Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sicky spouse

Ahhh, we're back into sunset season here. The sun has swung back around to where it shines in the living room and throughout the apartment every evening. This makes it all glary on the tv which is probably a good thing. All they seem to talk about is the darn flu anyway. I've got a student who has been vacationing in Mexico for the last two weeks and is due to return tomorrow. All the people who work around him in the office have urged the boss to give him an extra week off at home because they won't feel comfortable with him in the office.

Yesterday morning, I saw people in the metro with masks. I couldn't help but roll my eyes since there are zero cases here in Montreal so far.

Serge though, he's really sick. With a really bad cold. I haven't seen him this noisy with the coughing ever. When it wakes me up I want to hate him for it, but then I refind my pity response and think, "poor little guy." Nonetheless, I told him to sleep on the sofa last night. And the hacking still woke me up clear away from the other room. Such is life in a sicky household.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Same post as yesterday

Wow, we had another record breaking weather day again yesterday. In the 80s! I don't know what nice thing we Montrealers did to deserve this or what divine being of probability we should be worshiping, but I sure do know how to appreciate such gifts. After living for 35 years in California, a hot sunny day was just the norm and boring as all getout to be frank. It's taken 9 years but now I ooze gratitude for hot sunny days now. (It took that same nine years for me to develop a major SAD face at the first sign of snow in the fall too.) We probably won't have any more hot days for a while, but we get lots of them in the summer. Uh oh, this post is all drivelly again. Whatever.

Well the flu scare is certainly living up to its name. As I was out working yesterday, I saw several news snippets on the monitors in the subway and at the lobby of the workplace. First it was the European Union advising people not to travel to the US and Mexico, then I saw the mayor of New York talking about remaining calm as they showed New Yorkers donning masks. Uh oh, this looks like it may be more serious than thought. The newspaper told everyone to be prepared for local cases and reviewed the best methods of avoiding getting infected. Here's the reality that no one talks about. The only really safe thing is to stay home and have no contact with anyone until it's over. Somehow we all believe that that isn't an option, but it will be if this gets out of hand. I'm still not scared, I mean I've had the flu and "wanted to die" during that misery many times. One more won't kill me (smirk).

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Tornwordo!

1. The pupil of an octopus's eye is shaped like Tornwordo!
2. Women shoplift four times more frequently than Tornwordo.
3. Tornwordoolatry is the mindless worship of Tornwordo.
4. It took Tornwordo 22 years to build the Taj Mahal!
5. While sleeping, fifteen percent of men snore, and ten percent grind their Tornwordo!
6. There are more than two hundred different kinds of Tornwordo.
7. Europe is the only continent that lacks Tornwordo.
8. The horns of Tornwordo are made entirely from hair.
9. The colour of Tornwordo is no indication of his spiciness, but size usually is.
10. Duelling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are Tornwordo!

Via Gayprof. Get your own trivia tips here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

This and that

Are you worrying about the swine flu? It sounds so much lovelier here (as many French words do) to say "la grippe porcine" than pig or swine flu. I thought it would be something like "l'influenza de cochon" which sounds pretty bad, but they found prettier words to use. Serge says it's all just a bunch of hype but I reminded him that it's only a matter of time, the nature of disease and especially viruses make it certain that future pandemics will occur. I think this one doesn't transmit person to person all that easily or we'd see a much faster explosion of cases.

As you can probably imagine, not much happened around here yesterday. Our friend Dan came by to get Serge to help on the look of his CV (resumé) and then he never left so we hung out for the afternoon and they forced me into martinis at 3pm. I was in bed by 8 but I still didn't wake up til 6:30 this morning. Oh what a sloth I am.

I need a third paragraph to give a better aesthetic look to the post. Two never looks right, as even numbers seldom do, so that's why you're being forced to read this, what can only be described as drivel. I'm wondering if drivel can be clever or if that's an automatic oxymoron. Speaking of word wonderings, I figured out why those who "chew" tobacco say chew instead of suck. It's because if you ask them if they smoke they will have to say, "No, I suck." And nobody wants to say that. Oh and here's the oxymoronicest of them all - Happy Monday! (I find it interesting that the spell check approves my use of the word oxymoronicest.)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday morning blather

I broke one of those guitar strings in my neck yesterday. Oh sweet baby christ child on a skewer but it hurts. I woke up a dozen times last night in terrible pain. I don't even know what I did either, I was just finishing my over the head press and *snap* ow ow ow ow ow. I had a lot of trouble, actually, working out yesterday. I hadn't done my routine in three weeks due to the vacation so I really pushed myself. This was probably unwise as I felt little twinges and pangs in my knees and hips and elbows too. Oh how I love aging.

It was a lovely day yesterday - we reached 83 degrees! That's got to be a record (I just checked and it was) for this time of year. This morning we're back to our normal temps in the 50s. I spent a lot of time outside and cleaned up the yard, went to the shopping center and even ate bbq steaks outside on the patio. A little taste of summer way back here in April.

This is my 1250th post and my 300th day without cigarettes. I don't know how many more posts I've got in me but I'd better have many more days without cigs. I am grateful every day for not having to be a slave to the nicodemon. On the family vacay, there were a couple of members who "chew" tobacco. It seems more to me like they are sucking the tobacco but whatever. I asked if they had to "chew" first thing in the morning when they woke up and the answer was a strong affirmative. Same drug, different injection method that's all. Anyway, I really saw the master/slave relationship that nicotine has with all her addicts. So glad to be free of it.

Friday, April 24, 2009


* It's been a hard week. It's always like that after the relaxing cadence of vacation. I'm resisting changing that cadence and have woken up 20 minutes before having to leave the house twice this week. For me, I need/want 90 minutes from waking up to leaving the house in the morning. Otherwise I'm not fully awake.

* It's supposed to be 80 degrees this weekend (26C). This is the weekend where I will be astonished at the number of people in this city. That's because every single one of us will be outside. They could charge $20 per chair on the terraces (patios) tomorrow and still fill them up.

* How much would it take to retire forever? For us it's half a mil, that way we could pay off the buildings and live off the revenue they generate. At the rate we're going, that will be in 22 years. Barring the unforeseen of course.

* We ate cheetohs before bed the other night. Those things are evil. The reason I had them is that I tried this new white trash recipe for scalloped potatoes. I hate to say it but they were darn good. You slice up a bunch of potatoes and layer them with a can of condensed cheddar cheese soup. Then you sprinkle crushed cheetohs on top and put in the oven for an hour at 350. (I sprinkled some bleu cheese crumbles on top, but serge said that ruined it. He's a bit antsy about the moldy cheeses.)

* Here's an oldy but goody from the blog. Serge told this story over vacation.

* We put an apartment up for rent and not one person has called about it. That never happens so maybe the recession will finally be hitting close to home. Bummer.

* In Chicago when we were waiting for the shuttle to the comped hotel room, a young man approached me with a very heartfelt and earnest rendering of misfortune. He wore a backpack and explained that the airline had lost his checked bag and he was stuck at the airport with no ID, money, or anything because it was all in that bag. I started laughing right away and said, "Well that sure was stupid putting all of that in that other bag. This is probably a good lesson for ya." He admitted that that was a bad idea but if I just had $6, he could get a hotel room for the night. I kept laughing and said, "Dude, you gotta get a better story than that." Then he got all irate and hurt saying he wasn't homeless and no common beggar. I said, "Look, if you're lying, fuck you, and if you're telling the truth, then this is a great lesson for you. Now go try your story on someone else, there's plenty around here." And that's precisely what he did. (It's such a bad story though. You can't get through security without ID after all.)

* Another mask photo. That sure was fun.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Last little bits

Even though it was a vacation, we still had some structured activities. I thought of it as Family Camp. We had a white elephant gift exchange, a scheduled hike, and a who am I activity. One morning, we did masks and took a bazillion pictures. I liked this one. Another day we all painted t-shirts in honor of the matriarch and then took the group shot with them.

Cousin J is going to sew them all up into a souvenir quilt for grandma. Here you see the motley clan. See AJ in the bottom right? He and my dad went to the party store and bought fart machines. You know the kind, it has a bunch of buttons with different fart noises. When we went out to the restaurant for the big birthday dinner, I told AJ I'd give him five bucks if when we left, he'd cruise through the restaurant tooting the thing. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time watching the concerned patrons' faces as he accomplished the task with flying colors.

The last couple days the sea calmed itself down and though we had sunsets each night, I only thought to take a picture once. This is from the backyard of the place we stayed.

It was a great trip overall and I think everyone felt the same. It was decided that we shouldn't wait 5 years to do the next one and somehow, cousin S and I were chosen to organize the next event in 2 years. I'm happy to do it, but also know that it's a lot of work! I think one of the greatest things about this trip was that we were totally cut off from the world. There was no cellphone service and no internet. So liberating! I couldn't know if I had urgent phone calls or emails (which I did) so I didn't worry about it. It definitely made me resolve to cut down on the computer time. I guess I've already started too since I'm only up to the Cees on my blogreading list. I'll catch up.....eventually. Have a happy hump day peeps.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More trip notes

After wine country, we headed up to the Mendocino Coast to gather with the clan on my father's side in honor of my grandmother's 85th birthday. We did a similar thing on the Oregon coast five years ago. Serge and I picked up the keys for our house and went over to open up. We had rented two houses about 5 minutes apart. I was in the smoker's house (everyone did their thing outside though) and had a couple urges, but I made it through pretty easily.

Our house is just out of frame on the right. There were very rough seas and high winds the first couple days up there and the sea was mesmerizing.

The light of this lighthouse shone in our window. It was about 3 inlets down the coast from our house. Here, it's this one.

One day as I was going down the little road to our house, I passed these guys. It took a moment for my brain to register, "Hey wait, were they real?" So I stopped the car and backed up and took a picture of their frozenness. The camera sound scared them and then they bolted.

Here's me and the guest of honor for the week. She is my only living grandparent and to quote my 12 year old cousin AJ, even though she says she doesn't want to live to a hundred, I hope she does.

Serge and I down at the tidepools.

Here's a sort of funny thing that happened the second day there. My cousin AJ asked for a piggyback ride while we were visiting the cutsie little town of Mendocino. I told him that if he wanted a ride, he'd have to ride on my shoulders. He was game and hopped on up. Then I started to fake that I was losing my balance and saying "Whoa, whoa, whoa," to scare him a little and he was laughing so I kept it up and lurched forward. Only that time he didn't lean back, he leaned forward with me and that was it, we were going down. So many things run through your mind at that point. Mostly, I didn't want AJ to get hurt, I mean his mom was right there and she'd kill me if I cracked her kid's head open. I fell squarely on my knees and wrists and he tumbled off after I broke the fall. I decided I'm not going to do that anymore!

Okay one last funny thing. On the first day my aunt just had to play me a recording she had taken with her cell phone. She was absolutely giddy about it and played if for my dad too. It was of a particularly noisy dump in the bathroom that she had taken. Yeah, that's my blood right there.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

12 of 12 a week late with video

We had a great time in California but it was a tough journey home. Our first leg was delayed so we missed the last flight to Montreal out of Chicago. They booked us on the morning flight instead and gave us a meal and hotel voucher. That was great and all, but there were only 3 1/2 hours of sleeping time available to us. So now there's all sorts of things that need doing and, here let me go check, 986 items in my blogfeed. Oy. Plus it's back to work Monday morning for a full week. Oh goody gumdrops.

So. I thought I'd do this in 2 or 3 parts so that I can milk more blog posts portray the trip more accurately. We flew to Sacramento, rented a car and then stayed in Petaluma for two nights. On Sunday the 12th, we toured the Sonoma and Napa valleys. Although it was Easter, many wineries were open and traffic was lighter than I would have expected on such a delicious spring day in wine country. We visited 3 wineries (including Sterling, a very commercial operation but which offers a view to die for) and had a picnic with deliciousness procured from Dean and Deluca. Here goes the 12 of 12 from that day. All pics will fill the screen upon clicking.

After 7 months of winter, we were both filled with glee over the 70 degree temps and sunny skies. It was just perfect and the scenery was stunning. Here look:


Serge calls this the pignose photo. Those are cows on my Ben & Jerry's shirt.

I love this shot. The camera made the first noise but not the second indicating a picture had been taken. It's a candid shot even though we were posing.

At ten am, we stopped into Alpha Omega and we should have known it was going to be pricy due to the lovely pond and fountain deal they had out front. I had never heard of this wine and as I suspected had only been in production for a few years.

At the Sterling winery, it's kinda gimmicky as they take you up on a sky gondola and then you tour the hilltop operation with wine tastes along the way.

I know the sun is bad for you. But I couldn't help it, it just feels so nourishing sometimes.

This scene could have been in Italy, Spain, Chile or France. Pastoral kept coming to mind.

The souvenir photo spot. I got a great laugh here because Serge didn't have the setting right on the camera and started taking a movie. I knew it, but it took him a bit longer to realize. Here watch:

(I keep playing it set on loop and it cracks me up each time.)

At our hotel in Petaluma, I noticed an error with prepositions on the comment card. I use these things in my class for a "find the mistake" activity. Who proofed that? That's a pretty lame error.

The old town Petaluma at sundown.

On Tuesday or Wednesday I'll put some more pics up. After our sejour in wine country, we went to the Mendocino Coast for fun family frolics for five days. More on that later.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

No question about where home is

I know I said I wouldn't be around but there's free internet today and I just wanted to share a little travel experience. It was a dreadful 16 hour door to door marathon yesterday with 3 planes and two layovers and a two hour drive at the end. Boy are we pooped! In Toronto, we had to clear US customs and immigration in the airport. We went to fill out the customs card and it said "only one declaration card per family" which I had never noticed before. We sat there debating whether or not we should fill out two cards or one, but trying to follow the instructions and do what we are supposed to do, we filled out one card and approached the officer together. He immediately asked how we were related, and I answered that we were married. The agent said to Serge fairly sternly, "You need to step back behind that line and fill in your own declaration card." I then said simply, "We were only trying to follow the instructions and do what we were supposed to do." To that, the officer said nothing except, "What is the purpose of your trip?" I did note other married couples approaching the immigration officer together.

When we come back to Canada, we always approach the immigration officer together and fill out one card with no BS.

Oh yeah, Happy Easter if you celebrate such things. We will be tooling around Sonoma tasting wines and having some cheese for lunch. Dinner will be at this place.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Snippets and I'm outa here

* I went to the dentist this week. I hadn't been for 3 years which is the longest interval I've ever taken. The good news is that there were no cavities or major problems. The bad news is that it's time to redo all the fillings I got in childhood since they are showing signs of wear. Two of them HAVE to be done in porcelain, or so says the dentist. I really don't get why the porcelain one is $800 when I can buy 8 porcelain sinks for that price.

* No, I do not have dental insurance.

* Here's a little video that I wanted to post yesterday. It's about advertising matter that we received. Pay no attention to my puffiness. (It's better today, thanks.)

* One of my favorite words in French is cocotte. Here in Quebec, it is a big casserole baking dish. It also means old whore in France, tee hee.

* Ski season is over and we didn't go AGAIN this year. If I want to fulfill my goals this year, we will have to go in December.

* Tonight, we will finish season one of Six Feet Under. Yes, we are both hooked.

* There is a strange thing happening in the basement. It appears that moisture is coming up from under the house. I don't get it, but I suspect it has a multiple thousand dollar price tag. I'm ignoring it for the moment.

* Serge and I were totally taken in by this April Fool's article. Poor Serge even told everyone at work about it and then had to go back and admit he was a retard. I'm glad I told no one (except Serge, ha)

* Finally a bloggy break. I don't expect to be around until the 20th. I hope everyone enjoys a lovely Easter week.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Quick update

Well shit. I tried to make a video log for you this morning (replete with just woken up puffy face) and the sound is all squelchy and effed up and I don't know why. There is no time this morning for dawdling either so all you're going to get is this quick update. We're leaving the day after tomorrow for a week, so in addition to all of my work duties, there is the preparation to be done. You know, stopping the newspaper, arranging our mail pickup, letting everyone know how to contact us in case of emergency and making sure we have everything we need for travel. In case you are interested, spouse and I will be here next week. As you can see, there will be NO internet. I'm actually looking forward to that bit. If the internet were available, I'd certainly be distracted by it, so it will be nice to truly disconnect for a while. (Actually, I just noticed that the other house the family is renting DOES have internet, so I probably will check in once or twice.)

Last post tomorrow, stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Hearting the internet

How so many tabs end up open on the computer: I got home yesterday and opened the email on I clicked on the email I received telling me about a book I should get from Amazon. It's the new one by David Sedaris but I've already ordered it and will get it next week when we go to the quinquennial family reunion on my father's side. (I had to look up that every-5-year word) Then I remembered from class today that I wanted to know what the difference between an ox and a cow was so I opened up wikipedia. The answer is that an ox is a cow, or more specifically a castrated male cow. I always thought they looked different somehow. I asked myself then, "Would I know an ox if I came across one?" We essentially eat them too I suppose since we eat castrated male cows in hamburger and steaks and whatnot. Hungry? Thinking about the family reunion made me question our flights, see, we have a connection with only 40 minutes so I wanted to look if there would be alternate possibilities should a delay be experienced. Then I wanted to know what airport IAD was and opened another tab to find out. It's Washington Dulles which explains it since I've never passed through that airport. Then I wanted to see how much I could exchange for US dollars so I opened my banking site to check my account. I clicked on another link which opened in a new window for the currency exchange rate. But that's not it, there's more! Then I remembered that on the metro in the morning, they announced a CODE 99 for all the employees. I know they have codes for everything and I wondered if it was injury, suicide, or something else. Then I ended up reading this whole page. I never did find out what code 99 was. After that, I looked for an article that I wanted to send to a colleague, it was this one, a fascinating account of a linguistic oddity in the culture of a small tribe called the Piraha. Since it was raining outside, I decided to check the radar to see if it would stop long enough to bbq up the steaks I had bought. Then I went to my Facebook page and played my turns in Scramble and Lexulous and checked a couple updates. Then I opened my bloglines to check updated blogs and of course each one of those I click on opens in a new window. Then I wanted to go back to Wikipedia to check the Block Universe theory but I couldn't find the tab I already had open because with 13 tabs, you can no longer see all of the tabs at once.

The thing is I love that. It's like a path through my mind in a way, and sometimes even seems like art.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Already Monday

We went to the PDC cabane à sucre (sugar shack) yesterday and it was fabulous as I knew it would be. They had baked alaska, banana split and maple cream crepes for dessert. OMG the baked alaska was to die for. Well everything was wonderful but I'm afraid to weigh myself today.

Afterward, we sought out a nature park to take a stroll and I saw my first robin of the year. Come to think of it, I saw my first robin when we went to the cabane à sucre last year. I'm not calling them robins anymore though, now I use their scientific name, turdus migratorius, or turd for short. I'm sure you can see how this amuses me.

In the evening we watched the Six Feet Under episodes. I was pretty squealy with delight over some of the situations, though I was yelling at the character in the closet (I haven't quite got their names down yet) and spouse has a sizable crush on Michael C. Hall. He kept making lascivious noises and I responded, "I'm right here, you know, and I'm at least half as pretty!" He wasn't buying it. I have to admit he is pretty hot though.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

This and that

And this was mine yesterday. It didn't say which oven rack to use and mine was set a little too low. There's just no salvaging them when they're like this. Luckily this was only a third of the batch and the rest came out perfectly. Tollhouse recipe.

I haven't much else to relate. It's a rainy weekend. We watched Milk last night and at one point serge said, "he looks like me." I started to laugh and then he acted a bit hurt, "why are you laughing?" and so we stopped the film and I got the camera so we could analyse his claims in the cold light of sobriety day. This morning, I'm still laughing a bit. Maybe if he were capable of sprouting facial hair, but as we all know, he didn't get much of a beard gene.

Oh I got the first few episodes of Six Feet Under too, but those aren't due back to the store until Tuesday so I'll watch those tonight or tomorrow. Have a lovely Sunday peeps.

Friday, April 03, 2009


* I loved all the comments yesterday. I'd like to give a special shout out to lurky Colleen who claims to love those kinds of posts as well as the poop posts. I love that I have poop groupies.

* Here is the forecast for the week. I think they are high with that snow next wednesday. On Sunday, we are going to the sugar shack that is being put on by my fave resto and then going on a hike. It looks like it'll be muddy but sunny.

* I found a site with a video of the sugar shack food. I'm even more excited now. The mackerel omelet looks a bit out there, but OMG split pea soup with foie gras! Here watch.

* That survey from day before yesterday was pretty interesting - 114 votes! Over half feel that blogs will continue to be one of many sources of content on the internet.

* What does it say about me that the television programs I watch almost always have commercials for stool softener (and really they should hire me to redo those commercials, I'd have a big stick in my hand and talk about how I have to use it to get the logs to go down when flushing for example) and Flomax? (Oh my God I'm not peeing fast enough!) Are these the problems I have to look forward to in old age?

* This has got to be 1981 or '82. My dad still lives in the same house but the wood paneling and couch are gone. That's Laverne and me there. Maybe she can remember what that button said on her overalls.

* I have to pay my entire March paycheck to the government of Quebec. Still, I'm grateful to be living here.

* This weekend, thanks to several goaders yesterday, I will try to get season one of Six Feet Under. It should be easy enough, the video store is across the street.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Soaking, not chasing

I do not know who or what Hannah Montana is. I have no clue why the Jonas brothers are famed. I have never watched Nip and Tuck, Torchwood, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Battlestar Galactica (except the original), Grey's Anatomy, America's Next Top Model, Gossip Girl and a thousand other programs people talk about.

I feel like I need Cliff Notes for contemporary life.

Is this what it is to get old? To realize that you can't consume it all? To know that no matter the depth of your knowledge there will always be more to be learned and that life is, and I think I'm finally getting this, just too darn short.

Going for long walks in the sun, eating pie, whispering and giggling after sex, sipping sangria on a sultry summer afternoon, a dog licking your face, the scent of a thunderstorm bearing down, spelunking, bodysurfing, reconnecting with an old friend, the harsh serenity of the desert. I think I feel better now because no matter what I'm missing, there will always be these things to dip my soul into.

Maybe getting older is more about letting life wash over you, like how when you were a kid at the beach and you stayed in the shallow area and bobbed and squirmed and tumbled a bit with each passing wave.