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Pickle Me This

June 17, 2020

The Last Goldfish and In the Shade

“Good reviews…prompt me to borrow a recently-published book on grief from the library. I read the acknowledgements, glance at the author’s photo, and skim the table of contents. Partner, child, parent. Not a word about friends, which causes me to toss it onto the pile of books on my night table.” —Marg Heidebrecht, In the Shade

Thankfully, there is no reason related to my own life for me to pick up two books on friendship and grief, except that they’ve both come out this spring, and also friendship has been on my mind of late. Back in March, it was telephone calls to my closest friends that brought me solace in moments of stress, and my two best friends from high school in particular, friendships whose foundations were born on the telephone, long and pointless conversation, spiral cords wrapped around our fingers, until our parents would finally get on the line, and yell at us to get off.

It’s these connections that Anita Lahey conjures in her new memoir, The Last Goldfish, a monument to friendship and to her friend Louisa who died of cancer when they were 22. A friendship that begin in Grade 9 French class, and persisted through high school in the early 1990s, one’s teen years enriched with so much possibility because of friends, the doors they open for us. For Lahey, Louisa was it, a sparkly personality, with divorced parents who didn’t go to church. But soon their families were each other’s, and they would both go off to university together in Toronto, living together in a co-op dorm at Ryerson, studying journalism. Dealing with other roommates, boyfriends, school and family drama, and also Louisa’s health problems, which would stay in the background for many years, numerous lumps removed from different parts of her body from childhood. Until finally she is diagnosed with cancer, and Lahey continues to be part of her friend’s life, keeping her company during hospital stays and treatments, the hospitals just a stone’s throw away from where they lived and worked, and life goes on. Louisa works at the Eaton’s Centre, Anita at a bookshop across the street, and she gorgeously captures the spirit of the time, of youth and possibility, of life in the city.

When Louisa’s condition worsens, she decides to leave school, and ultimately moves to Vancouver to live with her boyfriend, and Lahey consoles herself that it’s like practice, that she’ll be losing her friend before she actually loses her. Lahey herself on the cusp of her whole life, as her friend is on the verge of losing hers, and she explores this strange conjunction 25 years later, how impossible it was to understand it then or even now.

The connection is different in Marg Heidebrecht’s collection of essays, In the Shade: Friendship, Loss and the Bruce Trail. Heidebrecht and Pam have known each other for years, part of the same community, circles of children. But now the children are grown, and the women are contemplating new horizons. Pam, upon retirement, declares her intention to hike the Bruce Trail, 885 kilometres stretching across southern Ontario, and Heidebrecht decides to join her, the two friends venturing out together and reaching their goal in pieces, over the course of four years. Shortly after their accomplishment, Pam is diagnosed with cancer, and Heidebrecht’s book is a memorial to their friendship, to the power and fortitude of women at midlife, and to the wonders of nature and rewards of walking and hiking. The essays are rich and funny, language sparkling, and the storytelling marvelous, packed with practical advice (stow your water bottles in each other’s backpack side-pockets=GENIUS), amusing anecdotes, and tales of the mistakes and misadventures essential to any journey being memorable.

I loved both these books, which are books about grief, but which are uplifting for the way they capture what is lost, just why the weight of grief is so enormous. Celebrations of women’s friendship, both of them, the kinds of stories that aren’t enough told.

June 11, 2019

We Need Each Other

This week in a blog post, Carrie Snyder made a note about her discomfort in receiving, and if her post had been a page in a book, I would have underlined the entire passage and made an annotation in the margin: YES!! But it’s strange for me, because I’m never expecting to feel this way. My instinct is to feel absolutely entitled to everything…until it arrives and then I want to sit under the table and hide. So that the two choices the end up available to me are between not getting what I want and being dissatisfied (and angry and resentful), or getting what I want and feeling tremendously uncomfortable. (“The one great thing about having your book rejected is that at least you don’t have to go through the agony of publishing a book,” is a thing that I’ve said lately.)

Launching Briny Books last week was a million times less stressful than launching a book—and I have so enjoyed learning more about marketing and the opportunity to market something that is less connected to me personally. (I am ridiculously sensitive, although I am working on it always, but the most 2019 emo thing about me is that every time someone unsubscribes from my newsletter, my feelings are hurt.) It’s been fun and exciting and I’ve been so pleased that others seems to find the idea (which is a pretty simple one) as compelling as I do. Getting comments on Facebook (and sales too!) from people who I don’t know and/or who are unconnected with my mom seems significant. My mom commands a vast and powerful social network, to which I have to thank for a sold-out book launch awhile back, but moving beyond the plane of her influence seems next-level to me.

But moving beyond would not be possible if not for my mom, and my friends, whose support of the project was overwhelming and amazing, even if it did make me want to hide under the table. The support of my husband too, who has devoted more labour than anyone else to the project, with web design and photography. To me, this entire experience has underlined the power and possibilities of collaboration and community. I am so grateful to everyone I know and love who purchased books and helped spread the work in their own networks. I continue to be overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of people I’ve never met except on Instagram or through my blog, people in whose lives and experiences I’ve found myself become so invested, and who are incredible champions of the stuff I get up to. To my friends, who never show it if they’re tired of showing up for me, and all week I kept thinking, “What did I ever do to deserve all this goodness?” That there are people out there like you.

My favourite thing about Briny Books is that partnership is at the heart of it, though that’s primarily because it’s always my objective to make things as simple as possible. Sure, it’s great to support to independent bookstores in principle, but in practice too, there’s a lot going for the idea. They know how to sell books for one, as in bring in copies from the distributor and then ring the order through the till. Possibly my greatest strength as an entrepreneur is an openness to outsourcing—which comes of my greatest weakness as an entrepreneur, which is having no money. But what a thing, to put our strengths and passions together. I know that having Blue Heron as a partner in Briny Books has done good things for our reputation—and I know too that Blue Heron’s willingness to pursue a project like Briny Books is how they got their reputation in the first place, for ever pursuing fresh and creative ways to connect books with readers. And bringing books to readers is a kind of partnership too. In a community of readers, books connect us all.

Maybe what I’m trying to get at here is how surprised I am at the revelation that my reliance upon other people is actually a kind of strength, instead of its opposite.

(Even though once upon a time, I thought this reliance was something I must necessarily defy, possibly because I spent my formative years reading too many books by men, and that was when I was 23 and ran away to Europe with a backpack in order to discover myself—but the only thing I would discover was abject loneliness and a propensity for crying in phone booths.)

But perhaps reframing receiving in these terms—of strength and community—is what’s necessary to help me work through the discomfort of receiving. What if it’s receiving care and support from others that makes us our truest selves? As Briellen Hopper writes in her essay, “Lean On,” “I experience myself as someone formed and sustained by others’ love and patience, by student loans and stipends, by the kindness of strangers.”

My friend Ann Douglas has been writing a lot about community lately and inspiring so much of my own thinking, and I appreciate what she said in this piece about thinking of community as a resource instead of a burden. “The more you turn to other people for support, the more you give them the opportunity to support you, which feels really good to the other person,” she explains. Which is true: I remember one day a few months back, Ann reached out to me for something, and I felt so buoyed by being called upon, by having something to offer.

Similarly, I have a very generous and kind neighbour who is forever bringing us gifts and doing us favours, and the best email I ever received from him was the day he needed to use my printer. When you get to help out your neighbour, you’re also contributing to making a world in which people help their neighbours happen. Bad news though: he did use our printer, but has since approached me with a problem that he’s having, which is that he has too much beer, but wasn’t sure if we liked beer, so he’d felt uncomfortable bringing bottles over.

I am beginning to accept that I will never outdo this person when it comes to kindness and generosity…

But maybe it was never a contest anyway?

January 2, 2019

Happy New Year

No one got sick on our holiday—no pneumonia, or strep throat, and even the colds were fairly unspectacular. No one threw up on Christmas Eve, which is the first time ever that such a miracle has transpired in recent memory, and could be down to the fact that we ate bread and chicken noodle soup for dinner that night, because it had occurred to me that there could possibly be a correlation between the rich foods we eat every December 24 and the inevitable puking, although it’s embarrassing that it took me so many years to figure this out. With bread and broth, however, all the stomachs were settled, and it all has been a very low-key, relaxing, restorative and pleasant holiday.

Mostly, I just read books, so many books, barrelling through titles on my To-Be-Read shelf, and also getting rid of other books that have been sitting there for years and that I’m never ever going to reading. True confession: the piles of books I had before me* have been overwhelming for quite some time, and reading should never feel that way. *These aren’t necessarily the books I’m sent by publishers, because I’m less responsible for these. Instead the ones that I’ve been picked up on my travels, and have not made enough time for. So I skipped the used book sales this fall, and made a point of reading the books I had this holiday, and now I feel much less likely to die in a book avalanche, which is an excellent way to start off the new year.

The downside to this, however, is that now I’m going to around telling everyone about this amazing novel called Beloved, by Toni Morrison, which only came out and won the Pulitzer Prize 30 years ago, so I’m really on the cutting edge, right? So hip and current. But oh my gosh, the book is extraordinary, and I can see how it ties right into the contemporary Black women writers whose work I’ve been loving these last few years. Another buzz worthy pick was The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton, which is not quite a new release, instead 97 years old, but I did get the spectacularly designed new edition from Gladstone Press, and it was gorgeous, and such a pleasure to read.

I also really loved Barbara Kingsolver’s Unsheltered, which I asked for for Christmas after reading this profile in The Guardian in October. It starts off kind of clumsily and didactic, more about ideas than being a novel proper, but the ideas were so interesting that I didn’t mind, and I also loved how well the two different storylines worked, that I was interested in both of them. And then partway through the book, the narrative grew legs, and I’ve been thinking about it steadily ever since I finished reading.

But I wasn’t only reading. And how can a person read this many books and not only be reading, you might ask? The answer being: I turned off my wifi for a week for my biannual holiday from the internet. It was glorious. I don’t have data on my phone anyway, so no wifi rendered me entirely internetless, and while I love the internet, since I’ve returned to it it’s only occurred to me that Twitter is wholly joyless, Facebook is pointless, and I like Instagram a lot still, but want to make our relationship more casual. And I want to focus on my blog instead, an online space that as ever is in transition. I’m going to be writing more about this in the coming weeks, about what blogs might be turning into. I’m not sure, but I think that for me, mine might be my online salvation. Stay tuned.

While I wasn’t reading, I was ice skating, checking out museums and galleries, playing card games—we got Rhino Hero for Christmas, and I love it with all my heart. I was knitting and delighting in Fargo Season 3 and watching Mary Poppins Comes Back,  and going to for walks down residential streets and through ravines, and making turkey leftovers into all kinds of different things, and seeing friends, and even cousins (which I don’t have enough exposure to and which have always been my favourite part of Christmas), and also reading. Every day when I woke up, the first thing I did was turn on my bedside lamp and pick up my book, which is my very favourite way to start the day, and sometimes people even brought me tea.

And now it’s a new year, and my house is really tidy, after a marathon clear-out on Sunday (including a thorough pruning of my shelves to make space for the books I read on the holidays). I also have a new coat that doesn’t make me look like a hobo, and bought new bras, which was an errand that was three years overdue. Plus, I am currently in the midst of my ideal state of being, ie I am awaiting the arrival of a teapot in the post. What that I could be suspended in this reality forever, but when it ceases I will have the consolation of a teapot at least.

October 20, 2016

How to Get Over Literary Envy

so-much-loveMy friend Rebecca Rosenblum’s forthcoming novel, So Much Love, is publishing on the same day as mine is, March 14, 2017. This coincidence is as delightful to me as it is amazing (or even miraculous). Rebecca and I went to graduate school together more than ten years ago, and when I’d read Ann Patchett’s memoir Truth and Beauty later, about friends Ann and Lucy in their post-MFA years when they were “writing to save their lives,” I’d think of Rebecca, who is the most important thing I picked up at school. About the friendships that can form among writers in a  workshop, the intimacy of the experience, for better or for worse.

When our program ended, Rebecca and I started meeting weekly and writing together for a few hours after work at coffee shops and food courts, and this lasted about two years. We danced at her wedding. She brought baked goods over when my children were born. We’ve had brunches and dinners and fun dissecting literary feuds. We’ve attended readings and taken road trips to festivals, and we’ve celebrated the books we loved and moaned about books we hated. And it seems entirely perfect that are books are coming out on the same day because we’ve been going down the same road for so long. Except we haven’t been. And that this never really seemed like the case is a credit to the goodness of Rebecca.

I still have such a vivid memory of buying The Journey Prize Stories 19 in 2007 at the old Book City at Yonge and Charles. I was on my way to meet Rebecca for our weekly writing date, and it was so thrilling to consider that my friend was in a book. This book. I had her sign my copy. (A bird shat on my arm that day, which I dared to believe might be a sign that I could be in a book too.)  A year later, I was there when she set eyes on her very own book for the very first time, the story story collection, Once, which was an award-winner from birth—we were at the Eden Mills Festival. A few years later, I’d get to interview Rebecca at the launch of her second collection, The Big Dream. And somewhere in between then and now I got the chance to read the manuscript that would eventually evolve into Rebecca’s debut novel, So Much Love. (Full disclosure: I loved it.)

You’d imagine it might be hard, watching your friend publish one book and then another, while your own manuscript went into a drawer forever. At a certain time in my life (before I got on such familiar terms with failure), I would have thought so. I remembering reading somewhere (where?) that Carol Shields had declared she did not suffer from literary envy, and thinking about what I would give to get myself to a place where I could say the same. And it turned out that I did not have to give anything at all. I just had to be friends with Rebecca.

How to Get Over Literary Envy.

  1. Surround yourself with good people. Good people are generous in their success and make you feel like you can own a bit of it.
  2. Have a surefire thing. When no one wanted to publish anything I wrote, I still had a blog. It was a thing that was mine that nothing could take away from me. It helped me grow and learn as a writer, gave me an outlet and a platform, and made me feel fulfilled as a creative person.
  3. Keep on doing what you’re doing, but…
  4. Grow. Change. Learn. The best antidote to Imposter Syndrome is to get better at doing what you do.
  5. Paradoxically, success always turns out to be smaller when it happens (and when your friends are successful, you learn this), and yet there is probably still enough to go around.
  6. Take advantage of the fact that everyone around you is smarter and more successful that you are…by taking notes, listening carefully to their feedback, counting your blessings you have access to these founts of wisdom.
  7. Don’t take yourself seriously. Take your work seriously, but not all the time.
  8. Make sure you’re doing what you like, so that even if nobody else likes it, you’re having a good time.
  9. Cultivate friendships instead of connections.
  10. Do your best to fulfil yourself in all the ways you actually have control over. Writing is only a part of life. A side-effect of it, even.

I am so grateful to Rebecca for her friendship over the last ten years, and can’t wait for the world to discover So Much Love. You can preorder it now! 

July 3, 2016

Summer Starts


There is no better way to travel then on trains, where the leg room is ample and there is so much time to read. When we booked this weekend away, the train journey itself was the destination, but we had to arrive somewhere, so we chose Ottawa, where we have best cousin-friends and even other friends, and cousin-friends who were kind enough to offer us a place to stay. And it was Canada Day Weekend, so what better place to be…even if the place we mean to be specifically on Canada Day is our cousin’s beautiful backyard across the river in Gatineau. And it really was amazing.


As we’d hoped, the train journey was a pleasure. I had more time to read than I’ve had in weeks. I finished Rich and Pretty, by Rumaan Alam, which I liked so much and will be writing about, and started Signal to Noise, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, which was lovely and so much fun. They also had my favourite kind of tea on sale (Sloane Tea’s Heavenly Cream) and so all was right with the world.


It was such a nice weekend—the children had children to play with and I got to spend time with some of my favourite people. We had an excellent time with our cousins, and met up with my dear friends Rebecca who took us to the Museum of  Nature, and last night I got to visit with my 49thShelf comrades who I’ve been working so happily with for years but have only ever hung out with a handful of times. Apart from one traumatic episode of carsickness (not mine) and the night the children took turns waking up every twenty minutes, it was a perfect long long weekend. I also learned that it is possible to eat my limit in cheetos and potato chips, which I had never suspected. Also that it is probably inadvisable to start drinking before noon.


We came home today, another good trip, this time with me reading Nathan Whitlock’s Congratulations on Everything, which I am really enjoying, I also started reading the graphic novel of A Wrinkle in Time with Harriet, which we will continue this week. And we arrived home to find that our marigolds have finally bloomed, third generation. We planted them a couple of months back in our community planter, and have been waiting for the flowers to emerge. (Sadly, our lupines didn’t make it.) Summer is finally here proper, what with school out, and even 49thShelf’s Fall Fiction Preview being up (which is my main project for June), and my work days shift with the children being home. I’ve also decided to write a draft of a novel this summer, which is only going to make a tricky situation trickier, but who doesn’t like tricks? We shall see. We will do our best. And there will also be ice cream and holidays and barbecues and sand between our toes, and splash pads and ferry rides and picnics and pools and flowers. It will all go by so fast.


June 6, 2016

The people we used to be

IMG_20160601_084118I was crossing the street in April when I heard somebody calling my name. I turned around to see a familiar face, a friendly one, but I couldn’t quite place it. My first instinct was that this was my best friend from grade 7, but as we spoke I realized it wasn’t her after all. This woman had a different job, a different narrative, it emerged. But I’d greeted her with such familiarity, that she had no idea I was confused. We kept on talking, and then finally I realized that it was my friend’s younger sister, who I hadn’t seen or spoken to in about twenty years, though our parents in our hometown kept tabs on our whereabouts. I knew a bit about what she’d been up to and we reconnected for a few minutes, and she informed me that her sister, my friend, was about to have her first baby, had gotten married, had found herself in a pretty nice place in her life.

So naturally I went home and googled my friend and her husband’s name, and I found them on Instagram. And since then it has been really nice to get a glimpse into her life and to provide her a glimpse into mine, because while we drifted apart when we went to different high schools, throughout grades seven and eight, she meant a whole lot to me. Our friendship was hugely formative. We were two weird and awkward adolescent girls, but we were weird and awkward in such complementary ways—both of us had our eyes on bigger prizes in life, though we didn’t know what they were yet. Both of us were utterly unimpressed with popular culture at the time (and for good reason—this was 1991) and obsessed with nostalgia. We used to listen to “American Pie” over and over again, and feel like something essential was forever lost to us. I was crazy about the Beatles and wanted to be a hippie, someone bohemian, and my friend had a bit of that bent herself—her parents weren’t into materialism, and I recall that she didn’t have cable or perhaps a TV, which was as radical as it got in the circles I travelled. What I don’t think we ever articulated but were forever circling around was longing, for the kinds of lives we’d heard about in songs our parents sang. I didn’t want to live a conventional life, but I was so conventional, I didn’t even know how to go about articulating that.

And I can’t help but think how useful the internet would have been to a couple of funny girls like us. Yes, the internet and adolescent girls is a disaster, but not entirely. I recall how lonely it was to be a weirdo in 1991, to love old music and want to wear flowers in our hair. Yes, grunge was starting to happen, but we were sheltered, and we were never wild enough to do teenage rebellion proper. We weren’t grungy. There wasn’t any kind of culture out there that we knew about, that we could tap into, so we made our own instead, in the songs whose lyrics we memorized and analyzed, and the objects we revered, and all  the things we talked about, the questions we tried to answer in circles. I recall we kept a notebook in which we wrote each other back and forth, and I remember lists like, “Things I want to be,” “Things I want to do.” I remember the goodness of a friend like that who made those things seem possible.

I sent my friend a message on Instagram this morning. I wrote to her, “Do you remember that 23 years ago today we went to see Paul McCartney play at Exhibition Stadium?” My dad took us. It was magical. I think the weather was terrible all day long, and then it wasn’t just in time, and then a guy offered us a free rickshaw ride. And then there was an actual Beatle on the stage, Paul McCartney promoting his album, “Off the Ground.” I have never felt so small in my life as I felt in that crowd, one of so many fans in the stadium, and Paul McCartney couldn’t see me—it was first time that it had occurred to me that he had no idea who I was. But I could see him, and it felt like I was engaging in something real for the first time in my life, a religious experience of a sort. I was part of something bigger than myself, and gave me an inkling that there could be a place in the world for a girl like me after all.

I didn’t get a reply from my friend. Not long after, a photo popped up on her husband’s instagram feed—their baby had arrived. On June 6, I marvelled to myself. How auspicious. It probably hasn’t occurred to her, but it means something to me, and  how wonderful anyway, to paraphrase Joan Didion, to check back in once in a while with the people we used to be.

March 15, 2016

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends


My friends at Plenty are talking about friendship throughout March, and I was pleased to contribute an essay I wrote about my nearly 25-year-old relationship with my best friends, Britt and Jennie (pictured above in Grade 10 French class, I think). I wrote about how with friendships that old, you eventually have a million things to apologize for, and also about how the Spice Girls taught us how a person should be, how our boyfriends were quite disposable, and how (in a numerical feat as remarkable as “2 Become 1”) 3 becomes 12.

Read the whole thing here.

December 8, 2015

On Needing and Feeding


My friend Melanie, who has just been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, wrote the most terrific blog post last week on how women are so reluctant to ask for help when they need it and how particularly strange that is seeing as how we tend to be very good at responding to others’ needs when required. How particularly strange too because the help is there; people want to give it. We’ve just got to open ourselves to receiving it, which can be tricky because it involves admitting our limits, crossing personal boundaries; letting other people into our personal spaces; and other possible transgressions. It involves needing, which has so many negative connotations in our society that so prizes self-sufficiency, independence, and so much reserve. A society that finds it simpler, tidier, to imagine that “social network” is a theoretical thing that lives online. And yet.

Inspired by Melanie’s post, and by the fact that we were two weeks into an illness that was not abating and running my husband ragged with caring for me, the children, our household and everything, I put the call out. “Is there anything I can do,” people asked, to which I responded, “Bring us food.” Already, we were pretty supported. My mom had been coming into the city every other day to take care of Harriet and Iris, and so that Stuart could actually, you know, go to work. And she’d been bringing food. But then on Wednesday, our friend Denise brought over turkey pot pie. Our friend Andrew brought over vegetable stew and rice that I ate for lunch the next day. Rebecca came on Friday with a batch of cookies. Athena dropped off a batch of broth. Our next-door neighbours delivered soup. My friend Lexi brought over more soup, and a loaf of challah bread. Erin came on Sunday to play with the children and give Stuart a break, and she brought so much soup. Our downstairs neighbours delivered latkes. My dad and his partner dropped in yesterday while I was sleeping, with more food and also the most delicious cookies. I got home last night to find a container of chickpeas on the step, from our friend and neighbour, Kripa. There are rumours my aunt is dropping off a casserole. And just now, my dear friend Julia let herself into my kitchen to drop off an actual chicken. So I know what we’re having for dinner tonight. All week, we’ve known what we’re having for dinner tonight. And I don’t know if I can convey what a difference that’s made for us.

The point is this: that people are terrifically good at taking care of each other. This very salient fact gets lost in a world that fills our news feeds with violence and despair. It especially gets lost too because we’re so reluctant to ask for that care, to admit that we need it. That human connections are not just theoretical, but actual, and we’d be very lost without them. That these families we build too are fragile things, and everybody needs a hand sometime to keep the machine in motion. That nobody is alone. That nobody should be.

Families facing what Melanie and her family are dealing with need this kind of help in the long term—before I got sick, it never occurred to me how much this was true, how debilitating it can be to have a parent who is ill. And how important it is that people like us to keep on bringing the soup so that mothers like Melanie can face the vital business of being well and loving her children ferociously. That we help too by giving money to support metastatic breast cancer research so Melanie ends up eating so much soup for such a long time that she eventually gets tired of it and asks for the menu to be changed.

September 7, 2015

Cake and Back to School


Back to school tomorrow! Which means that we spent much of today at the CNE, which was excellent, and the prize-winning celery was as wonderful as I’d hoped for. (It’s basically the reason I go.) And we are so very hot, the weekend spent dripping with sweat and entertaining people in high humidity. Last night our best friends from kindergarten came for dinner, one of our now-regular togethers that involves too much wine and so much cake. Meeting these families was one of the best parts of last year, and I will miss them as our children move onto new classes and schools and our daily lives are no longer as connected. Although friendships can and do endure, as evidenced by tonight when my friends and former roommates Kate and Erin (and Kate’s husband Paul) came over last minute for pizza. The last-minute thing remarkable because Kate and Paul live in Vancouver, and we’ve not seen them in three years. But here they were tonight, with a cake even.  And what a cake? If my book ends up looking half as excellent as this one, I will be satisfied. (Apparently the image was inspired by my Mitzi Bytes pinterest board, because there is indeed such a thing.) I have the most terrific friends. Anyway, the convenient thing about all of this is that Harriet’s first day of school lunch is leftover pizza and cake, so her year is off to an excellent start. Wish us luck tomorrow as all the madness and fun begins!

July 19, 2015

Summer Days

IMG_20150719_174417Sunday night, we are sunburned, all of us (oops) and everything is gritty with sand. On the cusp of a new week, a summer going swimmingly, but much too fast. Last week Harriet began the first of two weeks of day-camp at the museum, just for the afternoons, and she’s having a great time. She comes home and tells us stories about Hatshepsut and how blacksmiths fashioned knights’ armour. We’re enjoying our mornings together, hanging out with friends and going to the library, but there has been no time to clean the house and it’s become a disaster. All the sand we brought home today isn’t helping. And our weeks are hung on a routine that includes the farmer’s market, soccer, hammock afternoons. Yesterday for the second Saturday in a row, we went to Christie Pits pool to cool off from the heat, and it was perfect, straight out of Swimming Swimming. Though it was still plenty hot when we went to bed, and got even hotter when we lost power at 1am, our trusty box fans silenced. Out the window the sky was so bright, and I decided there’d been some kind of disaster, or that this was going to be a blackout lasting days and in our attic bedroom it would only get hotter and hotter. Although lights in tall buildings on the horizon suggested otherwise, but my mind was taking me to crazy places. Only settling down when Harriet woke up at 3 concerned that she’d gone blind like Mary from Little House on the Prairie, because she couldn’t see anything. By this point, Iris had taken over my spot in bed so I went to sleep on the couch, awakened by Harriet and every electrical appliance in the house when the power came back on around 4. At approximately 4:46, the sunrise began, and I watched it from my living room window, and the night was declared an official disaster.

IMG_20150719_174815Though I roused myself for a trip to Centre Island today, a day with our friends that was so absolutely perfect. No line-ups at the ferry docks, happy children (who spent the day pretending two flat stones were smartphones via which they had fascinating conversations), splash pad fun, swimming at the beach, and lots of relaxing. Iris slept in the stroller en-route to Ward’s Island, and once we were there the thunderstorms threatened for days by the weather report finally arrived, but we were sheltered by a big old tree that mostly kept the rain off as we ate dinner and drank beer and began to feel exhaustion set in in the most terrific way. Followed by ice cream, of course, and the ferry at the dock’s so we caught it back to the mainland and that might be one of my favourite journeys in the world, how we’re always sated. How every island day always seems like the best one ever. But this one really really was.

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