Wednesday, October 26, 2005


went up north last friday to drop off some of the plumbing fixtures etc at dN's parents cottage until they are ready to be installed. his parents are retired and living in their cottage while their new home is being built near by. the new place is a kit home, kind of amazing that in a matter of a few months the whole thing will be complete. the builders brought the home to the lot, pre built in three pieces. anyhow, next door to their new place, gretchen and thom have had a log cabin home. for years they have looked onto the lot next door, covered in lovely swaying trees. gretchen and thom are also retired. they are political types, he is the president of the neighbourhood committee. at first it was all smiles, nicey, nicey. but slowly, their alter egos surfaced.

they kept pushing to see the plans and pushing to have a say where dN's parents placed their house on the lot.
neighbours dropped by and mentioned that gretchen and thom were bad mouthing the new house around the hood. annoying but somewhat understandable since obviously any house is going to lose out when compared against a lot full of trees. it's an odd social phenomenon though. not only the bad mouthing but the reporting of bad mouthing back to the offended. then the drama began. everyday, thom pulled out a camera, stood firmly planted on his lot, without a word to anyone and an air of hostility, and started taking photos of all the workers and the house going up. their own paparazzi. why would he take photos of a house he loathed? it began to make the workers uneasy. at first, he was ignored and tolerated but finally, dN's mum confronted him. asked him why he was taking photos and to please stop. supposedly he was making a photo album as a gift. a nice foil but pretty unlikely given the bad mouthing and growing angst between the two sides. give the gift of stalking this year, fill your neighbour's hearts with paranoia and venom. push them to threaten to call the cops! yes, a lovely spirit of giving.

aside, somewhat related: our own german friend next door has been observed smoking out his window and butting out into a tiny gold pot sitting on the roof of the bay window. all we see is an extended arm out the window depositing ash into his pot of gold.

Friday, October 21, 2005

a theory

amid all the racing antics of drivers last night, we came upon a theory. we were talking about a radio show on salt that was on air recently and remarking how amazing it is that our blood has the same make-up, same levels of salt as the ocean years ago. it's like we are fingerprints of an ancient time. so we got to thinking, if we are all made of star stuff, maybe soul mates come from the same cosmic matter and there is a magnetism in the universe that wants to unite all the broken pieces. so our lives are guided by this hidden magnetic pull that forces us to collide again and reunite. just a theory. did i mention it's 6:30 am? you heard it first here.

the mind, she races

it is just before 5am and my mind is racing again. i wish there was a gigantic off switch that could turn the racing practical flood into zen-like blankness. even yoga had limited effectiveness this week. sounds like someone is taking a shower upstairs so i am not the only early riser this friday morn, i wonder if it's the aftermath of the full moon. jumpstarting our collective souls into restlessness. by the 31st we'll be full on zombies.

last night we checked out taps and bathtubs in the home design hub of town. we met this quirky lady m who wink winked at us when she found out dN was an architect, saying she'd give us a 20% discount on some of the architectural designer taps we were looking at, if he registered with them as a professional. obviously they want to encourage people in the industry to recommend their wares to clients. the streets were alive with quasi-race car drivers, speeding ahead at lightning speed, ignoring decorum and swerving with abandon. on our way out, we ran into sweet ol'e from next door and we had a chat. when we asked how halloween was in the neighbourhood, if lots of kids come by, she said -- no, would you let your kids out with all the kooks out there? apparently they parade up the street in costume and then head to the school for a safe shell out of treats and halloween fun. no tricks only treats.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

flashback: bolinas, fall 2004

one week spent in a tiny portugese fisherman's cottage on fern avenue in bolinas, CA. there was a calendar of tides left by the front door and nooks and crannies filled with nature books. the clawfoot tub overlooked the garden. we discovered manka's, a deluxe former hunting lodge with incredible food, simple beds. there was a smattering of pumpkins up the walk, and dribbles of poetry beside each table, an illuminated globe, vintage chess set and fur throw next to the roaring fire. starry eyed flounder blinked up at us. bolinas is the kind of place that keeps to itself, adamantly. we explored the curves of the coastline, laughing at oddities like a gas station with operating hours that excluded those between 9-5.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

is it a full moon?

noticed an increased level of crank-ola in dealings with co-workers, neighbours, and the like over the last two days. is it a full moon?

Friday, October 14, 2005

another bin: gasp!

went to the house this morning as the first bin was carted away and the second, (extra volume) bin was delivered. even fewer branches were snipped as it shuffled into place this time. Definitely makes you hold your breath while the event is going down. had a moment bonding with the structural guy demolishing our kitchen upstairs. he mentioned that he met thelma recently. of course! did she mention she used to live there? you're kidding. that woman gets around.

the structural beam in the basement was removed and temporary walls are in place until the new beam is installed. the place has a general cloud of dust lingering at all times. the back room is filling up with all the trim dN has salvaged. we'll have a big job stripping and refinishing but it will be beautiful.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

trench coat chill

for some odd reason, the misty, trench coat chill weather yesterday brought on san francisco memories. maybe it's because it was vintage sf winter weather, or maybe it's because i really don't need too much of a push to leap off into daydreams of that blissful place. three and a half years is more than enough time for the bay area to captivate a soul indefinately, for some it only takes a weekend, an hour.

anyhow, last night after yoga, as i walked to bloor to pick up some soup for dinner with cold mist swirling around me, it hit me. it was one of those nights where we would have been walking back from city lights books stopping for a cafe latte at cafe puccini or maybe one of those deluxe coffee house drinks at tosca's. the kind of night where you tug your collar up a bit higher and feel relieved at the warmth when you step inside. the mist reminds you of every cell in your face. i imagined the darkened washington square park en route home (with lurking odd characters in the shadows), the chinese laundry guy on stockton folding blue paper around a fresh bundle, the low rumble of the fog horn on the bay and the smell of wet cedar and sweet vine outside our building. ahhhh...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

welcome back carter

welcome back, welcome back, welcome back! highlights of thankgiving 05: good eats (apple pie, turkey, mashed potatoes and auntie alice's perogies.) laughing with my sister from across the table as we sang along to ray charles after dinner. (closely followed by dancing in the kitchen to ray charles as we filled up our plates with more food.) watching raccoons dig holes and scamper across the wooded back yard in the wee hours of morning on sunday. short but sweet walk to castleglen sunday afternoon. stellar snapshot (captured in memory not film): the electric yellow leaves against the bright blue sky witnessed through the ruins and curving arch way.

Friday, October 07, 2005

artifact found: 1920s overdue library

it's a small wine coloured hard cover book, title: Great Musical Composers, from the Queen and Lisgar branch. the pocket at the back tracking lending has Feb 16 stamped as the due date. next to it, the page declares the lending rules:

and may be renewed once.

A fine of 3 cents a day is charged if the book is kept after the last stamped date below. No books issued while a fine remains unpaid. Two books may be taken at a time, only one of which may be fiction. Books can not be exchanged on the day on which they are drawn.

the inside front cover has may 7, 1925 stamped in. that may be the date the library acquired the book.

dN researched the house when we bought it and he found out that the McBurney family owned the house from 1920-1944. the size of the family ranged from 5-11 over that time. when they bought the house, the man of the house was david mcburney, a 45 year old engineer for the GT railway who later became a fitter for the CNR. he was married to josephine. we know they had at least one son, stanley, because we found teenage letters from stanley to his mother telling her not to worry about him. there were a few drafts as though he was trying to phrase things just so. the letters are dated june 11, 1926.

at the time, the lot was worth $1253, and the house $1700. they were Anglican, and supported public schools.

so it seems that one of the mcburneys owes the city of toronto library dept. roughly $853.20. shhh...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

artifact found: coal card

last night while dN was demolishing walls for the structural work to begin, he found an old business card.
the card reads...

Furniture carefully moved
Local and Long Distance Cut Rate
Phones: Ken 2614J, Ran. 4434

Give us a ring.

he found it near some cement casing stamped in 1870.

The phone numbers don't even have area codes! more research is needed. we laughed this morning as we imagined leaving our business card in the walls now, and the people in 2140 saying - can you believe they still used email addresses?

Editor's note, Friday, Oct 7: We realized that it was Coal, not Goal hand-written on the top. Makes sense because there were mini ovens for heating throughout the former boarding house.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

pumpkin pie

last thanksgiving, my brother, dad, dog zoe and i careened the backroads of collingwood in search of the Ravena general store's famous pies. my sister moaned that thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without pumpkin pie, all the grocery stores had run out. so we went on an early morning hunt and sure enough found...freshly baked, homemade pumpkin pie from a country store no less. we brought it back home and tip toed into her bedroom and left the pie box open so that the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and glorious pumpkin would fill her room as she woke. we had pie for breakfast!

calm in the middle of a storm

the goal of my existence lately is to remain calm in the midst of a storm. work is busy but come on, we're not curing cancer. p e r s p e c t i v e.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

proof of work

a sleeper for a baby, age 3-6 months.
text on the back: (sleep, wake, dream and then) - e.e. cummings.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

strange but true

discovered in front of our house and in our bin. i kid you not. plastic bags filled with...wait for doo. today while dN was on the roof fixing gutters he spotted someone dart across our drive way. he went to check it out, that's when he peeked in the empty bin and saw "the package." a few weeks ago we noticed a pile of small tied bags left right up against our house. bags of doo. it's not even like it was close to the sidewalk, this pile was left near our house in the far corner near the drive way, right below our bay window. is it some kind of message to us or just a disposal issue? what to do, what to do...we thought of leaving a note to the crap bandits or installing a security cam but anyone rude enough to leave the bags in the first place wouldn't be swayed by a note and a security cam would be expensive and difficult to install in an omni-present way, covering all angles. if you are reading this - crap bandits - deal with your shit and quit dumping on us. literally.

the royal flush

home depot was the hot spot last night. we were checking out trailers, and then racing thru the aisles looking at bathroom fixtures. the toilet "showroom" was surreal. it's funny to see people analyzing the seats and the rational behind various features and designs. ultra flush (or was it turbo flush?), that one really cracks me up. the toilets hang from the wall above you a bit like sculptures or monsters and you stare at them from an angle atypical in any real world bathroom. maybe it's to elevate the mundane to some heavenly state so that you can justify spending the cash on the price tag.

the other odd thing we noticed was that the staff seemed over-run with young women wearing tight low riser jeans and with a bored gum-chomping state of address. personally, i think it's the avril lavigne factor but it may be the home design shows showing hot carpenters (here's where i'll meet my Ty!) or just that working at home depot has a cool tough appeal that mc'donald's just doesn't. really wishing home depot would bother to train these young bright things.