Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Birthday Day / The Mists of Avalon / Oh Canada!

I did hear Sam and Susan leave for work Tuesday morning, but then my go-back-to-bed gene kicked in, and that was the end of that.  Still, when I woke again, Don was comatose and snoring his birthday snores. I played a few rounds of Sudoku to warm up my brain before making demands of my body -- besides, I was kind of trapped, having taken the side of the bed against the wall, so Don could get up first without waking me up.  So much for that...  :-)

Finally, I heard a mumbled "good morning".  And I broke into Happy Birthday -- but quietly. :-)  We'd agreed to actually celebrate "for real" once we got home, but he at least needed a birthday song!

This was the day for me to finish up the Orillia Folk Society stuff, before I entered the no-internet territory around Thunder Bay (no Rogers, your map is still lying through its teeth, there is no signal, no matter how many ways your so-called Customer Service representatives invent to talk down to me!), as well as taking care of some personal stuff back home.  So much of the day was spent in my slouches at the kitchen table -- oh, the glamour!  :-)

Don was playing with Sam's guitar in the living room, and fell in love with his clip-on tuner.  At 3:15, he announced he was going to go to Long & McQuade to get one, and then get his nails done on the way back.

I reminded him we had to leave the house at 5pm to get to our gig and there would be rush hour traffic.  No problem, he said.

Remember what I mentioned in the previous blog about foresight?

About ten past four, just as I'm about to go upstairs to wash my hair, I get a call on my cell -- he's lost, still hasn't made it to Long & McQuade.


I figure out where he is and talk him in the rest of the way.  Call another ten minutes later to make sure he found it.  Yes.  Good.

Shower time!  (Once again, you're welcome.)

When I get out of the shower, Sam and Susan are home.  No sign of Don.  They would have been home earlier, but they were stuck behind an accident on Main St. for over half an hour.

Yes, Main Street, the road Don will be coming home on.


I call Don's cell again to figure out where he is.  Fortunately, he got lost again (!) on the way home and asked a guy for directions, which steered him around the worst of it.  He's just around the corner.

5:15, Don arrives home to change and get his instruments ready for our 5:00 departure. (!)  He's got two new tuners (even though his two old tuners worked just fine and we have several Long & McQuade-s back home... just sayin'), but is not certain his nails will last through the gig. (!!!)

5:28, we make our 5:00 departure.

Fortunately, Sam and Susan have given us an alternate route that isn't too clogged.  As we're about 5 minutes away from our destination, Don exclaims "oh, this is where I turned to go to Long & McQuade this afternoon!".


Foresight, remember?  When checking the route to Long & McQuade, he never clued in to the fact that it's right around the corner from Pam and Kevin's (where he's been before), nor did he think to check, at 3:15 when he left, whether this was something we could do en route from the north end of the city to the south end of the city.


But it was his birthday.  And it's considered bad form to call your husband a dimtwit on his birthday.  No matter how much you'd like to.


So I smiled and ignored and tucked it all away for the day-after-birthday blog, when I'm once again allowed to call him a dimtwit without breaking the birthday code.  :-)

(Just once more, for old-time's sake...)

We find Pam and Kevin's house without further ado -- "Avalon Arts".  Pam answers the door and is all big hugs, even for me, who she's just met. I like hugs.  :-)

We load our gear in, and then she introduces us to two guests who have come early to join them for dinner -- Kian and Zeinab, who just arrived here in August from Iran to study at the University.  Pam and Kevin seem to make it a habit to take foreign students under their wing -- another former student, Tiago, has now moved back here from Brazil, and will be at the concert later, too.  So our Avalon Arts concert is a truly international event!

Kian and Zeinab are a lovely young couple, still trying to get the hang of Canadian slang and catch up with Pam and Kevin's fast-talking son, but doing beautifully with the language, helping out wherever they can, and trying very hard to adapt to the culture in their new home.  (As Pam later commented, it must be quite the culture shock for Shiite Muslims from a rather fundamentalist country to come to Winnipeg -- Zeinab is learning to knit mittens and toques now! -- and a community of people who are constantly hugging each other!)

Kian played us some music from a CD by a traditional Persian singer and an old American blues guy -- the blending was beautiful, and the song we listened to was presented with her singing the original song, and then he would translate the poetry into English and sing it blues-style.  He promised to send us a link to their iTunes page -- we'll share when we get it!

Don ate dinner with them too, as he hadn't had time to even have lunch, while I set up the CDs and mailing list.  Then the other guests started coming in.  It was a really great group of people, including their friend Wendy, who shares a birthday with Don -- although, as she pointed out, a decade later. :-)  Someone (perhaps her husband? I didn't notice) had brought in a giant birthday cake -- which we had to just look at until we'd finished singing.  :-(

All the guests had arrived, so we started our first set a bit before 7:30.   What an appreciative audience!!!   We kept hearing "wow" after many of our songs.  AND they loved Scarlett (my accordion, for the uninitiated) almost as much as I do.  My voice was finally getting back to its normal, healthy self -- my brain seemed to be going in the other direction.  A few "whoopsie!" moments, but people were kind and forgiving -- thank you, Winnipeg.  :-)

Break time, and we enjoyed visiting with Pam and Kevin's friends.  Some of them had been out to see Don's solo concert way back in 2004, and came out to see him again.  It was, as always, fun chatting with everyone, but we were conscious of the fact that many folks had to wake up the next morning, so Pam urged everyone back to the living room for the second set.

OK, the voice had a wee moment on the last high note of "Real Big Man", but other than that, it was feeling back to normal.  Wish I could say the same for my brain... I haven't messed up the accompaniment so badly all tour.  Sigh...  Once again, very forgiving folks.  We finished the set, got excited to finally eat cake, but they wanted an encore.  :-)

They got the encore, we got cake. Everyone was happy. :-)

AND birthday girl Wendy won the "line from a famous Canadian poem" contest -- the 4th person ever to do so, with the first 3 being from B.C.  Happy Birthday, Wendy!

A few folks stayed around to chat, but not terribly late.  Kian and Zeinab helped to tidy up while we packed up our things, and then Kevin got ready to drive them and Tiago back home -- we think there's the beginning of a wonderful multi-national friendship between the three of them!  We headed out ourselves, with big hugs all 'round.

As we were driving home, we had big silly grins on our faces.  We'd had just a fabulous evening and, despite my brain farts, were enjoying quite the music high -- as well as the joy shared with Pam and Kevin's friends.  Plus, we were really loving the fact that we lived in Canada, where Iranians and Brazilians can sit in Winnipeg and listen to music from Ontario that draws its roots from myriad other cultures.  Oh Canada!

Still glowing today, in fact.

Seriously. :-)

We got back to the house, where Susan's meeting had just ended about 20 minutes before we got there.  Sam had been working on proposals all night.  We gave him the hug and the kick in the shins Pam had sent for not being there.  :-)

They were easily tempted with a bottle of Dirty Laundry's Pinot Gris, though, and we headed to the sunroom to chat about our evenings.

Susan was beat, but Sam wanted to show us some of what he'd done with our photos, and transfer the originals to our hard drives.  They're looking great!  I have zero room left on my hard drive, so will have to show them to you when we get home -- not much longer now!

JPGs transferred, we all went to bed for a short sleep.

Musically and multiculturally,


  1. I'm liking this driving across Canada, playing music, running into people who appreciate the purple suited men and great cafes and even greater people.


    Definitely liking living vicariously through you!

    And -- seeing as my comment from yesterday's blog never found itself out of the haze of cyberspace -- two attempted comments actually -- Happy Belated Birthday Don!

  2. Yup, it's fun -- see what I mean about how the occasional icky day is worth it all?

    You're right, never did see you other comments. But I shall pass along the birthday wishes!


  3. Thank you Brights. Every piece of music you played on that night was charming.