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

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Laundry Therapy

It's hard to believe I lived as long as I did in the city without a proper clothesline. When I first moved in to my little house in Waterloo, I quickly got my then father-in-law to remove the scarecrowish clothes-hanging thingy that was rusting to death in the backyard. It was so ugly I didn't even stop to consider that it might be useful. Instead, I went to Crappy Tire and purchased a retractable clothesline, smugly attaching it to my deck that very evening. I would be helping the environment, saving money and electricity and generally looking very granola with my fancy new clothesline.


I realized after the first time I tried it that I'd made a terrible mistake. The line was 20 feet long, which only provides enough room to hang a few sheets and maybe one sock; I owned a king-sized bed and a heck of a lot of socks. I had to climb up on the one rickty stool I owned to attach the line to the maple tree in the back yard every time I wanted to hang laundry, which meant enduring the amused looks of my neighbours. (They used their clothesline to exercise their cat and dried their clothes in a dryer) My line also had to be forcibly retracted once I was done, kind of like winding up a really long, tiresome yoyo.

Worse, the darned thing would never stay taut. It'd inevitably droop into the flowerbeds or a pile of doggie doo. Once I even came out to find my dog asleep in the middle of my white sheets as they dragged across the lawn.

Imagine my absolutel delight when we moved to Someday and I saw my new best friend: 60 feet of glorious double line, complete with a concrete landing from which to survey my domain while I hang my clothes out. It even came with those metal pulley things to keep the lines tight when you hang really heavy towels on them. Hallelujia!

I adore the smell of sheets that have been hung outside to dry, so I can't get enough of this clothesline stuff. Clothes just seem cleaner to me after they've been soaked in an afternoon's sunshine. Plus, you leave 'em out overnight during a heavy dew and voila! Hello extra whiteness and brightness, all thanks to Mama Nature. And yeah, I found that out through sheer laziness one night when I was too into my book to go take the clothes off the line.

A baby on board means more laundry than I'd ever envisioned, especially since we use cloth diapers. But I love the poetry of Jade's wee clothes waving at me from the line; the pinks and blues and yellows become a rainbow of pastel colours that make it worth all the trouble and time of hanging them up.

And instead of listening to the dry humping sounds of my 15 year old dryer, I hear the cedar waxwings peeping in the apple trees and crickets sing in the alfalfa. I get to feel the wind muss my hair, the sun glow on my face, and cool, damp sheets against hot arms and shoulders on those scorcher summer days. Instead of gazing at damp cement basement walls, I watch monarch butterflies flutter crazily across the lawn. It's lovely.

Sure, tossing stuff from the washer to the dryer is less time consuming. Yeah, you have to wrestle with heavy sheets, learn the art of the clothespin, search for dropped socks in the thorny roses. And since Someday is always windy, my brother in law, the UPS guy, and a visiting neighbour have all rescued clothing that's tried to escape. Sometimes it ends up in the cornfield, or on the hood of my car. Once my brother in law brought me a stray t-shirt, then pointed to a pair of my dainty underthings lying in the middle of the lawn. "You dropped something. I ain't touching it." But I think hanging laundry builds character in a way that spending too much time with a big white dryer in the depths of the basement never can.

Now the question is, what will I do when the snow flies???

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Aurora Boring-alis

Since moving to the country, I spend an inordinate amount of time craning my neck upward to look at the night skies. It makes my head spin sometimes to contemplate the stars, planets and even satellites scattered up in the heavens. I've even come to recognize a few; rusty coloured Sirius, bright Vega, Orion's tidy belt. In Waterloo, they were mere specks that blended together; at Someday, they're brilliant gems strewn across a black velvet sky.

We've had two weeks of clear, warm weather with cool nights - perfect for stargazing, and usually perfect for seeing the Northern Lights. Searching for Aurora Borealis is kind of a tradition with me; ever since I was a young kid coming to the cottage, it didn't feel like summer until I'd spotted the Northern Lights at least once. I remember lying on the cool sand with my cousins while the waves lapped at our feet, staring up as those mysterious lights wove their ghostly threads across the darkness.

And so I've peered up at the Someday sky, night after night, all summer long. All I've achieved is a severe crick in the neck and a bad case of impatience. If you'd been standing beside Jade and I last night, on the driveway, near the cornfield, you'd have heard the following:

"Ah haaa...look up there Jady. Do you see that? That's the Northern Lights! Yup! Look at it! Isn't it beautiful? It looks like a gauzy white curtain, doesn't it? Mmm hmm. Mummy loves the Northern Lights. Oh. Waitaminute. Hmmm...maybe those are just clouds. Are those just clouds? Dammit, they are. For pete's sake." (Calls to husband who is wearily heading into the house) "D, are those clouds or the Northern Lights?" (mumbled response from husband) "Crap! Are you sure? I could have sworn they were...oh, never mind. C'mon Jady. Let's go in. *sigh*"

Yeah, I know. Jade is way too little to even notice the Northern Lights, let alone stars. But I am bound and determined to see them this year, even if it means scouring the skies each and every night until it snows!

Friday, 11 September 2009


Facebook has many ridiculous questionnaire-type apps (Who would be your celebrity boyfriend?! What colour is your Aura?! What alcoholic beverage are you?!) which, for reasons that I haven't thought about too closely, I seem to keep trying. I think they're mostly harmless little time wasters that you forget about moments after you publish your results (Ben Affleck! Aqua! Beer!)...but one did make an impression on me last week.

"Which ghost sleeps in your room?" popped up on my feed page. And I have a thing about ghosts, so I took it. And the result? Well, here it is, in all its grammatically grating glory:

this dog grew up on a farm in the 1800's but drowned in a lake. this dog doesnt only sleep at the end of your bed every night but he follows you everywhere you go and keeps you away from more danger than you realize. all of your lucky escapes from trouble are thanks to him.


I did have a bull terrier named Henry who choked to death in a tragic apple incident about 12 years ago. He would have cheerfully chewed apart anyone who tried to harm me, so he'd make a pretty sweet ghost doggie. Except I don't believe in ghosts. Which is problematic, because I'm writing a novel about them. Yeah. Go figure.

I shouldn't say I don't believe in ghosts at all; the fact is that I'm kinda scared to believe in them. I don't want to meet one, not now, not ever. But I have felt, at different times throughout my life, that I wasn't alone in a place, even though technically I was the only person there. Especially in our old house in New Hamburg and here, at Someday. Both places are 100 years old and are bound to have some sort of history kicking around them.

But does that mean there are ghosts? Dunno. My friend R is convinced that our blue room must be haunted because her daughter acts weird whenever they sleep over there. It was supposed to be Rose's room, so who knows? Maybe Rose comes out to play with R's daughter. Gah! I just gave myself a shiver.

The thing I struggle with is not knowing whether ghosts are friendly or mean, good or evil, interested in humans or unobtrusive. If they exist, why are they here? How come they're not living it up in the afterlife? And what do they want from us? These are the questions I have been wrestling with for ages, and the elusive answers are holding up my novel's progress. I can't write about ghosts until I can figure out what exactly they want from my character. If you have any ideas, I'm all ears.

Or maybe I should just ask ghostie Fido tonight.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Get Yer Motor Runnin'...

My brothers-in-law both have shiny, growly Harley Davidsons - Sportsters? Roadsters? Something with a "ster" in it - that they are very proud of. They deck themselves out in Harley helmets, jackets, chaps and belts and go thundering down the road looking quite cool. D has a 20 year old Honda 350. It's covered in dust, has two broken tail lights and was recently diagnosed with a bad case of mouse nest in its innards. When we ride it, we usually wear lumber jackets and work boots.

I think I detect more than a hint of wistfulness in D's eyes when C comes rumbling out of the shop on his way for a tour. D doesn't surf the 'net much, but when he does, it's to scroll through pages of used motorbikes every blessed time. I keep coaxing him to buy a new one, but he won't. I'm not really sure why, but I think it's because he never wants to spend money on himself. Surprise me with a ruby and diamond necklace for Christmas? No problem. Purchase a new grain mixer for his Dad's farm? No biggie. Buy himself a used motorbike to replace the one he's had since forever? Not gonna happen.

While it's tempting to want to buy one for him, I wouldn't know where to begin. My motorbike expertise begins with tooting around on the teeny tiny old '70 at his parents' farm, and ends with me balancing on the back of D's bike until my butt hurts. And C has vowed never to help me, for fear of incurring D's wrath. So what to do?

I've been for a ride on both my brothers' Harleys, and while they're a lot of fun, I still prefer D's beat up old bike. The Harleys are incredibly loud; your head aches after a half hour on the back of one. I don't like the way everyone stares at you when you roar through town either. The passenger seats aren't as comfy as the old squishy one on D's bike. Plus the brothers would never allow their bikes to go for a joyride down the dirty 6th concession, let alone a heart-pounding buzz through a freshly shorn field.

I have so many good memories associated with the Honda: the first time D took me for a spin, through fragrant meadows and down bumpy dirt roads, around his Grandpa's old farm and the Lowry Grain elevators; the time we dumped 'er executing a tight turn and smashed the only remaining tail light; the night he proposed at the Point Clark lighthouse with the ring hidden in the bike's secret compartment. Yeah, I love that old bike! Even if by some miracle I can convince him to get a new one some day, the dusty red Honda will always be my favourite.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Stuff I'm slightly embarrassed to admit I like

Oh come on. Everyone has a list. You're just too chicken to blog about it.

1) Baby Duck/Molson Canadian
Cheap, sweet, fizzy wine drunk out of plastic cups on the beach at midnight tastes just like Veuve Cliquot. Trust me. And I'm the beery snobbiest of beer snobs, but a bottle of Canadian so cold your lips almost stick to it is the best way to quench your thirst on a muggy August day. Plus it has fuelled more two-steps and helped me wash down more salty midnight buffets at wedding receptions, stag n' does and reunions than I can count. How can you not love a beer that does that for $2.00 a cup?

2) Friends
I really can't say why this show makes me laugh so much. I mean, it's fairly predictable and not exactly high-brow humour. But there are a few episodes (the one where Phoebe pretends to seduce Chandler, the one where Jon Lovitz is a stoned restaurant owner, the one where Joey discovers that his tailor is a pervert) that make me howl every time I see them. I guess the show is kind of like a warm blanket of sorts; you know the characters, you know the dialogue and you know what's gonna happen because you've seen the episodes a million times. It's not as acerbic as Seinfeld was. It's kind of like eating a nice, warm, fresh squishy plain doughnut. Not great for you, but it won't kill you either.

3) Zoodles
There's something to be said for limp noodles in sweet tomato sauce with a sodium content that would fill three salt shakers. Plus, it comes out of a can! I don't think the recipe or packaging has changed since I was a kid, which is impressive. And this stuff saved my life after my C-section when no other food appealed to me. Now the real question: are Alphaghetti and Zoodles just cleverly disguised fraternal twins? I must do a blind taste test someday.

4) Journey/Abba/Simon & Garfunkel
Ahhh, listening to those soothing ballads punctuated by Steve Perry's freakish high notes on a long trip home from Waterloo. The tinny melodies of Bjorn, Benny and the girls as background music while I make supper. Singing along to the warbling, angsty harmonies of Sim n' Garf as I dust the living room. These tunes are all leftover loves from my teen years when I'd play the same albums over and over and over again. Not enduring classics to any ears but mine, probably. It's still fun to make up words to Abba songs though.

5) The X-Files
I think I've mentioned before how obsessed I am with this show, 7 years after it ended. At first, I had to content myself with reading the episode guide books, which are mostly awful. Then my good friends lent me the entire nine-season DVD collection, which was just mean, 'cause now all I want to do during every spare minute is watch Mulder and Scully play with their flashlights. Jade probably has so much alien conspiracy dialogue embedded in her little brain from all the times I've nursed her while watching X-Files; I've no doubt that someday, I'll be lamely trying to explain why she insists on drawing green men with big eyes during a parent-teacher interview.