Fifteen year old me said something like this: “Pink stinks.” I got extra marks in university for brevity from an exhausted professor probably worn down reading 300 term papers replete with rosy language hiding empty thoughts. Pink as a colour struck me this way. Pointless, pathetic fluff. Continue reading
The brush should be at a 45 degree angle as though bent into a strong wind. You want headway. Your pen takes orders from you, your hand its aegis. Never forget that.
Start at the left and trace your pen along an imaginary line. Keep your brush down and pull it steadily due right. Look straight ahead and don’t stop. Continue reading
It is a few evenings before Christmas and we’re in the living room of my brother’s house in St. John’s, Newfoundland. A low fire winks behind the screen of the small coal burning fireplace and undernotes of coffee mixed with alcohol intermittently finds my nose. Continue reading
The first piece of chocolate quinoa cake I ate was at a fancy restaurant where main course portions were the size of Canada’s largest coins – loonies and toonies. Lunch arrived prettily set on a silent white plate with scribbles of coulis of some sort. You know the stuff – pureed parsnip essence or a reduction of Brussels sprout hearts and maybe a shake of smoked paprika. Way off on the northern hemisphere of the plate a single perfect candied walnut emerged from its shell, like a sailor adrift in the arctic ocean, considering his options as the icy sea begins to crush his vessel. Because food tells a story and the chef wants you to listen to what the food has to say. That kind of place. Continue reading
I skated by myself today. By choice. I wobble when I skate and I’m slow and I’m afraid of falling. Plus, I don’t want to hold anyone back and I don’t want them to see my ancient skates which date way back to the early ’90’s. They were the first generation of leisure skates. ie. NOT figure skates. They have a thick liner and fasten with velcro. This means when its minus 20 my fingers survive the 20 seconds required to pat the velcro in place.
Have you ever tried to unlace skates, winkle your foot into the boot and then spent the next 15 minutes getting the buggers laced up while you lose sensation in your fingers and your glasses fog over because you’re breathing through your scarf and then your nose starts to drip and your eyes start to water from the cold? When you skate the condensation in your spectacles freezes and you’re blind. Velcro prevents this from happening.
There I was screewhooshing along on the best hard ice so far this season when I stopped to take a picture at Patterson Inlet. Two women were attempting a selfie and asked if I would take their picture.”Where you from?” I asked.
“Maine and Massachusetts. We’ve been friends for 40 years and we both turned 55 so we came here to celebrate.”
And off they skated with me wobbling behind them. As they slid away they said “We’re sorry for our President.”
I said “Me too. But I like our Prime Minister.”
“So do we.”
Wasn’t that nice?
“I wish I had the guts to write my performance appraisal self-assessment honestly,” I said to my husband as he drove me to work.
“You have nothing to lose but your chains,” he said, quoting The Communist Manifesto.
“Yeah,” I replied. “And my pay cheque.”
Never underestimate the power of a cane thrust directly at a strategic body part. Myra Tellingheusen via Twitter
“You have to be a Skinny Minnie to fit in these seats,” the giant man by the window said as I unfolded the seat belt and wrapped it around my hips. It didn’t fit. I lifted the metal flap and pulled the nylon web looser and buckled it. I’m no Skinny Minnie, that’s for sure.
For the next fifty minutes me and the giant man, whose knees butted against the seat in front of him, and whose right hip spilled over the crack dividing our seats and made contact with my left hip, barely contained our bodies in the 18-seater Dash-8 airplane. As I read “Outside of Ordinary-Women’s Travel Stories” and he read “Talk Like a CEO”, we sat shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, me refusing to budge an inch, owning every scrap of fabric on my seat. In the past, I would have done my utmost to give the man more space – crossed my left leg over my right, rounded my left arm and shoulder inward, put my feet together under the seat in front of me, made myself small, small, small.
How many times have I sat next to a man on a plane or a bus or in a waiting room who took up space by spreading his knees wide in a huge V, like an invading Viking, marauding and menacing my space? How many times have I shifted my body away so I don’t have to touch him, so I don’t have to feel him, so I don’t have to be aware of him, so I can simply be in my seat and fly/bus/wait?
Never have I been in this situation where a man crosses his legs, or shifts away, giving me my allotted spot. Never have I seen a man squeeze his knees close and tight or plant his feet together like he was bound by invisible rope about to be bagged and tossed into an umarked grave. Never have I seen a man relinquish the middle armrest.
Maybe it was the news of the past few weeks that made me refuse to budge and reduce myself to accommodate the giant. My fatigue with forgiving someone else their size while trying to make myself disappear for their comfort has been transformed into determination to use the space I need and am equally entitled to.
No, I’m no Skinny Minnie. Give me my space.
Its a universal topic and you won’t find it explored any better than in this non-fiction story by my friend, Melissa Ballard.
It was late winter in New Zealand when Pauline tucked her gift in a diaphanous gold pouch and pulled the stings tight to close it. Inside it glittered and prisms quivered through the fabric and spread across her face. Then she wrapped it in a styrofoam sheet and packed her gift in a box measuring 4 x 2 inches. It weighed 1.3 pounds. Continue reading