Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm writing this by the harsh glow of the computer screen, staring hard at the keyboard to see letters through the gloom. It is 10:47am in my apartment and there is almost no light.

Why, you ask?

Because this week the sun is our enemy, coming as it does with heat that has shattered records all over BC, dryness that has sparked innumerable fires and forced us to flee inside from its burning rage. So there are blankets over the windows of our west-facing apartment, fans going full-tilt, fish floating sadly in a too-hot tank. I know how they feel.

When I got home from my tour (more on that later), J had put tinfoil in the windows to keep out the heat. My suburban middle-class what-will-the-neighbours-think hackles rose immediately. "I'm sorry, but I don't think I can live in a place with tinfoil on the windows," I whined. "It looks so awful." After a few more pleas, he sulkily removed it, and the heavy blankets went up instead.

We moved our social life into the bathroom last night: pool-less as we are, our tub was a decent substitute. A few candles 'round the sink, Latino music on the radio, a pitcher of Mojitos resting on the toilet... and the two of us- neither one a small person by any means- crammed naked in a cold-water bath together. Not a pretty picture but hey, needs must when it's thirty frickin' degrees outside!!! It's either that, or wear this stylish tinfoil hat to keep out the rays...
On a related note, the latest Redboot tour was short and sweet and really fun, although we had to cram a whole load of driving (15+ hours) into one day to get up north to our festival. A/C blasting, CBC on the radio, our bass player reading great chunks of a novel aloud to us to pass the time. Set a new record for the furthest north in BC I've ever travelled- Kispiox, we love you! And since it seems to be the day to post weird pictures of me, here's another one:

Lastly, I want to write about something that has haunted me every day for the past week, although it doesn't fit with the goofy tone of the rest of this entry. Last Thursday, some wonderful members of our theatre community lost their children in a horrific accident. Although J & I know them, have worked with them in the past, we don't know them very well and this is not my tragedy, so I'm not going to write much about it here. I will only say that the news hit me like a punch to the gut, and if it hit me like that, I can only imagine how their friends and family must feel. How they themselves feel, I don't even want to imagine. To witness the web of love and support for these people that has sprung up across the country has been amazing, and I can only add my prayers for strength and recovery to the hundreds of others.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On The Shore.

Being back on the North Shore is a trip, and I don't just mean that in the it-takes-one-hour-to-get-here sense, although that certainly applies too.

I mean it in the sense that I can walk up the hill from the house we're house-sitting, and stumble across the home of an old classmate of mine, a kid who once bought me my first bouquet of roses when I was in grade nine. His dad was-and still is- a taxidermist, and he was obviously a man who loved to take his work home. The lamps were made of, well, legs. There was a stuffed bear looming in a dark corner, and beavers and deer frolicked stiffly in various poses. It was the stuff of nightmares; no wonder that relationship never went anywhere, although I remember the roses fondly.

Around the corner from where we're staying is the house belonging to the father of my best high school friend. She married in Ireland, and had a second wedding at her dad's place. Now we've fallen out of touch, and walking past his place makes me feel nostalgic and sad. She has two kids now, and a stepson who must be a teenager. The last time we spoke, she sounded more Irish than Canadian.

Another short walk downhill is the house where my dad lived for a short time, with the woman he rebounded swiftly into a relationship with after my mom left. (sorry, that's bad grammar, but oh well) They had a giant dog, a Great Pyrenese, who had hip displasia because of her giant size. Dad and Misha would hobble down to William Griffin Park because, as Dad said, "We like to watch the skateboarders."

Bits of memories swirl around my neighbourhood like leaves; I reach out, and catch a memory in my hand with every walk I take.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Scotland, Old Stomping Ground: a photo essay

New Scotland is what Nova Scotia actually means, and Old Stomping Ground is what this was to J, who grew up in Cape Breton, though he wasn't actually born there (he doesn't really like people to know that he was born in... Regina! Sorry Babe, the secret's out...). It was my first time in Nova Scotia, and my 2nd time in the maritimes (I was in Newfoundland when I was nine).

We went there for the wedding of one of Js high school friends. Of course, everyone moves away from Nova Scotia once they hit about 20; they have to go to school, and find jobs, and you can't get jobs in NS, not many anyway. But J's friends have formed this loose but totally strong web that spans time and distance and very diverse lifestyles. They may only communicate via Facebook and the odd phone call most of the time, but when the chips are down, they're totally there for each other. In this case, that meant flying in from BC, and Calgary, and Ottawa to be at the wedding. I envy them this connectedness. Oh, and they may have lived Away for over half their lives, but never, ever doubt that they are Nova Scotians to the core.

So for J, it was a journey down Memory Lane, complete with drives past his old house, highschool, and oddly named fast food joints:

But for me it was a journey of discoveries and new things: Halifax (which I adored) and its British military heritage:

Fortress Louisbourg with its French military history

Travesties:and delights:

nautical sites,

harbour lights,
sailing on the Bras D'or Lakes
small towns:
and big cities, spooky after dark.
J reconnected with old friends and high-school sweethearts (no, that wasn't weird and she was totally nice)...

...but we had time alone together, too...All in all, it was the perfect vacation.

(except for the part where we were flying back home and hit some heavy turbulence and the plane hopped around in the sky like a giant metal frog for an hour and I am so motion-sensitive that I still felt as if I was in that bouncing plane hours later as I was sitting at the computer and I was terrified. The end.)