Category Archives: actually not flowers

The Halloweenie

There’s a pointy-clawed, chompy-fanged monster in my house!

The night before a September wedding gig, I sweet talked my husband into taking me to the Humane Society . There was a photo on the adoption page of a little black kitten with the biggest ears you ever saw. His name was Mr. Bingley. And he needed a home.

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At 6:30 the following morning, I was making boutonnieres and kitty was frantically tangling himself up in the top of our kitchen curtains. I wondered if there may have been some poor decision-making on my part.

Mr. Bingley has become quite the little bruiser since then. His ears don’t seem as comically big, and I can’t count as many of his ribs, but he would like to inform you that he is literally starving to death at all times. Please call the SPCA.

When he isn’t screaming at the cupboard where we keep his food, he enjoys standing up on his back legs to try and eat socks, sandwiches, and the strings of your hoodie. He plays fetch with gerbera straws and paper balls. His arch-nemesis is the red laser pointer. His interests include the toilet, the garbage, and- after investigating these items- sticking his paws in your face. His true purpose in life is to get into the flower studio and unspool all the ribbons.

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Naptimes are 9:00 am to 11:00am and 2:00pm to 4:00 pm. Crazy Cat Time (aka ‘run and jump everywhere, claw and bite everything’) is 9:00pm through whenever you hope to go to bed and sleep.
He will frequently arch his back and do a meow-smile that makes him look exactly like a Halloween decoration. He will this zero times if there is a camera around.
Also not pictured- cuddle time when it’s especially cold or you’re having a bad day. I guess we’ll keep the little jackass around.

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In other local news:
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Doc says my wrist is good to go! Special thanks to Dr. Lau and the good folks in orthodpedics at Hotel Dieu. Hip hip hooray, let the physio begin…

Just in time to face down one of the greatest challenges on the florist calendar: the big December 2-4, the C-word itself. I’m not a Christmas in October kind of girl, but the more I work out my plans and designs, the more excited I am about the season.

Think Silver and Gold. And birch and moss and and lotus pods. Cinnamon sticks, orange clove pomanders, and cookies…pinecones and rosehips and painted branches…wreaths and swags and centerpieces, oh my. The whole studio smells of eucalyptus, pine, cloves, and cinnamon.

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You’re welcome to order and talk Xmas any time. I’m ready for early holiday gifts and parties. There will be sneak peeks, but I’d like to hold off on major advertising and announcements until Nov 11 to show respect for our veterans.

Nov 12? Showtime! (Anyone remember that? From Beetlejuice? Anyone?)

Happy Halloween!

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Filed under actually not flowers, Day-to-day, Good People, Holidays

Walking the walk- the incomparable John Geddes

I want to take a break from flowers and weddings and kittens this week, and introduce you to a guy who kicks unbelievable amounts of ass.

Photo credit: johnageddes.com

Photo credit: johnageddes.com

I had met John Geddes a few times over the years at parties for community theatre projects. I knew him well enough to say ‘hi’- he was that doctor with the deep voice who sometimes did Shakespeare, but that was about it.

I really got to know John last summer when I was costuming a fake Shakespeare Coarse Acting Show. I’ll never forget our first non-small-talk conversation: in the back room of the rehearsal space, with lasagne-pan armour and feather hats and fake boobs everywhere, John regaled me with tales of a trip to Amsterdam, including a visit to a fairly raunchy cabaret and spotting some of the performers at breakfast the next morning.

He was wearing tights and trying out various flouncy handkerchiefs and fake goatees at the time. The first rule of wardrobe, especially when dealing with tights and undergarments, is to behave as professionally as possible…but honestly, I wasn’t sure how serious I could be. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

When he isn’t travelling the western world, exploring and photographing our own city, writing articles for the local paper, or playing a role onstage, John can often be found travelling in East Africa.

He is on the board of directors for CanAssist African Relief, a charitable organisation to build and improve infrastructure in East Africa. These guys don’t just raise funds. They take the funds and supplies over there and help build things. One of their donors has actually covered all admin costs for the year as well- so they take ALL of the funds and go over there to build things. No overhead costs.

Pupils at the Kyabazaala Primary School in rural Uganda

Pupils at the Kyabazaala Primary School in rural Uganda. Photo by John Geddes


Those of us lucky enough to be on the good ol’ facebooks with John get to see his gorgeous photos of African wildlife, landscapes, flowers, and the people he meets on his travels. On his facebook feed and blog, we see how the people he visits are working to improve sanitation and education in their communities.

You need someone to come to your rural school and help build a latrine, building, or water catchment system? You need help building the actual school first? Need someone to get $250 together and help fix your well? Better call John. I think there’s a family outside Harare who named their baby after him!

Johnny Jr?

baby Johnny? John’s facebook profile photo

When I heard about the Westgate attack and murders, my first thoughts were of John, who is travelling in East Africa this fall. As it turns out, he was in Uganda at the time and nowhere near Nairobi. I shot a few dollars over to the International Red Cross, went back to my day-to-day life of flowers/weddings/kittens… and didn’t feel quite right.

Obviously when you are so far away from a disaster, there isn’t much you can do, but I’ve found myself falling into a real trap of complacency this year. I thought I should at least try to learn more about what would be helpful.

I messaged John to get his opinion.

His reply:

“If Westerners want to help Kenya, one way would be to continue to support the tourism industry here rather than give in to what terrorists want which is to invoke fear and panic and economic repercussions. Come on safari. Africans, in general, are beautiful, gentle, respectful and welcoming people. Karibu Kenya…
It is only horrible in Nairobi for a square kilometer around the Westgate mall. The rest of the city is in shock but not unsafe. Unfortunately cities or countries get branded as unsafe. Even the Boston Marathon had an attack but people still go to Boston to vacation. I hope they continue to come to Kenya.”

This one is blatantly stolen from John's facebook photos :)

This one is blatantly stolen from John’s facebook photos 🙂

You can read about John’s adventures- in Africa and closer to home- at his blog.

http://johnageddes.com/

And you can learn more about CanAssist’s projects and donate at
http://www.canassistafrica.ca/

john and the biebs

Safe travels, John!
And a happy weekend to all!

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Fall in love

Screw Valentine’s, so far this September is all romance all the time.

Nothing but weddings and anniversaries, friends.  I love it!

I had the pleasure of sending out some surprises for anniversaries this week:

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And September 7 was the wedding of Richelle and Matt. They chose the gorgeous Renaissance venue on Queen street for their purple and gold, calla lily and peacock themed wedding.
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Of course I only got photos of the boutonnieres and corsages before my camera ran out of batteries. I have a few more on the way from an emergency borrowed camera, and I’m online-stalking their photographer as we speak. I’ll let you know when I get my hands on photos!

Congratulations and many happy years to the newlyweds!

And in non-flower love news, I’m just smitten with my new kitten.
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His name is Mr. Bingley, and he loves trying to bite the buttons off your clothes. When we picked him up at the shelter, they said black kittens are usually the last ones to be adopted.  😦 Glad we could give a crazy little animal a good home.  I promise not to let him eat your flowers.  And he promises to keep on trying.

Happy Thursday!
PS big big thanks to everyone at The Kingston Humane Society for what they do. Everyone there is helpful, knowledgeable, and so dedicated to finding a great home for the shelter animals. Adopt your very own jackass button-chewing cat today!

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Filed under actually not flowers, Day-to-day, Wedding

10 years

Spence and I wedding

Ten years ago today, a certain Mr. Spencer was crazy enough to marry me.
Three new businesses, a lawsuit, a two-year Kemptville-Ktown commute, trips to Seville, London, and Paris, a theatre company, a feature film, a roadtrip across the US and Canada, a year in California, at least 520 arguments and 1825 hours of laughing later…
Spence and I castle Howard

well,
we’re not as thin.
And we don’t have as much hair.
On our heads.

Marriage is a lot more work than I thought it would be, which surprised me, even though it’s what everyone tells you.
Spencer’s a lot better at it than I am.
He’s got a slower fuse, a stronger work ethic, he keeps the long game in mind instead of freaking out about the little details.

swimming
It’s a weird little racket, this marriage thing. You take the one person you’re most passionate about and turn them into a family member, business partner and roommate…and then you have to somehow not become the bane of each other’s existence.

You’re bombarded with movies and books and tv shows and advertising and carefully-curated facebook and internet versions of all these picture-perfect marriages where no one leaves frigging socks everywhere, or leaves everything till the last minute and panics. There are never stacks of dishes, or weird looping arguments where it’s 2am and you’re still fighting and still mad, but neither of you could probably even say what the actual argument was about any more.

the urn
You know what, though?
Frankly, my dears, I look forward to working on it some more. We’ve stood by each other through things that might have killed it for a lot of other (more sensible?) people.
No one makes me laugh like this guy. Actually, that’s not quite true. We get into these weird, make-each-other-laugh joke/conversations that regularly bring us to tears. And the man can COOK.
Which maybe explains the ‘not as thin’ part…

I’m pretty excited to see what happens next.
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xo
Happy Anniversary, Coobs.
And
Happy Thursday, every one!

Photos by (from top to bottom): Lindsay Field, Jake Bernard, Lindsay Milner X2, and a very nice (Swedish?) lady at the Tour Eiffel.

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Filed under actually not flowers, Day-to-day, Good People, Uncategorized, Wedding

THAT person at the wedding (video edition)

Some roses wilted, some aphids took over a geranium, the kitty went home. I’m on it with replacement blooms and insecticidal soap, but I don’t want to talk flowershop today.
Should, however, talk about something, so let us consider weddings.

Dad and I at a wedding reception last year

Dad and I at a wedding reception last year


My sister’s getting hitched in July. Let the nightmare of trying to crowbar all this into evening dress and heels begin.
Did I mention I wear a lot of steeltoes and flats? And that I usually have stripey t shirt tan from gardening by mid July? (could be snowsuit tan this year, I guess…) Point being, even though I’m in my mid 30s, I feel like a kid wearing mom’s high heels and cast off 70s evening wear whenever I try to fancy it up.

Worst of all, I dance like Elaine from Seinfeld.

Yep. That person at the wedding.

All my ‘get in shape/learn to walk in heels/ finally figure out how to dance at social things’ resolutions seemed more attainable six months ago.

Surreptitiously practicing all my wicked sexy dance moves around the upstairs hallway (Janelle Monae, where have you BEEN all my life?)

Should probably just skip over the anger/denial/bargaining and accept defeat.
My sister DOES like fatboy slim. I could do a throwback to our dancing around the basement days and present a fantastic routine in her honour:

… and I DO own a pair of moonboots.

The more I think about it, the more it becomes clear: I missed my calling. I was obviously meant to be a dude. With an 80s hairdo. And mom jeans. And large glasses.
My animal spirit, Keith Apicary:

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Filed under actually not flowers, Day-to-day, Wedding

April in Paris

This time last year we were setting out on a trip to London and York in the UK, with a few days in Paris via the Eurostar.

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The cherry blossoms were in full bloom around Notre Dame, a brass band played under the bridge by the Seine, the metro was distinctly more punkrock and less restrained than the tube back in London (we called it the party train.) And it poured rain and HAILED almost every day.

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Nothing a glass of bourgogne and a plate of escargots on Rue Mouffetard couldn’t fix, but still, as the trip-organiser of the duo, I had real bouts of misery, feeling guilty and somehow responsible (yes, even for the weather) when things weren’t picture-postcard-perfect. Which of course, they always are for everyone else, at all times.

paris at night
The lows really accentuated the high points, though- and our theme was high and low, from the 2nd etage of the Eiffel Tower (CHEAP TICKETS FOR THE STAIRS, helllaaaaa) to the catacombs.

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catacombs castles
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We climbed up to Montmatre and the Lapin Agile, we ran the gauntlet down through a weird group of scammers/muggers who mark their marks with a bracelet. Try the sex museum (I blushed more than I expected), the Arc de Triomphe and the film museum. Sit out cloudbursts in a cafe, or on the free ground floor tour of Notre Dame. Screw the overcrowded Louvre, and head straight for the laid-back Musee D’Orsee. Why try to get a peek at the Mona Lisa over a busload of cranky tourists, when you can stand two feet away and see all the layers and brush hairs on a Van Gogh?

montmartre

notre dame interior

Rainy wine and cheese and baguette picnics in the park…one-euro cafes if you stand up at the bar instead of sit-down service. They charge about six euros for a cup of tea in all the tourist hotspots- I like to think it’s a dig at the English. Oh, and cider is cheapest of all.

I ditched some of my clothes to fit more foie gras and cheese and wine bottles into my backpack on the way home. London Underground tip of the day: carry around a bag full of stank cheese on your way home. You’ll even get a seat during rush hour. Liz Lemon was right.

Took refuge in what turned out to be an ancient Roman amphitheatre when we were caught by yet more hail at the market. Accidentally wandered through the Jardin des Plantes while trying to find our hotel without using the touriste map- As you do, n’est ce pas?

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Beautiful accidents.
street art
Cold and rainy and full of promise and green shoots, if not actual perfect blooms.

Happy April. xo

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