Underway

Posted by bernicky - April 29th, 2012

The colour comes next when doing a mural here two pictures of the blending process.

Mixing colours

Mixing the colours




colour patches

Colour patch testing

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the book of lynn priest – our first holiday together, canada day Weekend 1990

Posted by bernicky - April 29th, 2012

Lynn loved Vermont almost as much as she loved New York. For our first holiday together though Lynn chose Vermont. There was no way that anyone could possibly have known ahead of time the kid of preparation that Lynn would put into a simple Canada Day weekend excursion to Vermont. The breadth of preparation was simply astounding to someone for whom preparing to go to the US for three days simply involved converting some currency and filling up the tank before leaving. This was in the summer of 1990 so all you needed to get across the Canadian – U.S. border was a drivers license and a destination so little thought was actually required to leave the country.

 

The Vermont trip was the first time Lynn introduced the Canadian Automobile Association Triptik to our relationship. The TripTik became a staple of every trip we took. A TripTik is a travel planner a collection of spiral bound maps that have accurate notations on road conditions and construction going on during the specified period for which they are ordered. Once we had decided that we should take a holiday together Lynn was off to CAA to get a TripTik and waxed poetically about their usefulness when queried as to what exactly a TripTik was. Planning, any kind of planning, was close to Lynn’s heart.

 

We left on Friday night in my Suzuki Sidekick and promptly got stuck in traffic heading south for the weekend across the Champlain bridge. It was while we were on the bridge, enjoying the summer heat, James Taylor on the tape player, that Lynn revealed that we had an agenda for the weekend. We would be staying at the Hampton Inn in Burlington and eating breakfast at Libby’s Blue Line Diner in Colchester. An aside here – Libby’s Blue LIne Diner closed in November 2011 the same month that Lynn entered palliative care. The Hampton Inn was chosen for its proximity to Libby’s and their Big Diner Breakfast which was second only to Ihop Rutti Tutti Fresh and Frutti Breakfast in Lynn’s love of restaurant breakfasts.

 

Breakfast, especially while on holiday, was a big deal for Lynn she loved breakfast while on holiday. Other than on Sunday breakfast was a nonevent while at home. Lynn liked to leave the house early without eating and grab a muffin or a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin and a cup of coffee for breakfast at her desk at the Centaur.

 

Libby’s was only part of a weekend that involved quite a bit of shopping and eating most of which is lost to the mists of time. There were two other events which stand out. The first was while we were driving to Barre, Vermont. We took a break for an early lunch at a town the name of which I cannot remember. In part we stopped to visit a local garage sale but we saw a small diner and decided to stop for a bite to eat. The meal itself and even the diner were not particularly memorable what was memorable was the woman who came in twice while we were eating looking for a man in the diner. We couldn’t know if it was someone who worked at the diner, ate there regularly or owned the diner but we could tell that the woman was anxious to see him. This woman inspired Lynn into theorizing about why the woman was anxious to find the man. She was the man’s mistress and needed to see him for some reason. Why she arrived at the conclusion that the woman was the man’s mistress is still beyond me but we had a good laugh about it as Lynn spun and incredibly complex story about the theoretical relationship. Lynn loved a good conspiracy theory as her later love of the X-Files would show.

 

The other memorable experience was our visit to Hope Cemetery in Barre. Lynn called it the Stone Cutter’s Cemetery because many of those buried there were stone cutters who worked the granite in the Barre area. It was an odd place to visit for our first holiday together but it was a wonderful experience. Lynn always had her camera with her and we still have all the pictures Lynn took of the cemetery. In retrospect the holiday was a bit of a test to see how well we travelled together – spending all day together for four days – she must have thought that we passed the test.

 

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the book of lynn priest – meeting lynn – lisa miller grant

Posted by bernicky - April 28th, 2012

Lynn has featured in my life for almost 40 years, and I am extremely grateful for that. From first meeting her, I have admired many qualities which are awesome when possessed individually but when combined make for a dynamite individual. Lynn is that ultimate individual, gifted with a keen intelligence and remarkable senses of self, humour, loyalty, love, family, fun, laughter, steadfastness, spirituality, friendship, conscience, and confidence.

Of course, after almost 40 years, stories are numerous, and choosing one to write about is formidable. And so I have simply decided to write about when I first got to know Lynn at the shared tender age of 12 when I had been painfully plucked from where I had recently lived in Fort William/Thunder Bay Ontario- surrounded by both sets of grandparents and other extended family and dear childhood friends- and plunked in Dorval’s Joubert, at the time a Junior High School housing Grade 7’s and 8’s. Displaced, shy, and terrified, I was relieved and happy to be welcomed by the finest league of adolescent friends one could hope for, beginning with meeting Lynn, Cathy Susy, Heather, Sue, Cristina, and Linda and becoming instant and lifelong friends with them. We are The Beebs and are proud of it, and because of one another, we thrived in High School in our own way. Whenever we all or a combination of us are together we remember why we became friends and why we have remained friends.

Early in 1974, as I recall in February, I have my first distinct image of 12 year old Lynn and I discussing the new release Terry Jacks’ “Season in the Sun,” a song, about a young dying person saying goodbye to a loved one. I distinctly remember Lynn and I discussing life and death, and a dreadful disease called Cancer. We were sitting at a table in Joubert’s cafeteria and eating our lunches, significant to me as that was the only year I ate lunches at school with friends instead of at home with family. We never ever truly considered that anyone of our tight-knit friends, or for that matter anyone else that we knew, would ever face the challenge of such a disease or anything more traumatic than the 12-year-old challenges of making and keeping friends, surviving the cruelties of adolescence which includes skin trauma and boys, and perfecting that essay or scoring well in that math test the next day. Not long after and throughout the decades following, we all would take turns facing and therefore sharing unfathomable pain and challenges, and at this moment are confronted with the cruel painful challenge of losing one of our own. Terry Jacks’ lyrics are haunting now, but these were the lyrics that spoke to us then and unfortunately speak a reality to us now (albeit taken out of context of the true meaning of the song):

“Goodbye to you, my trusted friend.
We’ve known each other since we’re nine or ten.
Together we climbed hills or trees.
Learned of love and ABC’s,
skinned our hearts and skinned our knees…..
We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun……”

Lynn, we fellow Beebs loved you then, we love you still, and we will love you Forever.

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The Other Blog

Posted by bernicky - April 27th, 2012

I keep another blog called “what i remember” which serves a different purpose from this blog. On this blog I try to post what is going on at the time of posting – a diary of the day to day things which I find important. The other blog is for things which I remember and may or may not be of interest to others to read. Recently I started writing The Book of Lynn Priest and asking others to contribute. The results will be posted on the other blog. So far there are four entries three by myself and one by Amy Barratt. If you knew Lynn and would like to contribute please send me your memories so I can include them. If you do not want to be identified that is not a problem. If you do not want me to publish them but want to share them with me that is not a problem either. The stories are being gathered so that as time goes on and my memory starts to fade I will have the written word to remind me.

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the book of lynn priest – coming out by amy barratt

Posted by bernicky - April 27th, 2012

Lynn and I worked together at the Centaur many, many moons ago. I think she had just taken over as box office manager when I went to work for her. I was in my early twenties, with visions of a stage career dancing in my head, so as you can imagine, I wasn’t the most reliable or focused employee. But Lynn didn’t give up on me, and I eventually learned to do things her way, also known as The Right Way.

 

We box office babes were an exuberant, slightly unbalanced, virtually unmanageable crowd – mostly young women, mostly performers – but Lynn was a great manager. She gave us all kinds of latitude to joke, tell stories, run through our lines, plan parties and sing at the top of our lungs, as long as at the end of the day, the reservations were tucked away and alphabetized in their snug little envelopes.

 

I was fond of Lynn in those days, but she was still my boss, so when, a couple of years in to my box office stint, I came out as a lesbian, she wasn’t the first person I told. As a matter of fact, I was a bit scared to tell her, possibly because around the office she was affectionately known as Captain Catholic. I had never known her to push her beliefs on anyone – unless you count making us listen exclusively to Christmas music for the whole month of December – but I was chicken. In the end I think I got Johanne Pomrenski to come out to Lynn for me.

 

Had I known Lynn better at the time, I’d have been less surprised that, rather than shocked or

disapproving, she was delighted. I think Lynn always knew the importance of living according to your true nature; if someone didn’t like your taste in music, or your religion, or your sexuality, that was their problem, not yours. Suffice it to say I wasn’t quite there yet, in 1988 or 89, but Lynn didn’t give up on me. As a matter of fact, Lynn went out of her way to be supportive of me, and the two other box office babes who came out in the space of a year.

 

Now, this happened to be around the time she met Denis. I may be getting the details wrong, but as I remember it, she had gone on a jaunt to New York and had brought back little pink triangle pins and earrings for me and the other girls. So, picture this: she’s just back, and these items are sitting on the mantel in her apartment, and she invites Denis over for the first time. He walks over to the mantel and notices all these pink triangles. She sees him looking and wonders if he even knows their significance. Oh, he knows. And he’s suddenly asking himself, am I some sort of experiment for this girl? Is she going to toss me aside and go back to women? Well Denis, if you were an experiment, I think we can conclude you were a rather successful one.

 

Lynn brought it up with me, not long ago, how I had been afraid to come out to her. She was still a little hurt about it. All I can say, Lynnie, is, back then, I didn’t yet know the bigness of your heart. We’ve gone through many phases of our lives since then. I know there were times when you wondered what the hell I was doing with my life. And there were years when we didn’t see each other at all. But I’m so grateful for the laughter, and the good times, and that, thick as I was, and still am sometimes, you never gave up on me.

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the book of lynn priest – eggplant man & my little passat

Posted by bernicky - April 27th, 2012

Unbeknownst to almost everyone Lynn and I had nicknames for each other. Lynn was “my little Passat” and I was her “Eggplant man”. The origin of these nicknames is not particularly unusual. Eggplant man was lifted directly from the comic strip Adam which ran in the Montreal Gazette for years. In the strip in question the main character Adam is doing the laundry and ties a towel or blanket around his neck then regards himself in the mirror. Looking at his doughy physique Adam dubs himself Eggplant Man. Lynn’s nickname was a little more involved and came about on a drive out to St. Jean sur le Richelieu to visit her grandparents. It was a sunny day and we were just chatting about nothing in particular when I saw a Volkswagen Passat which was a new car at the time. I really liked the car and we started talking about it Lynn as always wanted to know what specifically I liked about the Passat. I said that I had always liked small cars and this one was small, cute and had a big trunk. Lynn quipped that it sounded a lot like her and from then on she was “my little Passat”.

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the book of lynn priest – the proposal

Posted by bernicky - April 27th, 2012

Lynn would always argue that she never said these things but she never offered a different version of the events to anyone.

 

The exact time of year is a mystery to me. It may have been in the fall of 1990 but it was definitely before 1991 had started as a year. Lynn said that I could ask her to marry on one of three days: Valentine’s Day, her birthday or Christmas Day but if I hadn’t asked her to marry by Christmas then I would have to find other accommodations because she wanted to marry and have a family and she wasn’t going to wait around. Those were not the exact words but the words were to that effect. Well Saint Valentine’s Day was just too close so that wasn’t going to happen and the birthday thing never struck me as a starter. That left Christmas.

 

Along with many of the plans Lynn made over the years this plan involved compulsory activities which didn’t actually make sense. This time it was shopping for an engagement ring together. It was a surprise that, according to Lynn, this was the correct way to shop for a ring otherwise the woman might end up with an inappropriate ring or worse one which she did not like. We started shopping, just looking around really, at jewelry stores which were part of the Trans American Trade Exchange which was a barter group of which The Frame-In Place was part. We went up to a mall in Laval and found a very nice small sapphire ring that Lynn kind of liked and better yet it was very reasonably priced. We did not buy it – part of the plan was that the ring had to be purchased in secret so it was ultimately a surprise to the woman. (Really she had a way of making it sound reasonable). We also did not stop shopping and looking around.

 

There was a kind of jewelry epiphany one day when we were in Fairview shopping center in Pointe-Claire and walked into the Doucet jewelry store on the second floor of the concourse in the middle of the mall. There, under glass, was a tiny heart shaped ruby surrounded by tiny little diamond chips. Lynn absolutely fell in love with the design and tried on the ring – she fairly glowed when she put it on her finger. It was not inexpensive despite its diminutive size though in the realm of engagement ring pricing it was actually dirt cheap. For us the price was more than a month’s rent at the time so it was up there.

 

It was a few weeks before Christmas when I applied for a Doucet credit card. The approval process in those days was weeks as the application was mailed off to somewhere and then you would get a letter in the mail a few weeks later either approving or saying that you had been declined. It was getting close to Christmas with still no sign of a letter of approval or refusal when I started to panic and formulated a plan to save Christmas. Since it seemed like I would not get the Doucet card in time for Christmas I would go to Laval and buy the sapphire ring as the engagement ring then if the Doucet card came I could always return the sapphire ring and buy the ruby ring.

 

Getting the time to accomplish the relatively simple task of buying a ring was easier said than done. Lynn liked to know where I was at pretty much every moment of the day. It was a control thing that most of the time I didn’t mind but occasionally chaffed and made doing things in secret almost impossible. Fortunately The Frame-In Place did have a delivery service and it wasn’t much of a stretch to say I was out on an after hours delivery as they did happen once in awhile. That allowed time for a trip to Laval on a wet winter’s day to buy the sapphire ring.

 

The Doucet card arrived in the mail a few days before Christmas. Christmas was in the middle of the week that year which allowed for a very narrow window of opportunity. At that time Lynn spent a lot of time in the box office around vacation time dealing with what seemed like a never ending series of crises. This usually meant that she was in on Saturday mornings to take care of the matinee crowd and it was that which allowed for time to get to Doucet and buy the ring.

 

Then there were two rings. The option to return the first ring was the obvious way to go but when we are young the obvious is not always the chosen path. It seemed like it might be fun to play a little joke on Lynn and manage a proposal at the same time. The sapphire ring was boxed and wrapped then reboxed and rewrapped and then put into a huge box and wrapped again. The ruby ring was left in its small box and wrapped in an unassuming paper without a bow or even a card. Both were put under the Christmas tree next to the faux fireplace in the livingroom of our third floor apartment on Decarie.

 

Christmas morning 1991. Lynn was wearing pink satin pajamas and a fully white terry cloth robe. We were sitting on the big, high sided, white sofa in the living room taking turns opening presents when Lynn started opening the big box. She sorted through the newspaper and found the next box and opened that one, then found the smallest box and the expression on her face said it all: she knew there was a ring inside. Lynn opened up the smallest box and looked at the sapphire ring. It was not what she was expecting but more importantly I said, “Do you like it? It can be your Christmas ring.” Lynn replied, “It’s very nice…but it doesn’t mean anything?” It was more of a statement than a question but the question was there. Lynn contained her disappointment and gave me a present to open up next and what if was is lost in the mists of time but I made certain the next box Lynn got was the small unmarked box containing the ring she really wanted. As she opened the box she was clearly happy and I said as I slipped to one knee on the floor infront of her,  “And this is your engagement ring.” Lynn put the ring on right away and gave me a big hug and a kiss.

 

Some hours later while she was making Christmas dinner in the kitchen and I was in the living room watching television I heard Lynn yell out “Wait a minute! You didn’t even ask me to marry you!” It’s true, I never asked her to marry me.

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the book of lynn priest – the first date

Posted by bernicky - April 27th, 2012

All stories have a beginning as does Lynn’s but not all beginnings are the same. Born in Ottawa, baptized in Otterburn Park, Quebec and growing up in Otterburn, Dorval, Tracy and back to Dorval Lynn’s early years involved a lot of moving about and changing school. She always wanted to settle down and have a place to call her own.

 

When we met we were both in our late twenties. Lynn had just come back from Europe and came into the Frame-In Place the small picture framing store at 4960 Decarie in the Snowdon district of Montreal to get a picture framed. The picture was a small, brightly coloured painting of the Eiffel tower. It had a bright blue background and the tower itself was painted in a deep yellow/gold. Lynn wanted to frame it in a natural wood frame, pine or basswood but she let me convince her to frame it in a bright white Italian lacquer which I thought offset the blue nicely. I made her a deal: if she didn’t like it I would not charge her for the framing job. When she came back to get it I could tell that she didn’t like it but she insisted that it was okay. We met halfway and I heavily discounted the frame and she took it home. It was a small thing and whenever it would occasionally crop up through the years of moving she would say to me “See I told you a wood frame would look better.” She seemed to keep hoping that I would change my mind about the framing job but I did not and neither did she. She knew what she liked and fortunately one of those things she liked was me.

 

The second time we met the Frame-In Place had moved two doors down from its original home to 4952 Decarie right next door to the Snowdon Post Office. We were only half a block south of the third floor north facing apartment Lynn had at 4800 Decarie that second time Lynn came into the store. With her she brought a poster advertising Cat On A Hot Tin Roof starring Kathleen Turner. Lynn had seen the performance and loved it and naturally fell in love with Kathleen Turner. We had a brisk discussion about the relative merits of Kathleen Turner as an actress – Lynn was more impressed than I with Turner but I admitted that her work in Body Heat and Crimes of Passion was impressive. The job was a simple lamination onto particle board so there wasn’t anything to argue about when it came to getting the poster ready for hanging. The actual timing of when I asked Lynn out on our first date is a little vague to me but I am certain it was in April of 1990 shortly after the Carribbean death by drowning of a dancer from Les Grands Ballets Canadien. Remembering the timing thusly might seem a little macabre but it explains why our first ever date was a night at the ballet. At the time I knew a former Les Grands dancer who was married to a dancer who at the time was still with the company. Both were friends of the dancer who died. They wanted a nice memorial picture/plaque and with their input I made a custom memorial and did not charge for the job. They in return offered orchestra seating for the ballet which were accepted and precipitated my asking Lynn to go with me.

 

It was a nice first date. It started with my picking Lynn up at her place. She was in the process of moving and just about everything she owned was in boxes – a state which I later learned was almost permanent since not everything could possibly be unboxed and still leave room for people to live in an apartment. We went to Place des Arts and watched the Balanchine performance then later went up St. Laurent street to get a bite to eat at Lux. Eventually we ended up at the lookout at St. Joseph’s Oratory of all places. Why there was ever a second date I will never know because in retrospect I can scarcely believe that anyone would have had a second look after my being me for several hours but Lynn seemed to find something worth a second go. Lynn once asked me why I asked her out and I answered honestly that it was because her ankles were cute. Actually it was more than that it was also that she wore a denim jumper with a white t-shirt, ankle socks and white Keds and wore a straw sun hat. It was everything including her strong opinions about acting and actors. We moved in together about a month after our first date. Probably quicker than either of us would have thought possible and no doubt something we would both object to if our children did it but that is how it went and there’s no point in pretending it didn’t happen that way. After our first date we were together for the next twenty and a half years.

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Painting party

Posted by bernicky - April 26th, 2012

Our daughter has finished outlining the mural. Yesterday she put in the last cloud outlines and announced she was ready to start painting. It seemed wise not to jump into the painting right away but to wait until the weekend and maybe until I could get my hands on some disposable coveralls. In addition to our daughter the painting effort will involve myself and one of our daughter’s friends who is also of an artistic bent. I will do my best to take lots of pictures – not a time lapse  – and post them as the work progresses.

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Death neverending

Posted by bernicky - April 26th, 2012

Lynn’s final federal tax assessment arrived yesterday. The government refused to allow my blending of our tax returns so that I could pay off her final tax bill with my return and instead sent my full return and a separate bill for Lynn. In the end it seemed to work in my favour as the final assessment bill for Lynn was smaller than what had originally been calculated in the return. The revenue service also included a note suggesting that a Clearance Certificate be applied for, form TX19, and to include a copy of the will along with the names, addresses and social insurance numbers of the beneficiaries of the will. It is as if there is a desire on the part of government to make certain that no one goes gently into that good night. As the expression goes the only two things we cannot avoid in life are death and taxes. The difference is that death is final taxes seem to live on after the deceased.

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