Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A poem for the wee ones

Paw prints on the sidewalk
two, four, six, eight, ten,
are the only concrete evidence
of some four-legged friend.

I inspected them quite closely
and began to track the trail.
"Judging by the clues" I said,
"the culprit has a tail."

Muddy marks were on the grass
(the sidewalk was still new)
Were they left by Pug or Labrador?
Saint Bernard or Cockapoo?

I combed the yard for further clues,
a leash, some drool, a bone.
My neighbours offered up some tips,
but I chose to work alone.

Then just as I was near the fence,
something caught my eye -
a path of mucky footprints
too dog-like to deny.

So I got down upon all fours
just like the wanted pet
and deduced the muddy substance
was indeed sand and aggregate!

The path continued through my yard,
my pulse began to race.
The mutt was on my property,
I'd nearly solved the case!

I traced the scent to my own porch
And braced for the arrest,
I expected confrontation
full of growls and protest.

But I'd found him now! I'd show that hound
Who had the better nose!
I crept sneakily up the stairs,
This case was almost closed....

the news reports would claim.

"Fugitive!" I proclaimed,
"Put your paws up in the air!
It's time you were brought to justice,
the law is tough but fair.

"If you cooperate and tell me who
released you from your yard,
a flea bargain will be offered,
your time will not be hard."

No answer came, no doggy bark
no yelping in defeat,
so I slowly opened wide the door,
not sure whose face I'd meet.

On a chair, warmed by the sun,
was a mound of light grey fur,
It yawned and rolled upon its back,
and that mound began to purr.

"George!" I cried, "so it was YOU!"
"Meow." was all he said.
I looked at him, he looked at me,
and nothing more was said.

The proof was on his guilty paws,
and smeared across the mat.
This case is closed, the dossier reads:
"Out-smarted by a cat!"

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ape Aspirations

Maybe it was my Moshishi doll? In any case, my mom asked me at age six WHATIWANTEDTOBEWHENIGREWUP. Without having to think about it too hard, I pronounced that my life's ambition was to be hired as the warm body that dressed as a Gorilla and waved to drivers while wearing a sandwich board advertising a tire company. Now that is a job description.

I didn't want to be a teacher, or a movie star. Not even a CEO. I simply wanted to dress in a furry polyester ape suit and sell rubber. I am sad to report that this degree program is not offered at any Canadian university, and so, the dream has died.

I'm trying to think what it was about that particular vocation that appealed to me. All I remember is a sort of morbid curiousity taking hold of me as I gazed at THE GORILLA from the backseat window as we drove by. I remember the top of my spine and the creases behind my knees sticking to vinyl upholstery in the muggy Regina summer; the heat rising off the pavement like the breathe of a thousand snakes. And there he was on the corner, just waving and waving. My mind's eye still sees that primate as clear as a fishbowl.

Six was a strange age for me. Call it "6X".

That same year I also requested that upon cremation, my ashes be spread over the midway at the Regina Exhibition. Because I loved the Tilt-a-Whirl. And, apparently, lonely and vacant parking lots, since that's what it was 51 weeks of the year. Anyway, who wouldn't want one-eyed carnies trodding upon them for all eternity? Who, I ask you?! Sheesh.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

a little bit, wow....

Wow. Wow. I can't concentrate on anything productive at the moment.
I came across a bit of news today. Two lines. Pink ones. This is all I'll say for now. Infer what conclusion you like, but don't dare bring it up with me in person yet, because I won't be able to keep from smiling....

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

sweet n' sour

My oldest and dearest pal, L, is a lover of candy. At least, she was when we were little and used to giddily tote our loonies to the corner store in search of a sugar fix. Her devotion to the stuff of gummies was so self-sacrificing that during an early 90s screening of a Macaulay Culkin film (was it My Girl?) she pounded back a bag of Sour Kids in the theatre until her tongue was raw and bleeding, and she could eat no more. Literally. Tongue. Bleeding.

The things we do for love.

She also has a mild undiagnosed case of obsessive compulsive disorder, which, as you will soon discover, was married to her candy addiction in the most peculiar of ways.

But first, a classic example. Throughout elementary school, L would arrive at my house in the mornings and become an innocent victim of what was (and still is) my chronic tardiness. As she waited patiently for me to finish getting ready, she always informed me of what she was "wearing". Allow me to clarify. L had a Sears catalogue in her bedroom and everyday, starting from page one, she "wore" whatever the model had on, left to right across the spread, until she had gone through the entire glossy tome. She even donned the accessories. Considering it was the 90s, her daily announcement was usually something like this: "Today I'm in a red double-breasted polyester blazer with a gold broach and gold earrings, black stirrup-pants, and faux snake-skin ankle boots." When I look back on this, I realize that when she told me about her daily outfit, I never actually pictured the clothes on her. I pictured them on Pat Benatar.

Back to the candy and the OCD. Back to that corner store. Can you guess? Working in a clockwise direction, starting at the immediate left of the front door (where the ice cream cooler was), L spent a good few months buying treats based on their consecutive positions in the store. This often included the consumption of things that were not altogether appealing to a sugar-loving kid - for example, a Royal Canadian Mint ice cream bar (even if it was January) which had "nuts". She did it not because she wanted to expand her candy horizons, but because she craved a systematic approach. If there were 687 varieties of junk-food delicacies in that store she would check each one off her list until, goddammit, she had hit them all!

Oh, L. You are the girl who insisted on reading out loud every Sweet Valley Twin book you owned while it was my turn to rescue the princess from King Koopa in World 6. You are the girl who introduced me to Def Leppard when we were seven. You are the girl who has kept every t-shirt you've ever owned, including a Hypercolour, a Vuarnet, and a Bodyglove.
I have been there to witness it all, and

I wouldn't




Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Finding love in all the right places.....

...like in the delicious perfection of an otherwise unopened jar of peanut butter

Monday, February 18, 2008

Second home

 I've had the privilege of living in three beautiful Canadian cities - Victoria, Halifax, and Vancouver. And while I've never called it home, a little part of me will always live in Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island, where my husband is from. Gabled roofs atop shingled walls dot the landscape and white dogs turn red from the clay earth. There is always something simmering in the slow cooker, and you wave to everyone you pass on the road because you know them. You don't go to June and Herb's, you go through June and Herb's. They are not cars, they are rigs. And when you buy a pack of gum at the store, chances are a neighbourly chap will point out that you've got some chewin' to do.

My father-in-law is a lobster fisherman and one of the greatest guys I know, second only to my own dad. I've gone out on the boat only once for business, and I have to admit I spent most of the morning sleeping in the warmth of the bunk as my husband and his brother hauled traps in their oilskins. They let me be, although I don't think I'll be hired as a deckhand anytime soon.

We spent last holiday season there, and played a mean game of spoons on Christmas Eve until blood was shed. We fell asleep in darkness; not a streetlight, not a headlight, not even the moon. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face as I lay in bed listening to the black waters of the Northumberland Strait, not a quarter of a mile to the south, across a frozen field.

It wasn't until a few days before we flew home that the last snowstorm of the year finally arrived and left everything it touched still and quiet, and the sky a silvery grey.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love is.....

....getting up at 6am to cook breakfast (a first by all accounts); preparing a favourite -- Scotch eggs -- which requires the man-handling of ground pork sausage and a subsequent coating in raw egg so the cornflakes stick. Did I mention I'm a vegetarian?