Monday, 24 September 2018

I know it sounds a bit bizarre

After a weekend of musical theatre - which I'll tell you about tomorrow, all being well -- I was in the mood for something shorter, but equally as musically pleasing and witty.

Gawd I love this guy. The production values, the incisive (with considerable incisors) commentary, the clever lyrics, the wigs, the pink pussy hats....

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Arise, arouse, a rose

It's something like this that really makes me miss my sense of smell. This was along my route home this morning. It used to be a bed-and-breakfast, which was bordered with many different roses, but there are a few left. The ones this colour usually had a glorious fragrance. I breathed in through my eyes instead.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Storm front

The first indication that anything was wrong came in an email on the Resident Fan Boy's computer at work.
Now, as it happens, the Resident Fan Boy was ensconced in his lonely basement office in Victoria. (Safe from any tornado in Ottawa, but safety is a relative term. Last winter, they cleared his building in a bomb scare, but no one remembered he was in the basement. He came up to look for someone to go for coffee, and found the floors deserted. Someone eventually ran back in to look for him.)

Our problem is that Elder Daughter and the Accent Snob live in Ottawa. The RFB texted me, I turned on the Weather Network, and sat clutching my phone as I gazed at maps featuring large swathes of violent pink and orage orange, which traced a line of storms making their way from the Great Lakes to the Ottawa River.

After a couple of worried texts from me, elder daughter, at work and about to go out to dinner, gave up and phoned me, assuring me that there had already been a tornado watch earlier in the summer that had come to nothing.

She seemed to forget that she was talking to someone who lived in Ottawa for seventeen years. Yes, I know that a tornado watch/warning usually pops up at least once every summer, and it usually comes to nothing -- but not always. About ten summers ago, the RFB was alone in the house in New Edinburgh, when the sky turned a kind of dark green, and the meteorologist on the Weather Network was burbling in excitement that a tornado was heading straight for the city. The RFB and our neighbour, who had the other half of our semi-detached, played chicken on the porch before heading down to their respective basements. The tornado veered and hit near Cornwall, a small city to the south-east.

Anyway, elder daughter assured me she was all right, and checked on the Accent Snob in her apartment, before hailing an Uber with a colleague to go to a farewell dinner for another coworker in some place called Cedarhill - which turned out to be about five kilometres west of the Merivale Power Station, which was completely knocked out by the tornado, or a related storm, and about five kilometres south of Arlington Woods and Craig Henry neighbourhoods, which looked like this today:

Gatineau, Qu├ębec, across the Ottawa River from the centre of the city, and Dunrobin, Ontario, a rural community to the northeast of Ottawa, got the worst of it. Casualty reports are still small; no reported deaths, but at least half a dozen seriously injured people, one with "life-threatening injuries".

Elder daughter and her coworkers ended up having a candle-lit dinner when the power failed, but the food was already cooked. She made it home safely to the Accent Snob, who apparently had a "panic poop" and covered it with a blanket. Elder daughter has power, but thousands across the city don't, including our former neighbour, who reports that it seems to be just "our block". She's had a baby recently, and was able to retreat to her own parents, while the food spoils in the fridge.

Elder daughter reported the strange post-tornado vibe: "The way the weather immediately cleared up is super misleading downtown, because it's all too easy to be like "huh what a lovely day . . . hey, why can't I buy bread?" (Massive line-ups at the stores that aren't closed.)

As for us, I think of where we were exactly a year ago -- having to vacate the house several times a week for showings -- so happy to be here.

Of course, we're in major earthquake territory here. Last winter, I slept through a tsumami alert.

My chief indicator of how serious the situation in Ottawa is?  The Ontario Genealogical Society cancelled their presentations today.  Try telling that to elder daughter....

Friday, 21 September 2018

The drums echoing tonight

As has been established, I love Postmodern Jukebox, and I love Casey Abrams in PMJ. Never been that crazy about the lyrics of Toto's "Africa", but what the heck:
I think this video is rather fun -- if not quite live, and I'm delighted to see the inclusion of Snuffy Walden, who is also known as "W.G. Snuffy Walden", and has scored several television shows, including My So-called Life, one of the few shows that showed high school life authentically. (Also loved the music of the opening.)

Thursday, 20 September 2018


A memory from late spring:

There are two logs where the turtles sunbathe on a sunny afternoon, such as this. The closest one is in a bed of water lilies, and today, we see it lazily rolling while a turtle clambers on and the others slowly shift to stay aboard.

I know younger daughter will take a long time gazing and snapping photos with her phone, so I make a beeline for a bench. The tall woman sitting there makes to move over, but I assure her there's plenty of room. We discuss the turtles and the high mortality rate amongst the ducklings.

The lady tells me that she saw a crow make off with a baby duck one day, and that the parents swam endlessly in circles where the little one had been.

As she speaks, I realize she's transgender. We sit companionably in silence, watching the turtles and ducks, while I ponder about how many LGBTQ people there seem to be nowadays, before it occurs to me that they were always there. She gets up and we both say it was nice to meet.

The wind has picked up, and I see younger daughter standing under the willow tree with the strands billowing out. It's the real Wind in the Willows, and I think that Kenneth Grahame may have had a scene like this in mind, with ducks and adolescent ducklings dabbling, up tails all.

It's not a river, though, and there's no sign of Mole nor Rat.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Shell game

I took this picture exactly eight years ago, by the Rideau River.

I have a Victoria story to tell. It involves turtles. A bit. It will have to wait until tomorrow.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

A lousy choice for a first dance at a wedding

I heard this in a restaurant, identified it with "Shazam", and looked it up on YouTube. In the comments for the official video - a video which I found unfunny and slapdash - someone said it was the first song at her wedding reception. An odd choice, if you listen to the lyrics.

This isn't the official video, by the way.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Remembering September

Oh. A Victorian September after an absence of nineteen years.

The last full September I spent in Victoria was in 1999.

And it's green, with hints of gold and red. (I mean the leaves, not the riots of gold and red coming from the flowers in this photo. But that, too.)

The air is fresh and cool, even in the sunlight, which is warm but not oppressive.

If I could smell, I'd breathe in the wet pavement and damp leaves between showers that dampen, but do not soak.

I'd forgotten this.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

There goes Jupiter; here comes Mars

One thing I finally managed to do after years of just missing, was attending a bit of the "B-film Festival" at the Cameron Bandshell this past summer. The festival originally showed honest-to-gawd B films, but has evidently found that family-friendly classics and action films draw the crowds, so I settled into my hard bench to watch Some Like It Hot.

This was a good choice because I've seen it many times before, so could slip away in time to catch a bus home, because downtown Victoria is a wee bit creepy on a Saturday night, and I was on my own while the Resident Fan Boy and younger daughter visited elder daughter in Ottawa for Chamberfest.

It was a clear night which meant it got cold very quickly, and I caught a glimpse of a shooting star spitting to the south, and a bird of prey circling uncomfortably close to the blue heron nests next to the clearing.

At about 10:25, just before Tony Curtis and Marilyn Munroe got into some heavy necking, I crept from my seat and felt my way nervously around the dark duck ponds, rather wishing I had the nerve to stop and star-gaze. Good thing I didn't because my bus came five minutes early and fifteen minutes later, I found myself crossing a nearly deserted Yates Street, and there was Mars, hanging red and clear above the schoolyard.
As I turned south, Jupiter shone silver to my left.

I trotted home to the apartment I'd carefully lit before leaving, and missed my family, while drinking in my solitude wistfully.

It wasn't until the morning that I discovered the mosquito bites. They were clear and red too.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

The isle is full of noises

With the coming of September, we get odd cloud formations, catching strange shadows. I look out the window and see green and grey, with splashes of gold, which are either patches of sunlight, or the first of the yellow leaves. I think back to the earlier part of the summer, when I was locked out of this blog, but free to walk out. Two beautiful outdoor art experiences come to mind.

One is from a rare rainy evening in early July, before St Swithin swept the showers away. We watched The Tempest on the grounds of Camosun College, under a mushroom cap of grey clouds, as the Garry Oaks swayed and rustled, giving atmosphere to Prospera's (yes, a woman playing a woman) spells, and to the tempest itself, which opens Shakespeare's play.

Caliban crawled across the ground, a cross between a jackal and a spider, then racoon-like, bellied under the low platformed stage and didst painfully remain there for a good ten to fifteen minutes.

A young deer wandered across the lawn behind the actors, and clambered up the volcanic rock into the brush.

I felt six raindrops, but no more. As the sun, visible only on the edges of the mushroom cap, sank in the north-west, a handkerchief chunk of broad rainbow hung on the southern horizon at intermission.

The next day, we headed down to the Cameron Bandshell in Beacon Hill Park to hear Dixie jazz -- but got The Choir and The Chorus instead, two non-auditioned singing groups under the same director. They sang Sarah Harmer, Radiohead, and a host of Indie Rock songs -- adapted for choir -- including one of my favourites, "Walking on Broken Glass" by Annie Lennox.

As the music hummed and soared, a shower of tiny golden leaves drifted over the audience. I looked down and saw two in the crooks of my arms, so took them in my fingers and made wishes for my daughters.

Above our heads, dragonflies zoomed like tiny Sopwith Camels.

Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.