Saturday, June 30, 2007

I'm outa here!

The police came to the door yesterday. Apparently, the tenant downstairs (the one who had the cracface "friends") called to report his car stolen. It's funny (meaning odd) that I actually saw the two men steal his car as I thought to myself, "He trusts them enough to let them take his car?" It looks like he fell into a bad gang the last couple weeks and got taken advantage of. I'm just happy we won't be seeing the crackfaces anymore, but I do feel a bit bad for the guy.

Tomorrow I board a plane at 6am and head out to Southern California. Upon arriving, I will rent a car, meet up with Rebekah and drive to Las Vegas where we will spend four nights. Serge will fly out to meet me next Saturday and join me with family and friends for another week. What this means is that you won't be seeing much of me in the next couple of weeks. (I'll try to make at least one update along the way.) We will be back to our regular programming in mid July. See you then!

Friday, June 29, 2007

A trip to the zoo

I haven't been to the zoo in years. Friend Dan and I took a day trip yesterday to the Granby Zoo. Did you know it costs $30 to go to the zoo? I was a little shocked but the zoo had many surprises in store for us. The zoo warmed my heart at the get-go with this "scat quiz". Can you identify the correct animals by their droppings? You've got raccoon, moose, porcupine and bear there. See if you can put them in order from top to bottom.

This guy was too much. (Wait maybe it's a she.) She kept making all these poses for us. Totally at ease with herself. Or maybe she's lookin' for some, lol.

This isn't a very thrilling photo. It's just that flamingos are so out of place here. The zoo is open all year, I wonder how they get through winter.

This guy was right against the glass studying his observers. The children were mesmerized.

I love the kids in this shot. Delighted by a strutting peacock.

We were so lucky. It had been oppressively hot and humid for days, and then the heatwave broke and all the animals were out and active. The giraffe came in to give us the eye. Below is a video of the giraffe eating straw.




Even the tigers (I mean lions - thanks Snooze) were up and about. I caught the girls giving each other some love.

The rhinos! These two were running around playing like dogs. Huge animals jumping and butting and running. They didn't even seem real.

Then one came over and showed me some intimacy.

After the zoo, we took a drive and visited a few wineries and then stopped at a cheese farm. I caught these guys around back, hanging out.

Most pictures are clickable for larger versions.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lightning and crack-face

Last evening, the sky was lit up for hours by lightning. The storm finally came through after I went to bed, but not before some spectacular displays from passing storm cells. At 10, the second competitor (England) in the fireworks competition put on their display. Mother nature augmented the show with her own explosions making for quite a show. (I wonder if they get extra points for that.)

While I was hanging out on the balcony watching, I became more and more troubled by the comings and goings of the guy downstairs and his "friends". This guy has lived there for 5 months and never makes a peep. He often goes to Toronto for a week at a time and we really like this. But last week, some shifty looking characters started spending large amounts of time at his place. Yesterday, they brought the most crack-faced women (with open sores!) I've ever seen over, and a couple hours after (what fucking them? shooting them up with heroin? filming them?) they emerged looking more doped out than ever (and carrying some kind of pipe). I was lucky actually as I had to show the upstairs apartment twice last evening. If any prospective renters had got a look at them, they would have fled grimacing. Thankfully, the crack-faces didn't come out during the showing.

Serge and I are both quite worried over this latest development. But what do you say? "You sure have some scary looking friends. Can you not invite them over anymore?" I'm trying to be open and benefit-of-the-doubt giving, but I don't want freaks in the building. Sigh. Let's hope this is only temporary.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hair, hair , everywhere

Sara hair is everywhere in our house. I'm sure I've mentioned it. She is not a purebred dog, she looks mostly like a lab, but the papers we got with her suspect a pitbull coupling with a lab to produce her. I don't really see that, but what do I know. Do pitbulls shed? Because I have never seen a dog shed as much as this dog, When the sunlight is streaming into the room just right and you pet the dog, clouds of hair billow forth, light as dust. The act of vacuuming actually throws so much hair into the air that I have to dust before and after vacuuming. Each week I collect at least a full kichen garbage can of hair. People who have babysat sara can attest to this. Here are a few odd places sara hairs have turned up.

Coming out of the toothpaste tube with the toothpaste. The hair must have floated into the cap during the previous usage.

Quite often, I have trouble with my mouse. Sara hairs get into the optical eye part and the cursor jumps wildly all over the page.

On a particularly dry, hot day, a friend came by and sat on the couch. She was wearing black pants. When she rose, there was a carpet of hair all over her ass. Now we warn people not to wear black.

I was asked about the hair that was in my backpack at the airport. "Do you use this bag to transport animals?" How do you explain that you live in sara hair?

When our friend had a new car, he complained every time we got a ride that we always left hair in his car. Sara hair.

Our next dog will not be a shedding dog. No, the next dog will be known for its amazing lack of shedding. Shedding challenged, if you will. I'm really not looking forward to Sara's demise (which is coming I know) but the thought of a hair free house is one way to temper the impending sadness.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Because this format is easier

* Arggh. I had something started for this morning, but somehow my computer was turned off and whatever I had written wasn't saved. It was probably boring anyway, but still, it's irritating to lose it.

* I received such a nice email yesterday from a reader mentioning things I have written here (700 posts to date). It is such a pleasure to receive such feedback, to see that I made someone laugh or cry, to have (however ethereally) connected with someone.

* This is the limbo week. The week before I fly out of here. Mentally I'm gone, but physically, there are still many things to get done. The carrot? Vegas baby, Vegas.

* When we were sitting around with friends on the patio Sunday, this story came up, and I was charmed to hear them say they they still tell people about that when the subject of flatulence comes up. Laughs all around.

* The hot water control is so sensitive in our shower that all you have to do is *think* hotter, and it works. The merest touch of the dial though, and you'll char your flesh.

* In the vacuum left by finishing Harry Potter, I went out (guided by suggestions from you, my gorgeous readers) and checked out Artemis Fowl from the library. I felt like I had been dumped by someone, and there was a really cute, interesting guy flirting with me, but I just couldn't give him my full, um, attention, mired as I was with the depression of being dumped. C'mon. Artemis is no Dumbledore. Still, he got under my skin enough to make me want to read the second book (which I also have from the library.)


* We eat dinner every night on the patio now. When we lived in California, we NEVER ate outside in the yard. We didn't even have a table out there. But when you're trapped inside 6 months of the year as you are here, eating outside on the patio is heaven. Last night was burritos, mmmmm.

* The one bedroom apartment is generating some interest. I took a call from a gal in New York City who's planning to spend a year here and who was very interested. She wanted to know why the price was "that much". It is a little pricy for a one bedroom I admitted, but it's renovated and includes appliances. "No, it seems so cheap is what I meant. Not that I want to pay more!" I guess if you're used to Manhattan rents, ours seems cheap.

* Alright, I've got to go teach this morning. (The best part is the ride over the majestic St Lawrence river.) Then a haircut and a couple apartment showings. Good Tuesday everyone.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sunday was parade day

They say that everyone loves a parade. However, I'm hard pressed to find anyone to agree with this. Although we had friends over to watch, we all agreed that the only reason we were watching was because of our prime viewing spot on the balcony. It was pretty podunk all in all, a few marching bands, a couple of floats and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of flags. Don't believe me? Check this.
In fact the most impressive part was the clean up crew following the end of the parade. A fleet of street sweepers, sidewalk vacuums, dumptrucks and the like scoured the street.

Once the parade finished, we spent the rest of the afternoon yakking on the patio, drinking beer and finally pizza. Quite delightful all in all. I took several videos. But this one sums up the podunkness and also shows you some traditional Quebecer music. (I always think it's kind of a bluegrass/folk style. Almost country.)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

This n that

It's the flag waving weekend. Today is the nationalist celebration St Jean le Baptiste, where all Quebecers are encouraged to celebrate themselves with flags and libations. There is a parade that will pass in front of our house in a few hours which will snake toward the Olympic Stadium where free concerts will be given all day. Tonight, there will be many fireworks. I'm not fond of these types of events. "We are the best," is not a theme I can adhere to be it here, in the states or anywhere. The best part of this day is that it's a paid holiday.

I'm in a funk. Ever since I finished the 6th Harry Potter. My haiku sums it up:

Dumbledore is dead.
Hating hard that fucking Snape,
I'm all glum and stuff.

We've been working in the garage on the parking meters and will continue to do so today. Also the tenant upstairs moved and we've got to prep it for the new tenant that arrives next week. The tub was FILTHY, but Serge and his Magic Eraser and CLR made it look like new again.

Hope your weekend is less drudge filled than ours. Peace.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Snippets

* I finished the last Harry Potter and am sad to confirm Dumbledore's demise. Plus, why does every positive father figure have to get killed? Rowling must have some serious abandonment issues.

* The girl in ND's aparment called us last night. She'd like to move in July. If possible could we find a renter in the next week. Unbelievable, especially since we told her the law requires 3 months notice and that (because we're nice) she only has to give 1 month's notice. We told her she's on the hook for July unless.....

* Yesterday in the paper, I read that the flu virus can live for 17 days on paper money. Great, something else to be paranoid about.

* There's outcry here over book prices. If the US dollar is worth 6% more than the Canadian dollar, why are books (and greeting cards) priced 30% higher? Both US and Canadian prices are printed on these items, so they might as well be saying, "we are ripping off Canadians."

* There are fewer Canadians than Californians.

* There is so much wrong with this 2 story poster. Mangez moi means "eat me" for starters.

* Serge has committed to painting 40 of the parking meters. 13 are completed. We have a three day weekend up here, it looks like we'll be spending it in the garage.

* I was tagged to do that 8 weird things about you meme. This blog is full of weird things about me. I can't imagine 8 things I've concealed from you. How about one? I can move one eye independent of the other.

* Oh, one last Potter bit. I found my new favorite Rowling written line: "Snape!" ejaculated Slughorn.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Language rant

I've lived here almost seven years now and I think I'm getting used to the Montreal rhythm. Cold winters, party summers. Check. But there's one thing that continues to perplex me. There is a huge political hot button up here that centers on language. The predominantly French speaking population and the minority English speaking population often butt heads. (Just a couple days ago, a city politician referred to the "ugly anglos" on the west side of town.) There are laws here preventing parents from choosing what language their children will be educated in. There are laws specifying the way to paint a sign (French must be twice the size of English if, you dare, print the English version). The law says French must be the language of the workplace. I don't understand the necessity of these laws, but of course I couldn't, being an immigrant and all (I'm supposed to assimilate, but can't ever be truly admitted to the club). After seven years though, I've decided that these measures, while enacted to "preserve the French culture", are really the result of fear. And maybe even the self centered idea that we can control the choices of our children and thus contour a political/cultural landscape that we will no longer be participants in (eventually). If I had children, I would most certainly enroll them in French school and speak English within the home. Why not give my kids bilingual skills when it is most easy to acquire them? Unfortunately, francophone parents do not have this luxury. If the maternal language of the parents is French, then the children must me taught in French as well.

When I went to register my business of teaching English, which I had decided to name "Let's Talk!", I was told I couldn't have a business name in English only, I had to register a French name as well. (Parlons!) I tried to reason with them, to no avail.

And here's the funny, backfiring part. The very fear of English somehow squelching the French culture only makes the youth crave anglicisms all the more. On the bus the other day, I heard a young man exclaim to his friend, "C'├ętait full cool man." I suppose the culture police would find this abominable. I find it totally natural and a given. I don't get what people are worried about. Nobody forgets the language of their parents.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Boring details

We had another appointment to "shop" or mortgage yesterday. Only this time it was with the existing bank. Unlike in the states, the norm here is to get a fixed rate for 5 years. (They don't have 30 year fixed rate mortgage here.) Then you have to refinance. I thought it would be easiest with the bank currently carrying the loan, but no, they want all the same paperwork "to put our file up to date." And here's where it gets stupid. The banks don't like the way I earn money. Since I'm not a salaried employee, they want tax returns. I don't like to provide tax returns. I even said so, "we always pay the mortgage and the loan is only for 1/3 of the value of the property, so I don't understand why we have to do all this." The man explained with a wink and a nod, that we just have to put some paper together and not to worry about it. If I would just get a letter from my primary revenue source, that will do. Does it matter that we had to do just that for the loan we procured last September? No. Even though it's with the same bank? No. I need a "new" letter dated this month. (insert eye-rolling) I love jumping through hoops, can you tell?

In other news, the parking meters were unveiled at a press conference yesterday and splashed all over the evening news. It's being heralded as a great idea. Serge says he wants to paint ALL the meters (over 100) to make extra money. He's completed 2 so far. I think he's biting off more than he can chew but I also know he's loving the attention he's getting for the color scheme/design. It looks like this weekend will again be spent in the garage.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mine looks like clouds of laughter and tenderness

It's hard to follow yesterday. I mean, I should probably put some distance between a tribute to gramma and my usual penchant for scat references. (oops.) The memory of her and her life has been a constant presence in my brain, and I keep turning it over and looking at it, digging up more and more little moments to make a tapestry of her life. My perspective, or tapestry, looks different than anyone else's. I wonder what mom's tapestry looks like, or my cousin's. Perhaps the only true perspective is her own, and I wonder if she's turning it over and inspecting it too.

What do you imagine your tapestry looks like?

Now, I need a segue back to regular programming. Hmm. The parking meters are half done. We've got severe thunderstorms forecast today (pinch me,) and a meeting this morning with the mortgage broker.

Okay, this cartoon made me cry (with tears and everything) laughing.

Monday, June 18, 2007

This is life too

The last photo taken with the grandparents. Circa 2002.

Gramma died in her sleep yesterday. She has been in an assisted care facility for the last couple of years. When I visited her last, she was lucid and appeared to know who I was. But there was a spark missing from her gaze, replaced by a glassy stare. The doctors said she could go on for years like that so when her husband died at a different facility, she was spared this knowledge, the family seeing no reason to unduly upset her. I'd like to think grandpa got tired of waiting for her and yanked her upstairs.

I loved going to gramma's house. She could always be found in the kitchen toiling away, her cigarettes nearby and a frosty glass of vodka on the counter. Once after playing outside, I had run in and pounced on her frosty beverage, a big glass of water perfect for my raging thirst. I only thought it was water. I took a huge gulp of what must have been gasoline and spit it out all over the floor. How could she drink that stuff?! After that, I learned to stay clear of gramma's beverage. Gramma's house had a special smell which always warmed something in me, and came to represent the coziness I felt around my grandparents. It wouldn't be until I was an adult that I would recognize this smell as "smoker's house". Now my house smells like hers.

I will carry gramma with me. After all, we have so many shared interests. Scrabble, booze, cigarettes, cruises and a penchant for waking up early. These things will serve to remind me of her. And if dying is anything like the lottery, Gramma hit the 6/49. Apparently, she was in good spirits and lucid before sleeping that night, and she simply never woke up. (The nurses can tell by the final pose if the death had come with difficulty.) Died peacefully in her sleep. If only I can share that one last thing with her.

May you rest in peace Grandma, I will miss you.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

My pie looks like a rumphole

Progress is being made. I have to admit that. Is it just a given that whatever estimate you make of the time required to complete a project must be doubled? What is that like Time multiplied by two equals reality? 2T=R . There's the stripping, priming, sanding, repriming, masking (very long, this!) painting, and second coat to do. The store ran out of green paint and ordered it for us, they said it'll take 1 to 2 weeks. (Remembering our formula, that means 2-4 weeks.) You can see in the photo above the striking color combo Serge has chosen. There will be white stenciled lettering on the poles. The goal is to have at least one prototype ready to go for tomorrow morning.

Here is my peanut butter pie from Patricia's recipe. (Full of protein by the way.) Serge proclaimed, "It's like Reese's!" Do you see my design in chocolate? Yeah, that's why I'm not allowed to paint. Thank god looks have little to do with taste though. Yum.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

This 'n that

The last three days have been spent here at home. I've had to wait for three separate deliveries of parking meters. Yesterday's promise of a morning delivery proved hollow, as they came at 2. Serge assigned me the lovely task of removing all the stickers from them and then rubbing off the residual glue with paint thinner. Not that I'm complaining, I still can't believe this project fell in our lap.

Oh and that reminds me. There's this amazing site that I discovered, it's called cruisecompete.com. You plug in the cruise you want and remain anonymous. Then you are emailed offers from travel agencies. If you want to book, you call the travel agent and secure the price. Why hadn't I known about this before I booked directly with the cruiseline?! I decided to try it and received three offers, one of which was $540 less than the price we booked for. What!? No! Suddenly I felt reamed. Then I sprung into action, posted for advice on message boards and discovered I could just transfer my existing booking and pay the cheaper price. Which of course, is what I promptly did. Not bad for a couple of hours work!

So anyway, it's parking meter painting weekend. Plus, I would like to try a tofu recipe! (Thanks to all who shared, yesterday.) Also, I've simply got to make Patricia's peanut butter pie recipe. I'll take pics of all these things. Good weekend everyone!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Snippets

* We want to add a dinner to our repertoire that centers on Tofu. The only non-meat/chicken/pork/fish dinner we make is soup. We'll be needing a super easy yet highly delicious recipe to get our toes wet.

* I was so clipped during The Goblet of Fire when one of the foreign kids mispronounced Hermione's name. "It's Her-my-own-ee, not Her-mee-own," she corrected. It had always been Her-mee-own in my head until that point. In the movies, it sounds to me like Her-my-knee, but I figured that was a British pronunciation.

* Yesterday, Lyvvie talked freely about Dumbledore's upcoming death in the 6th book. Dangit! I'm not done with the 5th book.

* The cruise director of the ship we're sailing next year has a blog. I discovered this yesterday. Every post is a teaser. After a couple months, the blog has skyrocketed in popularity.

* Chicken nuggets always make me think of rabbit pellets. Sometimes it reminds me of Rebekah's long ago dog "Nugget".

* Why has "avoiding conflict" become a negative trait. "Pacifist!" Somehow, the far right, who so successfully made "liberal" a nasty word, has now made pacifist (literally someone seeking peace) a bad word too. I don't know, if we were all a bit more pacifist than antagonist, the world might simmer down.

* The word "rump" has always tickled me. Started as a kid when we would snicker about "rump roast". The other day, my student detailed a fall he had had, "I fell down on my rump." So much funnier than butt.

* Purchases we are delaying to take a cruise: automobile, flat-screen tv, laptop, summer road-trip.
* Our orchid bloomed!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

We're going on a trip

For many years, spouse and I have talked about going to Europe. He's never been. There was really no way to go when we lived in the states, as traversing borders was too risky. When we moved here the Canadian dollar (known here widely as the loonie) was quite weak, while the US dollar and Euro were strong. But now things have changed, the loonie is nearly equal to the US dollar, so we discussed it and then booked a cruise in the Mediterranean for next June. I've felt like someone has kicked me in the stomach since. Spouse, on the other hand, has been floating on air.

I'm having trouble adjusting to the financial commitment we've made. I want to be excited, I've done the calcs and with great monetary restraint for the next 355 days, we should be able to pull it off. Worry keeps reminding me, "beware of the unforseen."

Yesterday, spouse called from work. "Guess what?" he asked with a smile you could hear, "I got an extra contract for us."

"What? Us?"

"They are going to deliver the parking meters this afternoon. You need to clear a space in the garage."

"What?"

"We're going to paint the parking meters."

"What?"

"They are bringing 5 of them today so we can make samples, and then the other 20 on the weekend."

"What?"

"So don't make any plans this weekend. It's $2000! We're going to make $2000 this weekend. "

"What?"

"Oh, shit, I have to go. Just stay home until they deliver. Love you bye."

I always thought it was ridiculous in the movies when someone hangs up on someone and the hung up on person looks perplexedly/angrily/sadly at the receiver before hanging it up. Who looks at the receiver? Well, finally it happened to me. Agape and trying to process, I studied the receiver. The unforseen could have an upside, I realized.

When he got home, he filled me in on the project, these are "donation meters" which will be placed in high foot-traffic areas around the city. I guess it's a way for people to be charitable with the homeless without actually interacting with them. The meters need to be eye-catchingly painted. (Serge came home with a bunch of neon green spray paint.)

So now I'm getting excited. Not about the painting mind you, but the potential windfall of a weekend's work. And the fact that this will go directly to the cruise fund makes me giddy. No more kicked-in-the stomach feeling. Simple glee now.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More lazy days

Thank god I've got a morning class today. I'll be gone before spouse wakes even. The last few times he's gone off to work, he has had to watch me reading the paper leisurely on the couch. "Have a good day," he says in a way that means "you rat bastard." I can't help feeling a bit guilty. Damn guilt. Why shouldn't I enjoy this down time? The problem is that when I have downtime, I always want to fill it up with something productive. Because if I don't, I might end up reading Harry Potter all day and playing Scrabble on the computer. And then what? Then I will feel like a poor excuse for a human being. To keep me on my toes, Serge arrives home and immediately inquires, "So what did you DO today?" Again, decoding Serge, it means, "you'd better have done something productive." I know this drill though, and I always accomplish a little list of chores for the day, you know, "I went to the bank and made that deposit, picked up a couple things from the market, unloaded the dishwasher, did a load of clothes, oh and I showed the apartment downstairs." I trust him not to make a close inspection of the statement because if he did, he would discover all of 90 minutes accounted for there. Anyway back to the guilt. It just doesn't really work having vacation at home. I can't let myself go into the "vacation mode" since I'm surrounded by everything that reminds me of "regimented life mode". But I'm working on it, I'm working on it.

Wait, am I really whining about being off work? I can feel the WAVES of sympathy from you all, lol.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Out damn spot!

Cleaning is not my favorite task. A long time ago, I figured something out - the dirt always wins. So really the question becomes one of dirt tolerance. Since, our planet being made of it and all, the dirt returns relentlessly, each person ends up with some kind of guide as to what dirt level is acceptable. Mine and spouse's differ, though not so much to cause (many) rows. Also over the years I've worn Serge down by convincing him that all our dirt woes are dog related and that's just the way it is. Dog in house equals dirty house. (It's true you'll find doghair even in our freezer.)

Serge is also one of those people, perhaps like you, but certainly not like me, who having seen some flaw in the paint/carpet/whatever, can never NOT see it again. Nagging at him and taunting him, the flaw eventually sets him into action. That's what happened yesterday, and I caught him in the act.

Monday, June 11, 2007

This n that

We're both controlling s.o.b's. Both of us. I exert control over finances and vacations, while spouse controls how everything looks and is arranged in the house. Oh, and how and when things are cleaned and maintained. I do all the grocery shopping so I guess I control our sustenance, though spouse always complains, "It's always the same thing!" (This he'll say after I ask, "So do you want chicken, beef, pork, fish, pasta, pizza or soup tonight?") It was funny last night at dinner. Spouse accused me of being controlling and I LAUGHED OUT LOUD, incredulous. "No," as I'm giggling,"you control everything darling. I thought you knew that." He started in about money and how I control all of it. In truth, I only advise against expenditures. The most usual way I advise against them is by saying, "No!" But then he sneaks off and does the purchasing anyway. So who's really in control?

As planned, I made a visit to the botanical gardens. Oh how I adore that place. Every time you go, there is something different to see. While some specimens have flowered, others have yet to, and every day is a different mosaic of the cycle. I was charmed to see many women throughout the gardens sitting before flowers and sketching them into their books. Elderly women enjoyed books on the shaded benches. Children frolicked. A group of asian women practiced Tai Chi. Men with super-lens cameras (the size they wished their penis to be) zoomed in on getting the perfect flora shots. The whole time I felt like I was walking through a vast painting. God's tapestry if you will. Here's a few pics.
Off in a secluded alcove, I came across this sculpture. It's called "The Lover's Bench." It attempts to depict the joys of love along with the distress of solitude. I just kept wondering why they're all naked. (And shouldn't the guy be a little "more excited" what with kissing the one lady and the other rubbing his leg?)

This was like wedding meadow.

All of the different kinds of these flowers were in bloom. (Somebody will know what they are.) They don't even look real. They look like some tacky festoonage for a hoop skirt. Huge flowers. This pink was especially shocking. Pow! Right in the eye.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Lazy weekend

So far it's a lazy weekend. The weather is just perfect, sunny and dry and upper 70's. I spent a good part of the day yesterday trying to finish Angels and Demons out on the patio. (This book is much better than The DaVinci Code.) I'm not the kind of person who reads more than one book at a time, so I'm hurrying so I can crack open Harry Potter. (The book, people, the book.)

Dinner was delightful on the patio last night. (Pork roast with maple syrup and carmelized onions and a side of artichoke.) Serge and I gabbed and bickered in our usual way, and enjoyed the setting sun. Then we retired to the living room to take in Fast Food Nation. It's going to be difficult eating hamburgers again after watching that. There really is shit in the burgers.

I've got little else to say. Today, I plan to make a tour of the botanical gardens so I should have a couple good pics tomorrow. Enjoy this lovely day all!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Snippets

* The blog had its 100,000th visit Wednesday morning. Someone from East Lansing Michigan. Patricia perhaps? I would like that.

* The library called - FINALLY! Harry Potter is in my hot little hands (the 5th one).

* I used to regurgitate all the time. My first bf always said it was because I ate too fast. Come to think of it, my mother used to say that too. Anyway, once I stopped milk, the gurging subsided. Once in a while lettuce'll do it though, but then I just feel like a cow, chewin his cud. (Did I gross you out?)

* We live close to a high school. Gaggles of teenagers gather, especially at lunchtime. Yesterday, I had to shoo them off of our lawn. "But we're just practicing jumping," he whined as the others climbed on the (our) little fence. "You can jump somewhere else," I snarled, feeling like grumpy old man.

* Okay, this is funny. I went over to this site and plugged in my info. And then it acted all shocked. Seriously, look at what it said:
You are ranked below the 10th percentile of your job capacity (meaning only a few percentange of people in your job capacity earn less than you) – We strongly advise you to hit BACK and verify your data.

* And here on this other site , you can choose six names that you like and it will suggest other names (for people fretting about baby-naming). A few of the names suggested to me that I might like were Beulah, Clotilde and Hannelore. Hannelore? Are there babies named Hannelore now? Where have I been?

* There's this story I've heard for years that "A duck's quack doesn't echo and no one knows why." Now I see it's an urban myth. A duck's quack does echo, it's just impossible to hear it because of the quality of sound in a "quack". I don't know about you, but if you can't hear the echo, that's pretty much the same as it not echoing don't you think?

* Sara wishes you a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Dumb phone calls

I sure hate the phone. Usually I don't answer and wait for someone to leave a message. Telemarketers never leave messages, so this is a time-saver. But now that we have two apartments for rent, I have to answer it every time. Ugh. All day long, I fielded calls such as this:

"Hi I'm calling about the apartment for rent."

"Which one?"

"The one you have on Craigslist."

"We have a studio and a two bedroom."

"Oh, the studio. But I need it for July."

"But the apartment isn't available until August."

"Yes, but I really need it in July."

"Sorry. But someone is living there until August. Good luck."

"Wait! Can't they leave in July? I really, really need it for July."

(laughing at the young man's entitlement issues) "Sorry, buddy. Again, good luck."

We rented the two-bedroom yesterday (woo-hoo) but the studio is proving a bit tougher. Again it's the bathroom situation. There is a curtain (which we installed) to grant some bit of privacy, but the curtain doesn't really block sound nor smell, and this is a turn-off for many. What's funny is that the French couple now occupying the studio have had friends staying with them for weeks. 4 people in that tiny apartment with the bathroom in the corner. And a cat. I bet mornings are quite odorous down there, lol.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Hump day happenings

I picked up my new passport. I was admonished for having my passport stolen and told that as a US citizen, I had the right to replace a stolen passport once. After that, the state department deems you irresponsible and you can only get a passport for one year at a time. Then when I gave the nice lady my old passports and new picture, she said, "Wow, you've sure aged. " Then quickly, she added, "Sorry, I couldn't help it," but I just smiled and said, "Yes, no one is immune."

We put nude dancer's things out for the trash pickup. It was hauled away yesterday. We kept a few boxes of papers in case he ever shows up, but the rest is gone. It's nice to have a garage again. Then the girl who is in nude dancer's apartment came down to tell us she had lost her job and can she break her lease if she finds a job in another city. We are reasonable people, so we said to keep us informed and give us at least 30 days notice. (The law requires 90 days notice.) I felt bad for the girl. Losing one's job is the pits. And there's some bad energy lurking in that apartment.

Finally, after 8 hours, the doors were installed. Here are two of them. The tenants squealed with delight upon coming home to them. This was Serge's project (I didn't see the necessity) and he is satisfied too.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tuesday blah blah

As you may have noticed, I'm into kiddie lit these days. I'm still waiting for the Harry Potter book from the library, but in the meantime I've got caught up on the films. Then I picked up Charlotte's Web at the video store. I thought I could avoid it, but I welled up at the end.

Yesterday, I grabbed Pan's Labyrinth. Have you seen this? This is not for kids. It's about a kid, but I wouldn't recommend planting your kids in front of it. Talk about violent! And strange, and subtitled and a little bit heartbreaking. I wonder how many kids watched that, the parents thinking it was a kid movie. Aside from all this disclaimer business, it was a riveting film.

Spouse is off today. We are going to be stuck at the triplex as they (finally) install the new exterior doors. This has been scheduled and postponed for weeks. Of course it's supposed to be rainy all day. We are not installing the doors ourselves, but since all the tenants are at work, we have to be present to supervise and prevent any theft. Yippee. (sarcasm, please note.)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Tour de hier

We headed out in the morning to meet friends for breakfast. Not long after we set out on foot, I came across this wall o' graffiti. The three guys in blue are interesting.

Yesterday happened to be the Tour de L'isle, an annual bike-o-thon around the city. As we were walking to go have breakfast, all these people were headed to the start-off point.

Traversing a park, I noticed the ground littered with seed pods. (To follow up on yesterday's post.)

Breakfast was divine and we had good company. The eggs benedict I had with carmelized onions and chevre was something I already want to go back for.

The bathroom in that place was strange though. It's very difficult to see in there, even though one whole wall is mirror. Ladies, don't try to touch up your make-up in here, lol. The picture came out kinda cool though.

When we arrived home, spouse set off for Canadian Tire and came home with a sack of items and a head full of ideas. He had decided to paint. It took him hours and hours, but finally he finished. Here he is posing with the just-cleaned-up paintbrush.

But there was more. He had bought a new light fixture. I'm so glad to have someone around who digs doing the "manly" things. (I could have done it. I just don't want to.)

As the last touch, he put a blue light in the fixture. So here is the new splash of color on our patio. I'm not sure I like it, it's a little bit schoolyard, but it'll do.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Caught in the act


The maples are all releasing their seed pods right now. Here in the leading maple syrup producing region in the world (sorry Vermont), maples of every variety are abundant. They were also chosen to line many streets in this city. Oh and it happens to be the emblem on the Canadian flag, remember? Anyway, the seed pods are flying.

They "fly" because as they descend, they float, helicopter style, on the breeze for a while before alighting. They look like one wing ripped off a large butterfly. Residents all around town can be heard cursing these things. I swept a sack of them up off the patio yesterday. It was a bit windy, so I tried to film one of them flittering through the air. That was a joke, try following a floating leaf with the camera. The result is like "from the view of the person having the seizure." I tried to toss them into the air and film, toss and film. Then I ditched the camera. The wind would catch some of them and propel them further in the sky, then down, and back up, little helicopters dancing in the wind. I lost myself in this activity for 15 minutes, shooting the little seed pods into the air and watching them dance. Then I caught the eye of a lady across the street grinning from ear to ear, studying my careless abandon.

Red smarted instantly on my cheeks and I went inside. She caught me!

Today, it makes me smile.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

This, that and the other thing

Nude dancer did not come nor call. The trash comes Monday. People comb the alleys for stuff before the men arrive, so most of his stuff will be taken before. We both feel a little guilty about it even though our logic overwhelmingly supports this act of heartlessness. It's just crap anyway, crap he's done without for 6 months already.

Sara continues to, well, continue. She's getting lots of fur around her muzzle and paws and this makes her look "old". Her sight is so bad, she can't see if the screen door is closed and walks right into it. Her ambulatory condition is quite good at the moment, I may attempt a walk with her today. Also, her appetite and turds (had to squeeze that in, er, out, somewhere) could only be described as healthy.

I fell asleep watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire last night. I'll have to watch the last half again. One thing I hate about the HP movies is that they took everything with the elves out. No Dobby, no Winky. Did you hear about the Harry Potter world to be erected in Orlando? 2009. Mark your calendars.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Snippets

* "Bottomless pubes", "My brain is dissolving", and "Apron with penis" were among this week's google searches leading to this blog. Do you think the first guy really meant "pubeless bottoms"?

* I forgot to play my lottery numbers. I only play when the jackpots are big, but I just plain forgot this time. I would have won $68. Dangit. This is why I advise against picking a set of lottery numbers that you always play. I chose this set at least 15 years ago (each number had some significance, but I can't recall that significance now) and I guess I'm saddled with them forever.

* Craigslist is amazing. I sold our air conditioner in one day (our new place came with). Then, within two hours of posting a for-rent ad, I made three appointments to show it. So how does Craigslist make money since everything is free?

* Today is the "extended" deadline for nude dancer to pick up his shit. If he calls to postpone again, we're just going to keep repeating the line, "that doesn't work for us."

* I just retrieved messages from my cellphone voicemail. There were messages from over a month ago. It's probably not a good idea to leave me a message there. lol

* The anonymous commenter who, while scanning the archives, noted an alarming number of scat related posts gave me pause. But then I thought, "Shit! We all do it every day, it's a wonder we don't talk about it more." lol

* We do have a fair number of shit related idioms in English, however. He can't tell shit from shinola. Does a bear shit in the woods? Then the shit really hit the fan. Shit or get off the pot! (I'm sure there's more, have a field day in the comments.)

* I recently learned that shinola was shoe polish.

* I've been lax with the photo taking. I'll try to do better this weekend.