another good party missed

2 December 2009

Well I’ve gone and done it again and missed another great blogland party.  I’ve got to work on my bloggy time management skills. 

Mr. Toast hosted his Annual Christmas Tea over at his Hot Toast and Jam blog and I tell you, if you’re not yet in the mood for winter and Christmas, get yourself on over to Aspen now and pay him a visit and you’ll be full of holiday spirit in no time.  His site is a feast for the eyes.  Sip on warm mulled wine and listen to the tales of the party, which, it seems, went on into the morning hours.

Well done Toasty – I could linger all day.

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november sister

14 November 2009

Happy birthday Cathy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thanked my lucky stars that you’re my sister because in this big ol’ random world what are the chances I’d cross paths with a friend like you? Unfailingly on my side; forever seeing my view; ready with uncompromised support and understanding before I ever need ask for it.

The middle sister – you were always like the heart of us, emitting a gentle warmth and love that drew all to you practically since the day you arrived on the planet. And still today that bright and shining smile warms the heart of anyone you meet. Your clarity of vision is something I will always depend on, and aspire to. You’re beautiful inside and out, and I’m looking forward to carrying out the rest of this life’s adventure with you.

jencathycropped

In thee my soul shall own combined the sister and the friend.  ~Catherine Killigrew

oh the games we play

27 October 2009

Last night I’m having a quiet dinner in the corner of The Lion and I’m trying to read my book but I keep getting distracted by a couple having an intense conversation at the next table. I’ve seen this fella in here before, having dinner and an academic sounding discussion with another younger woman in the past. This makes me think that maybe he’s a professor or a writer, I’d say somewhere in his late fifties or early sixties. I can’t see her face, but judging by the rises and falls of her voice and the perky lilt of her laugh, I guess her to be in her twenties still – probably a grad student.

I start to become mildly annoyed by the distraction – the lights in the place are dim and I have to stay really focused on the pages in order to read and I’m really enjoying the book. When I first sat down I thought, hey good for them, I’m all about academic conversations, there’s nothing I like better than having a lingering talk myself with someone who challenges me.  But the quality of the intenseness in the man’s voice soon gets interesting.  Because even though I’m not making out more than a word here or a phrase there, it is clear that the conversation at the next table has nothing whatsoever to do with academic anything. Our guy is hitting on her, and she’s loving every second of it.

It’s really amazing how you can understand exactly what’s going on between a couple without actually hearing what they’re saying. The vocal inflections and the body language tell the tale.

Every time I glance over he’s leaning toward her looking at her intently, as if the things coming out of her mouth are the most inspired thoughts imaginable. She starts expounding on some theoretical sounding notion and then giggles delightedly as he gazes with wonder upon her cleverness. He then takes whatever it was she was just talking about and turns it back around to her and asks her some question related to what she was talking about, but designed to get her to talk about her personal self. Every now and then he snaps “stop it!” in a teasing way, as if he just can’t stand the marvellous way she affects him so.

I have absolutely nothing against May-December romances – I love the idea of matchups that are a product of chemistry and magic rather than convenience and societal or cultural slotting. But what I suppose I found so annoying in all this was the implication that it was something else – a talk about psychology or sociology or whatever it was that he kept twisting around to bring the conversation to a personal level. I suppose it’s just that I like men who are direct. If they’re not direct with me, then I never seem to know where to go with it. But that’s just me – smart certainly, and dense. And I can flirt with the best of ‘em, but flirting is playful. This conversation just seemed rooted in deception.

So the whole thing got me thinking about one or two conversations-laced-with-am-I-ever-attracted-to-you over dinner with a particular man in that very corner of that very pub. The flirting was open and welcome while the conversation deep and challenging. He never had to lean into the table and look at me intently and steer discussions and pretend that the topics just happened to bring out fascinating responses in me. He liked me; I liked him; and the occasional brush of leg or squeeze of hand was a promise for later. In the meantime we talked and there was no pretence; there was nothing false about it.

Maybe it’s time I gave him a call.

long hugs

25 September 2009

I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a small town, but there is something remarkable about this sustained bond between people that seemed to rematerialize like a magic thread after thirty years of carrying on lives apart from one another.  For a few of those folks I reunited with last weekend, it was a given – we’ve been tending those old friendships all along, and seeing them was the main reason I went to the class reunion. But what I have also been relishing and enjoying since coming home the other day is the feeling of being recognised and welcomed and cared for by people I hadn’t seen or spoken to in all or most of those thirty years.

Sometimes you had to look at a nametag because a person had changed so.  Which this particular writer couldn’t do gracefully or surreptitiously because she couldn’t read the darn things without pulling out her glasses.  Most often when the recognition took hold though, even if it was delayed, the person stood before me as a bright and shining testament to a life lived in another time; a life that eventually led me to this one.  And there were still things to talk about.  I still felt pleased when boys flirted with me.  The prettiest girl then is still the prettiest girl now, and the funniest girl then is still the funniest girl now.  And the hugs and handshakes were natural and welcome.

One of the reasons I looked forward to the event was because I’m proud of the person I’ve come to be, and was glad to share it. Sure, thirty years gave me as many pounds on the scale, and various lines and sags, but the things those thirty years gave me outweigh those many times over: wisdom and growth and knowledge and confidence and experience and two wonderful daughters.  And I can’t describe how gratifying it was to see how all those things transformed my long-haired, jeans-clad teenage comrades from a million years ago.  That’s what I cherished in each of those new/old faces because with every year and its trials, successes, missteps, joys, failures and challenges, they are lovelier and handsomer and stronger and sexier and smarter and more beautiful than they were at 18. 

And that’s a gift I’ll carry around in my pocket for the next thirty years – or at least until the fortieth.

me, hallmark card writer

9 September 2009

Today there was a little jokey back and forth exchange on facebook between several of us old friends who will be attending our upcoming 30th year class reunion.  A few were complaining, “damn it all, I didn’t lose that 30 lbs.!”  I said “the nice thing about being 30 years older is – who cares?”  

We can say now:  “It is what it is” and get on with the day.  And It’s stronger and better and smarter and so much sexier at 48 than it was at 18 (even if it’s a little more jiggly). 

Anyway, says my facebook self, thirty years on, there is so much more inner beauty in there now that our bodies have to get a little bigger and the bits and bobs get pushed to new places to accommodate all that gorgeousness burgeoning inside.

Okay, it’s hokey. 

But it’s true.

Tonight I made a big ol’ pot of marinara sauce.  It’s stage one of a mid-week lasagne project.

See, a few months ago, I casually stated on a facebook meme (25 Things About Me) that no one makes lasagne as good as me.  (Well it’s true.)  Following that, a number of friends campaigned for the recipe.  One friend got to campaigning too, but not for the recipe.  No, she would love one of my famous (now infamous) lasagnes.  And well, even though she said she wasn’t being serious, I should have made her one, without hesitation, because she has had me to her home numerous times for warm and wonderful meals.  And she’s a wife and a mother of two young girls and she’s a journalist, and frankly busts her ass to run that household and maintain her career.

Anyway, out of the “goodness of my heart” I post the recipe on facebook, and weakly suggest to my friend, “how about Minute Minestrone Soup?” because I was working six days a week at the time (albeit no husband, no kids) and as its name implies, the soup, while quite delicious, is  SUBSTANTIALLY faster to make than one of my giant monster pans of noodles, sauce, veg and cheese, which would have consumed the bulk of my only day off in the week.  (I know, wah wah wah.)

Well, as it happened, my friend was riding her bike to work in downtown Toronto.  And she got doored.  And very nearly lost her finger, which subsequently had to be re-attached surgically, in the same week she and her family were to head off on an anticipated vacation in Banff.  And as anyone who loves to feed her family with home cooked meals would understand, she finds herself in a bit of a sitch.  (That’s not even mentioning the journalist who types for a living part.)

So anyway, tomorrow is stage two: assembling the monster.  And a mini monster to send home with my mother next time I see her.

I CAN be domestic once in awhile.  Man does that sauce smell good – I better go have another spoonful, just to make sure.