Further reasons why Shoemom is the greatest parent on the planet, and other minor details.

Scene (slightly paraphrased)  from the kitchen the other night, as I was obsessing over my fiction experiments for the umpteenth time:

Shoemom: You just need to write about your life, no matter what. It doesn’t take that much – look at Jane Austen, that’s all she did, and she got to be one of the greatest writers ever.

Me [trying hard to keep a straight face]: Uh, thanks, Mom, but I think there’s a bit more to becoming the next Jane Austen than that.

Shoemom [completely undaunted]: Well, you’ll never know until you try, will you?


Meanwhile. Did I mention I’ve been to the new AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) yet? Because I totally have. A friend who works at the Bank of Montreal is just important enough to score us free tickets to a private post-reno reception (the BMO was the major financial backer). Besides the sneek preview, there was herb-encrusted rack of lamb, mini-buffalo burgers and the most darling little paper cups of new-potato fries. Clearly, getting used to life among the hoi polloi would be much simpler than I imagined.

Anyway. The reno, me likey. It’s really gorgeous, in a very inviting, almost casual way. Friend (whose husband works there as a tour supervisor) tells me the sculptural elements were originally supposed to be metal – stainless steel, I think she said – but I much prefer the blond wood used instead. The juxtaposition of stylised and organic speaks perfectly to the dual purposes of housing art and the people who view it.

Shoemom and I, as our print-laden walls testify, are long-time habitues of the AGO (the local nick, pronounced as ‘Ay-go’.) She loves art – Impressionism, in wonderful rich examples of which it abounds, is a favourite – and I love showing off my random bits of knowledge about the artists and the history behind their works. So we knock along, the odd Saturday afternoon, in perfect harmony.

This may explain why I’m also seriously impressed with the new arrangement of the galleries – by concept instead of time period or school. It’s one of those moderne flourishes that sound horribly precious and contrived on paper; but in practice it’s amazing how obvious it is, how emotion and mood draw you in where linear facts might not. The myriad ways a woman can be painted, for instance, or the North in wintertime indoors and out. This may have had something to do with the herb crusts, but by the time the night was out I was even starting to see the possibilities in stuffed raccoons slumped around random mirrored columns.

So that’s the high spot this winter so far. At least until we leave for Florida next week. Which reminds me…


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