Neill helps

Neill "helping" fold towels looks suspiciously like undoing all of mom's work.


Laughing quietly to myself

About how my friend was researching online for a new Glock to buy when he looked up and said he doesn't like the movie Kill Bill because it's too violent. Welcome to Tennessee, y'all!


It's Ontario, bro

Also in Canada last weekend

I met two people three days and 50 decades apart who were both born in Prince Edward Island but from Alabama. So that happens a lot, then?

The band Alabama closed the show after us onstage. There was a lot of Alabama afoot.

I realized again, it happens every time I go up there, that I really like Canada and mentioned this to my husband. He said, "You want to move AGAIN?" "No, I'm just saying we should get in on a Canadian time share or some shit." Spend a few quality weeks every year.

I don't know if something in particular provoked me or if it was just relative distance from America but I couldn't stop thinking politics. Quite literally, I laid in my bed and fumed.

1. Why is it "patriotic" to blame and villanize people from other countries for taking our jobs but perfectly fine for corporations to move their factories to other countries in order to pay people a fraction of what they would pay an American worker?

2. Why is it standard to complain about taxes and how we're being bled by the government but a-ok for our corporations to bank outside of the US and use loopholes to avoid taxes? Why wave your ham-handed fists at people desperate to work and survive and not the guy with four yachts who's doing much more to harm our collective good by giving back next to nothing?

3. I fully believe in higher taxes when collected by governments that take care of its people. I'm talking Sweden, Germany, and a host of other countries I'm not personally acquainted with. IT'S NOT COMMUNISM OR SOCIALISM if you can think what you want, say what you think, create what you imagine, study what you're interested in, and work in the job you're empassioned by. That's what I would term a healthy society, a social democracy.

I had a moment where I thought, "Oh, but Canada doesn't feel as diverse as I'd like," and then realized that maybe I was generalizing since I was on a small somewhat isolated island and ALSO: Canada wasn't as gung ho about African slavery as America. I'm bothered by the lack of "diversity" that is actually a sign of less slave trade? What kind of fucked up logic is that? I took it back (to myself, and now you).

On a less fumey note, the number of nice, nice people who said the following, sounding like sweet crosses between a scene from Fargo and a Kids in the Hall skit:

Jeepers creepers!

Holy moly!

Holy smokes!

Oh geez!

And finally, the teenaged boys in the row behind me on the flight out from PE Island to Toronto who were all up-talking like crazy but managed to sound endearing and not like abhorrent valley girls. One of them had never been out of the Maritimes (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PE Island) and was goggle-eyed as Toronto spread out below us.

"Geez, everyone in Toronto has a swimming pool?"

"It's Ontario, bro."

Anne of Green Gables

I spent the weekend in Canada on Prince Edward Island, the source of inspiration and setting of L.M Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables book series which is exactly what I thought of and what every person said, "Anne of Green Gables!" when I told them I was going to PE Island. I haven't read an Anne book in a long time but my mind instantly conjured images of a lively red-headed girl in a white smock, a boy named Gilbert, and Anne's "bosom" friend, Diana of the raven hair. I thought maybe I was belatedly clutching onto the symbol of a place whose time had passed and that the island itself would be nonchalant about that claim to fame but no, not so. Lucy Maud Montgomery brought her island's land and character to readers all over the world and the island's 140,000 residents are proud of Anne Shirley.

I walked to one of the main streets in town from the hotel my first night there, turned onto Queen Street and saw the theater's banners for the Anne of Green Gables musical currently in its summer run. On the corner of Richmond Street the Anne of Green Gables store sold Anne-inspired clothes, food, bricabrac and books. I read that Anne books are required reading in Japanese schools and that Japanese tourists pour onto the Island to visit the Avonlea farm in Cavendish, some with their hair dyed red and in braids, Anne style, and I confirmed this today with a French-Canadian friend who used to live in Tokyo. I couldn't help feeling twinges of excitement as the van driving me and the band got further out of Charlottetown and closer to Cavendish and our destination, the Cavendish Beach Music Festival, right in Avonlea. "This is where it happened!" I thought.

Or didn't happen, since the books are fiction based loosely on LM Montgomery's life and people she knew in the late nineteenth century. But it didn't matter because I was young when I read those books and when I read as a kid, I lost myself in stories. It was real to me. It didn't matter if my mom was calling me for dinner a few feet away, the roof was being shredded by a tornado, the first floor on fire, with gutter rats nibbling at my heels. I READ HARD. And Anne Shirley was kind of a bad ass; she was always getting into trouble for being a spitfire with the kind of curiosity and imagination and action that bothers people who prefer the stolid status quo. I totally wanted to be her or be friends with her.


July 4

For the past seven years I worked on July 4 and cracked the occasional dumb joke about how the British company that paid us was keeping us from celebrating Independence Day. Then the company wasn't British anymore but we were still working and the Americans didn't bother either about the holiday, not that I cared much myself. That being said, it was sensational to be off this summer on July 4 in Nashville, eating good food at the Pharmacy Burger Parlor, drinking good drinks at No. 308 bar, trying to plunge people into the water at the dunking booth, and climbing on top of the roof of a paint company to watch the tippy tops of fireworks going off downtown.