Thursday, 30 March 2017

spring needs to spring

It's been interesting around here lately.

We're just coming out of an unseasonably late ice storm, which whirled the trees and coated everything in frozen water and despair. Today, the sun came out again and people squinted and smiled at the glints coming off the still frozen branches, amazed at the blue blue sky and hoping that this truly was the last, that there will be spring, and soon.

My daughter is struggling with something at school, which has impacted the way she sees everything around her.  She's asked for help and been blown off twice by adults that ought to have taken her concerns seriously. Suffice to say, I can't *wait* for parent-teacher.

Meanwhile, the teenager has been recommended to go into 'fancy' math classes. I plan to ask him more about those tomorrow while I take him to go get new glass in his (three-week-old) new glasses. (Long story short: the teen was with a group of friends at a hockey game, someone rooting for the other team shoved one of his friends, Cass dove in to save his friend and.....forgot????.....he had glasses on. They sailed through the air, skittered under some seats and boom! Weren't crushed or broken but had some horrible scratches. You know the news is not good when the first thing you hear when you answer the phone is "Mom, I'm sorry") Thank god for Vogue Optical. Vogue definitely isn't the cheapest, but their repair or replace promotions have been a god-send the last few years.

Tomorrow is work, appointments, popcorn and movie night. This weekend is possibly a tea festival, definitely another hockey game, most likely some walks with the big camera and welcoming spring.

Because jeez, after the last month, we all need it.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017


It has been a long, hard, slog of a day.

Work was the usual, with just a soup├žon of extra crazy. Many phone calls today, many clients talked to. Manymanymany.

My cat has a mysterious chunk of fur missing from the back of her neck. I suspect she and her brother have been wrestling again.

I've started drinking more tea than coffee. Who am I??? I have always loved coffee. Tea, right now, just feels homier and more comforting. And since I was gifted a tea-monkey (it's a tea strainer shaped like a wee monkey and it's arms grip the sides of the cup!) I've been drinking loose tea.
But tonight is all about a straight tea bag of lemon zinger in an old cup, pyjamas, and going to bed early.

My brain, she is tired.

Monday, 20 February 2017

something smells like French Toast

Lolling in bed on the last day of a three-day-weekend, I have things to do but the bed! She whispers sweetly about naps and reading and no, I must be strong and GET UP, for I've things to do, work keys to find, and a walk to take. Catch you later.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Second verse, same as the first

Holy hell, is this thing on? (Taps mic)

Well. In the latest round of The Song Remains The Same, I've left two jobs I very much liked and gone to one full time (full-time!!)  gig that, it's hard to describe how I feel about it. It's a fast paced always-changing never-the-same-two-days-in-a-row job that I both love fiercely and loathe, but it comes with fantastic coworkers and (usually) leaves me feeling like I've done something productive and meaningful at the end of the day.

Still two kids, one husband, a dog. But we've added a house rabbit.

I've started cleaning and purging, which usually means Spring must be on its way. Given that last week we had huge snowdrifts after a blizzard wound its way over Nova Scotia, this may be wishful thinking.

But I hope not.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Crowded house

There are multitudes in my head tonight. I really have to start journaling or at least jotting things down, because the characters in my head are getting louder - and now they're all having conversations with each other, and things are getting muddled. That's never good.

I've been toying lately (or the idea has been toying with me, I'm not always sure who's leading who) with what makes me happy, and writing things down?? That makes the list, in spades.

So! Here I am. How've you been? That's a great colour on you.

Let's go on an adventure, shall we?

Wednesday, 9 September 2015


I have Got to start writing again in this space. I had a dream last night that I came here and it was gone -swept away like so much blog-dust.  And that would be sad.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Beneath the waves

Porter caught me to him as soon as the door closed behind her, and I went, shuddering, into his arms.  "That was terrible, Katie. Are you okay?"

I took a deep breath of his scent, searching my heart. Was I okay? Sad, yes. Heartbroken for how sorrowful my mother must have been. Chagrined by her life had gone from a cheerful, happy existence to a black and grey shroud of depression.  But okay? "I think so."

"It's good to know that she didn't walk away from us." I told Porters shirt front. "And horr-" my voice broke, and I took a big gulp. "Horrible to know that she couldn't."

He murmured something and brushed my lips with his. Dizzy, I tightened my grip around his neck and sighed.

"What are you going to do about Maud?" 

"I don't know yet. I know things can never be the same between us. God, Grand Dad will never forgive her. No matter what happens between she and I, her life will never be the same."

"Will she tell him?"

He was really so, so kind. Did it make me a bad person that I wanted to lose myself in him and forget for a little while what had happened today? Tempted, I stared up at him and sighed.

He caught my look and his lips twitched. "Later, Katie. Right now I think you might need a little diversion. Come with me." 

Taking my hand, he led me out to the disreputable old truck. "We," he said, smiling a bit, "are going for a drive. There is to be no talk about what happened. We'll come home in a few hours and talk it to death, I promise. But not now. Right now we need fresh air and something else to think about."

Although I thought it was a crazy idea, I was charmed.

Porter kept it light and casual as he turned the truck toward the hills that fringed the area. He pointed out squirrels and cows in a field and kids with fishing poles, all heading home for their suppers. He patted Wood when the hound insisted on laying his head in Porters' lap. It wasnt hard to follow his cheery statements with nonsensical replies until a swell of misery overcame me and I stared into my lap, ignoring his banter. I thought I was hiding my big fat treacherous tears well, but he slowed and stopped on a hill and reached out to catch one on his fingertips.

"Oh, Kate. I'm so sorry."

I was undone. 

He tugged me closer, undoing my seat belt and folding me against his heart. I snuffled and snorted and wept against him until I reached a point where I felt marginally better, and then he kissed me long and deep and pulled me out of the truck to stand beside him.

"Look at the sky."

It was a fantastic display of pink and orange, shading down to grey. Here and there, tiny points of light showed through as the first stars peered out. In the valley below us, porchlights and streetlights were beginning to come on. It was a magical and comforting scene, and I sucked in a breath, sadness forgotten for a moment.

Porter took my hand, stroking my fingertips. "I know you're sad and sick and angry right now. But look, Katie. Look at the town, and look at the sky. Can't you feel your mother's peace? Look at the stars.  She's with you, Katie. Every day. She always has been."

Looking out over the display, I felt something hiccup in my chest. Something creaked, like an old rusty door cracking open, and suddenly I knew...Porter was right.

Mama had never left me.

The next day was hard. The family was all there, Grand Dad looking older and sadder than I had ever seen him. Ford hugged me for a long time, his usual smile gone, all bonhomnie absent.

I drank a lot of tea with Clay, and listened: to the birds, the bonging of the grandfather clock on the mantel, Maud's explanations interspersed with her noisy sobs, Wood's tail swishing across the floor, Grand-Dad's voice, sore with unbelieving and despair, ringing through the closed parlour door.

It was a long, turbulant day. At one point Grand-Dad asked me to take him down through the gardens to the riverside. I nodded and walked beside him, matching his heavy step. 

He paused at the lower field, smiling wistfully at a grove of peach trees. "Your Mama," he said, "started those trees with pits from peaches she brought from my house. She said they were the sweetest things she'd ever tasted."

He sighed, lost in the past. "You have her eyes, Katie-girl. And her laugh. She was always laughing."

At the bank, he stopped just before the dock. "So. It was here, then."

I nodded over the lump in my throat, missing the memory of Mama but more touched and sad for my Grandfather's breaking heart. He looked greyer and tired beyond compare.

He stepped out and looked at the rushing water, lost in thought. When he spoke it was with a heavy cadence. 

"Will you leave me for a bit? I need to think."

I nodded again, stretching up to kiss his cheek. 'I love you, Grand-Dad.'

I wandered through the gardens past the clump of peach trees, topped the rise, and saw my house. I was taken aback suddenly by how much I loved this place. Everything -the curtains, the trees, the windows, the way the porch beckoned, the gingerbread of the house itself - created a picture that made me heart swell in my chest. This.....this was home now.

What would happen now? The summer was almost over. My life in Rowland waited. The house was finished - would Grand-Dad sell it now? It held no ghosts for me, but how could he bear to know that his daughter had died there near the spot his granddaughter was having her morning coffee?

And what about Porter? Did the summers' end spell the end of us?

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Mama's jacket

There was a hush, then the guys leaned forward, reinvested in the conversation and focused in on my unhappy aunt.


She let out a furious huff of breath. "Katherine, I have been over and over this - why do I have to tell you this again? I - "

I cut in. "Because, Aunt Maud, I want to know. Where is my mother's coat?"

Her eyes blazed.  "I did the best I could, Katherine Alice. I did the best thing I could think of for you, and your brother. I did the best I could. Why are you digging this up now? Let the dead lie.

"Maud! Just tell me. What happened to her coat? I grew up hearing all the whispers, all the lies, all the parts of the fiction that you orchestrated. Mama put on her coat and went out in the night and was never seen again. Tonight you said she was in her nightgown. Where did it go?"

"I threw it under the dock!" Maud snapped, then looked ashamed.  "I went back up to the house but Phillip was dead drunk and Alice wasn't coming up - she was dead and I thought....I took a big rock and I wadded the coat around it and threw it into the water. She was gone! There was no getting her back! There was no....." she trailed off, studying my face.

Porter had my hand, his long fingers wrapping tight around my own. I pulled strength from him and faced my aunt, calmness flooding through me. "You thought that here was a tidy way to end a giant mess. No one had seen. You could just....walk away. Walk away, comfort your grieving brother, mop up the spilled milk, erase the crazy from the family tree. Was that it?"

She looked rebellious. "You grew up fine."

"I did. I was lucky enough to be loved by my father and my grandparents and my great aunt. But there was a hole in my life, and questions always in my heart. Maud, how could you?"

My voice broke a little, and Wood whined, shoving his big head at me again. I patted him absently while I kept my eyes locked on Maud's troubled face while her expressions cycled through belligerence to dignity to confusion to quiet sorrow.

"I did" Maud said, heavily, slowly, sadly, "what I did, to protect you, Kitty. I thought your mother's....illness....was like a cancer - if I cut it out of your life completely,  everyone would recuperate. Everything would be different - I never imagined how much this would haunt you - but really, was it so bad?

"Was it bad? Knowing people thought your father killed your mother? Hearing the whispers? Wondering what I could have done that was so awful to make Mama run away -and stay away - from me forever? Feeling flawed all my life?  Was it bad??"

"Katherine, you can't imagine how terrifying it was, watching Alice go mad and seeing your father try to cope. He tried for so long. He even gave in when she said she wanted another baby -even after three doctors told him it was a terrible idea -he thought it would give her some grounding, some joy." She looked at me sorrowfully. "Alice was good with babies. Stanton told me to hush, but I knew this wouldn't end well, I knew it."

I was flooded with the relief of finally knowing what had happened and rage that it had.

Maud clasped her hands in her lap and looked down at the tabletop. "I'm sorry that I couldn't save your mother, Katherine. I'm sorry you and your brother grew up not knowing. That I couldn't protect you from that. I'm sorry I couldnt find the words to tell your father or your grandfather the truth. But I'm not sorry I protected you from years of being labeled the lunatic's children."

We were silent -I was struggling with what to say- and she looked up at me. She looked old, I thought, and exhausted. She waited a minute, then spoke into the suddenly loud silence, making Clay jump a little in his seat. "I suppose," she said, heavily, "that you'll want the truth to be known now."

Was that what I wanted? I had no idea. Although.... "Grand-dad will have to be told. And Dover." 

She sucked in a breath, and nodded. "It's time."

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

ripples of memory

Her chin came up and she looked like her old fierce self. "I searched all over. Usually she just stalked the paths near the house, but that night I ran all the way down to the lower garden before I saw her."

I didn't dare move. Or breathe. Maud drew a shuddery breath and went on.

"Kitty, I yelled my head off but she just...didn't... stop. She was just ahead of me on the path down to the river, and I was screaming like a banshee. She looked back once - I remember how serene her face looked in the moonlight - but then she turned again and went on."

Clay made a stifled noise. "The river!" he half-whispered. "The river flooded its banks that night!"

My great-aunt looked at him, her mouth trembling. "The river was washing over the edges of the dock there. Alice went out on the dock, tipped her head back to look at the moon," Maud sniffled and went on "stepped off the edge, and went down like a stone."

"I ran after her, of course. It was eerily quiet that night, and if you hadn't seen the ripples, you never would have known anything had happened. I watched and waited but she never....she never...."

"She never came back up."

I was fighting down sobs. "Why didn't you go after her?"

Maud looked ashamed and oddly triumphant.. "I don't swim, Katherine Alice. And your father was ...." she searched for the right word, and I stepped in, icily furious.


She nodded. "I went running back up toward the house, screaming out for him. It wasn't until I couldn't wake him up that I thought of what would happen when people found out."

"When people found out my mother was in a drowning accident?"

"No, Katherine. When people found out your mother was wandering around outside by herself in a nightgown while her child slept and her baby - her starving baby -  wailed. What kind of woman would do that?"

Her mouth firmed. "I was protecting you. People would say your mother had a lover. That she was meeting him near the river and after a quarrel decided to run away. That she never loved her children or her husband. Rumours would start, and soon you and your brother would be bastards."

I sucked air down to my toes. "Aunt Maud. They said that anyway."

Before my eyes, she aged. "I know, Katherine." she half-whispered. "What could I do? I moved you out of here. I gave you a new home, a good life. Phillip wouldn't have been any better knowing the truth - he'd still have taken shelter in a decanter - and there was noone else that needed to know." She ignored Clay's indrawn breath. "I didn't realize until a few years later that this man here" - she nodded towards Clay -"had cow eyes for your Mama, or that she had been such friends with Minna Clairborne."

"I regret hurting them."

Porter's arm was around my shoulder now. I didn't feel alone.

Looking at her, I could see the toll this had taken on her. The years of secrets. The years of regrets.

"Maud," I said, leaning forward, "what did you tell Grand-dad?"

She leaned back in her chair, surprised. "Stanton? He knew Alice was going downhill. He knew she couldn't handle being a mother. He knew she...." she trailed off.

Drily, I filled in the obvious blank. "That she was thinking of leaving?"

Maud snapped."That she'd decided to leave. She was going to go home. She was going to give up. Stanton knew she was unhappy. He didn't need to know she was dead. It was kinder to let him think she'd just left without saying goodbye."

All the years of not knowing where my mother was. The years of whispers and taunts, of not thinking I was good enough, that I'd been left... came down to one woman's fears. All of them.

I heard the clicking of toenails and then Wood shoved his head into my lap. Smiling a bit through my tears, I petted his silky ears and ruffled his neck fur. "Oh, good doggie. Such a good boy." He broke the tension nicely and gave me a moment to recoup before I thought again to speak. Still stroking his worried head, I asked her the question burning through me.

"Do you regret it?"

She opened her mouth, then shut it again. "When I see you? No. You grew up fine."

She grew insistent  "Katherine, there was nothing I could do. She was gone.It was easier on your father and your grandfather to just....say she left."

I leaned forward again. "Maud, where's her coat?"