Gardening on a sunny day
On the side of the house where it never rains
Pulling, twisting weeds
A loose strand of my hair
Dangling in front of my face
Smells of shampoo and sun
Silent soft feline paws
And she is right there
Sniffing at my hard working fingers
Smelling some odd left-over molecule
Of the tuna sandwich I had for lunch


Slush on sidewalks

Slush on sidewalks
Makes for a treacherous run to the bus stop
On a hurry, hurry morning

Slush on sidewalks
To see that nothing is broken
On a hurry, hurry morning



I am relieved that I live in a corner of the world where the catastrophe potential is low; not absent but definitely low. I once had a hint that water backed up into the basement during a strong rainstorm but barely, some moist sand around the drain, no water left when I went downstairs, a slight earthy smell but no stink. It was the first time in nine years of living in the house.  Well, we do have our minor catastrophes: blocked pipes. The house does seem to be prone to that with its old piping, drains with horizontal sections and years of crud congealing and accumulating on all internal surfaces. We are now quite adept at handling a mechanical fish and at managing the ensuing clean up. With blockages in the secondary basement drainage pipe, the one that handles drain water from the kitchen sink, the basement sink, the dishwasher and the washer, there is ample space to work given that the basement is unfinished. We can position the fish such that I turn the handle to create the twisting motion that helps ease the metal snake down the drain, while my partner gently pushes it in. Still it is a sweaty and backbreaking business, bending over the apparatus, some muscles little-used to that kind of motion even though I keep in shape. When it is time to pull out, we use a gigantic water bucket in which we dip the snake as it comes out, scrub it vigorously with a plastic brush and soapy water, and rewind it in its cage. If we are careful enough, we avoid splashing any dirt on the surrounding floor, wall and sink. I have to admit there are faded remnants of our early battles… before we mastered the required skill and learned to move deliberately, without haste. As so many things in life, it is easier done without rush, without anticipating too quickly that you will be done, giving each step the required amount of attention, of care, of cool, detached attention.


Adonis on Saturday Morning

That’s a Brie, a really nice Brie, on sale this week. Customers take a bite, gingerly grab the toothpick and bring the tiny piece of cheese to their mouth. Some just eat it quickly, throw the toothpick in the garbage can and move on to continue their shopping. Others take the time to taste, linger, oblivious to the press of people and carts coming up behind them, and really consider whether that cheese is worth buying. Nice Québec Brie from the Warwick area. That sounds good. Warwick is known for its cheese festival. Saying that a cheese is from the Warwick area is indeed a good selling point. A few more seconds and someone is bound to say why are we stuck here in an irritated tone of voice. The cheese demonstration stand is in front of the refrigerated display shelf that holds smaller cheeses. Across the wide aisle is the service counter for large cheese rounds, a lot of imported cheeses from Greece and the Balkans. People congregate there and block the way of those heading to the meat department. Huffing and puffing, demonstrating impatience, some shoppers try to weave their way through the throng. The indecisive cheese taster is still rooted where we last saw her, still holding the now bare toothpick, licking her lips in appreciation of the piece of Quebec Brie she just enjoyed. A quick step to the display, she snatches a triangular piece of cheese the size of her hand and puts it into her cart. She then moves and turn around the end of the aisle, ready to select yogurt for the week. Just like that she has moved out of sight of the attendant at the tasting counter who repeats again that’s a Brie, a really nice Brie, on sale this week, forgetting customers who pass her by and grab a bit of cheese on a toothpick as soon as they round the corner and are gone.


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