.
The twisty road from Nanaimo to Ucluelet
Dundarave Pier, West Vancouver – where to watch fireworks and sunsets
Signal Hill, St. John’s for iceberg spotting and sunrises
Centre Island, Toronto for its kiddie amusement park
Rick Mercer – maybe Canada’s best political satirist
Stella Luna ice cream, Bank Street, Ottawa – frozen orgasms
“Sorry” is our national word.
Eh is for Canada.
Samantha Bee – Yep. She’s ours too.
Banting and Best, discoverers of insulin
Nova Scotia Duck Tollers
Our two official languages – French and English
Roch Carrier – The Hockey Sweater
Emma Donoghue – Room
The Stanley Cup
The Grey Cup
Ketchup potato chips
John Fluevog shoes
The weather – you gotta want to live here!
Canada Dry Ginger Ale
Poutine – Fries, cheese curds and spicy gravy – mmm good
The snowmobile – invented by Joseph Armand Bombardier
Muskoka chairs – I know you think they’re Adirondack chairs but you’re wrong. Sorry.
Lucy Maud Montgomery – Anne of Green Gables
The Tragically Hip – Ahead by a Century
Stephen Leacock – Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town
Joni Mitchell – for me an acquired taste, like coffee, but now I can’t live without her
David Foote – Canadian demographer, writer of “Boom, Bust, and Echo”
Tessa and Scott – 2018 Olympic ice dance gold medalists
Dr. Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first woman astronaut
Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell, PC, MP, Canada’s first woman prime minister
Maple syrup – liquid gold.
Tim Horton’s double double – If you have to ask, you’re not Canadian.
Montreal style bagels from St. Viateur or Fairmount Bagels. So worth the two hour drive.
Montreal smoked meat sandwiches from Schwartz’s on Rue St-Laurent
Giant Tiger – Canada’s discount chain commonly called GT Boutique.
Canadian Tire hardware stores. Because. The name.
Caesar cocktail – Clamato juice and vodka. Protein meets a Russian in Canada and makes a baby with a stick of celery. Only in Canada, eh?
Jos Louis cakes – I didn’t know what I was missing until I moved to Ottawa.
Abhkazi Garden, Victoria, BC
Banff, Alberta – sweetest air in Canada
Stompin’ Tom Connors – The Hockey Song
Ann Murray – Snowbird (Ronald Reagan loved her.)
Canada was the first country to celebrate Labour Day.
Robertson Davies – Fifth Business
Barbara Gowdy – Little Sister
Carol Shields – The Stone Diaries
Elizabeth Hay – His Whole Life
Frances Itani – Tell
Happy 152nd Canada Day.
The ants came first. Her buds,
they said, asked for it.
Round and green, unopened yet –
you bet she asked for it.
Her nectar egged them on.
Don’t you forget who asked for it!
Her perfume and the bouncing skirt she wore,
she chose, and asked for it.
Look at her! Impossible to ignore
those carpels. Naturally, she asked for it.
What else could I do? Her beauty made me
helpless and asked for it.
Plucked and ruined, dropped inside a vase,
peony, bitch, you asked for it.
When Alfie arrived after eight years of pleading for a dog by our youngest daughter, he refused to join us when we occasionally watched t.v. in the basement. He would sit on the first landing – seven steps away – and watch us. His reluctance convinced our youngest daughter a ghost lived in the basement. Continue reading
Do as I Do was the copper-top
battery of the family. Do as I Say
was the mop inside the bucket.
Just saying, Disney princesses
don’t wear chipped glass
slippers or work in the Magic Kingdom
dressed in ball gowns from
Frederick’s of Hollywood.
Do as I Say’s glass slipper
tinkled like a wind chime
when she dropped it in the rock
garden. Do as I Do ground
her teeth and released
the fiz of juniper and quinine laced
tonic in her mouth. When she fled
to Vancouver, 1495 kilometres from
home – because distance makes
the heart ponder – Do as I Say stayed
home the night her shoe shattered.
Warning shoes were fired
but Do as I Do never did not
do and Do as I Say couldn’t
say for sure if the shoe fit the other
foot. So she limped in one shoe.
“You’re half an aphorism,”
said Do as I Do. But the shoe
fit. Because shade thrown.
I know, right?
“Stop moving. If I see you moving
I’ll put a curse on you.” The hot
cauldron of hate sizzled over
the family campfire of love.
An anvil blue sky pancaked
Do as I Do, her jam oozing
from under it, gluing her
legs and arms to the ground.
Do as I Say gurgled a confessional
song underwater. Suzie did too but
choked. Do as I Say knew
You will love the bittersweet end
of melancholy though you’ll adjust
the recipe. “C’est la vie,” said Do as I Say.
Her shoes crooned “Dooby, dooby doo”.
She giggled. “You’re playing our song.”
In the rock garden, slivers of slipper
glass winked a semaphore of misdirection.
Jam glued the family together again.
This was created using a writing exercise called “Twenty Little Poetry Projects”. Fun has been missing from my writing lately and writing this felt playful. Its mostly nonsense but with some work it could make sense.