How to Clean Your Closet

Close your eyes, slide the door open, and pluck 12 items randomly from left to right. Ignore the weight of your choice. You touch it, you pluck it. Ignore texture, too.
Make no conjecture about your selection. You don’t know if that silky feel is real or synthetic. This moment is your emetic. Commit to the decision at your fingertips.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Wiggle Room

The last time I bought anything was six days ago. I don’t mean a bottle of Advil or a head of lettuce or a 24-pack of toilet paper. I mean clothing and fashion accessories, like earrings and scarves. And shoes. Continue reading

A Walk on Nietzsche’s Birthday

Western1

You may know of his most famous work – a philosophical novel called “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” and you probably also know the music of the same name from “2001: A Space Odyssey”.  The composer, Richard Strauss, had read Nietzsche’s novel and created this strange, other-worldly musical fanfare used at the beginning and the end of the movie.

Without music, life would be a mistake.

Now, lest you be thinking I’m some kind of philosophy buff, let me divest you of that thought pronto. I discovered it was Nietzsche’s birthday because I was driving in the car early the morning of October 15 and a radio host shared this nugget and then played the music. Continue reading

To be or not to be

I felt something soft under my foot and thought I’d stepped in dog shit. We were outside the door of Ottawa’s newest fancy donut joint, Maverick’s, where we planned to buy a ½ dozen of the pricey treats and bring them home to the children for all of us to enjoy. We’d spent the last 2 hours hiking in Gatineau Park, tromping up and down hills aglow in fall foliage – maples, aspens, birches, fanned out like a male turkey’s tail feather display. The bear warning signs had not deterred us. Continue reading

That Doesn’t Happen Here

The sky the morning after the storm was bright blue with charming white clouds, now harmless, arranged across the sky like teeth in the grin of a psychopath post-knife plunge. A gang of red, black and grey squirrels emerged from their safe havens and skittered along branches of damaged trees, pulling together new nests. They make it look easy. Continue reading

Morning Prayer

5:50 a.m. In dark just lighter than pitch, the dog and I venture out for his morning relief. The spilled streak of stars we call the Milky Way fades as I glance up, as though my eyes mop heavens’ mess. The dog lifts his leg and anoints the road sign pole and I hear the splash of contact. He kicks his hind legs, rubs his paws on the grass making sure every bit of his scent graces his small patch of turf. Continue reading

“Tracking Happiness”

If Agatha Christie were alive she might have written “Tracking Happiness” in collaboration with P.G. Wodehouse but this cosy mystery is by Ellen Morris Prewitt. Ellen is a 21st century writer whose use of comic dialogue reminds me of Wodehouse’s Jeeves stories and who handles plot and red herring infusions like Agatha Christie. Think “Murder on the Orient Express” meets “My Man Jeeves”. Continue reading

For sale: red dress

RedDress

Vintage. Size 8. Worn three times in 1992.

The reason
I wore the dress for the first time at a Meeting Planners International (Ottawa Chapter) Gala. I won “Planner of the Year”, for which I received a plaque. Now when I hear the word plaque I think gum disease and heart attack but back then it meant achievement. I was good at a job that, among other things, demanded good feet. Back then when scouting a location for a 1200 delegate conference and 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, I walked every inch of too many hotel function rooms and concrete floored trade show halls – in stilettos. I tromped service corridors and loading bays. I hoofed the cobblestone streets of old Montreal surrounding the Montreal Convention Centre. I pounded the paved cruise ship docks beside the Vancouver Convention Centre and marched up and down Halifax’s hills to and from the harbour and up to the Citadel because back then there was no Google Earth or Mapquest to help situate the convention site within a city. I had to see it for myself. In stilletos. Because. Fashion. Continue reading

An Undrained Swamp

Greenest

We walk in a temple of green. If I was a perfumer I would describe the aroma as a blend of sawdust from mulched dead ash trees, blackened leaves dribbling at water’s edge warmed with pine needles and finished with a hint of irises and clover.

Night Crested Heron

Black Crowned Night Heron

The water birds are blase about our presence. Two common mergansers with their punk rock feathers streaming from the back of their heads sit placidly on the shore as we approach. Further in the green glow of underbrush a Black Crowned Night Heron holds his pose giving us his profile. A pair of Wood Ducks confidently ignore us as we tiptoe closer to take their photo.

Above us the birdsong is the sound of a tuning symphony. I can’t pick out a single note that I recognize.

BigPines

Mud Lake – an undrained swamp in the heart of Ottawa.

 

An American Goldfinch undulates from tree to tree. Five dive and swoop across a small clearing as though the sun released a few rays and turned them into birds

Irises

Imagine the smell.

Cedar Waxwings leap into the air in a weird see-saw flight from branch to branch. They reach up with their beaks to catch insects and then slap their wings together, which sound like fingers snapping, and then see-saw to the opposite tree whistling as they go. I’ve never heard their call before nor have I seen them feeding on anything other than seeds in our backyard feeder.

I feel like a birdwatcher again. It makes me happy to pay attention to something else other than work and worries.

IMG_20180617_083705

Swamp monster

 

 

 

 

 

The space between

Dandy-dog

Dandy dog

When I opened the book I ordered on-line, the thing I noticed immediately was neither the beautiful photography and the carefully crafted knitting patterns nor the lyrical language of the stories accompanying the patterns. What I noticed was the lack of white space. Paragraphs bumped into each other like commuters in Toronto and margins were narrower than country roads.  Photos worthy of singular exposure were lost in a visual melange. There was no place for my eyes to linger or rest.

I felt like a Panini pressed between paragraphs. I wanted a moment to breathe and think. I needed space to digest what came before and what was coming next. Continue reading