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!!

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My Two Dads

As I get older it becomes more difficult to remember things about my dad. I can remember his pager number along with our answering machine greeting.  If you ever had to leave a message at my house between 1987 and 1993 I’m sure you can hear his voice as clearly as I can saying:

“Hi.  This is Andy Peattie answering your call.  There’s no one in at the moment, so leave a message after the beep and someone will get back to you.  However, if you need me in a hurry, call my pager at 1-553-0207 and I will answer your call within an hour. Thank you.”

My Dad, 1949,  Age 21
He had a car phone, and a pretty sweet bar in our basement.  He rigged up speakers so music could be playing the back yard while he fiddled with the pH level in the pool, or re-strung the lawn chairs.  He loved big band music, and country even more, and I’ve never heard a tape played more than the Floyd Cramer greatest hits he kept in his talking Chrysler Lebaron.  He used vaseline in his hair before there was pomade and he once owned the Harding Hotel.  But what did I get from him?  I don’t look the slightest bit like him, I don’t care what anyone says.    My mother, on the other hand, I hear her voice come out of my mouth every other day.  I see her face looking back at me in the mirror and in photos and my figure has her curves written all over it.  Her genes were the dominant ones it seems.  At 14 I don’t think I really knew him well enough to figure out  the exact characteristics of his I carry with me, so I’m gonna start guessing.  Here goes my best shot:
1)  His love of music, modified,  intensified, and much more emotionally charged.  I just heard the first four bars of “Canadian Sunset” as played by Floyd Cramer, and I got goosebumps.  I went to a concert on Tuesday night, and as I often do, I found myself tearstuck as I stood in awe of the music. I doubt my dad could appreciate the Postal Service, but I’m sure seeing Patsy Cline live would have brought tears to his eyes.  Thinking of the musically talented people that surround me, my mind wanders to Rolly Honsberger, and the black and white photo of him hanging in my apartment, signed for my dad, thanking him for giving Rolly his first big break.  The eight tracks, the records, the Floyd Cramer on repeat.  These things certainly live on in me.
2)  Snacks.  The man really loved snacks.  His night table drawer was usually filled with peanut brittle, cheddar corn, and cheesies.  Nights spent without my mom were filled with trips to the Avondale to get two for $1 chocolate bars.  His intentions were that the bars were for him and my mum, though both bars had almost always vanished before mum got home from the bingo later than night.  I certainly love snacks, as most people do, but I’m willing to wager that I love snacks a lot more than other people.  SNACKS!  Thanks dad, for the undying love of tasty treats that I feel burning deep inside.
Me, my dad and some snacks
3) Broadly:  Being social.   More specifically, I’m speaking of booze and parties and bars.  And all the things that come along with that.  He had his hangouts and his chums.  He owned a hotel and later sold liquor systems.  Sounds like a pretty rad time to me…. The late nights my dad spent at the Esquire, and later Gerry’s Express have been mirrored in my life by the close the curtains and turn down the lights nights at the Cloak and the Cock and Tail.  His Friday night dart parties in the basement wrought with kielbasa, cheese and beer gently permeated the atmosphere of every “HKM” I ever hosted.  What Glen, Norm and Dave were to my dad are probably not that different from what Gord, Parker and Meher are to me.
My dad, my uncle Cliff, and some other guy who might be my uncle.
My dad at his finest.  Laying in my bed, eating Krinkles and playing Tetris on the Nintendo
I’m sure there’s likely more characteristics I could add to the list, but that’s a pretty good start.  What I hope to have, and what might still reveal itself as I grow older is that entrepreneurial spark–that one day I would be willing to go out of my comfort zone to start and run a business.  Do I know what that business would be?  Not entirely sure about that yet.    Was he successful with his businesses?  I have no idea, but his success doesn’t dictate mine anyways.  We’ll have to wait and see.
My dad died, about a month before I turned 15.  Today, I’m not in regular touch with anyone that really knew him,  so most of this is speculation at best.  But it’s my sense that these things are the “Peattie” that lives in me.
A couple of years after my dad died, my mum introduced me to Luigi.  He had one of the biggest beards I had ever seen, hideous hideous furniture, a cute little beagle, a garage full of birds and a backyard full of fruit trees.  And while I can’t say there are specific things about my character or who am I that directly point to Luigi, there is more of a general influence on things in my life, with hospitality as a big part of that.
I knew Luigi in a way I didn’t know my dad.   He loved me and Matt as his children, he did.  We would spend Sundays and holidays with him and my mum through the remainder of my teenage years and throughout my 20’s.  Often when I remember him, I remember him more fondly than I do my actual dad. Probably only because I can more easily remember him and who he was. I can remember his heart, and the heart of his home, the kitchen.
Matt, Luigi and me, in the kitchen
Luigi was outrageously generous–with his time, his money, his refrigerator and with his lectures on the many English words that were stolen from Italian.  I truly hope that there’s a fraction of his generosity that shines through me in my daily life, and I’d like this to be a reminder to be deliberately generous when the circumstances arise.
And though it may seem trivial to some, my cooking style and my palette are both heavily influenced by him and that causes me great pride.  Going to Luigi’s house always meant some sort of meal, interesting cheese and home brewed wine.  From the salad dressing to the roasted potatoes, right on down to penne a la vodka–the food prepared by his hand or with his recipe was always delicious.  I never wrote down the recipes, they weren’t meant for pen and paper, they were meant to be interpreted.  Which is how I cook today.
Luigi died in July of 2008, the summer of rainbows.  He faded away, which allowed us to say goodbye over a longer span of time.  Having already lost my dad suddenly in 1993, I had learned to cherish the thoughts and feelings and store the memories away deep in my heart for future recollection.  My memories of Luigi are much more deliberate than the memories I have of my dad.
Luigi, me & my mum, 2006
I often stop to think of Luigi when I don my apron, as I do of my dad when I get a taste of cheddar corn or take a sip of my beer.  I don’t believe they’re in heaven looking down on me.  I believe their souls went on to live somewhere else, but I’ll take the pieces I can remember along with me and share it with anyone that will listen for the rest of my life.   Of course, I make it all sound ideal–and please trust me when I say it wasn’t–I will always strive to remember the fondest throughout my life.   And hopefully, the fondest of my two dads really does live on in me.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take my glass of champagne, and dance around my living room to this:

Becoming Mrs. LadyBird Magpie of Parkdale

I definitely don’t want to forget any of this.  Just a bride and a groom and some rings and everyone we know and love.



Where do I even start?  DIY wedding is a blogger’s fantasy, and I did almost all of it myself, so I should have lots and lots to share.  Through the exhaustion of the last two weeks, I’ve been trying to find the clarity and the words, trying to find anything to write about, and I’m still unsure about what to say…


I thought I would be much more emotional throughout the ceremony.  Like falling over sobbing, with mascara raccoon nightmare face, but it wasn’t really that bad.  I thought I would get to the part where Gord handed me over to Martin and I would completely lose my shit.  But I didn’t–I had welled to tears enough many times in the weeks prior to the wedding about Gord giving me away.  I cry because I’m happy.  How could I not be?  Everything makes sense, right?  Marrying Martin for starters, and Gord giving me away, and everything leading up to that point.  My life has made 100% sense, and I’m full of so much joy.

On May 11, 2013, I had a bath with a Lush bath bomb, I made our bouquets, I traipsed down the stairs of my Parkdale house of dreams without calling a cab because at this point, I don’t even know HOW to call a cab.  But hailing a cab is pretty tough carrying a suitcase, two bouquets, a crinoline and smoking a stranger’s cigarette.  The neighbour of all neighbours escorted me to the street corner and hailed me a cab.  Put my bags in the trunk and sent me off to the Gladstone.  It really was very very sweet.  He later hauled like 250 lbs of ice up the stairs, and had the time of his life blasting records.  What an awesome dude.


Maid of Honour
The maid’s homemade bouquet
Really awesome homemade bouquet
The Brides homeemade bouquet



My room was at the Gladdy was red, and there was just enough time to doll myself up to the fashion by which I chose to get married.  My red room, my red dress,  and a perfect Parkdale view of the Gladstone Cafe (ha!) and the rug factory in the distance.  I hung my dress in the window for all of Parkdale to see. I prepped and primped and listened to old reggae and my escorts arrived on cue, and I got to show off my crinoline for the very first time. And no, that’s not a euphemism.

 
Red Curtains
Red Curtains in the Gladstone Room #303
TTC at the Gladstone
Outside the Gladstone

We drank champagne and put feathers in our hair and descended down a beautiful three flights of stairs to the Gladstone lobby. I guess whenever I imagined my wedding the two things that were always consistent–I was always coming downstairs and there was always music.  As a child, I used to stand at the top of our stairs and have my mother call “Andrea Peattie, come on down”, as though I was headed to contestants row on the Price is Right.  No contestants row on May 11, though, just a groom and some rings and everyone we know and love. and the last time I’ll ever descend anything as an unmarried lady.  Just Andrea Peattie, for the very last time.

 


Smoking Bride, vintage red dress
$12.99, just slightly more than my pack of cigarettes


Vintage bride in a taxi
Back of a taxi, heading away from the sunset
My Handsome Groom awaits

I never want to forget, sitting in the judge’s office, singing with my dudes, and my best gal.  It was one of the most special moments of my life.  The sweet harmonies, Vigoda’s soft strums and some super slow tempoed soul.  This all sung volumes to me about the man I was going to marry.  They love me, and they love Martin.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  


They led me, and serenaded us into our marriage.  And while I really wish my dad and Luigi could’ve been there, it didn’t really matter, because I knew they would be so happy, and they would love Martin too.  Samson-esque locks and all!.  

The words of the ceremony didn’t even occur to me at the timeand I really don’t even know what the JP said.  He asked about vows and readings just prior to the ceremony and I told him to say whatever he wanted, just don’t say anything about God.  What I do know is that I meant what I said to Martin and I know Martin meant what he said to me and we’re never going to stop meaning it.

  ……..I will.  So will he.  The end 
and also the beginning.  Presenting Mr. and Mrs. McWaters.


There are about 1000 things that I wanted to say to Martin the night we got married, and by the time that I got to him, I didn’t have to say anything.  Everything just makes sense for us.  
And we are head over heels in love to boot.  

When I first started dating Martin, he had stayed over on a Saturday night, and we went for brunch at Mezzrows, then walked along King back to my former PD house of dreams.  We lollygagged up the stairs, sat down on the futon and played Tony Hawk on the PS2.  We were having some snacks (naturally) and I turned and looked at him and said…”Does this feel normal to you?”  He said “yep” and we went back to playing our video game.  


Here we are now, tonight, on the couch, and he’s playing a video game while I write.  The snacks will be out soon, I’m sure.  Guess what?  This is absolutely-one-hundred-fuckingpercent-no-doubt-in-my-mind “normal”.  And so my first reflection (yes there are more to come), upon being wed, is this:  I got married and I don’t feel any different.  Not even in the slightest.  And as you can see on my face, am thrilled.



****Special thanks for the photos:  AJ, Lisa DeeAlex in Wasaga, & Maureen & Alan.  

And we’re around

We haven’t been up to much lately…

I went to the Magpie on Wednesday.  I was having a shitty day and I ran into Marilee on the street car and she invited me to celebrate her birthday with the cool kids.

^^Titled “Marilee was just Here”

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^^ The cool kids
More cool kids She is lovely, and these pictures are really very dark. But I think it is obvious that this is the best time Ari has ever had in all of his life. We laughed so hard.  Like the hardest I have laughed in a really long time.


Oh! My apartment when Marigold is sleeping and the sun is seeping in the through the trees.  It looks quite nice, doesn’t it?  I know that portrait looks a bit weird over there, but I will surround it by other shining things that I bring back to my nest.  Maybe even this….

Cat with fish purse…on the list of current projects.

And, thanksgiving Sunday?

Who’s your daddy?                                                                             Wait. A. Minute. What’s that I see? 

YES!  Beard.

And there’s still tomorrow.  The fifth annual HKTM. It started long ago in Parkdale with a birthday present and a homemade pizza.  Growing from a single tube to a hutch, we celebrate simply one holiday, and we give thanks.  Between the strip club and the movie production company, we have a lot to be thankful for.  From HKM to HKTM we are grateful…..