Tuesday, April 28, 2015


I close my eyes. I hear squirrels cracking nuts. I hear mosquitoes buzzing near the creek. I hear the Blue Jay’s cry and the Woodpecker’s peck. I hear the wind as it rustles the new green leaves on the long branches of the Weeping Willows.  

The sun feels like warm mist on my skin. It makes surface blood vessels tingle and brings nerve endings to life. It makes the hair on my arms stand on end. I smile.

I open my eyes and look at the sky. No clouds to play “Name that Shape” only immense light blue. A jet moves across the sky leaving a distinct white tail. I think about “Captain Kirk” and “Horton Hears a Who.” How small I feel at this moment. Then I sit up, something is crawling on my foot. It’s just an ant, and suddenly I don’t feel so small anymore.

I look around. Robins are digging in the ground for breakfast; worms and grubs have been highly recommended. Some kids are running toward the jungle gym, with their parents bringing up the rear, carrying bags with the sunscreen, water, and snacks. They’ll hide from the sun, at the edge of the park, near the trees, where the sun is still warming up the underbrush.

I lie back down and close my eyes. I doze. I am stirred by a distant melody and as the tune becomes louder I recognize it as the renowned melody of “Do Your Ears Hang Low.”  I get up from my blanket and scurry to the end of the park and get in line with the rest of the kids to get a Snow Cone. I am the only adult. I buy all six kids a treat of their choice. They say "Thank You" and then I get a cherry Snow Cone and head back to my fuzzy blanket to enjoy the cool, flavored ice.

After the treat I find that I am hungry and when I look at my watch it is almost noon. I dig out of my backpack the peanut butter sandwich I brought and find the container of water. Ants are crawling over the blanket and I give them a piece of my sandwich, first one big chunk, but then, when I see them struggling, I tear it into smaller pieces. I’m almost finished my sandwich when I notice the blanket is covered with ants. I plunk the last of the bread in my mouth, chug some water, and then jump up and brush myself off, just in case some may have been crawling on my legs and back. I pick up the blanket and give it a good shake, inspect it, then give it another shake before packing it up and putting it in my backpack. I leave the park and head to the bus stop.

Downtown, things are pretty busy, busier than other Saturdays. The warm weather has brought out pale, chubby, glaze-eyed Bramptonians in dark sunglasses, typical after a long winter. Everyone seems cheery enough. I hear laughter coming from the stairs at Rose Theatre. The chairs and tables have been set up in the square and Julie’s Ice-Cream Shop is open. I spot a hot dog/sausage dog stand and immediately regret having the PB sandwich and Snow Cone. No matter, I’m on a diet anyway. I head toward the chess-way and there are people actually playing chess on the tables. That makes me feel good. It’s so nice to see people enjoying themselves on such a beautiful day. I watch a chess game and envy the winner; I’m not very good. I take on the winner and it is checkmate in two moves. I laugh at my loss. He shakes my hand and offers a lesson to which I decline.

My destination is CyclePath on Main where I plan to buy a bicycle. I look around at the different types and styles of bicycles and the price tags make me walk out of the store without even asking any questions. Obviously, bicycling has changed a great degree since I was a kid. Am I really that old?

I head to Strokers on Nelson and find the regulars sucking back cold beer and cocktails. I get a Molson and watch the current pool game. I take on the winner. I drink three more beers—so much for my diet—and win four out of seven.

When I get back to the square, the place is crowded and loud, and the traffic on the street is heavy. I’m getting a headache from the beer and walk over to the Pita Pit and get a Diet Dr. Pepper and Chicken Souvlaki. I eat a few bites and start to feel better. I glance over at Gage Park where it is also crowded. 

I sip my drink and inspect my nails. After a few moments, I toss the rest of my pita, grab my drink, and cross the street to get a manicure and pedi. The massage chair soothes my aching back and my nausea subsides. There's a lady there who has boob-envy, and I sink back into my chair, just a little. If she touches my boobs, I'm gonna smack her. When my polish is semi-dried, I pretend I'm a penguin and do the "penguin walk" to the bus stop, being careful not to scrape my beautifully polished toenails. 

I take the bus to the Bramalea City Centre. When I get off the bus I notice that the parking lot is full. Why, on the first warm day of spring, is everyone at the mall? I go in and fight my way to Metro where I plan to buy a few grocery items and TP. The food court is packed with shoppers, making me think about what to have for dinner, and then it comes to me, shrimp and scallop kebobs on the barbecue. I pay for my groceries at the self-checkout and head home with my bags.

When I get in, I open the balcony doors and let the warmth of the sun come in. Still feels good, but getting a little damp. It’s now after five o’clock. I put away the groceries and start a pasta salad to go with the seafood kebobs.

While the pasta is cooking I chop some veggies for the salad and prepare the kebobs. I make the salad and while it’s cooling in the fridge, I finish the housework that I had started that morning, have a twenty minute workout, and shower.

I’m freshly showered and dressed with dinner on the table when I hear the beep of a horn and look out over the balcony to see my partner. At that moment my son walks in the door.

“What’s for dinner? I’m starving.”

“Looks like your father has Popeye’s in his hand, or do you want fish?”

He rolls his eyes.

“Okay, then, Popeye’s it is,” I say.

When his father comes in, he grabs the bag, says “Thank You,” and goes to his room—teenagers.

My partner has a quick shower and we sit to the table and enjoy dinner. He tells me about his day of politics at work, regrinds, and lazy-ass co-workers. When he asks about my day, I just smile and say, “Same shit, different day," and pop another shrimp into my mouth.

Here's a great marinade for the shrimp and scallop kebobs:

1/2 cup of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons of honey
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of olive oil

Thread skewers with the shrimp and scallops, along with veggie and fruit of your choice, and brush generously while cooking.