“You should see the lake today Kate.”

I learned today that people can still give you good advice, even when they’re not here anymore.

Dad would regularly phone me as he made his way into the city, and give me status reports on the lake. On calm days, blustery days, windy days, sparkling clear days. The breakers, how incredible the waves were, how tumultuous or still it was.

“You should see the lake today Kate.”

I was a little sad and lost today. There are too few green things near me, and sometimes I forget what they’re meant to remind me of.

So I went to see the lake.

And now I am not so sad and lost.

You’re right dad, I should see the lake today. Thank you.


Christoph Niemann & Emotional Plants

I’ve been following The Art Assignment. If you haven’t taken a peek, pull your paints out and get on over there. In particular get on over there if you’re the sort of someone who loved making tempera and potato stamp masterpieces as a kid, then snagged a run of Cs in art class and thought “well… fuckit”.


The show has grown from a great little sparkle of an idea just finding its sealegs, to a fully-kitted ahoy matey ship, ably captained by Sarah Urist Green. (I’m working on a tugboat game. Apologies for over-nauticalization.)

And then, in December, they blew my mind grapes – *sqwuh-pow* – because Christoph Niemann presented an assignment: Emotional Furniture. See Christoph Niemann’s “Illustrated Talk with Maurice Sendak“, and then anything else he’s done.

Quick version: Christoph’s assignment asks you to use only furniture and (unaltered) photography to evoke three emotions:  Envy |  Confidence |  Melancholy.

I decided to try it, but I let this assignment roll around my brain noggin for awhile, and it rolled over from many a week’s to-do list to the next week’s to-do list.

I could see it cresting on yet another roll over to yet another week, when I had the idea to try and use bathroom “furniture” (why yes, I was having a bath at the time). And then… I decided to use houseplants instead. As the ficus is the sink of the bedroom. Or, rather, as the bathroom needed a clean – there may have been a sparkly bath bomb involved – and I do love my plants. (And if I love them, perhaps there are other emotions germinating in there.)

I figured it was keeping with the spirit of The Art Assignment to tweak the original mission and make it my own, so, apologies to Christoph Niemann, here’s my first go at composing Emotional Plants. And following the Jack White no Pro Tools ethos, the constraints are what made it incredibly fun and satisfying to do. These fellas may be on to something.





No fruit for you!

That’s it. I’m planting seeds.

Because I’m this close to giving up on organic fruit and veg delivery in Toronto. In the summer months, we’re well-positioned between a couple of farmer’s markets. But in the winter months, we’re close only to a very low quality/high price organics store, and a “whassaorganic?” Metro.

So I have, over the years, tried a couple of fruit and veg “box” services.

Man. Alive.

They have produce. I have (sometimes) seen it. So why, why don’t they want me to have it?

I want to love the hippies. I do. Beneath this crusty exterior, I am one of them. But not when it comes to organizing a business. Because in that respect, holy. hell.

In our old apartment, and for years, we battled it out with Green Earth Organics. Who got something wrong pretty much every order. We’d regularly be charged for items which weren’t delivered. Or the fruit and veg in the bin arrived so wet they’d either be spoilt when we got them, or they’d spoil within the day. Additional items would not arrive more often than they did – and with no explanation. The empty bins were not picked up, and the deposits on the glass jars we’d send back weren’t credited to our account. Every week was an exercise in finding out what we’d been charged for that hadn’t arrived, and what had arrived that we’d substituted out.

Finally, I gave up and canceled our service.

This year, tired of fighting scurvy with frozen peas, I decided to try again. So we placed a couple of orders with Wanigan. Since they let you place one-off orders, I thought I’d go with a few trial runs before we signed on for regular delivery.

Good. Call.

The first few orders went off beautifully. Fresh, as-ordered produce magically arrived at our door. Everything we asked for came, and everything we were charged for was there.

And then.

I came home from work on a Wanigan day, saw the small bag of produce left on the counter, and thanked the Mister for getting started putting it away. He didn’t know what I was talking about. “Well, I put the eggs away, but what’s on the counter is all that came.”

Where “all that came” were the additional items: cashews, eggs, 2 baby bok choy, some snow peas and a yellow pepper.

Exactly whose brain is not switched on here?

I can understand overlooking an item or two. But there are so many different points in the chain where it should be bleeding obvious to the people involved that this order was incomplete. Right down to whoever it was who left this teeny bag of teaser produce on my porch.

Still, putting them head and shoulders above GEO, when I contacted Wanigan about the mistake, they were quick both to reply and credit my account for the missing main “box”.


Feeling gunshy, I tried again this week.

And this week’s delivery just arrived. Additional items? Check. (That additional items guy is so on the ball). Vegetables? Check. Fruit?



My “Fruit and Vegetable” box is all vegetable, no fruit. And yes, for those of you playing along at home, I was charged for the full box.

Which, of course, triggers a crazy pills moment. I find myself shaking out the kale to see if it’s hiding oranges. If the avocado is simply squirreled away beneath the romaine. Going back to the patio two and three times to see if the pears and apples made a roll for it.

But the patio is pear-free, and I resign myself to an “about that fruit I ordered…” email.