All the Poetry I’ve Been Missing

This week has been a struggle. I’ve had just enough energy to survive the work day, and all I care to do is come home and lay down. All of my resources are tapped, and there’s not an ounce of creativity in me. Several lovely people have pointed out that perhaps I need this time where absolutely nothing is going on. I suppose that’s true. I also need a money truck to back up to my patio and unload it’s contents. And I need an all-expense paid, month long vacation in Italy.

And I need someone. Just a little.

I haven’t felt like that in a long time. I’ve wanted people for many of the wrong reasons. I’ve behaved like I need someone there most of the time. I’ve acted like I just can’t make do without someone to flirt with, and what have you. I haven’t really needed someone. It’s possible to continue to get by quite well on my own, and the idea of a summer of absolute freedom is not without its own allure, but I’m starting to wonder exactly what I’m doing.

There are certain things I need to address, and work harder towards resolving before I can really look someone in the eye and say “Yeah. This could work.” This is the major reason why I continue to be a singleton. I’m ok with this, it’s time, but there’s something about being sick, and feeling vulnerable to the point where you miss cuddling your mom that makes you kind of look at the bigger picture.

I haven’t had a lot of single time in my adult life. I’m coming out of two major relationships, back to back, and this time in my life feels like the fairly magical time when I was between high school and college. I felt free, and happy, and mad about my friends, and so very creative. The exception, of course, is this week.

Tell me, how does one make the most of the time they experience without a romantic partner in their life? I have my own formula, but I’m so curious to hear what else is out there. Are we confidant, and happy, and independent and fulfilled, or do we mask our loneliness by projecting these qualities?

Also, I’ve realized I’ve made bad on my promise to write poetry every day for April. In lieu of my own pathetic attempts, here is some poetry by a great master, as curated by some very good people that I know.

For you because I understand:

For you because you are true and noble:

For you because you inspire me:

For you, and our talks and spiced oranges:

For you, because I think you can hear my thoughts:

My current choice:

And one for your sad and beautiful eyes:

And for you because you are so sweet to me:


Coming At You Live from the Sick Bed

Thank you for being a friend...

Thank you for being a friend...

*This entry contains more colourful language. What can I say?

When I was little, whenever we would get sick, my mom would make us a sick bed. This would consist of draping a fresh, crisp sheet over the entire couch, and tucking it over us, then layering heavier blankets on top. She was also always at the ready with a fresh, cool pillow. A small footstool was at hand with Kleenex, a paper bag (for used Kleenex), a glass of ginger ale with ice and a straw, and sometimes a plastic bucket underneath. Today I’ve re-created this set up, sans bucket, and it is immensely comforting.

It seems I’m losing my week-long arm wrestle with this cold/flu thing. Despite my mother’s concerns, I’m fairly certain that it is not Swine flu…unless you can contract that from eating excessive amounts of bacon. (She also warned me this morning that ingesting raccoon feces can be fatal. I fear she may have some serious misconceptions about the kind of life I’m living here in Toronto…)

People have been kind in sending me various articles, videos, and other tidbits to amuse myself with, because in my typical needy, narcissistic way, I broadcast my illness to the world of Facebook, so I thought I’d share some of these distractions in case any of you are also feeling under the weather, and a little bit bored.

First, this very interesting article from my favourite spiritual adviser:

You can probably skip the video component, but here is the link to MSNBC.

The subject above really fascinates me, and I thought it was timely. Last night I attended a screening of feminist porn, sponsored by the Toronto store Good For Her. I was curious about what exactly made pornography feminist. I am not personally a fan of the standard in this genre, so I was hopeful it would be enlightening. Based on the examples we were given, feminist porn is largely geared towards lesbians. With a comfortable niche carved out by the trans-gendered community. The only hetero example was shot like a soap-opera, was definitely softer (on the core scale), but it rather felt like it was produced by the Harlequin people. Give me good ‘ol Anais Nin any day.

Moving along…

I rented the first season of Big Love, the HBO series. Fascinating stuff. Also timely, and topical. Imagine a matriarchal polygamist structure? This could really be something. Like the queen bee, and her workers, and honey makers. Yep. Something indeed…

Then I was directed to the Onion website. This was a bi-product of some Facebook Creeping. (Mom, Facebook Creeping is when you voyeuristically check out other people’s Facebook profiles.)

I found the following videos there, which made me laugh out loud:

Should We Be Doing More To Reduce The Graphic Violence In Our Dreams?

Study: Children Exposed To Pornography May Expect Sex To Be Enjoyable

In other exciting news: I was caught on the streetcar in the middle of a sandstorm yesterday, and the whole thing filled with dust; the raccoon on my patio is off today, but last night was brave enough to come close enough that I could almost touch him; The LUNCH BOX at Keele and Bloor makes the greatest vegetable beef soup in the entire world; I have not given up on my plan to go on a date with George Stroumboulopoulos; Toulouse lives on, but has now taken to hiding among my rack of costumes; and it may be the flu, but I think Bill Pullman is kind of sexy.

Wake Up Call

Morning Routine - Ed Bilodeau

Morning Routine - Ed Bilodeau

This morning I woke up twenty minutes before the alarm because someone was ringing my doorbell, insistently. My sleepy morning brain conjured all of these scenarios that included hand-delivered coffee, or flowers, or both, so I got out of bed and answered the door, only to find my neighbour’s father at the door, ringing the wrong bell.

He was picking her up for the airport, and she was not answering as he began pounding on the door to her apartment. It suddenly occurred to me that perhaps this man wasn’t her father at all. I went in my own place, and attempted to call her. Finally all of the noise woke her up. I hope she had packed the night before.

So here I am, up way earlier than I need to be. I like it though. With coffee, it will be perfect. I don’t feel rushed, and I like that I have time to write a few rambly thoughts here.

The raccoon is back too. He really likes that chair.

If you have never done so, I would encourage you to try writing down the first threads of conscious thought when you wake up in the morning. Don’t try to edit, just commit yourself to a page each day at first, and work your way up to three or more. This morning is illustrating how important it is to take some “me” time before facing the morning commute.

This morning has taught me a lesson in the importance of a morning routine, which admittedly has been frantic for me. How do other people first move into the waking world? Let me know!

My very old cat was diagnosed with diabetes this week. When I adopted him last summer, they thought he was 13. My vet thinks he’s quite a bit older, perhaps 17? I could start him on insulin, but it’s almost as much money as a rent payment to get that ball rolling. Not to mention the fact that I’d be giving a 90 year old cat needles every day. My other option is to keep him comfortable until he starts to experience pain. If he were a younger cat, the choice would be clear. I suppose now, I’m saying goodbye.

Toulouse is incredibly charming. A real lover-boy, with an alley cat air of elegance. He’s sensitive and tough, a great mouser, a good fighter, deeply affectionate, and highly perceptive of my moods. In some ways, over this last year (for that’s how long we’ve known each other) he’s come to feel like a familiar. When I adopted him, Animal Services said they were afraid he’d never find a home. I couldn’t believe we hadn’t found each other sooner.

So each day now, I feel really aware that it could be the last with the little guy. It’s bringing up all kinds of crazy “sense memories”. Is that the right term? When you experience the memory of feeling? I’ve been down this “terminal” road before, and it’s much easier it is to accept with a cat. A senior cat, at that. (No, I’m not trying to get Seussical here.)

He knows too. That’s the amazing part. He’s taken to curling up under the rack of Coquettes costumes in my bedroom and snoozing until he has me to sleep beside. He never used to be one for hiding, unless the dog was around. He’s also affectionate to the extreme. If I’m here, he needs to be on me or beside me at every second. I am indulging him everything right now.

If any of you have recommendations for incredible treats for felines, I’d love to hear them.

The weekend looks slow, and easy. I intend to relax, and take good care of my body, which was upset at me this week. Brunch, books, long walks, sunshine, coffee, girlfriends, rehearsal. This is my formula for self-preservation.

The Goblin Market

MORNING and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries; –
All ripe together
In summer weather, –
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.”

Evening by evening
Among the brookside rushes,
Laura bow’d her head to hear,
Lizzie veil’d her blushes:
Crouching close together
In the cooling weather,
With clasping arms and cautioning lips,
With tingling cheeks and finger tips.
“Lie close,” Laura said,
Pricking up her golden head:
“We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”
“Come buy,” call the goblins
Hobbling down the glen.

“Oh,” cried Lizzie, “Laura, Laura,
You should not peep at goblin men.”
Lizzie cover’d up her eyes,
Cover’d close lest they should look;
Laura rear’d her glossy head,
And whisper’d like the restless brook:
“Look, Lizzie, look, Lizzie,
Down the glen tramp little men.
One hauls a basket,
One bears a plate,
One lugs a golden dish
Of many pounds weight.
How fair the vine must grow
Whose grapes are so luscious;
How warm the wind must blow
Through those fruit bushes.”
“No,” said Lizzie, “No, no, no;
Their offers should not charm us,
Their evil gifts would harm us.”
She thrust a dimpled finger
In each ear, shut eyes and ran:
Curious Laura chose to linger
Wondering at each merchant man.
One had a cat’s face,
One whisk’d a tail,
One tramp’d at a rat’s pace,
One crawl’d like a snail,
One like a wombat prowl’d obtuse and furry,
One like a ratel tumbled hurry skurry.
She heard a voice like voice of doves
Cooing all together:
They sounded kind and full of loves
In the pleasant weather.

Laura stretch’d her gleaming neck
Like a rush-imbedded swan,
Like a lily from the beck,
Like a moonlit poplar branch,
Like a vessel at the launch
When its last restraint is gone.

Backwards up the mossy glen
Turn’d and troop’d the goblin men,
With their shrill repeated cry,
“Come buy, come buy.”
When they reach’d where Laura was
They stood stock still upon the moss,
Leering at each other,
Brother with queer brother;
Signalling each other,
Brother with sly brother.
One set his basket down,
One rear’d his plate;
One began to weave a crown
Of tendrils, leaves, and rough nuts brown
(Men sell not such in any town);
One heav’d the golden weight
Of dish and fruit to offer her:
“Come buy, come buy,” was still their cry.
Laura stared but did not stir,
Long’d but had no money:
The whisk-tail’d merchant bade her taste
In tones as smooth as honey,
The cat-faced purr’d,
The rat-faced spoke a word
Of welcome, and the snail-paced even was heard;
One parrot-voiced and jolly
Cried “Pretty Goblin” still for “Pretty Polly;” –
One whistled like a bird.

But sweet-tooth Laura spoke in haste:
“Good folk, I have no coin;
To take were to purloin:
I have no copper in my purse,
I have no silver either,
And all my gold is on the furze
That shakes in windy weather
Above the rusty heather.”
“You have much gold upon your head,”
They answer’d all together:
“Buy from us with a golden curl.”
She clipp’d a precious golden lock,
She dropp’d a tear more rare than pearl,
Then suck’d their fruit globes fair or red:
Sweeter than honey from the rock,
Stronger than man-rejoicing wine,
Clearer than water flow’d that juice;
She never tasted such before,
How should it cloy with length of use?
She suck’d and suck’d and suck’d the more
Fruits which that unknown orchard bore;
She suck’d until her lips were sore;
Then flung the emptied rinds away
But gather’d up one kernel stone,
And knew not was it night or day
As she turn’d home alone.

Lizzie met her at the gate
Full of wise upbraidings:
“Dear, you should not stay so late,
Twilight is not good for maidens;
Should not loiter in the glen
In the haunts of goblin men.
Do you not remember Jeanie,
How she met them in the moonlight,
Took their gifts both choice and many,
Ate their fruits and wore their flowers
Pluck’d from bowers
Where summer ripens at all hours?
But ever in the noonlight
She pined and pined away;
Sought them by night and day,
Found them no more, but dwindled and grew grey;
Then fell with the first snow,
While to this day no grass will grow
Where she lies low:
I planted daisies there a year ago
That never blow.
You should not loiter so.”
“Nay, hush,” said Laura:
“Nay, hush, my sister:
I ate and ate my fill,
Yet my mouth waters still;
To-morrow night I will
Buy more;” and kiss’d her:
“Have done with sorrow;
I’ll bring you plums to-morrow
Fresh on their mother twigs,
Cherries worth getting;
You cannot think what figs
My teeth have met in,
What melons icy-cold
Piled on a dish of gold
Too huge for me to hold,
What peaches with a velvet nap,
Pellucid grapes without one seed:
Odorous indeed must be the mead
Whereon they grow, and pure the wave they drink
With lilies at the brink,
And sugar-sweet their sap.”

Golden head by golden head,
Like two pigeons in one nest
Folded in each other’s wings,
They lay down in their curtain’d bed:
Like two blossoms on one stem,
Like two flakes of new-fall’n snow,
Like two wands of ivory
Tipp’d with gold for awful kings.
Moon and stars gaz’d in at them,
Wind sang to them lullaby,
Lumbering owls forbore to fly,
Not a bat flapp’d to and fro
Round their rest:
Cheek to cheek and breast to breast
Lock’d together in one nest.

Early in the morning
When the first cock crow’d his warning,
Neat like bees, as sweet and busy,
Laura rose with Lizzie:
Fetch’d in honey, milk’d the cows,
Air’d and set to rights the house,
Kneaded cakes of whitest wheat,
Cakes for dainty mouths to eat,
Next churn’d butter, whipp’d up cream,
Fed their poultry, sat and sew’d;
Talk’d as modest maidens should:
Lizzie with an open heart,
Laura in an absent dream,
One content, one sick in part;
One warbling for the mere bright day’s delight,
One longing for the night.

At length slow evening came:
They went with pitchers to the reedy brook;
Lizzie most placid in her look,
Laura most like a leaping flame.
They drew the gurgling water from its deep;
Lizzie pluck’d purple and rich golden flags,
Then turning homeward said: “The sunset flushes
Those furthest loftiest crags;
Come, Laura, not another maiden lags.
No wilful squirrel wags,
The beasts and birds are fast asleep.”
But Laura loiter’d still among the rushes
And said the bank was steep.

And said the hour was early still
The dew not fall’n, the wind not chill;
Listening ever, but not catching
The customary cry,
“Come buy, come buy,”
With its iterated jingle
Of sugar-baited words:
Not for all her watching
Once discerning even one goblin
Racing, whisking, tumbling, hobbling;
Let alone the herds
That used to tramp along the glen,
In groups or single,
Of brisk fruit-merchant men.

Till Lizzie urged, “O Laura, come;
I hear the fruit-call but I dare not look:
You should not loiter longer at this brook:
Come with me home.
The stars rise, the moon bends her arc,
Each glowworm winks her spark,
Let us get home before the night grows dark:
For clouds may gather
Though this is summer weather,
Put out the lights and drench us through;
Then if we lost our way what should we do?”

Laura turn’d cold as stone
To find her sister heard that cry alone,
That goblin cry,
“Come buy our fruits, come buy.”
Must she then buy no more such dainty fruit?
Must she no more such succous pasture find,
Gone deaf and blind?
Her tree of life droop’d from the root:
She said not one word in her heart’s sore ache;
But peering thro’ the dimness, nought discerning,
Trudg’d home, her pitcher dripping all the way;
So crept to bed, and lay
Silent till Lizzie slept;
Then sat up in a passionate yearning,
And gnash’d her teeth for baulk’d desire, and wept
As if her heart would break.

Day after day, night after night,
Laura kept watch in vain
In sullen silence of exceeding pain.
She never caught again the goblin cry:
“Come buy, come buy;” –
She never spied the goblin men
Hawking their fruits along the glen:
But when the noon wax’d bright
Her hair grew thin and grey;
She dwindled, as the fair full moon doth turn
To swift decay and burn
Her fire away.

One day remembering her kernel-stone
She set it by a wall that faced the south;
Dew’d it with tears, hoped for a root,
Watch’d for a waxing shoot,
But there came none;
It never saw the sun,
It never felt the trickling moisture run:
While with sunk eyes and faded mouth
She dream’d of melons, as a traveller sees
False waves in desert drouth
With shade of leaf-crown’d trees,
And burns the thirstier in the sandful breeze.

She no more swept the house,
Tended the fowls or cows,
Fetch’d honey, kneaded cakes of wheat,
Brought water from the brook:
But sat down listless in the chimney-nook
And would not eat.

Tender Lizzie could not bear
To watch her sister’s cankerous care
Yet not to share.
She night and morning
Caught the goblins’ cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy;” –
Beside the brook, along the glen,
She heard the tramp of goblin men,
The yoke and stir
Poor Laura could not hear;
Long’d to buy fruit to comfort her,
But fear’d to pay too dear.
She thought of Jeanie in her grave,
Who should have been a bride;
But who for joys brides hope to have
Fell sick and died
In her gay prime,
In earliest winter time
With the first glazing rime,
With the first snow-fall of crisp winter time.

Till Laura dwindling
Seem’d knocking at Death’s door:
Then Lizzie weigh’d no more
Better and worse;
But put a silver penny in her purse,
Kiss’d Laura, cross’d the heath with clumps of furze
At twilight, halted by the brook:
And for the first time in her life
Began to listen and look.

Laugh’d every goblin
When they spied her peeping:
Came towards her hobbling,
Flying, running, leaping,
Puffing and blowing,
Chuckling, clapping, crowing,
Clucking and gobbling,
Mopping and mowing,
Full of airs and graces,
Pulling wry faces,
Demure grimaces,
Cat-like and rat-like,
Ratel- and wombat-like,
Snail-paced in a hurry,
Parrot-voiced and whistler,
Helter skelter, hurry skurry,
Chattering like magpies,
Fluttering like pigeons,
Gliding like fishes, –
Hugg’d her and kiss’d her:
Squeez’d and caress’d her:
Stretch’d up their dishes,
Panniers, and plates:
“Look at our apples
Russet and dun,
Bob at our cherries,
Bite at our peaches,
Citrons and dates,
Grapes for the asking,
Pears red with basking
Out in the sun,
Plums on their twigs;
Pluck them and suck them,
Pomegranates, figs.” –

“Good folk,” said Lizzie,
Mindful of Jeanie:
“Give me much and many: –
Held out her apron,
Toss’d them her penny.
“Nay, take a seat with us,
Honour and eat with us,”
They answer’d grinning:
“Our feast is but beginning.
Night yet is early,
Warm and dew-pearly,
Wakeful and starry:
Such fruits as these
No man can carry:
Half their bloom would fly,
Half their dew would dry,
Half their flavour would pass by.
Sit down and feast with us,
Be welcome guest with us,
Cheer you and rest with us.” –
“Thank you,” said Lizzie: “But one waits
At home alone for me:
So without further parleying,
If you will not sell me any
Of your fruits though much and many,
Give me back my silver penny
I toss’d you for a fee.” –
They began to scratch their pates,
No longer wagging, purring,
But visibly demurring,
Grunting and snarling.
One call’d her proud,
Cross-grain’d, uncivil;
Their tones wax’d loud,
Their look were evil.
Lashing their tails
They trod and hustled her,
Elbow’d and jostled her,
Claw’d with their nails,
Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking,
Tore her gown and soil’d her stocking,
Twitch’d her hair out by the roots,
Stamp’d upon her tender feet,
Held her hands and squeez’d their fruits
Against her mouth to make her eat.

White and golden Lizzie stood,
Like a lily in a flood, –
Like a rock of blue-vein’d stone
Lash’d by tides obstreperously, –
Like a beacon left alone
In a hoary roaring sea,
Sending up a golden fire, –
Like a fruit-crown’d orange-tree
White with blossoms honey-sweet
Sore beset by wasp and bee, –
Like a royal virgin town
Topp’d with gilded dome and spire
Close beleaguer’d by a fleet
Mad to tug her standard down.

One may lead a horse to water,
Twenty cannot make him drink.
Though the goblins cuff’d and caught her,
Coax’d and fought her,
Bullied and besought her,
Scratch’d her, pinch’d her black as ink,
Kick’d and knock’d her,
Maul’d and mock’d her,
Lizzie utter’d not a word;
Would not open lip from lip
Lest they should cram a mouthful in:
But laugh’d in heart to feel the drip
Of juice that syrupp’d all her face,
And lodg’d in dimples of her chin,
And streak’d her neck which quaked like curd.
At last the evil people,
Worn out by her resistance,
Flung back her penny, kick’d their fruit
Along whichever road they took,
Not leaving root or stone or shoot;
Some writh’d into the ground,
Some div’d into the brook
With ring and ripple,
Some scudded on the gale without a sound,
Some vanish’d in the distance.

In a smart, ache, tingle,
Lizzie went her way;
Knew not was it night or day;
Sprang up the bank, tore thro’ the furze,
Threaded copse and dingle,
And heard her penny jingle
Bouncing in her purse, –
Its bounce was music to her ear.
She ran and ran
As if she fear’d some goblin man
Dogg’d her with gibe or curse
Or something worse:
But not one goblin scurried after,
Nor was she prick’d by fear;
The kind heart made her windy-paced
That urged her home quite out of breath with haste
And inward laughter.

She cried, “Laura,” up the garden,
“Did you miss me?
Come and kiss me.
Never mind my bruises,
Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices
Squeez’d from goblin fruits for you,
Goblin pulp and goblin dew.
Eat me, drink me, love me;
Laura, make much of me;
For your sake I have braved the glen
And had to do with goblin merchant men.”

Laura started from her chair,
Flung her arms up in the air,
Clutch’d her hair:
“Lizzie, Lizzie, have you tasted
For my sake the fruit forbidden?
Must your light like mine be hidden,
Your young life like mine be wasted,
Undone in mine undoing,
And ruin’d in my ruin,
Thirsty, canker’d, goblin-ridden?” –
She clung about her sister,
Kiss’d and kiss’d and kiss’d her:
Tears once again
Refresh’d her shrunken eyes,
Dropping like rain
After long sultry drouth;
Shaking with aguish fear, and pain,
She kiss’d and kiss’d her with a hungry mouth.

Her lips began to scorch,
That juice was wormwood to her tongue,
She loath’d the feast:
Writhing as one possess’d she leap’d and sung,
Rent all her robe, and wrung
Her hands in lamentable haste,
And beat her breast.
Her locks stream’d like the torch
Borne by a racer at full speed,
Or like the mane of horses in their flight,
Or like an eagle when she stems the light
Straight toward the sun,
Or like a caged thing freed,
Or like a flying flag when armies run.

Swift fire spread through her veins, knock’d at her heart,
Met the fire smouldering there
And overbore its lesser flame;
She gorged on bitterness without a name:
Ah! fool, to choose such part
Of soul-consuming care!
Sense fail’d in the mortal strife:
Like the watch-tower of a town
Which an earthquake shatters down,
Like a lightning-stricken mast,
Like a wind-uprooted tree
Spun about,
Like a foam-topp’d waterspout
Cast down headlong in the sea,
She fell at last;
Pleasure past and anguish past,
Is it death or is it life?

Life out of death.
That night long Lizzie watch’d by her,
Counted her pulse’s flagging stir,
Felt for her breath,
Held water to her lips, and cool’d her face
With tears and fanning leaves:
But when the first birds chirp’d about their eaves,
And early reapers plodded to the place
Of golden sheaves,
And dew-wet grass
Bow’d in the morning winds so brisk to pass,
And new buds with new day
Open’d of cup-like lilies on the stream,
Laura awoke as from a dream,
Laugh’d in the innocent old way,
Hugg’d Lizzie but not twice or thrice;
Her gleaming locks show’d not one thread of grey,
Her breath was sweet as May
And light danced in her eyes.

Days, weeks, months, years
Afterwards, when both were wives
With children of their own;
Their mother-hearts beset with fears,
Their lives bound up in tender lives;
Laura would call the little ones
And tell them of her early prime,
Those pleasant days long gone
Of not-returning time:
Would talk about the haunted glen,
The wicked, quaint fruit-merchant men,
Their fruits like honey to the throat
But poison in the blood;
(Men sell not such in any town):
Would tell them how her sister stood
In deadly peril to do her good,
And win the fiery antidote:
Then joining hands to little hands
Would bid them cling together,
“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.”

Christina Rossetti

Inside Kermit’s Lair

Respect the C*&K

Respect the C*&K

Dear readers; the following post contains language and content that may be offensive to some. Really offensive. Like a lot of it…

Yesterday was a supremely weird day. It began with my cat waking me at 7:00 am by biting the end of my nose as hard as he could. Later in the morning he peed all over me while I tried to fit him in his kitty cage to visit the vet. Then it cost me $300 to find out that he’s old, and that there’s something wrong with him. Finding out what is wrong will be more expensive, I fear.

Upon returning home I discovered the John Goodman equivalent in the raccoon world passed out cold on my patio. I fled my home at that point to enjoy brunch with the ever-lovely Lenni. She gave me a huge spoonful of chocolate mousse shortly after greeting me (a high point) and then we went for a beautiful stroll in search of nosh. The only place without an epic lineup for brunch was the Diplomatico, and though the patio and sunshine were grand, my French toast was burnt, and my sausages tasted like metal. Thank god the company was good.

College Street adventures concluded, I headed to the park where I enjoyed another stroll and a catch-up with my friend Marty. I went home from there (John Goodman still there, still unconscious) intending to nap before my evening plans, but instead ended up over-sleeping thus arriving late to meet my friend Carlos. We enjoyed a fantastic play at Harbourfront Centre (AfterImage – amazing!), and then I experienced the glory of the UFC for the first time, on pay-per-view in a sports bar. (This was a barter, or compromise of sorts. I want to be the girl who applies Vaseline to the fighters’ faces just before they step into the ring. Seriously.)

This blog entry is not about any of those things, however. What I would like to focus on is what happened between the over-sleeping and the evening’s entertainment.

First, it’s important to mention that I’m thinking (once again) of taking a dating break. My heart just isn’t in it (again). I feel so much more at ease and comfortable hanging out with friends. I spent a lot of time this weekend reflecting on this decision, and really feeling grateful for the quality “me time” I’ve been enjoying. I should note too that I’ve met some lovely members of the opposite sex. Really beautiful people, but I’m just not there right now…

Cue Pavel.

I’m rushing to Harbourfront Centre. I’m at Spadina station, plugged into my iPod, and generally obvlivious to anything but the streetcar that’s pulling in as I’m at the top of the stairs. Suddenly, someone grabs my arm. I stop in my tracks, whip my ear buds out of my head with my free hand and am face-to-face with a dude who looks about 45, is Eastern European, and is wearing a yellow shirt, a sports jacket, and a matching yellow pocket square. Still holding my arm he says: “You are one of the most elegant women I have ever seen in my life. I just couldn’t take my eyes off you. Please, take my card, and tell me when you might like to have coffee with me.”

As I look from him to the card, he releases my arm, and vanishes into the crowd.

The card is white. The front says:


The back says:

When your man does not measure up

Member of

Certified Honors Graduate of Dimitri’s The Lovers Sexual Guru Program

I began to laugh. I assumed he was an actor, from a troupe performing Kamakaze improv. Then I vaguely remembered hearing about Dimitri the Lover. I couldn’t remember why…

I was impressed at his boldness, I will say that. He was well dressed, and seemed polite enough. I didn’t find him attractive, but he sparked my curiosity. Does this approach work? What are these affiliations? Who are these hilarious actors and what is the project they are promoting?

Tonight, home from rehearsal, I had some time to do some research.

First I visited “Toronto Real Men.”

The Real Men website led me to this documentary:
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Which led me to the Dimitri The Lover website:

Which led me to these articles:

And then, to this legendary moment, which I had heard before, but had no idea it was part of our rich Toronto history:

I could use the remaining space in this blog entry to tell you what I think about all of this, but frankly, I’m more curious to know what you, my dear readers have to say on this one.

I’ll be nailed into…

holed up in…

firmly ensconced…

nestled deep inside…

Enjoying my quiet alone time in the Fortress of Solitude, Pavel. You and your coffee can suck it.

Uncle Phillippe The Booze Maker

I hate forwarded emails. I usually delete them without even reading them, so when my uncle Don sent me a message with this subject header it sat untouched in my in box for four days.

Last night, while cleaning up my inbox, I noticed it again and something compelled me to open it. There was no message in the body of the email, just a Word document with this article attached.


I’m not sure how legible this is, or if you can read French, but here’s the gist:

My mother’s uncle Philippe was a bootlegger  from about 1940 to 1945.  The article above highlights just one of the times he was arrested and charged $100.00 out of a possible fine of up to $2,000.00 at the time. (We are a charming people, what can I say?)  The photo illustrates the set up he built himself (crafty too), which enabled him to make about 5 gallons of booze daily.

RCMP officer Gary Roy took notes and eventually took the equipment away (and later only resurfaced from his basement for his wife’s prize-winning pot roast on Sunday evenings. the children used to slide food down to him using an elaborate rigging system that involved the former kitty door and a chute constructed with cardboard tubing).

At the time of his arrest Uncle Philippe explained that because he had a big family he did this to put bread on the table. My mother’s family consisted of eleven kids. I wonder if his was bigger?

My grandfather told his sons that he and their Uncle Jonny would help Uncle Philippe with his home-made distillery, and would take the fruits of their labour across the border to the States using the same trails that are part of the family’s sugar bush and maple syrup farm. My mother’s cousin Denis Brault makes the maple syrup pictured below.


My grandfather was very proud of the fact that he could help Uncle Philippe, and received a small share of the profits for his efforts.  Later on, (presumably after the above article was printed) Uncle Philippe built much improved equipment and went underground and continued to make booze. Literally. He had to crawl into a homemade tunnel to work his new equipment and this ended my grandfather’s distilling career because he was just a little too fat to fit in the tunnel (imagine the Winnie the Pooh-like scenario that led to this discovery.)

My uncle advises us to be proud that our forefathers were crooks to put food on the table.

I secretly dream that somewhere on the family property, nestled in the woods along those trails that led to America was a pine structure with an old piano, a bar, enough seating for about 40 people, and a handful of sexy (if not slightly snaggle-toothed) women referred to as Les Belles Soeurs who kept the joint jumping. The place would have a crooked sign over the door, hand painted on a piece of tin that read: Cabane à Sucre, or Sugar Shack.

Insert your own Sugar Bush jokes here.



Something is wrong with Toulouse. There’s nothing left to him. He’s all bones and clicky claws on the laminate floor. He’s light as a feather, and when he stares at me, which he always does, his eyes are huge and glassy: like Nicole Ritchie. He’s eating, and doing all other types of digestive things normally, and drinking water. I can’t figure it out, so we’re going to the vet on Saturday morning. Which means another two weeks before I get some good hair love at the Alcorn salon. Yes, I could go and get fabulous hair, but if my cat died in the meanwhile, how would I ever enjoy it? These are the sacrifices we make in these difficult economic times.

I’m trying to be careful, and frugal, and respectful with money. This doesn’t come naturally to me. In fact, it’s the top of my list of things that need serious work in the overall “path to fabulous” plan. But I’m working at it, and that’s the important part.

I have a strict budget, and a spreadsheet, and a grocery list, and friends if you want to see me, come over (please call first). I’ve decided to limit myself to one “night out” per week. This includes dining in restaurants, going to shows, checking out music.

This does NOT include drinks and pot luck, or board games, or girlie nights where we stage a poetry reading of our angsty teenage journals at your place or mine. Let’s be creative, y’all! The recession isn’t affecting me, let’s face it, but I’d like to whittle away at some debt, and I’m sure we could all benefit from finding smarter, cheaper ways to have fun.

This may be inspired by La Boheme. I saw the dress rehearsal at the COC last night. It was spectacular. If I’m going to live in a garret, I’m gonna live the Bohemian life, by golly! Who wants to start a creative writing group? Or a book club? Or a CD exchange collective? I challenge you all to think of a clever, creative way that costs next to nothing to enjoy yourself in the company of friends, that will possibly lead to meeting new people.

As I type this, and count every vertebrae on Toulouse’s spine, I am sincerely hoping he has worms. I never thought I would hope for such a thing, but anything else is unthinkable. Nobody was able to really tell me how old he was in July when I adopted him. He reminds me of Vincent Price, but I had hoped he still had a few good years in him. Maybe he’s getting ready for bikini season?