October 23, 2010

cities and friends

montréal! we have had a very busy past few days. leaving owen sound, we busted through toronto for lunch with my friend who is under house arrest, awaiting her G20 trial. she made a kickass stirfry and we discussed relationships, lawyers and skills she could learn while she is housebound for the next two years or so.

then we flew the coop before rush hour got too bad, and made our way out to marmora, a tiny town halfway between ottawa and toronto. i haven't seen the couple that moved out there a year and a half ago to raise their then-newborn, so it was lovely to see the acreage they've been staying on, and the barn they've been slowly converting. old barns in ontario are way nicer than old barns in alberta; stone foundations and such. they have a spring-fed pond and walking trails on their property. we parked the bus on a field for the night and enjoyed the supper and child antics (and there were definitely antics. strong will, that little one). in the early morning, i enjoyed a squatting pee in the company of about twenty wild turkeys. they were just chilling nearby. it was my favourite outdoor pee so far this trip.

tuesday morning we took off late after a gorgeous walk and went to ottawa, where we met a good friend of mine for lunch. her eight-month old just got weaned from the nipple (after drawing blood!) and the little girl we left was a year-and-a-half and still suckles. each child seems healthy and happy: it's nice to know there are many parenting options. the friend we went for supper with later that evening (south indian; lentil doughnuts didn't have any gluten, oh god) talked about his brother reading parenting books that not only contradicted each other directly but also carried heavy moral overtones; you parent the wrong way and you're a bad person. awesome. fuck that. he said his brother just put the books down and did whatever made sense to him. sounds good.

so many family styles! the marmora couple spends a lot of time together, even though he's building in the barn and she's parenting in the woods. my friend with her eight-month old is military; her partner is in afghanistan. he left just after the birth and has only been home once. the queen wants to be around for the birth and afterward, he wants to spend time with us before he goes back to work. and he would like to find a day job, not seasonal work. but each child looked healthy and happy. it's reassuring to see such variety leading to sweet kids. i know there are ways i don't want to parent, but it's good to know good parenting can happen within different lifestyles.

we crashed in ottawa for the night and walked through this beautiful cemetery the next day. the link doesn't really cover how awesome it is. we found an old asian cemetery within it, segregated by tall bushes. i, of course, found the baby cemetery. to get to it, we walked through a marsh. and the trees in this cemetery! there was a yellow birch growing right around a tombstone. gorgeous.

it was a very awesome morning, only slightly marred by my feeling dizzy and us having to curtail the walk and missing out on the crazy phallic tombstone section. i slept the entire way to montreal but still felt fuzzy. we parked in a public park with public washrooms and hippie vans nearby and ventured out for sushi, which always makes me feel funny even though i swear i'm not ingesting gluten. but i was craving it, so what else could i do? it's fucking freezing in montreal, and they all think this is warm. the wind cuts to the bone. i'm wearing two pairs of pants right now. it's crazy.

yesterday was less disorienting. we met up with the brother of mr awesome, and he made us supper. mmm, ribs. also, i used his shower, which, bachelor as he is, he cleaned in preparation for my female standards. i appreciated it. you know, i'm not terribly religious, but hot showers always made me invoke deities and afterlives. this was an especially blessingish shower. the hot, oh the hot. and the pressure, oh the pressure. you, reader, you better appreciate your shower.

today it is slightly warmer and we came out to an internet café. on the way we found a record shop. oops. yeah. seventy-five dollars later... but the sarah vaughan! oh my. also, i hope i like that talking heads album. sometimes they're really weird. tonight, the books. glory.

all in all, since i am so food-focused, i give montreal three points for supplying me with a gluten-free, sugar-free chocolate square that made me very happy, but i take away four points for not having gluten-free poutine. how hard is it to replace flour in the brown sauce? apparently there's gluten-free vegan poutine, but that is not what i want. i want cheese. sigh.

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