Monday, March 23, 2009

Boys Are Smelly.

We have left RV Land and are officially On The Road. I ride in a large white van with 4 boys (I can call them boys because they are all younger than me), We all get along well, but the van smells of sweaty socks and, occasionally, farts. Some of the sock smell can be attributed to me, though.

Today is our first day off and we are spending it in Kamloops, so I'm having flashbacks to the Train Show I worked on up here last spring. I have had a little orgy of shopping: a new suitcase, a fleecy blanky for our long van rides, fuzzy slippers (ditto) and glorious books! Kamloops has a wonderful used book store I'd like to give props to as it gives me great pleasure every time I come here: At Second Glance Books, you rock. I got 2 novels, and a memoir of 2 stewardesses in the swingin' sixties called Coffee, Tea or Me- how could I resist? I also jogged today and walked miles, so sitting and blogging for a while feels lovely. My favorite Japanese restaurant in the world is closed today (sigh) but I will make do with another one and so avoid McDonald's , which I went to in despair last night because nothing else was open.

Touring is limbo. You don't have to make the bed, cook dinner (or breakfast or lunch), or do anything other than your one job (performing) and travelling. I know that I have other work to do, but it is so easy and seductive to be lulled into indulging myself and for now, I'm going to go with it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

On Tour. Again.

Touring gets harder when you're older. That is, unless you've graduated to the private jet, or the incredible tour bus that sleeps 15. I haven't.
I get to sing my heart out at the Chilliwack Humdinger R.V. Show. Come and watch me die a little three times a day!!!
Well, at least if things get really bad, it's Sunday tomorrow, so I can go pray here:
Yes folks, that trailer really does say Transport For Christ on it.

I'm feeling a little bloated right now, so I'm drinking over 2 litres of water a day to flush out my system and stay healthy. It seems to have worked, because a cold that I got on Tuesday has already almost gone. However the abundance of truck-stop, gas station, food court and Tim Horton's food is definitely not so good for the waistline. Yesterday I went to Safeway and bought every non-perishable healthy food item I could think of (no fridge, you see): healthy powdered soups, those rye crackers that taste like cardboard, an avocado, smoked oysters, tahini, oatmeal...
Today I sat on our stage at the RV show food court and watched everyone in sight devour burgers while I spread avocado bits and tahini on a cracker and ate the lunch of the virtuous.
We have one more day at the RV show, then it's off through the mountains and on the road for real. I get along well with everyone in the cast, but I can still see that I'll be spending quite a bit of time alone for the next few weeks. Actually, it's kind of restful. And at least our current hotel has a pool, hot tub and sauna. Might as well enjoy that while it lasts...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Things About Toronto

  • You will get tear-y at the sight of Lake Ontario and the CN Toronto. Although that may be because you only got 4 hours of sleep before your 7 am flight.
  • In Vancouver, we have mountains to tell us where we are. In Toronto it's the CN Tower, the only building you can see from anywhere.
  • You will have totally forgotten that Toronto is totally made of red brick: all of it. This is not a memory that you kept in the 15 years since you were last there, but it's true. Vancouver is wood and stucco and things that bend in our damp, earthquake-y setting. Toronto is old and unbending. Things may crumble, but they will never rot. Even your old house is red brick. And the hospital where you were born.
  • Downtown is pretty different. So are some of the things about your old neighbourhood. But certain things will tug at your memory: The smell of the subway- metallic heaviness in the back of your throat; the bustle of St. Lawrence Market on a Saturday morning; a park across the road from a family friend's house; the "Inglis" sign near the Gardiner Expressway; the buildings at Ontario Place. These are the things that make your heart beat faster after all these years, even though all your friends and family have moved away from your birthplace.
  • Well, not all your friends. Some family friends remain, and after a few glasses of wine, they'll give your mother a huge hug, because sometimes old friends are the best kind.
  • Oh yeah, and although you won't be able to stay for Opening Night (well, technically it's Opening Matinee), it's pretty freakin' cool to have a show that you wrote the music for onstage at the very first theatre you ever went to as a kid. "The Emperor's New Threads" is currently at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People (formerly Young People's Theatre). Too bad it's acronym is... LiKTYP. Hmmm.
*I'm going on tour for a few weeks with Newman & Wright Theatre from Barkerville. We'll be traveling to Chilliwack, Dawson Creek, Hazelton, Chetwynd and... well you get it. Not exactly glam, but hey, I get to sing music hall songs and even dance a bit. I'll be bringing my laptop, so I'll try and post some stuff soon. ta-ta!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

(touching wood frantically)
The illnesses of this winter have somehow passed me by. Other than a scary cold/chest thing right around the time "Medea" opened, I've been fit as a fiddle, and feeling very lucky. I guess the no-kids thing has helped, since I'm not exposed daily to the little germ factories. In fact, since "Medea" closed, I've not had any steady full-time work, which means the coffers are low, but I'm not exposed to phlegmy, croaky, snotty people very often, either. I know I've said this before, but after the blahs of last winter, where I lived in a depressed, wheezy, hacking-cough world for months, this bouncing health feels like a gift indeed.
A gift that our almost-daily sunshine adds to, especially as it positively makes me long to get outside and go for a run. And since I recently signed up for the 10-k Sun Run in April, a daily run is much needed.

Tomorrow I fly to Toronto for a whirlwind two-fold visit: my birthplace, and my mom, who's been away from home for many months now. By the time she gets home in early April, she will have been away for the better part of six months, and I think she's ready to stop touring, already. Hopefully the sun will shine in Toronto, and we'll explore the places we used to visit when I was a little girl: St. Lawrence Market, Harbourfront, Ontario Place, Chinatown... I can't wait.

I feel as though I've stepped through a bit of a doorway in the last few days; I don't know if it's related to the sudden upswing in exercise, or just all the sun that's pouring in, but I feel more present, more in the moment and able to embrace and enjoy what is happening now rather than pining for/worrying about what may come all the time. I had a fabulous recording session with one band the other day that got my more fired up about playing music than I had felt in a long time. Two other bands are starting to develop in new and exciting ways.

Tomorrow I'll clench my teeth and brave 5 hours in a plane. Wish me a smooth flight!

Friday, March 6, 2009

thoughts that were a lot more coherent in my head than they appear here.

We sat around a table at Stella's last night- my family- drinking exquisite overpriced Belgian beer and getting happily sozzled together: me, Jon, my brother, sister-in-law, and my Dad, in town on business. Work has been an escape for him in the last couple of months since my stepmom died. The companies he works for have money to burn before the end of the fiscal year so he jets off to Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, and there must be some relief in not rattling around in a house that was large for two people and now houses only one.

I feel guilty that my life hasn't changed more since June's death. That I could say oh god that's tragic and still go on with things as before seems horrible; not because it lacks respect for the dead but because I can't make more room in my life for my father now that he's alone. In another ideal universe I give up work and move in with him and we break through the awkward pauses and find a new closeness in our shared grief.
But it's not like that. I simply can't stop working; every job and every dollar is essential. And if I'm more honest, I didn't want to, not really. I love my dad, and we like each other too, but it's not easy, not the way it is with my mom. We don't have a shared vocabulary.

So we did what we could last night: we got expensively tipsy together and had some laughs and maybe it wasn't much but at least we all enjoy being in the same room together, and if we need a few beers to make conversation flow a bit more smoothly well, that's what beer's for, right?

And it gets me thinking, especially in light of a few blog posts I've read recently on the whole moms-versus-nonmoms debate in the blogosphere. You know, the one where some moms are saying well you just don't get it 'til you've had kids I mean I'm way more of a woman than you'll ever be and the childless are saying don't give me that crap and if you complain about being sleep-deprived one more time I'll... Both "sides" feeling cranky and judged. I love shit like this. I love wading through the posts and the endless commentary, agreeing and disagreeing with various writers. I read a lot of "mom" blogs like a voyeur who peeks into a noisy dark room and takes it in hungrily then says that was... interesting. I don't want to live there, ever. But maybe I could visit again sometime?

Here's what I think: I think choosing to have OR not to have kids is an inherently selfish decision. I mean, I didn't choose not to have kids because the planet is overcrowded (although it is), or because I was afraid I wouldn't be a good enough mom (also true). I choose to be childless because my love of travel, sleeping in and playing music far outweighs any desire I have to breed. And you parents, you didn't have kids because they might discover a cure for cancer (they most likely won't, you know) or create world peace (ditto). You had them because you wanted someone new to love, or to save your marriage, or because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

But getting back to family (see, I'll tie this all together eventually). You may have kids and they'll have kids and you'll all sit together at a table one day and drink beer and act like a clan of some sort. Or you may have a brood but you all hate each other or live halfway around the world and never see each other. Or you may choose, like my brother and I, to live a life without kids. To bring our branch of the family to an end. Which means that if (god forbid) I'm widowed one day, there may be no one to have dinner with.
When I'm old, who'll be at the table- so to speak- with me?