Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pollution solution.

I don't have a solution actually. I was just being facetious. Flippant, even. But, I do recommend photographing it with your arms stuck out of the passenger side window and quietly giving thanks for beauty found in ugly, damaging things.

Polution 1; Steinbach, Manitoba, 2009.

Steinbach, Manitoba; 2009.

Low sun spot; Steinbach, Manitoba, 2009.

Tower control; Steinbach, Manitoba, 2009.

Monday, April 27, 2009

No. 30, again.

It is official, I no longer have a concept of weekdays. I woke this morning at eleven, which is obscene if one knows my usual habits at all, and listened to newly gifted music in my familiar chair naked as the day I was born. No wonder guests (ie. my close friends/company) never sit in that chair. Haha. Windows thrown wide open, headphones, bare feet, bare everything, gross face, dirty hair, hopeless sinuses and not a care in the world. Cardboard boxes lined up behind me like a fortress, and I reveled in my current status quo: free.

Unemployment is a dangerous thing for me. I like it too much. Today I packed the rest of my belongings, ate chips on the bare floor while my sister rifled through the last of my closet (finding nothing that appealed to her, as per usual) and then grabbed DG down from the now-empty high shelf and got the hell out of moving-house dodge. We flew through town, finding a stride, familiar saddle worn in well, track standing a bit longer than usual. I love the break of winter.

Alfie welcomed my aproned self and my new baby up on the fifth floor of the shop, and I could smell the wood all the way from the elevator. Ross had fresh birch on the table saw and I stood there watching him work and inhaling. Wood is good. The red cross was lit up against the wall and something familiar like Springsteen was blasting. Wood piled on every surface, glass, you name it, the walls were covered as usual--floor to ceiling. What a set up, what a life. Alfie steered me in the direction of the open studio windows on the other side of the shop, welcoming us to the metal fire escape. We sat in that familiar window just like we did countless times last summer and I watched as he launched into his story and his eyes lit up while he described (in detail) his latest and greatest. Those French Canadian women! They are so beautiful that the rest of us never even have a shot with anyone. Haha, actually I was quite thrilled to hear him and to watch his hands flying in front of his face as he spoke with a new Francophone lilt hiding just under the surface of his spanglish tongue. Barely noticeable, but cute all the same. Old Alfie, it was very sincere. Time was up and I left the shop just in time to grab coffee before heading to the Studio.

The pressure washer was still fubar, so I hunkered down at my spot at the light table (hello, old friend) and drew out everything that has been chilling in my head of late. Good day. I left, my hand cramped and unable to draw anything else and flew down Main (perfect paving to fly down if one is lucky enough to score straight greens). I scored straight greens and was back in my neighborhood in minutes. This new bike is totally insane in the streets. I have no choice but to keep up. Because the entirety of my kitchen has been transplanted to my parent's basement for the time being (thanks guys), I have no other option but eating out, all the time. Today, my usual Monday choice: medium rare beef pho. I think the woman at my neighborhood Vietnamese shop thinks I am homeless. I walked in wearing my printing apron and she clapped her hands together aggressively, making her bob swing one way and then the other, and yelled out "Hi girl! Number 30, extra basil?!?!" far louder than necessary as there was only one painful looking Skylar/Cody date taking place in the back corner. "Yes please".

Pathetic, but delicious. Tomorrow: pick up photos, eat fruit, say hi to Mahrie in the kitchen, studio, reading, bed. I could get used to this.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Orange was the night.

Do you remember that night when the city was orange and wet but dark? We were in Paris draped in oversized scarves and ratty t-shirts and that obnoxious orangey-red trench coat. Kitty slept through it, but both of us, restless, grabbed a one euro bottle of Bordeaux lying in a pile of cheese wrapper and apple core ruins on the high shelf. We grabbed it and slipped on shoes soundlessly and left the room and hopped the metro even though we were out of money. And we rode. And we rode. And we rode. I don't remember what we talked about on the ride from one side of Paris to the other, but I do remember walking up to street level, those slicked stairs, your dark eyes as big as pies, with a funny decisiveness. We both were pretending to be local, and yet we both knew our way around quite well considering how new we were to it all. And remember those wet patches on the marble? You reached down, down into your carryall as big as the universe itself (your whole life was in there) and you pulled out your hand victoriously bearing the wine opener. I ohhed and awed as you opened the wine with a certain flair that only comes from years working as a veteran server. Back and forth, back and forth with the Bordeaux, between our gloved hands. My hair was in a braid around my head, my favorite style, and your mittens were green wool. We finished that bottle over looking that giant piece of scrap metal which would light up now and then in true showman form. We finished and set down the empty bottle against the marble quay and turned arm in arm, to the direction we first arrived. I think we sat under a red awning, enjoying a single glass and a cigarette even though they make me sick, and we told each other that life would never get better.


That was a very important night of my life, then. Last night also marked the close of another Part, another page, another act. This evening, Creme and I wove through the city in search of the dark. Dark was the night. We never found it. But before all of that searching, we sat on his bed and I shot a roll with the heaviest camera I have ever held. This summer will be the rebirth of photography. Just while I thought Creme had dropped off the face of the earth, he runs headlong back into my life with an armload of Russian camera equipment. I shot a bunch of portraits of him and his Puch (over 70cc) in a disgusting garage that has the words MASTURBATION STATION spray painted over the entire back wall in a gawdy yellow. Creme makes growing into adulthood look good. When I got to his gross house holding a bag of styrofoam and shanghai noodles, Cat Power was blasting and he was perched on the coffee table playing Super Mario with a look of reverence on his face. A half empty bag of sunflower seeds on the floor and cats everywhere. Gross, but appropriate. Reviewing the room, I was grateful for the White and Wood philosophy that I have found in someone else. Still, Creme is very individulal and like no one else. We shot some film in the bathroom, and wound the Super 8 up just to feel that beautiful camera hum in our hands. We looked at each other, while looking at that camera and both of us weighed the potential summer at hand with twin hopefulness. This is the summer of film.

We got bored of the cameras and the garage, and agreed that an evening drive was in order. I kept thinking of Yosh. Where is he? The closest we came to finding complete dark was driving down Jubilee, which was cast unusually in complete darkness. All of the street lights were turned off. It was very surreal. We passed by one hundred different types of City machinery, getting ready for the Spring clean up. I mused what that must be like working in those cabs, dressed in heavy overalls, chain smoking something and blasting music through headphones while working through the night, alone. I thought of Scott, pushing an industrial rake on our neighborhood boulevards and listening to something beautiful and intelligent on his iPod while the rest of the city sleeps. Hi Scott, I hope you like your Spring crew this year. Do you have a friend named Jim-Jim or Spits? Where do those people come from?

Thinking of all of this, Creme wove back around, my body fighting the end of the drive because I hadn't been driving in so long and I missed it. I missed Nathan too, we used to drive and drive and drive until we found the dark. And in the dark, the stars. I remember being twenty and standing on the hood of his station wagon as blue as Lake Michigan and craning my neck in wonder. He would climb up and sit down, and weave together everything he knew about his favorite musicians until they were stories. Pink Floyd in the background even though I didn't like it, I knew it was important to respect. And I do. Spring is a very good season. I forgot how lovely it is.

I am going to go tree planting in a month and learn to be quiet again, to learn to breathe in and out, in and out and to sleep and eat in a way I never knew my body was capable of sleeping and eating. I will carry someone in thought while I do these basic things and then I will come home again. I read somewhere today, home is anywhere you hang your head and it struck me in such a surprising way. Especially this week, as I am grappling with the idea of home. What/where is home when the home is taken away? Home is simply something we carry inside of us from place to place, head hung or not.

You look good in blue, and I am very tired after searching for the dark with Creme.
Good night, now.

Forbidden Fruit.

Rebecca and I had quite the night out on the town last night, in my living room. In my unadorned and echoing living room. The echoes were soon forgotten and the empty walls even sooner as we cracked not one, but two million dollar bottles of birthday wine. There was no one else I would have rather shared them with. We drank, slowly, savoring each Kosher sip and ate Vietnamese--medium rare beef pho and shrimp salad rolls--and heavy Swiss chocolate in the middle. We consumed, together, as we were supposed to and laughed at how quickly these nice bottles trumped our usual hobo chic standbys. Gone are the days of Jean Bousquet, or that one with the bare trees on the label in the Chilean section. We had a taste of paradise last night.

After dining, we hauled our wining antics in the direction of the computer for the last photo shoot that this apartment will host. One for the books. Edie and Franciose: The Scandal Years, to the max and to the grave.

Here is a taste.

Thank you Tante Daryl and Uncle James for making us even poorer now that we have had a taste of luxury. I have a great family, for real. We cheersed and said "Prost" to you both after cracking each bottle. Here is to the scandal years, Rabbi. May our wine glasses as big as our faces chime well into our lives. On a beach with our beloveds in the background, in Paris when we are forty and large (well, I will be), in hospital rooms on the sly with newborns wrapped tight and to the right, on the eve of graduations, and on the nights of nuptial bliss so looked forward to. I will raise a glass and our knowing smiles will say enough.

To you, to you.
To us, to us.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Vanity, past and present.

Day two of packing commenced with the help of my kind mother. My morning began on the highest, sharpest note and following three breakfast/espresso stops alongside the man with the legs, (not to mention the partaking of the best croissants at Le Croissant since my time in gaie Paris with no other than Puke Marvin), I fell into bed with Maarten Van Severen. He with the exquisite taste in all things cutlery, the hearth, the home, tables, chairs and pet pigs for his baby son Flor. My kind of man.

I read, and then slept with the spine of Maarten in hand.

After a short nap and then a short packing frenzy (my mum in the kitchen up to her ears in utensils and Tivoli, me wading in the shadow of art supply death), she left and I moved back to the closet. Once there, I found my ghastly fuchsia sateen back up just-in-case grad dress a la 2004. Just in case of what? A backwards time lapse landing us all in the throes of 1981 and all of it's ruffle/satin/oversized bow/mermaid silhouette glory? God almighty. Upon the discovery, I screeched in half horror and half delight, stripped down immediately and threw that heinous body con dress up and over my head. By the grace of God alone it still fit perfectly. Maybe even better. I wore it for the better part of the afternoon, stomping around in my best heels (my neighbors hate me) through the maze of cardboard boxes now home to all of my books and shit, and laughing with delight every time I passed a mirror. Oh to be eighteen. I would rather not, thanks. Twenty three has been serving me well. Today's satin discovery was a hilarious reminder that I still have the chest of a twelve year old and an ass that is well on it's way.

There is a woman outside of my window with the most beautiful throaty laugh. Without rising, I can tell she is digging through her carryall while her counterpart waits patiently and I can't help myself but wonder what her grad dress looked like. In actuality, the dress I ended up choosing was quite lovely. Silk, ivory, chartreuse, drop waist, something I still wear, five years later. (Although for a few months I did enjoy torturing my poor mother by vowing to wear said five dollar dress in front of five hundred people). I best be off; my hair is insane and if I am to go back into view of the general public this evening, something desperately needs to be done.

Box count: 15. Shit.

Adios, I have an Exhibition to stalk.
Vain Jane, so much fabric.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mount Castoff.

Devendra and Jana Hunter are on, spinning recklessly and my home is upside down. The bathroom has been stripped of its library and of its art. Just the towels are left, flapping soundlessly in despair. I feel naked on behalf of those blank, staring walls. It has begun, I am leaving.

Turn that frown upside down.

I am obviously stalling the inevitable; packing up my life and taping eight hundred yet-to-be-packed boxes shut. I have conveniently avoided picking up packing tape and markers and boxes, so the process will be a slow moving train today. But, I am still a little under the weather so I do not feel guilty.

This morning I woke up from the dead of T3 slumber (I am my mother's daughter) and showered slowly, painstakingly slowly as to not wear/wash off the glorious effects of unprescribed medication. A Montreal letter from JJ arrived (via the internet) while I was slow motion bathing and it turned out to be exactly what I needed. While I wish she was here to sit dead center in the wake of my home upheaval, she is there and I am here and I will have to imagine her as the yay or naysayer that I am desperately in need of. No batwing to covet in this closet. Only fur and silk and oversized men's dress shirts with french cuffs. Yay to all of the above.

As I wrote back to JJ, today is the first day of the rest of my life. If you are wise dear readers, you will follow your feet to Ben/Colin/Pete's giant clothing swap studio party that is taking place on Friday night. I will be found on top of said pile, having trimmed the fat of my closet (Loco style) today, and casting the evidence of said Closet Exorcism onto the growing mountain of Unwanteds. Gone are the days of fringe and high waisted skirts. Good bye boots, good bye bags, good bye denim jumpsuit. Actually, on second thought I am going to keep the jumpsuit. I love that thing.

But first, before I climb Mount Castoff, an outing with the man with the legs at an exhibition for minds who see life in lines and not en rose. (Pardon me, I am heavily medicated).

Old phase of life, adieu.
New phase of life, hello.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Turning Chinese.

My cousin James, is turning Chinese. See? I miss you man, a lot. While Drex and I printed across from each other at the Street today, I let slip a small, "I miss James". Water is still rising, so is my missing. I am glad you dominated in S.K.A.T.E. Obviously you would, you are a giant, wooden plank of a man with noodle legs and a heart of gold.

Come home alive and preferably soon. No car wrecks, aneurisms, broken limbs or denge fever allowed. Only Yellow Fever and a Chinese baby hidden in your backpack for me. Want to have an impromptu family gathering of two in Montreal in August? Okay. We will ride our bicycles with bagels stuck in one cheek.

I miss you.
I miss my Chinese guy cousin James.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Girl Club.

If I am lucky to live long, I know that for the rest of my days I will hold fast the memory of last night's Girl Club. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen bottles of wine breathing, a French dining room table with stout legs laden with fruit, a candelabra dripping, enough pastry, wine, baguette, brie and red velvet cake for an army and all the women. Oh, the women. We danced on chairs, in the kitchen, beat up the hardwood with obscene high heels, dove in and out of Sula's closet in heavy silks, satins, fringe, leather, bathing suits, polka dots, and our Grandmother's engagement dress, and partook in the beautiful food and in each other until we were blue in the face. For all who came, thank you. For those who missed it, you were missed greatly. I nearly cried when Rabbi and Sula raised glasses and dropped their voices and wove together the most beautiful string of words. Bright eyes standing still in a circle around the most beautiful table. It was so nice I was genuinely embarrassed, it was a pearl necklace of words I will never lose. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Film is being processed. Until then, enjoy a short collection a la Rags and Bellan.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Expanding family.

There is a new boy in my life.

Jessica Alba has no idea what the hell to do now that she has been demoted from the high shelf to the hardwood. Sorry Alba, I still love you very much. Introducing the latest addition to my humble stable, DG, named after the color of this bicycles powder coat. He weighs less than my head of hair and is as fast (if not faster) than the devil himself. This is definitely new riding territory for me and if I am not careful, this baby will be the death of me. This one rides like a dream, is light as a feather, but demands a type of riding that my other bicycle does not. So far I have experienced one case of Phantom Brake while riding like a bat out of hell in between lanes in the Village when I was cut off by some ding-dong in the largest SUV I have ever seen. Narrowly escaping death (unscathed at that), I will admit in that millisecond of panic I phantom braked (there are no brakes) and quickly resorted to an entire winter's worth of skidding. Close. The rush is worth it. I don't know how else to put it. If you ride, you know.

DG's specs are a jump up from dear Jessica Alba's set up, but I love them both equally; like children. A list, for those interested, scan ahead if you are not. Surly Steamroller Track (50cm in David "Grey") frame, Shimano 105 cranks, Cinelli Grammo titanium stem, Nitto bars, Campagnolo Record Pista hub laced to Velocity Fusion rim on the back, and on the front a Xero Lite hub is laced to Velocity rim. Rags kindly took these pictures after I called her from her sunlit porch like Romeo wooing Juliet. Thanks girl, I adore you.

Welcome to the family, baby.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Last day of the twenty second year.

Wild in the streets since 1986.

It was spring, twenty three years ago and moisture hung in the air like invisible raindrops slapping my very pregnant and very permed mother in the face as she hauled a shitty four year old (sorry Mike) and her two year old middle child indian princess, Mooniaki (Erin) up the long walk to grandma's house. Erin always wore that leather headband around the house all those years ago. I was also jealous that she was an indian princess and I was just Grandma Hildebrand's doppelgänger. (Being known for looking identical to a hundred year old lady does not even come close to being as cool as having a leather headband. Can you say "I have a complex?"). I have a complex. Anyway, it was spring and together my mother and father hopped into their tiny white car, sans children and flew to the closest hospital. I was born, squalling and hungry as hell, the labor only took twenty eight minutes. I have always been efficient. Anyway, I was born and thankfully not called Morgan (all of the Morgan's I know are notoriously cunty).

Oh retrospect. These last two days have been precious. Yesterday winter broke officially and something else was busy being born too: patio season. I, along with Rabbi, Rags and Scott joined the throng of Vitamin D deprived patio-roosters at Bar I and drank our faces off. Sorry Grandma, but we did. It felt incredible to be out there again, feeling victorious for surviving yet another Winnipeg winter. I will drink to that, again and again. After Scotty picked up the tab (WHAT?!?! THANK YOU you two) Rabbi and I felt our evening was not quite over and done with. With Kingcans in hand from the neighborhood vendor, we biked over to the train bridge and dangled our feet and watch the light die down turning everything black by the time we remounted our bicycles to head for home, weaving absentmindedly down the Crescent. The river sounded beautiful from up high, like the world's biggest water feature, or one million window panes breaking in unison. Beautiful, what a good way to welcome sister Spring.

Hi, hello, we salute you with our giant tin cans filled with poverty beer.
Welcome, please stay.

Now Brightback Morning Light is on, spinning on my turn table (I couldn't wait until Saturday), and it is blowing my brains in half. JJ, download that shit, immediately. It will be perfect for finishing up your collection and sewing on the last buttons here, for putting the last zipper in there. Oh boy, thank you for this recommendation, I had no idea. You know when you buy one of those wild card albums on a whim and you take it home, slide it out from the sleeve gingerly and set the needle down hopefully and then at the first listen it is like nothing you have ever heard before? This is that, to me.

Today Brendan came up from the basement at work after his shift ended at three and flashed something in his hand and I saw it without needing to turn my head. Okay, I will be right there; let me just slide my arms out from inside these giant cooked beasts. We sat outside eating bananas and drinking this delicious Mango nectar drink stolen from the front fridge and partook and then I went back inside to finish my shift. One giant sip of half melted Slurpee, two cucumbers, four cold yam fries dipped in the best aioli I have ever made in my life and then one icy Pelegrino on my butcher block with lime. Perfect day. I chopped eight billion onions at the pace of molasses and shredded twenty pounds of carrots slow, slow, slow. Green peppers came next, and then the tomatoes. Jens Lekman rounded out my mellow kitchen shift and I bobbed along while cleaning three giant turkeys. Riding a clean Alba home, we took the long way from the bakery and dodged potholes and puddles with ease. What a day, what a nice day. I would like to sit in a sun room and watch someone tune a bicycle while I paint my toes coral. Vice city, Spring has sprung and so has my morale.

Then my phone vibrated and it was my bike guy asking White bartape or Black grips on chrome drops? in tiny black letters and I wrote back, Black grips please. This agendaless life is easier than I thought.

Today I rode around my neighborhood, showboating. Second day in a row. Yesterday I was channeling a sexy truck driver and today I was channeling the auto mechanic turned printmaker look. I won't lie, I did. It was no electric bass attached to a pocket-sized amp in front of one hundred staring people, but riding with an ink stained apron and waltzing in to my cafe (my, haha) and drinking the first iced latte of Spring/Summer o9 felt good. I am not leaving yet, so get ready for the multiple persona just waiting to be exposed. Twenty three looks good. Tomorrow, I will post the jewel email of the year from one of my best friends in the world, Loco. Loco, thank you for sending me what you did, it blew my brain in half.

Tomorrow we will eat pho as a family and I will be twenty three, interesting. Aching, interesting choice of vocabulary.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mi casa es su Basa.

Blue Long Johns, favorite white hand-me-down V neck with the bike print on the back, hair wild, giant sun hat indoors. It was a grey day and there was no pressing need to wear a giant sun hat--indoor or outdoor--but I felt like wearing it, so I am. The Duke and Duchess (Zach and Mel) just left after a lovely evening including all of our favorite vices: a solid dinner, Leffe beer, Shira's good jazz, my mum's Tulip sugar cookies. Zach came and stayed and then left to pick up Mel and together they came and together they left with a promise to return shortly. Eventually they did, carrying more beer and essential ingredients that I had some how forgotten. While I waited for them, I passed time by tuning both the radios in the home to 107.9 fm, my favorite station to work alongside and prepped for dinner and cleaned the rooms and flipped through a magazine from its place on the empty recipe stand. Who needs recipes? That stand that I once gifted to JJ (because of the color) and the same one she eventually gifted back to me (because of the functionality) is built for perusing the latest British Vogue in between sautéing and stirring. And how. Those are my most precious hours spent in this home. Cooking alone, listening to some crooner from the 30's, maybe some Billie Holliday or someone else lovely, drinking wine in between switching from the mince to the chop to the julienne.

Today while midcook, I caught myself imagining someone coming home from work, to our home, throwing shit and a gorgeous attaché case and keys down on some gorgeous wooden chair in the hall, loosening some restricting article of clothing while breezing through the living room toward the direction of the lady standing in front of all of those beautiful spices wearing an apron covered in ink from printing sessions of Christmas past. Today I made a red curry dish paired with delicious basa fish over steaming jasmine rice. Cilantro seeping into the fingertips, the smell lingering on wrists and cheeks and forearms when brushing away at something absentmindedly in between chops. Delicious. Cooking for a cook is also terrifying, but I held my own and Mel passed my work with flying colors thankyouverymuch. Still, I kept thinking of that day when someone will come home and appreciate those smells and the fact that company is coming and the table looks nice. What? No art supplies, giant drawing pads scattered with fallen pencils from her hair?! No pens, no ruler, no tape, no prints all over? he will think. The evening was nice, but another body would have rounded out our dynamic well I think.

I am eating the leftovers as I write, dreaming of a kitchen and the man who comes home from work to eat the food and greet the lady.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Zaterdag, again.

Did the usual Saturday business today, but slower. Woke, spring cleaned Pear with Frin, breakfast with Sula, coffee with Rabbi, rode around town, picked up dry cleaning, drew a bunch, visited Jane's art show, rode home, cleaned the kitchen, Andrew Bird on vinyl, dinner, Dwell at the kitchen table, music, more drawing, planned a party, read, evening. Then I watched this, twice.

So very sorry I missed the symphony with Rags.

Bed (it is nine on a Saturday night), Meg.

Breaking Upwards Movie Trailer from Breaking Upwards on Vimeo.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Nouveau riche, not.

On a less depressing note, I came across these babies in the stacks a la MacBook today. Artists unknown, but not forgotten.

Bad Thursday, Good Friday.

I have learned more of the importance of humility in the past two days than I have in an entire fiscal year.

Strong statement, but I would never write such a thing unless it were the truth. Yesterday was most easily the lowest I have felt in quite some time. The universe pulled a fast one on me and ripped the rug out from under my feet around 4 pm yesterday. After a shiteous day at work, I came home to an equally shiteous email from my tree planting boss situated in Dryden. In the shortest of form, the planting contract that many of us were banking on to begin as of May the first, fell through thanks to Recessional fingers choking the life out of the milling/forestry industry in northern Ontario. The news was quite a shock to my system and I did cry for a few hours at the thought of being homeless, jobless and poor; but after a few grounding phone calls with the people in my life who continue to give endlessly/graciously (and a few surprising others), I came back down to earth and perspective and practicality soon took over the reigns from my initial state of terror and horror.

Yes, this is shitty. No, it is not the end of the world. Yes, I will have to be creative with my living situation in the next few months. No, this is not nearly as bad for me as it might be for the Papas who have to go home to their families to break the news that the community mill shut down and in turn, they too will have to get a bit creative.

Get over yourself, you are not the only one affected. Not even by a long shot. These thoughts turned over and over in my head until my sobs eventually subsided along with self-pity. Grandma called--concerned--and left a very endearing message on my voicemail. She closed her warm message with an adage that I have been spoon fed since I was small, When the Lord closes a door, He opens a window. While I am not sure how I feel about our Father in heaven airing out my well planned life, her prayer threw a blanket of familiar calm over me. Alfie also received similar words of wisdom from his own mother. Bless these mothers who pray on our voicemail's. I am so lucky. Once my obvious crying face became semi presentable to the public, I did what I always do in moments of absolute despair: I took Jessica Alba down from her high shelf and pedaled as fast and as hard and as evenly as I ever have. In doing so, my body began to remember to breathe. Breathing evenly and in time with pedal strokes on a fixed gear is imperative. Dressed in a thin hood and fingerless gloves, I let the wind take us. Alba and I ended up in the Exchange after an intense ride through downtown and chinatown. I wept openly as I rode, assaulting pedestrians and drivers alike with my alarming emotions; but I didn't care. After one coffee, I wove back home through traffic at a less breakneck pace and was fairly calm by the time I reached my home.

Back inside, the afternoon faded into the well-lit evening and I cleaned my bike, listened to records and waited for Rabbi to come. After a few more fits of despair, she came bearing wine and a brave face. "Meg, be humble", she said at one point while I stood at the foot of my bed, nose upturned at the thought of physically taking up the offers of spare beds and couches of my friends and family. I would never want to put anyone out. "Be humble", she said again and eventually the words sank in and I let out a small "Okay, I will". That is a friend. A friend is someone who will take you by the shoulders when your face is swollen from sadness and say "be humble, take what you have in front of you, say thank you, and let yourself be carried for once in a goddamned lifetime" even though it hurts her more to say it than it is for me to hear it. Okay, I will. Thank you Rebecca, you are a very good friend and I am a very good spoon. With all of that said, with that humbling exchange of words passed between the two of us in my bedroom with intense eye contact, we pulled up my proverbial bootstraps together and stalked out the door arm in arm.

We have enough, because we have each other.

The night at the Lo pub was one of sobriety and sincerity. I connected with many people and managed to hold a few very remarkable conversations despite the din of the room. As I walked home with the course of the day's events flipping backwards in my head like a Rolodex, I was calm and hopeful.

When shit hits the proverbial fan, there are always breakfast dates and babies to hold. That is how my Good Friday began, good. Two words come to mind when I think of this morning's meal shared with the man with the lovely penmanship: lovely and refreshing. I only nearly choked once during the meal and after, I almost let myself skip home. It was too nice (and DRY) not to cycle, so again I hauled a sparkling Alba down from her high and mighty shelf to showboat around my neighborhood. It felt so good. So, so good. No trust me, it felt good. My favorite barista/furniture snob in the world was working at my neighborhood espresso haunt and we were both genuinely psyched to see each other. Abi poured me my third cup of coffee of the day and both of us could barely contain our pure joy for the birth of sister Spring. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. She is here. He also poured a mean americano for my last night's savior, and I joyfully unlocked my bicycle and rode west holding the paper in one hand and Rabbi's coffee in the other. Homegirl answered the door looking bedraggled and together we curled up in the living room bathing in the morning sun.

From her house I pedaled over to Kaleb and Maiya Papaya's to shepherd the babe children into their respective easter clothes and to jostle the baby lady while Kaleb showed me how awesome he was at brushing his teeth before all of our family piled into the house. The light was clean and the family happy. It was one of the best gatherings we have had in a while. Everyone was funny and warm, there were quiche and eggs and parsley salads, good cheeses, good wine, barside gin martinis straight up with extra olives with my cousin Jen, a walk down the Crescent, paparazzi, puddles, iced and sprinkled paska (Auntie Marj totally nailed that one out of the park, as per usge), and one very tired baby. Maiya was pissy near the end and we quietly excused ourselves to escape to the inviting rocking chair upstairs. Drenched in slatted light in the yellow baby room with that gorgeous girlchild sprawled across my chest, we slept. She honked softly like a baby goose and when we both woke, we were smiling and rosy cheeked. Who knew how good a tired baby was for the soul? Very good, actually.

For what it is worth, thank you for the kindness and inquiry, I will be just fine.

I have enough because I have plenty.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cornucopia of swears.

My mind is with Loco. I just finished penning her something that will hardly hold a candle to what she has been sending my direction lately. Canada Post must flip lids when they see our packages fly through the air. Dear Beth, expect something in four business days, uh huh. The girl working the counter at the post office was so perplexed by the line drawings going on on the front of your package, she almost smashed her nose upon bending at the waist for further inspection. I always like it when the post people offer to snip the obscene business day stamps down to size in order to accommodate my equally obscene packages. Thanks, Canada Post people that was nice.

No tears today. I made mashed potatoes with dill and butter and cream because I felt like it. I ate them in the kitchen too, just to spite my latest frenemy. They were delicious. As I was elbow deep inside a burning hot turkey, ripping it's heart out and then the ribcage (my favorite part), Rags came out of NOWHERE rocking Marc Jacobs and swingy hair and a bouquet of orchids wrapped in brown paper (also my favorite: orchids and anything wrapped in brown paper). If she would have waltzed in and presented me with a block of cheese or five pounds of corned beef wrapped in brown paper, I would have been equally as ecstatic. This little lady, this woman who has blazed into my life bearing so much more than expensive gifted flowers, has taught me a lot about living. About being a friend. About grief. About prioritizing and organizing. About employment and unemployment. About being a wife. About being cool. About humor. About making life-giving food.

She has taught me a cornucopia of skillz.

Yah, a Z. I went there, Rags. Thank you for the flowers you blessed woman. You have know idea how much seeing your face while we skipped out on the burning hot turkeys and sat on the warm wood fence welcoming all the Vitamin D we could behind the bakery, buoyed my spirits. You know how when you were a kid and you pushed a ball under water as far as you could in some Auntie's swimming pool? And then do you remember how it felt to see that thing build under pressure and then fly up through your tiny frame and light up the sky and block out the sun, if only for a moment? That is how I felt when I saw you walk in to my kitchen.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: Thank you is not enough. Do you remember the first time I wrote that to you? I do, like it was yesterday. It was last summer, after a shit show of an art show. I biked home that night, drunk off of the spell of your first lesson in living. May we always feel that fucking awesome when we walk into the kitchen's of our future selves. (Grandma, sorry for the usage of "fucking"). I love you Anne M. Orchids and you in one day? Goodness abounds.

Moving on. Speaking of Grandmothers, hello Helen! Are you out there? Are you still with us? Has your lover/other driven you to drink? I hope not. Hi Grandma, this is a public letter, something I consider FAR better than an email. We will see each other on Friday and whisper scandals back and forth while one of us holds the fastest baby in the world (Maiya Papaya, holler) and the other stuffs Auntie Marj's INSANE paska down the hatch. That lady knows how to bake the bread of the Body. I tell you! Sadly, I am becoming skin and bones as the days near closer and closer to my departure. I am starting to look like Granny Annie Kroeker. Now would be the PERFECT time to get our tattoos, while my bones show thanks to Cal's innate Kroeker metabolism that sky rockets when anxiety strikes:

mine on my ribs,


and yours on your heart,


but sadly, I spent my last American twenty dollar bill on some new headphones so our Grandmother/granddaughter tattoos will have to be put on a two month hiatus until I get back from the trees, RICH. (Who needs Mister-Grade-one-to-Grade-nine-just-because-he-was-rich boyfriend when I can simply go tree planting? Besides, he broke up with me on a sheet of loose leaf. Asshole). Thank you for slipping that dollar dollar scrill into my mother's secret compartment of her wallet with the intention of passing it on to me. You are good. You are goodness. I love you, Grandma. See you on Good Friday, did you give up reading this post for lent or what? No comments in a hundred years. Come ON!

Yesterday was shitty, today lovely. I am still thinking of Loco, wishing she and JJ were here for a midnight ride, or some other kind of midnight delight on a Broadway rooftop. Lo standing up on her bicycle for countless blocks and JJ and I taking up the rear nice and slow with McDonald's in hand. Soon, soon, swoon.

Rags, do me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Pardon the previous entry. It was a shiteous read. So is this.

One off, screw off.

This morning I wept openly in the back hallway at work in front of anyone who dared meet my barbaric stare, while I begrudgingly stripped my celery green nails of the last of their weekend polish. To backtrack a little, as I walked in this morning and handed a list of six months worth of wrong-doings, my jaw fell. Thanks. What a piss off. I wept and was angry and when it was all over, I went back to my familiar spot at the butcher block and contemplated ramming one of my sharp knives into the back of someone, anyone, but after a cup of black coffee and twenty five white onions chopped ultra hastily, my murderous intentions evaporated. Sadly, my white rage remained for the rest of the hour. I chopped, hard, and miraculously kept all of my fingers. I hate those mornings, arriving chipper and being blind-sided by something or other gone awry due to my own carelessness. Shit. There is no other choice other than owning it, swallowing pride, and working harder. Today I cried because I was tired of being the only one who takes it. I was having none of the conspiracy theory bologna this morning and thus the tears. My fight or flight instincts are pathetic, as both choices always end in tear stained broken heartedness. Anyway, it felt good to unleash some of the inner turmoil that has been simmering for a while, even if said Bologna delivery man (not literally) and I were running off our mouths in between a mountain of bananas and a mountain of flour and in the same room as fifteen odd staff. Awesome. In retrospect, the morning catastrophe was almost a trial run for my brain to work through the white rage that will surely come to a head while away. Good lesson.

After work, I arrived at the familiar million pound doors at the studio and let myself in. Padding into the kitchen/staff area and helping myself to some soup and coffee, I went down and coated some screens in the darkroom (I love coating screens in that room reeking of various poisons, I love it almost as much as printing itself) and puttered around the vault, looking for a cache of posi paper for my current project. Yesterday I started and finished a drawing based on the innards' of my friend Andrew's bag. The only thing on this evening's roster was a few simple, one color prints on nice cardstock and then a one-off on a gorgeous canvas Tony Chestnut tote. Simple, right? Not today. Today I had an audience (of one that I was not expecting) and I got spooked. Not only was my print retched on the canvas bag, my paper prints were a mess as well. The audience of one was the same lovely British woman, Grecci, that I met last week. She was just as warm and lovely this week. I, on the other hand was still a little wild from the morning's altercation and I wasn't into printing today. Lesson learned: don't print on canvas or expensive paper on off days. Shit. Grecci came back to Martha again to give me a card! I would have liked to sit and have a cup of tea with her at the light table, but it was too hectic and my inks were drying and thus there was no time for tea. Having someone watch while I print on fabric is always intense. You get one shot to register, one shot to nail it, one shot to make it sharp. I felt like I let Grecci down. Oh well, can't win 'em all. I cleaned up my pens and exacto knives from my usual corner spot and high tailed it out of there in shame, clutching her gorgeous gifted card to my chest like a bar of gold with my head hung low.

The bus driver let me on even though my transfer was quite obviously expired. I can only imagine my facial expression as I held two of the nicest prints of the evening in one hand, and her card in the other. Pathetic. Thanks, man. I got off the bus at the same time as the handsome older Nigerian gentleman who belongs on the Sartorialist. We ride transit on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursday together. He never sits, he is a giant of a man. This man who is quite easily 6'6" or taller, has this gorgeous crocodile attaché case that he carries everywhere. He wears it well, trust me. I would kill to draw the contents of his bag. We got off the bus and his long legs got the best of me and I gave up trying to match his pace just so that I could imagine what was inside his carry all. Walking alone, the light fading, moisture in the air and in my hair, I took it all in. Even the smell of lingering sewer coming from the west, I took it all in. My neighborhood at nine at night. I see my neighborhood at nine in the morning and nine at night. The rest of the hours are spent in: time poured through strainers, through screens, through a lens, through keyboards, through drafting pens. I will miss it at night, but I will miss it in the morning most.

On a lingering note, it looks like Jessica Alba just might have landed a lover before I did. Lucky girl. More on this later.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Feet like roots.

Weekends are book-ending the weekdays faster than I can keep track of. Today, in between work and studio I popped into my neighborhood haunt for a quick coffee and a hello to Andrew, newly 22 and new to the regular staff. He wears it well, but more importantly, his Americanos are insane. While breezing through the door to collect my binge-drinking studio partner in crime, I happened upon the Duke of York himself--Mr. Zach Foster--my soon-to-be foreman. We gave each other a look, a single look matched both with terror and a sense of wildness and we collectively burst out laughing with the exchange. No words necessary with that man. I collapsed into his booth, grateful for his presence and laughed some more just looking at him sitting there, cool as a cucumber, ready for the planting season, while Andrew poured my coffee at the counter. As always, the Duke himself reassured me better than anyone, soothing me with his Veteran lexicon and file folder of success stories, better than a mother even, in his sure and calming way and once again I was in motion. There is something about this wild ticking of the proverbial clock, I can't place the feeling. I am hurtling in time. Hurtling, a very strong word. I am floundering here alone in my home, Final Fantasy blaring in through my headphones, into my ears and my body is tied to my computer. Either I am tied to the butcher block, the light table or my computer these days and I am not making any moves to unlace the ties that bind. I am where I am, until then.

Saturday I was channeling something wild. Saturday was Junior Boys at the Pyramid and I went with a gaggle of strong women. Sula, Rabbi, Shira and I tore through that place, stuffing our jackets in our carry-alls, heels clickety-clacking, long bangs, long legs, longer attitudes. It was very empowering, being with those women then. It was the type of night that happens once a year (twice, if I am lucky). The kind of evening where nothing matters, senses are heightened, confidence is tangible, clothing is optional, dancing is necessary, separation is vital, vices are unnecessary and independence abounds. For once, I was not on the prowl. I vowed to hang up my prowling boots for good a few weeks ago, and they have remained on a hook of indignation ever since. Sula and I wove in and out of that crowd like a needle and thread; I was barely touching the ground. I was barely there. The music was all consuming, like an undone drug or the best food I have ever eaten at a corner restaurant in Italy, like the best wine, like the newest baby, like slow slow painfully slow kissing; from what I recall, the music was welcomed and really good and I remember Rebecca asking me over and over to come, but I couldn't. I was rooted.

With feet like roots, and acorn boots.

Something was in the air. I am not sure, I might have scared people but my only concern on Saturday was riding out whatever wave I was experiencing. And I did, until my kind, kind sister put me in the care of a kind, kind cab driver and made him swear on his life that I would arrive home safely. And I did. Thanks Erin, that was a wise sisterly move. Interesting things are happening, I am just trying to tick off the days as slowly as possible.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bathing beauty.

I just gave Jessica Alba a bath. In my tub. It was awesome, and a little bit genius.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The body breaks.

"The body calls, yeah the body, it calls out. It whispers it first, but it ends with a shout. The body burns, yeah the body burns strong until mine is with yours, then mine will burn strong. My flesh sings out, it sings: come put me out. The body sways like the wind on a swing, a bridge through a hoop, or a lake through a ring. The body stays, and then the body moves on. And I'd really not dwell on when yours will be gone. But within the dark, there is a shine. One tiny spark, that's yours and mine".

Girl power. Girl club. Girl scout. Girl parts. Girl time.

The theme of strength has rolled over from end-of-the-week angst to something tasteful that I am going to build the foundation of my weekend upon.

Don't build your house upon the sandy land.

Best advice from my upbringing, my upheaval of self. Thanks, church. Build your house upon the rock. I am drinking the last inch of wine that the Rabbi and I drank with ease this evening. An interesting turn of events at my neighborhood haunt forced me to make a few long distance calls and a few local calls to my single women in order to record the same outrageous voicemail on all of their answering machines. We are rejoicing in the hands together, there is a God apparently. While ordering a coffee dressed head to toe in off white, my most prominent color whenever I find myself feeling hopeful, I found myself in fresh waters. Out of the pond and into the ocean. Our conversation pulled me out of the depths of myself and into plain sight of a lifestyle easily attainable with a little more growth, a little more experience, a little more wine, a little more education, a little more travel. It was refreshing.

I left feeling alive and on point (which has become a rarity these days with the stagnancy that is winter), holding tight a letter from Loco (two in ONE week, JC Loco, you blew my brains in half) only to pop into Rabbi's new sushi digs to eat a yam tempura roll with one hand while reading the published article written by one of my best friends with the other. Loco sent it in the mail, and girl, I am so glad you did. To read the work of my friends (published or non) always encourages my most natural sense of mother hen pride, and Loco, none of that innate gushing was spared over your F-bomb heavy article. I am so PROUD of you. Hours later, a phone call to JJ to encourage her in the same way that she has so encouraged me in the past couple of weeks. We fell into each other in spite of all of those provinces trying to divide us, and I hung up feeling so proud of her too. These amazing women, the "cream of the crop" as I described to my coffee and Bailey's drinking evening joiner, these women who do so much. You do so much, I continue to watch and look on with a charming sort of open-mouthed reverence: just watching, watching, watching, trying to get my fill of you two. Loco and JJ, the lesson learned? I will never have my fill. This summer will be off the chain.

And now, with so much feeling, I am going to kill my wine and crawl into my bed, psyched on what lies ahead, planned or non. No prayers tonight, just thankfulness. Come what may, I have very dear friends. Friends that weep for their mother's mortality in messy walk-in closets, friends that weep over the breaking of baby brother legs, friends that weep over being alone or being together, friends that are warm, friends that ask questions and friends that listen.

Rabbi and I sat, taking in my home as much as we can before it slip/slops through the fingers of time. I am moving on to the next quarter of life and have only optimism in my sails. Good riddance. In the interim, we have Devendra and we have Bon Iver and we have Chad and we have each other. I have said it before and I will say it one million more times: we have enough because we have each other.

One sip left for good measure.

And how, Madge.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sans arms.

I am so single it is laughable.

Just in case anyone was wondering, this is a typical Thursday night spent in after an afternoon spent galavanting up and down aisles due to a happenstance intersection run in with no other than Josh Ruth. After eating apples and conversing at the speed of light in the liquor store, in the grocery store, in the drugstore. After trying on ugly shades of lipstick while he fussed over the perfect shampoo for his head of Amish hair. After parting ways and taking one very annoying bus ride downtown. After an hour at the studio working on letters to Loco, Jage and dear Liza at the light table. Just thought I would throw this up for the world to see. My life is not very exciting these days, but I am happy as a clam.

Saturday is Junior Boys for Andrew's birthday and I am going to try very hard not to fall asleep in the crowd like I did at Bonnie 'Prince' Billy. I can't even write anymore. I can't even stay awake at concerts. Liza, if I could pick anyone to transcribe the pace of my days, the pace of my brain, I would choose you. I have been tossing Liza's words around in my head like lingerie inside of a front loading washing machine for days and days now. The slow undressing of life, she is a beautiful writer. How is it possible that she is single? Jesus, I could name ten amazing women off the top of my head who are single. Where have all the good men gone to? Really? How is it that the Courtney's and the Chastidy's and the Skylar's of the tripping teen world are all attached to the hip of some spiky-haired-frosted-tipped-puka-shelled-double-collared douche and all of the strong women are left floundering in their homes on Thursday nights apologizing to no one for their strength and high standards? WHAT THE HELL?!?!! Actually, now that I think of it, majority of the women who just flashed past in thought choose to be single, myself included. With that said, pardon me.

I am going to go open a bottle of red and abuse a substance or two. Isn't the mannequin lovely? The woman who sold it to me last spring at some shitty flea market where they sell hotdogs for a dollar, tried desperately hard to include the arms (sans fingers) in the sale and was utterly perplexed when I refused her offer. "I am not in the market for a pair of random arms, thankyouverymuch". I am such a bitch sometimes. That does have a nice ring to it, on second thought.

I am not in the market for a pair of random arms.
I am not in the market for a pair of random arms.
I am not in the market for a pair of random arms.

I will know the right pair when I see them. These posts are getting ridiculous. Now if you will excuse me, I have a date with my bathtub and a pack of Balinese cigarettes.

Baby Daddy.

The man who dresses his child in chartreuse is the man for me. This man is probably a good man. Regardless of his calibre of kindness, he wears his Baby Daddy role well. Today is my third day in a row of being the worst employee. The clock is ticking, four weeks, four weeks, four weeks. Shit.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Good hand.

Interesting things are happening.

After arriving home from a short mother/daughter stint in Minneapolis, I felt the need to exorcise an artistic demon. For days I have been tucked into my usual spot at the light table, drawing, drawing, drawing. Hungrily drawing, hungrily scanning, blah blah blah. With an interesting turn of events, my social life has gone tits up and I am one hundred percent okay with this. My hands continue to smell of fresh herbs after I come home from work and over the course of a few hours spent printing, they take on an irrevocable odor from the solvent room. A one eighty in terms of smells, from basil to turpentine. If my life continues to smell of fresh basil or fresh turpentine, I am okay with that. My dad smells like sawdust and an old sweater plucked from the furnace room, my mum smells like fresh white buns and paint, my sister smells like Marc Jacobs and that newness of retail, my brother like fresh laundry and paperwork. I want to smell like herbs and the ink cupboard. Yesterday with all of this in mind, I settled into my usual table top position in the basement at the studio and blew through a new six color piece I am working on while watching a letterpress class unfold dead in front of me. I carried someone in thought while I worked and maybe this sparked something to life inside of me that has been in hibernation or in hiding for a long time. Regardless of how or who or what or why, it affected me deeply in a positive way. The complexity of the registration was a non issue, and that was a first. Maybe seeing life in lines and being drawn towards structured living is a good path. It is definitely a new path.

Register, generous ink, flood, place paper, wipe, register, pull, remove, drying rack, repeat. Two hundred odd pulls in three hours, one apple juice, one coffee, two screens, six colors, fourteen eyeballs stealing glances in my noisy direction, and one rewarding conversation while inspecting my finished product at the drying rack with the most charming British woman I have ever met. While my head was cocked distractedly caught in my own universe, self-involved but not in a disgusting way, body bent a touch at the hips unnaturally towards the glaring florescent lights in order to scrutinize my work better, new apron wild with smeared color, this beautiful older woman sidled up beside me sporting a haggard cast and some noteworthy jewels.

"I have been watching you", she says gently, testing the waters and charming me completely with her dainty accent. "Oh really? What do you think?" I respond, holding this new print at an arm's length. "I smell a story behind this one. Are you wooing someone?", she prods eyeing the print in my hands, as I watch mesmerized as her shoulders dip in embarrassment at her own boldness. "You are a wise woman. Would you like a tour of the studio?" "Oh. Oh yes please". As she says this I grab her arm without thinking and put a bunch of supplies in her good hand, both of us instantly warm considering our happenstance meeting only moments before. I give her a tour of the studio and she listens with girl scout attentiveness in spite of our vast age difference. When we go back downstairs to my work station I offer her a piece, the last layer still tacky from printing. Her eyes light up.

"Take it back home with you, please"
. She accepts, and we together we wrap it in brown paper and as she hands me pieces of scotch tape with her good hand, we exchange stories of our lives as I finish wrapping it as gingerly as if it were baby Maiya: first my reasoning behind this new print, the story behind the tiny white dots, my eyes light up at all the good parts; and then her explaining her life in Essex with her new grandson named Bernard (the name sounded beautiful in her British accent: Bernard Rolph) and her love for Winnipeg in winter, her eyes light up at all the good parts. It was the breath of fresh air that I was desperately in need of.

I will never forget her good hand. In retrospect, it was a lesson on warmth and also the approach of strangers that I was not aware I needed. It was a lesson on openness, and our interaction together--all of twenty odd minutes long--was a gentle reminder of all of the lovely people I have met through my time spent at Martha street. "You want to do this" she said, stating the obvious more as a fact in lieu of a question. This sureness in her voice was a deafening reminder of what I want. "I want this, yes. Very much so". "I can tell. It is not about the money, is it?" "God no". God no. I want this very much.

But before that, I have things to do, trees to plant, boxes to pack, rugs to roll, leases to sign (off), Czechvar to drink.