Friday, December 9, 2011


Mom was a closet divorcée so to shield me from the awkward truth, she eradicated any trace of documentation linking her to her ex-husband, Barney the Beelzebub. There were no wedding albums, no annulment papers no mementos of any kind. Even her marriage license to dad had been strategically Exacto-knifed. Once I found a photograph of her and some coot pulling pints. She blanched when I asked who he was, but instantly recovered, “Just some man who let me behind the bar for a picture.” It was a rather uninteresting dive so I didn’t pursue it. Probably just as well.

Image: Found.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Purfect Storm

The plan was to leash Guinness and Dizzy to the porch where we’d enjoy a glass of wine and our indoor cats could experience the fresh summer evening without pancaking on Rideau Avenue. All was interspecie harmony until that truck released its air brakes. The pair flew off the porch only to be snapped back like two furry paddleballs. Within seconds Rich was hamstrung by the cat-leash trajectory and the wine sent airborne in a grapey arc of street theatre. Now twenty years wiser, we drink alone and our current cats get to go out whenever they damn well please.

Image: Ralph Crane, Time-Life Pictures

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When Pussy Takes a Stroll

She takes pleasure in her grooming, spends hours on her shiny black hair. Does she practice that walk, one foot just so in front of the other, those feline hindquarters swaying? Ooh la la, the way she swishes that tail. It doesn’t just move: it swings like a treacherous pendulum. She is sultry, sleek, confident – and despite the gloss, a vicious predator, a feral tramp, a howler who prowls at night. Oh, yes: she has known many cool Toms – she loves her jazz. Bad luck for you, she scratches. But on the positive side, she is very fond of cats.

Image: Ralph Crane, Time-Life Pictures

Monday, December 5, 2011


I grew up in a bubble at Charles and Yonge, lived there with my mother, all through college and into my first fulltime job . . . with twelve bubbles outside when we first moved in—a whimsical relic of the ’sixties, I suppose—large plexiglas displays of the merchandise you could purchase from the once fine stores of the Charles Promenade, somehow floating still above the changing city, safely removed from the sins of the strip, until the day I came to find the first of them lying broken on the ground, the next day another. In a week they were gone.

Click here to see the full image by Citatus on Flickr.

Mod Pods

They were both beautiful and pristine from a distance. Like carnivals. Lucite orbs left by Extraterrestrials Who Liked to Shop, space oysters filled with the pearls of 1970 tat luring Aquarians away from the Eaton Centre. And there he was, sheep-skinned against the Toronto December, a Hoser-McCleod without his horse searching out her Christmas gift. He peered into each ball as if it were his future and decided that the mood ring in gold plate was the quickest way to get laid on Christmas Eve. But the choice was telling: Sure he’d do Mary, but he’d be thinking about Rhoda.

Image: Citatus on Flickr.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Their father had given them a quarter and five minutes to get some Doublemint in the hotel lobby and come right straight back. Tammie pointed out the window – “Bubbles!”
     Val squinted. “A fairy ring?”
     “A giant’s ring,” Tonya decided, “they had to cut it off with wirecutters ’cause it got stuck on her finger at Batchawana Bay and lotion didn’t help. If we don’t talk to strangers . . .” Holding hands, they snuck onto Yonge.
     When they got there, the bubbles were beat-up plastic. Tammie kicked one and hurt her sandalled foot. “Maybe they’re Art,” Val said helplessly. Tonya began to hiccup.

Image: Citatus on Flickr.

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