Sunday, April 30, 2006

From Thursday

So I have a lesson with a couple of Japanese ladies each week. Their husbands, one a high ranking diplomat, and the other, a partner in an international trading company, have transplanted their families here for a few years. They send their children to English private school, thus giving them an extra advantage in a society that prizes English as a second language. This group of ladies has morphed over the years, so much so that none of the originals remain. We always have a splendid time, and I have grown used to the idiosyncracies of their culture. The exceeding politeness is extremely pleasant, but only half as much as slipping beneath it and tickling them where they aren't used to being tickled. They will talk openly, (openly!) to me about their child's first menstruation, even though this is kept completely (completely!) hidden from the girls' fathers.

Anyway, every week we meet and talk and tell stories and learn some new words. I bring my coffee and they have tea. There are always edibles laid out, far more than we could possibly eat. Sometimes the items are individually wrapped and sometimes not. I've loved some of the things like black pepper crackers, wrapped in twos in a beige and black wrapper, tied with a little ribbon and then the cracker has a little stripe of seaweed, a belt if you will, around it. It's a cracker, but it's so special at the same time. But then others,god, I am sorry I opened the package, and even sorrier as I bite into a kind of shrimp gumdrop coated with sugar. Yack!

The Karinto that I showed on Thursday was not the first time that I had had it. I immediately took out my camera to take a picture. The ladies were a bit perplexed, and I explained that I wanted to show it on my blog. (They know about, but don't read it) So just as I was leaving, Mrs C ran into the kitchen and brought the bag you will see to me. She said her mother had sent them from Japan, and that since I liked them (I do, they're delish) to please take some. (Constant lavishing of small gifts is actually a pretty charming part of their culture.)

Let's have some fun. Spouse will be home soon (supposedly) from happy hour. I'll try and see if I can get him to eat one without me telling him what it is. Oh, and at the same time, I can try the new "high quality video" function on my phone. (What, I had found the pixel setting and set it to High quality already. How was I supposed to know there was another setting? No, it wasn't in the instruction book, No I'm not kidding.)

Can you believe he didn't forbid me to post it?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Saturday update

Boy, this has just not been my week. Four days of insomnia, then a good day, then I wake up Friday morning at 2am vomiting. The 24 hour bug seems to have gone now. (By the way, there is no such thing as a 24 hour flu, the most likely cause of this type of illness is FOOD. Improper storing or preparing of foods causes a whole host of bacteria to grow.) I think I've zeroed in on the Tuna wrap that I had for lunch Thursday. I always get this for lunch on Thursday, and I noted that it was saltier than usual, and I even thought to myself, "I hope this isn't that old chef's trick." The trick is overly salting foods that are "turning". Anywho, I went to work (mistake! mistake!) yesterday morning, I could keep nothing down but 7-up, then I came home at 1:30 and went to the couch. My temp was at 101. Fell asleep at 8:30, and just woke up at 8 this morning. A 24 hour fast is always good for the body, so I guess I'll try to look at the bright side, oh and avoid the place where I bought that wrap.

I watched I heart Huckabees. Did anyone see this film? There's one line in there that I can't get out of my head: "There is not one atom in our bodies that was not forged in the furnace of the sun." I am curious about the veracity of this. If this is true, it is not an esoteric concept that we are all one and the same.

And I had already stumbled onto the universe as blanket idea, this helps you operate from a standpoint of love. (Rent it if you don't get me.)

What else? We have a spectacular weekend forecast, sunny and high sixties for temps. I've got to make some final exams for my classes, do the grocery shopping, vacuum, do an upper body workout (no, maybe I'll give my body another day before I assault it like that). Spouse is going to the burial of his great aunt. I am not obliged to attend.

Peace and good weekend everyone.

Friday, April 28, 2006


* The more pronounced the strut, the higher the level of insecurity.

* There are worse odors than cigarette smoke. Patchouli, or asshole for example.

* I think history will look back on our time as an era of shortsightedness, or worse, as a time of unmitigated greed.

* I have several hobbies, but as soon as you want to pay me for doing one, I don't want to do it anymore.

* I can handle the hardware shop. Home Depot overwhelms me.

* I'm much better at "thinking about it" than "doing it".

* The sky is the canvas, the clouds the paint, and the wind the artist.

* Insomnia kills creativity.

* One of my students who hails from France referred to himself as a "Europeener" and now I will never be able to hear the word European without thinking of this.

* Some of you know about this, others don't. Tampon bowling.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cheese curds and replica turds

I slept eight hours! And now the world seems infinite with possibility once again. I think this post is going to be all over the place due to my giddiness. Project poutine was fun wasn't it? And bonus points for the foreigner? The guy in the movie that wasn't spouse was the non-quebecer. Dickey rightly noted that it would be the one who held poutine with disdain. Did you notice he said, "It's not a good cheese"?

But that's just regular poutine. There are places that "specialize" in poutine and have come up with a lot of crazy concoctions. Most places also offer Italian poutine which is fries, cheese curds (right, the squeaky cheese is cheddar cheese curds, when you chew them, they squeak, ask someone from Wisconsin, they know about this cheese) and spaghetti sauce instead of brown sauce. I've never tried that one.

A topic came up in one of my classes this week (yes, I'm changing the subject) that I thought was interesting. It was this question: Would you rather have your partner think about you while making love with someone else, or have your partner think about someone else while making love with you. I was surprised at the response.

Neither one was acceptable.

I explained that I thought there was nothing wrong with either.

Then, Ha ha, I asked if anyone had done either one of those things. And, of course, everyone had. Laughter ensued.

Also this week in class, I was served this:

It's called "Karinto". It looks remarkably like something you might find here. Tastes like a brown sugar churro. Yummy.

Okay, one last thing. I, tornwordo, have a new word for you. The word defines itself and therefore needs no definition, and an example of which is kind of like this sentence.


That's eight syllables!

God I'm a geek. Ciao!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Talking to Québequois

Wednesday means I'm out the door by six. As a testament to my love for all you wonderful blog family members, I have been pestering my loved ones and students. Yes, I have been preparing something special for you (okay, maybe it's not all that special, but I did think and work on it a lot. Stuff even ended up on the cutting room floor.) I put together these two little videos with my cellphone. I am still learning about what I can do with the video DJ function. It's pretty cool to say the least. My big complaint is that it loses quality when you upload to Youtube. It's already a small file, but they shrink it even further. I really need to invest in a new digital camera with video function. I'm still using my first with a whopping 1.3 megapixels (1998) and of course no video function.

Anyway, the topic for this week's "Talking to Quebecers" is Poutine!

And now, after having watched the "description", here's your host with the real thing (I'll have you know that we had poutine DELIVERED. We have never done this before. But I'm sure (I mean I hope) you're curious by now: TA DAH!

*Bonus points for those who can spot the non-quebecer in the first video

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


And it self perpetuates, the lack of sleep one night perpetuating the fear of further sleepless nights. The fear arouses insomnia and the cycle begins again.

Stop my mind, I want to get off.

Years ago, I saw Buck Henry on The Tonight Show. Johnny was trying to have some laughs with him, Buck being a comedy writer and all, and Buck just rattled off a practically incoherent account of his five weeks of sleepless nights, and of his terrible insomnia that was making him think deep, dark thoughts. It scared the hell out of me. He wasn't being funny, he was out of his mind hysterical, and for some reason I saw the potential for this happening to me.

You see, sleep is a fickle lady, fast and solid for weeks at a time, but then temperamental for no discernible reason. Without her help at night, I am lost at day and bound by a miserable black grinding hole in my abdomen. (This can't be good for blogging either.) I smile the smile of a cancer patient, and I push through it. (I really need my sleep, but I also have accepted that I won't always get it. Sometimes I know I won't sleep well like the night before traveling, but at least that I can plan for.)

So it went like this: woke at two, thought, "what if I can't get back to sleep, shh, don't think that" and then adrenaline squirt into my system, heartbeat rose and I was awake the rest of the night. Tried to sleep. Moved spouse each time he snored. Listened to spouse and dog breathe. Heard upstairs neighbors get up, get ready and leave.

Soon the hallucinations will start. I can't believe I have to do this day.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Insomniatically speaking

Ugh, Sara woke me at three this morning to go out and poo. Unfortunately, I couldn't get back to sleep. This makes two consecutive messed-up sleep nights. I am not built for that, sigh.

And I am certainly not equipped for creative thought today.

About the best I can do is pull platitudes out of the jar......

This too shall pass.

Buck up!

That which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

Without suffering, there can be no joy.

Then again, if I had the dog stuffed, she couldn't wake me anymore. Anyone know a taxidermist? (What kind of a person becomes a taxidermist? I think that's worse than an embalmer.)

I'm kidding people. Sheesh.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Nothing new since yesterday. Unless you count the fact that I went to give the dog a kiss on the bed (she looked so cute) at about 7:30 last night and the next thing I knew, it was 3 in the morning. I still had my shoes on! I tried to sleep after that, but mostly only tossed and turned.

So I'm just not feeling it this morning peeps. We've got a gloomy all day rain going on, and soon we will be invoked for a breakfast date. But like I always say for posts like this - yay, you're already done with it.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

The sandwich

Relationships can be challenging sometimes, especially after the effects of cumulative time shared. And when oral communication fails as it often does, gestures become far more important. This is a small tale of failed communication and successful gestures that took place just this week.

I had nearly finished my morning routine when spouse stirred and shuffled to the kitchen for coffee. "Bonjour," he said as he passed me at my desk catching up on blogs before going to work. "Bonjour," I said as I got up to follow him to the kitchen. "Before I forget, can you ask Ed if he received my invoice?" ( I give classes at his work and Ed is the accounts payable guy.)

"You know how to ask. Do it yourself," came the reply, which I read as highly hostile, but which was more likely due to the fact that he had just gotten out of bed. I pretended to ignore the hostility and whined," Oh, come on, I don't have time this morning and I can't understand him on the phone and because...." But I didn't have the chance to finish because snipy bastard spouse said, "Because what? Why can't you do it? You're not a baby." (elongated sarcastic accent on the baby)

Then I raised my voice. (How did things degenerate so quickly?)

"I ask one fucking simple question, a fucking YES or NO question in fact and all you can be is shitty. Forget it. Just forget I said anything."

I stormed back to my desk and muttered, "Why is it always me who is the asshole. All I did was ask a question." (I can be pretty good at that "what? what are you lookin' at me for, I didn't do anything" self-deception thing)

After that it was the cold war the rest of the morning. The two of us stayed in separate rooms and for the next half hour until it was time for me to go to work. I left without a word, still pissed, and he remained silent upon my departure as well. No goodbye kisses.

I arrived at my first lesson and opened my bag to take out the class materials. And inside, right on top, there was a homemade sandwich from spouse in a baggy.

And then I smiled, and wistfully laughed, and everything was okay.

Friday, April 21, 2006


* Here's the problem with "save the best for last": What if you die first?

* Wanting to be taught is not the same as wanting to learn. Only those wanting to learn can be taught.

* I often used to think, "I hate it when that happens." I realized that my worldview was too often filtered through the "I hate" lens. So I made a conscious decision not to let my thoughts go there. Now I often think, "I love...." And because of that, I have become a different person.

* In Los Angeles, people coat their homes with stucco. In Montreal, it's all brick and stone. Can't do the bricks in LA because of earthquakes, can't do the stucco in Montreal because of winter. (oh, and it's a law too in both places.)

* Satisfaction is not a normal human condidtion. It must be learned and practiced.

* If a woman wears a shirt with writing on the front, I figure she wants me to look at her breasts.

* If a man wears a shirt with writing, I figure it's because he wants to look at the breasts of the girls reading him.

* Sometimes I think the earth is ready to shake us off, like a dog after a swim.

* Toejam is an urban legend.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

HNT - Swan Song

Alright people, it's been fun. I've ridden the HNT bandwagon for long enough. It has been a swell ride that has challenged my self photography skills (giggle).

But the blog goes on, and though I'm giving up a big weekly boost in traffic, I feel that my participation has run its course.

(Okay, I may occasionally participate but only if I get inspired.)

So for my swan song, I am going to put up the photo that I posted once before, for 24 hours.

After that story I told last week, this seems like nothing in comparison.

Enjoy and Happy HNT!

(And by the way, I am holding the camera and taking the shot into the mirror.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What the f...

I reached into the pantry for a late night snack - Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Peanut Bars. I like these because they remind me of Payday candy bars which aren't sold here. Anyway, what I pulled out was a tube of Blistex. What the f$%k? I found it so strange, how did a tube of Blistex get into our box of granola bars? I took the box out to look inside. All was normal. Didn't make sense, I didn't buy any Blistex, spouse doesn't use lip balm, weird!

And then I read the box.

Forgive me for saying so, but thank you for not putting bathroom products in my foodstuffs.

What marketing moron thought this up!?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mesh and conflict

Here's the backyard.

Now that we have the two thousand dollar storage house, Spouse is not at all happy with the existing patio furniture. We bought that banquet table for fifty bucks for our wedding reception (which was held in our huge loft, now gone from our possession) and which served us well as the cake table. While I'm at it, here is a picture of the cake.

Have I ever told the story of how Em and I made our wedding cake for the wedding? Another day perhaps, just know this: Pay someone! Anyway, back to my thirftiness, (see the wedding cake digression works) when we moved into this place with a real backyard, I suggested we use that table in the backyard. And so we have, it's durable, it cleans up easily, okay it's a little plain and possibly homely, but does the job for up to six people.

Spouse claims that a table with an umbrella is necessary so that the tenants upstairs cannot see us when we are eating outside. (????whatthehellishetalkingabout????)

It is this kind of logic I am not equipped to successfully argue against. There is some quality of "being watched" that spouse doesn't like, and if I pooh-pooh that, we get nowhere. So I bargain for time.

"Can we just muddle through one more summer with this one, and get one half price at the end of the season this year."

He stops to think about it and then starts with the whiny Nooooooo. "You decide everything." Pouty. (Working me.)

And then I add that an air conditioner was going to be the next purchase as we had previously discussed. Cat furball noises and rolling of the eyes greet my comment. (He doesn't agree.)

And this is where we are so amazingly different. I would much rather spend money on an air conditioner than a patio table. It charms me how we are, how we mesh and conflict. Happiness.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Peppertree Park part 4 (final)

Part 3 2 1

Warning: graphic gay sexual scenes

Once in the car, Gary kept an eye out for anyone who may have noticed him picking up the boy, especially the police. He asked Eric his age and where he went to school as he checked the rearview mirror and nervously drove into a nearby housing development. Eric answered his questions and asked the same of Gary. Gary took Eric's hand and placed it into his lap where Eric could feel Gary's excitement. Eric had a sinking feeling about it all (Where is he taking me!!!) but continued ignoring it, his quest for this knowledge too strong for him to deny.

Gary stopped at a new park created in a just finished neighborhood. Some homes still didn't have grass yet. There was no one in this park as they drove up and parked. Gary and Eric got out of the car and headed for the restroom located in the middle of a large field of grass. And again their hearts beat faster, and the anticipation rose and then they were there, inside, tearing open shirts, and kissing.

Eric had never kissed a man and wasn't sure he liked it. His interest in this whole affair was really to check out other male sexual organs, and he was already freaked out about how MUCH he realized he wanted to check them out. So the kissing wasn't really fun, it felt like kissing his father, and he tried to give his attention to Gary's (really big) penis. And then things got worse.

Gary, excited as hell about the boy, was thrilled to see him move down there. As Eric took it in his hands and shyly touched it with his mouth, Gary thought he would explode right there. Then Gary's instinct took over and he put his hand behind the boy's head to guide him.

Yes, Eric was blowing Gary.

In his excitement, Gary pushed harder, faster and more furiously with his hand. Didn't he notice Eric's repeated gagging? He couldn't see the gag-induced tears streaming down Eric's face and really just got caught up in his own orgasm which he let fly while he banged Eric's face into his crotch so brutally. Eric gagged and choked and sputtered as they separated, Gary's cum dripping off his chin onto his shirt. When Gary saw the boy like this, shame flew into him as fast as his his lust had. He went to get some toilet paper from the stall and wiped himself and handed a wad of it to Eric.

"I've really got to go, thanks and see you around." Gary said and left, taking with him a big chunk of Eric's innocence.

And now we have the shot panning away from Eric, dirty and orgasmless, wiping himself up. We see Eric leave the building and walk across the park grass in the direction of his home. The camera rises into the sky until the park is a wee patch of green in a sea of city. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" plays. The final line appears on the screen: Eric never went back to Peppertree Park.


Okay so yeah, maybe that last part there is a way of distancing myself from all of this. Jesus H Christ on a stick, but that was more than I had bargained for when I started writing that. This befalls me often, this not thinking things through stuff. You know I love reading Farmboyz tales of seedy excursions. His power with the pen makes everything seem beautiful (for there truly is beauty in everything) and I wanted to try my hand at it. I thought about this story because of the amazing excitement of discovery, but once I started really getting into it, I realized that that event had a lot more to it, much of which I haven't even thought about for a long time. So, what I thought was going to be a story about discovery was really a story of rape, go figure. And then I discovered that I have some shit deep down, issues if you will, with this. (And I don't have a therapist, but if I did, I'm sure we'd start here.) So, now it ends up being kind of a painful story instead of uplifting. Ugly? not really. Beautiful? certainly not.
Anyway, sorry to thrust all this on you, we'll go back to our regular and more superficial programming tomorrow.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Peppertree Park part 3

Part 1 Part 2

Warning: this story is graphic in its depiction of homosexual intimacy. If you are easily offended by such illustrations, please do come back another day.

As before, Eric found no one in the restroom when he entered, and so he went to the only stall which had no door. He pulled down his pants and sat down. He heard Gary come in. Both of the human hearts in the room were beating a stacatto rhythm, fueled by anticipation. Gary approached the urinal and let out his already rigid penis and began stroking it. Eric looked through the hole, and again, even as his loins were on fire, it felt like his stomach wanted to be in his mouth. He began to stroke himself too and turned away for a moment. Gary, on the other side of the divider, knew the boy must be there but had neither heard nor seen any usual sign of interest. Normally these would come in the form of either a sound or a movement from inside the stall. Eric, ecstatically terrified, more paralyzed than anything else, was as quiet and immobile as possible. Only his breath finally gave him away. Gary thought he heard the breathing and decided to verify. He bent down and peered into the hole.

Eric turned back again to look through the hole and saw a huge eyeball peering through. Whump! Shame sprang to life and spread out over his body like a million itchy bugs, if only he could disappear. He quickly pulled up his trousers and stood up and it felt like the blood would pass through the pores of his face. And then Gary appeared before him. It was really only a couple of steps, but the implications were enormous. Here stood Gary, with his dick out and erect, and a cornered, but out of his mind thrilled teenage boy not knowing what to say or do. "Can I see your dick?" asked Gary simply. He wasn't entirely sure if Eric had reached the crucial age yet, and needed to verify. Eric exposed his own brand of concrete. "Would you like to go for a drive? I'm Gary." Eric replied simply, "Eric" and nodded his affirmative answer. "Wait here a minute and I'll drive around to the corner, you come out and wait and I'll pick you up." Eric waited and pondered what he was doing. This was big, this was exciting, this was very scary. Ways to get out of it crossed his mind and thoughts of "What am I doing?" made the shame burn more strongly. It was inevitable though, the driving lust for knowing led him out the door and over to the corner to wait for Gary.

In the car alone, Gary had his own struggle. "What the hell are you doing, he can't be a day over 13, you can go to prison for this!" And then the rationalisation, "But the boy wants it too, there is nothing wrong, as long as we don't get caught." (I'd like to point out that in this part of the story I am not going to go into the bitterness coming up as I write. Because where we can forgive a thirteen year old poor judgement, we should not forgive the adult in this situation who does. Or should we? I know, I know this is what my therapist is for.) Waffling back and forth in his mind, there was finally no question once Gary saw the tall blond boy waiting for him at the corner. He slowed down and pulled over and Eric jumped in, ready for adventure.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

This 'n that for a Saturday morning

This is the new "garden shed" for the backyard. Looks so cute doesn't it? Spouse loves it to death, and though I find it useful, it cost way too much. (We had some heated moments over the necessity of a window in a storage shed, you can see who prevailed.)

I'm still not ready with the rest of the Peppertree Park story. The last bit is proving more difficult to pen. It feels like hard and dirty work digging up that day from memory.

It's raining this morning and supposed to be showery for the weekend. Yesterday was over 60 degrees (16 celsius) and sunny, everyone was out, I went out too and got a haircut, did the grocery shopping and walked the dog in the park. Had to. Today looks like a stay inside day.

Somehow the stars aligned and we both have four consecutive days off. Neither of us knew until Thursday that this would be the case. During our excitement of pondering FOUR DAYS OFF, we thought about getting out of town, visiting friends, popping off to Toronto, and then we realized how stressful all of that would be, so we are staying home ON PURPOSE. Puttering is heaven, I tell you.

Have a great day everyone, I'll go get to work on that story. See you soon!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday Snippets

* There's nothing quite like the hiccups to keep you in the moment, is there?

* Here's why religion is such a problem. You say to someone, "Hey. what's 9 divided by 3?" and they answer, "Four." When you furrow your brow and dispute the answer, they note your lack of faith, and (feign) pity for your eventual and eternal damnation.

* While periods of time such as years and months can be substantiated by the movement of heavenly bodies, weeks, minutes and hours are ficticious man-made quatities of time.

* Since You + Reality = Truth, there is no immutable truth. This is what they mean by "perception is reality".

* The expression "the straw that broke the camel's back" is different in French. It's "the last drop that made the vase overflow".

* If we can view all problems as "chances for growth and learning" then there are no more problems.

* It is possible to disentangle "sex" from "love". I suspect this is easier for males.

* "Never give up?" Bullshit. Sometimes giving up is the best course of action.

* Have you ever realized how much more volume of space birds have than we do? We are (except in planes) restricted to essentially the ten feet of space above the earth's surface. Birds have at least a hundred times more space than we do. Perhaps they pity us for being such slaves to gravity.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Peppertree Park part 2

* Warning, the following contains material that may or may not be your cup of tea (pun intended). If you are squeamish about such things, you can skip this (and read part one first to know what I mean)

** I've been asking myself about the appropriateness of writing this story. It's a true story, so I feel that I can tell it. If it weren't true, I wouldn't be writing about this particular topic. Do I have to be careful about writing about what happened to ME when I was 13? I don't think I do, so here is part 2.

There are moments in life that impact us in a way that nothing else can. They are often tragic events, the loss of a child or the diagnosis of disease, and some are chameleon memories, starting out horrible but serving some greater understanding that can only later be appreciated. The loss of a job perhaps or the discovery of a cheating spouse might fall into this category. Still others herald the loss of innocence by direct experience. What to make of that? Do we cherish those moments that opened our eyes and thickened our skin, or do we nostalgically reflect on our unjaded youth? At Peppertree Park that late October afternoon, Eric was about to know something he could never have imagined.

The stall wall was scratched and marked with initials and phone numbers and the hole carved into it was crudely made, perhaps with a pocketknife. When Eric turned and looked at the hole, he saw a huge erection slowly being pet by someone standing at the urinal on the other side of the wall. This was the first time he had ever seen an adult male with an erection. Eric immediately turned away and his attention stood up. His heart beat quickly as a hummingbird's even as a large knot seemed to be constricting his windpipe. Eric was no longer in control of his senses. He slowly turned again to see and, BAM, his heart shot again and he thought he would explode down there. Flushed and panicky, he stood up and pulled up his pants and scurried out of the bathroom and headed for home.

Eric spent the rest of the afternoon "reflecting" on the experience. He was going to have this routine for another two weeks and the thought thrilled him. Did he think about why the other men were there? Did he imagine interacting with them? No. For some reason, he thought that men simply went there to stand at the urinal like that while someone watched from the stall. Ah the naivete. The next two days were rainy and Eric did not go to the park on his way home. But on the third day, a brisk but sunny afternoon, he went again to the bathroom at Peppertree Park. This time was going to be different but he didn't know it yet.

Gary was thirty-two that year and had recently risen to partner in the law firm where he worked. His wife had birthed their daughter ten years before, and though he had once been in love with her, he sought to serve his desire in other ways now. Gary was really just another gay man living a straight life which was not all that uncommon at the time. Peppertree Park was Gary's friday afternoon "treat" before going home for the weekend. He liked to park his car in the second spot from the bathroom so that he could see who came and went without having to look them in the eye. He saw Eric walking toward the bathroom and found himself shamefully excited by the boy's young age. He was quite surprised by his reaction on seeing Eric go into the bathroom. Without thinking, he got out of the car and followed the boy in.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Peppertree Park part 1

Eric stood six feet tall, skinny and towheaded, and some of his classmates had already noted something dandy about him. At thirteen, Eric was at that age where every day seemed to herald some new feeling or even some new physical attribute. Neither child nor man, he lived in some kind of in between stage like the cocooned caterpillar. Although he had tested the functioning of his procreational plumbing (much to his satisfaction I might add) he had never confirmed visually with others what he had come to know about his own equipment. He was curious about that, to be sure, but also ashamed, knowing somehow the societal taboo of expressing such an interest.

But the universe has a way of delivering where the furtive thoughts of a teenage boy cannot.

When he started 8th grade that year, he found himself with a new kind of eye in the locker room. This new eye served well his fantasies bred in the dark safety of the night and his bed, but this tale is not about the ordinary discoveries of a teenage boy, it's about something so exciting, even his most extravagant ideas could not have prepared him for that October.

Eric's mother had recently taken a new husband and to celebrate, had gone off for a month abroad. This meant that he would stay with his father and use an hour of public transportation each way to attend school. One day after making the long bus ride home after school, he felt the need to relieve his bowels. His dad's house was a 15 minute walk from the bus stop and he hustled along in the butt-clenching walk typical of someone about to have an excreplosion. He was only half way home when he began to consider that he might not be able to make it. As you can imagine, the thought of shitting one's pants was especially terrible for a boy of that age. But then he remembered the park. Peppertree Park was just ahead and wasn't there a public restroom there? The possibility only made his bowels press more fervently, and his gait become more hurried.

A small brick building lay at the other side of the park and Eric shuffled and shimmied across that grass as fast as he could. He did not notice the half dozen cars parked nearby with a single man in each one. He dashed into the bathroom (Thank GOD it was really a bathroom!!!) and with only a moment to spare, managed to get his pants down before the swift shitting of water took place. And then something caught his eye to the right of his head. He turned to see a hole that had been carved through the stall wall. What he saw through that hole, he would remember forever.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Marital blister 2

After thirteen years with a person, you get pretty used to their shit. And by shit I mean, habits, likes, dislikes, moods, and behavior patterns. We've all got them and with any luck, we find partners willing to put up with them. The fastest way to the destruction of a relationship is when one of the parties thinks they can actually change the other, but then you knew that, didn't you?

I was hacked off by spouse twice yesterday and unfortunately for him, I'm going to tell you about it. The first was when I made dinner (steak, pasta and brussel sprouts) and served it. He bitched and moaned about the quantity (he always says my portions are too big, but come on, it was 3 brussel sprouts, a tiny bit of pasta because I know he gets cranky about big portions, and a nice juicy steak) and whined bitterly about how I will never learn. I thought the plates looked beautiful and delicious and was quite clipped that none of his bitching was preceded by "thank you". Sometimes I think we are more civil to complete strangers on the telephone than we are to each other.

Then when I woke up at 1:30 last night to go pee, I saw that he was at my computer using the mouse and the keyboard! He saw me and before I could say a word, he said "You had a virus. I'm fixing it!" Of course I was upset because the last time he dickered with my computer, files mysteriously disappeared (it's not his fault, he swears) and so I went to stand next to him to monitor what he was doing on my computer. Plus I was in wadded pantyland because I wanted to be back in bed. He was supremely irritated that I was treating him like a child. Sigh. When he came to bed a few minutes after, we took careful pains not to touch each other in any way, both of us petulantly holding our little grudge.

So today I have to calm myself down, take a deep breath and remember those good things. Like the fact that he sets up the coffee pot every night so that I will have hot coffee ready for me when I wake up. (I always get up first) Really, I owe him a lot of patience and tolerance just for that thing there.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Question drill

Sometimes in class, I do a question drill. It's a little exercise where I fire off ten questions and challenge the students to answer as quickly and accurately as possible. It goes something like this:

What's your name?
Where do you live?
How long have you lived there?
Who do you live with?
And what time is it right now?
How many brothers and sisters do you have?
Where do you work?
What's your telephone number?
When did you wake up this morning?
How much money do you make?

And then there is always an uncomfortable moment, and I burst out laughing. Because, of course, that last question crosses the boundary of, well, questions. Is it ever appropriate (outside of one's spouse) to discuss salary? Personally, I've never had a problem revealing mine to anyone. I am neither boastful nor ashamed. It is what it is. So it amuses me helplessly when people refuse to answer this. (Not that I pester people about it, but it has come up.) I have one friend in particular who finally, after knowing him for over a decade, revealed his salary. (But only, I suspect, because it is a new job with a very boastable wage.) There are other taboo questions in our society of course. Sometimes instead of that last question, I'll use, "How much do you weigh?" But only with really advanced students, most of the time they are confused by the sense and think "way".....not so funny. When they get it though, that's funny.

Just a little glimpse there of my sadistic side.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Tooth grinding Sunday

Madonna tickets went on sale here yesterday. $350 for a decent seat. Thousands of people presented themselves for the chance to be raped by this enterprise. The cheapest seats are $55 and while technically in the building, do not afford a clear view of the performance. Plus, fans get the added bonus of more anal gashing torture with the nine dollar beer conveniently available on site. Not only that, but miss thing (that dates me, doesn't it) will probably stub her toe get hoarse and skip us entirely. Bitch.

Sorry about that, I've stepped down to the #2 patch. This means my body is receiving less nicotine. This also means that cantankerousness abounds of the sort I imagine you would experience walking in on your teenage child penetrating your beloved pet. Or perhaps upon the discovery of pubic lice in your very own home.

This reminds me of the time I actually had pubic lice in the home. My ex and I had taken in a friend of ours who was down on his luck and going through finding out he was positive. He stayed a few days before he found a more permanent setting. A couple of days later, we were sitting on the couch and both P and I were scratching our arms, and it was P who shrieked first, "What? What is this?" He had scraped out one of the crabs from his arm hair. The ensuing hours included much hysteria as we discovered the house and our bodies were infested. We found them everywhere on our bodies that hair grew. Eyebrows, eyelashes(!), arms, legs, pubes, everywhere. It was the most horrifying, creepy crawly realization. It would be days before we had a successful handle on the situation. Nit combs and Rid were our constant obsession, along with frequent waves of the willies.

I hate everything. I'm in a lousy mood.

In other news, I'm sick and tired of repeating the same damn shit to the same damn students fifty million times. I'm patient, but sometimes it's like using a nail clipper to mow the lawn. I get this way every year about this time, anxious for the summer vacation, sick and tired of teaching the same things, correcting the same mistakes.

Must find a way to laugh.

It's sunny, I think I'll take the dog for a walk. Peace.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Couple of things

I've been having smoking dreams. The worst is the dream where I'm smoking a cigarette, and then I "remember" that I have quit and then I experience a huge crushing guilt about it and wake up. Then last night I dreamt Spouse was smoking in the house and when I tried to move the ashtray with burning cig in it outside, he protested and said he had the "right" to smoke in the house, and then I woke up. Going to step 2 on the patch tomorrow, perhaps I'm having some anticipatory anxiety about it. Plus, night before last, as a special bonus, I woke up in the morning with clothes on in bed. I had gone to bed naked, and woke up like that. You know what that means. Sleepwalking again. Sigh.

Life is so busy right now which is reflected in the blog by listlike posts. I enjoy it, but thrice in one week seems a bit much, as Spouse so snatchily kindly pointed out. I've got four more weeks of these crazy work committments before it eases up.

I took a little video of the Tire, the maple syrup lollipop thing described on Tuesday. This is traditionally done outdoors. We were inside, however, because it was pouring rain outside that day.

Em has got me thinking (again) about the heinous acts of the administration in power. Seems that internet communications have been secretly surveilled for several years with the help of AT&T. Emails, chat, sites visited and the like. And I think Em hit it on the head when she said we could all look bad under the proper lens. Go check her latest posts and see if it doesn't make your blood boil.

Finally a pic of my bébé, atop the lookout point on Mont Royal last Sunday. It looks like today is going to be equally fabulous.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Friday snippets

* I'm wearing sunglasses again. I usually don't need them in the winter. This picture is from Sunday atop Mont Royal (the 1000 foot hill in the middle of the city.

* I noticed that they're selling new shoes with a "dirty" look. Dirt as fashion statement. Agape doesn't begin to define my facial expression.

*Lebanese food is big in Montreal. I like it, but I usually don't know exactly what I'm eating.

* The personal lives of celebrities hold no interest for me. (Currently anyway. I do recall some interest in OJ and Woody Allen some time back)

* If voting (like driving) is a privilege, why don't we have to pass some kind of test first? Shouldn't people have to prove that they understand the question before they answer it?

* The sun is a good teacher. It is necessary for survival but too much gives sunburn.

* I've never seen a baby pigeon or seagull. Do they hatch as adults? Have you ever seen a seagull or pigeon "chick"?

* I've been thinking lately how western culture/media encourages us to indulge our every whim. "You deserve it", "Just do it" , "Because you're worth it" and the like are teaching us not only to respond to our every base desire, but also to avoid any and all instances of discomfort.

And it breeds the feeling of entitlement, which I abhor.

I'm sorry, but I don't think our purpose here is to sit around, indulging every whim and hiding out from discomfort. There's got to be more to it than that.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

HNT Crackin' it

I've noticed on Survivor that they are now blurring the top of the crack that is sometimes visible on guys wearing low-riding, surfer style bathing suits. I find it ridiculous that the current puritanical mania gripping America has led to a team of workers blurring the tops of buttcracks.

Ridiculous as in worthy of ridicule.

Personally, a little crack shot, while possibly offputting on an overweight plumber, is quite pleasant on the finely built Survivor contestants.

In fact, to prove that it's not all that unpleasant, I give you my crack for HNT.

Also, I don't know what "worksafe" means.

If you are hesitatant (mom?) scroll no further.

Confused about HNT? Don't be, inform yourself here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I loathe

* leaving for work at 6am on Wednesday

* snow on April 5th (snowed all night too)

* the now covered, but recently revealed filth after the spring snowmelt

* the business model for selling new cars (except for Saturn maybe)

* Bush for making me ashamed to be American

* Hummers and the men who drive them

* wearing ties

* tardiness

* inconsiderate people in public places

* back seat drivers

* people who loathe too many things

(don't worry, at some future time I'll do a balancing "I adore" post)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sugar Shack! (aka super boring post ahead)

Today, I'll be having a Cabane à Sucre (sugar shack feast) for lunch. Traditionally, this feast is partaken in on a maple sugar farm outside the city. I've been to several which range from simple intimate affairs to all out Disney style parties with horse rides, shows, dancing and entertainment. Today's, however, is sponsored by one of the companies where I give English classes. I'll get to the foodstuffs in a moment.

The sugar shack is a feast celebrating the harvesting of sugar from the sugar maple, a tree that thrives in this region. In fact, Québec is by far the world's leading producer of maple syrup. (What's that about Vermont? Please, don't make me laugh.) This can only be done during specific climatic conditions that occur, give or take, about 3 weeks per year. (It must be below freezing at night, and above freezing during the day for the sap to run.) The longer these climatic conditions persist, the better the harvest will be for the year. Thousands of Québec families are able to make a living from maple syrup and the Cabane à Sucre feast offered on most maple farms.

Because the feast is traditional, you are likely to have the same meal no matter where you go. You'll have pea soup to start, then you'll have a plain omelet, beans, and ham. You will pour maple syrup on these things. You will eat pickled onions, cornichons and Christ's ears (fried pork rinds). For dessert, you'll have sugar pie and Nun's farts (kind of like a doughnut). As an aside, I'd like to report that I am not making up the name of the doughnut thing. And nobody finds the name funny here, as I do.

You'll be stuffed beyond belief because it is "all you can eat". Finally, when you get up to walk around ouside, you'll remember the traditional "Tire" where hot maple syrup is poured over the snow, and you twirl a popsicle stick in it to make your own maple syrup lollipop. You'll have thought you couldn't eat anymore, but you'll eat the lollipop anyway.

And by the way, maple syrup tastes good on nearly everything.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A set of 40 questions

I stole this from Greg.

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops?
No, but my car has been searched by them twice.
2. Do you close your eyes on roller coasters?
No, that would cause vomiting.
3. When's the last time you've been sledding?
A couple years ago, I did this, does that count?

I don't think I've ever been on a real sled.
4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone?
Is this a trick question? Alone in bed, someone else in the room.
5. Do you believe in ghosts?
Define ghost.
6. Do you consider yourself creative?
I hate to make such bold claims of myself, but yes, I enjoy making things, writing, and composing music.
7. Do you think O.J. killed his wife?
Is the Pope Catholic?
8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?
Who are they again?
9. Can you honestly say you know ANYTHING about politics?
All I need to know is that politics is this: it's the art of getting money from the rich and votes from the poor on the promise of protecting one from the other.
10. Do you know how to play poker?
Of course.
11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?
Yes, and I once slept for 19 hours straight. I think those events are somehow connected.
12. What's your favorite commercial?
I flip during commercials.
13. Who was your first love?
Karen Lake, 4th grade, she broke my heart when she told me she had been "felt up" by another boy.
14. If you're driving in the middle of the night, and no one is around how fast do you go?
15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you?
No. I let it all pretty much hang out.
16. Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?
Who? Those are team thingies right? They run around with some kind of ball, right?
17. Have you ever been Ice Skating?
Sure, every Christmas Eve.
18. How often do you remember your dreams?
Maybe one dream a month.
19. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
Yesterday watching a funny home made cell phone video.
20. Can you name 5 songs by The Beatle's?
21. What's the one thing on your mind?
Not smoking.
22. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Sure, I experience it everytime I see an ice cream cone.
23. Do you know who Ba-Ba-Booey is?
No, should I?
24. Why is there no question 24?
That was so funny I fell off my dinosaur and broke my wooden underwear.
25. What talent do you wish you had?
A good singing voice.
26. Do you like sushi?
Especially Toro.
27. Have you ever narrowly avoided a fatal accident?
Yes, and ever since I've been more prudent behind the wheel.
28. What do you wear to bed?
29. Have you ever been caught stealing?
Yes, and then I got fired.
30. Does size matter?
Depends on the body part.
31. Whats the coolest thing you think you've done?
Bungee jumping comes to mind.
32. Rock or Rap?
I prefer music to noise.
33. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be?
Such a strange question, let's see, maybe David Duchovney.
34. Do you know anyone in jail?
35. Have you ever sang in front of the mirror?
You mean SUNG? Have I ever sung in front of the mirror? No, but I often do in the shower.
37. What food do you find disgusting?
I can't think of one thing. Maybe those bugs or rocky mountain oysters from fear factor.
38. Did you ever play, "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours"?
Yes, and much much more.
39. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their back?
Probably, but only in a good natured way. If they're my friends, I love them.
40. Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Yes, and it got me a trip to Hong Kong.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Hanging in there

It's day 17. It's almost getting harder now, this constant self denial, and the comical thinking that just one isn't going to blow it for me (yeah, right). I know that (Like Christie said) if you take one, you're a smoker again. And the corollary is also true, "once you give yourself permission, quantity is no longer an issue." I sure wish Spouse would quit, I would certainly think about it less if he did. I'll just have to get used to the cranky/edgy thing that I've become, I suppose.

Not helping things is that Guy (pronounced ghee) upstairs has "the kids" this weekend. I shit you not, his son was rollerblading in the apt yesterday on top of us. The kids contstantly wrestle with one another, and there is bang, bang, banging all the time. The eldest daughter could also be heard yesterday morning getting quite a happy face on from her boyfriend, and when Guy tired of the "Mmmmm"ing, and "Ahhhh"ing coming from their room, his shouting could be heard around the neighborhood. (Think short, Italian, New Yorky hothead. Verrrrry expressive.)

At one point the banging was so loud, Serge had to call upstairs to tell the kids to stop. (Thinking that Guy must have run off to the store or something) Guy answered and it is just impossible to believe that he is present with all the banging going on. He must just tune it out or something. He acts like it's out of his hands. He screams at the kids, it's quiet for fifteen minutes, and then it starts again. Arrrgh.

I don't have much positive to say, so I guess I'll go. I'll try to cheer up, get outside a little. I've got a big week ahead. Oy.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

How to make perfect french fries

Our friend Dan has shown us the proper method for perfect french fries every time. It's a rather counterintuitive method, but he has repeated it for us many times and it always comes out delish. I decided to take pictures of his work to share with you. Now, Dan recommends Gold Yukon potatoes, but it works with ANY kind. I promise. So the first thing you want to do is cut up the potatoes in thin strips and keep the size small a la McDonalds. Place the freshly cut fries into a bowl with COLD water. Leave it there for at least 5 minutes or up to an hour. (Dan says longer is better, but we are always impatient.)

Now pour out the water and spread the fries out on a dry towel, and lightly dab.

Martinis are not required, but add a certain joviality to the french fry making.

Here is the size that works best for this recipe.

Now the next thing you want to do is put about a half on inch of oil into a pan like the one shown. Use whatever oil you like but we prefer half olive oil, half corn oil. Do not turn on the heat yet!

Put the fries into the cold oil. (I know it's strange, but DO it. Trust me.)

Turn the burner up to med-med high (we have it on 7 on a dial that is 1 -10). Wait. Finish up the rest of the meal. In this case it was my meat from a previous HNT.

Eventually, (and I say this, because it takes a while, but just wait for it, and don't turn up the heat, ok, promise me.) the fries will turn golden. Now you can fish them out and place them in a paper towel lined bowl or plate and sprinkle with salt. Unbelievably good. I swear. Crunchy on the outside and just right on the inside. (And no, this is not an April fool's joke recipe.)