Monday, September 15, 2014

{married to amazement}

I went to visit Theresa on Friday. She was waiting for me in her sun porch with a bowl of grapes and a plate of lemon cake and some peppermint tea. She was smiling widely when she opened the door and pulled me in, but her eyes were full of bright tears.

If you've met her, then you know that Theresa is a woman with dazzling fireworks for emotions - they explode out of her in vibrant colours, popping and cracking and lighting up everything around her. It's a wonderful thing, and it makes her the perfect person to watch a sad movie with or to tell some good news to. She is one who has mastered the art of sharing joy and not covering up sadness.

She dabbed at her eyes with the backs of her hands as she ushered me in and said, "I've been reading a poem. It's so beautiful. Let me read it to you."

I have never been one to turn my nose up at a good poem.

So I sat in the chair across from her and she picked up Volume One of Mary Oliver's New and Selected Poems and began.

"I won't read you the whole thing; it's not a very happy theme (it's about death), but I just love this part. Oh, have some cake, too. Listen to these words. They're just beautiful; I'm probably going to cry again." She rolled her eyes and sniffled, smiling, "Um - here:

When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement
I was the bridegroom taking the world into my arms

A bride married to amazement. Isn't that just so beautiful?" 

As I watched her read, so excited to share the words she'd found with me because she knew I'd appreciate them the same way she had, I felt my smile slowly stretching over my face like the beams of sunlight that crept across the floor at my feet. Because the poem seemed to be describing her better than I ever could. Her eyes were shimmering and her voice was quavery and she leaned forward as though leaning into the book, leaning into the words, sharing them with me like a very good secret. 

We spent the afternoon in her sun porch, talking about books and music and summer and fall and people and life, but it was filtered through Mary Oliver and tea and sunlight. I left with those three lines running through my mind and feeling so happy to have friends who continually remind me to be unabashedly spellbound and emotional and excited about life, who suck me into their enchantment and out of the everyday.

Like the bride in the poem and like Theresa.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I don't like Katy Perry, but I think I heard her song Dark Horse in the mall or something yesterday. I had it in my head all day. And last night, I dreamt that I made this meme thing about it. So this morning, while eating breakfast and listening to U2's new album (which I actually quite liked, and which features Lykke Li, of all people, on a track) I made the dream meme in real life.

And what are internet memes for if not for sharing on the internet? Here:

So, I don't know, a glimpse into my psyche.

While I had the Photoshop up and running, I pasted Barclay's face into an old staff picture of the company he's working for now (he switched jobs around the same time Van was born) and sent it to his boss. It's their cover picture on Facebook now, so I guess I'm really good at Photoshop. You can hire me, if you want.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

{more so}

It's raining, and Sullivan is sleeping. I should be sleeping too, since I haven't slept for more than an hour in a row at all this week, day or night. But it's raining, and Sullivan is sleeping. It's probably a bad decision--I am the queen of those--but I just want to sit here by this open window and enjoy this weather and this music and even this weird brain fog. It all fits together so nicely, it would be a shame to waste it.

Yesterday, I saw a yellow leaf, and all at once it felt like summer was over, even though it's technically not yet. I smiled to myself. Last time this year was when I actually started feeling--and looking--pregnant. I'd spent the summer feeling sick and not telling anyone why. Moving to a new house and making plans. Mostly feeling nervous and silly because my pregnancy felt like a joke I was playing on myself. There was no evidence that a baby would ever sleep in the room I'd picked to be his nursery or wear the tiny sailboat cardigan I'd found.

And then suddenly, there were yellow leaves on the ground and tiny little baby kicks like Pop Rocks in my belly and everything felt crazy real. I was excited and terrified and so, so thankful.

I'm still feeling all of those things a year later. Just more so.

I hate winter, but I love fall. I'm ready for more days like this, sitting in a fog by the window listening to music and thinking about the past and the present and the future and sometimes nothing at all. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

{a retail fable}

They were brown. Close-toed. Extremely comfortable. 70% off.

I tried them on and they were my size. Magic.

I took them to the cash register. I was in a hurry, but the line was short. There were three people in front of me and they all appeared to be together--a young couple and a man holding a bag of chips. The man was complaining about his wife, who'd just spent three hundred dollars he didn't have on a purse she didn't need.

They moved to the next available till and then it was my turn.

The woman working there was about my age. She had long black hair piled up on top of her head like a birthday cake. Her nails were the kind that curved over her fingertips, long and shiny and deadly-looking, and clacked against the register keys and the countertops and her front teeth. She drummed them on everything and they flashed and glinted in the light like dainty little knives. She smiled vacantly past me as I pushed my shoes up onto the counter.

She scanned the barcode and raised her eyebrows at the glowing numbers on the computer screen.

"Twenty-two ninety-nine."

More magic. I had a twenty and three ones in my pocket. I slid the bills across the counter, making the standard Canadian-in-the-States joke about how "all your money looks the same to me!" She didn't laugh, and I didn't mind. It's not a funny joke.

She turned and started pecking away at the keys with her talons.

She paused. Her brows crept further into her hairline as she squinted at the screen.

A minute passed. I examined the shoes. I checked the time. I didn't have much, but I should be okay. The girl with the cake hair popped her head over the divider between her register and the next one. "Jennifer, get over here."

Their backs were to me and they were talking in whispers. A few more minutes passed.

Jennifer's voice over the intercom: "Manager to till 2, please, manager to till 2?"

Three of them now, huddled together like football players. The first girl turned to look at me for the first time since I arrived at her station.

"Sorry, I just don't want to give you the wrong change--wait, are you good at math?"

A penny. A penny. One cent. Twenty-three, subtract twenty-two ninety-nine, one cent. My mouth gaped open. Out loud I said, "Uh, well no but...I don't need change..."

In Canada, pennies don't exist anymore.

The manager said, "One cent!"

Cake Hair's hand flew to her mouth. "No way! Yes! Oh funny! I guess I got thrown off because of the decimals! I always have the hardest time with decimals..."

She gave me my penny and my shoes and that was that, I guess.

The moral of the story is make sure you go to all your math classes. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

{in which I am a mess}

I went for a walk with Robyn on Thursday.

No, wait.

Even as I typed that, I realized that I don't know what day it is. I went for a walk with Robyn two days ago. But if two days ago was Thursday, then today is Saturday, and why, then, is Barclay at work?

I checked. Today is Thursday. Two days ago, it was Tuesday.

Not that it matters even remotely. But let's try it again.

I went for a walk with Robyn on Tuesday. It was sunny and warm out, but I wore a blue striped sweater over my grey tank top just in case. She was five minutes early, because she is and always has been that kind of person, as far as I can tell. I was running late because I'm the same kind of person, only the exact opposite.

I blew out the front door like a whirlwind, Sullivan in one arm, his shoes tucked under my other one. I said, "Hello!" I said, "Let's go!" But then I paused. I felt like I was forgetting something.

I was. I was forgetting my house keys, a hat for Van, my phone, the diaper bag, and my shoes.

Yes, I was barefoot. And Robyn was five minutes early. And Robyn was wearing shoes.

Lest you blame it on me having a baby, I have to admit here that Robyn also has a baby, and Robyn's baby is four months younger than Sullivan, and Robyn's baby was wearing shoes too. There is no excuse, I just need to get my act together.

So the next day, yesterday, Wednesday, not that it matters, I went for a walk with Brittany. I was meeting her at the Marina, a short walk from my place. I was on time. I remembered my keys, and the diapers, and the hat, and shoes for both of us. I felt like Superwoman. I felt like Robyn.

I rounded the corner, about five blocks from my house, and I saw this:

It's a strange thing to go for a walk and see your clothes hanging from the trees. I looked around, almost expecting to see the rest of my outfit from the day before decorating the park. I was not Superwoman anymore. I was a crazy lady whose clothes were hanging from the trees. 

I tentatively stepped forward and retrieved my sweater from its branch hanger. A girl strode past, staring inquisitively. I smiled at her and put my sweater on. I couldn't remember even taking it off the day before. Had I just shrugged it off and left it on the ground? 


I am super bad at life.