Friday, March 27, 2015

Snippets


* Although he looks sad as usual, he is all recovered from his kennel stay. The month long med regime did wonders and now you`d never know anything was wrong with him. Yay!

* I sort of broke my new year's resolution. I say sort of because I was asleep when it happened. I had read about the phenomenon of sleeptexting but was horrified to discover that I had done it. I marvel at my subconscious and the text that started out, "I am not a bad person." In a perfect world my texts are blocked but there is no way for me to know for sure. I deleted all contact info so it can't happen again.


* We did our annual ski visit. We just love our local mountain a 20-minute drive away. Plus you can pay by the hour. We did two hours and it was just perfect. Afterword we got treated to free smores and beer. Plus the place was totally empty, never had to wait in line for the ski lifts.

* Started playing Trivia Crack. Sometimes I get a bunch of answers in a row but other times, like when the sports category comes up, I can't even get one. Who cares what number is on who's jersey? Sheesh.

* My class is kicking my butt once again. I was supposed to start a second class tomorrow but I decided last week to drop it. I know when I was young I worked and went to school full time. At my age I can't even imagine it.


* We put our building back on the market. We are trying to sell this time without an agent. We have been bombarded by agents calling to get the listing. Ugh. We are hoping that this third time is the charm. If it isn't it's not a big deal but if it sells, we may live my dream of travelling around South America for a year learning Spanish.

* Getting ready for a visit from friends who have never been to Montreal this weekend. We are excited to play tour guide and take them for their first ever Sugar Shack. I remember my first time so I hope we have picked a good place for them. It's here.

* Serge and I got on the waiting list for a family doctor finally. I was prioritized more highly than Serge because of my hypertension. My estimated wait time is 6 months to a year. His is at least 2 years. There are flaws in the universal healthcare system.

* As some of you know, I failed on the quitting smoking. I have just been rushing myself and wasn't quite ready yet. One thing I have learned over the last couple years is that you can't rush emotional processes, but that they are indeed finite. I will definitely quit smoking before next winter.

* Speaking of winter, it is snowing once again outside my window. It is so amazing the difference in how I feel seeing the first snow of the season versus the last snow. I'm hoping that this is it, but we usually get at least one snow event in April, sigh.

* We are sad HBO cancelled Looking. It was a great show and even though it was hard for me to watch at times, I wish it would continue. At least Californication and Nurse Jackie are coming back next month.

* Okay that's all I've got today. Thanks for stopping by and I'll give Georgie a smooch for you.


Thursday, March 05, 2015

Cuba Cuba!

Hey there gang. What a crazy winter it's been up here. Although the biggest snow storms hit South of us, we ended up with the coldest February ever recorded in Montreal. This city has been around for 400 years and yes I know records don't actually go back that far. Luckily for us, we got to escape for a week right in the middle of the worst of it. Because I have a 3 week break in February from the college and my private contract times are set up just a week or two in advance, I saw a week of unscheduledness and decided to see what last minute vacations could be had.


Serge was out at happy hour when I found it. A week in Cuba everything included for $715 CAD!!! Well Serge and I have an agreement that we do not push the buy button unless we are both wanting to so I had to wait until he got home to say, "Can we can we can we can we pleeeeeeaaaase?" And sure enough he was game. We arrived late at night, checked in and woke up to this lovely view over the Caribbean sea. 


We stayed at the Bellevue Palma Real which turned out to be the perfect location in Varadero. We could walk out of our hotel to the hotel's beach or to restaurants, bars and shopping. The temperature was just perfect in the upper 70's.


Of course we had everything we needed at the resort so we hung around there a lot too. We had read a lot of terrible reviews about this place and were very pleasantly surprised by the room, grounds, service and even the food. (Cuba is notorious for lousy food options.)


We booked an excursion for the third day, an all day outing which included playing with dolphins, snorkeling, fantastic lunch and open bar all day. The price? $120 per person but I don't know what happened as my credit card was never charged. Wheeeee!


This was probably the best meal we had all week. Serge's mom and her boyfriend decided to join us when they learned how cheap it was. Shrimp, lobster, fish sticks, veggies, rice and bread. Open bar. And a band played great tunes all the while.

video


Unfortunately for us, it turned out to be the coldest day there. So a light jacket was required. None of us snorkelled because of that. And I turned out to be the only one game to play with the dolphins.


Here I am waiting for the fun to begin. Serge took a bunch of little videos of us petting the dolphins, getting kissed by the dolphin and even picking a dolphin up out of the water. The trainer said that the dolphin was embarrassed since one of us was touching his genitals. Hardy har har.


After lunch, Serge and I walked along the beach and tried to get another airborne shot. We have been trying to get one for a couple years now and we finally did it. I have hurt myself so many times trying but this time when I landed on my knees it was sand so I didn't hurt myself too, too badly. The trick is having the camera very close to the ground and of course pushing the button at the exact right moment. Yay Serge!



These were littered all over the beach that day. Serge said if you stepped on them, they would pop and sure enough that's what happened. It reminded me of bubble wrap. Later I found out that these were Portugese Man-O-War jellyfish and highly dangerous if you touch them. I probably wouldn't have been popping them if I had known.


Finally it was time to go back to Varadero and the sky cleared up making it a bit warmer. Needless to say, we were pretty sloshed by the time we got back to the hotel. I had to confirm with the others if I had tipped when we left the boat as I have no recollection of it. Apparently I did $10.


We tipped the maids every day with toiletries. Toiletries are scarce and much appreciated as tips. Each day we left soap, toothpaste, toothbrush and shampoo. Each day, the maid left us a thank you note and towel animals. We had seen complaints about not having toilet paper in the room or not having good towels. Well you just know those people didn't tip. After the first day, we always had an extra roll of toilet paper and the big bath towels.


I must say Cuba sure has some splendid beaches and I just kept marvelling at the turquoise waters.


One happy circumstance was getting to hang out with Dany and Martin. We met Dany during our first Cuba trip and have met up a few times since then. When we discovered we would be at the same town at the same time, we set up a couple party times. Once at their hotel and once at ours.


We got to know a lot of the staff because we were consistent tippers. This is Ulyses and he was just great. All the bar staff were great, but the customers? Not so much. We observed so many people who didn't tip. I couldn't believe my eyes as people ordered drink after drink and didn't leave a tip. Ulyses said he thought it was about a 50% tip rate. He said that at the high end resort where he used to work, the rate was more like 20%, confirming my belief that those with money are always the cheapest human beings. Time and again I have observed this. Anyway, the last couple days I donned myself the tip police and started confronting people.


I kept trying to get my beautiful boy to film while I confronted people but he was too shy. I had fun doing it. As the cheapos left the bar with their drinks without tipping, I'd say with a big smile, "Hey, where are you guys from?" The answer was always a Canadian city, Toronto, Saskatoon, Guelph etc. "How long have you been here?" "Are you having a good time?" And then I'd say, "So I noticed that you didn't leave the bartender a tip, did you think the service was bad?" All the while grinning. The people stammered and not one person could come up with a reasonable argument against tipping. I'd ask, "Do you not tip the bartender in Toronto?"  They would assure me they did tip in their city. "Then why wouldn't you tip here? These are not our slaves. Don't worry about it, I'll leave a tip for you." And I did. We were famous with the staff, and I enjoyed shaming these entitled twits. I told Ulyses on the last day that we would be back and he said, "Next time, be nice with the people." I laughed and said, "I will if they tip you guys." It was probably my favorite thing about the vacation.


Finally it was time to go back to the icebox. We made friends and hung out with these two beautiful ladies. They dubbed us their honorary dads which made me feel old, but I guess I need to own my age. All in all a wonderful getaway.


When we brought Georgie home from the kennel, something wasn't right. He got worse and worse until he wouldn't get up and walk. After a visit to the vet and x-ray, it seems likely he has a herniated disc that hasn't ruptured. If it ruptures, there will be paralysis so he has been very drugged out the last two weeks but he is finally showing signs of improvement. There was a lot of crying thinking we might have to put him down. Luckily that seems less and less likely now.


I've been hanging out on the floor with him a lot. The vet said never to let him jump on the furniture again. It will be a tall order once he's fully recovered but we must. I just love the little guy so much.

Lots of other stuff going on as well, but I'll try to catch you up on those things on my next post. Thanks for swinging by! Smooch!

Monday, January 19, 2015

It's Gonna Be a Great Year!

I have never felt this way about the changing of the calendar year. Part of it is because the last two years have been wretched on many different levels with multiple players fucking with our serenity. So how can this be a bad year comparably? I shouldn't tempt fate with that rhetorical question. (I swear Universe, it was rhetorical.) Also, many of the bad things going on are showing improvement or not causing the pain and hurt they once did. Sure I am being a bit cryptic, deal with it. I can say that our disastrous investment into the Tampa rental unit market is FINALLY turning around and after 8 months of no revenue and negative cash flow, the units are finally generating a positive cash flow. I hate to even say it because I have this superstitious jinxing fear. But that fear is unreasonable, as most fears are.

I've also made the oddest resolution I have ever made, and that is never to communicate with two unnamed people again. We were once all the best of friends but it's not bad enough that our friendship is terminated. We recently learned that they are actively campaigning our mutual acquaintances/friends to block me on FB and doing so by telling lies about me (apparently I am psychotic, who knew?) We thought they couldn't hurt us any more, but this disappointing discovery did, and just shows that they were never really our friends in the first place. I contemplated waging war, but really don't want to waste any more energy on human sewage. Hence the resolution. I rarely make new year's resolutions, but when I do, I have always succeeded.

Serge and I have also been discussing making changes to our life, a sort of ACT III if you will. We are both working and doing what we like, but we should be earning more and we certainly have the talent to do so. I am turning 50 this year so maybe that is playing a role. ACT I was the hotel/restaurant management career. ACT II as educator has been great practice for whatever ACT III will bring. So I am actively sending my CV out and going to work with Serge on his CV. We also want to sell our building (we haven't found a buyer the last two years, but I have this feeling that the third time is the charm) and price it to sell so that we can have mobility should we need to move to another part of North America. Everywhere is on the table. My goal, six figure salary within five years. Wish me luck.

Okay so I haven't been around here for a while. If you are my friend on FB, then you have seen probably more than you ever want to know about our lives. Still, I know at least one of you (Hi Rox) is not on FB, so I will do a quick skinny on what's happened since my last post. Wow, over two months ago.

Winter arrived in November and we have had snow on the ground since before American Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was a real treat for me this year as I had blocked time off so we could celebrate in the states with friends.



We even took Georgie with us. I made sure we had all the necessary papers to cross the border with him and of course the agents never asked to see any of them. He was a pretty good passenger.




Our first stop was Breen Acres where Rita immediately claimed George as her boyfriend. We were 9 gay men for Thanksgiving dinner and afterward we played Hollywood Game Night which was great fun. I now own it. It was $49.99 on Amazon.ca (regular price $105) but it was $11.50 on Amazon.com. So I bought it while I was in the states over Christmas. Target just announced they are leaving Canada. They lost 6 billion dollars in two years. But it wasn't the same as in the states. Higher prices and much smaller selection of merchandise. I went in several times and never bought anything.




We tried to leave on Black Friday to visit our friends at Jellystone Inn (because they think of themselves as Yogi and Boo-boo, lol) but our car SCREAMED at us in a very STOP THE CAR RIGHT NOW way. Seriously, it was a ridiculously loud alarm while the oil light blinked. Yeah, oil pouring out of the engine. It took many hours to find someone to diagnose the problem, and we learned that the car wouldn't be ready for four days. Stranded, but we rented a car so we could go see our other friends anyway.



Georgie is afraid of cats but this cat is one of the friendliest I've ever met. Maybe because he's cold since he has no hair and wants to be close to a warm body. It took George a while to get used to him, but by the third morning they were curled up sleeping together. So cute. We were treated to magic rice krispy treats too. Did you know mixing in fruity pebbles tastes great and makes them multi-color? So cool but I do not have a picture. We ended up getting stranded an extra day as there was a mix-up for the car parts. And we missed Book of Mormon, tickets I had purchased for the Montreal show. I was really bummed. We resolved that we will simply rent a car for all future road trips. This is the second major car issue that has happened on a road trip. Remember last year when I drove five hours with no brakes of any kind? Yeah, that was memorable.


Later in December, my brother paid us a visit. He fell in love with our poutine and ate six during his visit. It is a wonderful thing and it is difficult to understand how it hasn't taken over North America. We had fun exploring the city and discovering some wonderful watering holes. My only disappointment was that I was so excited about going to the slide park (biggest in North America) and then the morning we were slated to go, I was overruled by them. Too cold, they said. Too turbulent, they whined. Pussies.



So we walked around the old part of the city and took pictures. It would have been the perfect slide park day, but the important thing was getting to hang out together. One week later we would meet up in Seattle for Christmas week.



Serge wasn't able to join us this year but we started the week off right meeting my brother and his girlfriend at the Fairmount for a late lunch. What you can't tell from this picture as I wanted it to turn out good, is that my brother is sticking his finger forcedly into my closed sphincter. Very unnerving.


The parents rented an amazing house on Bainbridge Island. We had a great week dining out and playing Hearts every night. The brother and I were in fart competition at all times, much to the unamusement of the others.We laughed our asses off at Bad Santa. I got a really bad cold just before Christmas and I probably shouldn't have gone to the party, but I did and invariably infected others.


I think we got the best family photo this year. Everyone looks just great. Too bad Serge couldn't come too. We had some good eatin!


After Christmas, Serge joined me in Southern California where we visited with friends and family. Champagne figured highly on this trip, I think we had champagne or mimosas every day that week.


We also visited our friend's beautiful home in Tehachapi, CA. They have a big rock in their house. It's very cool. We had one of the most awkward moments of our life when I pondered why someone would block me on FB to our friend. So she called the person in question to find out why. It didn't take long for the person to sing like a canary. Then she told us what was said and as the words came out of her mouth, you should have seen the look on Serge's and my face. Slack-jawed doesn't begin to describe it. What I liked was when our friend said that we would always be friends despite our falling out with the unnamed persons.


The big 3 Kings party was rather small this year but it turned out to be quite fun. Plus, Serge won the jackpot for the gateau des rois. Yay, money. My favorite clue in this video is "dung" when trying to get someone to guess "beetle".


Mom treated us to a day at Disneyland to cap off the trip. It was stupid crowded though and we only managed to go on 4 rides. The tower of terror ride is the best thing ever. I just laughed the entire time.

Okay, I think we are all caught up now. Winter is doing its usual suckiness and after 14 years I am finally on board with maybe trying to live somewhere where it isn't an ice box for 7 months a year. Did I mention that 2015 is going to be an awesome year? YAY! Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Autumn meanderings

I can't believe I haven't posted in nearly two months. Summer finished quite hastily and turned brisk by the end of September. I went back to work after an amazing summer and this is the first year in more than a decade that my work docket has not filled up. So it may be hot dogs, pork and beans and mac and cheese for the winter haha. Let me catch you up on the goings on of the last couple months in my usual photo stream style.



As I said, autumn arrived quickly and they keep mumbling about how it's going to be another snowy, cold winter. It can't be worse than last year's, it just can't. Although the leaves have just about all fallen now, this year's color display was memorable.


We spent the summer without a functioning dishwasher. Serge had left it open like you see there and I walked by it and my hip caught on it, ouch, and then for some reason it wouldn't work. I kept bugging my man to work on it (he's the mechanical one in the family) and he finally did and just as I thought, he got it going again. Now Georgie can resume his prewashing for us as it is loaded with dirty dishes.


We have been enjoying cultivating new friendships this year to fill in the void left by the people who have walked out of our lives. So fun to just text someone, "Wanna come over for happy hour?" and then spend all evening together and ordering pizza for dinner.


When the foliage was peaking last month, we went to go for a hike at Mont Ste Hilaire. The trouble was, everyone had the same idea and there simply was no where to park. So we went to an apple orchard, had some crepes and hard sparkling cider and took a stroll down the river. Turned out to be quite pleasant.


We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary with champagne and a nice chef's tasting menu. We ended up eating duck hearts which the server didn't inform us about until after we had eaten them. I must say they were quite delicious.


I drove down to New York and attended one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever witnessed. Honestly, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. I feel honored to have been able to be present.


The latest thing we did, which was totally irresponsible given our financial situation lately, was take a little trip down to Key West. (Oh did I mention the roof started leaking at the house in Florida and we had to cough up over six grand to replace it? No? Probably because it makes me ill inside.) We planned this trip in honor of our friends who are no longer speaking to us because we stood up in their wedding and honeymooned with them there. Do we regret going? Absolutely not, it turned out to be one of the best trips, albeit only five days, that we have ever taken.


So nice to wear tank tops and shorts again. We won't be doing that again for quite a while. Our friend from Camp, Roger joined us and we all got along great. We kept going to town to the main drag but after a couple of days of that, we realized there was really no reason at all to leave our resort. The Cuban food was pretty good though, and the lobster rolls too.


The free happy hour every day was great and made for some fun socializing time. But the absolute best thing to have happened was to make new friends. I feel like we have known these guys forever even though we just met last week. Not talking about the guy in the hat, the other two, a lovely couple from Dallas. We Skyped last night and we gabbed for hours. Great making new friends, especially at our age. I think it gets harder as we get older, but it was definitely easy with these two.

So now we are all caught up on the adventures of Torn and Serge. Until next time. Mwah!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Awesome Summer Vacation recap part II


So the very next day after I came home from being out west for nearly a month, Tom came to town with his husband and two other couples whom I didn't know. They had come up to do an Iron Man competition, which, when I heard what that entailed, made me quite certain that I will never do one. I don't think I could do even one part of it. Anyway, it turned out to be just the most wonderful day. I asked Serge if he would come as we met up for breakfast in old Montreal so he did, but instead of heading back home after, he tagged along all day as we hit the main sights around town. It was just one of those weird happy chemistry things and we hung out the whole day and evening together. What fun.


The next weekend we were invited by our new friends to go out to the woods for a hike up to a gay nudist spot on a river. It was wonderful being out in nature and watching people. Serge and I didn't go nude and it seemed like none of the guys we wanted to see nude were nude and all the ones we didn't were. We also noticed the first yellowing leaves and August wasn't even over yet.


We met up with some friends for brunch for what would turn out to be our last meal in Montreal on a restaurant terrace. The summer seems to have ended so abruptly and although I can remember it being hot here in September, it is downright chilly this year.


It was Camp Camp week but we bowed out this year due to what were our best gay friends in the world completely severing all contact of any kind with us. We didn't want to spend a week of feeling uncomfortable and it turned out to be the right decision and you'll see why later. Instead of Camp Camp, we planned a long weekend getaway to Ogunquit, Maine with a gay couple who we have never travelled with before. You know that is always a dicey situation, people change sometimes when travelling but it turned out just great.


We decided to split the drive up in two and scored a nice little hotel in Rutland, Vermont. I love visiting any kind of new place and the town was a charming little hamlet in the hills. We walked around and Serge bought a coat since it was cold, something we didn't think possible in August.


We bar-hopped for happy hour and met some of the colorful locals who recommended the restaurant just behind our hotel. Here is Serge being his tipsy self as he demonstrated what he thought that looked like on his bowl. It was a very yummy dinner with a nice bottle of Shiraz to go with.


We drove through Vermont and New Hampshire and discovered beautiful little villages that we would like to return to for ski season. The area around Woodstock, VT is just amazing and Serge and I sang show tunes and gawked at the beautiful scenery. Then we made it to Maine.


We had some time to kill since the hotel didn't quite have the room ready and our friends were meeting us later on so it was blogger meet-up time! Finally got to meet Colleen. She is the saintly person who sent us the chocolate covered potato chips last year. We hung out and shot the shit for a couple of hours.


And we got to meet the girlies! The more I hang out with chickens, the more I find them adorable. Serge confessed that he is scared of them but only after we left. I had a pet rooster when I was a kid and that thing scared the crap out of me, but chickens are so docile, it's not the same. And omg my hair is thinning! Most people won't notice though since I pretty much tower over everyone else. Well except when I am sitting.


And we stopped for a couple crab rolls, oh my gosh so delicious. We prefer crab over lobster rolls and since they are cheaper, double bonus. And why do they call them a roll? It's crab salad sandwich in a hot-dog bun so where did this roll business come from?


Our friends finally arrived after hitting some long-weekend getaway traffic through the Boston area and we whipped up a batch of cosmos. We brought the glassware from home and all the fixins.


The next day we took a long walk around town and along the beach. The weather was just beautiful. We played tourist, buying souvenirs and such.



Then went to the outside bar at the Bluewater Inn for drinks. Bobby the bartender is always there and he had the soundtrack to Pricilla, Queen of the Desert on. We got quite the buzz and had to go nap it off afterward. I love this picture, it makes me think Rock Stars! We all bonded and shared lots of intimate details of our lives, something you only do with close friends which is what we seem to be becoming.


I really liked the sentiment here. I wanted to get it for our ex-friends because I think we should bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones. But the sad truth is even if one refuses to let someone go, the other people can (and in this case did) go right on out of one's life.

As we walked around that last day with other friends who stopped by on the way home from camp, we saw our ex friends walking across the street. I messaged to let's bury the hatchet and have a drink. I also invited them to stop by our hotel for a drink. Serge was pretty astonished at the shattering silence as was I. And apparently I am just repugnant because I was blocked on Facebook a short time later. Sigh.


But then why not focus on the friends you are with which is exactly what we did. After celebrating our last night there Mexican style, the sky started to get menacing so we went back to the hotel and played Heads-Up for a while. We had the BEST time with Sean and Jeffrey and can't wait to see them again at Thanksgiving.


On the way home we discovered that they opened a new Trader Joe's in Burlington which is only two hours from home. We stocked up on all our favorites and can see popping down there every once in a while. Previously, the closest TJ's was a 5-plus hour drive away.

The next two weeks I still haven't worked and didn't go anywhere because the money well has run dry. I planned pretty well though even though I didn't qualify to get unemployment. My last day of work was June 20th and My first day back is this week September 17th. Three months off and it was just divine.


I will close with the obligatory Georgie shot. We are watching mother-in-laws dog this week while she vacations in Europe and I love having two dogs around. Makes me want to add to our family but Serge will be a very hard sell. So that's all I've got for you, hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by. Mwah!