Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Today we busied ourselves, preparing for tomorrow’s BBQ where we expect 30 or so guests. Serge has turned into his angsty, pre-visitor persona, and rushes about to make sure that we don’t appear to be the dirty slobs we are. Well, I more than him to be truthful. Anyway, we were able to squeeze in Finding Dory in the afternoon but the nerves of receiving made it less than wonderful and it wasn’t as funny as Finding Nemo. An hour or so ago, we were sitting out on our new patio, BBQ layout of all the chairs already rearranged a dozen or so times by you-know-who, and I asked him, “When did we get these chairs, where did we live, at the loft?” He said, “No, it was Moreau street.” “Wow, sixteen years,” I observed. Serge looked like he was thinking about something and I wondered if it was the same as my thinking, which was both, sixteen years and still good as new, those chairs, and naturally, dang I’m old. My mind started to wander and I looked at the conifer across the street. It seemed to have what looked like brown moss growing under the branches.

“Serge, are those pine cones on that tree over there, or just dead needles?” I asked and added, “I wish we had some binoculars.” Serge leapt up and went in the house. I wondered if we did, indeed, have binoculars. If we did, I had never seen them. Then Serge waltzed out, “Ta-Da! These are my grandfather’s. I remembered we had them.” “Where were they?” I wondered aloud. “In the bathroom.” “Where?” wanting to be sure I heard right. “In the bathroom.” I finished it with, “Okay then,” and wondered where in the bathroom they had been. One of two places really, not worth pursuing a clarification. With the aid of the binoculars, Serge confirmed, “They’re pinecones!” It seemed as though they had appeared overnight, but that can’t be. And I was reminded that change is happening all around us, if only we take the time to notice.


The BBQ day was splendidly warm and unhumid. By the time our guests started arriving, the sun had started dipping past our building bathing the deck in shade. As people arrived, everyone agreed it was the perfect day for it. A handful of guests bowed out that day, and I was a bit relieved as I thought I might not have prepared enough food. It is to laugh. There is so much potato salad left, I’m going to have to toss it which if you know me, I hate doing. I wonder if it would keep in the freezer? We made a mean punch which you could absolutely taste no alcohol in, but after just one, many claimed to be buzzed. I haven’t felt at ease at my own party since, well, ever. I marveled how at peace I was. Maybe it was because all our good friends up here came, people that I am grateful to have in my life and who are grateful that we are in theirs. Friends who know what it means to be friends. Our besties spent the night and we had our ritual mimosas in the morning and went out to breakfast.

The next day was wickedly hot and decidedly more humid. I spent the afternoon outside finishing up my book, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which got so good, I frequently had frissons tingling throughout my body at the lovely story, beautifully written. It was like a fine wine or grilled filet mignon, delicious. Now I am reading the second in the Outlander series, and while it holds my attention, it is more like drinking supermarket wine or eating a Big Mac. Honestly, she goes on way too long with the sex scenes, I mean really, a whole page that could be three words. They made love. But I am a sucker for the time travel angle, so it is a guilty pleasure nonetheless. Yesterday, as I was reading, I saw the lady who lives down the hill (I am not sure how far down, I’m guessing four or five buildings) a spinster I am sure who every time I’ve seen her has had a look on her face like she’s just been told she lost her job. Not so yesterday, she had gone to the drug store across the street and was returning home with something that looked like triumph on her face, and what was it she was carrying? I waited for her to get closer as she needs to pass our home to arrive at hers so I could see what she had in her hands. Then I smiled big, in one hand she had a six pack of Mountain Dew and in the other above her shoulder a box of Klondike bars. Poor dear, she must not have air conditioning. One of the nice things about living in a big city on a busy street is the never-ending people watching opportunities. My writer’s mind makes up stories about their lives simply on the evidence of their gait, speed, and how they carry on with others. I can see it as being a serious activity in retirement.

Oh and by the way, Georgie simply loves barbecues. You can imagine why.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Weekly journaling

I have been reading A LOT and this always puts me into the mood to write. So I think I will start a weekly journal here without announcing it on FB. In a wonderful mood today.

My days unfold thusly: There is the first wake, nearly always nine or more hours since going to bed. It is usually my bladder that forces me up into the day. If I am tired, I sleep an hour or two more before really rising. I don't make coffee, instead sipping water and joining the birds outside. The sleep which cloaks me like a soft blanket befogs my mind and body. This is my favorite time of day especially if I get to see the sun rise. After an hour or two I may have a cup of coffee though I have finally decided that I don't like caffeine, the food of the butterflies. The butterflies, coccooned by the sleep will be up and about soon anyway as surely as the wind. For that is what the shattered heart (how else to call it?) has slowly transformed into, the fluttering wings of anxiety. The butterflies rouse slowly, usually sometime in the afternoon and when they do I am grateful that they slept in as long as they did. 

I am getting good at not thinking about the things that energize the butterflies and redirect my thoughts with ease. Such ease as I am constantly surrounded by beauty that only now am I able to appreciate. The shifting shape of a cloud, the cardinal's song as distinctive as its color, the dragonfly wing propellering down from the maple tree staving off the thundering silence of suffering. I turn over lessons in my mind, so many confirmed banalities of life. I should have died. Surely a physical wound as severe would have killed, and I ask myself, "Am I stronger?" It seems impossible that I am still here blessed with the earth to walk upon. 

If it is a work day, I go, grateful for the distraction and practicality of income. If not, I pore through books living other lives where characters are broken and healed in a page or two. (Is that what these last years have been? A couple of pages?) Food. What a glorious gift to feel hungry and satisfy it. I daydream about upcoming meals, enjoying them several times before actually eating them. George stays by my side reading my mind and reminding me of purpose. My husband, an equal wreck to mine, makes his way through the day with me and we have found that cooking together pleases us both. 

I still drink too much. Probably half what I drunk before but I still need help to bed in the evening. Serge didn't drink alcohol for two consecutive days last week. A goal I aspire to when sleep or the lack of it will not severely impact the day after. We spend the evenings together engrossed in this series or that until my eyes start drooping and then my second favorite part of the day arrives, bedtime. And the cloak of sleep that heals and prepares my mind and body for the coming day. I dream but I don't have nightmares. And for the first time in years, life is actually good.


Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Spring travelogue

I've been lax on updating the blog. So sorry, but we have been awfully busy as you will see. Here is my honey and I at our annual Sugar Shack outing. After Cuba, I went on a diet to lose all the holiday weight I gained but made an exception for this. Boy did I have a stomachache after. It felt like my stomach had shrunk, but more likely the quart of maple syrup I ingested.

We went with our besties Annick and Jesus. They live about an hour away so we don't get to see them as often as we'd like. This coming weekend we are going out to spend a couple of nights and do the wine route.

We flipped another unit over to airbnb and they are both doing very well. Our occupancy rates are extremely high - May and June are sold out so I think next year we need to hike the prices a bit. Boy do people shed a lot of hair though.

We finally tackled replacing the deck. It was at least 10 years old and there was a leak in the garage so it was time to address it. A little over 3 grand that we did not have.

I was not allowed to help but I was allowed to pay. It turned out great and we are planning a summer barbecue to inaugurate it. We also were able to identify the leak problem and repair if for pennies. Yay!

Serge even made those shelves for people's drinks around the planters. Just before this project, we lost a couple friends again. Remember our ex-best friends (whom I think of as the sociopath and frankenstein dick) who have systematically convinced all our mutual friends to shun us over the last two years? Well the very last mutuals Facetimed me to tell me we can't be friends for a while. Said he wanted to do it face to face and not in a text (why? So I can have this freaking memory?) said it wasn't coerced (which I figure meant just the opposite). I said I had no words to respond to that and we hung up. I didn't ask why since I knew it had nothing to do with us as we have been nothing but kind to them. People we've known for 20 years. When Serge got up and I told him he said, "I knew it!," and promptly walked over to the computer and blocked them. I went ahead and unfriended all the friends we had met through them to save them the trouble. I do have a blackmail picture that would give them a reason to not be friends but I think I will just take the high road on this one. Just done with the whole lot of them.

Camper friend Nancy came up for a visit. It was great getting to know her better. She also has an airbnb unit so we did a trade. Hopefully we can cash in this summer and explore Southern Vermont from her place.

We had to cut our annual road trip to 4 days from 10 due to money, work and airbnb responsibilities. We made the most of it though. Got to stop in and see Sean and Jeffrey and the pups.

Next stop NYC where our Montreal friends recently bought a condo. They offered it to us for the weekend since they were not using it. We rented a car to go to New York and I chose the wild card category. This meant we would get a compact or better car. When I arrived they told me the wild card is a 7 passenger van. Doh! So that raised the gas cost and I had to park it in Manhattan. It was easy though, the method Tony and Chris showed me (criss cross the numbered streets between Central Park West and Broadway starting at 68th) worked like a charm again. Parked and took the subway to our borrowed condo.

They had a roof top patio on the 16th floor of the building and this was the view. Wonderful. The first night we attended a talk on the "history of gay porn". The room quickly achieved capacity but it was one of the dullest and oddest presentations I've seen. The presenter simply read the papers in his hand and then would stop and play a 15 minute gay porn clip to the end. We were 65 men watching and it was awkward. Nobody spoke during the clips. When they got to Lukas Ridgeston, I had had enough and left. It could have been so much more interesting. Fail.

Afterward we looked for a bite to eat and ended up in a tapas place where oddly enough I had a margherita pizza. The next day was the big camp camp goes to Fun Home event.

Before the show we met up with a few campers for brunch and I had huevos rancheros. Yum! We also sleuthed out an Izakaya (Japanese gastro pub) and had okinomiaki and sushi. Heaven.

We were 33 campers from all over the country who came together to see the show. What a great show it was too. Serge isn't in the pic because he went out to smoke. After this the cast of the show came out and talked with us. So very cool. When I got home I went to the library to get the book but I am #7 on the reservation waiting list.

After the show some of us went out for drinks and dinner. It was great to see everyone.

We especially enjoyed hanging out with our Alaskan friend Jim. It's amazing the tight bonds you can make with people all through the miracle of camp. I think there are a couple spots left this year if you would like to join us. Campcamp.com

Then we had to hustle home to turn over the airbnb units. A couple days after I got an offer for tix to Cirque du Soleil for 30 percent off so jumped on it. It was one of the best shows I have seen from them. It had EVERYTHING and the music and costumes were inspired by Mexico and it worked really well.

Afterward we went to this Portuguese joint we like and had the chicken and chorizo poutine. It is huge, and even though we shared, we couldn't finish it. So delicious and only $13 tax included. You couldn't eat dinner at McDonald's for that price and it is infinitely better.

Finally, a little picture of Georgie. He has been extra clingly lately to me. Lucky for him, that is fine by me! Thanks for stopping by peeps - until next time......MWAH!