Shoes for Life

In New Orleans I bought purple suede shoes peppered with silver studs across the toes and, not surprisingly, in Nashville, I purchased blue suede pumps. I slid my feet, Cinderella-like, into their cushioned blue interiors, stood, took a few steps and twirled, the full skirt of my dress flaring. The clerk stared, only mildly startled and asked me “Are you an attorney?” Nashville lawyers, I thought, must be more colourful than the pin-striped, double-breasted esquires in Ottawa. In Dolly Parton’s home state, I pictured lawyers sashaying to the bench in untouchable blue suede shoes with matching satin pocket hankies. A spin at the bench seemed plausible. Continue reading

Their Names

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The book Bright Wings – An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds, has flaps on its front and back covers that when opened give the book an impressive wingspan. The anthologist is my man Billy Collins, who paired his talent with the artistic Audubon ornithologist David Allen Sibley, to hatch this beautiful collection. However, in a recently acquired habit, I assessed the parity in the poetry assembled through the table of contents. Out of more than 100 poems, 37 were penned by women. Hmmm. My feathers ruffled. Continue reading

Surprise Visitor

Past the snow-covered fallow fields, I drove towards home carrying the last Christmas present for a family member on the seat beside me. The curve of slate-coloured Hunt Club Road twined with the white fields under a spilled milk sky.

It was 9:30 in the morning and not many vehicles were on the road yet. A car length ahead in the lane beside me rolled a huge shiny black truck with gleaming silver hubcaps. The driver was lost in its vast cab except for a bright yellow watch cap hugging his head. Passing a load of judgement, I grumbled to the dashboard. Continue reading

What Can I Say?

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I’ve struggled trying to think of something to talk about here, with you. Maybe you haven’t noticed my silent self sitting in your living room at the end of your sofa with a pillow tucked behind my achy back listening to your stories. You’re always so fascinating. I start to open my mouth and then clamp it shut suddenly shy and reluctant to share. Even a full-bodied glass of red wine can’t coax me to speak. Continue reading

Culture Encounter

We buckled ourselves into a small electric vehicle that looked like a motorized pedi-cab parked outside our Lisbon hotel. Joel, our driver and guide, expertly pulled into the traffic while our companions on the tour, Eric and Heidi – fellow Canadians – introduced themselves.

“We’re from T’rono. I’m a sports guy,” Eric said. “I go to Buffalo, New York regularly to see the Leafs play. Games are always sold out in Toronto. I travel all over the States following my favourite sports teams.”

The heavy traffic made it challenging to talk, for which I was grateful. I didn’t want to hear Eric list how many cities he’d been to on his tour de NHL/NFL/NBA*. I wanted to listen to Joel. But Eric and Heidi’s presence gave weight to a curious feeling I sometimes have when traveling – that of bouncing along in a tourist bubble where I know I’m in a foreign country but there are frequent reminders of home. Joel’s flawless English added to that sense. Was I really in Lisbon or was this a Disneyland ride? Maybe the tuk-tuk’s clear roof also contributed to my impression of floating through Lisbon, in the city but removed at the same time. Continue reading

Guilt Grout

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Morning at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park

“When did we ever lock our tent?” said my husband as we unrolled our sleeping bags on the sturdy pine bed.

True, I thought, but our tent didn’t have a door with a latch and the yurt we’d rented at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park did.

“Doors should be locked,” my city-girl brain reasoned, but I nodded.

We had returned alone to this campground after 14 years absence. The last time, our daughters were with us, then 6, 9 and 12 years old. That outing ended at dinner time in rain with a sputtering campfire and stone-cold, tinfoil wrapped potatoes. Continue reading

Wisdom Wednesday

Getting old has a pretty bad rap, hasn’t it? It seemed the best anyone could ever say about it was getting old is better than death but not by much. But you know, turns out that’s not true. I mean, it’s been wonderful to be an older woman because as an older woman you get the opportunity to stop always straining to be the object of somebody else’s desire and you finally, finally get the chance to become the subject of your own life. And that’s when you can really, REALLY, start to live.

Mary Walsh, Canadian actress and comedian, March 31, 2019 Canadian Screen Awards

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Party Time

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

Not in My Lane

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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