Friday Confessions.

Well, it’s still Friday even if I’m kind of late. I totally meant to leap out of bed and post today, but instead I kind of grogged around, then went out to do errands and go shopping.

So, here I go:

1) I totally forgot it was Friday. Because I am off work until Tuesday, I just kind of assumed it was some kind of weekend day or something.

2) When I remembered it was Friday, I did not rush home. I had gyoza instead. Then I checked out the Fluevog sale. Then I got a free hug from the Free Hug people on Robson.

3) Wednesday afternoon, I was so hyped for my looooong weekend that I became Insane Teacher. “No, Yujin, the past tense of ‘fly’ is ‘flew’. As in (starts to sing) Flew into Miami Beach B.O.A.C, didn’t get to bed last night, All the way a paperback was on my knee, man, it was a dreadful flight! There. You’re never going to forget that, are you?” (Yujin shakes her head, laughing)

4) I am increasingly impatient with other people around me. Seriously, was there a sale on Stupid Pills or something? Because Holy Cats, there are a lot of morons around.

5) I lied to my students. I told some of them I was going to see my father on my holiday, and that I would be out of town. Meanwhile, I am hunkered down in Vancouver and not budging.

Over to you. Whadja do this week?

Me: Black Sheep, Social Maven, Possibly Gay.

Preface: I have almost never made E go to Family Functions. Partly that is because almost all of them are, of late, funerals, and I don’t think it’s fair for him to go to funerals of people he does not know. He doesn’t really need to take time off work to listen to an interminable service and then eat thrifty church sandwiches made of thinly-spread egg-salad, or bargain ham with too much mustard.

So. I was at a rare not-funeral barbecue event recently, chatting with distant relations I don’t know very well, and generally representing for my father’s side of the family. I am a Good Daughter. Also, I was there as a My-Father-Is-In-Perfect-Health smokescreen. Christ, the enabling starts early over here.

Anyhow, I’m having some barbecue pork and pasta salad and my dad’s cousin asks, “So, are you with a partner? Or are you alone? Or…” He takes a bite of bean salad as cover.

I explain that I have a boyfriend, whom I live with, and that we have some history together, although we are not legally married.

He nods and continues chewing.

But then I remember family gatherings over the past four years. The question, “Do you have a partner”, or even, “Is there someone in your life?” come up with some frequency. Not “Do you have a boyfriend?” or, “Is there a man in your life?” (even though there are some very right-wing relations who eschew anything that isn’t Good Ole- Christian-Family-Style) It’s all about ‘partner’ and ‘someone’.

In my effort to shield E from the tediosity of my family connections, I appear to have thrown my sexuality into question.

Awesome! I may take to using ambiguous pronouns just to keep the question alive.

Arrivederci, Beni Perlini.

Beni Perlini was one of the first fishermen I ever met. He was short and round, with a huge guffawing laugh, and his generosity and spirit could not be contained within any four walls.

He was a troller out of Port Hardy who would come in off his boat, the Darlene D, and strut into the commissary like a five-foot peacock in an old, grubby angler’s hat and an infectious smile. He pontificated in loud, Italian-accented English about whatever caught his attention, leaning on our counter and saying things like, ‘by Gum!’ to punctuate. His canned salmon was the best on the coast, but if you told him that, he would just nod secretively. I do remember that he could sign his signature, but I think he was one of the ones who needed the commissary staff to write the amounts on his cheques. He drank homemade wine with my first godson’s grandfather, and they remembered The Old Country together, toasting decades-old memories with gusto.

If you let your eye wander off the three-ring circus that was Beni, you’d see Darlene in the background. Willowy-tall with a deep tan and ash-blonde hair, frosted lipstick thick on her lips. She really should have been a circus act unto herself. But her life was Beni. She smiled dreamily as he pontificated, and she planned which flowers she’d put next in the windows of the little wooden troller that was her namesake. Mostly, she loved her Beni. “Bein’ ashore’s nice, but there’s nothin’ like bein’ anchored out in a little cove, just me and my Beni,” she’d say, smiling and lighting a Virginia Slims cigarette and going to look through our free book box.

Beni, happy fishing wherever you are. Darlene, I am sending you love. After so long loving him, you must be in pieces. Be strong, lady. I know you are.

Goodbye Bash.

To paraphrase Spider Robinson, “Think of the best party you’ve ever been to. Now double the fun you had. You would leave that party to come to this one.”

That was the party I was at last night. There were musicians jamming all kinds of music and people dancing to it. There was a fire going out back and people from all walks of life talking to each other. Inside were two tables groaning with food, and my new crush, Rob the Master of Alcohol. I spent my time moving from place to place, because every place was the best. I danced my heart out to some really good blues and some very skilled tabla playing. I discussed eco-density with a hairy young man who calls condos ‘monkeyhives’. I ate some very good spinach dip. Some time around 1am, I helped teach Kim’s son to make bannock over the fire.

I don’t think I’ll be at a party that good for a long time to come. It was so good I stayed until I had to come home on the night bus, and the party was still raging.

Last Dance.

I could see there were more cars than usual parked outside Sanctuary. In the windows, I saw tealights gleaming. Inside, women stood in hushed groups, under dimmed lights, stretching and trying small shimmies, throwing off the stiffness of the day. I saw faces from the past, women I danced with over a decade ago. Almost everyone was more resplendent than usual: Brighter colours, more veils, louder coin belts. Party clothes for the last dance.

As we warmed up, I felt the differences. Emotions were close to the surface and even though Kim really held it together, joking as usual, there was an edge to her of raw grief. No wonder. She is the High Priestess there.

We had a kind of physical prayer for the space, moving as the music dictated us, connecting to the past through that wonderful old wooden floor. Although there was a part of the class that was reserved for that, the whole class seemed to me to be a prayer. Can you remember the last time you laughed and cried at the same time? I did.

Normally, there’s ‘The Eight O’Clock Dance’, where some of the students bring in a song they love dancing to and we all dance to it. It’s not always Middle Eastern, either. This last Thursday, there were so many CD’s that the Eight O’Clock lasted a good 40 minutes. The music was exactly right: Songs to celebrate. We finished every song with a big cheer, but we were tired by the end, because we were giving every song our everything.

Kim chose the last-last song, and I had wondered what it was going to be. I shouldn’t have wondered. Kim loves “Walking on Broken Glass” beyond reason. We were so tired, so sweaty and wrung out that by that time, a lot of us had stopped belly dancing and were just dancing dancing. Some had their inner rockers coming out. Others swayed as though they were ballroom queens. I saw some two-stepping. We were all beautiful.

It was perfect.

Friday Confessions.

How is it Friday already? Early, but Friday. Here I was, minding my own business, and the week went and ended on me. Whoo, weekend!

I haven’t a lot to confess this week. That’s okay.

1) I left book reports for two whole days before marking them. Now, that doesn’t seem bad, but we have some kids who come every day and they expect their book reports PDQ.

2) I had to scare the cat away from the door with a pair of barbecue tongs. He wouldn’t let me out and I was late for work. On the other hand, he has just come and rubbed his face on my leg, so I assume he’s over the trauma.

3) I am supposed to be saving money, but I bought two Little House books, because I wanted to read them. So, if you want On the Banks of Plum Creek or By the Shores of Silver Lake after tomorrow, as a RABK (Random Act of Blogger Kindness) just give me a shout.

4) I cried a lot last night. It was the last dance at Sanctuary, our belly dance place. More to follow on that.

So. What are you willing to confess?

The Dangerous Underworld of Flowers

Sandii: (eyeing a hanging basket) How do they know the right places to plant them?

Me: You just crowd them in. They’re annuals. They only have one season to grow and flower and die.

Sandii: So how many do you put in?

Me: As many as you can. You feed them and water them, and they fight for space. It makes them bloom better. It’s like a cage match, only with flowers.

Little House: The Franchise.

So, I was reading Little House in the Big Woods for work (I know, I know) and I had completely failed to realize that Laura Ingalls’s life and genealogy had become a franchise.

Now, the series about Laura is known as “The Laura Years”, but is part of something bigger. You can (apparently) read about each of Laura’s matrilineal relations from her great-grandmother Martha (presumably in Scotland) in Little House in the Highlands, right down to her daughter Rose’s life, who seems to have moved to the Ozarks and then the Bayou.

There are a total of 23 books. I admit that my interest is piqued, but the cynic in me sees them as a big cash cow. I may pick one or two up. When the library is not on strike.


It appears that the owner of my local drinking establishment, The Fringe Cafe, also owner of The Ouisi Bistro on South Granville, has stumbled across this blog while searching the intertubes for interesting facts on his employees. Nigel told me last night, and Rob, AKA The Great White Provider, figured out which one of his patrons I was pretty easily. Of course, it wouldn’t be hard, but I have tended to keep my Secret Internet Identity away from a lot of the Broadway crew.

So, Rob, I’m going to make a little story using search terms I think you might use, and let’s see how quickly you find this post.

I was sailing around the Gulf Islands in my sloop, the S.S. Birks when I suddenly noticed I needed a Jager bomb. So I called Nigel at the Fringe Cafe on West Broadway and what happened was he was there with the rep from Russell Brewing. So I got one of the unruly patrons, Craig, to come over in his catamaran and he gave me my drink. It wasn’t over-service because I wasn’t technically in his establishment. I went over to my friend Clark’s, and there, I learned that there were some difficult problems with the beer lines. His friend, Lutz, took it all into consideration and said he wouldn’t sue me if I sat down and did some cross-stitch.

Ouisi Ouisi Ouisi Fringe Fringe Fringe.

Just kidding, Rob. I know you wouldn’t Google ‘cross-stitch’

Using Nouns Properly.

Hello. I woke up today with my Language Pedant hat on. I am increasingly distressed by the use of common nouns being used as though they were proper ones. Examples:

“Oh, how is Baby today?” “Has Baby been changed?” “Baby’s getting bigger!” Baby is not the child’s name (except in Dirty Dancing, and I do believe Jennifer Gray was out of diapers at the time). If you don’t know the child’s name, ask. If you don’t know the gender, ask. But don’t call one unique individual by a general term. I would not ask, “How is Meddlesome Besom today?”, or “Isn’t Daft Old Woman Who Smells Of Pee looking well?”. Calling a child ‘Baby’ as though that is the child’s name is disrespectful to the parent and the child, and makes you sound like a dribbling moron in her dotage.

Don’t ask me how ‘Hubby” is. “Hubby” is no one’s name. It is a limp, cutesy attempt to manufacture a seeming closeness between the user of the term and the woman in question. Furthermore, “How’s Hubby?” is often asked with a kind of half-sly cosiness that, in my more cynical moments, I believe is an allusion to the fact that I am an adult woman who has sex with an adult man. At other times, I just think it is a nod and wink to the fact that I ‘caught a man’. Actually, both of those are pretty fucking cynical. Oh well. If you can’t remember E’s name, ask me. And don’t assume I am married, either. That’s right. I am HAVING SEX OUT OF WEDLOCK! I am also sharing cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping duties out of wedlock, but none of those make me a brazen whore, so I suppose they don’t count.

People, we have a rich and varied language. We have ways of being more specific than any other creatures on the planet. Let’s use those. Let’s keep the evolutionary advantage. Because if we don’t, we’re really only monkeys in pants.

Thank you for your time.

As you were.

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