Monday, November 30, 2009


America’s attic, Alaska’s babysitters, the land of 1000 Jim Carreys - Canadians are like the Pillsbury dough boys of the western world - no matter how hard your jab, we’ll smile, laugh too hard, and probably apologize for Celine, SARS, and the fact your boyfriend watches too much hockey.

But beyond our passive-aggressive excuses/thinly veiled criticisms, our collective lack of a national self-worth is spawned from our brief and disparate histories. Arnold Edinborough said that “Canada has never been a melting-pot; more like a tossed salad,” and while I always chalked up my heritage to some basic European country, it wasn’t until today that I unearthed a manuscript detailing the history of my family.

In a scrapbook of meticulously hand-written pages and sepia-tinted photos, my grandmother has outlined the pedigree of my mother’s side of family. It’s a mélange of Clerics and Doctors, marriages and second marriages, children lost in infancy, births, deaths, and even a distant cousin who, by sheer coincidence, was baptized with the exact same name as my sister; their stories are all set to page in her impeccable scrawl.

It’s not a distinctly Canadian history, but it’s these small details that made me feel more attached to this hateful wasteland of frozen tundra than ever before. Frankly, I never cared much for the stories of the settlers, or the fur trade, but suddenly knowing that H. Nelson Jackson, my (to be determined number of greats) grandfather was the first person to cross the continent in a car (nicknamed Vermont) means a whole lot more than how we torched the White House in 1812.

Friday, November 27, 2009

image via ffffound

Thursday, November 19, 2009

'tis the season

for really cute moccasins.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

babies and burritos

It's no secret that babies terrify me. There's just something about being loud and breakable that sets my senses on edge. In 23 years, I have only held one baby, that was forced upon me during an eleven-hour flight from Dar to London. He was a nine-month-old ginger named Rufus, with heartbreaking blue eyes, and he crawled across me to get a peek out the window as we passed over the Libyan desert. Then he vomited on me a little. 1-0 Babies.

But Jessica's baby may be the exception. She's bright and charming, and has a wardrobe I would kill for. Her first words should definitely be 'thanks, mom.'

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

at a loss for words

I've taken to counting the letters, listing off the words on the page, and saying them out loud, as if their sound will set off a spark. I make notes of clever things said, and written, by those more inspired than myself. I count the minutes spent sitting in a quiet stupor, staring blankly at the taupe-coloured walls of the coffee shop. Waiting, willing for inspiration, and waiting some more.

What do you do when you've run out of things to say? You're scared. It's death or embarrassment, and all that dribbles out are rambling passages about the weather and other desperate things. You've lost your rhythm, and you're scribbling about nothing and wondering about everything.

I'm looking
for direction. And counting.