Wednesday, November 18, 2015

High waisted jeans, Florence + The Machine

This was me, last night at Florence + The Machine. I wore a tshirt from the Gap too. I was so excited to be out at a concert with a lot of heart, energy, and modern dance moves by Florence herself, resplendent in tailored white pantsuit. She made the show her own, which I feel like the more shows you go to you see less and less of. But like most things in life, maybe it is the law of diminishing returns in action. Anyway, thank you Florence Welch for making big singalong songs and grand gestures.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Clouds in my coffee

I have one of those distinct memories from around age 5 or 6 (in other words, now it is slightly vague but I am SO sure it happened) of my mom singing along to "You're So Vain" while toodling along in her 'little red Chevette'. We were probably going to one of my brother's Little League games or to my Grandma's or to pick up some McDonald's.

The line and the imagery of "clouds in my coffee" has stuck with me. I suppose it is because when you're little, clouds are in the sky and, well, how do they get into a cup of coffee?

"You're So Vain" is a timeless song - she's taking a real dig at him and it could be any year. Any jerk of a guy. Any smart girl who has a way with words.

Saratoga. Nova Scotia. Wife of a close friend.

The backstory is one of those great ones that has taken decades to unravel. Ann put it on a mix CD for me in the early 2000s, I ripped it onto my iTunes, it's lived on probably 5 different iPods/iPhones over the years, and now I most often listen to it on Spotify. And that little line resonates now with 5 year-old Georgie, just like it did -- and does -- with me. Except G sings "clouds in your coffee, clouds in your coffee"because as she says, she doesn't drink coffee yet.

Your scarf it was apricot...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Writing a novel while your baby sleeps

It started with JK Rowling who famously wrote Harry Potter in cafes in Edinbugh while her new baby slept. There's always someone writing a first-time novel while on maternity leave. I just want to write a first-time novella for fourth graders. Haven't gotten to that yet. But I have canva, pinterest, a nostalgia for 1970s kitchens, and a baby who sleeps only long enough to create little memes and blogposts.

I love this kitchen. I also love her sweater and high-waited jeans.

I was never even in one like this, but feel like the Eight Is Enough household had something similar. My best friend Ann and I still reminiscence about the 1970s kitchen in the house she grew up in -- the avocado fridge, the avocado stove, the avocado linoleum floors. The yellow rotary phone on the wall above a little desk (avocado countertops), next to a bulletin board with weekly reminders and a University Bookstore calendar affixed to the wall. We spent many afterschool afternoons-into-evening times in there - snacking, talking, listening to Depeche Mode and Erasure, talking. The seasons changed out the window, the yellow formica table became a rather sleek, tall wooden table with barstool type seats. But it was always the 1970s kitchen, open to all the teenage angst and hunger that came its way.

photo source found on the blog
meme by lil old me

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A feeling of feelings

 are a band I became acquainted with when I was handed their album 'If You Leave' during my first week at Inertia. It isn't quite dark-and-stormy-night music as it is moody-as-night-falls music, which is really one of my favourite kinds.

I saw the band play at the Metro over a year ago and found the lead singer, Elena, so endearing to the audience of primarily young women her same age and probably feeling a lot of the same things: an onslaught of thoughts about the future, the fury and excitement of the present, while still making sense of the recent past.

we are the reckless / we are the wild youth / chasing visions of our futures
from "Youth"

I felt older than most at the concert, but my 24-year-old self was there in spirit. My present-day mum self also thought, "Wow, her parents must be proud."

So with the new single "Doing The Right Thing," I look forward to more unleashing of those mid-to-late twenties kinds songs that need to see the light of day…or the dark of evening.

Friday, October 09, 2015

And then you are back

My month back in Madison has come and gone. I have been up since 5am, which isn't as bad as jet-lagged induced 3:30am yesterday morning. Those not quite morning, not quite night times give space to come up with such brilliant thoughts that coming back is strange because you have traveled so far, waited so long for your trip and then just like that - you are back in your bed with the same sheets, the same plates out in the kitchen cupboard, the same old hedge out front needing a trim again. But that other place is so, so recent. I took this photo on my morning run the day we left for Sydney. 

The sidewalk is a little path between two houses on the middle of quiet Ravenswood Drive that takes you into Pilgrim Park. Everything is still pretty green there but splotches of yellow, purple and red are creeping in. And Pilgrim Park is so quiet. I ran through there maybe 5 or 6 times in three and a half weeks and never saw another person there. I used to play there a lot when I was little but it seems on weekdays in Madison there just aren't many kids around.

I did notice how it used to be that you could see McKenna Blvd from the park - a busy residential street. But now the trees are so tall they make a lovely , lush leafy wall...for a little while longer until the leaves fall.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

It will pass in time

The evening ritual.

After dinner are the three Bs: bath, books, bed. It is a meaningful ritual for me and not in that way of let's-hurry-up-and-get-the-day-done-so-I-can-watch-crap TV but in more of a return to comfort and coziness and just a really quiet end to it all. Security, I suppose. It's not about the excitement of what the night holds anymore but how to end the day with a soft landing.

Although with a little 4 month old, sometimes the evening wind down is just a chance to relax before it starts again in a few short hours.

We always put some nighttime music on in Georgie's room for her to fall asleep to - everything from Passenger, Disney Classics, Asgeir, Playschool, Sesame Street, and for about 3 months after Christmas we were still listening to A Very She & Him Christmas.

But as Georgie and Phoebe fell asleep together tonight, I was thinking of my own nighttime music. And this one came to me straight away - all of Beth Orton's 'Central Reservation', the album I listened to so much in my very first apartment on my own on W. Main Street in Madison, circa 1999. The very worn, very varnished floor boards, the big old basin sink in the kitchen, the spacious closet you walked through to get to the bathroom with the 1920s pentagon tile floor. I listened to this album so much on quiet nights alone, after finishing a not overly challenging but fun job, after going to the all-women's gym for step aerobics or yoga and then to home for dinner to something like a packet of rice with a can of green beans.

And there is part of me right now that thinks getting back to work wouldn't be so terrible, having an income would be a relief, but then why rush it for a few months? The lean times will pass in time but so will these months as 'just a mom' with Phoebe as a baby and with Georgie before she goes to kindergarten. For better or for worse, it will pass in time.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Look to the cup

Yes, because what the world needs is another picture of an expensive coffee. But it is delicious and even though I am a dreadfully slow coffee drinker - so as to drink just one cup for a very long time rather than multiple coffees - and will have to get Georgie from gym class soon, I wanted the coffee because of the quality of crockery (vs paper takeaway cup).

The only way I can explain it is like how you might have a preference for a kind of pen to write with on a certain kind of paper. In college I was more engaged in class if I had a cheap little blue bic ballpoint on somewhat nicer University logo'd spiral notebook paper with a nice padding. I enjoyed the act of writing and my penmanship more. Strange? Whatever gets your through a classes like 'The Quest for Human Destiny' or 'Medieval Autobiography.'

The Toby's mug is some kind of earthenware pottery I suppose and not a design I would pick for my house but it is heavy, not smooth, and adds a bit of gravitas to the whole affair.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Pool envy

There must be some kind of fitness FOMO term for when you are sitting at the pool drinking a large flat white and watching people swimming from the cafe above. It is what I am feeling now as I sit with Phoebe and a very nice, very expensive ($4.30!) coffee while Georgie does a gym class.

Despite the temperature 11C / 52F there are a number of hardy souls going up and down the bright blue lanes. Plus the sun is out and it warm on my back. I am a terrible swimmer in terms of technique or speed but in the last year as G learns to swim and while I was pregnant, I just decided to get in and paddle for a bit the best I could. It's not easy but I feel good and it is different from anything else I do. Finishing and wanting to wrap a towel around, dash to the locker room, shower and THEN get the expensive coffee. And when there are all types - old, large, creaky, disabled, super fit way over in the fast lane - also in the pool it is easier to not care if you make it all the way up the lane or turn around and do some 'Mom' strokes to get back to the shallow end.

Next week, I'll bring my swimmers.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Still Running

I don't go far and I don't go long but I run fast. That is the new strategy because just getting out of the house for a quick run is half the accomplishment. Haydn is back from 11 days away but in major sleep deprivation mode so when I woke up early with Phoebe I tried to plan my exit. Phoebe foiled it by not going fully back to sleep. She was convinced though when she fell asleep next to big sis who was watching various YouTube videos (they usually entail grown-ups from the deep South "unboxing" Disney Play doh toys) and looked cosy. Haydn was cognisant that I was leaving so I made my hasty retreat.

Went along my usual route. So quiet and peaceful in the morning to run along a bike path past the dog run, past the lonely basketball court, past the tennis courts that get high use during any Grand Slam.

And this Young Fathers song came on, aptly titled "Still Running". The lyric that gets me:

What happened to the girl who broke the rules // what happened to the man who paid his dues

It was only a 22 minute run, but I ran fast. And everyone is ok.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Here we are

Back to the blog. With this lil assistant in tow.

There is something oddly entertaining about sitting in a cafe next to people having a casual business meeting - emails, sales numbers, talking sport,taking a call. People are so...polite to each other.