Wednesday, February 28, 2007

You asked for it

The little ditty I hammered out on the weekend is pretty fresh, but I still have to play it everyday so I don't forget it. Spouse has been through this routine before. As I was playing yesterday before dinner, he started giggling and making remarks. "All your songs sound the same, like they are from the 70's." The more I protested, the more he laughed. Oh well, I play for myself. I have no grand delusions of professional playing (though I did pinch hit for the lobby pianist at the Hyatt one long ago Easter) nor do I consider myself an accomplished tunesmith. My playing is often referred to as "banging" but whatever. It's just a fun creative outlet for me. Kinda like this blog.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Gettin' under my skin

I received an anonymous comment yesterday.

"You are obnoxiously cheap. And you are proud of it?"

My answer is, "Why thank you, and yes."

Actually, I don't believe I'm *obnoxiously* cheap. Obnoxiously cheap is when you divide the restaurant bill with your friends and announce, "but I didn't have a coffee like you guys did." Or declining a wedding invitation so you don't have to spring for a gift. I do not do that.

The truth is, I've spent a good many years realizing that chasing around the greenbacks is more soul sucking than spending the greenbacks you have wisely. Call me lazy if you will. Being cheap for me is more of a necessity than a luxury. I haven't topped 20k a year since I moved away from California. Just the New York hotel is costing me over two weeks salary.

Proud? Sure. Even though I've always been in a low tax bracket, we've been able to acquire and grow our real estate ventures which are targeted to become our retirement revenue source in the future. We have friends who make twice what we make and are only now considering a first time home purchase.

How's this for cheap? We are going to pick through nude dancer's things for some New York outfits. I can't wait.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Me, me, me, blah, blah, blah

I am such a creature of habit. I alternate between hating this fact about myself or letting myself off the hook for it. Routine provides a sense of comfort for me, finding the same things in the same places, and doing the same things in the same way, on the same day. This weekend has been a challenge for me. You see, my little secret addiction, Literati, the Yahoo version of scrabble, has been down (DOWN! I AM NOT ADDICTED BUT I JUST DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO WITHOUT MY PLANNED GAMES SPRINKLED THROUGHOUT THE DAY, OKAY MAYBE IT'S LIKE FOUR-FIVE (max I swear) HOURS A DAY ON THE WEEKEND, I KEEP TELLING MYSELF, "JUST DEAL" BUT IT'S NOOOOOOT WORKING) since Thursday. I can't play much during the week, but winter weekends are perfectly suited to this activity. Instead this weekend, I planned a trip to New York and got the bulk of our income tax information entered into the software program. In my angst over Literati withdrawl, I started playing Tangleword again, the internet form of Boggle. And I felt energized and happy. Happy that I didn't have to feel destitute about my loss of the addictive hobby, happy that I could exercise my brain. ( there are far more deleterious activities of which I could partake in ) I quickly tired of it though and so I sat down at the piano and a song just came. Poof. Like it was just wafting around the apartment and I finally sat down to hammer it out. I feel like a fraud. I didn't really write the song, I just played a cord, a melody popped into my head and I worked it out. The creative process is a fickle affair, like bobbing for apples, and I'm just glad I was able to be a participant.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Arriving May 12th

I was on a mission yesterday. Secure accomodations for the May trip to New York. It is notoriously difficult (I discovered while sleuthing around the net) to get a good deal in May with "springtime in New York" in full swing and all the graduations taking place. First, I bought the train tickets so we were locked in. Then I tried the "permutation" strategy on Priceline. I'm not going to explain it here, but it enables you to make multiple bids for the same area. Once I reached my limit of permutations and was declined up to $145 a night, I called mom. We used the "permutation" strategy under her name up to $225 a night for a 4 star and were refused. She threw in the towel then and sprung for a $285 "special prepaid rate" for the Sheraton Times Square. I refused to follow suit.

Now I would be fine with (maybe even prefer) shared facilities and seedy locations, but spouse won't hear of it. So I took his credit card (why hadn't I thought of that before?) and started a new session on Priceline. At $157 for a 3 star, we finally had success. And then it turns out we're staying at an Ian Schrager Hotel, designs by Philippe Starck. Spouse nearly creamed at the news. (And then got on Google earth to look around the neighborhood) I was creaming at the $269 special web rate the hotel was offering for the same room - we saved $112 a night. The big drawback is the tiny rooms from what they say, but location and hip factor make it worth it.

More sleuthing. $27 for breakfast. (I can't describe the nausea such robbery induces) $6.50 for the Snickers in the Mini bar . Whole Foods at Columbus Circle just outside. CVS across the street. Hole in the wall places for sandwiches and breakfast outside the hotel. (whew, okay. I know NYC is expensive, but I want to spend on shows and nice dinners - not on $27 eggs.)

This bidding for travel thing is like going to a casino. A casino where you always WIN! I fracking love it.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Eye on the apple

The folks are flying out to New York in May, when a cousin is graduating from Columbia. When I learned of this, I said perhaps I would come down as well. It would mean a little rearranging of my classes and the train shouldn't be too expensive. I checked out the train fares and it's only $118 round trip. I just about clicked on purchase when I realized I hadn't checked out accomodations. Ugh. Have you ever stayed in a New York Hotel room? They are very small, cruise ship cabins are decidedly larger. And yet they still command over $300 a night. Even on priceline, it's gonna be $180 a night with tax.

I called mom to lament this state of things. She doesn't find it all that expensive on priceline, but I was thinking of renting someone's spare bedroom in Brooklyn for $80 a night.

Then spouse came home and announced he had landed another $3000 contract for his side business building web sites. This was unexpected. I said, "What do you think about taking the train to New York and going to my cousin's graduation? The folks will be there and we can see lots of shows. We can stay at a 4 star hotel for $900 for five nights." And his eyes lit up but then he said, "The train is 13 hours! I've done that." I informed him that the train is 10 hours and he harumphed and said, "Yah, that's what they SAY." (sarcastic intonation indicating that he believes that what they say is bullshit) "Well, are you up for it anyway?" And he said yes. Yippee! And with the extra contract he got, we can actually afford it. New York in May. I can't wait.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Snippets

* Some think that events occur by the laws of probablility and randomness. Others think there is meaning to the apparent randomness. I fall into the latter group.

* I've worked so hard to eliminate the voice that says, "I want" that I don't know what (or if) I truly want anymore. It's not such a bad place, this not-wanting.

* I can fan out my toes. This makes spouse shrink in horror.

* I asked a student if she liked chocolate mousse. She replied, "No, that's disgusting." I asked, "Why, don't you like chocolate?" She said, "Well, yes, but I really don't like moose." (Which they do indeed eat up here.)

* You get a tax credit here if you purchase a hybrid vehicle. I wouldn't count on Bush implementing such a policy.

* For those who constantly sing the virtues of Capitalism and disparage Socialism, I would suggest that a happy medium is possible. Quebecers are the most highly taxed citizens in North America. But. Day care is $7 a day. Maternity leave is paid by the government for one year and can be divided between the parents. And of course everyone is medically insured.

* In America, 20 cents of every dollar spent on anything goes to medical care. (I find this statistic heartbreaking.)

* The other day, Rox announced her pleasure at having never been afflicted with mycoxafloppin. Likewise, I'm glad I've never had a bout of mysnatchisitchin nor myboxisdrippin.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I love my job

I'm always trying to find ways to help students remember things more easily. For example, when a student says, "I took a coffee," I remind them that if it goes into the mouth, you "have it". Except for medicine. (They invariably groan at the mention of "exception". ) So yesterday, we were in class and the mistake "drive a motorcycle" was uttered by one of the girls. I stopped and gave them my little trick, "If it's got 2 wheels or 4 legs, you RIDE it." I let it ripple through their brains a bit and asked, "So what other things do you ride?"

Student 1: Horse!

Me: Excellent!

Student 2: Bicycle!

Me: Yes, good!

Student 3: My boyfriend!

I burst out laughing and admitted that yes, she could ride her boyfriend, but she might not want to mention that to his mother. As the other students were catching the drift of the meaning there, they began to giggle, glance at one another and get more excited. It was like a spirit had entered the room, the unstoppable giggle virus, and we all melted into it, succumbed, and couldn't get back to business for a good ten minutes.

I know for a fact they will never ever forget what the verb RIDE means.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

No time, no topic

That pretty much says it all, eh? Eh is about as Canadian as my accent gets. You will not hear me say "howoose" for house nor will you hear "agaynst" for against. From what I can tell, these are the best examples of the Canadian accent. Also it's funny how a little thing like "the" omitted from a common phrase really catches my attention. When they say on the news "so and so is in hospital", I think "THE hospital", but apparently that's an American thing.

Okay maybe there's a mini topic here, but certainly not worthy of a title. I'll try to do better tomorrow. Ta!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Loathesome creatures

A dreaded thing occurred yesterday. It's the chance you take when you travel public transportation at 3:30 in the afternoon. I was all set up on the commuter train to go out to the burbs to give a lesson. Had my coffee and my book and a padded seat by the window. The only other passenger on my car was knitting, the ticking of her needles mimicking the clack of wheels on track. The bright sun glimmered off of meter long icicles hanging from the eaves of passing buildings and I thought about how lovely it is to travel by train above ground. The train stopped and a mob of uniformed teenagers entered the car. What's bigger than a mob? Because this felt like the entire high school had boarded my car. Suddenly, it was 25 years ago in the cafeteria on a rainy day. The cacophany of excited hormone-oozing teenagers was harshing my mellow in a big way. I felt all Jane Goodall as I pretended to read and listened to the snippets of excited conversation around me. There were those posturing for attention with antics and slurs. There were the wannabees and the wallflowers, insecurity the common motivator of behaviour. There were at least 8 "fucking faggot" comments that I heard and I felt rage at the way these "kids" behaved as if they were the only people on the train. I've seen this before, no adults who know them are around, and they behave differently than I imagine them at home or in school. Differently as in obnoxiously.

And it depressed me. Seriously, it felt like I was with monkeys. Petty, insolent monkeys. And then I thought about how they will be running the world one day and how we adults are really just like them, we just learn to hide the motivation for our behaviour.

I took note of the car I had chosen and will be avoiding it for the rest of the session. I feel like I've passed my first test on the way to becoming Cranky Old Man.

Monday, February 19, 2007

How do they do it?

There is no ice cream man in the winter. I wonder what all the ice cream men do around here for the 7 cold months. If they were smart, they'd transform their little trucks and become Hot Chocolate Men. Admittedly though, perhaps that has a bit less kid appeal. Yesterday, as I was curled up on the couch reading, I noticed the buzzing and humming of big trucks and machines getting louder. I hopped up to look out the window and realized the Snow Removal Men were here. Okay, maybe not as giddifying as the Ice Cream Man, but it still got me up to grab the camera. Basically you've got a long line of dumptrucks and a huge snow blower to fill the dumptrucks. Once the head-of-the-line truck is full, it speeds off to dump the snow and another empty truck takes its place.

Here have a look:



The whole operation is pretty impressive but Spouse dorking out is still my favorite part of the video.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Just some more blather

This weekend is kind of a waste. I've caught some kind of bug and my body is in lockdown mode, fighting whatever virus is raging inside. I managed to do the marketing yesterday but that's about it. Oh and it looks like we found a renter for the soon to be vacated studio apartment. I tried to shovel some more of the snow off the back patio but I tired quickly and came back inside, shivering. Spouse is buried with work so he was less than compassionate, though in truth he's usually like that, "suck it up" being a kind of mantra for him.

Today I've got to try to get my week of lessons set up, planned and organized, and I've got to grade papers and prepare a quiz. This takes several hours. There is nothing poetic about it. It's the drudgery side of my job. At least it can be carried out while I'm in my bathrobe.

The sun is getting higher and higher in the sky. The path of the sun's march across the sky is starting further east and ending further west than weeks past. Each day, the light has a different quality, and the shadows are drawn in shrinking perspective. Every day, the sun reminds me of the hope of spring when everyone here will rejoice. Good times are a comin'.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Saturday photo dump

* All photos are clickable for humungohemoth versions.

This morning's view from the kitchen.

A scene from the window of a student's office window Thursday morning.

Same window, different view. Post storm, the downtown streets were eerily vacant for 8am on a weekday.

Down on the ground in the same area. The wind and blowing snow were painful.

Then just a few meters down, this.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Snippets

* With blowing snow, you can see the dance of the wind.

* Pom-poms on your cap are definitely not in this year.

* Sometimes spouse and I talk about selling everything and becoming renters again. I know this is "wrong" thinking, but we think about it anyway.

* I love the French equivalent to the English term "brown-noser". It's "asshole licker".

* There is no such thing as language purity. All languages evolve to the point where they become uncomprehensible after a few hundred years. No part of the language is safe from this evolutionary force: neither the structure, grammar, noun forms nor word order are safe from it - all of it changes.

* I dreamt I ran into the one who broke my heart (whom I've never written about here btw) I was irritated in the dream because he's dead and I wasn't prepared to see him alive. I purposely avoided acknowledging him. Maybe I never really got over that one.

* New Canadian dietary guidelines are out. If all previous guidelines are now bunk, why should I believe the new ones?

* How about these for dietary guidelines: Eat when you're hungry. Stop when you're full. Avoid sugar. Oh and if something doesn't agree with you, don't eat it anymore.

* Here's why you shouldn't listen to me. In the store yesterday, I needed vitamins and the children's and elderly vitamins were both on sale - half off. The adult vitamins were at full price. So I bought the old man vitamins since I'm closer to 50 than 10. (Plus I'm a cheapskate.)

* Having "perfect abs" is such a waste of energy. Having them serves nothing (except perhaps one's vanity). I believe I'm speaking from experience, so this is perhaps only my truth. Changing your attitude is probably easier and healthier. (Incidentally, humans are meant to have some fat on their bodies, just as dogs are meant to have tails.)

* When I was a boy, my penis was known to me as "my doodle".

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Non-scintillating

We had a pretty good snowstorm yesterday. It's windy like the dickens out there and all the snow seemed to drift onto our patio where over a foot awaits my shoveling . If my camera works (it's so darn cold that batteries refuse to function) I'll take some pics today.

We received the judgement concerning nude dancer's lease yesterday. We were granted our request to cancel the lease but we must wait thirty days until we execute it. (ha!) The fly in the ointment is that we cannot seize his personal belongings nor can we dispose of them. It appears that we are legally required to store that stuff for 10 years. But the flip side is that if we toss his stuff out, it will be up to him to PROVE that he had the stuff and that we wrongly disposed of it.

Work is good but hectic right now. I'm running a little late as we speak and today is my big day of the week. Hopefully, I'll have something more scintillating to report tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Top 10 reasons I like being a guy

Favorite cocktail party line: "I haven't wiped my own ass in years!"

10. Sweat just makes you smell more manly.

9. The ability to pee standing up.

8. Same work, more money!

7. Sex and love are easily separable.

6. Cheaper haircuts.

5. Everything needed for the day fits in one's pocket.

4. Gaining weight just makes one a bear.

3. Everything takes less time: getting ready in the morning, eating, having sex.

2. Can't ever get pregnant "by mistake".

1. Not only are we cooterless, but we don't bleed like stuck pigs every month.

* I was tagged by Petie, and I'd love to see women post the feminine version.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

This and that

Great. Just great. Another tenant gave notice yesterday. 16 days notice. But she did deliver the news with a bottle of wine, which I thought was a nice touch. She was shocked to learn that she is on the hook for 30 days if we can't find a replacement in time. Not that we could actually enforce the law or anything, I mean the judge is still "deliberating" our request to evict nude dancer. (Really, and can you believe it!? What's to deliberate? The fucker took off and never came back. Unbelievable this "process".) Truth is we're going to miss her a bit. She has many suitors and is quite expressive while sexually engaged. Serge and I found the best eavesdropping spot in the closet and we would huddle in there giggling. Good times.

Speaking of good times, I got a big kick out of my students over at Health Canada yesterday. With a straight face and in all earnestness they claimed that the government operates just like a private business. Oh how I laughed. Perhaps a bit too much.

I'll be giddy all day today over tomorrow's forecast blizzard. Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy OH BOY!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Trash TV

Woke up last night at 2 and got up to let the TV lull me back to sleep. I put on CNN. After suffering through the breaking news of the picture of a bottle of methadone in Anna Nicole Smith's refrigerator, I was treated to teasers for "The secret" - the buzz that simply everybody is talking about, and the secret that all successful people know. The anchor, Rick Sanchez, looked like a kind of cartoon character, all plasticy like he was made in a doll mold. His sing songy voice was similar to how the news is delivered on Sesame Street.

I waited.

And I waited. (It was interesting to note that every single commercial period included an ad for Lunesta, the pill that will make you sleep.)

Finally, they got around to "the secret"(dun dun dunnn). They had the author of "the secret" as well as the author of Chicken Soup for the Soul on there, and Rick asks, "In a nutshell, can you tell us what the secret is?" And the two start to answer about the law of attraction, about how your thoughts and feelings actually act as magnets drawing what you want, fear, or believe to you. "Oh I'm sorry, we're out of time, thanks for being here." And then the piece was finished. They got maybe 30 seconds to "explain". Is this some kind of new book advertising stunt? Because it certainly wasn't news. What happened to CNN? It's such trash now.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday meditation

It's so amazing how a shift in perspective completely changes one's experience. Last year at this time, I was essentially in the same situation, rushing around like a madman like I do at the beginning of each session. I was feeling resentful at all the extra work required, as my weekends were/are chewed up by responsibilities. I remember a great deal of resistance to it all, so much so that I was considering jumping ship and going off to do something new.

This year, I have no resistance and no resentfulness. I am even busier than last year and yet it comes with easy acceptance. What happened?

Pornstar and nude dancer is what happened. For four months I lived in constant fear of financial collapse, constant anxiety over my loss of control, constant teetering on the edge of regret. But now as that all seems to be behind me, this present life of hard work seems like such a gift, maybe even a cozy blanket that I control. And I'm walking around in constant gratitude for it.

I'm starting to see the outline of the lesson. What was hidden from view as I was going through it is now becoming clear - 90 percent of experience is the attitude that you bring to it.

Could it be that I will be grateful for the saga that was nude dancer? Could be. Could be.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Snippets

* Out the front window, we get the sunsets. I love the tree of course.

* Why does money talk about our trust in God if we live in a secular society?

* Just because one is convinced of something doesn't make it true, truth is born of experience and is inherently subjective.

* The top button of my winter coat popped off yesterday. I considered this life threatening. (and I can't find my sewing kit)

* Icicles are such beautiful creations, each one a unique craft of nature. Unfortunately, they kill dozens of people annually.

* Words I like but rarely use: castigate, pernicious, filigree, bombastic

* I was roaring yesterday morning over the "controversy" surrounding Prince's superbowl performance. Oh my god, his guitar looked like a penis!!! (Really? I've seen quite a few, but never a meter long fretted one.)

*The mango sorbet was a bust. Fruit not ripe enough. I guess I'll have to smell the base next time, wherever that is.

* My two babies.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Old news

Here's how out of the pop culture loop I am. I learned yesterday that Ellen's beau is Portia de Rossi. Remember her from Ally McBeal? They've been an item for two years now, I'm sure y'all know this already. I was still thinking Ellen was with that other chick, but no, that girl moved on, married a guy and started popping out babies. I can't even remember her name.

Anyway, I read about how the happy couple wants children but neither of them wishes to carry the child. (whether it should be wish or wishes in that sentence is the subject of much controversy amongst English teachers) I imagine Ellen feels she's too old and Portia shuns the idea of deforming her body through pregnancy.

But these are just my suppositions.

More importantly, who cares? I admit I was interested enough to read the entire blurb in the paper, but why am I interested? I'm not interested because I imagine them in some hot and heavy carpet munching, no, I guess it's because I had no idea Portia was a lesbian. And I loved her portrayal of the bitchy character on Ally McBeal. Also, I stopped to wonder if Portia had been born a boy, would the parents have named him Porsche.

But that's me. Why is everyone else interested?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Cold on the brain

I love extreme weather, I really do. Even this cold spell is making me marvel. But I'm having a hard time reconciling my awe for dame nature and my hatred for this cold. I come from Southern California, born and raised. We wear shorts in the winter. We stick our tongues out at the cameras filming the rose parade. We cluck about how we live in God's country.

But I am no longer one of them. I am now the one watching the rose parade, flipping all those shorts wearing people off. I shiver more in a winter here than I did in 30 years in California.

At least there are no insects. They are all sleeping now. Apparently, the insects adapted to this climate burrow into the crooks of trees and into the ground to"hibernate", antifreeze coursing through their bodies waiting for the spring thaw. It's a cool trick and I wish I could do it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bah!

It's days like yesterday, I ask myself, "What the hell am I doing here!?" It was the coldest day of the year with biting winds and frigid temps. I arrived at my lessons with snotcicles and cheek burns. I found myself cursing the razorblade winds, which is very unlike me. OMG, I just saw three joggers pass by. They looked like they were wearing rubber wetsuits. Yes, as I'm typing about the ridiculousness of the climate, I see joggers. This makes me feel wimpy. Or it makes them crazy. Yes, that's it, they. are. crazy.

It was about 35 below with the windchill yesterday. But I noticed Winnipeg had 50 below. Note to self: Never, ever consider moving to Winnipeg. Apparently, this air is the coldest in the world right now. It's considerably warmer at the North Pole even as we speak. I am not shitting you.

If you are experiencing a "cold snap", just be thankful you're not up here. It's insane. And I want it to go away. Now would be good.

Monday, February 05, 2007

News from Quebec

Up here, there's a wide debate raging over "reasonable accomodation" of immigrant cultures into our own. This term "reasonable accomodation" has been appearing in the media daily, for months. I have watched as the media has made this into an issue when there really shouldn't be one. Recently, there have been several "incidents" reported by the media that, in my mind, were not media worthy.

First, there was the Hasidic community center whose director approached the manager of the YMCA next door and asked them to frost the windows so that the men wouldn't see the half naked women doing the aerobics classes. The director offered to pay for the frosting of the windows and the YMCA manager agreed. Then some of the members of the Y got wind of it and protested. How is this news? Two managers agree to do something and one of them has angry customers. Happens every day. But no, this has to be on the news every night, whipping everyone into a froth over the "unreasonableness" of the accomodation.

In 1994, the supreme court of Canada ruled that certain paid holidays had to be given to Jewish employees to respect their religion. 1994. But in the news today, we're reading all about the unfairness of the Jews getting extra holidays compared to their coworkers. If anything, this is dead news. (Though I agree, it's not fair.)

In some cultures, the mixing of the sexes is permitted under only very specific circumstances. As such, men prefer to have male driver's test examiners, for example. So they ask, and it is granted. And then it's widely reported in the media as special treatment.

Rounding out these incidents is the permission of Sikh members to wear a turban working as RCMP officers. And the courts granting of a ceremonial kirpan (little knife thing) to be worn to school.

The whole idea here is that if it doesn't infringe on someone else's freedom, then it's unreasonable to deny it.

Complicating the problem is that the news is controlled by three organizations up here and they are all trying to be king. This "reasonable accomodation" thing has struck a chord with the public and they are milking it for all it's worth. Every day, we see new polls on how Quebecers are either racist or not, and how they feel about immigrants. It seems to me they are fanning the fires of xenophobia.

Propoganda is very powerful.

If you'd like to read a little about these incidents, you can start here, here and here.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

This 'n that for a Sunday morning

Em asked me yesterday, "If you already emptied ND's apartment, why did you bother going to the hearing? I mean, now you're in the system, aren't you?" As she well knows, I prefer to remain "out" of ANY system. Well, Serge thought that we would have a slam dunk case and then be able to hold ND's things ransom for the "judgement". I figured it would be a good learning experience, to see how the system works and I really didn't care what the outcome was since we had already taken action. And it was a good learning experience, I learned that the rental board is there to protect renters. And it is there to force owners to cross their t's and dot their i's. I thought that given the circumstances of the case, we shouldn't have had a finger wagged at us, but maybe the judge was having troubles of her own. (She sure didn't seem human, but I've seen enough TV shows to know that they're people too.)

I want to make mango sorbet today. I have never purchased a mango and the recipe calls for "firm, yet ripe" mangoes. Yesterday, as I was in the market fondling the mangoes, I realized that they all seemed firm, but had no idea how to tell if they were ripe. I looked around to see if they had some kind of information panel, you know, "How to choose a mango" or some such thing. Of course there was none. But they would probably sell more fruits and veggies if they did more informing. Imagine if you'd never seen an orange. You wouldn't know what to do with it! Anyway I bought some mangoes, but I have no idea if they are "ripe".

Fruity questions: Do you eat the fur on a Kiwifruit? How do you peel a Papaya? Why are there no warning labels about the dangers of the Apricot and Peach pits?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sighing, sara and suppositoires(sic)

Everything fell into place yesterday. I landed two more contracts pushing me over my target for the session. And last evening we signed a lease for ND's former apartment and she's moving in tomorrow. If my sigh were an earthquake, it would be of destructive magnitude. Oh and receiving the tax bill and discovering that the taxes only increased by 7 percent was also fabulous news. Solvency, here we come!

Sara has improved so much that she is back to jumping up onto the couch. I used to frown on this behaviour but now it's a barometer of good health. She's on aspirin and glucosamine and it really seems to be working. She does have quite a large cist under her left front leg which we will need to get checked out/drained soon. It doesn't seem to bother her in any way.

Remember that joke I told you about that had spouse and I peeing our pants? Well, it doesn't translate well in English because it turns on a particular Quebecer sarcasticness. (sarcacity?) I filmed him as he told our friend Dan the joke. Good luck on your French listening exercise!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Snippets

* I've got no time for these today. This will become evident as you read on.

* Playing scrabble while inebriated and yakking with Serge, someone accused me of cheating. I poked fun at the person accusing me. They had been incensed because I played the word misspend.

* Why does a liquid cup and a dry goods cup seem to be a different size. Isn't a cup a cup?

* I tuck my long underwear into my socks.

* I love when pets hump things and their embarrassed owners get all flustered.

* Did you know regular soap also kills 99 % of bacteria. We are paying extra for the stupid word "antibacterial" on the label.

* Spouse hates it if you fiddle with his toes, especially the nails.

* If we could all just accept the one thing we are not satisfied with , we'd all be a lot happier.

* I can't fathom where the word "painstaking" came from. There is no "painstake" as far as I know.
* The snow collects much as bird guano on the tops of statues. Same effect, but without the ick factor.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Unfruitful

The rental board, or RĂ©gie de Logement, is a kind of pre-court whose job it is to help renters and owners settle their grievances. This is their stated mission. It is basically a court that handles only this type of case. The decisions can be appealed and parties can go to civil court if the decision of the board is carried out incorrectly or to contest the decision. We know that nude dancer will never pay, nor appeal, and it's looking more and more likely that he's just going to disappear for good. (I think you're wrong Farmboyz, though I haven't donned a garment of his yet.)

So we go to the board for our hearing and are kept waiting for an hour before we are finally called into the courtroom. The judge asks us for the lease and the proof that we served him the notice of the hearing. Nude dancer, of course, is not present. I briefly explain that he has abandonned the apartment, and detail the last two verbal contacts we had with him. Then she tells us that we didn't try to serve him the paper hard enough, that people can be found and it was our job to do it. We protested! He has deliberately prevented us from knowing his whereabouts. He has no bank account, no mail arriving, no phone number, no job that we know of. (We think he is a nude dancer but this info came from Pornstar. He has only claimed to us to be "in construction". Yes, we could have prowled the nude dancer places looking for him, but we didn't feel that was reasonable. Not that we don't enjoy such places, it just seemed beyond the call of duty. Apparently not.) She informed us that there are private investigators in the city (how many hundreds are we supposed to spend in addition to the god damned mother fucking lost rent, oh sorry grandma, lost my head there) and that she would render her decision in the next few days. "Thank you, goodbye." (She must have just watched the Devil Wears Prada and tried out her Meryl impression. Or maybe she caught a rerun of that gameshow - I'm wracking my brain and can't think of it - you know, where she says "Goodbye" with her inimitable curtness - someone will remember in the comments)

Serge was pissed. I was slightly amused as I knew this whole affair would be pointless which is why I had already emptied the place. Serge tried to ask the judge what happens to his stuff if she grants the termination of the lease. She ever so functionarily informed us that she was a judge and that there were pamphlets addressing that in the lobby. And for this we paid over a hundred bucks?

We came home from the hearing and had a message on the machine. Someone who looked at nude dancer's apartment Monday would like to apply for it. I broke out in a broad smile at the Universe's benevolence. (It doesn't mean it's rented, just nice to see some interest.)

I'll let you know when we receive the tribunal's decision.