Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Summer in the city - the joy of street art. Every day I ride through Allen Gardens and watch the very slow progress of a mural there. The city, to surround a huge waterworks project, has built a tall plywood fence, and some wise person has hired local First Nations artists to decorate it. Every day a big group is out with lunch buckets and platforms, sketching in and painting. One of the panels is a northern scene, a huge lake, Tom Thomson pine trees, forest animals, native symbols. I cool off just looking at it.

Then later, crossing a civil service plaza near University, I came upon one of the street pianos. Whose brilliant idea was that? There are pianos all over the city, inside and out, decorated by artists from different countries in honour of the upcoming Pan Am games, all of them bearing the words: Play me, I'm yours.  This one was painted by an artist from El Salvador, and a very scraggly man in black was noodling honky tonk. A crowd had gathered at a respectful distance to listen. Pleasure.

When I got home, an old friend - an old boyfriend, in fact - well, a boyfriend for a week or two, a theatre colleague for much longer - had just heard I'm a grandmother and left me a long message of congratulation. He was one of the wildest men I've ever known, a mad crazy musician/actor/draft dodger who built himself a geodesic dome in the Kootenays. Now he's back in a cabin in the mountains, living on disability because of a bad back. "There were bears in my garden this morning," he said. He called me "my dear."

Mon dieu, we 60's fruitcakes are getting old and mellow.

When I called my mother's hospital room, she answered the phone herself for the first time in ages. She had just come back from having a CAT scan and several x-rays and was about to get back into bed. She was completely coherent and her voice was stronger. My mother is the greatest living tribute to the Canadian health care system. They should make posters.

And now I have just one word for you: rosé.

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