Category Archives: writing

This week (18)

Off to Saskatchewan this week. The edge of the Canadian shield. To see the lines laid out where Jaimie and Al will build a house. To put my feet in cool lake water. To see what half a bison in a freezer looks like, finally.  

On Saturday, Ash felt his first kick, strong as a buffalo butting its head into a gate.   Thankfully, baby was not poisoned by all the sour milk we were drinking. An important lesson learned: switching brands does not mean milk should taste that funny. It’s like we don’t know what anything should taste like anymore…except for vegetables.  Crisp and clear in my mind have returned all those carrots, cucumbers and peas picked from my parent’s concrete backyard in East Vancouver. Now more than ever, those childhood memories returning, as if the best parts of me are being chosen and stitched into this life inside.      

Just over two weeks until our midway ultrasound. Are you a boy or a girl? I want to know but I love the mystery of you all at the same time.

J

Photo from Bliss.

Why yes, I do want to live in a tree house.

Specifically, this treehouse, perched on the rocks of Passage Island.  This amazing place is just a 5 minute water-taxi from Fisherman’s Cove, West Vancouver.  It’s listed  for $399,000 – why does that seem like such a deal?

100% self-sufficient…solar panels….generators… views to kill for…

How good would a latte and a book be in this very spot?

Grey clouds have dropped like a gauze over the city today. It’s reading weather.  I am a chapter into Anne Michaels‘ newest book, The Winter Vault. It’s only the second novel she’s ever written – her first being the famed story of Jakob Beer in Fugitive Pieces (oh how I loved Michaela). Most interesting so far has been the history surrounding the St. Lawerence River and the construction of the seaway as it swallowed whole towns. If you don’t like aching, poetic language, this is probably not the book for you.  I just happen to love what tortures others.

Thought: homes should be designed to inspire reading. What does that mean? Full of places that invite you to linger.  

Admission: I watched Marley and Me last night and cried like a baby. If you don’t have a dog, you might not get it.

Bon Weekend!

Noted in the margins

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Perfect spot for blog strategizing with beer: Post Restaurant & Lounge, Seattle.

Patricia Gray, I am so glad you are from Vancouver. I am also glad you told me about these.  Spring picnics anyone?

And this snippet, from the poem Marginalia by Billy Collins and found on the blog Wide Open Spaces. It made laugh heartedly:

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written “Man vs. Nature”
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

Strawberry fields forever

I’ve been reading a lovely book titled “Cultivating Delight” by Diane Ackerman for the past week or so.  It’s the kind of book you wade through with your pants tucked into your boots. A wild, hairy field of fact and latin names and rich descriptions you must pick over once or twice before ingesting.  It’s far less depressing than Revolutionary Road, which should NOT be read in the winter and especially not if you traverse any bridges on your drive home. No, this book makes you notice life. The best part of my read has taken place when the book is closed, examining the yards of the houses I pass on my walks home, taking note of the varying degrees of whimsy and neglect. And despite the cold (which broke the first green fuses of the daffodils in our courtyard), signs of new growth are abundant. Despite whatever monotomy the 9 to 5 might bring, there is a current of life surging benath it, a contstant factory of change that can be just as satisfying as any drama one can cook up.

I picked you these phrases to enjoy:

“There is an ecology to every life, and each family a garden, where sensitive family members grow in varying degrees of harmony.”

“There is nothing like wide thoughts in a small garden.”

“Unfortuantely the Oxford English Dictionary doesn’t include all those wonderful words in other languages for which we have no English equivalent, words we desperately need, such as Tierra del Fuegan mamiblapinatapei, which means two people ‘looking into each other’s eyes, each hoping that the other will initiate what both want to do but neither chooses to commence’…Or the Russian word ostranenie, which is when an artist makes the familiar seem strange, so that it can be seen freshly. Or aware, the Japanese word for the special poignancy one feels while  enjoying ephemeral beauty. Or the Indonesian phrase bolopis kuntil baris, which summons extra strength for carrying heavy objects….”

PS: Last night’s Champagne Wednesday was marked by a visit from the flooring man (we had a mini flood) and a bottle of Blonde De Noirs. It’s the one with Marilyn Monroe oozing hints of strawberryhigh-notes and toasted scandal on the front label. Let me say this loud and clear: YUM, YUM, YUM, MORE PLEASE.  As this particular bottle was a gift from the Sambrooks, we had a harder time than usual opening it. At least three or four times it came out of the fridge and then went right back in as we wagered: did we deserve this bottle? On a Wednesday? With frozen Costco french onion soup and tator tots? Thankfully, we came to our senses and then “pop” went the evening. The rest is all happy birthday, Mr. Husband from there.

PS: photo via Design Sponge

New to you

Between budget restraints and being a bit under-the-weather, Ash and I haven’t had much champagne to report of lately.  Not that I’m complaining. It would just be nice to have a little bubble-powered story to tell you.  Sometimes when I’m too sleepy or distracted to think of new things to say, I roam around trying to find nice pictures to show you.  I found this one hereWork hard and be nice to people. Simple, right?

Life itself is feeling pleasantly simple these days. Our cash rolled into glass jars labelled “groceries”. My nephew’s little knock on the back door. The amoires sold on craigslist. Dinner plans with parents. Sunday walks on Seaview trail. Lime cordial in our gin and tonics.

It’s snowing tonight, just a little. Like a deliberately scarce shake of salt upon the city.

Water/wine content

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The novel Revolutionary Road is making me all frantic about everybody’s wine/water content, especially my own.  

It all began when I read this: “Mettre de l’eau dans son vin.” Or, as Clotide from Chocolate & Zucchini describes: Literally translated as, “putting water in one’s wine”  (i.e. selling out on one’s ideals, dreams).

The photo was taken in the depths of the Veuve Cliquout Champagne House in Reims, France. It was the year of the great comet of 1811. A perfect vintage. But saved in barrels for 200 years, it’s no better than pure vinegar.

A perfect champagne unsipped – kind of like a dream left unlived.  

I am not even sure adding un  to a word really makes it a word.

I think I just really need a weekend.

Anywho – onto the sunny side – after I declared it my birthday week (a few days early , no less), Ash has taken to bringing me coffee in bed each morning. And this Saturday, he is taking me for a birthday dinner of great mystery. Just another thing that makes him all wine, no water. 

So, looking forward to a high-content weekend!

Jen 

For the day

FOG

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial,

national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no

need to preempt grievance.

 

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made,

any sentence begun.

 

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp — praise song for walking

forward in that light.

 

– from ‘Praise Song for the Day’ by Elizabeth Alexander

 

Photo of Vancouver from the top of Cypress Moutain from unknown source.

What’s next…

Lobster and Swan

This is what Vancouver looks like, though it is not Vancouver. I almost forget what it’s like to see things sharply. Every edge is rounded; shaded out of borders. A hand becomes a wand. A car becomes a roaming buffalo….earlier I cursed the cold, but I’ve decided the mist can stay one more day.

Lobster and Swam postcards

Thank you cards are coming. I like sitting at the kitchen table with Ash, writing each one and then reading it to him out loud. He looks at me like I am oh so clever. Like no one else could have thought to say thank you in such a clever way. I am relishing the practice of it. So, as I said, the thank you cards are coming.

Lobster and Swan ferry lights

My birthday is also coming soon. 28 on the 28th. I’ve heard that makes it my champagne birthday, which seems divinely fitting since I plan to drink champagne on my birthday (Wednesday or not).

But nothing is coming sooner than bed. That comes now. Night.

PS: All the pretty photos from Lobster and Swan. A nice place to go, because let’s face it: not many people can pull off interior fairy lights, but she really seems too. And I can appreciate that.

The view

Paris polaroid

On days like this, I need a good view. Even if it’s just a new photo on my desktop. Ash tried for so long to get me out of bed this morning that he ended up back in bed himself. We taunted the clock until the last minute, blankets pinned at every corner, and then rushed to get to work. I blame the cold. And the dark. And the weeks off we spent draining our champagne supply. And him, for being so nice to wake up to.

Photo via here as seen on Bliss

Adios

Well, this is it. My last blog post as Miss Hargreaves. 

Today, Bill, the Facility Manager at work (not to mention, the loveliest Scott you’ll ever meet – perhaps, even, a gift from my Nanny) – brought me a very offical nametag reading “Jennifer Wilson.”

Yes, I am beginning to feel like someone new.

I’ve written and erased about a hundred sentences trying to capture the sum of experience for this medium. But those thoughts will stay in the journal beside my bed. Instead, I’m taking Frost’s sage advice. 

See the door on my little atelier?

It says, Ferme

 

And if you’re lost enough to find yourself

By now, pull in your ladder road behind you

And put a sign up CLOSED to all but me.

Then make yourself at home.   

Here are your waters and your watering place.

Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.

 

Hasta Luego,

Jen

Poem is called Directive by Robert Frost.
Photo is borrowed from Jisanna’s Flickr page.
Merci to both.