Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Manitoulin dreaming

Just got back from the penultimate road trip, but alas - no pictures. No photograph could have done justice to the wonderland that is Manitoulin Island. There's a reason the Natives believed Manitou resided there - it is gorgeous. There wasn't a single unlovely vista or place to be found, and believe me, I drove the width and breadth of that place, and I didn't find it. Every house had a lovely garden out front, every lawn was neatly kept and every property looked well-tended. I was charmed by just about everything - the rolling hills? Charmed. The brown cows? Charming. The grass growing out of the cracks in the roads? Charmed. The kid who tossed his empty pop bottle into the street? Well, him I wanted to beat the snot out of, but the rest of the town was positively adorable.

Monday I was in Gore Bay, and had lunch at a pretty neat cafe. That evening, I caught a play with the owner of the B&B I stayed at (charming!). Tuesday I visited Kagawong, also called Billings - the library is tiny, but surrounded by trees and overlooks the bay. And there's a fabulous chocolate shop, as if you needed another reason to visit. Then I went to Mindemoya (so much fun to say!) also called Central Manitoulin, Manitowaning* which is also called Assiginack, and Tehkummah which is still Tehkummah, no matter who you ask. Today it rained, but it didn't make Little Current (aka Northeastern Manitoulin) any less charming.

And so I arrived home to deal with rental cars, unpacking to repack for the weekend, realtors, a lack of groceries, and sticky humidity. Ugh.

(I should also add I was amazingly productive and got six book reviews done. Now they're posted, so go read! Only twelve to go before I'm caught up!)

*I kept wanting to call it Manitouwadge, which is somewhere north of Marathon. Which is to say, absolutely nowhere near Manitoulin Island.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

You guys are awesome!

Thank you so much to everyone for your congratulations and best wishes! It was much appreciated and gave me a little happy boost this week, which has been largely good anyways. I'll try and keep you updated about what's going on, but I don't want to become one of those people who blogs endlessly about one thing, like cute cat tricks of or George Bush.

(Edited to add: hey, who's to say that Bush doesn't know any cute cat tricks?)

(And for Doris, North Bay is about 130km east of Sudbury, where I am now. Both cities are roughly 400km north of Toronto, and 350-400km west of Ottawa.)

Okay, one of the drunken idiots at the bar downstairs is blaring Vegas-era Elvis. That's one thing I think I'm not going to miss once I move, but I'll probably end up missing anyways.

So, I've finally got the pictures from everything edited and posted, and will be writing about them shortly. I know you've all been waiting with baited breath to hear about the whirlwind weekend following my successful job interview, and now you have to wait no longer! (Wait - does that sentence make sense?)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

One Rebecca leaves town, another Rebecca comes to town

(Subtitled: Things didn't start getting weird until after the breakdancing)

The very same day I found out I got the North Bay job, Steve's friend Bex (short for Rebecca) found out she got a job in Sudbury, which meant the weekend was spent lurching from one celebration to another.

Friday night, the three of us plus Karen went to The Laughing Buddah, where we laughed and talked and toasted for quite some time. It was a lovely evening, and no one got too cold.

Saturday morning I ran some errands, and while doing so, I got a call to meet the group at the lake to go swimming. Ran home, shaved my legs, and ran down to the lake. There's a great public beach on the Laurentian University grounds which (apparently) no one knows about because if they did, the place would be swamped. The water is nice, the sand is great, and the beach is huge. We sat around for a while, but I can only take so much unplanned and unfocused sitting around (which is why I knit - I can't watch TV without doing something with my hands). It was decided that, rather than scatter to the four winds for supper before going home to get ready for the concert that night, we'd go to Steve's for supper. While waiting for the lasagna to cook, euchre was played - and my reputation as a somewhat competitive player came back to haunt me.

(See, Karen, Steve, Jeff and I had played a few hands while we were at the conference in Thunder Bay. I think I was a little too verbose about winning both games we played. Oops.)

After a lovely dinner, I went back to my place for a nap and a shower. Around 10, which is normally getting close to bedtime for me*. The opening band, The Elephant Band, came on at 11, and they were awesome. The mother of the bass player (*swoon*!)*** was sitting at the table in front of us, bopping along and dancing in her seat.

The main act came on at around midnight, and they were... words fail me. I think you have to see Zuul's Evil Disco in action to understand why they defy description. Think Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem get into a car accident with The Red Hot Chili Peppers****, and what's left is these guys. If Zaphod Beeblebrox had a talk show, they would be the house band. The show was loud and totally funky, and the whole audience got into the act. How can you not love a band who has a song about pancakes, and another one called "What You Talkin' 'Bout, Willis?" (LOVED it!) Tragically, since I was hosting breakfast the next morning, I left around 1:30 and missed the breakdancing***** - bummer.

Sunday morning everyone was coming over for waffles at 11, and I discovered at 10:15 I didn't have any baking powder. I managed to dash to the grocery store, grab a container and make it home before everyone arrived. The waffles were great, but it was (as usual) the company which was stellar. After we finished eating, we painted canvases I'd picked up at the dollar store; the art portion of the morning served two functions: to stretch our creative muscles, and to provide me with art to hang around this place. Two birds, one stone.

Karen and Steven both had Monday off (me? Not so lucky), and I got a call at work asking if I would like to meet them at Red Lobster for supper? Hey, why not? It was a great way to end the weekend.

(The pictures from the concert are here. The pictures of the artists and their work are here.)

*I'm an old lady, see.**
**If I'm old at 30, what am I going to be at 80? Decrepit? Mummified?
***The bass player, not his mother.
****Originally I had Bootsauce, but I think I'm the only person who remembers them.
*****When I told my mother this, she said, "And that's a bad thing?"

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

In the eternal struggle of Brain vs. Body, it's the drunken asshole who wins every time

Last night at around 12:30am, there was a commotion at the bar next door, whose patio is overlooked by my balcony and windows. And because the air was still last night, I could hear everything like it was next door. Shouts were heard and names were called.

My Brain starts poking my Body.

Brain: "Hey - I think there's going to be a fight! Can we go watch?"
Body: ""
Brain: "C'mon! Please?"
Body: "zzzzzzzzz"

A few minutes later, more names were called, manhood was called into question, and challenges were issued.

Brain: "Wake up! We're going to miss it!"
Body: "Shut. Up. We're getting up at 5:30am so we can do six hours of driving tomorrow. I need sleep. I don't need to watch a couple of idiots pound away at each other."
Brain: "You never let us have any fun!"
Body: "Fun? You call that fun? Just please shut up and go back to sleep."
Brain: (sulks)

Not long after that, there was the sound of glass being broken.

Body: "Okay, this I gotta see."
Brain: "Yay!"

Unfortunately, I couldn't see anything because of the trees at the edge of the property, but I did see a number of people being dispersed. Fortunately, Brain and Body got over their disappointment easily, and fell back to sleep almost immediately.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Movin' movin' movin'...

In my universe, a month is really short. Therefore, the fullness of time has arrived and I can tell you the good news.

(Before I do, you should know the delay in any real posting is due to the heat frying my brain. The other part is that there are a shitload of pictures to edit and post, and the going has been slow. I also have three drafts in the works - one about recipes, one about my plants which aren't dead yet [yay!], and one about last weekend.)

So, I'm moving. And the story isn't quite as exotic as some would have you believe. I'm not going anywhere as cool (literally) as some, or as exotic as others, but it's a move nonetheless. And a new job.

Look out North Bay, here I come!

(The sea monkeys and the chopsticks were red herrings - sorry!)

I'm moving there to take over the Head of Information Services at the public library, which is exciting for many reason. Firstly, it's a move back into a public library, which I've been missing for a while now. Secondly, it's a really cool job, and my predecessor has been doing interesting things which I hope to continue and expand upon. And thirdly, whenever someone asks me what I do, and I respond that I'm a librarian, and they ask me what library I work at, I won't have to give them the song and dance that brings any further conversation to a crashing halt: "Well, I don't work in a library per se; rather, I work on behalf of libraries in Northern Ontario to provide services and training, help them do programming, and assist them with any technology-related issues." Usually, I've lost them by "per se."*

So, if posting is more sporadic and spastic than usual, you'll know why.

*Maybe it's the use of "per se." Perhaps I should have found a different way of saying it.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Is it Tuesday yet?

I owe you a post about the weekend, in which we sworn in a new member to the Inco 89. There was laughing, drinking (exept for those who were driving, of course!), dancing, singing, sunning, swimming, and, of course, waffles. No gathering is complete without waffles. And forced art projects. Good times indeed.

However, I will share one tidbit from the weekend, which I think is finally over: if you're wearing flip-flops, it's probably not a good idea to stand at the edge of the mosh pit. Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

You're such a tease!

There's one thing about blogging that bugs me: Bloggers who tell you they have really great news or really bad news, but they can't tell you right now - come back in some specified time period and all will be revealed. Why do that? Why tease me with the promise of a happy story or a tale of woe, and then tell me to come back later to hear it?

I don't think it's to make people come back and read you - people read your blog because:
  • they like you already;
  • they're related to you and this is the only way they'll know what you're up to (Hi Pepe! Hi Uncle David, Rachael, Denise, Mike, Rachelle!);
  • they hate you and are eagerly awaiting your demise;
If there's a reason you can't say anything about the details, then don't even hint at it. I suppose if you don't have time to write a proper entry (i.e. you're about to give birth and need to get to the hospital), then you could be excused from that, but at least give us more than an unspecified reason for joy/sorrow. Give us hints!

That being said...

I have good news. I can't tell you about it right now. Come back in a month and all will be revealed! (Here's a hint: it involves chopsticks, sea monkeys, two bottles of Rebel Yell, and a move.)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Excuse me, Waiter - there appears to be a Smurf in my soup

Well, that was a fun weekend, which I need another week to recover from. Or at least another week just like it. We didn't do much, but there was a hell of a lot of driving involved. Between Saturday and today, I've driven or been inside a car for over 15 hours. In the last three weekends, I've put at least 1800km on my car. (That reminds me... must get oil changed...)

To top it all off, I've been exceptionally worn out, partly from the driving, but partly from the frustrating nightmares.

Nightmare #1 (sometime last week): I'm in an airport, and I'm trying to get to my plane, which is leaving imminently, but I can't find the gate. And then I try to use an ATM, but it's asking me for confirmation numbers and departure times and gate numbers that I don't know or have. There's a line of people behind me, and they're rolling their eyes and taping their feet, and I'm frustrated because I need to get the money out to buy the ticket, but I need ticket information to do this, and no one will help me. Finally, I get to my gate (how? I don't know) and there's a delay because there are these stunt fliers who are trying to do tricks around planes which are trying to take off. I want none of this, and when the captain announces he's going to depart anyway, I start trying to tell him that this is very dangerous, and he's risking everyone's lives, and maybe he should wait, but he's just looking at me, all bemused, and nodding. "Riiiiiiiiight..." says the captain, and tries to take off anyway. I start pleading with anyone who will listen to convince the captain this is a bad idea, and I'm getting more and more upset, but no one notices.

I woke up, gasping for breath.

Nightmare #2a (last night): I'm walking across a lawn and I notice a lot of spider legs on the ground, and I realize this means there are tarantulas around. In reality, I'm not wild about them, but in my dream, I'm hysterical. I'm running across the lawn, screaming and crying, and when I realize there's one on my leg, I flat out panic. I'm standing on a counter to get away from the big, bad dream tarantulas (because... seriously, in my dream they're freakin' huge - like the size of my head), still screaming, and I'm desperate for someone to save me now. There doesn't appear to be anyone around, when a voice asks me just what the hell it is that I'm doing. "There are SPIDERS!!! And they're HUGE!!! And I don't like THEM!!!" I sob. "Well, they're just tarantulas, and they're more afraid of you than you are of them." Two things, Stupid Dream Voice:
  • "X is more afraid of you than you are of it" is the least useful platitude to say to someone who is having a complete and utter breakdown. It ranks right up there with, "Suck it up" and "It wasn't meant to be."
  • Obviously, I've move waaaaay past Rational Land and am well into Loosing My Mind Scared Territory. Perhaps you might want to calm me down some before talking to me like I'm an idiot?
Of course, Stupid Dream Voice doesn't stop there. "Besides, there are better things to worry about." "LIKE WHAT?" I scream. "Like the tornados?" it says.*

Interlude: Now, if my mother and grandfather ever corner you to tell you stories about me when I was a child, run. Seriously - they fight dirty, so be careful. Otherwise, if you don't get away in time, you'll have to hear about how as I child, while I was terrified of volcanoes (specifically Mount St. Helens), earthquakes and other natural disasters, I read almost every book in existence about them. Maybe I thought knowing about natural disasters would mean that I could avoid being in one, which seems ridiculous now but made sense when I was ten.

My biggest fear, once I realized there were no major fault lines or volcanoes in Southern Ontario, were tornadoes, because it was entirely possible that my house could be flattened by a tornado. I couldn't watch The Wizard of Oz because that whole bit with the tornado scared the living crap out of me. There were major tornados in Edmonton and Barrie when I was a kid, and I hid in the basement every time there was a thunderstorm after that.

All this to say that the dream got worse....

Nightmare #2b (last night, again): All of a sudden, I jumped off the counter and ran into the living room, where all of my immediate and most of my extended family (including relatives from Down East), were sitting around talking and laughing. Through the big picture window, I could see the tornado, which was big and rapidly approaching. I try to get everyone's attention and tell them to get into the basement, but no one seems concerned. I have the basement door open, and I'm hollering and crying and begging everyone to get into the basement because the tornado is coming, and I know it's going to destroy the house; gradually, they start moving towards the basement, but my dad is telling everyone that it's going to be okay, so no one is hurrying, but I'm still sobbing and begging everyone to hurry up. Of course, not everyone makes it into the basement, and of course, the tornado hits the house. The house is destroyed, and everyone, except my dad and I and everyone who made it into the basement, has disappeared. Dad looks sad and says to me, "Oh, that's too bad. Both your computers and the external hard drive were destroyed." And I scream at him, "SOD THE FUCKING COMPUTERS!!! WHERE DID EVERYONE GO?"

Again, I wake up gasping for breath.

And these are just the ones I remember. There have been several dreams like this over the past month, where I'm trying to get someone to help me or listen to me and no one is interested or takes me seriously. It's so frustrating, and it's stressing me out in my sleep. Maybe my subconscious is telling me to let go? I don't know - these things I'm stressing out about in my dreams seem like pretty big things, and it's not like I'm sweating the petty things.**

Any suggestions?

* (It wasn't said, but the "Duh" was totally implied.)
** Corollary: don't pet the sweaty things.