"Someday's gonna be a busy day..."

Friday, 25 April 2008


One bright spot about not currently being preggers is the return of the wineglass in front of me at supper time. My heavens, how I've missed sipping wine while I was cooking these past few months! I can't drink a lot - more than two glasses and I become a giggling tipsy thing subject to narcolepsy - but I do savour a glass with a meal, or while preparing a meal. (It's important for me to have food in my stomach before uncorking anything.)

My current goal is to teach D that there IS a difference between the giant economy size bottle of wine and a really tasty bottle of wine. I think I have a little touch of wine snobbery about me, but I try hard not to let it surface. I don't actually know a lot about wine, but I DO know that keeping a box of Jackson Triggs in your fridge for an entire summer and still thinking it tastes great is not cool.

My parents always drank wine; I still remember my mother (who was a French teacher) wanting to kill my father after he sent her to the liquor store in search of his favourite bottle of white, which he insisted was called "L'esprit" (it was actually called "L'eparyie"). Dad has since progressed from his enjoyment of table whites to raving over $5 bottles of Chilean merlot to appreciating different kinds of red that may cause him to break a $20. You cannot escape from my Dad's cabin without sharing a glass of something with him, a trait of his that I truly admire.

But I owe any real understanding I may have of grapey goodness to an old friend who was a wine agent for many years. That man has exquisite taste in wine and he taught me pretty much everything I didn't glean from frequent tasting trips to Niagara on the Lake. He even has a gianormous wine cooler thingy in his house; it stretches floor to ceiling and I think it can hold up to 300 bottles. He's also someone who won't let you leave without sampling a little something from his private stash.

My absolute favourite wine at the moment is Ravenswood Zinfandel. The aforesaid friend introduced me to it back in the days when I thought Zinfandel was synonymous with icky pink sweet stuff that only trophy wives drank. How wrong I was; red Zinfandel is complex and jammy - perfect for sipping on a slow Sunday evening. If I was going the white route, I'd splurge and buy Toasted Head Chardonnay. It took me a long time to get used to the grassy flavours of chardonnay, but this one is mellow and buttery. And you have to love the label's charming fire-breathing bear.

Tonight I am making D stay home instead of stripping trim at Someday. I'm going to put on the dress he bought me, make his favourite Thai Peanut stir fry and open up a good bottle of Gewurztraminer. Thank God for simple pleasures.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Ride Hard

I wish I could find the one and only picture that exists of me on a motorbike. (Hint: that one above is not it) You might be thinking, Kim? On a motorbike? By herself? But I swear, it does exist - not photoshopped or anything - little old me riding my brother-in-law's motorbike in Australia. I look pretty damn happy, too. Or at least, I did until I got to the end of their half kilometre gravel laneway and couldn't figure out how to turn the thing around. I fell off and it fell down. Strewth!

The Aussie experience aside, I've been toying with the idea of learning to ride ever since D took me for my first wild excursion on the back of his Honda 350 three years ago. The boys have trained me to ride their Honda 70, which was apparently built for midgets, has no clutch and is sadly bereft of shocks. I've also tried a few tentative rides on Dwain's bike with him frantically coaching me on the back. D and his two brothers grew up riding motorbikes of all kinds and they each own one, with D's youngest brother's Harley Davidson being the jewel in the family motorbike crown. So driving bikes is second nature to them. As for me, I've never even learned to drive a standard car, so the whole concept of wrestling with gears and clutches is as foreign to me as eating balut in Manila.

One of the best memories I have of last summer is going for a post-chore motorbike ride with D and C, the boys on their manly hybrids, me on the wee 70. I felt like a mongrel pup bouncing along behind two graceful purebreds, but that was okay. The fields were fragrant, the sun was setting, and I was going as fast as I dared. It was brilliant.

And D proposed to me on a motorbike ride, hiding the ring inside a small compartment of his 350 and feigning engine trouble at the lighthouse. So the darned machines have won a spot in my heart on many levels and frankly, I think it would be cool to learn to ride one of my very own.

But the trouble is that I'm very timid when it comes to operating motorized vehicles that aren't enclosed. My reluctance will become especially problematic this summer when I am forced to learn how to use our riding lawnmower; there's simply too much grass at Someday to revert to my luddite ways and use a push mower. So how am I going to learn to ride a motorbike if I'm scared of a riding lawnmower? I ask you.

Then again, I never saw myself milking cows or using power tools either, and look at me now...

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

In praise of husbands

I beg your indulgence, gentle reader, while I take a few moments to immortalize my husband yet again in this blog.

On Wednesday we had a difficult visit with a new doctor in Waterloo. Our situation isn't exactly hopeless, but it won't be easy. It's never nice for a woman to hear that she probably has "a few bad eggs," especially when the doctor is not referring to her diet.

After the appointment, D took me in hand and proceeded to spoil me for the rest of the day. First, we went for lunch at Sakura Island, my favourite sushi spot. D abhors raw fish and generally feels that eating out is a waste of time; he prefers home cooked meals and a nice "visit" at the kichen table. But he set aside his sushi prejudices and we had a companionable lunch together in the secluded comfort of one the restaurant's little dining compartments. I wasn't able to eat sushi while pregnant, so the spicy tuna rolls and tempura tasted even better than I remember they did 7 months ago. D even liked his teriyaki salmon, although he felt the sauce would work equally well over ice cream. The shy waitress brought us juicy slices of fresh orange to finish our meal.

After I was suitably stuffed, D proposed we stroll down King street and revisit our old dog-walking trails. The sunshine was glorious and we drank it in as we passed by our old haunts: people watching at the bus stops, giggling at the stag shop display, pausing outside Delirum to consider the clothes, checking the listings outside Starlight, sniffing hops as we passed the Gold Crown brewery, dodging drive-thru traffic at Tim's before crossing the street and touching the post outside of Ethel's bar.

Then we made our way down the other side of King street, ostensibly to look at the dresses in Loop, Kindred Spirit and Andie's. I've never met a man who enjoys looking at dresses as much as D does. He likes to judge them and decide which colour or shape would look best on me, which I find amusing since I'm not really a dressy kind of girl. But he insisted on buying me a pretty summer dress of "Caribbean blue" at Loop, along with a pink top I was hankering after. I am not used to having men shop for me; it's a lovely sensation.

As we approached William street, to my utter shock, D propelled me into the gelato place. My sister and I used to love to stop for gelato or DQ on our Waterloo walks but D would only acquiesce after much groaning, never indulging in the delicious stuff himself. I walked with him slowly back to the car, slurping up my melting cup of chocolate gelato and even coaxing him to try a few spoonfuls.

We ended our Waterloo day with a few hours deliberating over light fixtures at Home Depot, D's favourite spot in the world after the barn and TSC. We do manage to have fun together, no matter what mundane task we're doing. And the Harvey's hamburger with extra pickle on our way out was the crowning touch to what turned out to be a very good day indeed.

I'm sure D would die a thousand deaths if he knew I was writing about him. So I won't tell him about this blog post, but I will tell him again what a marvellous day I had with him and what a marvellous husband he is.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Lumbering in the Hood

Of all the many wonderful things my husband has introduced me to, I have to thank him specifically for two items: the hooded sweatshirt, and the lumber jacket.

D's hooded sweatshirts are Saan store or Mark's Work Wearhouse specials, preferably in tones of grey. They do not zip up, they are not made out of velour and they are never emblazoned with brand name initials. If we're feeling especially fancy, they might have a pocket on the front, or perhaps two drawstrings to pull the hood closer to our skulls. But we don't call them hoodies.

D swears by his hooded sweatshirts. He rarely wears a hat; his ubiquitous hood serves as an all-season head covering. He scoffs at my ratty green toque and happily pulls up his hood in rain, sleet, wind or snow. I even bought him a special hooded sweatshirt as a wedding present - in chocolate brown, our accent colour, of course. He bought me diamond earrings, but we won't discuss that.

As for lumber jackets, I adore them, despite their metal-head connotations. I would never be caught dead wearing one in the city (then again, I did say that about insulated coveralls and I schlepped through uptown Waterloo with D and Neko wearing mine more times than I like to admit), but up here, the lumber jacket is the perfect accoutrement for hiking the fields or shore. They are hopelessly shapeless things, and I've yet to find one that actually fits my smaller frame, but they are warm and cozy. The pockets are generous enough to hold an endless supply of dog biscuits, plastic bags, kleenex, chapstick, pinecones and collected stones. And, as a bonus, I never have to wear mitts since the sleeves extend several inches over my hands.

I used to be a bit vain about what I wore outside of the house back in Waterloo. But in the Kink, I don't give it a second thought. Comfort and practicality have begun to poke fun at my fashion concerns. And no one looks at me funny if I show up in town wearing my blue checked lumber jacket overtop of my pink hooded sweatshirt...although I think the bright yellow rubber boots may be pushing it a bit.

Friday, 11 April 2008


Walking the beach in early spring is only for those who are strong of stomach. I found that out the other day when I took Neko for our first beach stroll of 2008. It was one of those fine, fresh spring days where you feel like maybe there's hope for mankind after all. I hadn't realized how much I'd missed the sound of the waves.

We moved here last September, so I've never gotten to know the lake through a spring yet. I had the pleasure of living beside it this past autumn, with its wild blue waves and stormy skies, my hair and face lashed by its seemingly endless winds. And it was a sort of honour to experience it in the winter; most people only see the beach in summer, so I get a thrill knowing it's mine to enjoy all year round. It's like a different creature with every turn of the season. In winter, the waves freeze along the shore in bizarre formations; the silence is unnerving. It's like one of those stretches of salty desert you see in magazines sometimes - a white, frozen wasteland.

Now the ice has melted away at last - only to reveal a beach that resembles more of an abbatoir or cesspool than the glorious retreat I'm used to. To my disgust and Neko's delight, all sorts of nasty things have washed up during the latest spring storms: dead seagulls, bloated possums, fish with their eyes picked out, broken bottles, mylar balloons, plastic bags, gnarled branches choked with seaweed and muck. At least there's no sign of the primordial algae ooze that slopped its way up and down Lurgan and Emerton beaches last summer...but I'm sure it's lurking in the lake, just waiting to creep up onto the sand again.

The strange thing is that as repulsed as I was by all the ugliness, I couldn't help but find bits and pieces of beauty where I least expected it - uprooted dogwoods, their blood-red branches fanned against the sand; seaweeds so green they almost looked black; twisted pieces of driftwood as smooth as skin to the touch; birch trees shedding their white bark in delicate curls. And I can't deny the joy that lept to my throat when I watched Neko galloping free along a beach full of canine delights with a big doggy grin on her face.

I'm sure there's a proverb or bromide in here somewhere, but I'm too tired to spell it out. I'm just going to go back to the beach and watch Neko run.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

"Oh, my love's like a red red rose..."

Rose Marie Lowry
-- April 3rd 2008 --

"The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord."
Job 1: 20-21

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Paradise Lost

"Never make a decision based on fear."

I can't remember which friend, family member, colleague, social worker or genetic counsellor told me that, but it's the best advice I've been given during these past four horrible weeks. You really do find out who your good friends are in a time of crisis. Not because they send you flowers or make the necessary phone calls - but because they know what to say, and what not to say.

Being pregnant and discovering there's no hope for your child to live outside your body once it is born is an indescribably difficult thing to face, let alone write about. So when it comes time to tell people what you're going through, the words congeal in your throat. I've resorted to email, and to having friends & family spread the news. Thank God for these people and their willingness to do my dirty work for me.

My good friends and family members wisely acknowledge the situation without offering saccharine platitudes or overdoses of pity. It is what it is; sometimes life sucks. Other responses have been supportive and kind for the most part; after all, I can't fault people for not knowing what the hell to say in a situation like this. But if one more person tells me that "God must have needed another angel," or "It's better this way," I am going to punch them in the snout.

People grieve in weird and wonderful ways. I remember when my first marriage was falling apart (and it fell apart spectacularly), I watched three movies that bruised my already damaged heart even more: Les Invasions Barbares (The Barbarian Invasions), Closer and The Notebook. These movies probably don't seem remotely related, and they're not - but they do share common threads of love denied, love lost, and love betrayed. Which was exactly what I was feeling at the time. And, brilliant idiot that I was, I watched them on purpose to make myself suffer. I don't know why people are driven to do silly things like that. I have a fuzzy theory that if I intensify my grief as much as possible initially, I can drive the bulk of it out of my system. We'll see.

Anyway, Les Invasions Barbares has a marvellous scene at the end between the yuppie son and the lovely drug addict that crushed my heart to pieces. Plus it's chock full of keen Quebecois insights into the complexity of relationships, and it showed me that death can be a graceful and beautiful thing. Denys Arcand deserved his Oscar.

Closer is all about lust, trust, betrayal and redemption. My sister warned me not to watch it so soon after my separation, but I plunged ahead, sniffled through it and felt richly rewarded for having done so. (My Lord, how I hate Jude Law!)

Finally, The Notebook was lent to me by a friend with dire warnings that I would bawl my eyes out, which I was skeptical about. I detest Nicolas Sparks, who was a favourite choice in my early Bookclub meetings. And prior to my marital breakdown, I wasn't much of a crier. I figured the movie would make me feel sad enough, but I have never cried during a movie like I did when watching this slightly cheesy story about a love so deep and lasting it made me grind my teeth in agony that I didn't have the same thing.

So there you have it. A recipe for grieving a marriage, in three parts. Now, to figure out cathartic ways to grieve my child...somehow, I don't think Disney is gonna cut it.