Friday, February 25, 2011

For my mom.

You inspire me. Have fun in Bali ma and pa!

Ma Chambre.

Giles, here are some preliminary photos of the room I spend the most time in these days (when I am not ass wiping or chiseling onion). My chambre. Sham Bra, a work in forever progress. I hung my two favorite coats above my bed to remind myself upon waking that winter won't last forever. JJ found me that incredible Croc Slaying hat (I have been watching too many minutes of Swamp People for inspiration) on our last thrifting hustle in Pie IX. Pee Neuf. Wow, I had not cruised for clothes in so long. It was crazy to fly through aisles and look up to see Loco and JJ doing the same thing! The three of us, thrifting. What a delight.

The weeks are WHIPPING by; sand through finger time. My portfolio is ALLLLLLMOST done-- hallelujah. One more stencil to whip up tonight after my last Pain Tolerance study at McGill. Last night I stencilled late into the night (two o'clock rock) and I cannot even begin to explain the feeling of standing outside on my back balcony (yes, we have two!) spray painting away onto the last of the maple veneer I had saved from Erin and Rude's wedding invitations. Title page, you are fucking out. Swamphand is really coming together. I hope to publish it someday. Lofty, but hopeful.

This weekend is bound to be ready, set, WILD with all the Pieces in my life celebrating, with my first Nuit Blanche (woohooo! Montreal throws wide the doors of all art institutions, hosting art parties all over the city. Galleries and transportation are free for the taking). I am going to take, take, take it alllll in as Lola's left wing. I have a hunch the Cat mask that Erin sent in her last epic package will be making a sly appearance. Anyway, I am going to finish this thang tonight, once and for all. While walking out the door for work, Virginie reminded me kindly that it probably won't be a stencil that makes or breaks my acceptance to Concordia. It was nice to hear. She is right. Everything else is finito.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fanny B. do me.

These illustrations by Fanny B. are top notch. Such a pretty handle on color, so soft. Fanny B. do me. Click to link, I think. Too much time spent on the internet, cruising. Time to take a rest and read something perceptible by touch.


Incendies was the best film I have seen all year. Maybe even ever. All this planting talk inspired me to light my fires again. Here are some photos of a giant fireside, shot after a long day in the land. Nothing beats a cold Lucky beside the fire in summer, hands stained with soil.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Three turds on a bench.

The Great Diaper Rip Off photos by Daryl Reimer. I miss Fartass and Lardass. Here we are, on a bench. Diapers are for the weak. Milky thought this was pretty hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiighlarious by the looks of things.

Love your sister, Tardass.

Five bells.

First and foremost, happy birthday to Jill where ever you may be. I received both your and Liza's packages on the SAME day and both contained scraps of fabric "to inspire". Inspiring indeed, thanks women! You know me too well.

Second, Le Poulet is fast asleep and I am worrrrrrrrking hard on the last details of my portfolio. Well not really, but I am thinking about them.

Third, here is the last portfolio list for those interested.

To do's
- concoct a title page for Swamphand
- sew book cover in muslin
- finish hand writing Letter of Intent for Print p.
- cut two address stencils for front
- spraypaint on stationary
- draw up table of content

And then it will be finished. That is not that much work! Leo's ma challenged me to finish by Monday at 5 (here I am, typing away, not working on anything as per). We shook on it. I will be close to done by the time five bells toll.

Yesterday I played host to Miss Ollie (who is such a dolly), her ma and pa Dayna and Gareth, as well as Jordan and JJ! An after work Sunday party in my home! How nice. They creeped behind me in a rental as I blasted home from another excellent EM kitchen shift with Simon. While walking, I was sure my name was being called but as I know absolutely no one in this town with a car, I didn't think to look. It was them, the whole lot, Olive in a peacoat. Dream face that girl. I took one million photos of her while she sipped out of a tiny glass bottle like a big girl (such a big girl!) and ate animal crackers from Auntie Kim (my ma) off the table. They live in New York now and I hadn't seen them in so long. It was a great evening.

JJ in all her womanly glory fed us crepes sweet and savory and afterwards, one cold winter walk with Lola and we were home in our home, culling closets and roosting on my bed like sisters. I miss my sister. It felt so right to sit at my desk in my lovely the Future is Now Now Now Now room drawing tiny rabbits on muslin, listening to Kurt Vile SO LOUD with headphones while Lo ripped through her half of our ADJOINED closet. I know! Amazing. Dream living at Casa Clark! I worked late into the night, sewing the Hare stamps (posted below) still wet with red and black ink onto the front of my giant stationary. This is a solid portfolio, even better than last year. I am proud of it.

Yesterday at EM, I fantasized for the entire day about becoming a planting cook. Next summer. Where? I am not sure. Jillian are you with me? We would KILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL it and be such good mamas to all those hungry bears. I daydreamed of big vats of soup (my specialty), porridge and cowboy coffee in the morning for the early birds, prepping with jazz and headphones at 330 in the morning beside Jill, both of us haggard and wearing funny aprons, the kitchen trailer doors thrown wide.

I think my planting days might be over. This chokes me to type, but it is true. My wrists ache after the weekend shift and this is from slamming a shovel into the earth 3000 times per day. It takes a toll and cooking is more important to me than planting. But damn! I love to plant (even the shit). It is bonkers how many times a day I get sucked into a private visual daydream depicting a specific piece of land. I can walk it in my mind, tossing flag, scooping up sphagnum with one hand, planting the best damn tree in a neat trench, wading through swamp with a black cloud of black flies (deadly bastards) above my head. It is there in my mind, all laid out in nature's splendor, plain as day. Goodbye hardest work I have ever done, hello a new challenge. A little woman cooking for 50 planters! I want that and it is definitely something I will do in my lifetime. Who knows when.

Working in this kitchen has taught me so much already about food management and longevity, waste reduction, proper knife skills, tricks for ultimate efficiency, and the importance of rotation. Food costing/ordering has always been something I struggle with, as I tend to cook to order (fancy one off meals rather than food planning for an entire week of meals), but it is imperative I learn. I am learning, slowly. Anyway, it is a really great job and about to get a lot more interesting now that the head chef has called it quits. Cooking breakfast to order is a gong show sometimes. I prefer to prep and keep the boys in a rhythm, it is a healthy challenge. I was only berated a few times yesterday (in french and english) for petty mistakes, things I should know but don't, little slips, unnecessary waste, being too slow (the WORST reason to be tisked), spilling potatoes burning hot (this was due to me being incredibly awkward while pulling a huge rack of hash and roasted vegetables from the massive convection oven and trying to fill the empty pan in the low grill oven. Very awkward. I don't mind being yelled at, it helps for information to sink in faster. I like the kitchen banter though, and even in the shit (and by this I mean during the peak of the brunch rush from 11-2) I am learning french (and english) How exciting! Life in the kitchen is bon.

Below is a found photo of my grandmother, Helen Helen Helen with "a Viet refugee in 1981" as it is written on the back of the photo. Grandma, you still got it! Super sass, those sunglasses are huge! Miss you like stenk.

Rabbit Lièvre.

These stamps inspired the right hand stamp corner of my giant stationary portfolio. This is the fruit of last night's late night labor. More to come.

Friday, February 18, 2011

La Vie en Bleu?

Fast Portraits.

Sigillum Civitatis Novi Eboraci is latin for Seal of New York City. I found the most amazing stamp with this spelled out upon it, on Wednesday while cruising with Leo downtown. Stamp Centrale is a stamp shop, one of the best I have ever seen. The stamp I picked up caught my eye as we hopped out of the bus. I can never resist a good crest.

French radio is ON. I made myself a mean latte (espresso machine at work? PARTY) and some porridge. Life is good, today is Friday, day one of my work week. Oddly enough, I am looking forward to my kitchen shifts this weekend. Olive, Dayna and Gareth are making a Montreal appearance from New York! I have also decided to finish my portfolios come hell or high water BY SUNDAY.

Moving on.

Now I am at Leo's house after the greatest day off yesterday. Yesterday morning I woke later than usual (hallelujah for a good 9:00 am sleep in) to chirping birds and blue Montreal skies. I puttered around the house, wiping walls, cleaning this and that, and enjoying the simplicity of a shower in the morning light (never happens). Actually it was completely wonderful to spend time in my home during the day, something I haven't done at all since moving in to Casa Clark. Busy lady, these days. My day off was long booked to get my printwork done for the photography portfolio. I had it printed by a handsome French man bright and early leaving me footloose and fancy free for the entire day. I blasted downtown in the late morning, under the warm sun, filling up a third roll and shooting fast portraits along the way. I just felt sharp yesterday, not sure where it came from but it was welcomed. Took quite a few fast portraits of dudes on the street in front of the PA grocery (one of the dudes was wearing a dirty butcher smock; ten points for bloody photography), of an old woman in a bus shelter, of ongoing street work, of the Great Melt!

Come to think of it, I woke to Spring! How nice, the day that winter broke: February 17th, 2011. Once I was downtown, I stopped in at Gap, picked up a new shirt as my wardrobe has been ultra slim these days. A nice pink smock for Spring, how lovely. Went to pick up a fresh crop of prints but they were not ready, damn! I walked so far just for that. Oh well, good thing I did! On my way back to Mile End, I rounded the corner at St. Catherine and was hustling up McGill College when a beautiful Mercedes Benz school bus against a well-lit city/mountain facade caught my eye. I ran into the street, took my shot and was heading onwards when a little man with a round head waving maniacally from inside the bus caught my eye. Snapping an imagined camera. Normally, I am wary of this type of frantic waving, especially when shooting someone who does not want to be photographed! Yikes, run. I have before. But this little man looked kind so I hopped aboard the giant Benz when he threw the door wide for me.

There is something about busses these days. I love busses (maybe such fondness comes from my time in the bush). AMAZING things can happen in a bus, trust me.

To my great delight, sitting inside the bus were two gentlemen. Paul and Jack. They were so curious about my analog camera, about my entire look which they thought was hysterical. "Where is your winter coat?", asked Jack. "She is from Winnipeg!", said Paul. Yes, I am. No need for a hat or gloves or Gortex yesterday, it was balmy as hell! I hung out with them inside Paul's bus for a good half hour, laughing my head off, peppering them with questions. Turns out they were dog fucking, waiting for their Granny Group to file out of the big Cathedral where they were currently being serenaded by an afternoon opera. Or something.

We talked shop, talked bus driving (they loved a story I had about driving a Crew bus for the first time in the bush, high as a kite and having to keep up with Birdman while bombing down logging roads), about Winnipeg (bless that town), about their little wives, life as a young anglo in Frenchtown. With that said, I have really been struggling with my lack of language here. No more tears are to be shed over not being able to communicate, it is time to take action and do something about it. French class! Anyway, they were so incredible kind to me as proud Quebecois themselves, encouraging me to learn while I am young or to simply be proud of the language I do speak.

We ended our bus hangout with some serious portraits inside the big Benz, one of Paul at the wheel (I ran out of film on my way there [dummy, always pack film] and was shooting over a roll I had already shot over, triple exposures are always sloppy, but I was desperate to take their picture). Who knows if Paul and Jack's BFF portrait in front of the huge bus turns out. I am praying it does. They were such amazing sports. At one point after I had lured them out of their spot in the bus, they were arranging themselves for another shot when I asked Jack to put his arm around his friend. Jack yelled out to me, his english french heavy, "Mon DIEU! We have worked together for thirty years and never touched before!". I asked them to hold hands. They refused. I forget what I all shot, lots of them laughing.

As I blew through film, laughing and charmed by my two surprising subjects, I thought of Aunty Marj and how she was able to orchestrate the craziest wedding party tableaus, organize huge group shots down to the most intimate baby portraits. She could make ten babies in a row laugh, never mind getting two old gentlemen to agree to holding hands in front of a bus. I am learning that I too have this ability to charm and relax people while shooting. It is in me, I learned it from watching her and my own photographer ma (I miss shooting weddings with you) put people together and make magic happen. Camera magic wand.

Paul gave me his business card when I asked where I could send their portraits to. "Here, send it to this address. Andrew will make sure we get it". You got it! Jack was embarrassed to tell me he didn't own a computer but I assured him I was more of a snail mail woman myself. This is why I shoot. Yesterday is why I shoot. Paul and Jack's kindness affirmed something in me that I had been questioning for a while: can I really do this? Most definitely.

Photos to come.

And to Lisa, Maude and Giles, it is only now (10:28 am) that I remembered our fourtop conversation last night. I was fast asleep, lost in dreamland, sighing and laughing along with you. Sleep came so quickly afterwards, your voices in my ears. Miss you all so dearly.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Friends of Winnipegtown.

Came across these old beauties snapped during a very scandalous and sexy time in life one January long ago. Andrew, Alfie, Rebecca. We used to meet at the Toad for breakfast with churchgoing enthusiasm. Good times in Winnipegtown winter. Miss you all!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tulip cookies.

I am happy to report that after I returned home from Leo's, clarity was found and leeway was made. The Print Media portfolio is very nearly finished, hallelujah. 15 rock solid pieces, most of which are new (this surprised me yesterday as I weeded through the past, plucking this and that, all the while throwing in the most surprising things). But it is strong, a single voice. My voice, my hand, my eye, I can really draw! Sometimes I straight up disagree with that, and other days I am pleased with what has come to fruition over the course of a year. Apparently, I have been drawing. It was interesting comparing the two portfolios on my bed, what change!

Yesterday was a difficult day with Leo, trying to stay out of Nelia the cleaning lady's way (hard to do with a one year old sometimes), with Mama Dance with your Baby class being cancelled, trying to kill time, trying not to sleep standing up. Anyway, an after work evening at my sewing machine was in order. Sainte Valentine swung by while I was out! JJ (bless your heart [shaped cookies]), delivered two Valentine care packages, personalized with mine and Lo's names. What a friend, that woman. Thanks girl.

Frin and I just hung up after a good and long conversation. It was midnight for her, lying on her royal bed starfished beside her man in Bali; eleven morning time for me, lying plank on Virginie's couch in Montreal. Talking to each other's sister. Oh man that was nice. I started bawling (all I do these days it seems!) five seconds in, I miss you Erin! I loved hearing Bali stories. It was so easy to listen to her familiar voice in the middle of a rice paddy and picture her BLASTING around Chatuchack Market, the bottom hems of YSL t-shirts pat pat patting her head as she raced from stall to stall. No one is a better or faster shopper than my sister. Oh Erin, happy honeymooning to you and Rude!

Below are some things I have been working on. The top image was something I drew before I left for the Plant in spring, must have been around Easter. I would kill for one of Grandma's tulip cookies today. Anyway, these are works in progress, some of which will be incorporated somehow into the non and photography related collections. Enjoy.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Orange you glad.

I am upset with myself. Ugly crying face. Quit crying, start working. Okaaaaaaaaay.

After working on a fabric component for one of my portfolios for three hours last night, I excitedly turned it inside right to lay it smooth. Fuck. I spent such careful time on it, happily sewing away in perfect Annie Kroeker lines, the two fabrics pinned neatly. I was so proud of my work; only to do it wrong. I thought of Lisa as anger welllllllled up, and then yelled to no one, "BRAIN FUCKING BREAK" and turned it inside out and lay it back down on my cleared work table. I walked out of my room and put my boots on. Okay, brain break. It was ten thirty by this point, I was exhausted and delusional from the Valentines mayhem prep shift at Em Cafe just hours before.

Seriously, it is a miracle I didn't chop off any fingers. I have never worked so fast in my life. Never been so frantic with a knife, just FLYING to keep up with Benoit and Simon as they slammed out plate after plate for the hungry lovers in the front of house. Screaming Valentines babies, hot bacon. I hooked a thumb against the lip of a rack of bacon inside the oven as it slipped out of my dry cloth and jerked it back fast knowing the wrath of Ben if I were to need medical attention while we flew through the SHIT. So I put my burning thumb in mouth and then into the cool of the crook of my elbow, looked at Ben and dove back in. No time for tears or burning flesh. WORK!

I worked the right side of the kitchen all day and didn't have time to breathe or take a sip. Peeing was out of the question. Benoit forwent his cigarette which is really saying something. It was busy, very, very busy. Anyway, I was bone tired from cooking over the weekend, from not sleeping much, from worrying but I knew a walk was in order after the sewing slip. My Brain Break consisted of a hunt for food, and a long walk through the sleepy streets of my neighborhood. It was snowing heavily and everything was glowing orange in that quiet city way. Craned neck bundled in Tony Chestnut hanging back against the collar of Giles' grey Club Mon. Mild winter nights walk. It was nice.

I miss the dark of the country, the way the lay of the land looks at dusk in Northern Ontario, the quiet glow of my tent for one.

For one please. Not having much time to whittle these days, I took myself to breakfast before the madness began yesterday morning and worked on what felt like the eight millionth draft of my Letter of Intent for the photography portfolio. Again, I came up empty handed, dissatisfied with my progress. Until that day of enlightenment rolls around, I HAVE to keep tossing out the shit and dwelling on the good. Cal style, positive until death. I have to be. Again and again and again, this is where I lie. Dissatisfied with my process/gress. And yet I cannot seem to find what it is I am waiting for. It will come, it has to.

While writing one draft, I caught eyes with a handsome man across the room (two actually). One of them was Jerry. Interested, he ambled over to my spot by the window and bellied up. "Nice to see a young woman using a quill", he barked into my coffee. He settled himself in the chair across from me and I looked deep into his white beard. We became fast friends (I continue to find it so much easier to befriend the Elderly of Montreal than the young) fast. We have a date next weekend. He is in his seventies. Perfect. I almost turned inside out when he announced to the near empty eatery that I was an artist (or so he assumed). It is funny how audible reminders of these sort sit within me at times. Sometimes I just forget until reminded. Oh yes, I AM an artist. A maker. Thanks Jerry, I needed that.

Sleepless in Mile End, Margot. Below is a scan from my drawing book. I was clearly enlightened, it was the birth of the Lady Longbodies on paper. Those are the best moments to pen. Moments of enlightenment. It will come. It must!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wind in her sails.

Oh Megan Dawn,

I just read your blog and tears are running down my old auntie cheeks! What beautiful writing. How horribly tragic to have to leave the arms of your new love(r) and your mother and your bride sister. I might be weeping till you return! Thanks for sharing those words with the world and me. You will be great. You will be fine. You will be strong and good. You are great and fine and strong and good. Know it. And know that your Auntie Marj loves you and weeps with/for you these days of taking your leave. Leaving is hard, but oh, the joy of saying hello. Only those who know the pain of saying good-bye to those we love can know the joy of hello.
Be safe, dear niece.

I love you.

Auntie Marj

This was the last letter I received from my Auntie Marj. I am overcome with sadness today. Leo looked at me in half horror, half wonder as I wept through my morning dishes, through his slop breakfast and my coffee. It's okay, she is all around us. "I fought tears with every cloud we flew through, wondering if she felt anything on her way to Heaven". Just wind in her sails, Ma. Just wind in her sails. Grief is not something that dissipates quickly, it stews on like soup, opening and closing within like a great tap. Today my grief tap is wide open. Heart pouring, eyes pouring, nose pouring, lots of pain. I hope my sobs don't wake the baby. Jen, Sara, Kate, Billy, Uncle Jim, in the words of your lady: You will be great. You will be fine. You will be strong and good. You are great and fine and strong and good. Know it.

The amount of times I have read those words over and over are innumerable. Marj had such a way with words, such a way with comfort. Distance was never an issue, her love travelled far and wide. I am so sad for everyone that is aching for this woman today, yesterday, three years from now. Right now.

Miss you dearly, tante.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sweet Potato and Sausage.

Keeping the last soup I made (and wrecked with a triple glug of soy sauce) in mind, I decided to try my hand at soup making once more today. Leo and I had to get out of the house this morning (schleeeeeeemtown, holy cow) so with no real errands to run, I whipped up a grocery list for one of Deb's magical soups from my favorite cooking post called Smitten Kitchen (click on it to pull up the recipe) and off we went to 4 Freres, trekking through the snow.

Deb of Smitten Kitchen is a wizard. I like her style of cooking, not to mention her quality food photography. Anytime I have a few things on hand in the fridge that need a choppin', it is her website to which I turn. Got a big squash kicking around? Sage risotto! Extra tomatoes lying in wait? Bruchetta! Goodness me, I love to cook. But most of all, I love to make soup. It was my job for a year a few years ago, so I should damn well know how to make a beautiful pot of soup. So I did. My mama would be proud. This one had all the elements today, I think I nailed it! Savory stock, spicy (from the hot Portuguese sausage), smooth (white beans), tangy, slippery (in a good way from the fresh spinach dumped in at the end), diced potatoes three ways (white, red and sweet). I knew it was going to be a good pot by the way of the roux. Damn! Translucent onions and garlic just bathing away in the spicy fat from the browned sausage. Oh baby. This might sound weird, but long ago someone told me a good potato soup should always chirp. And it chirped! Like tiny birds in a nest in the center of my heavy bottomed pot. I don't really know how to explain the ins and outs of a chirping soup, you can just hear it. Perhaps it is the way of the potatoes. Today I let them brown up a bit with the onion and garlic instead of adding them to the stock (as I have in the past). I found the subtle switch in the order of operations gave the flavor of the potatoes a bit more depth. Smoky and salty. Yum.

I don't really know what I am talking about, but I know a good soup when I taste one. Off to deliver soup to the sick (JJ, hang in there), just as my mother taught us to. Now, if only I knew how to make her white buns... Anyhow, it was utterly wonderful to make a huge pot (still simmering away as I write while the baby sleeps on), elbow deep in dishes and prep work while laughing at Leo cruising around babbling like a baboon and entertaining himself. I made sure to put up the baby fence to separate the kitchen from the living/dining room which infuriated him to no end. But knowing that kid, he would have pulled the whole pot off the stove. Little chicken! Always better to be safe than sorry. I have been feeling so matronly of late. Maybe it is Leo and his latest thing--injuring himself mildly, wailing and running with open arms for reassurance and tenderness--but I cannot resist those snuggly little arms that want ME to hold HIM tight. So I do, just pouring every speck of love within me into this little boy. Looking forward to having my own babies someday, but for now this is just right.

Feels great to be back in the soup saddle! Hallelujah!

Monday, February 7, 2011


Fresh copy of Vogue, a bowl of tomato bisque, a sleeping Poulet; what a morning we have had together. We hit the road this morning for an early disco dance class at the Y (I know, my life is a joke sometimes) for Mama Dance with your Baby Monday. All of the regulars were there: the two sexy Filipino nannies with their tiny squires, Jules and BOBO who are both two years (best name ever. Borris, aka Bobo is my dream son, seriously, he is the most beautiful creature I have ever seen. A long haired child who is smart as a whip), my new friend Annie and her delicious baby daughter Elly (9 months), Grandma Rose and her starcrossed granddaughter Sophie (15 months), Michelle the dance teacher and Leo and I. It was the best class we have had so far. Leo had a meltdown about halfway into our disco lesson and just had a niiiiiiice lie down on the gym floor. Tired Poulet. I danced my hardest. It is so easy to pump up babies. Erin, if you would have been a fly on the gym wall today, you would have seen me in overalls running big circles around Leo and Bobo, the three of us flapping our arms like tiny birds. I love kids so much, it is ridiculous. I love my job so much, it is also ridiculous.

After class, I cruised around town with Leo on my back running errands, mailing letters (Olive, your doll is on it's way!), grocery shopping and coffee drinking. We stopped in to say hi to Stacy (because she loves Leo) at Naverino, Lo's counter. Neither of them were there, so the Poulet ate Nutrios (healthy Cheerios) off the table like a big boy and I poured coffee down my gullet. We were both pooped after class and it was nice to sit alone with my guy and watch people go about their day at the local coffeeshop. Blue haired grannies talking sharp french in between slurps of coffee, purple haired tripping teens on lunch break making faces at the baby. It was so nice when Leo finally gave up trying to get down and just slumped back against me, both of us in a state of rest and relaxation. Those moments are few and far between these days. We are too busy doing the disco or having BM's or refusing baby slop for lunch. But I just love my Leo and the thought of this way of life coming to an end makes me cry (right now, sudden tears).

Grandma called last night (thanks for checking up on me) and laughed and asked if I was falling in love with Leo. Yup. I am. Du best in shinda (spelling?). You little turkey. My little turkey is right. He keeps me laughing and on my toes. Today he took a slug of cat water even though I made my best effort to stop him. He went for it, hands out stretched. After that, we washed the kitchen floor at my new home on our hands and knees (he tried drinking that water too. Thirsty much?) and then made lunch. It was wonderful to chase him around with my camera in my own home. Leo terrorized the cat and I couldn't help but pause my cleaning to marvel at how fast he is growing. It seems that with each passing day, I am learning the value of my job. All I have to do is hand him back alive at the end of the day, what goes on up until that point is up to us. These days we walk around outside a lot. Leo takes in the world from his position on my back and I delight in the faces of people we pass as they delight in Leo's.

Okay, enough baby talk. Portfolio. Still waiting for clarity, still waiting to feel the Letters of Intent boil up and over their position in my brain and spill onto the cardstock looseleaf I have readied for when that time comes. I have to make two books, find a way to present my selected 8 x12" prints in a really interesting way, fill out some paperwork, sew sew sew. All that and more. Lots of projects these days. I shot my first photo with the Russian last night after making my way to my room after a Lady Dinner with Lo and JJ. A picture of my desk, where I spend every minute that I am not at work.

Kitchen update: the work is getting easier. Or I am relaxing into an environment that I have long befriended. This kitchen at EM Cafe is beautiful. They have one of those bonkers Wolf ranges with the industrial cook and flattop that I would just loove to get down with as well as a 20K oven. I shine her up every shift even though Simon laughs at me when I do it. "An oven this expensive deserves to shine" and it does when I am done with it. I am picking up a tiny bit of french from Benoit and Munshi (a lovely man from Bangladesh who knows nearly 5 languages. He is so modest and kind. Munshi is the weekend dishwasher and likes to give me a hard time about my crappy French). We laugh a lot, or I laugh at the boys. After years of cooking with women, it is really nice to be the only one with lady parts in the kitchen. Hear me roar. Saturday I was forced onto the line with Ben, much to my terror and chagrin. But I managed to keep my head above the poach waters and keep my plates clean and orderly. Calling orders for the grill was still awkward as hell, but it is coming easier. Sunday I was back on prep and it was a mellow day. My hunger for a place in the kitchen is being satiated on a weekend basis. Now that I have been working plenty again, I look forward to starting the week with my disco dance partner more than ever.

Life is good. Happy travels Erin, Rudy, Milky, Ma and Pa. Miss you all. Place a drink with a fancy umbrella on the table in my name s'il vous plait. Gotta run, the chicken has risen and is jumping on the bed.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

J'ai des rayures noires.

Dug these babies up while pining for the sun here in Montreal. Oh sweet summer how I miss your warm light.

Sunny and the strawberry.

One two three four projects going on at once on Leo's dining room table. Currently the Poulet is entertaining himself with a long piece of twine that he found god knows where, my Wigwam toque and one project out of four: Sunny, a new Year of the Rabbit rabbit made just for Avery (Leo is breaking it in). So far reviews have been starry and wordless--he keeps one rabbit foot in his mouth and the other in his hand, long rabbit ears and one arm holding a tiny strawberry dangling in protest. Oh sweet simple pleasures for a 14 month old.

Project two is my portfolio from last February. Leo's mama was interested in my process so I brought it along to work today and am looking forward to showing her the goods after 5 o'clock rock. Numero three is the new canvas envelope that I sewed last night after a hysterical stint and copious cups of late night coffee with my new roommate Lo. It is a work in progress with scallops and some pretty floral. It is a good direction, but not quite there yet. On the Re, big temps. Project no. 4 isn't really so much of a project but more of an order of operations. I have some 120 TMX film sitting waiting to be loaded into the Kiev.

I am so relieved that the portfolio has begun to take a sliver of shape! Hallelujah, praise the many moons and the new batch of Jean Guy and Indoor Earle jazz that arrived right around the time Lo and I were settled around the table yesterday evening, laughing in disbelief that we are now living together after years apart. Double hallelujah. It feels good to be home.

Here is a photo of the Poulet et moi (et Sunny, one Year of the Rabbit rabbit in a million to come for tots everywhere). Sunny, the new Sophie (does anyone else know about that weird rubber giraffe thing that was the cool thing for teething babies? Dayna knows, Olive had one. Leo has one. Sophie the giraffe, they are everywhere in Outremont, daycare, Mile End). Okay, we need to get out of the house, close a few doors on some of these projects for a while. And one more of my latest work in progress, Margot Polo's giant cloth stationary. Get ready 2011.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New baby.

A new Russian baby has been safely delivered into these mother arms. My Kiev arrived this afternoon. With a mewing Leo strapped tight to the contraption on my back, we trudged through mountains of fresh powdered sugar steadily falling from the sky. Just when I thought Leo and I were out of the winter woods, the snow came with a vengeance. But that is just fine, it will melt and Spring will come and we will blast through town with the orange stroller once more. Let me assure you, it was well worth the trudge! Oh my goodness, I am so very thrilled.

After a blast lunch (white fish cheeks, polenta 'shmash hair, pea chin, raspberry lips), I tossed the boychild into his sleeper, fed him well and then closed the door only after singing Joni Mitchell's 'A Case of You' three times. What a guy. He was intrigued by the monster camera staring at us as we ate at the high counter. Touche pas, Poulet. You wish! While he slept I hurried through a staggering To Do list and fast folded some laundry. When the house was presentable, I sat down with this new beast and felt it out.

My camera know-how is slim. As luck has it, I shoot on a feeling with a fairly consistent turn out. Lucky. This thing, well, yikes. Luck is not going to cut it. I have a lot to learn. But within the last hour I figured out how to open the back, figure out the spooling, how to mount the viewfinder hood, focus. I am still lost on how to release the shutter as there is no shutter lock up (it is amazing what one takes for granted, yet another lesson). So, once I figure that out, I will be ready to load and then shoot! Party.

As I carried the giant box home from the post, Leo and I sang (well I sang, he shrieked against the blowing snow) the song my Grandma used to sing to me (miss you dearly) when I was small enough to ride upon her back:

Chickeree chick
Tra la, tra lee
Chicker ra roni
Anna Bananica
Bolica wolika
Can't you see?!
Chickeree chick
Is me!

Below is a photo of my new child, fresh off the boat! Welcome to Madgeland. Clearly, I am excited! One more photobooth shot for good measure. I have a small head to begin with, but this camera is plum HUMUNGEOUS. Lord only knows what will all be captured through this lens. Off to hold my other child who just woke from his afternoon slumber.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Teen dream.

Once upon a teen dream, I went to Thailand with my sister. I was 18 and she was 19. It was a hectic trip, an amazing one! Next week around this time, my whole family will be lying on this very beach on Koh Phangan. Wish I was going with them, holy shit we would laugh! Sadly it is not in the cards this fiscal year, but I will return to Thailand again. Have an amazing trip turds!