Lain's Log

This, that and the other

October 28/12.

When we last left off, back on October 19th, I was trying to catch the final gorgeous golden days of fall before all the colours disappeared.

This pic was taken at Fantasy Farm. I found myself pulling into the driveway (off Bayview), just to check it out. When my grandparents celebrated their 50-year anniversary, (decades ago), it was held here. Thought I'd pay it another visit. (no, that shack behind me isn't the fancy party venue!)

Pretty much every night during Shiva for my late Mum-in-law, family members sent in meals. One evening, our cousins, Linda and Sharon, sent in more Mandarin chinese food than you could possibly imagine! We ended up with tons of amazing leftovers.

Later in the week, my cousins, Marilyn and Kevan, gave me a beautiful bouquet of white roses, (extending my birthday by a few days),

plus a very cute card and a wad of cash! They are always SO generous. Since I'd also received gifts of money from my Father-in-law AND my Dad, I was able to spend up a storm! Love it!

Got new "Rosebud" shellac at Urban Nails, courtesy of the talented nail artist Tran! If you ever want to have a fabulous shellac manicure, go here! They take their work VERY seriously and everyone leaves feeling better!

Took the rest of the cash to I 'N I - my fave hair salon, to see hair master Paul Taylor. (my last appointment, scheduled for my birthday), had to be cancelled, due to circumstances beyond my control, so my so-called tresses, - were messes!

So much so, Paul could barely LOOK! Ai Carumba.

But after his specialty "Bride of Frankenstein" treatment,

(thank you Elsa Lanchester!)

& lots of time and silver tinsel/tinfoil later,

everything was back in place, colour-corrected and flippin' awesome!

Even PAUL appeared happy with the outcome! He showed me a few "tricks of the trade", but I can NEVER do it the way HE does! (he can even use a can of hair spray as a hair roller! You've gotta SEE it to believe it).
Later in the week, had to pay a visit to the Apple store at the Eaton Centre to get a crack in my iPhone screen fixed.

The place is always PACKED. Luckily, I made an appointment.

My good friend, Pam, met me at the store. She was my good luck charm! They didn't charge me a cent to have the crack repaired. In fact, they just gave me a brand new phone! All the backed-up info had to be transferred over to the new phone when I got home.

Afterwards, Pam tagged along to watch me spend more of my birthday bucks - at Mac cosmetics, where I bought my fave Blacktrack gel eyeliner, (can't live without it!) -

then to The Body Shop for a few bottles of sexy vanilla body cream (3 for 2!),

to Fido for a new memory chip card (I think that's what it's called), for $10, since I was told at Apple that the old one looked rather wrecked,

and, naturally, to La Senza, to check out the sales, and some sizzling pre-Christmas sexy stuff. (won't tell you  what I bought! - will only say that whomever invented La Senza, is brilliant!)

It was SUCH a gorgeous day, warm and sunny.

On the way home, stopped at a nearby park for a quick shot. Likely the last "short-skirt-weather-day" for quite some time! Wish it could have been like this for the day we selected to scatter Mum's ashes at Mount Pleasant Cemetary, but it was not to be. Instead, it rained for hours on end.

Mum's ashes have been in a box, wrapped in a green velvet bag at my house (and a few other locations along the way), for over two years. My sister, Carrie and me just could NOT make up our minds what to do with the ashes, but finally decided.

A small group gathered to scatter the ashes in the rose garden. Lovely Maria, extremely sweet and helpful member of the Mount Pleasant Cemetery staff, helped us choose the exact spot and scattered the first of the ashes (which had been transferred to a "scattering urn").

After that, we were on our own. I scattered some,

then Carrie took an urn-turn,

Maria helped with rain-guard!

Kate joined us, as she wanted to help scatter her Gramma's ashes.

and Carrie's son, Lee, also helped out.

The location is lovely, and by next Spring, there will be a stone, with Mum's name, dates and whatever we want to say, marking her grave.

(left to right) - Paul Nodwell, Carrie, Lee.
Carrie conducted a short ceremony complete with the story of how Mum "guided" us through the details with her endless supply of post-it notes, then read a poem, which was a favourite of Mum's and had us all sing a hymn.

(left to right) Max, Kate, Mary Spence-Thomas, me, Paul Nodwell & Carrie. We drank a Rose toast to Mum!
 yep - wine, (and juice), right there at the cemetery!

Carrie brought Mum's favourite stuffed animals with her. Their names were on the VIP guest-list!

It was tough to leave the resting place.

Carrie was the last to vacate the premises.

Following the ceremony, we headed a couple of blocks up Mount Pleasant to The Longest Yard for an early dinner and a tribute to Mum. Have to say, it was really fun! Mum would have loved it. We told stories, looked at some of her crazy art work, read another poem and ate lots of sweet potato fries! Love you Mum. Will always miss you, but you live on in all of us.

Just a couple of hours later, Max and his bandmates, Emmett and Charles, were set to  take part in a live show. (Unlike the last one, which ended in disaster), this one was golden. They insisted on posing for a "cheesy pic" in our basement during rehearsal before heading to the concert at the Bain Co-op. They got a fabulous reception!

Meanwhile, Kate was putting together her Halloween costume. It's fab. She's going out as sarcastic Jane Lane,
the fictional character who appears on the MTV cartoon show, Daria.

(won't spoil Max's costume, till I get a decent pic!)

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Forever Mum

October 26/12,

Tomorrow afternoon, we will, at long last, be scattering our late Mum's ashes at the rose garden of Mount Pleasant Cemetery. It's been just over two years since she passed away (October 19, 2010).

Since that time, her ashes (kept in a box, wrapped in a green velvet bag),  have spent time at Carrie's place and later at mine until a decision was made about what to do with them. Since Mum left pretty sketchy instructions about her wishes (only that she figured cremation was the way to go), we finally chose to set a date to scatter the ashes at the rose garden. Not only did she love roses and gardens of all kinds, our childhood home at 79 Moore Avenue (which she bought in 1965 and in which we all spent many happy times),  is only about three blocks away from the cemetery. We drove our bikes through that cemetery and later, practiced learning to drive a car there too!

Just a few family members and friends will attend this little ceremony. We plan to read one of her favourite poems, and afterwards, will either go someplace to drink a toast to her, or to have a cup of tea!

Just thinking about all of this, reminded me of the video we shot on the last day we spent at her (later) home at 439 Glengarry Avenue. During all the months we were cleaning and clearing out the place, we referred to it as the "Hidey Hole."  It was just a little tour to look back on in years to come and remember her final house. Here's a look at that video, which ends with a beautiful song by Carrie, in Mum's empty, "echo-y" den. It's called Forever Young from the musical Anne of Greene Gables.

Gracie Finley played Anne for six years at the Charlottetown Festival

Mum drove us all the way to Charlottetown, P.E.I. when we were kids to see "Anne" at the Festival there. We stayed in housekeeping cabins at Cavendish Beach and Brackley Beach. The fantastic Gracie Finley played the role of Anne. We were in love with the show,

Jeff Hyslop as "Gilbert" in Anne of Green Gables

and also with the fabulous Jeff Hyslop, (who at the age of just 17, played Gilbert), and the song Forever Young. The musical was composed by Canadians Don Harron and Norman Campbell with lyrics by Elaine Campbell and Mavor Moore.

For some reason, this poignant song seemed a fitting way to say goodbye to Mum's house.

"Anne of Green Gables never change...we like you just this way... 
Anne of Green Gables, sweet and strange, stay as you are today... 
Though blossoms fade and friends must part...old grow the songs we've sung, 
Anne of Green Gables in my heart, you are forever young..." 

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It's Been A Hard Day's Month

October 19/12.

Has been a whirlwind couple of weeks with more time devoted to worrying than working or writing. Back around October 7th, it was the calm before the storm. My Mum-in-law of 29 years was in hospital, fighting lung cancer. Many meetings were held to settle arrangements and the four devoted Bornstein kids took turns at shifts, watching over her at Sunnybrook. - Here, I'm hanging out with downtown Toronto pigeons.

At a certain point, there's only so much which can be done. My body decided it wanted a break from the running track for a while to opt for walking around the neighbourhood, thinking, taking in the crisp, fresh air,

and gorgeous fall colours.

My Mum-in-law was moved to Sunnybrook's palliative area, where she received extremely attentive care, and I was able to have a final visit with her and exchange loving words. She seemed to rally a bit on this particular day - (the same day my sister, Carrie came to see her). Somehow, Carrie always has a way of making a person feel better. Wish I had that remarkable skill.

One Friday, I took all to myself - (an early birthday gift day just to unwind and relax). Travelled all over town, got lost using the GPS, (directionally-challenged, as usual), but still had a lot of fun,

shopped, enjoyed Chinese food, - won ton soup, an egg roll, lemon chicken, sweet and sour sauce and chicken fried rice,

then energized, tried on some frill-y items from La Senza - beautiful, (and now, all mine)! It was a happy day in the midst of a sea of sadness. Later, attempted to find something bright and new to wear for Auntie Ray's Celebration of Life but didn't end up zeroing in on anything perfect.

My sister, Carrie (musical director for the Celebration), came by our house to work on her Sondheim song Anyone Can Whistle, with my daughter, Kate, accompanying her on piano. 

I think I heard the rehearsal four times, each time more beautiful than the last. Carrie's voice is just so stunning and Kate did a fabulous job on piano for her.

Carrie got through all of the travel and rehearsal despite having broken her toe, wearing a massive borrowed airboot and carrying a cane. She was as cheerful as always and never complained. (FYI, the painful break happened when she suddenly smashed her toe against a metal IKEA stool in her kitchen). Fun? Wow.

After Carrie took off, Kate, and my son, Max, practiced THEIR number, City Love by John Mayer. 

Kate says she chose it because Ray adored city life - especially Toronto.

October 13th finally arrived. Auntie Ray's Celebration of Life at the Women's Art Association, (three months after her passing). Guests were greeted with this sight - colourful flowers, memory cards and a pumpkin - wearing one of her famous large orange hats!

My cousin, Kevan Staples - (Ray's son), was the M.C. He was thrilled that our beloved Aunt Leslie, (now 96), made the trek from Lindsay to T.O. with her daughter, Georgia, to pay tribute to her last cousin. It was great to see them, (along with Georgia's husband Bob)! Has been years since we've all gotten together.

Kev was a terrific host and made the most heartfelt speech about what life was like as the only child of Ray Staples. Wish I had the script. He explained that she described her attempt at motherhood as sublime neglect, but admitted that "neglect" was something all of his friends envied! (He could do whatever he wanted, and DID! - including becoming a rock star).

Kev introduced Kate and Max (on bass) for their song, which went over so well. (check it out).

And then Kev introed Carrie and Kate's version of Anyone Can Whistle. (Grab the Kleenex for Carrie's fabulous high note). She didn't think she could do it with all the emotion, but as ALWAYS, she did, and I'm so proud of her.

With Carrie at the Celebration. Hundreds of pics of Ray's 92 years of life behind us.

The boards represented everything Ray loved most - family, friends, careers and homes.

Portrait of a young Ray painted by Uncle Ev, who was her husband for 62 years.

Our family/friends, Mary Spence-Thomas and Franc Mosbaugh wrapped up the performances,

 with their fabulous version of What a Wonderful World. Listen in here.

Carrie (centre) poses with some of the out of town guests - (left to right) - Martha, Johnson, Patrick Boyer and John.

Love this. - "Celebrity roadies" Ray's nephew, Paul, plus Kevio and Franc. They not only put on the show, but packed up the gear too!

Max and Kate got lots of compliments after their performance. Kate is wearing brightly coloured earrings which were a gift to her from Auntie Ray. We were ALL encouraged to dress colourfully, and if possible, to ditch ALL the beige in your house (as Ray often said), and paint it something brighter that will make you happy!

My cousins insisted I take a stunning arrangement of Ray's flowers home to my house. So pink and pretty. All in all, it was a day like no other to suit a woman the likes of whom we will NEVER see again!

A day and a half later, my lovely Mum-in-law, Jean Bornstein, passed away. The family is broken-hearted. She was the sweetest, kindest, most generous woman you could ever hope to meet.

The funeral was held on my birthday - the saddest one of my life.

Immediate family members were taken by limousine to the funeral home, then the cemetery,

and finally to my Dad-in-law's condo to meet and mingle with relatives over food and to tell endless stories about Jean.

On the way home, had one happier birthday pic taken at Withrow Park.

Max's surprise birthday gift to me was a DVD version of The Beatles HELP! complete with behind-the-scenes funny footage. We share a deep love for this movie, as well as for A Hard Day's Night. Kate's gift was my own domain - - which I hope to use in the near future. My Dad sent me a funny card with some cash (always welcome!) and my bro-and-sis-in-law sent me a card containing a Winners gift card, which I'll have fun spending!

This same unbelievably crazy week, I played Roadie Mum and drove Ghost Daze bandmates Emmett, Max and Charles (plus piles of equipment) in my car to a warehouse on Dupont. Somehow, with the help of GPS and Google maps, we managed to get there during rush hour in about 90 minutes in the rain to set up the gear for a multi-band show scheduled for a few days later.

The warehouse is super cool, just perfect for teen bands. Not only that, the man who owns this, (the father of another teen musician at Max's school - Rosedale Heights), turned out to be Claude Barnes, a former freelance cameraman at Global TV! We'd worked together in the past, but had no idea our kids went to school together!

He agreed to loan out his facilities (complete with Green Screen background) to the kids for free, so they could put on a big rock concert. Ghost Daze (the headliners) were scheduled to perform last. They were all VERY excited about this big gig!

Our good friend and neighbour, Brooklynne, was all set to play guitar and keyboards with her band Creep Creep Beach. I LOVE this kid. Seriously, she is hilarious. I predict BIG things for her!

Here's a look at the rest of the warehouse. (and yes, I'm a really lousy photographer). - But check out the pics anyway.

Cool crapolla.

Interesting items everywhere!

Seamus insisted on giving fellow musician Fox a ride on his back. They were spinning around so many times, I thought they were going to throw up.

While I was waiting for Max and pals to set up, discovered that Claude has been a TV producer for years. He has mega-shelves and drawers filled to capacity with VHS tapes, DVDs and a million other versions of his shows on display - all perfectly laid out. (I hope to bug him in the future to set me up for some TV interviews)!

I know...another useless pic...but, I swear, I could live here. Office, kitchen, everything you could ever want in one place. Claude told me he only hires freelancers he LIKES. No friggin' egos. They all get along, have a great time working and editing together. Sounds perfect.

And he has a fab view from his "VIP"/office/room upstairs, overlooking the green screen stage. Have to say, I LOVED visiting this "set"! Can only hope Max will be making a good living as a musician in a place like this one day!

Somewhere along the line, returning home from all of the above, I was greeted by a bouquet of stunning flowers from our friend, Mary. She sent not one, not two, but THREE cards - for my birthday, plus a sympathy card for the fam, PLUS a card for my Dad-in-law. I'm so lucky to have friends and fam who care so much.

Carrie and Lee's birthday card? - A riot. Knowing what they do about my severe addiction to makeup, (and to cats),  this card was hysterical. - "You know, the secret to staying young is the careful use of makeup..." (the kitty's pink botox-style lipstick is hilarious)....Carrie knows me too well! (the INSIDE of the card says, "Just make up an age and stick TO it!!!") Will do!

Determined to abide by Cayr's makeup card, I endured the whole lengthy shower/hair/rollers/makeup routine in order to drive up to the Shiva house, trying to LOOK like I was OK, even though I was crying on the inside, thru the 2-year anniversary of my Mum's death - October 19th, 2010.

In the meantime, Max and bandmates waited to play the grand finale at the warehouse. I was to pick them (and the equipment) up at about 11:30 p.m. Friday night. Sadly, got a phone call from Max before 11, saying the police had stopped the performance due to the noise by-law and that I had to come get them right away, before they even had a chance to perform a single note. (Could anything ELSE go wrong this week)??
Jumped in the car, drove to the warehouse, - again in the rain, and crammed them and everything else into the "Mum roadie vehicle" by 11:15 p.m. Packed the car to the rafters and got everyone home before midnight. The boys were SO disappointed they couldn't play after all their hard work and rehearsal.

It's been a hard day's night. (week? - month?)

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