Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Shutting down my brain

Tonight, I am making the decision to turn the computer off (except to post this, and who knows - I may get sucked in anyways) and do something different. Like, knitting and watching a movie, or reading, or going for a walk, or baking something.

I've spent too much time lately trying to put things in order or clean up little messes and making other messes in the process. There are only so many decisions you can make at a time before your brain gets stuck in a feedback loop, where every time you sit down and try and put it into neutral, it just starts repeating a message that sounds suspiciously like a mother nagging you to get up and go clean your room and do the dishes and vacuum or write a book report (I'm woefully behind on that - sorry) or post pictures or something - just don't sit there doing nothing!

The last straw came last night when I went to bed. My dreams were all about trying to accomplish various tasks so I could chill for a while, but they never seemed to end. The highlight had to be surfacing from the dream, remembering that I needed to water the geese and walk the camel. I woke up thinking, "Wait - geese? I have a camel?" It wasn't even quarter after 6 and already I was stressed out trying to figure out where I put the camel.

So tonight I am going to park my brain at the door and tell the nagging voice to take a long walk off a short pier. I will ignore the last load of laundry I need to do (towels), and put the clean clothes that are folded on my dining room table in a basket and hide it somewhere I won't need to look at it. I will go for a walk, come home and haul out my knitting and watch "Kung Fu Hustle" or a few episodes of "Firefly" or "The Fellowship of the Ring" with the actor's commentary, or - what the hell - do all of that. I just won't do anything that will lead to more work which needs to be done RIGHT NOW.

If you'll excuse me, I need to go look in my storage locker for the geese. They're getting thirsty, after all.

Katrina II

Dear God,

At first, I though maybe you hadn't seen my previous post about New Orleans, but then I realized you probably had, and were thinking, "Um, I'm trying to save LIVES here, duh!" Naturally, my response is, "Oh. Right. Sorry - keep up the good work!" I mean, houses and buildings are just things, but lives are important. And not just now, but in the near future as well, when people start returning to the city and finding their homes are ruined. They are going to be pretty emotionally devastated, and are going to need You more than ever. My cousin and his family got out safely, as did many others, and that's what's really important. So, ignore what I said earlier.

But, I should also give You a heads up, because I know what else is coming. See, I'm good at anticipating things. Things like sunrise and sunset, and what happens when mommy and daddy love each other very much. Also things like spring will follow winter, which follows autumn, which follows summer, which - surprise! - is followed by spring. What did I tell You? This stuff is easy!

Something else I anticipate - stupid religious wingnut idiots saying that You did this to punish the city for its sinful and wicked ways, to punish Americans for being sinful and wicked, and to drive home the point that if we don't mend our sinful and wicked ways, this is going to happen to us eventually, too.

Frankly? I'd rather live in sin that live in fear that if I don't do everything they tell me You told me to do I'd be punished. Because - honestly? - I think You have better things to worry about right now. When parents go around beating their children for every little offence, it's considered child abuse, and I think that if you love us enough to give us things like rainbows and laughter and love, You're not the type to go around hitting us if we don't fall into ideological lockstep with the bullies. Just a guess, though.

(This isn't to say that there won't be amazing acts of generosity and selflessness done in Your name too. And I'm sure that there are quite a few people who'll park their personal feelings at the door and deal with the victims as human beings who are hurt in ways they can't imagine. Those are the ones I'd rather associate with.)

Anyways, thanks again and keep looking after them!
r. :)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Ten minute love post

I don't really have anything to say tonight, but I feel like I should leave you with something. Hence, another ten minute post! (I did this once before already.)

Let's see... a picture!

Actually, the picture I was going to post doesn't seem to be on my hard drive. It's on a CD, but the CD is in a box on a bookcase, and I am simply too lazy to go find it.

But wait!

My feet

Here's a picture of my feet! I'm wearing flip-flops, which I don't normally do. Mostly I just wear them around my apartment because they have nice squishy soles. But because I'm a klutz, I usually end up slipping because they don't have very good soles.

And that's 10. Most of the time was spent looking for a pic. I'll try to have something ready ahead of time next time.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

It's like having a new apartment, but not really

Okay, so the only pictures I got around to posting are the ones of my newly rearranged apartment. Thanks to Marylynn for the advice, which is what I eventually did - left everything in piles and went to bed, and did the sorting in the morning. It still took all day and a minimal amount of swearing, but everything is where it belongs.

From the corner towards the doorway to the hallway

This is the best overview of the whole thing. The bookcase you can sort of see is the only one I didn't take apart, since it's all paperbacks.

From the doorway to the hall towards the Dinning Room

This is the view from the other direction.

Towards the Dinning Room

These are the two bookshelves that gave me the most grief. If you go to the actual photo, you can see what's on the shelves.

Towards the computer

Last pic!


Dear God,

The only American city I've had any interest in visiting is New Orleans. Please don't destroy it.

r. :)

(Maybe I should stop watching CNN now.)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

End apathy now!

I don't know what's wrong with me, except that my autopilot seems to be stuck on "Vague, Glassy-Eyed Stare." It is an especially good time to try and sell me something since I seem to be physically incapable of putting items down in any store and saying, "No!"

Witness the shopping spree for organization toys (namely, boxes and things to hold other things) that took place between 7:30PM and 9:00PM last night - I hit three stores and did considerable damage (although one of those stores was Home Sense, so the damage to my bank account wasn't as bad as I thought.) But I had to go back today to get the magazine holder that matched the slim paper holder and square drawer things I bought last night - it's not because I'm a completist. No, certainly not. It's because I didn't want someone to go wandering around the store on a futile hunt for the other two pieces that matched the magazine holder and not find them. It would annoy them. Or maybe it would annoy me if I were in their shoes. Whatever.

So I did go back and get the matching magazine holder, and picked up two plates that matched a vase Julie got at Ikea last week, and two books on retro decorating. As the clerk was putting the things into bags, she was going to put everything into separate bags, but I stopped her and told her the books would fit in the magazine holder. The two women in line behind me started whispering, and the one said to the other, "Oh, she should just put the books into the bag with that holder thing. It makes more sense than getting another bag."

Hi there! Firstly, I can hear you! Secondly, that's what I'm doing! Thirdly, it was slightly creepy to turn around and catch the two of you talking about me, and then have you both start giggling!

So anyways. Armed with all my fun toys for organizing (including a label maker!), you'd think I'd be in hog heaven today, sorting and filing and rearranging things. Yet, strangely, I can't muster the energy to do anything. I should have just quelled my urge to play organizer this morning and done what any sane person should do on a Saturday morning - go to the market, come home, and spend the day eating junk food, knitting and watching movies (which is what I had originally planned on doing).

Except that now my futon/couch is awash in fun storage boxes, and I'm stuck trying to decide what's going in them. I've taken everything off one bookshelf and started on another. There is recycling piled by the door and four cases of empty beer bottles in my closet that need to be returned. I've promised everyone pictures and that ain't happening - at least, today. I'm going to regroup and go from there. I haven't eaten since this afternoon when I had a couple of ears of corn, so a trip to Subway is in order since I can't seem to decide what I want to make for dinner.

Maybe what I need is someone to come over and poke me with a stick until I make up my mind about what I want to do - or, better yet, just tell me where to put everything.

Are you busy tonight?

Friday, August 26, 2005

I owe you an apology

To the guy in the electronics store that used to be Radio Shack:

I am so sorry I lost it on you on Wednesday. I don't know what came over me, but you didn't deserve the full force of my biting sarcasm crashing down upon your head. Clearly, when faced with a woman with her hair in pigtails, wearing a loud lime green skirt and clashing tank top, who is waving around a television cable, and insists on calling the filter on the end "the silver doohicky," all you can do is use your calm, reasonable, "I'm dealing with a freak who doesn't know what she's talking about" voice. I get it - I totally get it. I've been there and done that - I worked in a public library, so I understand. And how did I react? Not only did I unleash The Look, I used The Voice. You did not deserve to be hit with both guns at the same time.

And not only did you fix what I'd spent twenty minutes earlier that day (and forty minutes a few months back) fighting with, you didn't charge me for it, and were actually pleasant. Which made me feel like an even bigger ass.

Good on you, electronics store boy. May you live a spider-free existence.

To Lise:

I still have your apartment keys from when I picked up your mail while you were cruising around California in a convertible. You lucky bird, you. And we've been trying to co-ordinate our schedules so that I can return them to you. But since we're both ladies of the world who travel extensively, that's been impossible. So when you invited me to go out with you and your friends on Wednesday night at the bar down the street, I cleared some mental headspace and decided I would be there.

So where was I Wednesday night at 9pm? Glad you asked - standing in the middle of what was once my living room and was now a pile of furniture and cushions, waiting for my dinner to cook and making little whining noises. Not only did I have to put my apartment back together, I had to pack for another road trip (having not recovered from the previous one), water my plants, and eat. My brain was fried, and I felt like a marble on an uneven floor - I didn't know which way to roll first.

I'm sorry I flaked out. We'll go to Starbucks next week and laugh at my silly little anxiety attacks.

To Ex-Future-Ex:

I have no clue what came over me earlier this evening. Maybe I was jealous that you get spam in your comments, and I don't, so I lashed out at the spammers and grammatically-challenged in this post. It's your blog and your place to "school" your commentators - next time, I'll hold my tongue.

To the woman with the loud and annoying children in the Dollar Store who let the door close on my foot:

I'm not at all sorry I sarcastically thanked you for holding the door open for me. So there.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A change of scenery

At some point yesterday, perhaps when I was caught in construction-based traffic between North Bay and home, I decided that I wanted to rearrange the furniture in my apartment. Mostly, I was just bored with the way things were. So I got home, drew a scale model of my apartment, and cut out pieces to represent the major pieces of furniture - the futon (it's my couch/spare bed - the bedroom isn't being included in the rearranging at this time), the TV stand, two bookcases (one short one for photograph boxes, CDs, and other media things; the other a tall one with my reference materials), my desk, the pedestal my printer is on, and the dining room table.

However, there were some provisos:
  1. The computer, TV, and radio could no longer be plugged into the same outlet. Using a series of extention cords and power bars, they've been plugged into the outlet on the one wall since last July. So far, no problems, but I don't want to tempt Fate.
  2. I bought a rug for the express purpose of being able to run the cable cord across to the opposite wall without it being exposed. So either the TV can move or the computer can move. It's not like I can run the cable around doorways because there aren't any in the living/dining/work areas. Plus, I don't have a cable that long.
  3. The dining room table stays where it is. I like that area designated as the "dining room" because it's very close to the kitchen and gets lots of light.
  4. There's one outlet on one of the walls that is controlled by a light switch by my door. It's the most annoying outlet because I either have to leave it on all the time, or get up and switch it on/off to control the light. Until now, I've had a lamp plugged in there, but it's going to be moved. I'm thinking I'll stop at Ikea on my way home in two weeks and get some light fixtures to go above the couch.
  5. I have a painting that needs to be hung. It's three ships on red velvet*, and it doesn't weigh much.
So far, so good. The futon is where I want it, and the rug fits nicely. The CDs don't all fit in the racks I bought, but the spill-over can go back on the bookcase where the DVDs and tapes will now live.

My question is, how do you decide to rearrange your furniture? Do you have a plan or do you make it up as you go? What advice/tips & tricks can you share?

* Shut up. It's kitschy and I like it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I went to the National Art Gallery and all I got was this stupid post card of The Voice of Fire

Seriously? The most disappointing part of the whole trip was I didn't get to see The Voice of Fire. (For everyone else who's giving me the "Huh?" look - about fifteen or so years ago when the National Art Gallery bought The Voice of Fire, there was a huge public art cry about how much it cost, and how public money was being spent, and who was responsible, and what is "art" and who defines it, yada yada yada. Basically, the painting is an orange stripe with blue stripes on either side. Your five-year old neighbour could have painted it, but that's not the point. The point is that I didn't get to see it.)

Oh, the other disappointing part was that I forgot to take a picture of the really cool manhole covers. They have fish on them! How much fun is that! But I didn't take a picture of them, nor did I take a picture of the sidewalk in the Byward Market, which also had fish on it, but that was because Julie was looking at me funny.

(And the Byward Market? Huge big fun. Loved it. Was thriving and busy at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon. Would spend oodles of time and copious amounts of money there if I lived in Ottawa.)

Right - the rest of the trip. My hosts - Julie, Randal, and Rion (their Jack Russell Terrier) - were fabulous. I highly recommend staying with them if you're in the Ottawa area, especially since they live a very convenient distance from everything, including Parliament Hill, the Elgin Street Diner, and two Thai restaurants.

I pulled in around 3:30 or so, having left Sudbury later than I expected. The journey took about 6 or so hours, and I learned that I should not get the large tea if I don't know how far it is to the next Tim Hortons (answer: from North Bay to Deep River, about two hours. Exactly 45 minutes too long.)

Once the introductions were done and I was settled in, we went for a "snack" at the Elgin Street Diner, which is a very cute little place. Excellent milkshakes and carrot maple soup. After the "snack" (it was around 4ish, and we were going for Thai later in the evening) chats and naps were had. I'd been craving Thai food for the longest time, and it didn't take much arm-twisting to get Julie and Randal to take me to the restaurant a few blocks from their place. We split orders of Pad Thai, Green Curry Beef, and Cashew Chicken (*drool*).

The next day, Julie and I went for breakfast at this place called Eggspectations, so you can imagine what much of the menu consisted of. Yum. Afterwards, we walked up to Parliament Hill and saw all the government buildings and the obligatory Mountie on a horse posing for the tourists. Now, Julie suggests that I wouldn't let her take my picture with the Mountie, but the truth is that by the time we started heading in that general direction, the Mountie had taken off. I will have you know I was prepared to live the cliché. All for the sake of posterity. So we wandered around, took pictures of statues and buildings, and confirmed theexistencee of the stray cat garden.

(In a nutshell: there is an enclosed area on Parliament Hill where a colony of former stray cats live. They are well-cared for by an elderly gent who looks after them, and there are lots of trees and shelter and hiding spots for the cats.)

Then we were off to the market, which overwhelmed me with its abundance. I made it out with some loose teas, beads, and Lush bath products. Julie made it out with some fish and veggies, having resisted the lure of beads and Lush.

That evening, I met up with Robin, a friend and former co-worker who moved to Ottawa last October, and we went out for Cambodian food. Which is much like Vietnamese food - really, I'm not sure what the difference is. I don't remember exactly what we had, except for the raw spring rolls (delish!), something with udon noodles (the look and taste of really big spaghetti), and something with rice noodles. The chicken in one of the dishes didn't sit well with me, so we stayed in and watched the best episodes of season 5 Farscape.

Monday I was pretty much left to my own devices, so I went to the National Art Gallery. The common wisdom is that the purpose of a journey is not all about the final destination, but also the getting-there, in which case I'm wondering what the purpose of getting lost in Hull, Quebec was. (Short version: not only the wrong street, but the wrong province.) And then the getting lost at the far end of Sussex Drive, around number 24* (Hi Paul! Sorry I missed you!) and Rideau Hall** (Hi Adrianne! Sorry I didn't have time to stop for tea!) The worst part was I hadn't eaten that morning, there was much construction and many detours, and I always seemed to miss my turn. The highlight was when I started shrieking at the person behind me who was honking their horn, "I just want to go straight for more than two blocks, you idiot! Why won't you let me?" I'm sure the driver of that cement truck was very amused.

(* 24 Sussex Drive is the Prime Minister's residence.)
(** Rideau Hall is theGovernorr-General's residence. The G-G is the Queen's rep in Canada, and currently it's Adrianne Clarkson, but she's due to be replaced in the near future by Michelle Jean. I could go on at length about the G-G because it's an interesting topic, but I'll spare you.)

The National Art Gallery was also overwhelming in its awesomeness. I shelled out the extra cash to see the special Renaissance exhibit, and it was well worth it. My whole day was spent there, and I only got to see the Canadian and Contemporary art exhibits.

Since there's an Ikea in Ottawa, and since Julie and I are physically unable to resist the siren's call of cheap pre-fab Swedish furniture, and since I have a car and Julie doesn't, that's what we did last night. Two plants and several pots, an area rug, CD holders, and a cutting board later, I managed to drag Julie and Randal out (I don't remember what they got, but there were two huge plants also.) The three of us were too tired to go out for a late dinner, so we made do with grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, and three-shot martinis. I know - life's so hard.

Sadly, the fun had to end and I came home this morning. Happily, I didn't repeat the tea mistake again, and made it home on good terms with my bladder.

(There were going to be pictures, but now there aren't - Blogger is awful pokey tonight. Given that I still haven't posted the pictures from my North Bay-Timmins trip, this could take a while.)

Friday, August 19, 2005

To tide your over for the weekend...

The good news is that I finally have my writing groove back. The bad news is that I'm going away for the weekend. So, you'll want something to amuse yourselves while I'm away and having adventures to write about on Tuesday, right?

Okay, so here's something. Earlier this week, I downloaded a bunch of songs that have been sitting in my iTunes shopping cart (sort of like a wish list) for a few weeks. I chose them at random, and once I had enough for a playlist and listened to it through, it turns out that I downloaded a pretty solid group of songs that fit nicely together.

Come Ova (Bumblebeez 81) - I found this song on someone else's playlist, and loved it. It's fat and chunky, and buzzes along nicely, sort of like a bumblebee. The only problem is that it's too short - I want more!

You're A Loose Cannon McArthur, But You Get The Job Done (Most Serene Republic) - For the song title alone, it was worth it. The band was a featured artist recently, and I have the featured song in my shopping cart, but I liked this one better at the moment. Floaty and airy, without being insubstantial.

Play That Funky Music (Wild Cherry) - A funk classic. I've been walking around the office, telling people to "play that funky music, white boy!" all week. No, the strange looks don't bother me any more.

Egøverride (Bob Mould) - After finding those old Sugar tunes*, I was pleased to find his new stuff. I like this one - fuzzy and loud. Fun to rock out to.

Eyes, Ears, Mouth and Wait A Second (Demo) (Hot Hot Heat) - I've come late to the Hot Hot Heat party, but I don't like all of their songs. These two songs I like quite a bit because they are pop-ish and perky without being overly sweet or vapid.

Wake Up Call (The Prodigy) - Nice to see they're still around. Great song, but not a good song to drive to as it tends to make you want to drive faster. Not that I've tried, mind you.

So What'cha Want (Beastie Boys) - Classic. Reminds me of the good bits of high school and early university.

Crucial (k-os) - How is it that every song from "Joyful Rebellion" sounds so different, yet they are all so amazing? Jamaican flavoured.

Glass, Concrete and Stone (David Byrnes) - It sounds familiar, like I know I've heard it before but I can't put my finger on where. Melancholy is a good word for the mood of the song.

Listen (Sexsmith & Kerr) - I know the Sexsmith is Ron Sexsmith, but I don't know who the Kerr is. Doesn't matter, as this is one sweet little tune. More upbeat than Sexsmith's usual dreamy fare, and sounds like something Lennon & McCartney would have written.

Twin Cinemas (The New Pornographers) - It was this week's free download, so I said, "what the heck!" I'm glad I did - it's fun and jangly, and I've since discovered they are the artists behind a song I've heard several times on the CBC, but never knew the name of (Mass Romantic).

* Hey, isn't that a Sloan song?

Why I have no street cred

It is done. The document is done and gone and I am relieved.

Huge mad props to my home grrls - Ex-Future-Ex, Thistle & Hop, and Pixxie Dust - for putting up with my shizznit over the past few days, and not bitch-slapping me when I probably deserved it.

Peace out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

If you can't say anything

My mother always said, "If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all."* It's not that I lack good things to say, I just don't know what to say. I'm in the middle of updating a document, which I hate with the fiery heat of a million suns, and I'm trying to focus my creativity and positive energy on that while ignoring everything else.** The end is in sight, and I just need to write something to break the writer's block I'm experiencing.

So, what normally would happen in the case of no new news is that a blogger might post a cute picture of puppies or kittens. Lacking any puppy and kitten cuteness around here, I give you the Herb Tarleks and their backup singers, The Aromatics.

The Herb Tarleks and the Aromatics

The Aromatics consist of two eucalyptus plants rescued from the market, a lemon geranium, and a lavender plant that keeps making me think it's dying, and then sprouts new growth to mock me.

Lil' Lavender

In other news***, I have some time off next week, and am heading to Ottawa on the weekend to visit Julie and Robin (hopefully!). Julie and her boyfriend are putting me up (or putting up with me - something like that). Poor Randall. He knows not what kind of havoc Julie and I are capable of wreaking when we get together.

Mind you, it's low key and understated havoc, the kind you would expect from two quiet, retiring types.

* However, I've always preferred Dorothy Parker's "If you can't say anything nice, come sit next to me."
** Literally. There's a basket of clean laundry in my bedroom that's been there for, like, three weeks now. Mostly that's actually just because I'm a lazy such-and-such.
*** Because I do have other news - I just haven't told you about it!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Admiring the triumphs of early 1980's science

Last night I was flipping channels, and stopped on the one showing Raise the Titanic. The premise of the movie is that a rare mineral which is only found in Russia was being shipped to New York on the Titanic when the ship sank. This rare mineral has unknown uses, but is believed that it can make the atomic bomb obsolete, which is reason enough to launch a full-scale project to (you guessed it) raise the Titanic.

I ended up watching this movie (or at least having it on in the background) for several reasons:
  • Obviously, this movie was made before the actual Titanic was found (in fact, it was discovered five years after the movie was released). But it was interesting to see what kind of assumptions they made about the condition of the ship, namely, that it was still in one piece.
  • Not having a multitude of reasons to justify the financial investment (which must have been huge) to undertake such a massive project. There might be a mineral on board that could put the US ahead in the arms race against the USSR. Good enough. No need to tack a whole lot of other reasons along side that one. (I can't remember what they were telling people about why they were doing it. Possibly, "just because" was the excuse.)
  • The USSR was the bad guy. It's nice to hearken back to an era where the bad guy was bad because of politics, and not because they were terrorists.
  • The overwhelming confidence that the technology of the time could accomplish the monstrous goal of raising the Titanic, despite current evidence that states otherwise. Everything was plausible, including filling the ballast tanks with foam and attaching explosive canisters to the hull in order to push it out of the bottom of the ocean and force it to the surface. It reminded me of a Robert Heinlein novel, in that any seemingly impossible task can be accomplished with the generous application of brainpower.
  • Most of all, the lamely cheesy (or cheesily lame) dialogue and special effects.
It wasn't a bad was to kill time on a Saturday night. Last weekend the movie channel was showing Airport and Reality Bites over and over. Airport was surprisingly good, in that it was able to maintain several simultaneous stories at the same time, and tying them all together in a nice, neat 1970's coloured package. Plus, George Kennedy rocks, in a cheesy sort of way.

Reality Bites sucked. I can't believe she went back to Troy.

It's nice to know the weather forecases use accurate terminology

As found on the weather feed I subscribe to:

"Showery"? What the hell kind of description is that? Not that long ago, they used the phrase "Tons of Rain" to warn about heavy rainfall. Alas, I didn't think to do a screen capture of it until too late.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Only the good die young

I was going to post something pithy and witty this evening, but then I checked my feeds to see what was new.

Sadly, Dan lost his battle with cancer earlier today, and it doesn't seem as important now.

R.I.P., Daniel Champion of Popping Culture. You are missed.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

For what you dream of...

I'm sitting on the ground, my legs stretched out in front of me. The woman stops in front of me and says, "Nice socks!"

"Thanks!" I say.

"Are your socks pink?" she asks.

"Yes, yes they are. I have a dozen pairs of pink socks."

"Awesome! Have you been to see the crocodile Lady yet?"

"No," I sigh wistfully. "But I've always wanted a handbag or a purse made from their hide. I love alligators."

No, I'm not on drugs, or having some kind of an acid-induced flashback. Sunday night, I woke up about every 40 minutes or so because I was having the most vivid dreams.

The Crocodile Lady is standing in the doorway, leaning against the doorpost. She's wearing a ratty old dress and an apron over top of it. The apron is dingy and grease-stained, and the pocket on the left is torn. Her hair is in pink rollers, and she looks world-weary. The cigarette dangling from her lips is mostly ash, but it defies gravity by refusing to fall.

"Well?" she says.

I'm nervous. I didn't think she'd actually be here. The guy standing to my left, just out of my line of sight, is the one who brought me here and actually wanted to come here. I'm not really sure what I'm doing here.

"Umm... can we... ummm... see the crocs?"

She sighs heavily. "No. I gave them away. You'll have to come back next week." She goes back into the rickety cabin and shuts the door.

I start to cry. "There, there," says my companion. "We'll get you a purse somewhere else."

"I love alligators," I sniff.

It's not like I wasn't exhausted or too tired to sleep. Every time I rolled back over, I'd drop off again. But it was that stupid wake-toss-turn-settle-sleep cycle that was driving me nuts.

I'm on a stretcher - it's one of those two-poles-and-canvas affairs, like you see on old episodes of M*A*S*H. I'm tied down so I don't fall off. I'm looking around, trying to figure out how I got here. "How did I get here?" I ask the paramedic. I don't feel injured.

"See, your vehicle ran out of gas, and we have to take you away on a stretcher."

"Oh. That makes sense." It does - it makes perfect sense.

I ended up waking up around 5am, and going and watching TV for a while, until I had reset my brain. I fell asleep right away, but of course my alarm went off less than 20 minutes later.

Now I'm running in an uphill marathon, except that I'm not running. I'm passing out cups of cranberry juice to the runners. Except that no one wants cranberry juice. And it turns out that I have the wrong substance and I'm actually passing out cups of communion wine. My companion and the Crocodile Lady walk past. They ignore me.

"Hey - do you guys want some cranb-- I mean, communion wine?"

They look at me as if I don't know them. "Do you know who we are?" she asks.

"You make purses. With alligator skin."

"That's correct." She turns, and walks a little faster to catch up to my companion, who hadn't even stopped.

"I love crocodiles," I whisper.

Damn you, Pamie, for having an exciting weekend, and making strangely prophetic posts. They were the last thing I read before I went to bed, and I somehow suspect that my subconscious was still trying to process them when I fell asleep.

But I think your new site design is very lovely.

Monday, August 08, 2005


I am "liberating" this meme from Juice, because I can't think of a better way to celebrate the first birthday of this blog.*

10 Years Ago: Well, if it was a nice evening, probably out with my boyfriend at the time, doing his favourite dating activity - fishing off the pier in Port Dalhousie. Yeah, he was a winner - I can't understand how I let him get away, either. It was also the last month before I started university, and I was just about sick of people asking me, "So, you're taking Politics. What can you do with a degree in Politics?" Little did I know how often I would be asked that over the next four years.

5 Years Ago: It was the most exciting summer I'd ever had. First, I had my gall bladder out. Then I started working in the Department of Medical Informatics** at the Med School at Dal for my practicum. Then I went to Edmonton for the CLA conference. And then the Tall Ships came. But on August 8th, I think I was preparing for my family to visit. My roommate, who was from Australia, was headed back home, so I had the apartment to myself for a few weeks.

1 Year Ago: I was cleaning my bathroom, thinking about starting a new blog (because I was getting tired of the old one), when the name of it came to me like a bolt out of the blue. I ran to my computer, went to Blogger, and started this. (Oh, also - I had been living in Sudbury for a little over three months, and had been at my new job for the same amount of time. I lived in constant fear of messing up or being uncovered as a fraud and sent packing.)

Yesterday: Spent the day reading. And making orange sherbert (which, as it turns out, tastes like frozen yogurt for some reason.)

Tomorrow: Errr.... no clue. Working, reading, and surfing the internet, but not all at the same time.

5 Snacks I Enjoy: Wheat Thins, raspberries, bananas, chocolate chip cookies, and Arrowroot cookies.

5 Bands That I Know Most Of The Lyrics To Their Songs: Simon and Garfunkle, Big Sugar, The Trews, Areosmith, and Raffi.

5 Things I Would Do With $100,000,000: Buy houses and cars for my parents and sisters, buy a private jet for my grandfather so he can go Down East whenever he wants, spend a good chunk on the rest of my family, build a new library building in my hometown (both branches), and fund art programs for kids.

5 Locations I Would Like to Run Away To: Halifax, Jasper, Edmonton, Halifax, and New Orleans.

5 Bad Habits: Chewing my lip, picking at scabs, rolling my eyes, being sarcastic, and cussin' and swearin'.

5 Things I Like Doing: Sleeping in, reading, watching TV, long walks on the beach, and thinking of ways things would be different if *I* were in charge.

(Am I almost done yet?)

5 Things I Would Never Wear: My prom dress (if I had to do it over again), large floral prints, stirrup pants, puffy sleeves, and thongs (the underwear).

5 TV Shows I Like: classic Star Trek, CSI, Queer as Folk, Firefly, and Mythbusters.

5 Movies I Like: Oh lordy, where do I start? Star Wars, Tank Girl, New Waterford Girl, Rushmore, and Yellow Submarine.

5 Biggest Joys of The Moment: Family, upcoming vacation, reading a good book, nice weather, and knowing there's going to be something to laugh at every day.

5 Favourite Toys: Gretchen (my Mini iPod), my digital camera, my knitting needles, my retro blender, and the Herb Tarleks.

*In other words, I can't think of any words of wisdom to impart.
**The study of studying how studies are conducted. Or something like that.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

We now return you to your regular, cheerful blogger

The pain is gone and I'm a much happier camper this morning. I'm not going to delete or edit last night's post, even though I got a strongly worded email about my language from my grandfather this morning (hi Pepe!); rather, I will let it stand as a reminder of what happens when I don't let go of something that bothers me. There's a quote that goes:
"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." (Catherine Aird)

So be it.

Actually, forget that. I'm just going to pretend I didn't actually write it. Yes, that's right - one of my other personalities took over and wrote that bit of bile. I can't be held responsible for what she said. So there.*

Lest you think I spent the rest of the day consumed by my rage, I did do many other fun things, including going out for lunch (I was craving a hamburger in the worst way possible**).

For a few weeks now, I've been considering buying an ice cream maker. Part of the reason is this - last year, I was in Toronto, and went to a specialty ice cream store*** where they had ginger ice cream. I can't begin to tell you how utterly amazing it was - one second, you mouth is on fire from the heat of the ginger, and the next it's being soothed by the cool ice cream, and then it's being burned again, then soothed, and so on and so forth. You get it.

Anyways. You can't buy this stuff up here, so I wanted to make it myself. Thus, my simmering desire for an ice cream maker. So yesterday I broke down completely and got one - the bowl is in the freezer and I have a can of orange juice thawing to make orange sherbet. (I found a recipe for ginger ice cream on Epicurious, but since I don't have ginger crystals and a thermometer, I guess I'll have to wait.)

Also, I went and looked at desks because the table I'm using as a desk is too high to comfortably type or surf for long periods of time, and it's too low to attach a keyboard tray. I think I found one that I love, and since I have a few days off in a few weeks, I can have it delivered then.

What else? Oh yes - no day spent in decadent indulgence would be complete without a stop at Chapters. But I was good and limited myself to the discount shelves, and came away with a bunch of cheap books. (I also browsed the expanded manga section - of course, of the two series I looked at (one I've glanced at a few times and one that caught my eye yesterday), neither had the first volume available. Go figure.)

This morning, I'm feeling much better. I was up early, went to the market and scored a box of their-weight-in-gold raspberries and a super-secret surprise**** for my sister in Guelph, since neither of us get to go Down East with my parents and other sister later this month. At the grocery store, I got some cranberry foccacia bread, ham, and havarti cheese for breakfast. I intend to spent the rest of the day in quiet contemplation, reading my book club book and the other two books I'd reserved at the library, which came in on Friday.

*Denial - not *just* a river in Egypt!
**Like, if I didn't eat a non-fast-food hamburger sometime in the next hour, I was going to be very sad.
***Greg's Ice Cream, for all you Torontonians or those of you heading there. It was on the corner of Bloor and something, but I think it was moving to the corner of Bloor and Spadina. Yes, actually - it did.
****Well, I guess it's not going to be much of a surprise now, is it?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Things that make me rage-y

Okay, here's the scene:

Zellers Grand Reopening down the street. It's 10:30am, and the place is an absolute zoo. (I wanted to get there earlier; but then again, I want to be thinner and have a gorgeous boyfriend and that ain't happening anytime soon, either.)

I'm in line - I have two balls of novelty yarn for a project. Behind me are a "mature" couple with a few things in their cart. In front of me was a woman with four pillows and an assortment of household goods in her cart. In front of her are a family who must be trying to get around some kind of limit on the number of boxes of tissues you can purchase because all five of them are carrying several boxes each. The cashier is a lovely, patient woman, - I have no quarrel with her because she was fabulous.

Grandma checks out her purchases. Older sister checks out her purchases, and they leave. Youngest sister goes to check out her purchases - she has school supplies in addition to boxes of tissues. The total is rung up - she comes up short on the cash, so she starts taking things out of the bag to return.

Here's where the rage begins: Woman in front of me turns around and says to me and the couple behind me, in a loud voice, "I can't believe she tried to buy all that stuff when she knew she didn't have enough money. Where are her parents, and why did they take off? Why can't her sisters just pool their money and loan her some? Now we're stuck in line while she returns stuff and the cashier has to find her supervisor." Couple behind me make statements of agreement in a slightly lower volume. I turn and face in a random direction to keep from shoving the balls of yarn up her nostrils.

Here's what I should have said: "Gee, it's not embarrassing enough to be caught short at the checkout, than have some stupid idiot in line behind you announce it to the general public and make demeaning comments about you and your family, so - fuck you, bitch." (Okay, maybe not that last part.)

(The couple behind me kept muttering about it until I turned around and gave them The Look - anyone who has had the misfortune of pissing me off knows what The Look looks like, and knows I mean business when I use it.)

And then do you know what she had the nerve to do? Argue with the cashier about the stupid pillows. THEY WERE A LOUSY $3.00 - I paid $14.00 for similar pillows last month, you ninny! SHUT UP AND PAY THE NICE CASHIER BEFORE I LOSE IT COMPLETELY!

I made damn sure I was sweet as pie to that cashier.

(And a big fat "burn in HELL, bastard!" to the spammer who found my Gmail address. I hope something nasty and vague happens to you! )

("Why," you are asking yourselves, "is she a bitch tonight?" Well, that would be because the Nonspecific Stomach Aliment from Wednesday didn't go away until Friday night, to be replaced by the Migrane That Drugs Aren't Helping. If you read this post before I recover and delete it, then a hearty congrats to everyone who got to see me drop the f-bomb for the first time in print.)

Only ten?

I love music memes. I like to think that I'm not a music snob, that I'll listen to anything, but the truth is that there are certain things I won't listen to, like country music. That said, I do occasionally like something from the genre and I end up eating my words.

Also, I have a large, eclectic collection, and I like showing it off occasionally. Or all the time. Whatever.

"List ten songs that you are currently digging ... it doesn't matter what genre they are from, whether they have words, or even if they're no good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying right now. Post these instructions, the artists, and the ten songs in your blog. Then tag five other people to see what they're listening to."

Just ten? There are at least fifty or so that currently get high priority on all of my playlists. So how am I supposed to limit it to just ten? Well, I'll do my best.

1. "Danny Boy" - Rufus Wainwright
Best lyric: "And a ship with eight sails could come 'round the bend / Or a herd of bulls charging stoplights red." This song is almost the same length as my drive to work, so I like listening to it in the morning to psych myself up. Cute and perky.

2. "California" - Rufus Wainwright
Best lyric: "Ain't it a shame that all the world don't got keys to their own ignition." Snarky and slightly sarcastic.

3. "Memphis Skyline" - Rufus Wainwright (last Rufus song - I swear!)
Best lyric: " So kiss me, my darling stay with me till morning / Turn back and you will stay / Under the Memphis Skyline." An ode to Jeff Buckley, who performed the first notable cover of Cohen's "Hallelujah." Gives me goosebumps every time.

4. "Oh Alberta" - Elliot Brood
Best lyric: "North Dakota, North Dakota, you don't belong in this here song / Where did we go wrong?" Gotta love a song about the Canadian provinces that includes a note of surprise and warning to North Dakota.

5. "Fly the Orient" - Tricky Woo
Best lyric: "I'm not a man, I'm a coastline." Indeed - how so? Short and loud, and I wish it were longer.

6. "Take Your Mama" - Scissor Sisters
Best lyric: "You can stay out late 'cause baby, you're a full-grown man." I didn't like the song the first few times I heard it, and the video is just weirdness. But then I embraced the weirdness, and now come to think of these guys as the bastard offspring of The B-52's, The Village People, and Eurasure.

7. "That's a Good Idea" - Sugar
Best lyric: "I want to feel you in the water with your hands on my head." There's a story behind this song - I was in high school when it came out, and loved it immediately. After a few years, I forgot the name of the song and the name of the band who sang it, and it was lost in the dark, dim recesses of my mind. A few years ago, I came across a mixed tape I'd made around that time with the song on it, so I had the song stuck in my head again but still couldn't remember the name of the band. Then I recently read an interview with Bob Mould, and the light bulb went off. A-ha! Except... iTunes didn't have the song in its collection. Until I checked last week.

8. "Underwhelmed" - Sloan
Best lyric: it's a toss-up between "She told me to read between the lines and tell her exactly what I got out of it / I told her 'affection' has two f's, especially when you're dealing with me" and "She was underwhelmed if that's a word / I know it's not 'cause I looked it up / it's one of those skills that I learned in my school." It was a Napoleon Dynamite-esque song long, long before anyone had ever heard of him. The song rocks.

9. "Scent of a Robot" - Pete Miser
Best lyric: "I'm a robot, programmed not to know." Originally saw this video on the Accordion Guy's blog. It's catchy and clever - what happens when a human realizes he's actaully a robot?

10. "We Used to Be Friends" - The Dandy Warhols
Best lyric: "C'mon now honey, bring it on bring it on yeah!" It's the song I'm going to sing at my elementary school reunion, if we ever have one.

Bonus Song (because it's the weekend)

11. "E-yeah!" - K.I.A.
No lyrics - it's a techno-clubby-trance thing. I think I got it on a whim and a recommendation from iTunes.

I can't think of five people with blogs to tag, so I'm going to tag people who don't have blogs - you can either email me your responses or post them in the comments:

Kris (wait, you do have one - oops!)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

An Open Letter to my Digestive System

Okay, that's it. I give up - can you please tell me if I'm lactose intolerant or not? I just wish you'd make up your mind, because I'm sick and tired of the guessing game every time I consume dairy products.

So far, this much I know for certain:

Milk in my tea or coffee = good
Cream in my tea or coffee = bad
Hot chocolate made with milk = good
Glass of milk = very bad

Porridge/oatmeal, cream of wheat = good
Pudding = good
Rice pudding = bad (although that might not be your fault - Mr. Rice has recently let it be known that he doesn't like me all that much either.)

Ice cream = good
Soft ice cream = bad
Milkshakes = bad

Cheese = good
Petit Dannons = sometimes bad (it's a cheese product)
Yogurt = good

But here's where the problems begin. You let me eat yogurt most of the time. But this morning? Not one of those times. Why? Did I do something? Say something? I don't know what I did, but I've spent the better part of the day in agony. Like, I'd happily disembowel myself if it would only make the twisting pain in my intestines go away. Now I'm tired and miserable, and I'm still having sharp pains associated with the inability to digest dairy products.

I thought it was a false alarm a few years back, when I was getting sick for no reason every so often. I cut out almost all dairy, and it seemed to get better. Turns out it was actually gall stones playing tricks on me*. So I gradually started returning dairy to my diet. Now you see fit to torture me again, and I can't even threaten you with anything.

Just... stop. Enough already.

Bloated and gassy,

*I had the last laugh - I had my gallbladder removed in the summer of 2000.**
** Ahhhh... summer of 2000. Those were good times. Good times.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Owen Sound in a weekend

Firstly, let me apologize to my sister Denise - you came to visit me, and all I fed you was mac and cheese, coffee, and cereal. Rachelle made me pesto pizza with blackened chicken, roasted peppers, onions and artichokes, waffles with raspberries, whipped cream and mascarpone cheese, and perogies. Clearly, I got the better visit out of a sister. Next time, I'll do better.


The drive down was fun. I was up at the ass-crack of dawn and was on the road by 6:30AM. The directions faxed to me were wonderful, and I didn't get lost once*. I drove through Collingwood (very yuppie) and Staynor (very picturesque), and up and around the Blue Mountain region (excellent skiing from what I hear). Arrived in OS by 12:30PM or so, in time to make a dish to take to her boyfriend's family reunion picnic we were going to. He was playing in a band, and was at practice. We visited, and when Joel got home, we went to the park.

The picnic was part of the Emancipation Day festivities. See, OS was a final stop on the Underground Railroad, which brought slaves out of the southern US states and into Canada. There is a memorial cairn in the park commemorating the earliest Black settlers in the area (which, incidentally, was designed by Joel's mother. Hi Bonita!) Their family is descended from those settlers, and every year they gather to celebrate by throwing a huge shindig in the park. I brought a rice dish and Rachelle made something called "Coon in the Cotton" cake (I swear to g/God, I'm not making this up - I have a picture of the recipe!) which is chocolate cake** with marshmallow icing.

I ended up being sent home at 6:30 because I was falling asleep at the picnic table. After a two hour nap, Rachelle came back and we went out for supper. If you should ever find yourself in OS, you need to eat at least one meal - probably dinner - at Norma Jean's. It was fantastic!

The next morning was extremely lazy. I don't remember the last time I slept in until 10:00AM, but I did. Breakfast was also a lazy affair, waffles and raspberries and whipped cream and mascarpone cheese and bacon and peameal bacon (also called back bacon or Canadian bacon). Gah! As we ate on the porch, Joel's various family members dropped in for a visit.

The afternoon was spent digesting breakfast and watching Team America: World Police (so bad it was funny). It was pouring rain, so I didn't get a chance to take any pictures of the downtown or do any shopping. We did get some groceries for dinner, then I had another nap, and read while Rachelle cooked the pizza. Afterwards, I did the dishes while Rachelle went to watch Joel play at a club downtown (I was whipped - all those naps wore me out!)

I must make mention of her roommate's pets, Jesse and Moses. Moses is a Himalayan cat, who is a big ball of fluffy fun. Jesse is a gorgeous Chesapeake Bay Retriever, who smiles - imagine a dog pulling its lips back from the top teeth, sort of like it's snarling, then putting its head in your lap as if to ask you to rub its ears. She scared a few people with this unique trait over the weekend.

The trip back was eventful. I got completely lost on my way home, and ended up having to backtrack halfway back to OS from Thornbury***. There was an idiot in a grey Honda tailgating and recklessly passing everyone. In my relentless pursuit of Dairy Queen****, I found out that there is more to Barrie than strip malls, big box stores, and the desire to be a suburb or Toronto. Four idiots, two with trailers, passing and cutting each other off on the highway past Parry Sound, where it goes from a divided, four-lane highway to a two-and-three lane undivided highway. I stayed WELL back from them.

And now my long weekend is over. *sob* Only three more weeks until my next vacation!

*Wait, that's a lie. I did get lost in downtown OS, but that was my fault.
**Which, contains, among other things, a mashed potato. I can't make these things up, people!
***It's kind of far.
****It's sort of a family custom to get DQ after dropping Rachelle off/leaving her somewhere. I'm not sure how it started, or if there are other customs associated with Denise or I.