Flowers from My Garden II: Queen of the Night

Six years ago my husband was gifted this thin, flat cactus shoot as a birthday gift. We were told it was a “Queen of the Night” and would bring us good luck if we could convince it to flower. A variety of cactus/orchid, the plant was known to rarely flower, and when it did for only one night between the moonrise and moonset. We cared for it. Nothing happened. After three years of dormancy we propagated a number of shoots from the plant and gave them out to friends, sharing the legend of the flower and wishing them better luck than we had had. Still, she remained hidden.

On August 22, 2022 the Queen of the Night revealed herself. In a stunning show of agency the slender plant gave birth to a bloom a foot in diameter that emitted a heady scent of sweet honey and gardenia. The Queen of the Night indeed! We danced with her, basking in her beauty. As the moon set she shrivelled up and died. A lesson in the rewards of patience and the brevity of life, I suppose.

Goddess Remix Project

Bia Remix by TooleXFathom
Pheme by TooleXFathom

We were bound to get up to some kind of collab this Summer what with all this time on our hands as we sat back and waited for the world to open up again. My fiancée is a very talented aerosol artist / graffiti king who writes ‘FATHOM’ all over the world, but especially all over Toronto. He was contacted by a woman over Instagram who was admiring his work on a walk in Roncey with her kids. She wanted a custom piece. One thing led to another and we all settled on a massive Fathom canvas with a Nike, Goddess of Victory ink transfer on top. The commission got our creative juices flowing. Soon canvas prints of Goddesses Bia and Pheme were glowing with Fathom’s touches of paint. The results delight me and I hope you too. They are all one of a kind. Should we do more? xo

Nike Remix by TooleXFathom

Cordova Lake 06/20

It was a glorious return to the cottage after 100 days of quarantine in the hot, noisy city. A dragonfly blessed Tasha’s boobs (obviously) and Kaiyah convinced Ocean to jump off the dock for her first time! Of course, it was impossible to stop her after she got over her fear. This lake heals the soul. xo

10/10 Covid-19 Travel Diary: Nassau, Mar. 6

This morning Connie and I took Jenny to the Nassau airport as our little adventure came to a close. With feelings of warmth and a pang of melancholy that it was over we embraced and sent Jenny homeward. My flight was in a couple of days. Connie’s husband Joe, their three kids, and another family of four were arriving the next day.

When Connie and I got back to the house I got a notification on my computer from Find My Phone with an exact GPS location of where it was. I was elated! I called the Bahamas Police right away. An Inspector Burroughs in full regalia showed up with his deputy and they made a big show of taking down the coordinates. I hand wrote the list of all our valuables that had been stolen that were, in all likelihood, with my phone and gave it to the inspector. He said they would go check out the address and get back to us. I could not believe our luck! There was a chance at justice!

I started to read the local news stories of the week and discovered that the night after our robbery police had shot and killed a suspected armed robber/rapist on our street. They had a warrant for his arrest as he had been caught with one of the stolen Rolex watches from the Atlantis store. When they pulled him over he drew fire but the cops got him first. That is what was happening outside our home here the night after our robbery. Remember when we got scared and ran inside and saw police lights out front later on? Always trust your instincts! They are almost always right on the money.

Spooked with this new news, Connie and I closed up the house, storm shutters and all and awaited a call back from the police. As the sun set on the day I decided to call them back myself. It was Friday evening. The officer who answered said that Inspector Burroughs had gone home at 5PM and would be back in on Monday morning. I inquired if he knew if anyone had been to the address in question. He didn’t know. He asked me to send him a photo of the coordinates from my phone (!) and I lost my shit. In a crying fit I screamed over the phone that I had made it very simple to solve the crime if only someone had bothered to go to the address and look around. He hung up on me. I gave up. Connie and I ordered a feast of Chinese food delivery and watched Ru Paul’s Drag Race until we felt better. Connie’s family and friends arrived the next day and we spent some quality time together until my departure home.

At the end of the day, I am so grateful that none of us got hurt. I am grateful that Connie’s kids weren’t with us. I know that the robbers needed our stuff more then we did and I hope it helped them and their families out of a tough spot. I am grateful that I got to see seven countries in the month before Corona Virus shut down the world. As soon as I got home, school got cancelled, the government orders to stay home were all over the news, the cruise industry collapsed, and the world as we knew it would be forever changed. We got Jake home from Brussels the same day they closed the borders there. We are all safe and sound, thank God. The shock from the robbery quickly subsided as this global pandemic inflicted so much suffering and change upon the world that our little brush with death seems miniscule in comparison. And life goes on. I hope you are all well and good. Thank you for reading. Writing this diary and sharing it with you has helped me to heal. xo

9/10 Covid-19 Travel Diary: Nassau, Mar. 5

We got a call from our pal Delroy the next morning inviting us out for a night on the town. He would pick us up at 8PM. With our evening to look forward to we set out on the jitney for another island adventure.

Love Beach is tucked away down a secret staircase off of Compass Point resort. Because of its hidden entrance it is often empty. An entire stretch of pristine white sand and turquoise ocean all to ourselves. We felt safe and free. We stretched our muscles in the sun, floating around, feeling the divine weightlessness that comes with salt water submersion. I was so full of gratitude for the friendship of these two incredible women. This trip is just the most recent chapter in the evolution of us. It is the scariest chapter, but not the craziest. I look forward to reminiscing about all of it when we are old and grey. Hopefully, our love for each other will only have grown. Long friendships are rare and so special. There is no one else in the world I would rather have had a near death experience with. For all the shock and terror, we handled ourselves calmly and efficiently and managed to come out the otherside unscathed but for a bit of residual PTSD. Connie and Jenny, my ride or die babes for life.

Back at the house Delroy and his friend arrived right on time. They drove us over to Lyford Cay, the very wealthy, very private end of the island that Prince Andrew, Michael Jackson, Oprah Winfrey and Robert DeNiro have all enjoyed. The gated community on steroids was in the news just before we arrived because Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard was just busted for using his oceanview mansion there to run a sex traffiking ring. We pulled up the long dirt road to Philosopher’s Smokehouse, an outdoor party complex with twinkly lights, picnic tables, a cute DJ, and what smelled like delicious BBQ. Under the sweetest protection of our generous friends we wiled the night away dancing until we dropped. I made a gorgeous new friend who looked like a Bahamian Queen. Her name was Cornelia and she had been Nygard’s personal assistant until the week prior. I was dying to hear stories, but we parted ways with promises to get in touch for a brunch that never happened. Connie, Jenny and I stumbled back into the house for a nightcap on the upstairs patio. Everything was alright.

8/10 Covid-19 Travel Diary: Paradise Island, Mar. 4

I called the cops first thing in the morning to inquire about the police activity on the block the night before. They assured me it wasn’t related to our robbery. The news of the passengers stuck in quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan was a headline. We brushed off our feelings of fear and discomfort determined to have an incredible day. The glorious tropical sun was shining all our troubles away.

We got ourselves decked out in swimsuits and sunscreen and hopped on the jitney. The bus driver was blasting Kenny G. classics really getting us in the mood for a wonderful day. We hopped off at the ferry docks and took the boat across to Paradise Island where we tried to sneak into the epic mega resort Atlantis. We have done this before without any problems, but the security was TIGHT! Crime has risen significantly in the Bahamas since Hurricane Dorian decimated many residents’ livelihood in 2019. The Rolex store at Atlantis had fallen victim to an armed robbery the week prior. So we hoofed it to the public part of Paradise Island unattractively titled Cabbage Beach. Don’t let the name fool you though because this is one of the most beautiful, pristine beaches in the world. The water is clear turquoise and the perfect temperature; just cool enough to be refreshing. We indulged in rum drinks in coconuts and sunned our skin from white as Canadian snow to lobster red. My old pal Randy manifested and offered to roll us a spliff. The vibe was chill, at last. Perfect, actually. Ahhhhh yas. Toes curling in the sand, hair in salt waves, and skin bronzed. We made it. It felt like we had another chance at life. But a life without fear of death. Liberated. And no fucks given. I was enjoying this new attitude.

We taxied back to Nassau and scored a comfy cabana at Bikini Bar on Junkanoo Beach where we immediately ordered conch fritters and bottomless Bahama Mamas as we watched the sun set. A flea-ridden stray beach dog sat with us and acted as our guard dog as twilight fell. The four enormous cruise ships docked on Paradise Island shipped out one at a time. We imagined the cruise ship scene; everyone showered and dressed for dinner on board as the monstrosity head back out to sea. Connie would be on one of those with her family the next week if her passport arrived in time. The manager of Bikini Bar sent us a round of drinks on the house and offered to get us a cab home. He also gave us his reggae album. What lucky girls!