Townes Van Zandt


My favourite line used to be..

I welcomed the stars with wine and guitars..

..without even noticing..

..full of fire and forgetful.


My walk to work

On my way to work this morning I saw this in the Calgary Sun box.

Michael Platt. I know that name. He's a man who has a platform to speak about anything that relates to the city, as a representative of the people of Calgary.

I'll read the story when I get to work.

Then I walked by this intersection.

It's the intersection where my love was killed 6 years ago on the coldest morning of the year. -40 or so. It's only -2 this morning, so my walk should be quite nice.

The walk is nice, but my mind is racing.

I wonder if Michael Platt drives to work and parks. I wonder if he lives in the suburbs and takes a highway everyday - twice a day. I wonder how our lives are different and how they are similar.

I walk or bike or bus or car2go or drive my own car to work. I can choose. I live in the inner city. If it's rush hour I avoid driving at all costs, due to congestion, and because I live near Deerfoot, the most used highway of all.

When Ryan was walking to work that morning, we didn't have a car, and he had just missed the bus. It was 6:59 am. I told him before kissing his warm face and telling him I loved him that we'd get a car soon, next month. Minutes later he was hit. I saw traffic backed up on my street and wondered what was happening. I turned on the radio and the news said a woman had been hit.

They were wrong.

Nowadays, I pick up the paper some mornings and see pedestrians have been hit, some killed, and there's an awful lot of blame. On the pedestrian, on the driver. The comments section is sickening.

I wasn't there that morning. I don't know how it happened, although I can imagine. I've tried. What it comes down to is that we are human beings; that's how it happens. We step out distracted, not always looking. We check our phone for a second while driving. We don't always clear our windshield as thoroughly as we could. It simply happens. In inclement weather, it happens more often.

As a resident of this city I love, and a frequent pedestrian, I welcome this new initiative.

I'd like to know how many other people welcome the forward-thinking plan to make the streets safer for those of us that live right in the thick of it, while the rush hour cars race home past us, we are already home.


Mercy, a music video for Petunia

One day the Dancing Plague was a vague idea for a music video I had, and the next day it was this.


Walking to get the car we left in Mission last night.

"I've been drinking
and it's morning
but you know he loves you

"I don't know why I said that"
as we got into the car


C.S. Lewis on loss

There is one place where her absence comes locally home to me, and it is a place I can't avoid. I mean my own body. It had such a different importance while it was the body of H.'s lover. Now it's like an empty house.



Daniel's Harbour, Newfoundland. 

The rocky terrain; the violent wind wreaking havoc on everyone's hair; the cemetery in the middle of town way up on the hill; the ambulance parked in Rick's driveway Monday through Thursday, and Terry's driveway Friday through Sunday. 

The earth and the sky felt different than any place I'd been. 

We buried my Nan's ashes next to her parents. Her husband was way across the cemetery, the weeds grown over his grave like some sort of movie villain. “Oh Grandfather, what in the hell is going on here, somebody's got to clean you up”. My cousin Heather gardened his plot with her bare hands until it looked almost acceptable. I remember saying the wrong thing, a few times, to relatives I hadn't seen in years. I never know what to do or say at funerals; where to put my hands. We went to a dinner thing, and then each to our respectable lodging. 

Ours was a an old motel with a smoking room. My dad told a story about breaking into the winter house of his aunt Hannah's in Daniel's Harbour and filling his pockets with chicken feed. When he saw her later that day she was onto him, but he couldn't figure out how. He later noticed a hole in his pants, a chicken feed trail following him wherever he went.

What's a winter house?
It's a house set back from the ocean so the storms aren't so bad. It's smaller than your summer house.


Someone to make a cup of tea for

A familiar sadness
On this October day

On The Bus In The Rain - June 9, 2010
A lot of things died when Ryan died. Almost everything.
Beauty didn't die, I still see it often.
In the sky, on the side of a building, in my weird sockless neighbour on his way back from the black and white grocery. But it's not the same as it was before. It's a whole lot sadder. Because it's fleeting. It's going to die too. Everything does.

I suppose that's why there are artists. Naively trying to keep a little bit of it around, so we can touch it, so it never dies. We are saying 'This happened! And it will never happen again just like this. Isn't it wonderful?'
But somehow, a part of me always doesn't believe it, because it's all so fuzzy now.


What the hell is a potato ricer?

I'm at the beginning again, which inevitably means I'm reminiscing about all the other beginnings  (see my last post). 

While searching for music and books in the middle of the night in my lonely old house, I remembered Nora Ephron. She can help. She wrote endlessly about divorce and cooking (as cooking for one is a constant reminder of your failed relationship thus forever connected). 

Here's an excerpt:

Nothing like mashed potatoes when you're feeling blue. Nothing like getting into bed with a bowl of hot mashed potatoes already loaded with butter, and methodically adding a thin cold slice of butter to every forkful. The problem with mashed potatoes, though, is that they require almost as much hard work as crisp potatoes, and when you're feeling blue the last thing you feel like is hard work. Of course, you can always get someone to make the mashed potatoes for you, but let's face it: the reason you're blue is that there isn't anyone to make them for you. As a result, most people do not have nearly enough mashed potatoes in their lives, and when they do, it's almost always at the wrong time.

[From Nora Ephron's novel Heartburn (my used copy said -this book is no good - on the inside cover when I bought. I do not agree). It is also a movie starring Jack Nicholson & Meryl Streep- see here.]

And of course, the recipe:

For mashed potatoes, put 1 large (or 2 small) potatoes in a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes, until tender. Drain and place the potatoes back in the pot and shake over low heat to eliminate excess moisture. Peel. Put through a potato ricer and immediately add 1 tablespoon heavy cream and as much melted butter and salt and pepper as you feel like. Eat immediately. Serves one.