Black and White and Grey All Over

I’ve been trying to remember how old I was when I got my first keyboard for Christmas.  Between 7-9 I guess.  It was the 21 key Casio PT100.  And it was awesome.  I also got 4 how-to books that taught you how to play.  The  music in the books had the notes on the staff and there were stickers so you could mark the keys on your keyboard.  And that, my friends, is how I learned to play the piano.  I commited to memory the notes of the treble clef, and eventually the stickers all rubbed off the keys and it all stuck in my brain.  I also had this pretty great ability to figure out how to play a song just by listening, so when I had worn my way through those four beginner books, I just sortof figured out the songs I wanted to play.  I was only about 9 after all, so my selections weren’t really that complicated, but I could really nail Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and mash out all the favourite hymns I knew from church.

casio pt100

Before the PT100, there was the old decrepit organ in the basement.  You had to hit the switch a few times to get it to turn on, sometimes augmenting the switch flip with a hard shake of the whole instrument.  It took a few minutes for it warm up, and it always had a loud and distinct hum that you would have to ignore if you wanted to be in the same room for any length of time.  I mostly managed to tune it out while playing.  I loved to goof around on it, with it’s push button chords and two dusty keyboards.  I think my sisters may have had to practise on it for their piano lessons, and needless to say, they gave up, as would most respectable humans because the sound was actually atrocious.

When I was around 11, the church I attended got new hymn books, and were “selling” the old ones for a $4 donation, and unfortunately the Sunday this was all going down, I was sick with the chickenpox, so I missed out on the hymn book sale. Devastated, I was, since I wanted to at least see if I was playing the right notes to the hymns, and learn others that I just couldn’t figure out on my own.  A lady at my church, Joanne, knew that I really wanted one, so that Sunday, she dropped it by.  I get all misty-eyed  just thinking about it.  To her, it was likely a very small gesture, but it was significantly influential to me.

I played the shit out of “Great Hymns of Faith”,  making up the chords based on the way things sounded in church.  I didn’t know how to read the bass clef–my instructional books failed to cover that.  I also refused to play anything with more than 2 flats or 3 sharps, so instead I would transpose the music in my head.  How I learned about key signatures is beyond me–I just kinda knew.

I would alternate playing through that hymn book on the organ and on my little PT100, pretending to be Mrs. Speer (piano) or Mrs. Toews (organ)–the ladies who accompanied the congregation in their singing.  My dream was to one day become the church pianist.  But clearly I couldn’t do it without piano lessons or a real piano.

I’m not sure why my parents never indulged my desire for lessons–most parents force that shit on their kids, but I guess they just didn’t take it seriously.  Or maybe they just thought I didn’t need them.  So instead, later that year for Christmas, I got upgraded to the Casio MT 520.

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Casio MT520

Christmas Day–Me, My Dad and my MT 520

This model had more keys, though they were much smaller and it had a pretty sweet drum pad.  You could really rock out, I guess, but I just wanted to play church hymns like a weirdo. And hymns I played until I started busting the keys.  I first lost the F sharp just below middle C, and next to go was the B flat in the same direction.  The keys were broken, but you could still hit them so they would press the little button underneath to make the sound.  Until that button came off and the notes stopped working entirely. I think at the end I had about 7 or 8 broken keys on that thing, but I just wouldn’t give up.

Whenever I was in a place that had a piano, I would play it.  People’s houses, the school music room, church, AWANA, wherever.  And if I couldn’t play it for whatever reason, my stomach would almost hurt because I wanted to so bad.  I wished all the time that my parents would just buy me a frigging piano.  It couldn’t be that hard, right?  So many birthdays I would secretly hope for the best birthday surprise of all, where I would come home and find a piano delivery truck in our driveway.  Unfortunately, no such surprise ever materialized.

About halfway through grade 9, at 14 years old, I finally got the chance to take lessons.  They were offered at my school, and I could duck out of geography once a week for a 30 minute, $9 lesson with Mrs. Giesbrecht.  I told her of my dreams to become a church pianist, and she wanted to help me with that, but she knew I needed to learn some proper technique first–which I absolutely hated.  She pointed out to me that I didn’t play with my thumbs. She thought it was the strangest thing she’d seen, until I explained that I couldn’t really use my thumbs to play properly on the MT-520.  The keys were just too small for my hand span.  Understanding my technique was hampered by the tiny keys, she mostly overlooked my awkward fingering and encouraged me to continue.  She was a really nice lady.

The summer after grade 9, my dad died.  And when Mrs. Giesbrecht called to see if I would be continuing lessons in the fall and to inform us of a price increase, I told her I wasn’t sure that we would still be able to afford it, with my dad no longer around.  She offered to keep the lessons at the original price and I was able to continue to take lessons for the next 2 years or so.

When someone dies there’s a ton of shit that happens, unexpected costs arise and life gets a bit crazy.  Not only does it suck that you’ve just lost your loved one, but you basically get screwed in a lot of different ways when you’re trying to wade your way through the grief.  Months after my dad died, his friends held a memorial golf tournament in his honour.  The proceeds from that tournament were donated to our family.  I’m not sure why my mom agreed to use a portion to buy me a piano, but she did, and I was super jazzed.  Pretty much the only bright spot after months of shitty despair.

We scoured the newspapers, and piano stores as there wasn’t the internet in those days.  We came across an old painted upright that was for sale for $400.  It didn’t have a bench and it was painted, but the price was right, so we went to check it out.  It was a nice piano, the keys were quite yellow, but the paint job wasn’t bad and the sound was really nice.  It was the one. The thing I had wanted for my entire life. My very own piano.

my piano

Black and White and Grey All Over

The day the piano was delivered was probably one of the most exciting days of my life.  I played it from when I got home until well past my bedtime.  I remember sitting in the dark living room playing because the sun had set and I didn’t want to get up to turn the lights on.  It looked nice in our living room, and the yellow keys never bothered me.  My very thoughtful and talented friend, Amber, managed to make me a matching bench in her grade 11 shop class.  I don’t think I ever really thanked her for that–it really is a beautiful piece, and especially so, since she was only like 16.

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90’s half shirt and Impy, and my piano

Upright Piano

Me and My piano, Prom 1996

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My niece Chrissy being coy

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My Kindred, Marty, and Amber, maker of the bench in the middle

Not long after I got the piano, I did my Grade 8 Piano exam, and passed with flying colours.  I went on to be a church pianist and eventually a worship director.  I played at almost every service (sometimes 3 a week–it was a fundamental baptist church after all!) for probably 4 years or more.  It was a dream come true–the lessons, playing in church, and the piano.

When my mom sold the house several years later, I moved into a one bedroom apartment with no room for a piano, and such has been the case since then.  There’s never room for the piano.  My Auntie housed my piano at her place for years hoping that one day I might be able to find room for it, until she moved, and could look after it no longer.

My super friend, Rock N Roll Jen offered to take it for me and it stayed with her up until now.  I could visit it when I wanted, and it being at Jen’s made for some loud and drunken piano sessions.  The time has come that Jen can no longer keep it for me, and I can’t move it here.  I’ve come to realize that I will never, while living here in Toronto, be able to host a piano of it’s size.  We might be able to fit it into our home now, but we’d never be able to get it up the two flights of stairs.  We couldn’t even fit a regular couch in, so I doubt a hundred year old upright would fit.

So it’s time to let it go.  I’ll try to give it away–we haven’t had luck so far, but maybe soon someone will take it.  And if not, I’ve got a back up plan–my friend Mike and his company Just Junk will know what to do with it–sad as that outcome may be.

The last tune I tickled on it’s ivories was a shaky rendition of  Lovesong by the Cure.  Pretty fitting, I’d say.

I’m no longer a church pianist nor am I a worship director. I don’t even really play at all anymore. I guess it’s all behind me now but I wanted to tell you about my piano.  It’s just an instrument, I know, but it was so much more than that to me and I thought you should know.

NYE 1999

Partying with my piano, NYE 1999

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A Very Marigold Birthday

The last few weeks haven’t included much more than two hour stints of sleep, eating and sitting topless on the couch.  Oh, and clogging my friends news feeds with pictures of my children.  I’m kinda tied to Alice and the couch for the most part, so for entertainment I take pictures of my kids, post them on Instagram and share them on Facebook.  At least until the weather is a bit nicer.

Oh GOD I never wanted to be a mommy blogger–I just wanted to write about my life, but I guess my life right now is mostly about being a mummy. Gone are the days of passing out on a toilet in the basement bathroom of a bar on Queen from too much to drink and waking to write about it the next morning.

And here I am, again, to tell you more about my child-centered life.  Among the night feedings and diaper changes, I had been preparing feverishly whenever I found a few minutes, for Marigold’s third birthday.  I really wanted it to be very special for her, so I asked her what she wanted.  Decorations of orange and green, she said.  A small vanilla cake, she said.  Katie’s mummy, she said.  All of these things were a surprise to me–she doesn’t have favourite colours as far as I know, and I didn’t think she knew the difference between chocolate and vanilla.  And we haven’t seen Susie (Katie’s mummy) since last summer I think.  But these were the things she wanted.  And I wanted to make it happen.

We had a small party with her nearest and dearest.  She helped me bake her cake and I worked my butt off whenever my boobs were free.  And here are the results:  a very special party for my special little girl.

Waiting for the guests to arrive and the party to start

Waiting for the guests to arrive and the party to start

Handmade Paper Birthday PennantsHandmade Paper Birthday PennantsHandmade Paper Birthday Pennants

Handmade Paper Birthday Pennants

Several days of cutting and stringing together for the party pennants

Even the dolls decorated!

Even the dolls decorated!

Orange and Green Party Table

Orange and Green Party Table

Handmade cake and paper cake toppers

Handmade cake and paper cake toppers

She’s growing up, and while part of me wishes she would stay 3 forever (because she’s just so goddamned cute), I’m excited to see what kind of person she grows into.

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Hungry Hungry Hippos is a great gift for a 3 year old and her pals

Hungry Hungry Hippos is a great gift for a 3 year old and her pals

Mummy & Marigold

Mummy & Marigold

Living a Life of Love

The weeks and months leading up to my maternity leave were slightly stressful. Stressful only because the pressure I put on myself of course. I love working. I love working hard–I love accomplishing things and being good at what I do. I also enjoy being a part of a growing company and building a team and providing products and services I believe in. While it sounds like a cushy deal, taking a year off for maternity leave, for me, is a lot harder than it sounds.

Don’t be mistaken, I love my family, and I love being a mummy to Marigold and a wife to Martin, but it really doesn’t define me as a person.  It’s not the be all, end all of me.  Neither is my job.  I am the sum of these things and many others–all of which make me who I am.

While my current job isn’t exactly my dream job, it’s still awesome and I like the company and love my boss and the people I work with.  The hardest part is the timing, of course.  Putting my career on hold when things are positioned for growth in a major way isn’t the ideal scenario I had imagined when I first found myself with child.  I hadn’t expected that I would be getting a new boss, and that I would need to make a new and lasting impression on someone when I was tired, bloated and irritable. I didn’t think that I was about to miss out on something really rad for the next year.  I hate to miss out on things–I love to be right in the action!

I’m sure tons of other women and men go through the same thing when they take their respective parental leaves. I truly am grateful for the opportunity to take the full 50 weeks to spend time focusing on my new baby and growing family.

The last time I went on mat leave, I was literally counting the minutes before I could walk out the door and not return for several months, even though I was still there late on my last day.  This time I was really sad to go.  I was having sleepless nights thinking about the many projects I had on the go just before clocking out for the next year, and as my last day crept closer, I had expected my stress level to spike, but it slowly dissipated.  I was ready to go, and I know that I’m not in any real danger of being left behind at work.  I’m confident that I’ll be able to return and pick up where I left off and just spend this year focusing on real life–and my family.  What a treasure.

Almost three years ago now, I revived my blog because of this overwhelming need to write it all down.  I needed to tell everyone how I had never loved as much as I loved right then. With hormones running rampant, I’m sure, I was plagued with so many feelings and emotions, but it was the love that overflowed.

When I first discovered I was pregnant with my second child, of course I was thrilled, but there were hesitations that I hadn’t expected. I was worried about how I could possibly have TWO children (people survive with many more, I know I’m ridiculous) and look after them successfully. I was worried about our finances, and the size of our apartment. I was worried how Marigold will adapt. But most of all I was worried that I couldn’t possibly have any more love to give to another child. I just loved my little Marigold so much that I didn’t think it possible to have the capacity to love a new addition to our little family.

Two Peas on the floor, under a blanket

Two Peas on the floor, under a blanket

Martin gently reminded me that love multiplies as a family grows–and we have a never ending supply! We have found love in places that we never even knew existed.

The hardest part has definitely been dealing with my feelings for Marigold.  It’s weird, but I miss her.  I still spend time with her everyday, but she’s no longer my one and only, and I feel bad that my attention is divided.  This has been the greatest source of postpartum tears.  She is the most amazing big sister in all of the land, and I’m so proud with how she is handling it all.  She is a huge help with Baby Alice, and I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve heard her say “Don’t worry, Baby Alice.  Big sister’s right here” in the last 10 days.  And it melts my heart every time.

20140221_124904Miss Marigold and Lady Alice

One night I went to lay in Marigold’s bed with her before she went to sleep because I just missed her so.  I couldn’t stop the tears from coming, as they so often do these days.  I talked it over with Marigold, and for a not yet three year old, I’m impressed with her understanding.  I apologized for not spending as much time with her as I used to.  I got up to let her fall asleep, she said to me as I was leaving “Baby Alice needs you, Mummy.”  She totally gets it, and it just made me cry harder.  I’m so proud of her and I’m amazed at how awesome she is every single day.


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Baby Alice is just perfect from head to toe and I loved her just as much as I did Marigold when she was placed in my arms.  It’s like there’s a love explosion in your heart when you give birth–I would do it over and over again because the feeling is incredible.  And the results–well, they’re incomparable.

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So our love has grown.  Martin was right–I didn’t have anything to worry about.  We’re a family of four now.  I’m truly grateful for all the things that I have in this life, and I honestly don’t take it for granted.  I came from nothing, and now– I have everything.  And it’s definitely not lost on me, this extraordinary life of love.

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Alice's First Bath

Brown Eyed Ram

I don’t really believe in astrology, but historically I’ve found myself to be more friendly with capricorns, aquarius’ and tauruses.  Never really found myself close to an Aries, and as such I think of her as quite the an unlikely friend.  Not only is she an Aries, but she’s also 9 years my junior and I met her only because I hired her way back in 2010.  Unlikely a friendship as it may seem, she’s pretty much been by my side since then.

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Slightly more casual than her interview outfit

I remember what she wore for her interview–it was quite formal, a white blouse and a high waisted black skirt.  I don’t think she was wearing heels though–she wasn’t able to really pull off heels until about 2012.  I was looking for someone at the time to be part of the department I was building in my previous company, and between her, and one other girl, I knew I had found the right people to take on the job.

Both girls were cheery, with great personalities and teachable spirits.  Their experience was limited, but I knew I had found a couple of gems, so I snatched them up, not a moment too soon.  When I changed jobs in 2012, I had stumbled on a company primed for growth, and I felt like a mountain of work was just around the corner and I could never face it alone.  So I called on Smash.

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AKA the Dude

She had kept the ship a-sail for me while I was maternity leave the first time–she is smart, dependable, reliable, creative with a lot of really great, though sometimes zany, ideas.  We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, since she came to work with me again, more ups than downs though.  We’ve had a lot of laughs and good times, but the work pace was much slower than what we were used to, and sometimes our frustrations with work and our desires to move more quickly drove distance between us.

There were times where I felt like she was judging me.  There were times where I felt like she hated me.  There were times I felt utterly, totally and weirdly responsible for any unhappiness she felt in life.    And I can only begin to imagine what she felt about me–Picky, bossy, fussy, know it all Peattie.  I am fairly certain she wanted to tear my head off at times, but fortunately we got through it….all body parts in tact.  While it sounds crazy, it might do you some good to understand that we literally spend at least 40 hours a week together, face to face, less than three feet apart–and have for close to two straight years.

A good laugh usually cures what ails ya

Friends through the bad times

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And friends through the good times (photo credit Smashing Through Life)

We were open with each other on almost every subject and we trusted each other in more ways that we had trusted other friends in our lives.  And now as I start my maternity leave, I am trusting her again–with my job.  Finally, after waiting patiently, things are starting to happen.  She’s been promoted into the role she came on board to do–at a critical time in the company’s history.  She’s taking on significant projects and has some key objectives she’ll have to deliver on this year.  And it’s a lot.  It’s a lot for anyone.  But I know she can handle it.  I am excited to see what this year brings for her because I know it’s going to be amazing.  She’s surrounded by some really awesome people at the office, who I know she can count on to make things happen.  She’s gonna do great!

On Friday night, after my last day of work, she helped me carry my things to my car and what we thought was going to be an emotional goodbye, didn’t really turn in that direction at all.  I had cried earlier saying goodbye  to even the most pesky co-workers, and there wasn’t a tear in my eyes saying farewell to my long time side kick, pal and protege.  She made a joke about me missing her the least, but the reality is–I will miss her the least.  Because I’m not going to miss her.  Sure I’ll miss seeing her beautiful face every day, I’ll miss  the sound of her laughter, and I will definitely miss the poor nutritional choices we made on a daily basis (guilt free).  But I’m not going to miss her.  She will continue to be a huge part of my life, filling up a special place in my heart while I’m at home with my babies–our relationship runs much deeper than 9-5, Monday to Friday.  We don’t need to be three feet apart to maintain our friendship–it’s going to last for a long, long time…no matter our proximity.

I certainly got a lot more than I had ever bargained for the day I hired that brown-eyed ram, Smash.  I thought I was simply getting a recent graduate for a product specialist.  Instead, I got a life long friend.  A lady who is truly awesome in every way.

I love you, chum.

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Heart Beating, Eyes Shining

Years and years ago, I came home to the Valentine’s Day gift that would keep on giving.  He kept on giving for the next 14 years.  Or taking, or eating, or growing or however you want to look at it.

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I’ve never had a pet as long as I’ve had Grip.  Most of my cats “ran away” or got hit by cars.  I looked after my Nana’s dog for a long time, but whenever she returned from her travels, “Impy” went back with her.  None them were around as long as Agrippa.  He’s been mine for about 14 years.

14 years is a long time for a kitty, especially a really fat kitty.  How he got so fat, I’m not really sure.  He just kept growing and growing, and then he grew some more after he was neutered.  His origins aren’t entirely clear, but from what I remember, he was found in a field in a box, then brought to a pet store, then home to live with us.   There was a time where we thought he might be a mountain lion, he was getting so big so fast.  Eventually he stopped growing at around 35 pounds.

The worst of it was not his size, but he was a total bastard as a kitten.  He used to tear around our then apartment, climbing up people using his claws, scratching, biting, attacking at every opportunity.  I can think of at least 5 people off the top of my head that likely have permanent scars from his misbehaviour.  We couldn’t control him.  We’d lock him in his kitty carrier to calm him down, but he figured out how to unlock it.  He’d get the gate open, and come tearing out faster and more furious than before.  Probably the meanest cat around.  But he was so very very sweet too–if there ever was a Jekyl/Hyde kitty situation, this was it.  He would curl up at night between our pillows and cuddle with us all night long.  In the morning we would wake to the sweet smell of his kitty breath.  I’ll miss his kitty breath the most.

Grip spent the majority of his life eating diet food and having human sized poops.  He was so big, he relied on Simon to keep him clean.  He was a total pain in the ass, but I spent many lonely nights cuddled up with him in my bed.  When I had no one, I always had Tubby, and I’m certain that there never was another pet that loved their master as much as he loved me.

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He was confused when Marigold was born, and he watched me like a hawk when I first brought her home. He eventually took to her and they became very good chums.  He tolerated her hugs and tugs and kisses, and often looked for her if she was away visiting her auntie or grandparents for the night.  She loved him, and he loved her which made this whole thing incredibly difficult.

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fattymg1

Last Tuesday, we said goodbye to Agrippa, the Roman statesman kitty.  It was his time.  I asked some of his old friends to say a few words about him.

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On Agrippa:

“Oh poor boy. He was scary but still part of the family.  He wanted to hurt me but not bad enough to lose his comfy spot”

“Cat Heaven is a little fatter now.”

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“Whoa is that a cat?”

“Hard to believe that he was such a fiesty little thing. I will miss that girth.  Actually, he was a demon. He would attack us for no reason.”

“When I read that Agrippa had died, the first thing that came to mind was Gord and Andrea’s place on Spencer…We ate, we talked, we napped. We put on music to propel us into the night, then came crashing back home. We talked into the early morning until we fell asleep, then we got up and started all over again. What was it, that magic we created? I don’t know. But Agrippa was there, and is still, presiding over some of my fondest memories.”

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“He is the best damned cat that ever lived.  A true legend.  He was a great friend.  Over the years, I’ve thought about him often and I’ve always missed him very much.  Today, I’m really sad”

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Thus ends the long and obese tail of Agrippa.  If there is some sort of kitty after life, I’m sure Grip has found Simon and they have banded together to form the unholy army of the night they always dreamed about.  But rather than causing kitty mischief, they’ve found somewhere cozy to snuggle up and groom each other.   Lazy bastards.

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Little known fact about Agrippa…his favourite band was the Pogues (Simon was more into Neil Young).  This song goes out to him.

So long, Tubs.

January Celebrations

January is an especially special time around our house, and it really is nice to have something to celebrate in the cold, dark month of January.  Martin was born in January.  January 20th, to be exact.

I love his birthday, not just because we get to celebrate his existence, also because it’s when things started for us.  It’s the beginning of us.  I had met him long before his 30th birthday party, but it was that party that ignited the cliched spark that now burns brightly on a daily basis.  Barf, right?

Long before I came along....

Long before I came along….

I sometimes find myself thinking about what would’ve happened if I’d declined the invite to his birthday party way back in 2009, and I can barely fathom what I’d be doing right now.  Certainly not sitting on the couch watching him play video games, with a giant belly bursting with baby.

He’s changed a lot in the last five years.  Or maybe I just know him so much better.  I’m not sure which–but it doesn’t matter, because I only love him more for it.  And I am certain it will be that way until the day we die–I count on it.  We are fully committed to each other and we will work hard to make it last forever.

Together

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I was watching Marigold kiss and play with her little wind up frog and found myself saying to her:  “You might have to kiss a lot of frogs….”.  I had to kiss a lot of frogs, and suffer a lot, and I mean A LOT of serious heartbreaks before I fell in love with Martin.  I wouldn’t say that it was worth it, but what I would say is that it helped me realize and value what I have in my husband today.  I had an amazing life before he came along, but he really has made my life so very nice.  And for that, I am extremely grateful.

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In light of all that, the lady McWaters’ of  Parkdale celebrated by baking a cake while their Mister/Daddy slept late.  We ate a lot of cake batter before it finally made it’s way in the oven.  Our dinner was delicious Indian and we took it real easy.  It’s a far cry from that first birthday we spent drunkenly belting karaoke at the Duke five years ago, but the celebration in my heart is just as strong.

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**sorry for the blurry photos!!

And just like that, Toronto got a little less sweeter

Laugh if you want to, but my favourite book is Anne of Green Gables.  I’ve read the entire series a few times, and some particular installments in the series,  more times that I can even remember.  Lucy Maude is a great story teller.  And if you’ll remember back to when you read Anne, or even if you didn’t read the story, you probably can probably recall bits of the tv movie that aired on the CBC or you took a class trip to some high school performance of the play.  You might even remember Anne’ bosom chum, Diana.  On January 1st, my bosom chum got on a plane.  And just like that, Toronto got a little less sweeter.

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It hasn’t been such a sweet place as of late–the political storms, the weather issues, and the transit follies.  Surprisingly to me, I find myself sometimes wondering why we continue to live here.  Though today, I drove through the city, and I’m happy to report that it was easy to find all my old loving feelings for the city.

I took the long way home and remembered that there are so many places around with so many great memories attached.  Memories of me and my bosom chum–the things we did, and the places we met up, the places we took pictures.  I’ll sure miss her while she’s gone.

Magical Adventures

Magical Adventures

I had already lost her earlier this year.  A result of  the time and space and the things happening in our lives that began to naturally separate us.  An undesired side affect of desirable life changes, I suppose.

I met her in December 2005, at my kindred’s birthday party on Robert.  She was wearing mauve, and I knew instantly I wanted to be friends with her.   Later, I saw her kitchen and wondered even more about how we were going to become friends. And then, months later, after having moved to Toronto, I found myself meeting her at Spadina and Dundas on our way to see Final Fantasy at the Music Gallery.  I’m sure you’ve heard this before.

After watching Owen Pallett perform incredible magic on his violin, we headed back to my apartment on Robert for leftovers of the food I had made earlier in the day.  There was souvlaki, spanokopita, dolmades and tzaziki–probably the most elaborate Greek meal I had ever prepared.  I played her all my favourites from the latest Belle and Sebastian album.  We danced around my apartment, smoked a bit and I’m sure had some drinks all before exiting the back door to make our way to the Cloak.  There was nothing unusual about the path we took on our way over to see the Gospel Sundays, but AJ’s keen eye noticed a weird lumpy case sitting on top of a postal box.  After stopping and inspecting the case, we revealed the contents.  A violin.

We found a fucking violin on the side of the road after having just attended a concert featuring the violin!  

There was no one to be seen in the immediate proximity of the violin, and we left a note on the post box for the owner to contact us.  We never found it’s rightful owner.  AJ still has it today.  I don’t think she brought it on the plane though, but one day, she’ll learn to play.

It’s a special and unique friendship story that I will carry in my heart forever….re-telling it at whatever chance I get. A cosmic beginning to the friendship I had been looking for all my life.  I don’t know how else to describe it–our friendship that is.  I have a lot of people I really truly love in my life that are special to me in a lot of different ways.  Friends for greater than 30 years, some.  Others I’ve known only for a short time, and others still, who I never see or talk to, yet they continue to reside deeply in my heart.

What developed with AJ is a cosmic friendship with a bosom chum.  And I’m sure she feels the same way too.

Bosom Chums

Bosom Chums

I miss her, I do.  But I already missed her.  In a lot of ways I feel alone without her, and I have for the last while.  I’ve shared some of the most incredible moments of my life with her.   She has this ability to make any event, situation or circumstance magical.  At times I wonder if she IS in fact some magical and mystical creature like Loch Ness or Big Foot.  But she photographs well and I’ve seen her reflection in the mirror with my own eyes.

I have three biological sisters, and I am not close with any of them, and speak to them very little, if at all.  There’s a myriad of reasons for this I suppose…distance, age gaps, lack of common ground.  I haven’t thought about it enough to really understand why…but we’ve never been close, so I’ve never felt that that sister connection was missing in my life nor was I even aware that there even is such a thing as a sisterly connection.

As AJ and I grew closer over time, I grew to love her immensely and care about her in a way that was unfamiliar to me.  The only way I can describe it is that I must love her the way that sister’s love each other.  And it is a love that will never die.

The second time one of your very best friends moves away in a matter of months isn’t fun/  It is, in fact,  exponentially lonelier.  I don’t think I have fully accepted the fact that she is gone, and I’ll probably become drastically more aware, when she is not here when this little baby arrives.  I know for certain, though, that her pursuits are noble and I’m excited for the chapters that will unfold for her after her short stint away at school in Northern Alberta.

So I wait for her return, and I think of her fondly.  My magical, amazing and lovely bosom chum.  Sweet, sweet Alana.

30withaj

My 30th birthday sleep over

foggy alley in Toronto

In the Alley by the Pie

Giant Guinness

A stroll after Saturday Afternoon high tea

herfaveholiday

Turkey Coma on her favourite holiday

luxardo

Straight from the bottle

matesofstate

On our way to see Mates of State