Sunday, 8 November 2009

Slow falling.

If chaos drives, let suffering hold the reins.

Hmm, here's something of a Sunday evening audit.

Firstly, I never told you about the Metallica concert. Supported by Lamb of God and Gojira, it was a pure metalfest from beginning to end. I never sat down. I put up my horns and rocked out as if I were on stage and I thanked my lucky stars I wasn't in the mosh pit down below us because damn, teenagers are rough.

I'm so much more delicate and besides, I'm not dumb. I like having a chair to sit and wait for the show to begin and then a place to put my coat while I'm busy hanging off the back of Ben's shirt. Man, people must hate sitting behind Ben because he stands up the whole show and you'd have to be three rows back to see over his shoulders.

It rocked and I'm totally plotting a trip to Wacken. Seriously. These are fun times we live in.

Secondly, Jacob's birthday party was a hit. My big plan was to get shitfaced and go sit in the pantry and Lochlan could wash dishes and then maybe Ben would sit outside the door and sing me into blackness but instead everyone presented a token and a story in honor of the birthday boy. I drank water and then coffee and I laughed until I cried and cried until I laughed and John and Dalton washed all the dishes while I sat and talked and then mercifully everyone was gone before nine, and we got the children to bed, I scrubbed my face raw and put on pajamas and Ben stoked up a light fire and we settled in to watch a movie.

Which brings me to review number three.

Gerard Butler. In P.S. I love you.

Wow. Probably shouldn't have watched it, but I did. Just like I watched Catch and Release. I have yet to see The Time Traveler's Wife but I read the book (and never reviewed it. Hmm, I should maybe do that. Another day, okay?).

We both cried through the whole damned thing. And we laughed. And we cried some more. We made some sentimental, foolish and profound promises to each other and then I began to notice the main character had a gorgeous wardrobe of coats and boots, and this was before some of the big life-changing revelations she made in the story. Shallow-deep, shallow-deep.

I was sort of glad I watched it and even more glad that Ben was the first one to tear up so many times. I'm not into girly movies all that much overall. I like documentaries and all things scary and precious little in-between.

Maybe that says things about me that I don't feel like acknowledging tonight. Maybe I would prefer to stick with talking about coats and how interestingly Lisa Kudrow's face is now that she's aging a little and frankly how the metal god of the universe will happily sit through two hours of fluff without batting an eye.

Maybe it's all good. Maybe everything will be okay. Just like in the movies.

P.S. Ben and the kids are playing Warcraft again. I would like a noggin-fogger elixir too. It sounds divine.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Hallo pooh. Happy birthday.

In the stack of books beside my pillow where I sleep in the loft of feathers and dreams that won't be kind, are photographs of people who will no longer show up on thermal imaging, hidden in the pages so I will find them unexpectedly. The only way to keep their places are through memories that seem to be always stuck behind faded, fogged up and scratched glass. Not even glass. That see-through plexiglass plastic that becomes muddled far too soon.

Every now and then the wind brings me one as clear as day, up and over the barrier and it hits me in the face, making my eyes sting, blowing my hair straight back from my forehead like water. That happened last week when I took Bonham up to the tracks to walk hard, and I could see Jacob throwing the frisbee for Butterfield and then trying to wrestle it away from him again. He was wearing his faded blue jeans and a blue plaid work jacket, steel-toed boots and he hadn't combed his hair yet, it looked like a nest of wheat on his head, straggled into his eyes. He grinned and waved when he saw me and I started to cry again and I only knew that that was a new memory presented to me from over the glass and I knew it was because I had to work harder to remember this place where I would run along the tracks and every single time the train came I was afraid because the noise was so loud and at the same time I had comfort in knowing I could just cross too closely and end my own misery. Because of that I'm not generally allowed up here alone anymore.

And so I took a picture of them playing, just so I could keep it. Only I got home and looked at it and Jacob and Butterfield are missing and I knew they would be, it's okay. A blurry little picture as a reminder of absolutely nothing of consequence to anyone but me.

See? Blackberries suck at photos, for the record. Shaky princesses suck even more at taking pictures.

It gets a little easier as time goes on but at the same time it's really fucking selfish that he gave up and left us behind to figure out the hard parts. At least there is someone there now to take care of my dog.

I'm having a party tonight. A quiet, solemn and important one. I'm gathering everyone to mark what would have been Jacob's thirty-ninth birthday with a dinner and a few words and then I'm going to pack his memories away so that my mind is clear to focus on the move. To focus on the living. To focus on the good. We're going to eat whatever, most likely roast beef and gravy and roasted vegetables and cake because Jacob never really had a favorite dinner, he just liked large quantities of whatever I would cook because he was a bottomless pit, energy expended from a guy that only sat down to read and counsel or sometimes play guitar. Jacob was not a metal guy. He liked acoustic songs, deep songs, save for the famous Across the Universe warbling that made me laugh so hard I thought I would explode. I hurt for days after that incident and he was banned from playing it ever again. It's too bad, really. I would love to hear it now.

Jacob would have found my blackberry confusing. He had an old Motorola flip phone, the silver paint worn off the plastic long before the phone was toast, and it was always warm because he hardly ever stopped talking on it. Talking to Sam, talking to August, talking to Ben about me. Making sure I was okay when I had taped up ribs and a sling and a bruised ear. Ben would lie and say I was doing fine, because Jacob couldn't handle the alternative answer and so he would rush through his hospice and the chaplaincy shift and come home and find lilacs on every table and me with a little color in my face from a short walk and Ben making an oddly-efficient nursemaid, having scheduled pizza delivery and figured out who belongs to what laundry now sort-of folded and sitting on our beds to be put away.

Ben. Who is long past thirty-nine and approaching forty-two very soon and thinks this dinner is a very good way indeed to bookend the memories of Jacob so that I can bring them with me. Ben, who always drops his entire life and steps in when things go wrong because he doesn't care about himself and maybe if he did a little more he would be in better condition, instead of so rough and torn around the edges and in need to so much reinforcement these days. And Ben isn't so much an acoustic guy, he likes metal. Hardcore heavy metal that draws out all the pain and leaves you refreshed and exhilarated. Only he isn't allowed to play Across the Universe anymore either because frankly he mangled it and that was a travesty because the Beatles deserved to be done well and he demanded to know what Jai Guru Deva Om meant and I couldn't tell him, because I have no idea.

I bet Jacob knows what it means. That and a host of other mysteries have probably been solved. I hear that's one of the rewards you're given when you're sent to heaven. He told me so himself.

Out by the tracks.

Before I took his picture and printed it to tuck into a book, to find some other day.
Nothing's gonna change my world.
Nothing's gonna change my world.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Crunchy-frosty (lounge fly mix).

That was my description, relayed to Ben with breathless amusement, of the leaves this morning as PJ and I ran down the sidewalk in the blazing morning sun. The cold overnight weather curled and hardened all of the elm leaves quite deliciously, I think. Ben laughed and went back to his appropriated song, Master of Puppies. The dog was entranced.

It was a pretty good version, you know.

It's been so beautiful the past few mornings. Kind of a final fall ironic kick in the pants, actually and it's not lost on me that usually by now we're in full winter gear. Here I figured I would be so late getting my snow tires on, I'd be the menace of the neighborhood. I guess I got my Indian Summer after all.

There are some other amazing things going on in this universe of mine, complete with the black filigreed edges and amperaged-up emotions. There just isn't time to share them with you right this minute. Perhaps later on.

Enjoy the sun.
I can't live this way
please refill my soul

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

One fast move or I'm gone.

Jacob would have adored this.

Pretty cool, I think.

This is cool too. Like REALLY cool.

Princess out. Places to go, lunch to eat.

Volume One: Warming up.

Here I lie forever
Sorrow still remains
Will the water pull me down
And wash it all away?

Come and take me over
Welcome to the game
Will the current drag me down
And carry me away?
We're moving. Yes, all of us. Save for Nolan and Sam, for now. At least that's the plan. Nolan will never leave his farm and I want to come visit anyway. Sam is Sam. Good luck with that. He loves his congregation and his church (notice I said his church) and isn't going to budge anytime soon.

PJ was a waffler to the bitter end. Time to leave the nest, Padraig. We all said it. It didn't take him long to come around.

The new umbrella company will be based in Vancouver. Caleb and the others want to get their show on the road, so to speak and so it's time to head west. It's time to shutter up this beautiful house and drop the keys into a stranger's cold, dry hand and blow a final kiss.

This house found me. I needed it and I got it and for a time it was my safety until I realized that I'm my safety and adventure isn't the end of the world and really remaining here has become nothing more than a huge test of endurance.

And so now we go.

We go where there is wicked snowboarding and mountains and the Pacific ocean and the Aquarium and holy, the Olympics too and this is going to be one hell of a complicated adventure this time, but thankfully the last time I cut my teeth on a cross-country move I did it with a three year old, a fifteen-month old and a husband who had already flown on ahead to work so really it can only get better from here.

Off we go. I will bring my memories packed carefully between sheets of vellum and newsprint, wrapped in blankets for extra security. I may or may not open that box when I get there, I may be too busy doing new things.

May never have a hundred year old Victorian house with stained glass and secret passageways ever again but it's okay. Maybe we'll have a crazy-modern open concept place jacked into the side of a mountain. Just think of the natural light. Just think of the warmer temperatures. No more square tires and frostbite in seventeen seconds flat. No more feeling cold and demanding pure wool socks and scarves because nothing else is good enough.

No more middle of the road. I'm picking a side. With a little shove, mind you, but it's happening. Ben and I need a fresh start without all these layers of memories and waffle-knit cotton between us.

Did I mention winters are cold here? The coldest city in the world, by some reports.

I'm not going to miss that part.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Not for you.

Raked leaves, baked banana bread and blueberry muffins and then the bottom fell out. Hanging on my my fingertips and someone I don't even know is standing on them. What the fuck. Turn it off, Bridget.

Look on the brightside. You knew it was there, the shadow of inevitability lurking in the corner like a stranger with a streak of familiarity. You know the high points and you know the low ones and nothing was ever gained by crawling under a blanket and pulling it up over your head.

Those people don't go forward and you're not supposed to envy them.

The fortunate turns aren't for the faint of heart and yet the hard parts are all you see.

There is nothing to be gained by standing here hoping they can't see you. The fear isn't going to get you moving this time. It could be worse.


Open your eyes. Take a deep breath. Now let go.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Still no new cupcakes.

Still no cupcake replenishment but I believe I'll do some baking tomorrow. Banana bread and some brownies to get us through the rest of the week. I had a little luck in shopping, thanks to Sears holding their 50% off children's snowsuits today, like right now. It was kind of like yelling Bingo only without the smoky hall and rows of bluehairs. Not that I mind bluehairs. I've totally had blue hair before. And pink. And green.

I realized I got the biggest sizes so next year the kids will be shopping in the adult department.


That always stuns me.

I had some keys made, which didn't fit the lock when I came home, the dog is determined to shred the ottoman where Ben keeps his xbox games and I am finishing a cup of coffee alone while I wait for the kids to get home from school and check out their new gear and I started Christmas shopping even, which totally never happens. Ever.

So there.

Day accomplished. Bring dinner and broad shoulders and a movie and I'm done like toast.

Small individual cakes for your consideration.

Go fuck with someone else, and drag them down
I see nothing wrong, in my perfect life
Take me as I am
Take it while you can
What a day. Listening to old Demiricous and Mindfeed. Why? It's Monday and I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open and I've got a list a mile long of all the things I have to go get but it's cold and I don't want to go outside, honestly. I'd rather crawl in the dryer and go for a tumble and become so warm my watch melts and my hair peels away but ew, okay, nevermind. Metal wakes me up, anyhow.

Ben ate my last lip gloss. I was putting it on in the truck yesterday as we drove home from lunch and he made the funny kissy face that he makes when he wants a kiss and afterward he smacked his lips together and I laughed and then he ate the rest. Seriously. I think he has a chemical deficiency or something. A shortage of Revlon.

In other news the toques and newsboys have come out on the boys, as have the heavier flannel jackets and leather. Yum. The temperature dropped overnight again and the leaves are crispy and the dog was very efficient this morning. As in too efficient, too cold to stay outdoors for long. I'm looking at him thinking Oh you just wait until January if you think it's cold now and trying to embrace the fact that it's still sixty degrees warmer now than it will be then.

So aside from needing lipgloss, all of which I plan to hide and not brandish about recklessly when Ben is nearby, I need jackets for both children. Because #&@%!*%& fucking zippers don't work for very long. What a lovely quiet scam that is, for Henry has probably had fifteen coats in the eight winters he has lived and I have bought expensive, cheap and in-between. And they aren't worth having repaired. I've tried that.

And we're out of cupcakes. I wish I had more. They're like cake only totally PORTABLE! Who knew?! Well, I knew, but frankly I really enjoy the fancier cake on a plate with a silver fork, okay? Princesses do that shit.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Without a king.

It's one of those hazy-lazy Sunday afternoons, pre-winter. Pre-Christmas. Pre-the next thing. Just a moment to exhale fully and enjoy this moment because there might be a few more like it as we go on.

The woodstove is on low today, it's not particularly cold, just damp-cold, like home. Post-Halloween cold. Lights are on. The pumpkins are in the composter, the skeletons have been taken down, the candy has been inspected and Ben is probably right now finishing the very last of the orange-chocolate cupcakes we picked up at the bakery in a fit of it's-not-cake, or as we like to call it, being in the spirit of the holiday.

It's not even a holiday, really, but we embraced it anyway. At 6:30 sharp the children appeared on the sidewalks out of nowhere, and after one hundred and thirty-two releases of a handful of mini-chocolate bars into pillowcases, green bags and plastic pumpkin pails, we turned off the lights and called it a night. The kids had hot showers and one treat each and then they were tucked into bed and Ben, Christian, PJ, Lochlan, Daniel and I made some food and settled in to watch Practical Magic. Scary-lite. Then when the movie and the food were over they found Iron Man on the television and I was asleep before I could point out we've seen it half a million times at least.

I was tired. In my defense, I slept little Friday night. Friday night was Caleb's costume party and Ben and I rolled into the house around ten on Saturday morning. Which was fine, the kids were at sleepovers and instead of an open alcohol bar the party featured a specialty coffee and dessert bar and I drank coffees all night long and chattered and danced a little and entertained a whole lot of cheek kisses and warm hugs and it was the usual assortment of characters that Caleb bumps elbows with in his world which I exist on the fringe (in the center) of. At my advanced age with narcoleptic tendencies I couldn't believe it when two rolled around and even PJ had packed it in and I was still wide awake so finally the last people had bid us a good evening and we were three.

Hm. Oh, stop it.

We divided the rest of the cheesecake into three large slabs, poured some tea and retired to the projection room and spent the rest of the night watching movies and talking lightly.

No one believes me, but that's fine. Honestly if Caleb had pinned me down and made me cry, I would simply say that. But he didn't. He's only evil when he needs to be, and he didn't need to be Friday night. We had a blast. We'll do it again sometime.

Exhale, inhale. A little break from the rigmarole. A little work, a few days a week, a chance to look after the interests of my boys. A little shopping toward Christmas. Getting my car serviced before winter. Continuing, doggedly, to make the house warmer as the cold temperatures crowd in. Looking after teaching the puppy good habits and getting the children to do their chores with some regularity save for the threat of allowance withholding. Writing, writing and more writing and hopefully a little more feedback and a lot less waiting. Raking the leaves that never stop falling. Pushing away the dark just a little more.

Just for a few more minutes. Then I will turn back into the high-strung, clenched-fist over-scheduled little blonde worrywart you all know and love. Jacob's birthday is this coming Saturday and he isn't here to enjoy it. I'm trying to work on not being shattered by that. None of it comes any more naturally than sitting here doing nothing. But I am working on it.

I'd also like to be working on one of those cupcakes but Ben really did eat them all. Greedy.