Vacation: Poetic Blog

Where does that feeling of the ocean go? Of the sun, of the healing, of comfort and warmth, the cozy uncertainty of vacation? One step out into the snow, the cold gripping my spine, the tension of winter pulling my form into a hunched curve.

The smells can linger; the light humid sulfur of a burning fire, that dank dump smell that pops out of nowhere. The memory of the waves, the evening trade wind, the crash of waves and unfamiliar caw of lankier versions of birds we have at home. The taste of a frozen Danino yogurt on a stick, still warm corn tortillas, drops of lime juice on the rim of a cold Pacifico beer.

But now they are gone, left behind, held only in momentary photographs and sunburns. In the grains of sand I still see in Neptune’s ear.

Its always good to be home, though, even in the winter, even after a vacation. I’m looking forward to sleeping in our own bed, drinking tap water with total abandon.

Now off to real reality. Making macaroni and cheese for Neptune’s lunch, trying to recover from my recovery.

I was at the cottage and…

The problem of navigating through Ontario is that invariably some large body of fresh water gets in the way. Adding hours to any journey, driving around lakes and rivers is scenic but frustrating. Mainly the problem is that they haven’t built a direct route from, say, Montreal, Quebec to Wiarton, Ontario. We’ve come up to my aunt’s cottage for a little vacation. The weather is a bit dark and rainly, but there remains great value in being surrounded by quiet pine trees and the great Lake Huron.

As kids we would come up here every summer, and one year (as a tween) I came up with my BFFs Lis and Heather. We had this silly joke about the pile of blankets we needed on our beds to keep us warm. I think we had about eight blankets over the bed and at night they would be so heavy on our bodies that we nicknamed the collective beast “Big Bertha.” We would fight over the covers, invoking the dilemma of Big Bertha: you want her but can’t have her.

My aunt’s cottage has remained unchanged since the 80’s, and judging from the abundance of wood paneling, peach-coloured tile and kitsch furniture, was likely established in the 50’s or 60’s. Even my family’s attempts at updating the decor have purposefully maintained this timelessness. Redecorations have been subtle, to say the least, and the framed 2,000-piece Manet puzzle of a lady wearing a hat figures prominently alongside the tattered National Geographic world map, published 1968.

Our day trips include the quest for the ultimate butter tart, cinnamon bun and homemade preserves. The sugar high is seemingly perpetual, offset only by long walks to watch the sun set or futile attempts to say hello to resident jackrabbits. This weekend we will visit the low-rent lakeside town (that they forgot to close down…most probably because it was never opened in the first place) of Sauble Beach, including the batting cages and wicked french fries at Mar’s chip shop.

…so that’s why there’s been no post in a while. I had hoped to post from my Blackberry, but the signal was too weak and it kept crashing. I think it’s time for an upgrade in mobile phone…Blackberry Bold, anyone?

On Vacation: 3 (Percussion)

So I am very much back form vacation, but still have a couple stories to tell. Our last days there we ventured off the resort because the food snobs in us were getting restless. We had some amazing fresh fish, simply prepared but just so good! Margaritas (with real booze) and dining on the beach were contributing factors, too. So those dinners kind of redeemed the “boring, normal vacation” part for us.

The day before we left Murray and I took a walk along the beach, where we got ‘nized. I had a feeling we’d get recognized before we left, and lo and behold…anyway, the girl was really nice and now I feel bad that we didn’t talk but we were in serious vacation mode. But let’s rewind a bit for some vocabulary: getting ‘nized.

The term was introduced to us by Benvie, who credits it to fellow Haligonian Matt Murphy. What’s up with everyone from the East Coast being so incredibly witty? We just can’t keep up over here, probably because we’re too bitter and self-concerned in Montreal. Anyhow, the term has caught on and we’ve been using it since.

Murray’s was on a quest for some real percussion…not that manufactured plastic crap they sell you at Steve’s. I mean, that stuff is good and durable for touring, but in the studio nothing sounds nicer than natural percussion. Murray found a couple tambourines, a few sets of maracas and bongos. They all sound really dynamic and organic. Basically that’s what’s left to do on the recording; what we like to call “the sprinkles.” The other night Murray and Krief were up all night in the basement working on recording a guitar line. We also have to lay down a bunch of vocals, which I think we’re just going to do in the house.

So, to conclude, it’s good to be home, even though it’s really cold here.

On Vacation: 1

I just brushed a 2-inch cockroach off my arm. I felt something on my back, but I thought it was my ponytail. Anyway, I jumped, it scuttled away, we opened the door to our room to let it out but it didn’t leave. It’s still in here, hiding between the moulding and the wall.

We’re on vacation, someplace hot and sunny. It’s been years since we’ve been on a proper vacation, and we’ve already started feeling the effects of total relaxation. Pretty soon (and I can’t wait) we will get very bored and sun-burned, and allowed to temporarily forget the everyday stress of life.

So there won’t be much blogging for the next few weeks, just intermittent notes from the side of the kiddie pool. Fried eggs and churros for breakfast, and margaritas after dinner. Yes, its a very normal and boring sort of vacation, but the palm trees and nighttime sounds of crickets and frogs from the little ecological reserve next door make it worthwhile.

The other night Murray took a field recording of the evening sounds. We’ll probably use it on the record: there’s a spot where I suggested some crickets, and we had originally put a sample in there but it wasn’t quite right so now it’ll be perfect.