Posted by: rocketbride | September 2, 2010

welcome back cupcake

september 2

Today was my first day back at school. I can’t think of any other profession where people feel it’s appropriate to start asking if I’m ready to go back a full two weeks before the end of my vacation. In any other job, that would be the beginning of my rest. My response has varied over the years, but I’ve finally settled on a strong, “God, no.” I usually make some time to go in and prepare my room; not this year. I mean, if my yellow roses can go into a third blooming this week, why should I be ready for school?


And yet, it happens despite my best efforts to ignore it. September arrived while I was busy sticking my feet into the wading pool, and finally all of my semi-sadistic interlocutors can breathe a sigh of relief: Rocketbride is working for her pay again, and the balance of the world has been restored.

Seeing my colleagues again for the new year is always a strange experience. We always show up so tanned, so relaxed and full of experiences. Within a week the fluorescents will have sapped the vitality from our skins and returned us to the pale shuffling creatures that emerged, blinking like beetles in the sunlight of July. Every year when I’m asked about my summer, all of my good times flee my mind, and I’m left to shrug and feel like I wasted the whole time. In an effort to combat this, I’m making a list of memorable things that I did, observed or participated in this summer.

  1. I saw Arcade Fire, the most popular band in North America, and wondered why I had to share them with so many people.
  2. I went to Hillside, took 300 pictures, steamed in the tents and rinsed in the rain.
  3. I took Blake to swimming and martial arts lessons, taking advantage of the air-conditioned facilities throughout.
  4. On one of our extended visits to the air-conditioning in the mall, I bought new glasses to replace the ones I lost at a dance recital last October. I probably miss my old glasses. (Except I don’t.)
  5. I took my family camping in Quebec, then into Montreal, losing a great deal of my English in the process. Many sub-achievements fall in this category: I canoed, I tented, I had a birthday dinner at my favourite Polish restaurant, I bought Spanish shoes, I came home with vinyl & yarn.
  6. I danced at a summer art fair with my troupe, the first time anyone in my family and friends has seen me perform (except Mason, of course).
  7. I developed a white-hot obsession with Scott Pilgrim that has encompassed the movie, the books and (soon) the soundtrack.
  8. I sewed drawstring bags for Mason, Blake and two for me to keep our stuff better organized.
  9. I sewed curtains for Blake and Sage, and hope to finish Nic’s before the summer is officially over.
  10. I spent three weeks(!) painting my former study in two coordinating shades of orange, and furnishing it so that Sage can have a proper bedroom as opposed to a playpen in the corner of Blake’s room.
  11. I spent another summer making time to exercise with my brother. I am becoming very toned and strong, although not appreciably thinner. Oh well.
  12. I hung out with Scherezade many times, including an expensive trip to the Hoof Café and three different visits to the gallery where Destiny was showing her original art. On her urging, I also organized my annual dance birthday at El Convento Rico rather than the Dance Cave (although I still went to the Dance Cave last week for one last shot of summer fun.)
  13. I got a sunburn on Mason’s dad’s boat, proving conclusively that I have no more sun sense than an acorn.
  14. I worked really hard on a fusion choreography that has regularly begat class lengths double and triple the advertised length. I spend a lot of time “doing it again.”
  15. I began a self-portrait photography project that has me posting shots much more random and spontaneous (and much less flattering) than is usual in this age of digital over-choice.
  16. I continued my summer tradition of watching whole seasons of Trailer Park Boys in the musty coolness of my basement. Seasons five and six are now mine for keeps, and if you don’t watch them with me I will pepper spray you and your whole family.
  17. I helped to can and preserve and cook and eat the prodigious volume of vegetables from our CSA and our own garden. So far we have only produced peas, beans and tomatoes (the primary class of vegetable growing), but even that is better than last year’s barren wasteland.
  18. I went to Centre Island and the CNE, which means that my summer is officially complete.


As mentioned in my last bullet, I went to the Ex yesterday. I was doubtful about the whole thing, as we were fresh on a bad experience at Centre Island, and a bad summer in general for Blake’s behaviour. Ultimately, I just couldn’t miss the Ex. Like so many GTA families, my ancestral history is bound up in the Canadian National Exhibition, and I wanted to at least put on a pretty skirt and try to enjoy myself. My grandmother, herself a diehard Ex fan as well as a former employee, would have wanted it that way. Also, I wasn’t just spending my time with El Demando and the Grand Enablers (more commonly known as Blake & my parents); my cousins and Mason also promised to come, so I had someone to hang with if my parents got impatient and ditched me, as they did at the ROM.

We seemed to have picked the hottest day of the summer to go down, and a lot of people must have listened to the weather report and stayed away. I’ve never seen it so underpopulated. Of course, that just left more deep fried butter for Cindy, more baby piglets for Mason and more impulse-purchased purple bracelets for me. I went on my first adult ride in a very long time – the Polar Express with Elizabeth and my mom – and we spent the whole ride bouncing between screaming and hysterical laughter. Everyone else flaked out around mid afternoon, missing the discovery of my favourite thing about the day: the firefighters had opened a hydrant and were spraying everyone. It was glorious.

Then after the Ex, there is the depressing and hot ride back up Bathurst, in which you realize that summer is finally over. There may be another corn dog in my future before the weather turns cool, but it won’t be that sublime, tiny-booth epitome of fried awesome. That’s okay, though, because there’s always going to be next year. I plan to be one of those frail old ladies, hobbling down the midway toward the Salvation Army coffee, dressed in a pastel suit and complaining about the heat. I’m sure my grandmother would have wanted that for me, too.

oriental follies


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