Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Social butterfly day

Yes, there's the cocoon metaphor again... not intentional, but I'll leave it there.

The room we were sleeping in was nice and dark, so we had a blissful sleep-in.  Don managed to figure out the expresso machine, so life was good.  He headed downstairs to work on his song, I dragged my laptop to the kitchen and got to work.

Tony came home from his morning appointment, did some work of his own, and then the three of us headed out for lunch at a little bakery called Liberty.  Very nice place with funky mosaic table and art (both adults' and kids') on the walls, and very delicious food.  At Tony's recommendation, I had the black bean soup (wow) and a red pepper and feta panini.   Tony had the soup and... some other panini.  Don had the ham and cheese panini, no soup.  Simple and delicious!

All three of us headed back to the house to do some work for a bit -- well, Don fell asleep, but he had good intentions -- and then the two of us headed to Commercial Drive to meet our friend Louise from the workshop, who was in Vancouver visiting her daughter Alexis.  We were going to meet at "the Italian cafe with all the statues out front -- you can't miss it."  We got there a bit early, drove up and down, and realized there are about a hundred and seventy Italian cafes on Commercial Drive.  Couldn't see any with statues out front (although, as we were later walking back from dinner, we think we saw the place she meant -- the statues were in the lobby, hard to see from outside), so we found a nice little spot with big picture windows to watch the world go bay (name forgotten already) and called Louise to let her know where we were.  She and Alexis pulled in just a few moments later.

Alexis looked very familiar right away -- I assumed it was her resemblance to Louise, but Don finally put it all together: she looks exactly like our friends Paul & Deb's daughter, Morgan.  Uncanny!

The four of us had a lovely visit, although Louise had disappointing news that the head of her shelter had vetoed the concert idea.  Poop, it would have been a nice thing to do -- especially after seeing Louise's video of how musical so many of the clients are!  Never fear, she said, she'd try for something else, and even hold a house concert herself if it came down to it.  Holy geez, when Louise makes up her mind to something, she gets it done! :-)  (Maybe this is why we hit it off so well?)  That was the last day of her vacation, she's heading back to Calgary today (Wednesday) -- maybe we'll see her on the highway and wave.

It's funny how close you can get with people when you're only together a few days -- I used to call it "music camp magic" as a kid.  Part of it, I'm sure, is the intensity of being face-to-face for all your waking hours, but a big chunk of it I heartily believe is the artistic side.  We're spending that time together digging down deep and holding out our souls (or, in my case, barfing our souls into the middle of the circle) -- a trust develops, an understanding.  It's not the day-to-day superficial hi-how-are-yous, it's who are you, what's your story, where's the connection, how can we weave our stories together?

I had a non-artistic friend quip a while ago: "oh you musicians, you all call yourselves friends with each other, even if you've only met a couple of times" -- in a tone that made it obvious he didn't believe we were really friends at all.  But the truth is that, once you've met someone through music -- or any other artistic collaboration, for that matter -- you've already opened up parts of yourself and seen parts of each other that most people aren't able to learn, otherwise.  It doesn't take thirty years of conversation, it takes a brief moment of souls touching.  Which first requires you to be in touch with your own soul, of course.

That's what I was looking for in the workshop, after two years of "dry spell".  To find a way back in, to make that connection. I found it.  The trick is to keep it alive.

Our cousin e-mailed me earlier today, describing a musical experience and dream she'd had, where she could see the music shimmering in the air, feel it, see everyone vibrating to it.  She wondered if we ever feel that way.


Music high.  The coolest thing on earth.  When you aren't just playing music, you are Music.  When the individual players just click and become one big bubble of Music.  Sounds pretty woo-woo to the average person, but anyone who's touched it knows exactly what I'm talking about.

We had that at the workshop.  And we know each other.  Heck, two of them are blood relatives.  But the rest of us are family, too.

Our visit was interrupted by a beep on my cell phone -- guess we had been talking too eagerly to hear the ring, but Doug had left a message saying where he'd meet us at 5:00.  Time to go.  Big hugs and kisses and I'll-see-you-soons (and we will, yippee!), and then we walked up to the other end of Commercial to meet Doug at a restaurant called Havana's.

We got there a little before Doug, so picked a table on the patio.  He strolled along shortly after that, and we decided the street noise was a bit much, so headed indoors to a table in the corner.  Our waiter was superb -- she was super-careful to not rush us or interrupt our conversation, but was incredibly attentive (and let me test the wine I picked, instead of sexist-ly handing that job to one of the men, thankyouverymuch).  Any special requests (like no mussels in our dinner) were no problem at all.

The food was delicious!  Don had the paella (with no mussels, but extra chorizo), as did Doug (with mussels), and I had a delicious pasta with prawns and capers and asiago cheese.  And yes, I ate the whole darned thing.  This was washed down with a nice bottle of Rioja.

As we sat and chatted, the lineup was building outside for the fringe theatre festival -- there's a little theatre attached to the restaurant, apparently -- so it was quite fun for people-watching!

Our waiter tempted us with the dessert menu -- three choices available, so of course we ordered all three and shared.  Might have been a bit too much, but we ate it, anyhow.  Bread pudding with blueberries and ice cream.  Butterscotch cheesecake.  Chocolate creme brulee.  Three spoons.  Bliss and pain. :-)

Fortunately, our car was still on the other end of Commercial, so we were able to walk off at least the top portion of our meal.  We drove Doug to his home and -- sigh, more good-byes.  But coming out this way now seems to be a habit -- and heck, we may be living just a short trip away, soon -- so we know it won't be long before we can have another visit!

We went back to Tony and Joanne's house.  It was completely dark -- hmm, maybe they'd gone out, themselves?  It took us a while to figure out that they just have really good blinds -- the kids were asleep, but the adults were downstairs, working away.  We chatted for a bit, then it was bedtime for us, too.


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