Disguise of the Turtle (Paris Trip Eve)

May 27, 2008

Flightwear, 2008

With sighs and a trembling lower lip, I bid farewell to my jeans and plaid shirts. This is not adieu, beloved schmattas, but à la prochaine.

And now, cue the music from The Saint, as I prepare my suave espionage wardrobe, complete with hidden passport bag and James Bond movie-style T-shirt under brandspankin’ new trousers and button shirt. Add the elegant velcro-strap wristwatch, the indestructible cotton kleenex (what will the techies think of next?) and the hat-and-shopping-bag attachment line, which doubles as a trousers belt (so brilliant!) and Turtle, Secret Agent is ready.

Bookbag disguise

Central Headquarters has thought of everything — even this lustrous, water-resistant shoulderbag, disguised as a catfood company’s promotional freebie, to conceal my bookbag. The colour coordinates with my outfit, to let me blend in with the unsuspecting masses even better.

Qui es tu

Even my own dog doesn’t recognize me.

Much Better, Thank You

May 19, 2008

happy walker

Turtle out walking with 11-week-old Cai, Dec 2006

Jane came over just after 6 yesterday evening, to pick up her keys and drop off a bit of pocket money and a lovely little souvenir from Mijas, Spain, which I’ll use for this week’s Wordless Wednesday photo. I’m afraid I was rather rude; while E.g. kept the conversation going, my eyes unfocussed and drifted away from Jane and towards the movie Jack was watching. After Jane left, I had a bite of supper. At five to eight I announced I was going to bed. I read the first page, if that, of a novel before drifting off; I heard the rest of the family coming in from a potty break at 8:30, but hadn’t heard them going out.

Fergus woke up about one-ish, and E.g. went down to him. When Cuca started tapping me on a hand at five to six, I went downstairs with him while E.g. slept in.

Since today is Victoria Day, Jack doesn’t have school. And since it’s another cold and rainy day, E.g. looked up indoorish activities suitable for all ages. She found some kind of circus goings-on down at the Harbourfront, but I just couldn’t get up any interest.

“What would you like to do, then?” she asked.

“I’d like to take Cai to the big park.”

“Okay. You go give him a good play, and when you get back, I’ll take Jack to the circus.”

Deal! Cai and I left at 9, and returned home at 10 to 11, just as E.g. and Jack were on their way to the parking garage. And a good thing we crossed paths, because I noticed that E.g. had forgotten to take her camera. I’m looking forward to seeing the photos.


Turtle, 11-month-old Cai, and Jack on the Bruce Peninsula, August 2007.

Cai makes me feel good. This morning he trotted along beside me, good as gold, even trying to hold himself back once we got to the big park. I rewarded him by removing his leash at the top of the off-leash area. “Top” should be taken literally: the dogpark is at the bottom of a bowl. The steep side has been a favourite place for tobogganing for over a century.

So yeah, I unclipped him, and tossed a ball down the hill. Away he went on his specially-designed hill-running Cardigan legs, while I followed. We perambulated the edges, fetching and tossing, ignoring the other dogs. This was our time.

After an hour, Cai was pretty much wiped. I had forgotten to bring a water bottle. Cai drank out of a puddle on the baseball diamond a few times, but kept regurgitating his water from all the running, so we walked one more time around, and back up the hill to the top. Cai was tuckered out, and I was refreshed. The grey coolness was full of birds, the tiny front yards full of flowers.

Like I said, we met E.g. and Jack in the hallway. They reported that Fergus had just had a 45-minute potty and play. “Work on getting your sanity back!” were E.g.’s parting words, but after a full night’s sleep and a walk with my dog, much of that work had already been done. Cai and I entered the apartment, Cai lay down for a snooze, and I — this will tell you! — I did the dishes.

 happy hikers

Turtle and 18-month-old Cai, Inglis Falls, March 2008.

Symbol of the Turtle

March 13, 2008

“Turtle”, 2008, watercolour by aka Lavenderbay 

About twenty years ago, I started joking that if I were a member of the First Nations, I would want to belong to the Turtle Clan because I carried my life on my back. When there weren’t books in my bookbag, there were groceries. For a year or so when there wasn’t a bookbag, there was a cloth baby-carrier. Over the past ten years, my bookbag has held binoculars and field guides; kitty nummies from the pet store; biblical Hebrew textbooks; one change of clothing for a three-week hostelling trek through England; a soft-sided water dish, and sometimes plastic containers of kibble mush, for outings with the dog; nursing shoes; office shoes; gym shoes; sixpacks of microbrew; and paints, paper, and pencils for art classes. Name a part of my life, and it’s probably been placed on my back.

Only sometimes does my bookbag seem a burden; usually it feels protective. It reminds me I have a life; it makes me bigger; it gives me warmth; it keeps my hands free. Once it even helped me up. When I tripped on the pavement and pitched headlong, my overstuffed bookbag caused me to judo-roll and be back on my feet before you could say, “Nice patches! You’ve been to New Zealand?”

A few years ago, my partner and my mum and I went to visit the Petroglyphs at Peterborough (Ontario). I stopped to read the story of Turtle in the interpretive centre. It seems that Turtle spent so much time at the bottom of the lake studying all the interesting things down there, that he was late for the job fair. By the time he surfaced, the Great Spirit shrugged and said there were no more jobs left. Turtle, somewhat miffed, overturned a few canoes. I read this, thinking, “Oh, crap! That’s me!”  — all the courses I’ve taken, all the jobs I’ve tried on for size, with nothing ever seeming to really fit. It’s enough to make me pretty grumpy sometimes.

But the grumpy turtle plods on. The grump crumbles away. Things that don’t fit slide off. No accumulations of wealth — oh, but the vistas I’ve seen! The things I’ve learned! The creatures I’ve greeted! The stories I could tell you!

Maybe Turtle is a storyteller.