Urban occupation

I came home from a two-week holiday to find a face mask and yellow note taped to my apartment door.


I rolled my suitcase up to reading distance, perturbed in particular by the face mask. The note was from my daughter.

The “situation” was that pigeons had occupied our living room. I’d left the balcony door open to keep the place aired out and prevent a crushing build up of summer heat (no air conditioning). Carmen hadn’t been home much while I was away.

The day before I got back she discovered that the pigeons had found a way through the “pigeon screen” enclosing the balcony (which came courtesy of former tenants) and made the living room their home, leaving corrosive blobs of excrement everywhere.

Carmen and a friend had scrubbed away all of the pigeon shit but it took a week of shooing, flapping and screeching (and throwing oranges at one particularly alpha pigeon) to stop them from entering the balcony and waddling proprietarily across the threshold into the living room.

Public art

Artist-run street library

Artist, writer and now street librarian Laura Moulton runs the amazing Street Books project in Portland. Her library cart folds into a compact box that she pedal-pushes around town to loan out books to people on the streets. It reminds me of the library bus that used to come to a parking lot in a suburb on the outskirts of Toronto where I lived when I was nine years old. I loved that bus – waited for it in the parking lot every week. Whenever I climbed  into the bus, I remember feeling huge anticipation and gratitude. Thanks to librarian and friend Lee Anne for sending this my way.