Last time I was at my parents’ house I ended up flipping through an album of photos taken of my parents and their friends when they were in their mid-20s. It’s strange to look at the people in these photos and see faces that look so much like my own friends. It’s wonderful to look at these people & think about all the awesome shit that will happen next that they don’t know about yet.
And I won’t lie – it is also amazing to see how much my parents *like* each other, and how that is one thing that hasn’t changed.
It’s also kind of funny to see how much my taste in vintage clothes is so similar to what my mom wore the first time around. Or how my sort of “retro” decorating style matches the apartments in these photos. In one of the photos I didn’t scan, my dad’s friend was wearing an embroidered denim button-up that was identical to one I sold to a customer at work a little while ago.
The first time I saw this polaroid I thought it was a picture of me. My mom is an original bossy femme type – always in charge & taking care of everybody. It’s nice to see her looking quiet & contemplative.
This photo is from a bit later – around the time that my younger brother was born. The pals my mom is with in this photo live in the same city as me & sometimes all four of us get together for coffee. Maybe one day Gretchen will look at party photos of me and Desiree & feel All The Feelings too.
Straight up, my dad was a babe. People like to tell me about my hot mom (I know right?) but seriously.
Aww look at this! The dude on the left is still friends with dad & he turned out to be a professional photographer. All you vintage camera nerds can eat your hearts out.
This is a very zoomed-in crop of a mirror photo but I couldn’t resist. Tiny Iris with – an asymmetrical bowl cut! How’s that for personal style? Look how young my dad is in this picture! I feel like he looks younger than my friends are now. What the fuck! (Okay, it’s true, I am now the same age as my mom when she got pregnant with me, but I am in denial.)
Do you have “vintage” family photos? I wanna see. Someday I will scan the pictures of my fashionista great-grandma (my namesake) & your minds will be blown.
Back home. My whole house is covered in empty iced tea containers & abandoned coffee cups & receipts & bits of yarn & discarded clothes.
It’s hot. Fashion doesn’t exist when it’s this hot. Priorities: no sunburn, no chafing, no heat exhaustion, no sweat stains.
No underwire no shoes no pants no problem.
Yesterday it thunderstormed & I sat on the porch and watched the rain. Gulls struggling to stay aloft. Horizontal wind.
My plants are slumped away from the windowpanes & my dog is hiding under the dinner table. The weather creeps in.
Today is the first day of the summer and I feel like more has happened in the last few days than in the last few months.
Here are a few excellent moments:
- Arriving at my friends’ apartment while they are at work. Laying in their hammock in the middle of the city, drinking beer, knitting, not thinking about anything.
- Waking up to a power outage and walking over to a hip little cafe hidden in a residential neighbourhood. All the neighbours were there too, wearing as little as possible in the heat, thankful that someone’s coffee maker still has power.
- My friend shared her favourite childhood dessert: little baked pods of dough filled with honey that you have to tilt your head back to eat.
- Chatted about grown-up shit with my younger brother. Tattoos and art and jobs. Love. Cities. Anxiety.
- When strangers become new friends. When you find yourself sitting around a kitchen table with some old friends, wondering why it has been so long…
- Sorted through some things I’d kept at my parents’ house. Dug out some embarrassing and lovely millennial pre-teen ephemera. Fairy wings & poetry books. Hand-beaded jewellery. Smiley faces on everything.
- Time to think. Compliments from strangers. Happy friends with good news.
- Showed up to Toronto with bare nails because I was betting that Claire would suggest a manicure party – and she did.
Okay babes. Let’s keep in touch. Stay hydrated. If you go somewhere to keep cool, make sure to tip huge! Cuddle your animals for me.
The bio for this website promises many things, not least of which is some content about my best friend here. In fact, Julia sent me an email requesting that I follow through with some puppy photos already. In most cases, any photo you try to take just ends up being a fuzzy blur with a slobbery tennis ball being shoved at the camera lens. Bitch likes to exercise. Today I think the humidity did her in.
I think I mentioned that I’ve been trying to spend as much time as possible outside… this makes a huge difference to be but especially to this lady. Any time she’s home alone she sits in front of our living room window watching the world go by. When I open my curtains in the morning I tell Geraldine that I am turning her tv on. Being able to actually be out on the porch pretty much blows Geraldine’s mind – I’m pretty sure she thinks she is inside the television. Everything is in 3D!
What a coy little bitch. This dog is absolutely as bossy and vain as I am. She is growing out those dreadlocks between her toes & won’t let me get anywhere near them.
I often find myself talking about my dog as if she’s a person… and sometimes don’t notice until halfway through a story about her that whoever I am talking to doesn’t know that she is a puppy rather than a human roommate. Geraldine has a heart as big as her appetite, which is to say – enormous.
There’s absolutely something reassuring and healing about having her around – it’s a little bit tactile & a lot about having some extra company. I couldn’t get through these months-long boyfriend absences without this cuddle buddy, even if she does get her fur on all my clothes.
Please link me to photos of your pets too – I wanna see!
I joked that last weekend was basically a “Bossy Femme Conference” – I was so excited to see all my recently-departed Toronto friends, but being able to put two of my closest, smartest, brightest femme inspirations & collaborators in the same place at the same time was a true delight. Julia and Claire didn’t really live in Ptbo at the same time so their budding love affair (uh, maybe that’s my wishful thinking) happened mostly on tumblr. UNTIL NOW.
We basically shopped our faces off. Julia and I scored huge at this new-ish store on Queen W. called “Kind Exchange” which had Sympathy-style pricing in the city. Then we probably looked at every single dress in Kensington market. Twice.
We spent an evening at our friend James’ wedding. Floral dress code? No problem.
I felt really, really lucky to be able to stay at such a welcoming TO home base. I want to visit every single weekend. Somehow in a little over a month, my pals have created the coziest place to be. I got to watch Kate and Agata garden and eat enormous super-deluxe vegan meals. Their apartment is bright and beautiful and spacious – I didn’t know you could have this kind of lifestyle in the city, but I’m so glad to know it’s out there.
PS: If you wanna be internet friends with my friends, check their links on my blog roll, too.
I’ve been getting messages from you asking for even more femme resources & my first instinct is always to introduce you to my best friends. They’re pretty much my everything, and I would be far less confident, critical, sparkly without them.
But, since most of you aren’t coming over for coffee, I made up a bit of a blog roll for you to check out (& please do comment with your own blogs or other suggestions!)
Today though, I have someone in particular that I think it would be good for you to say hello to: Kate! E! MacNeill!
She is beautiful, this goes without saying. People fall in love with her; they expect it to happen, and are glad it does. Because Kate is a ballerina, and a writer, and a theorist, and a poet, and a sharp dresser, and because she is very likely to fall in love with you, too. Because she wears her big heart… not on her sleeve, but inside her super-tall high heeled boots, which she can dance in, and does. Because Kate will go right to the edge of the toughest, scariest parts of your life with you, and help you stick it out & make sense of it & then turn it into a party, a poem.
I asked her if there is anything I should include in this “Best of Kate” post and she said, seriously, “a photo of my cat.” She also joked, “my OkCupid profile?”
I love Kate’s “Survival Strategies” posts:
#7: clean the sheets, then eat cookies in bed.
Kate writes often about the importance of creating loving friendships:
my close friends aka my adopted family are some of the most straight-up hardcore romantic people i’ve ever met in my life, and we shower each other with romantic gestures every single day. …
break down the myth that we can only be romantic with our partners.
THIS IS JUST A FRIENDLY REMINDER TO WOO YOUR FRIENDS. CONSTANTLY. THEY DESERVE IT.
Kate believes in people:
i would wish for all of the people i love to be able to see themselves as i see them for even just a second.
i wouldn’t want them to know it was me.
i would want it to come simply, like they catch a glimpse of themselves in a night bus window, and for just a moment, they are able to see their limitless beauty & grace & magic & potential & strength.
then maybe when they are sad or lonely or afraid, they would remember that moment & believe in themselves like i do.
Kate’s creative nonfiction is some of the best I’ve ever read, creating perfect love and deconstructing it simultaneously. Here’s some of her most recent piece, Tidal:
tonight, like most nights, i brushed crumbs and dust off the sheet before climbing into bed.
my last long term partner called this ‘nesting,’ and would poke fun at me, (princess & the pea) for doing it every night. he would know to wait until i’d swept off the bed first before tackling me, or running his hand along my neck in a slow kiss to dreams. sometimes, if i was really lucky, i would lie down, and he’d parachute the blanket overtop of me, and rush under meeting me in a dark blue haze of new warmth and naked laughter.
… i can’t even count how many times in the past two years i have retold this one to myself, brushing the crumbs off my sheets before crawling into bed to sleep alone. …
it’s less about us, and more about impermanence. about the fragments left behind, and how to contend with them. about brushing away the crumbs in the bed which always return, though you never remember eating.
Also, tonight is the last night that I’ll be able to say that I live in the same city as some very dear friends. I’m sad but “Best Femmes Stick Together”! I’m looking forward to visiting their new home.