Saturday, June 01, 2019

Elly's Diary, June 1, 2019

My daughter thought it might be fun for her to pull out items from the garage and then ask me to remember stories behind them.  She calls it the “Deep Dive Items from Our Archives”, but I think of it more like a dumpster dive.  We did another one just recently and so I thought I would tell you about it.  

I draw and colour personal greeting cards by hand.  I used to buy greeting cards from the store, but they are so expensive now, it's a lot easier to fold up paper and scribble stuff on it and pretend it is a fancy card from the store.  On the back, I put "cheep cards by Elly" and I draw a little bird surrounded by bugs that are about to attack the bird.  That way people get the joke about "cheep" plus they know they shouldn't "bug" me about giving them a piece of paper instead of a real card. I tell Elizabeth this is my own original idea and she tells me that being cheap is not really original. 

We found a doll once that I had made to look like my youngest daughter...Let me see if I can remember her name.  She is foolishly not married yet and so she reminds me of an April fool.  Right!  It's April.  I went to a craft fair and I met a talented doll maker from Jamaica and I thought, this is the perfect person to make a doll to look April.  All of April's friends are from other countries than Canada, so who better?  I said, "You need to make her looking surly and mean like a princess used to getting her own way."  Instead she made this nice doll with a April blowing a bubble.  It doesn't really look like the April I know, but she seemed to like it anyway.

I found a goofy fish sculpture hanging in a shop in Sarasota, Florida.  I was there visiting my good friend I sometimes meet with in my book club, Cathy, the woman with no nose.  She was in Sarasota visiting with her mother, so we thought that was a good time to go and visit her too.  It wasn't and that's why I have this fish sculpture.  It's in storage now, but someday I will take it out of storage and probably throw it away.  It is hideous.

I have a picture of when I was being attacked by giraffes.  I was supposed to be a giraffe feeding time, but when I saw the giraffe food I thought it looked pretty good and I wanted to eat it myself.  The giraffes had other ideas and they teamed up on me and eventually won the battle.  Darn giraffes.

On that same trip to the giraffe farm, one vivid memory I have is of sitting in a bus with seven or eight of these wonderful women.  Everyone was singing and they were soon singing songs in 4-part harmony. Even though I didn’t know what the words meant, the choruses were repetitive.  So there I was, right in there, singing at the top of my lungs with women whose lives and language couldn’t have been more different from my own.  Shortly after that there was a giraffe stampede and they broke down the fence.  I guess giraffes don't appreciate the sound of women singing.

After my split with John, I lived in Elizabeth and Anthony's basement for 6 months before finding a small townhouse.  The rumors you have heard about Anthony's basement are true.  There is a little prison down there for the children, but I tried not to let that bother me.  The little French girl isn't there anymore and my grandson, whatisname, doesn't cry as much anymore when he is down there.  One of these days, Elizabeth will give me a real granddaughter who is not French, and then I expect I will remember her name, especially if she calls her Elly.  I know the other rumor was that I was in that basement for a lot longer than 6 months, but don't believe it.  I am a woman of independence.  It was only 6 months.

I love my small townhouse.  I like to think it's on the same street where I grew up, but it's really just a few minutes walk from Elizabeth and Anthony's house.  Now THAT is definitely coming home!  Since I get all my meals at Elizabeth's house, it is home in more than just one way.  I seem to remember being a great cook at one point in my life, but Elizabeth tells me that my cooking was so bad it was a running joke for years and years. 

I am happily partnered with a man I’ve known since grade 5. Paul is a professional guitarist whose specialty is Brazilian jazz. Music is now a big part of my life as well.  And by being a big part of my life, I mean have to be careful when I walk around Paul's bedroom that I don't step on any guitars and break them.  He hates when I break one of his guitars.  And by "partnered" I mean that he still hasn't proposed to me and we don't live together or even live in the same town and he has a whole professional life I am not involved in and we see each other occasionally when we go on trips together.   In other words, I am in it for the sex.  Frankly, it is so shocking to have sex that doesn't cause me to get pregnant.  I don't know how that happened.  With John it was completely different.  Every time we had sex I got pregnant.  Now that I am in my 70s and with Paul, I never get pregnant.  It's like something has changed about me that keeps me from getting pregnant.  I wonder if there is something my mother should have taught me about that.  

Elizabeth has invested in a new office space, which is a 10-minute walk down the hill from where I live, and we will soon be able to move in.  She says it's a place where I can pretend to work all I want and not bother the people living in the other side of my townhouse.   After the bookstore, I learned that I don't want a career where I make money or have to deal with people, so this is perfect for me.  I can leave all kinds of crap on the floor and I don't have to worry about messing up the floors.  Am I happy? I don’t think I have ever been happier.  Someone cooks for me.  I get all the sex I want.  How could it be any better?  Well, if Paul proposed to me and moved in, it would be better; but aside from that.

In unmarried bliss (or as blissful as you can be without being married),


Monday, May 06, 2019

Elly's Diary May 6, 2019

Dear Diary,

It’s been 3 years since I last wrote you and not much has happened.  Everyone knows about my boyfriend P, but I call him “partner” now and wear a ring on my finger just to confuse people.  I have hinted around for years now and P still has not put a real ring on my finger to make us official. 
My daughter thought it might be fun for her to pull out items from the garage and then ask to remember stories behind them.  She calls it the “Deep Dive Items from Our Archives”, but I think of it more like a dumpster dive.  I think she’s worried about my memory, just because I have a hard time remembering the names of my granddaughters.  I think there is a grandson in there too, but who cares about boys, if they are making me wait so long for a proposal?  All he seems to want to do is take vacations with me and give me great sex.  It’s good to do those kinds of things with P. I remember with John, it seemed like every time I had sex with him I would end up pregnant.  I don’t have that problem with P.  The first time we did it, I was afraid that here comes another baby, but it didn’t happen that way.  It’s another way that P is better than John.

Back to the dumpster dive.  We had a whole bunch of board games that were “cooperation games” where you help each other out and there is no winning.  Why did I buy those?  We never played them.  After all, we Pattersons were all about winning with no effort at all on our parts. Why would we get a board game where we couldn’t win?  I don’t remember exactly, but I think someone paid us to take the games.
The other thing my daughter did was to buy dozens and dozens of 4X4” canvases.  She said I could paint on them and it would keep my mind busy.  Just to get back at her, I drew pictures of monsters that looked like demented cats, dog, birds and fish.  I think I did a pretty good job because she screamed when she saw them.  She said, “What are those horrible-looking things?”  I said, ‘They’re not horrible.  I could easily see them used in fabric design.”  My daughter looked at me as if I was nuts, and maybe I was.  There is only long a woman can go on without a proposal.

I started singing the song "Single Ladies" to him because that song is all about how the woman can't get the man to propose. P is into music, so I thought he could relate.  He just told me to stop that horrible racket and go back to painting diseased animals on canvas.  I said they were "demented" and not "diseased".  P thinks any animal with its eyes hanging off its body has some kind of disease.
Oh well.  See you again in 3 years.






Monday, August 01, 2016

Anthony’s Diary, August 1, 2016

Anthony’s Diary,

August 1, 2016

I think my father-in-law is cracking up.  Today, I was taking the garbage out from the diner over at Mayes Motors and who should I find in the garbage bin but John Patterson, my father-in-law?   He was rolling around in the garbage and he was singing what sounded like Brazilian samba.   I got him out of the garbage and he smelled terrible.  I asked him why he was in the garbage bin and he said he had lost a watch in there.  When I asked if it was an important watch, like a family keepsake, he then told me he lost his car keys in the garbage.  Well, the car keys to his Crevasse were right in his pocket.  When I pointed this out, he started claiming his name was Kevin O’Grady and he had to get to a wedding to meet his wife, Sandy.  Then he started dancing around singing more Brazilian samba.  He seemed crazy. 

I called Elizabeth right away and she came over and calmed her father down.  She told me he had done the exact same thing back when her Uncle Phil and Aunt Georgia got married.  Apparently he had insisted on taking garbage to the wedding and then came to the wedding smelling of garbage and had some excuse about dropping his watch in the garbage bin, so he had to get into the garbage bin and find it.   I am not sure how you can drop a watch into garbage, but that was the story he told back in 1987 apparently.  I asked her who Kevin O’Grady was, and Liz said it was an old dentist her father used to know in town.  He’s retired now.   Does John Patterson think he is Kevin O’Grady?  Why was he in the garbage bin?  Why was he dancing about to Brazilian samba?   Is this something I can expect Elizabeth to do when she gets older? 

It was pretty unnerving.  I hope my father-in-law is all right.  Liz says he has  been acting a little crazy ever since my mother-in-law Elly got back from her trip to Atlin, British Columbia, to spend time at the Atlins Arts Festival.   She went up there with her brother to hear the music and after she came back, she started talking about how she wanted to move to Atlin.  Atlin is this little tiny town in British Columbia and I can’t see Elly moving there.   Liz was afraid if she moved there, then she might expect all of us to move there.  I wasn’t sure how that made any kind of sense, but Liz said it was some sort of family tradition. 

I hope this doesn’t get back to my dad.
Anthony Caine

Friday, July 15, 2016

Elly's Diary July 15, 2016

Dear Diary,

It’s been 3 months since I last wrote you and a lot has happened.  I think people have figured out that I have been seeing my boyfriend P.  I don’t know if John has figured it out yet, but Elizabeth does.  She saw pictures on the computer web of me sitting in P’s lap.  Well, it was me sitting on the same chair as P with me between his legs.  It’s not the sort of thing a lady lets people take pictures of, but P and I were pretty drunk at the time.  I thought Elizabeth would be pretty mad at her old mom for cheating, but she said she understands that sometimes the man you marry is not the one you want to be with. 

P and I were in Memphis seeing some friends of his who are jazz musicians, Luna and Reb.  I think that’s where the picture was taken.  The man Reb looked like a homeless fellow I see sometimes when I go to the wrong parts of Milborough.  The girl Luna was a lot younger and prettier and right away I started to feel old and 10 pounds overweight when I was with her.  Fortunately, she has the singing voice of a drunken sailor who just finishing swallowing a box of razor blades after gargling with acid.  P went on and on about how great a musician she was, but I kept thinking that I would rather listen to a dog howl in pain for 2 hours than listen to this woman again.  But because P liked her, I had to say she was great.

Then we went to Graceland.  P loves Elvis, the most overrated singer of all time.  I was never an Elvis fan, but after this experience, I feel lucky to have been around when he was alive and well, and performing at his best or I would have not understood a thing about Graceland.  But even at his best, Elvis was not worthy of wiping the gum off Bobby Curtola’s boots.  As we went through Graceland, P was all “look at this” and “look at that” and I just thought Elvis’ place was large, gaudy, and overdone.  If I were super rich and snobby, I might think it was a lovely family home with enough space for company and some recreation.   But because P liked Graceland, I had to say it was great.

You see the Graceland is accessible but Elvis is not, and there’s a performance really that comes out in the old records.  You have an opportunity to go on to Graceland for example and people who come really they just want to say, “Hello,” to Elvis because they see every day a little bit of themselves in Elvis, because we are all the same, you know, We care about our friends, and our families, and our health, and our futures, and our homes, and we all have these small intimate things that we laugh about and we wonder, “Does anybody else share my feelings about first thing in the morning, or you know, I’d like to drop this baby off a cliff right down?” and they gathered and just to say, “Hello, we connect. We’re really a part of you.” Of course, when I say that to Elizabeth, she usually says, “Mom.  You are never going to take my kids out by yourself, especially not near cliffs.”  Good thing she wasn’t at Graceland with me because after several hours of Elvis, I was ready to drop babies.

The sex with P is still great, but I wondered if he was thinking about Luna was he was with me.  We ask each other all the time, “Where do you get your ideas for sex?” I mean and we love to watch each other naked because it’s like a signature. You know you draw your signature a thousand times but somebody else would have a real rough time copying your signature. So we like to watch each other while we are having sex because it’s always magic. You say, “Where do the ideas come from for sex?” You really don’t know. But you get into a zone. It’s sort of like, if you imagined your neighbor goes out of town or you go out of town or you really don’t like your neighbor very much and you’re always concerned about the relationship with your neighbor, when you come back from being out of town they’ve built a fence on your side of the property and they’ve got a mean dog and they’ve moved in some buddies. And now you’ve got to deal with a situation where you know, somebody could sue somebody and there could be some fighting and don’t you lie away at night thinking all night long about how am I going to approach him and what would I say and if I said this, he would say that, and then I know that guy that he’s hired and that guy might have to deal with my lawyer and don’t you work out conversations? P says that kind of talk turns him off. 

I’ll try again for him.  So, let’s say you’re in love with somebody and you would really like to spend locked in a car for a night with that person. Don’t you think and then they would say and then I would say and then they would say and then I would say. It’s that imagined conversation that goes back and forth and then you find sometimes you want to have sex in a locked car.  P and I are very strange people. We live in a fantasy world and a real one, but we can control the fantasy world. We get really upset when we can’t control the real one.  I wish John would just divorce me so I could be with P all the time.  I hate having to make up excuses for why I had to go to Memphis.

I still don’t feel guilty about John.  I know he was cheating with that hygienist he hired years ago, but he would never admit it.  He even says I was the one who hired the hygienist because I hired everyone who worked for him, but why would I hire a woman to cheat on with my husband?  That makes no sense.  When I think about John I have a dream that I am on my hands and knees and I am raising my hands in joy that I am freed from the chains that had bound my hands together, because John had chopped off my hands. The chains were down but my hands were just stumps. So the John had cut off my hands and freed me but I am still a victim and I am still a prisoner shackled to John.  Why did I marry him?  P is so much better.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Weed’s diary, April 25, 2016

Weed’s diary

April 25, 2016,

I am started to get tired of Mike again.   It’s been that way since we first met at Western on orientation.  He’s a good guy, but even for a stoner like me, his work ethic is crap.  Sometimes he’s a fun guy to be with and sometimes you want to spend the day slapping him silly and saying, “Get off your lazy butt.”

He got beat up by Mrs. Dingle’s relatives for plagiarizing most of her life for his book Stone Season.  I don’t know why that book sold, but we live in an age where “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a best-seller and it is total garbage.  If you make money, everyone’s looking for a way to cash in too.  I don’t blame Mrs. Dingle.  I remember her telling us those stories about her ex-husband when we roomed in her house.  When I read Stone Season, I knew exactly where Mike got that story. 

We came back from Japan, where Mike tried to get Brian Enjo to tell him his family life story.  Brian basically threw us out of his house.  Now Mike has the outline of a novel and that’s all he can talk about.  “I have an outline, but I don’t have an ending. The thing that keeps me from writing a novel is the arduous task of actually writing a novel! Also, after writing the outline, I realized I’d have to do a significant amount of research on the BC railways in the 1970s. I’ve started doing that—sort of.”

BC railways in the 1970s.  They say, “Write what you know” and for Mike that’s like he is a senile Canadian woman in her late 60s.  The story is about a middle-aged married woman who rides a train in BC in the 1970s to visit her married ex-boyfriend from art school and how she finds herself after shacking up with him.   It’s like The Bridges of Madison County except in British Columbia.  Michael is thinking about calling it “The Trains of British Columbia”, but I think people would think that’s a history book and not a romance novel. 

Here’s the funny part.  When Mike was doing his last book, he said the exact same thing.  Outline.  No ending.  Then he goes to spend a week with his mother and magically a book appears.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that his mother is the one writing the book or knows someone who is writing the book.   Mike says things about how novels often “write themselves, because characters often tell you things you didn’t know, and the story will sometimes take on a life of its own. The ending is sometimes changed by the muse, which takes over, and the author simply goes along for the ride!”  Well, eh, if someone’s ghosting the book for you, then I guess it would feel that way.  For the rest of us, creativity is hard work.

I love the guy.  He’s great in bed.  But then there’s the rest of the day.  I take my own photographs and run my own studio.     You have to have some kind of personal integrity with your art.  You go and do it.  You don’t say, “All I have to do is sit down and begin to write, but I haven’t yet found the energy, the time, or the courage.”  I have to get away from him when he starts talking like that.

I slept with Carleen last night.  It was the first time in a month.  She keeps hoping we’ll get married someday and have babies, but I am not that kind of guy.  I think she would have married another guy, but she keeps hanging around.   She puts up with it when I sleep over with Mike.  She doesn’t even mind when I sleep with my studio models.  My sister Sophie thinks Carleen is only hanging around me so she can get my money or my father’s money really.  She could be right.  There’s nothing creepier than hanging around and being nice to somebody because you hope they will make you rich someday.

The guy with my drugs is here.  I’m out,

Josef Myron Weeder, Jr.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Iris’ diary, April 22, 2016

Iris’ diary

April 22, 2016

Jim would be 95 this year.   There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about him, but sometimes the life with Jim seems like it was a long time ago, even though he died just 6 years back a few months after his namesake, James Allen was born. 

Now that I live in Barrie with my daughter Sarah and her husband Adam in the “granny cottage” attached to their house, the only time I get reminded of life with Jim is when April comes to visit.  She’s in school all the way over in Guelph and she still manages to drop in.  When I was living in Milborough with Jim, she was also the one who always seemed to find the time for us.  She would bring over Dixie, Jim’s dog and she would play guitar for Jim.  What a sweet girl she is.  I can see a lot of Jim’s kindness in her, which is more than I can say for the rest of her wretched family.

I know when you’re the second wife, once the partner tying you to the family dies, it’s not unusual for the tie to the family to be broken.  I never would have expected it to have happened as swiftly as it did with those Pattersons.  One moment they’re bringing a newborn great grandson to visit and the next, it’s like they never knew you.

But I can’t say I wasn’t forewarned.  A cousin of John’s, Fiona Brass, came to visit with me at Jim’s funeral and she told me they would abandon me completely once they got what they wanted out of me – someone to take care of Jim.  It was what happened to her when she came to help Elly with April after she was born.  Once April was big enough, no more Fiona Brass.  It turned out she lived in Milborough the whole time we were there and I never saw her at any family events ever.  I didn’t even know she existed.  Sure enough and she was right.  Elly and John came by after the funeral and cleaned up a few of Jim’s things and that was it.  It’s not like they visited a lot when Jim was living, but it was so strange the way they just moved on from me.  I mentioned it to April when she was here, and she said that her mother and father have not visited her once in Guelph.  Apparently Elly has some kind of “I don’t visit my kids in university” rule.  Frankly, it’s no wonder April visits me then.  The poor dear needs a friendly face that’s family.

Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to depend on Elly and John.  Sarah and Adam moved me into their place in Barrie, which is not that far from Milborough and life has been good with them.  They never had kids, but because she was a geriatric nurse and Adam was a doctor, they were not lacking for money.  When I think back to the times when Elly used to complain about how poor she was living on John’s dental private practice salary, I just chuckled to myself.  She always liked to pretend being poor when she had millions in her bank account.  Thinking about her just makes me cross.  I need to think of something pleasant.

We had a visit from my granddaughter Emma a few days ago.  Now she’s out of university, married and I have great grandchildren.  Her daughter wanted to get her ears pierced and Emma was against it but she finally gave in.  She said, “I must have holes in my head”.  We all laughed when my great granddaughter said, “Everyone has holes in their head mommy.  That’s how eat and see and hear.”   Emma meant to say something like she needed to let her daughter get her ears pierced like she needed another hole in her head, but it was a lot funnier the way she said it, even if it didn’t make any sense at all.

Emma said her brother Aydan and his family are doing well and they had some pictures from Christmas when their whole family including my son Jordon and his wife Anna (their parents) were at the family ranch in Alberta.  I wish I was in good enough health to travel like I used to, but it was good to visit with Emma and her kids and good to see those pictures.

Maggie and Jesse still live in Arizona but they are thinking about buying a summer home in Barrie.  Jesse is retired from the golf circuit now.  They say Arizona is great for the winter, but it’s hot, hot, hot in the summer time.  It’s funny how a retirement home for them is what a regular home would be for Sarah and Adam.

Life is good for me.  I can’t complain.  I miss my sweet Jim and the way he would say, “Boxcar” whenever he got excited.  Maybe someday I will see him again.  Until then, goodnight diary.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dee's Letter, April 21, 2016

Dee's Letter, April 21, 2016

Hi everyone. I'm sitting here at my sewing school writing on my lunch break.  I'm watching the clock because I have to be home in time for Merrie and Robin after school.  I can't help but notice that we live our lives by cycles. In Daoism there are a lot of cycles observed - the greater cycle of the year, and the smaller cycle that is one day, for example. We live by calendars, by moon phases, by our watches. Humans are cyclical creatures; even our lives follow a pretty standard cycle - we're born, we grow, we reproduce, we age, we die. There aren't many possible variations on that theme. Sometimes it seems we're trapped by it all, but really it's just the environment in which we exist.

Anyway, my little girl is following the way of the teenager - she's got a boyfriend named Ethan. Like me, and my mother before me, she'll be walking apprehensively into a new environment where her man rules her life.  I hope she enjoys it.  I try to picture what she'll be like when she gets married.  Will she have kids? Of course she will.  Will she be happy? It's such a monumental thing to contemplate.  Happiness in marriage.  Are women every happy in marriage? 

I had a long talk with Carleen about it and we weren’t certain.  In many respects marriage is a case of a woman saying to another woman, “I just wanted to show what I’ve got that you haven’t got.”  Of course men can be hard to sleep on sometimes, but a single woman wouldn’t know because they don’t have a man.  Men can be like a good pair of blue star earrings that match your shirt and look good, but don’t contribute any benefit to your life aside from being able to show off to other women and tease them and make them feel bad.    

When my thoughts turn this way, I often come to the realization that I'm one of billions of people who are living the same sort of cycle. There are millions of moms out there around the world worrying about their school-aged kids, worrying about their husbands, thinking about the future.  So many of us, and individually we're so small. What a place, this world we live in. We're not that much different from the other animals. Anyone who's ever seen a chimp looking after her babies and husband can see that. One advantage of being a chimp is that you don't worry about the trivia that comes with civilization. Of course, you miss out on the good winter-coat sales, but chimps don't wear parkas.  The ones on TV do, but you know what I mean.  I guess that was a stupid analogy.

I am lucky. I have to see this and know this and appreciate everything in my world that makes me so. I have a loving husband. Yes, he's obsessed with his work, but a writer is obsessive. He’s sleeping with his best friend Weed most evenings, but he's a great dad and the best partner for me.  We’ve set up a bed in his office, so that what they do at night doesn’t bother me or the kids.  It doesn’t affect me.  I'm independent. I enjoy my career.  Sewing is quite different from pharmacy work, but it has its rewards, especially when people show up for class - and it's wonderful to come home to a cooked meal and kids whose dad works at home. He's there when we all need him, and Weed is actually a great cook. 

Our children are happy and healthy. We live in a good neighbourhood, close to family. We have good friends. Well, we sort of have good friends.  The Mayes rarely have time for us anymore and Lawrence Poirier was never really my friend.  There’s Carleen of course, but I think she’s moving on.  She thinks she can find a better man than Josef.   It's not like he ever agreed to marry her.  I wish her good luck, but I doubt she will find someone.  All the good guys are taken by women like me, who like to show off their husbands and our blue star earrings.

I often wonder what it is or was that has set me on such a solid path. Did I do something right or - as thoughts digress, could it all be taken away from me?  Will Michael divorce me to marry Weed and move to the States?  It’s not illegal there anymore.  Sometimes I wonder about those things.  It's uncertainty that makes me hold my family to my heart and appreciate everything we have, everything we are. Yes, I am indeed blessed.
When I'm done my lunchtime flights of fancy, I'm left with the overwhelming feeling that, no matter what happens, we're all significant to the greater universe on an individual basis, we're all part of cosmic cycles we can't even begin to envision, and everything is going to be just fine.