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Monday, May 19, 2008

someone's having a party

The grand opening for Hidden Lounge is coming up, and my chef and I have been busy in the kitchen.

Check out our blog to see what we've been up to!

bagels in the sun

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

the day you set me free

"I hope I haven't given you too much of my baggage," she says.

"You haven't given me any of your baggage, you've done the opposite, you've taught me the importance of freedom," I tell her.

I called my mother up last night to tell her how much I loved her, "I was going to write you something, but I had to say it..."

As soon as I began to speak I remembered why I usually write the way I feel. Tears fell from my eyes and my words got stuck in my throat.

Somehow, between awkward sobs, I told her how I felt. I told her about how working with women all day has given me even more respect for her. All day I listen to women put themselves down and complain about their bodies no matter how beautiful they are. While my mother complains occasionally about needing to go to the hairdresser, she is always glowing, growing more beautiful with age, and accepting herself as she is. She has taught me how to stay strong as a woman, to write in my journal, and let out all my anguish in writing and a hot bath.

I told her about how she taught me the beauty of adventure. About how I'd been thinking about the summer we drove to California in a van with no air conditioning, rode along the sand dunes, slept in RV camps and stopped every five minutes for water. My mother has been taking me on adventures with her since I could walk, and I've learnt that all it takes is an open mind and a good budget to make it happen.

She taught me to trust her instinct as a young girl, and was always very careful with me. If she wasn't comfortable with letting me go somewhere, she wouldn't let me go. But she would explain why, until resentfully, I understood. One summer in France she started to let me drink wine, go out late at night and do what I wanted. Nothing was said, but I knew she had let me go. She saw that I had become a woman, and knew I could trust my own instinct.

Now I know that I can go anywhere in this world, in this life, and I'll always have her love. She has set down the path, but has made it clear that where I choose to go is my decision.

yvonne at cafe

Happy Mother's Day Maman.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

luck of the irish

This is the way Sundays should be.

I sit on a lounge chair and the sun pours onto my leg from the window outside. I turn a page of my book. I think that maybe I should get outside, get some exercise, or do something productive. A voice inside of me says: “No, just be.”

I look across at my mother, who has stopped reading her book on the sofa across from me and started napping.

It has been a peaceful weekend, full of family, food, sleep, laughter, and moments to “just be”.

I took the train from Toronto down to Port Hope Friday night, to see my grandparents, my brother, and my mother who’s on her way back to Vancouver from France.

My brother, mother and I make a good team. We're all dreamers with a dirty sense of humor and a sense of adventure. Together we make fun of each other constantly, laugh like fools, and act more like close friends than family.

Last night after a rich turkey dinner we walked down to the corner store to stretch our legs. My mother suggested we buy lottery tickets, and we headed home with a ticket each. As I was dancing down the street and singing Mariah Carey I found a 10$ bill, and started feeling lucky. Back at my grandparents place we scratched, and my mother won enough to buy us more tickets. We walked back down to the corner store (“It’s us again!”) and headed home with more hopeful loot. We scratched, lost for the most part, and headed back with one winning ticket and my lucky 10$. This time, we all lost, but were far from let down. My grandmother shook her head, “You guys are crazy.” If I had a penny for all the times my grandparents called me crazy, I wouldn’t need lottery tickets to be rich.

My brother came back tonight for a re-vamped turkey dinner. Using the turkey leftovers, I stewed the meat into a rich turkey cacciatore, and we feasted once more. I love cooking dishes like this: heavy in garlic, Mediterranean vegetables and wine. “It’s not horrible,” my brother said, digging in for seconds. “When are you moving in so you can cook and clean for us all the time?” Grinned my grandfather across the table.

After dinner I asked my grandmother for her Irish soda bread recipe. With no recipe in hand, she took her strong Northern Irish hands and dumped flour into two large bowls, stirred in buttermilk, and made sure I didn’t miss a beat or make any bad measurements in her famous bread.

As I write, the smell of the freshly baked bread, one whole wheat, one sweet with dried fruits, tempt me to go into the kitchen to steal a piece before crawling into bed with my mother, or heading back to my book. Life is good here.

Maybe I didn’t win the lottery this weekend, but I feel too damn lucky to care.

nannie and our baked irish bread