Sunday, August 16, 2009

Beauty and the Bride.

Just before I followed the North winds into the bush nearly two months ago, I was lucky enough to be able to shoot the candid jazz of my friend Stef Shortt's wedding to her beloved other, Emery. Despite my own camera calling it quits on me in the hours before the wedding (Tristan came to my rescue with similar gear to my own), the wedding party took the reigns and all I had to do was capture their laughter and their beauty and the rest was history. It was a pleasure, trust me. To those of you who have already viewed these on the Face and on Flickr, pardon me; this batch will be old news. Stef makes a gorgeous bride. At the end of the day--camera catastrophes aside--this is all that matters. She nailed it, everyone nailed it. This was another Pear (amix) wedding for the books. Christie, you are next!!!! Or Erin! Or Sambeth! Whoever decides to get hitched next, I will be there with my rightful camera and one million rolls of film. I promise.

Here is a sample of Stef and Emery's day of joy. Enjoy. (Grandma, click on the image to see the large version; click on the back arrow to get back to this page. Love you girl).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Art scope.

These make me want to make stuff again. Four weeks, four weeks, four weeks and life will be back to normal again. (I write this with hopefulness). Stolen without permission, as per usual.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Something, something, home.

I am sitting here in another nest, not my own, buzzing with Rags' skillfully made cowboy coffee willing tears to come, to cool, to renew, to empty themselves onto these haggard hands resting resentfully so on this adopted computer. I am a thousand miles away, I am a million miles from home. At the birth of this year, the sentence home is something we carry inside of ourselves came and spilled forth during a quiet evening spent in and away from the wintery weather lying in wait outside of my windows.

Today is not a good day.
Actually, that is a fabrication.

Today has had many windows of joy.
a) holding baby Rollin and looking at his gorgeous neck
b) visiting my grandfather in a hospital room and noticing an unfamiliar softness in his face
c) riding my bicycle in heavy traffic
d) visiting with Rags after a very long hiatus

But in the space between all of these moments of joy, I swung low. And again, I am swinging low.

It has been a while, I must admit.

Perhaps this is a good a time as any to write down (and in doing so, acknowledging) that I am afraid to leave again, afraid of the unknowns of Spray (which is apropriately capitalized because it is both daunting and ridiculous work, and somehow that justifies the usuage of a tall S), afraid of birthing children with flippered feet (poor Frances), afraid of going back into the land that I fell in love with at the start of summer and being disenchanted or let down by the wind or the quiet or the sudden valleys (these were all of my favorite things while planting) this time around. This hesitancy sprang out of nowhere and as I sat in this beautiful borrowed home floundering and running around looking for vice 1 2 or 3 to aid in the processing deptartment, the realization that I am entirely alone and have no other choice but to deal with these issues threw itself over me like a heavy quilt being thrown over an unexpecting victim. It was not negative, I was simply not ready for it.

Heavy quilted fear.

Sitting in her sunlit porch this afternoon, Andrea's mouth gave life to a sentence that I have been trying to articulate for one entire month now. In her sharp and even way, her string of words as valuable to me as my Grandmother's shirt or the tiny blue ring in my mother's jewelery box roped in all of the missing parts of my heart. She always manages to do this somehow and it was exactly what I needed. I am also afraid that I do not do this for people as much as people do this for me.

The other night Sula came over to drink wine and eat cheese and spill onto my borrowed nook table and she too restored me in her sharp and pointed way. A few nights before that I found myself dipped banana-like in a chair as old as the hills in the studio belonging to Ben and Pete and the Fish, surrounded by Lo, Jill and Sara. These gorgeous women leaned in and between the collective sips of something and the collective drags of something else, we looked at each other and looked at each other and I kept saying it is good to be home. I missed them, that freedom of walking into the studio and being drawn to the chalkboard drilled to the south wall like a bee to the hive and drawing and drawing and drawing for hours, watching the long haired boys dance like children in the makeshift living room and everyone's eyes were shining. It was nice to feel hands on the waist while I was tangled up with Lisa's Ryan, drawing, both of us caught in separate universes. Him drawing something on fire (pink chalk) and me drawing a cake, a bicycle, a banana, a shark; these playful, separate things that fill my head when I am not too busy thinking of other things. I feel very fortunate for these women attached to the shining eyes, the porches three stories up, the sunken couches catching disheartened tears, the nook tables laden with wine and candles and affordable chocolate. You are good women.

I am not sure what to write, or how to write it, other than to say that I am a mess who longs for home. Home is not inside of me today, that is for sure. These days I feel most at home on my bicycle, in the dark. Late last night while riding home from a solitary trip to the theater, a V of gorgeous men on gorgeous bicycles pulled up behind me at a light and I kept telling myself balance, balance, balance; do not touch your feet to the ground, balance Meg (and I did) while holding a casual conversation with the leader of the flying V, all the while silently begging the light to turn green. Eventually it turned, and with feet still in pedals I took off shaking violently with adrenaline and pride. It has been one year and a half since sitting in a living room learning mechanics and the art behind truing and hops/dips. Balancing in front of those men felt like a year end test. I am not sure, but I think I passed. Either way, their familiar faces struck a nerve that I had long stopped feeling and retrospect rushed in greedily, as it always does in those situations.

I am going back into the bush to kill trees this time, and will probably be gone until the end of September. I miss the quiet that settles in after supper, the fireflies, the fog at five in the morning. But once there, I know I will miss the shrieking teens of the Village, the wild patios, the sudden guests and patio joiners, the sound of my direct drive clicking softly underneath me. But I will miss those shining eyes around me and the number of sure hands slipping around an unsuspecting waist bent half mast at a chalkboard. But thankfully, those who leave tend to return. I will be one of those returnees; on the prowl for a new kitchen, a new home.

All the while, all of my favorite eyes and hands and mouths will keep shutting, opening, doing. This is a good thing. If anything, the idea of that is home enough.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Humidity watch.

I am just home now, still panting and sticky from a long overdue solitary bike ride home from the Exchange. Thunder pounds south central through the windows of Mel and Zach's home (my latest home away from home, thanks you two beauties) and I feel so good, whole. A group of us gathered today around eight bells to eat fresh garden goods and cheeses of all sorts and drink good wine together, and then to my absolute delight, we bike rallied our way to Ragpickers to see my favorite local band play. It felt so good to hog an entire lane of traffic, all eight of us riding with our heads thrown back, laughing, enjoying the surprising lingering heat of night. After missing what feels like the entire summer, this heatwave caught me offguard completely. We arrived at the venue just before the rain did and I stole glances at my beautiful Jessica Alba (we are still in love a year and a half later)in between the spaces of people's shoulders. I love that bicycle. We ducked in, through a heavy red curtain and greeted all the lovely people and drank hurried sips of incredibly nice red from the bottle. Oh, Winnipeg. The show was brilliant, as expected (and then some) and so was the heavy rain that Ainsley and I got caught in outside. Sweaty and happy and rouge-stain lipped, all of the sudden the room became too small and too hot and I left the beautiful girls and the bearded men. Ainsley and I rode home together until Broadway where we were forced to ride in opposite directions. I rode all the way down Osborne, down Pembina, down Grant with no hands, wild humidity curls, and not a care in the world. It is good to be home. Once home, I locked my girl to the fence with tender care and stood in the backyard watching the sky with amazement. Lightening blows my mind. Always has, always will.

I had no idea how badly I needed a bike rally until this evening.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Stoop swingers.

Dirty Projectors' Bitte Orca album on vinyl is spinning in Dish and Rabbi's dining room and I am folded up in a royal chair at the oak table writing and singing along. I just came in from cruising the Mansion stoop where I sat surrounded by all of my favorite boys: James (fresh back from Chinoise), William, the Dirty Gurngler, Two Dads, and baby Evan. Skateboards and complimentary paraphernalia dotted the front yard, along with one million bicycles. Mine and Rabbi's new coffee table book/source of inspiration lay spread open on my lap and four pairs of man hands dipped up and down in the corner of my eye above the guac bowl on my right. James' guacamole is illegal. And by illegal, I mean delicious. I missed them, that, this. Eating chips, shooting the shit, lazy skateboarding on a Thursday at 5 in the afternoon, magic hour creeping, Will spring cleaning and making way for a real dining room in a dilapidated Mansion that we have all grown up in (in a sense). I missed my boys. I missed my girls.

Speaking of girls, Rebecca and Trish have taken me into the nest, hen style, and our shit blends beautifully. Record collections collided, high heels are everywhere and the total number of piece combinations from our respective closets are limitless. The sky is the limit with these birds. I like it. Last night, Dish and I sprawled out with our records everywhere and she took me on a musical journey starting with the Sonics, followed by Roky Erickson and then headlong into a heap of heavy psych. It was pretty wild and eventually we took a musical break and sat on our own stoop for fresh air. Belford took note and called over the fence and we went next door to the Mansion and sat on their wide porch laughing until Rabbi came to shepherd us to yet another sun porch three stories up and kitty corner from our original roosting spot. This is Winnipeg. My Winnipeg. This is the neighborhood and we are a bunch of multi-aged stoop swingers. It is nice to be home.

Jana Hunter is on now and fresh vegetables reaped from a late night turned early morning visit to Mama Shaun's garden in the country (Reb's parent's house outside of the city limits) are steaming on the stovetop. We watched the full moon with necks craned while staggering down the family gravel road. Grant and Ian found a ramshackle homestead and dragged us inside to look. The moon was beautiful through the cracks in the lean-to roof. Absolutely beautiful. I felt so youthful, full of vim and vigor, standing there in that wooden room beside the women and the men who dragged us in. Matilda stalked between our legs with indifference, unmoved by the beauty of the near harvest moon. I thought it was amazing, but then again, these days I amaze easily. Even a toilet seat amazes me. A telephone, a banana, a sidewalk. These things amaze me. I am amazed.

My fresh green beans are ready and Rabbi just came in with another bottle of rouge. Excuse me, summer calls.

Oh, I am back from the dead. Megsie Kinita, my stylist extraordinaire cut through my bush bangs today with hedge clippers (basically) and dunked my head in a pool of dark dark dark brown and after three grueling hours in her chair, I walked out feeling like me again. I can see. I once was blind but now I see. Thanks Kinita, you rule.

This is Rebecca and I, mere hours ago. Edie and Francoise are back with a vengeance. Watch out boys.

Monday, August 3, 2009

New shoulders.

A three and a half month old friend is draped over my new shoulders with an ease that comes from only one fabric that runs as rampant as afternoon Benzedrine highs in the desperate housewife circle: cashmere. Hello, old friend. I may not be a desperate housewife, but I love good fabric. You feel wonderful, I must say. It is men's cashmere (always cheaper than women's I find) with strong black and white stripes, and five buttons down the middle. Earlier this evening I was wearing it with a tinge of guilt, but then unexpectedly, a rush of cold air swept the living room out from under a crack in the window above our heads and I dove for the sweater, lying there in wait in a heap on the hardwood. It will remain on these shoulders. Happy Graduation to you too, sweater.

Band of Horses is on now, also an old friend--musically--and a very cold beer is on the right. Trish and I just dished for a few hours in her warmly lit sun porch and we sat and we sat and we sat talking and occasionally dragging aimless fingers over the smooth brick exterior wall. It felt good to dish, to let words and anecdotes and fresh memories pour forth, dam-like into the lap of a friend. It felt very good. I am laughing now, the cashmere feels good against my bare arms as my shoulders jostle from all the chuckling. I am laughing because I just caught myself thinking of how delicious a peanut butter and jam sandwich on shitty brown store-bought bread would be right now. I miss my two pb and j's a day. I do. It is ridiculous. I am lost without them. In the time that I have been home, every time the clock strikes either 10:30 or 2:15, I flounder without a pb and j. When I am not caught in a daze from the hum of the fridge or the whir of my mum's mixer or the constant clapping from bystanders on the impressive greens of the PGA tour (or whatever), I am standing with my mouth agape or bantering in vain over the joys of tree planting. It is ridiculous. I feel ridiculous.

And yet.

This evening, sitting cross legged in the ex-boyfriend-overpriced-but-very-beautiful cashmere, I sat back in that lovely living room and looked at the faces around the table in front of me (laden with beer bottles and pizza and the most sinful fries in the entire city) and smiled. I am home. I am at home with these faces and these nights that have yet to happen. We will patio roost and laugh and order unnecessary food and we will enjoy sun porches and climb rooftops because that is what we do. It is wonderful to come home and to be home. I will admit though, walking along a very bike-heavy Bar Italia this evening with an obscene overnight bag filled to the tits with clothes and toiletries and heels ('09 in a nutshell) at my side was absolutely terrifying. I could barely form sentences for that entire window of the evening.

By the way, Loco, I am coming for a visit. Get ready. I want to sing Toto's Africa unabashedly in a tiny dark room filled with French people who are one billion times cooler than I will ever be, I want fresh bagels and street meat and cheap wine and bike rides and markets with the fattest strawberries a Manitoban has ever seen. I am also taking a solitary train trip to a place I have never been, but as a Canadian should have long be introduced: Ottawa. Anyone know anything awesome about Ottawa? Any interesting friends? I live for train rides. I would pay the money and fill the paperwork and do the European dance again in a heartbeat just for the train rides alone. I live for Europe. My camera lives for Europe. But, in January I made a few quiet promises to myself while slumped against the wall beside Zach on Rabbi's kitchen floor (the ball long dropped, we never noticed). One was to go tree planting and to survive and two was to use some of the money to see my own country. It has been awhile since I roamed any land that varied from that of my own province. Shame. But, doors have been reopened and Dora the Explorer part 1 is on like Donkey Kong.

I wish I could explain the importance of eye contact in my life, but I simply cannot. This summer, eye contact changed my entire life. For real. Eye contact, it is that simple people: it says things words cannot. It is funny, sitting here in slippers at Rabbi's oak table, poaching internet from the Mansion, wearing tights, hair up and drinking beer, it has finally become easy to write. A crack in the door of thought. It is not much, but it is a crack that will open to a world of articulation with time. Rags and I are going away into the woods to be quiet and enjoy each other's company in a way neither of us have before and I am crossing nine and a half fingers (progress was made over our steak dinner regarding my semi-broken finger, thanks to Cal. Thanks Cal) that that crack will open a baby bit more. Baby steps.

Speaking of les bebes, oh my Lord. It is official, Jill and Chris have procreated a magical creature. This boy, while I have yet to shriek and coo over him in the flesh, is a beauty. Leaning over Erin's shoulder today, our bellies heavy with food, we stood leaning close and staring at this gorgeous boy. Baby Rollin is going to blow our minds in half. He reeks of goodness already (and I have only seen him in black and white). I am excited, I am so excited.

This is good.

These are all good things.

I am going to go to bed now beside the sleepy lady who I have missed dearly. Tomorrow my knees will crack as I drop into my usual spot around the gorgeous dining room table that Andrea refinished herself last summer in the garage of her dad (one of the reasons I fell in love with you, by the way; you and that table are unreal) and we will eat grapefruit with special spoons and drink tea and I will pet your cats (not because I have to, but because I missed you and I want to). Then I will ride my beautiful bicycle; that beauty that I have missed so very much and go visit my sister in her shop, then the record shop, then Ross' shop (to smell the wood and freshly varnished cabinets) and then to my coffee shop only to slide victoriously into my red booth to sip the coffee and read the paper in peace for the first time in an eternity. August, albeit a potentially cold August (all the more reason to wear my favorite piece of clothing of all time: the light fall jacket), will be good to us.

Who wants to go for a bike ride?

If you were wondering, I will be free for awhile.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The hunt.

The reek of tree camp still wafts from brown arms and dirty tights and a haggard face. Aunty Marj picked me up today in Dryden, after a short/long stint in the bush. (I don't know how to write anymore). I stood in the gravel driveway, wishing it all to be over, wishing it all to continue on, looking like hell, smelling like ass, and left wanting. A clipped good bye to several and a long, hard hug from a very dear and new friend Nikki, I picked up my shit with hard-earned ease and left and never looked back. Good bye strange life, adios wooden tables and cinders in the giant firepit, au revoir regular pee spot (everywhere and anywhere), peace short buses (you were very good to me), later cook shack and wash stands, bye bye puddles as deep and wide as the open sea. This time away has been good for me, beyond measure, beyond words, beyond any form of articulation.

I am haggard and tired, I hardly know how to write. For the past two weeks I have been collecting words and faces, stockpiling things that made me laugh to the point of near death on many early morning bus rides to the Block and then back home again. I will miss the wind, I will miss the grey days, I will miss the feeling of honest labor, I will miss the meeting of eyes in mirrors in the morning, I will miss black coffee, I will miss meals shared around real tables, I will miss drawing with Mel, I will miss prepping vegetables on days off, I will miss long drives in the night, I will miss listening to musical best friends (Cat Power is my homegirl) on the bus and dancing like a wild demon, unabashed, always. I will miss it, and that is that.

I will even miss screaming unmentionable Savage Garden songs at the top of my lungs at 5:47 in the morning.

To be home is so strange. I am floating in disbelief.

As I sit curled in normal clothes in my mum's office, listening to the hum of the washing machine (colors, whites in the dryer) and the sounds of summer evenings in the country, thinking back to getting dressed this morning under a tarp in the pouring rain, naked as a jay bird in only my rubber boots is unreal. I am home now, clean clothed, well fed, mothered, fathered, grandmothered, grandfathered, pork tenderloined, midddle parted and wild eyed. I am wild eyed, there is no other way to describe it. I have one trillion things to write down, one million things to draw, one billion regrets for being sans camera, I long for a quiet retreat in the bush oddly enough. But damn, it feels good to be back treading on the familiar hardwood floors of my childhood haunt. For obvious and noteable reason, my head is all the fuck over the map but I feel good, clear and happy. I am home. I am me again. I found her out there and roped in old Meg. I am back.

To whomever lays eyes on this, I am coming to hunt you down. I need the red booth, I need tiger tiger icecream with my Frin, I need to pour over ridiculous fashion magazines with my Babs, I need to curl up under handmade blankets with Rags, I need to meet baby Rollin, I need Sunday breakfast with Ruthless, I need clever banter with Andrew, I need to hold my Maiya Papaya until my knees give out, I need espresso like there is no tomorrow and I need to rip on my goddamned Jessica Alba. I took the Surly out for a spin as soon as supper was consumed and barely digested and we rode and we rode and we rode. I can't WAIT to ride in rushhour.

With nine crossed fingers (and one mysteriously semi-broken one), I am praying for clever musings to come. I have to write, I need to write, I will write.

I'm commmmmmmmmmmmmmmming.

I miss. I have missed. I am missing.
All, everyone, all the time missing.


I will be in the red booth in t-minus, as soon as I get everything down on paper. You know the drill. I smell a writing retreat. Oh, I also need to dance. Hard. And I really, really need Girl Club.