Saturday, November 24, 2018


This afternoon, I tweeted:  "Dead slow at ATELIER IVAAN today."  An hour later, some longtime clients had come by for a visit.  We were hanging around talking and catching up and looking at jewellery when I noticed two people on the sidewalk out front.  I was perplexed: one of them looked startlingly like Ontario's Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell.

I opened my mouth to say to Jalani and Yasaman, "that woman looks exactly like the Lieutenant Governor!" when the door opened and my brain started doing that rapid-fire calculus wherein the left hemisphere says, "That IS the Lieutenant Governor" and the right hemisphere says, "What on earth would the Lieutenant Governor be doing here?" and the left says, "Maybe she's lost and she needs directions" and the right says, "Yeah, but how did she end up on Dupont Street of all places?" and all of a sudden, the Lieutenant Governor is standing in my shop and I'm just about having an asthma attack.

I have been a fan of our LG since she was appointed.  She always seemed so warm and human and gracious - not qualities that are easy to maintain in a role where one is the Queen's representative in Ontario and required to attend official functions every single day, often with a personalized speech to deliver. I first got to see her in action on February 28, 2018, when she presided over the Order of Ontario investiture at Queen's Park.  I was very fortunate to have been invited, as a guest of one of the people who was being invested into the Order, and even as a guest it was a momentous occasion.

Yet, the Lieutenant Governor presided over the event with such charm, warmth, grace and generosity of spirit that everyone in that room felt like an important participant in the evening.  It was easy to tell that each recipient of the Order fell under the spell of her warmth and keen interest in their accomplishments.  I was dazzled, and I felt so privileged to be there.

And all of a sudden, there's the Lieutenant Governor in my shop.  If I had known she'd be coming, I might not have been wearing slippers and my TOFU VS. EVERYBODY t-shirt.  I might have cleaned the place up a little, or put the kettle on, or worn make-up.

But I quickly came to realize that it absolutely didn't matter.  She'd been reading my Twitter feed and learned that I was a fan and that one of my
dreams was to meet her.  She'd also read my website and my blog, so she knew about Ivaan, and knew about me, too.  And she'd decided to come over and just say hi.

Well, we had a great visit.  Jalani and Yasaman took photos and we chatted about her work and my work, and Ivaan, and she was just as wonderful as I had imagined.  We were all chatting easily and all too soon the visit was over.

If I did not have the photos to prove it, I'd definitely think I'd imagined the whole thing.  It just seems incredible that on a perfectly normal Saturday in November, with no warning whatsoever, I got to meet one of my biggest heroes.  It would be like having Nelson Mandela, kd lang, Ry Cooder, Pierre Trudeau and Paul McCartney, all holding hands, decide to drop in on you at the same time.

I felt so thrilled and honoured that on this rainy afternoon, somebody I admire so much took the time to think of me and then acted on it by coming round to say hello. I know she's up to her ears in protocol and security and all those things, and she never goes anywhere without an entourage. I thought I'd had an incredible year already: winning a literary competition, turning 65, attending the Order of Ontario investiture ceremony, taking up beekeeping, harvesting my first honey, a laneway naming, and moving a bunch of newer projects toward completion, but this was completely beyond anything I could have expected.

And just in case you think maybe I did dream this up, here are a couple of photos, for which I sincerely thank Yasaman and Jalani.

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