Here is a random fact about me: once I have worn sandals for the first time in a given year, I find it impossible to go back to socks. Even if it is raining and I have to put on boots or if I am walking a long way and I want to wear sneakers and I KNOW I should put on socks, there is my brain fighting me, saying, “No socks, NO SOCKS! You can’t go BACK from sandals. The only way out of sandals is THROUGH summer, to fall.” (My brain sounds like The Rock, in case you are wondering or reading this out loud to yourself.)

As a compromise I sometimes wear those little ankle socks but they always slip down and bunch up in my shoe and also Saint Aardvark didn’t need any more reasons to make fun of me so the ankle sock thing is just a freebie for him and I can’t stand for that. And that is why I augment my sandal wardrobe with a pair of Crocs flip-flops. You can wear Crocs flip flops in the spring rain. They are also perfect for chasing small children around the water park, which season is now OPEN. Everything is warm. The rain is warm, the dirt in the park is warm, the grass is warm, the sandbox is warm. The Crocs dry quickly. My feet dry quickly. They are like rubber boots for summer, really. Socks. Who needs them.

How was your weekend? We went away. We left our children at my parents’ house and took the bus downtown and slept in a really big, really clean, really white bed at the Delta Vancouver for 2 nights. It was on the 17th floor of the hotel and the seagulls kept staring at us through the giant window because they thought the big, white bed was a huge, perfect nest. Not far from the truth.

Except for the part where I forgot my breast pump and my breasts, which are still being used by Fresco several times a day, grew to the size of pomelos, pomelos that feel pain, pomelos that Do Not Forgive, we had a great time. Because we were not that far from home, Saint Aardvark was dear enough to go home early Saturday morning and get the breast pump that I had thoughtfully put in a bag in the closet, in preparation for bringing it with me.

It is not hard to feel like a tourist in your own town when you don’t live in that town anymore. The Mizzle is a city of very old and very young people. (and according to a former co-worker, a city made up of an inordinate number of amputees, but I have not seen evidence of this) Of course, I also spend most of my time in the Mizzle out of the house during daylight hours, when everyone who is not very old or very young is at work so I know my impression is somewhat skewed but even on a weekend or an evening, the folks here are not nearly as, um, urban looking as those downtown.

Obviously, right? Sure, until you are me and SA standing on a downtown street corner gawking at the purty people. Another one! Another one! To think we used to live and work here! We were around them every day and never noticed the click click of heels, the daring hair styles, the trendy clothing. Leggings, everywhere. Some people making them work. Others not. Gladiator sandals. Dudes dressed like ’80s Bowie. We were suburban mice in the big city, staring at the tall buildings and the cabs, so many cabs! should we take one? there are so many! and the amazing amounts of cheese available to us.

…metaphorically. I do not believe we actually consumed any cheese.

We did consume our share of pricey cocktails and delicious beer and food that was not the Mizzle’s standard offerings of Pizza? Or Chinese? Or Pizza?

On Sunday morning we ended up having a drink and snack at the Lamplighter Pub in Gastown, now known as the Lamplighter Public House, thank you. This is a place we used to frequent at least once a week, where the bar bands were often spectacularly bad and that was why we went, a place where one time a guy reached in the open window and STOLE MY GLASS OF BEER right off the table where I was sitting.

So now they have a patio. Understandably I was nervous about sitting on the street drinking beer outside this particular establishment, but it was that or sit inside in the dark and listen to playoff hockey so outside we sat. I needn’t have worried. Among the crowds of tourists and cruise-ship travelers we saw a very small percentage of people who looked likely to steal our beer off our table. The people who live and work in Gastown now appear to be young, urban professionals with tattoos and small dogs that they carry around. Just like all Vancouver’s other urban neighbourhoods.

Also, the Lamplighter’s beer still tastes like shit but now it’s $7 a pint instead of $3.50 and that is not just inflation, that is highway fucking robbery.

Also they don’t have live bands anymore, just a place for the DJs to spin.

Also, yes, I am 85 years old.

I took a photo of myself in the hotel bathroom, because photography in bathrooms is kind of my thing. I think I look tired but in the good way, in the way you can be tired because you know the next day you will either sleep in or have a nap. It is a different kind of tired from the kind I have been enduring for the past year; that more desperate tired where if you don’t sleep tonight you will never sleep again and the world will end.

It is hard to come back, even from 2 days off, to this house which is still just barely kept clean, where every day last week I tried to organize some small corner and succeeded but the spaces in the middle of the house just get more cluttered and more greasy.

Hotels are nice. They are not cluttered or greasy.

When I returned to Fresco, he was so mad at me for leaving he turned his back and made a scowly face. He wouldn’t give me a hug for a full 10 minutes. Then he fell over backwards into the wading pool in my parents’ backyard and guess whose name he called.

It felt good, all of it. Leaving, frolicking, returning. When Fresco pushed me away (so much attitude!) and when he pulled me back. When I crawled into my own bed again, with the not-nearly-washed-frequently-enough sheets and my trashy novels on the side table. When we got up the next day and started again on our treadmill; dirty diapers, bad attitudes, peanut butter and jelly, earplugs at the ready.

I do feel renewed, somehow, despite wishing I could be gone for a month. I feel like I had time to think. We had silence. We had sleep. We read the ENTIRE Globe and Mail. Onward!

Astrobarry says about aquarius:

“…your capacity for true emotional engagement is dramatically increasing… and, if nurtured, could ultimately leave you more a walker-of-the-talk than just a talker, on a lasting basis. Essentially, this involves you reaching out to hold a space for friends, loved ones and/or virtual strangers who desperately crave the intimacy of being deeply listened to… of being supported in their turbulent feelings, granted permission to feel ’em all the way without fear of judgment or imposition, and left knowing they were understood and loved and that, as far as you’re concerned, everything will be okay. The only trait likely to obstruct your capability to do this effectively? Your instinct to suggest solutions or give counsel (as if you indeed know the ‘right answer’), when it’s really your presence itself—and nothing more—that is most valuable. Perhaps, in these situations, you’re there more to learn than to ‘teach’.”

So. Anybody want to cry on my shoulder? Feel free to leave a comment. None too whiny! Get it off your chest, you will feel better. I will practice my emotional availability and offer support without counsel, I promise.

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