Thursday, September 16, 2010

Teacup diary entries

I made soup on Monday night. That's how I know summer is over: soup bubbling on the stove. I don't have a recipe to share, it's Whatever Is On Hand soup. Squash, potatoes, carrots, rice. A bit of spice. Quite nice.

Yesterday I went into a Polish bakery. It's just a couple of blocks from the office, and I'd been told it was worth it.

It was. 

I've never been to Poland but I love little shops, like this one, that beam you directly from the sidewalk in Montreal to a counter in Warsaw. Inside it was dark and glittery, lots of wood panels and glowing glass cases. The natural history of pastry.

I waited my turn, after a lanky business man (sausage on a sandwich) and two burly construction workers (cake from the display case).

I just wanted one doughnut, just one little afternoon treat. It's not my fault they had three different kinds: apricot, plum, cream. And also, it would be cruel to get one for me and not bring some home to share. I'm not that cruel. 

So when I said: One of each. 

She said: For only a little bit more you can get six. 

And I said: Two of each!

Is there any softer bite than a freshly made doughnut? I think, next time we meet, I will have powdered sugar on my chin.


On the sidewalk near my building this morning a stylish man greeted me with undue familiarity.

I don't know him. Do I?

"Hi Katherine, how are you?"

He's very friendly but I'm not Katherine.

"Yes, yes, we met just the other day! At your apartment! I'm the new owner, your landlord introduced us."

"I really don't think it was me."

He seems unfazed by my inability to remember him. I'm sure he's confusing me with someone else, even though he knows my apartment number. I remember my landlord picking up the rent check the other day and he was alone. No introductions were made. The stylish man walks off chuckling, wishing me a good day. I walk off, perplexed.


There is a corner in the storage area of the staffroom at the library where all of our Christmas books are kept until the Festive Season begins. The shelf is a mess of red and green spines shoved higgledy-piggledy. Even though today is the 16th of September I lingered.


A Scottish gentleman who is new to the area borrowed the library phone today to contact Bell for a telephone installation. His fluffy grey hair was styled in an unnecessary comb-over and his navy blazer went well with the dinner plate sized spectacles.

His voice was soft, and lightly accented.

"No, I don't have a phone number, that's what I'm telling you. I won't have one until you come set it up for me."

"I'm sorry I can barely hear you..."

"Yes, I have an email address but as I say, I won't have internet at the house until you come set it up."

"No I don't have a phone number yet."

This went on for about thirty minutes, poor guy. The fact that his new home was completely disconnected from any form of telecommunication was apparently beyond comprehension for the customer service agent.

We all shook our heads and gave the patient gentleman grim smiles of encouragement as he battled on.


Some people have such a great deal of presence that they fill any room they enter right up to the ceiling.

Someone like that was here today, working for an hour or so. She's lovely and funny and I like her very much. But she can, as Marilla Cuthbert so aptly put it, talk the hind leg off a mule.

I asked her where she was going on vacation and fifteen minutes later I'd said not a word but she was still telling me about her plans. Shortly after that she segued into her impending surgery.

I'm not sure that she paused the whole time she was here.

As soon as she left we slipped into a comfortable silence that gave way to the distant patter of rain.


  1. There is a lot of activity and noise in your "library" - I love it! ;)

    How many times can I tell you I love your writing style - six more, at least!

    Also - why do I have the sudden urge to watch Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure?

  2. Check my blog out. You've won something.

  3. I'm here from MLS--congratulations on your win.

    I am now a fan and am adding you to my blog roll. I especially loved the last one. I've known "overtalkers" as I call them, and isn't it nice when they leave or just shut up? Ah, the rain must have been nice after that. :-)

  4. Hello there - my first visit to your blog. I was pointed in this direction by MLS - so my thanks to him, and my congratulations to you - a thoroughly entertaining post.

  5. Comments! An Award! Wow, this is blogging history (for me).

    @Andie - Hey, watch where you put those quotation marks! Small and antiquated though it may be, mine is a full fledged library not a "library". And I hope you tell me more than six more times! I plan to post more than six more things. ; )
    But why Bill & Ted? I've missed something obvious again haven't I?

    @MrLS - Thank you kindly. Errors have been corrected, sparing us from the unsightly "e" where there should only ever have been an "a". And that other one that I think no one caught.

    @Jeannine - Thank you, I've added you too. I just wonder what it's like for "overtalkers" when they're alone? It makes me think they may either collapse exhausted and relieved (no longer performing) or else feel extremely nervous and talk to their pets or the radio or something just to avoid the silence.

    @Sharon - Hello, and thank you! I look forward to checking out your blog too.

  6. here from Mr London Street, to whom thanks, and what a discovery! I'm following you and linking to you right away. Please keep on doing this. love from jane

  7. Over from Mr. London Street and so glad that I am!

    Big fan of your writing.


  8. I remember I use to line up in the morning at the donut store to bite into the first warm round dough. They never had warm donuts in the morning though, and there was no line like ever. I was just their first customer begging and waiting on a donut for 20 minutes. I think I was irritating.

    You have incredibly, let's say "simply conversational," imagery. Like the painting of a song that everyone can relate to. Love your writing.

  9. I'm here from MLS. Lovely post this and I'll be heading here for more to read :)