Monday, April 24, 2006



Gill left on Friday morning. I watched her blond head as she lined up for security. I watched as she walked through the electronic contraption that rings if you have hidden metal. I hoped she would turn around and give one last wave. My heart was aching. And then I couldn't find her in the crowd. Oh how I love that girl/woman. All day I followed, on the internet, her flight to Toronto, then Montreal, then Paris, relieved that every landing and take-off happened on schedule but, more importantly, that the plane still existed, that she was safe. The next morning, I received an email from her. Although her heart too ached leaving, she was happy to be back in Paris - "home to my independence," as she wrote on her blog. Oh I love her so.

I was never the kind of woman who ached for children. I was twenty-nine when I had my first child. It wasn't love at first sight. After he was delivered to me, by caesarean section, I was put under and didn't see him until the next day. When the nurse brought him to him, I was shocked at his size - 9 lb. 2 oz. - and declared he wasn't mine. The nurse checked our wrist bracelets and said that he was. He couldn't eat the first few days and so the doctor sent him to intensive care where I would visit him. It took a few days to fall in love with him....

Surprisingly to me, I found that I loved being a mother, though even with my first child, I knew that motherhood wasn't enough. I returned to university and one course at a time, I worked toward my undergraduate degree. Gill was in my belly under my gown when I waddled up to the podium to received my rolled document. I framed it and hung it over the stove to remind myself that I had a brain in my head.

Over the last few years, all three of my children have left home and returned and left and returned... and I don't where I'm going with this blog... As my children sort themselves out, I find I am sorting myself out. I am a knot of emotions. And yet (trust me to thing of a country and western song) I have friends who love me...

Having a tough time right now... hopefully soon I will be more coherent.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Thank the heavens. I woke early today and have slipped out to my house in the garden. All are asleep except my daughter. Just like the old days, we met this morning in the kitchen, both of us in white dressing gowns. Gill arrived home on the 10th and we've been almost constant companions. Michael and Mackenzie returned last night after doing a week housekeeping stint at Helen's so all our children are back under our roof. Later afternoon, we will sit down with family and friends and eat turkey and a vegetable feast prepared by Gill and Karyna. I keep slipping and calling today "Thanksgiving."

On Friday night, Gill had a barbecue here for all her friends. I helped her prepare. Rob did the barbecuing and I served drinks for a while. And then sat under the stars on the patio/balcony with a number of nineteen/twenty year olds and talked. It was lovely to have the house full of young people - and strange. I've known most of the guests since they were in kindergarten and now they all tower over me.

In between running around with Gill, I've been writing late summer orders for the store. I am still feeling an ache, a void, as if my heart was being torn from my chest. I tell myself to stop being melodramatic and then, in the same breath, tell myself that I have a right to my anger and grief. (All of it came pouring out on Wednesday night at Marlene's when I wrote to the question "What am I trying to feed into the possibility of being?")

On Monday, Gill and I are going to slip away overnight to Whistler to my sister's cabin/house. We were going to go to Seattle but decided that we were sick of stores, that we simply wanted to be together alone in a beautiful setting. Oh I am happy to have my sweet pea home. She will return to Paris in less than a week to complete the last quarter of her au-pair-dom that I think will be easier after this home coming.

When I was a little girl, we moved houses at least a half a dozen times before I left for good. Gill is the only one of my children who has only lived in one house. This truly is her home. (Someone told me once that the less places one has lived in, the more stable the individual.) When I was a little girl, my mother would buy all her children - five daughters and a son - at Easter, a hollow chocolate egg that I think she bought at a department store where someone, with an icing gun, wrote our names. I loved these eggs. And so, Gill and I bought an egg for everyone who is coming to dinner tonight. I plan, like my mother, to ice on each one a name.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Yvonne at 7 years

This picture of me was taken nearly fifty years ago. Last night I celebrated my birthday again at Walter's - a house full of memories for me. (There is a larger-than-life painting of Leslie in the kitchen.) What a wild and wonderful evening it was. That demure little girl sitting on the steps let loose. There were two friends from my past - Roz and Alan. (Roz and I used to work together, as copywriters, at Woodwards, then Everygreen Press.) And there were many women from my "old" work place and, let me tell you, those women know how to turn country and dance and sing up a storm. We were rowdy, yes, and wild - and it felt like a letting go of all the tension I've been holding and tears that I've been crying the last few weeks.

I received some beautiful gifts and cards. Shannon, a customer of store who has become a friend, quoted Mary Oliver in her card, "Listen, are you Breathing just a little and calling it a life?"

I'm beginning to breathe...

On Friday, I got together with another bunch of rowdy women, at Shirley's, who cooked up a storm - or rather a lamb stew with lentils and lots of other goodies, including a chocolate cake (Double Dave baked another for my party last night - eat your heart out, Marlene) and we talked and laughed and played a little Dolly Parton - don't know what's happening. Are all my friends succumbing to country and western? Gotta admit, I fell asleep three times during the evening... the fashion show for the store took place in the afternoon. (I think it went better than well. I wrote a story for it - until 11 pm the night before - and a fashion consultant at the show said she had never heard anything like it - all the shows she's attended only had boring descriptions of clothes that nobody listened to.)

And I stayed the night at Shirley's, only discovering, when I returned the next day, that I'd forgotten to tell Rob that I wouldn't be home. Poor guy, he didn't know how much trouble one small woman could cause when he married me nearly thirty-six years ago. We don't see much of the other these days. Never do when he's on a film. The hours are long and wearing - more wearing than his woman, I hope.

This morning I talked to our daughter who is staying at a hotel in Charles de Gaulle airport. Tomorrow afternoon, I shall wrap my arms around her at Vancouver International and bring her home.

All is well.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I removed my letter of resignation from this blog because I was worried that a customer might google LJ and read it. I think this inappropriate. I blogged for my friends, to put them in the picture, not to disrupt a business that is going to go through a period of readjustment.

In response to my letter of resignation, P sent a long email (and as Richard, our house guest told me, my letter begged a response.) The gist of P's email to me was that my letter to all staff members "twisted" the facts and that I was taking food from the owner's refrigerator (his metaphor.) LJ is their store and they can do what they want. His letter made me realize that there is no hope for reconciliation. I cannot work for them. I think I was hoping, as again Richard pointed out, that I could continue doing the work I love.

P and W and I had a meeting at my house yesterday morning. Richard sat in the background to help me stick to my resolve to leave and to act as a witness. We three were nervous and, at first, spoke of everything but, the reason for the meeting - my leaving and the period of transition. I finally found my courage, or what little I have, and opened the discussion to the buying. P and W said that they are going to do it. I said that, over the month of April, three days a week, I would show them what I do as I write the orders for fall. After this month, if they need advice, they can make an appointment. (Richard didn't hesitate to me that this was stupid.)

After P and W left, I said to Richard that I am a whimp. He said yes. But he kindly added that he could see my love for the store. (I like this man.)