Heather G made reservations for us (and Sergey) at the Back Lane Café last week. We hadn’t seen each other since the summer, before they were homeless and I started recovering. Last time I saw her, she left me with a takeout Hintonburger and a meditation audiobook that she hoped would help me feel better. It was so sweet that she didn’t understand at all what I was going through, but tried so hard to help with very thoughtful gifts anyway.
This time, she wouldn’t let me pay, even though she treated me last time as well, and she said please with such heartfelt intent that I knew she’d be hurt if I didn’t give her the honour. We’d been playing phone tag for weeks up to that point, and between their careers and camping, they could only spare themselves for a meal sans tea or dessert. It made me realize how precious their time is nowadays, and the fact that they made the time to see me meant so much more than the two hours we spent catching up over a great food and conversation.
Poached shrimp salad, with Niagara nectarines, bibb lettuce (for it’s tender texture), endive, lime, and hazelnut dressing. An appetizer good enough for a main.
Continue reading “reduction”…
I still have fond memories of the fall. It’s when the light is at it’s most neutral, not warmed by the summer sun or cooled by it’s reflection on the snow. The time of long showers, kitties being even more affectionate, and girls always finding the right spot to nestle under your neck.
On particularly bright, chilly days, with all the leaves a flat lemon-yellow, I can hardly take it all in.
We are on this planet to move our cats directly in the path of a sunbeam every 15 minutes.
The sunbeams form a celestial calendar across my floor, slowly creeping along as they threaten to warp the wood in my instruments, reminding me that I haven’t spent a winter in this room yet. I can only hope the memories will be better this time around.
These days, I still dream of a nylon-stringed beauty, with warm tones and crisp bass close to the saddle. I wonder what she’ll feel like under my fingers, mahogany or rosewood, satin or glossy. It’s a dream that never seems far away cause I know it’ll happen some day, so I try to cherish the anticipation.
I’ve been feeling particularly nostalgic. When the right song comes on, I’m taken to the time in my life when it was the only thing I played for a week straight. I used to write so much, but lately I hardly have anything to say it all. That’s why I’m addicted to the feeling of feeling, searching for inspiration, using my dreams to keep me alive.
Singhouse Studios is a voice and performance school for people of all ages, and one night every year the students perform in a big show. This year, the show — titled Sparkle — was celebrity-themed, complete with a melange of hits from the last five decades, a red carpet runway for all the stars, and even Ottawa’s local pop heartthrob, Alex Lacasse.
Music by Five Stripe Studios. Adrian and I worked closely to make sure the music had the right kind of playful energy to focus on the school’s main demographic.
I was asked to create a promotional video for the studio, so I followed the performers to tell the story of their day, from the backstage to the main stage. I felt it was as important to see all the preparation as much as the performances themselves, which is why I included footage of warm-up routines, practice rituals, and dress rehearsals. I love to see the focus so many of the young performers have, and much of that comes out before they even step into the spotlight.
The problem with working from home is that you’re never really off. There’s always something you can be doing, so it’s hard to detach and just relax. The days of the week lose their meaning. I haven’t had a vacation in about a year, and I’ve been at home almost that whole time. It’s left me feeling burned out. Lisa and I are both going through the same thing at this point in our lives, and we’re trying to figure out how to pick ourselves up from problems that seem insurmountable when we’re living them by ourselves.
But baby steps first, and today was back to a greasy breakfast. I watched The English Patient, cause I’ve been in the mood for epics lately, and I’d been denying myself the pleasure for too long. I discovered the part I used to place my kisses is called the suprasternal notch. Now I wonder if she ever sees the English Patient, whether she’ll think I just stole some idea from some movie, or whether she’ll remember and gently finger the valley my lips claimed as their own.
At the end of these movies, I always feel a mixture of emotions, the same when stepping out of the Shakespearean plays I saw in high school: dejected from all the tragedy, yet amazed by such profound performances and productions. It was the same after I finished reading Doctor Zhivago. Maybe cause I identify with the poet-warriors, the themes of their love, the depths of their emotions, and the trappings of their fate. No matter what the emotion is though, it makes me sit in the dark and write about things the way I used to.
And that’s enough for now.
The best time of the year to make the drive to Darren’s house is in the Autumn. It’s about five hours door-to-door — barring any traffic or construction — so there’s a good chance I’ll catch a sunrise or sunset no matter when I leave. It’s particularly beautiful when the leaves are changing and the colours are at their richest along the stretches of the 401.
Sometimes I’ll turn on a stand-up comedy station instead of music, and it helps take my mind off the dreariness of the less scenic parts. It’s like having another person to talk to, except the conversation goes one way, and they tend to be funny when not overly political or Andrew Dice Clay.
Zhaliang and classic Cantonese noodles. #thingsIcouldeateveryday
I still think of moving back to Toronto, where there’s everything that isn’t available to me in Ottawa. But I hate all the things that come with such an unwieldy and poorly amalgamated city. At my age, I value comfort over excitement, and Toronto has become a city that’s better to visit than to stay.
After meeting Mike in London, I knew that’s where I was meant to live, with Bloc Party and Monty Python and The Underground and rainy weather and Portishead and a billion accents and Only Fools and Horses and that stoic British mentality and Paris just a train ride away. But that wasn’t my fate, and the dirty streets of Toronto are the closest I’ll ever get to that.
Continue reading “I’m happy to report that my blood does clot”…