Bits and Pieces

Chewing the Fat

When They Were Young




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March 2010

Thanks Ruth!

Just got in from a wonderful dinner with our friends R_______ and D____.  We got a tasting menu (except for D_____ because she decided, at the happy age of 55ish, that if-not-now-when, and so she marched herself off to the orthodontist and had him slap some metal braces on her lower teeth.  Hence, she couldn’t indulge in the tasting menu, because her mouth is full of metal and sore and she can only eat soft things.)

BUT the rest of us splurged on the tasting menu and it was REALLY, REALLY good. 

I made Don do the credit card thing, because I didn’t want to ruin the lovely cozy pampered feeling in my belly, on seeing just how much it costed.  I’ll see soon enough when we get back to Canada and I slog through my monthly stack of bills and mail and finance stuff.  Much better to experience the drop when the taste of the desert isn’t still dancing on my tongue.

See, some women splurge on clothes, some on jewels, some on handbags, some on shoes.  Me…my Kryptonite is food.  Doesn’t matter if it is in a back alley, a fancy restaurant, or our own home-cooking.  If it’s tasty, I’m happy! 

I’m doubly happy right now, because not only was the dinner really tasty, but on our way back from bumping around Hampton Court palace, we stopped at Marks & Spencers and I got several bags of really fresh, lovely fruit. 

I never feel more luxurious than when I have lots of fresh fruit in the house.  So imagine, the scruffy, little Meg from the old days, with the dirt smeared face and rats nest hair, with her nose pressed up against the bakery shop in Safeway, wishing she could have a cookie, that Meg is dancing a jig right now.

Well, not an actual jig.  A cyber jig.  My fingers are dancing up and down on the key board and I’m smiling.

Anyway, here is the picture of me and Ruth.  Oh and the top I’m wearing is courtesy of my sister Jennifer.  It’s another generous gift from her closet, as is the fancy blouse that I wore to the restaurant so they wouldn’t think I wasn’t fine enough to eat there, and I am wearing now, because I haven’t gotten ready for bed yet. 

Yes, bed.  It is after midnight here.  Sweet dreams everybody.

Hmm… Don just read the blog and said, “That picture is too tiny.  You must have dragged it off the email instead of downloading it properly.”

Whatever!  I’m too tired.  (Not really that tired, but it’s a good excuse given the local time.)  Maybe I let old smarty-pants here (Don) show me how to fix it tomorrow, but as for me, I’m going to brush and floss my teeth, wash my face with a nice hot hotel wash cloth, and go to bed. 



Will and Don have gone to see the movie Shutter Island.  Not me, no way, here I sit, in a hotel/apartment in London, typing to you. 

Why didn’t you go with them?  You might ask. 

Well, I don’t do scary.  That’s something me and Gemma have in common.  Had too much of that in my life.  I can act in scary, play scary, write scary, but I don’t do scary.  Try not to read scary things, go to scary movies, eat scary foods. 

Lots has happened since I last visited you.  I spent a day reading and talking with students and teachers and visiting with Ruth Wadsworth (librarian/friend) at Claremont Secondary.  Pictures were taken, but not by me.  Alas, I forgot my camera, however if Ruth sends me one of her photos I will post it.

I’ve been to Houston and back.  Had a great time, good talks, met interesting people,  after the second reading a crowd of us went out for some margaritas and mexican/texan food and laughed more than we should.  Jennifer, from Central library, generously gave me a ride to the airport and we talked about writing, hers and mine.

I arrived home in the wee hours of the morning, Don was in Vancouver Olympiasizing himself, I finished up readying our little beach house for someone who was flying in from Edmonton to see it.  They saw it that afternoon and by that evening we had a deal. 

Then I went to Seattle for my reading at Barnes and Noble.  LOVED Terry who set the whole thing up.  And the close and loving relationship/friendship between her and her daughter warmed my heart to no end. 

Then back home, unpack, pack again, take the ferry to Vancouver to do a little looping for the Caprica episode, stayed over night and then the next day, off to England to see my boy Will! 

And here we are.  It’s odd how quickly one can slip into living in a place one is only temporarily in.  We have our rituals, our daily things to do.  Don got his copy edits the day before yesterday on his new book, so he’s a bit grumpy.  I have a plethora of books and chocolate digestive biscuits and tiny sweet loosely skinned orange clemintines, and crunchy crisp thin salt and vinegar potato chips to keep me company at night.  Which is a very good thing, because it takes me at least 10 days to get over jet-lag.

I go to bed around 11 with Don and Will, I sleep for a couple hours and then wake up, bright eyed and bushy-tailed (not really)  Don’t have a tail, and my eyes feel like sandpaper, but my mind is jumping around doing cartwheels and sleep is impossible.  So I get up, grab the thick white terry cloth robe that the hotel so generously provides, fumble around on the bedside table, find my glasses, perch them on my nose and then find my way to the bedroom door, ease it open, not to far, because once it’s around half-way open the hinges creak.  Then I slip out to my arm chair by the kitchenette, flip on the kitchen light, and nestle down with a book.  Finally, around 5 or 6 in the morning, my eyes get sleepy and I can crawl back in bed and go to sleep.

And in the morning, there is another book for the housekeeper to bring home to add to her stash.  I love that.  That I discovered the majority of women who clean the rooms of hotels and short rental apartments, are avid readers, and if they aren’t, their mother, friend, brother is.  Some of them don’t know that they rescue them from the bin, but I when pass their cart, I see my discarded books tucked in amongst the shampoos and soaps.

Or, if I’m in the room, they check to make sure, “is it okay?” 

“Sure,” I say.  “I was hoping someone would want it.” 

I always leave the books in a clean garage can.  Not the mucky ones with used Kleenex and tired dental floss.  That way they don’t have to root around.  Can see it sitting there like a promise.  Pick it up, nice and easy.

And it makes me feel so happy when they do, the smile on their face, holding the book to their chest.  Reminds me of myself.  But I only leave happy books.  Picked up a Henry Miller at Waterstones.  Thought I’d give him another chance.  Sampled him when I was in my twenties, thought maybe I’d feel different now that I was a mature woman of 50. 


Still didn’t like him. 

Didn’t leave that book in the clean garbage can.  Didn’t even want to donate it to the library.  Buried it deep in the mucky kitchen one, wrapped it in a bag within the bag.  I didn’t think this housekeeper would appreciate his writing either.  Might shock her.  Might find it offensive and self-indulgent.  Didn’t want her to open it up thinking it was going to be another nice happy-ever-after treat.

Wouldn’t leave my books for them either.  I imagine they’ve had enough hardships without having to experience mine as well. 

Anyway, Don and Will should tumble through the door soon, carrying the outside night air on their coats, full of the movie and what was good about it, and what wasn’t.  And they will joke and Will will say, “hey mom, you should have come with us, you would have liked that movie.  Your cup of tea!”  And I’ll say “oh no, not me, no way!”  And we’ll all laugh and their eyes will be full of warm fondness and affection, because they don’t mind that I don’t go to scary movies with them.  They love me and make room for my peculiar little differences.