Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Checking in from the West coast

We had a lovely Christmas holiday in the Pacific Northwest which afforded us the opportunity to make a day trip to Victoria BC. Even though people shots are inherently more interesting, I thought this was the best shot of that day. We were up there for a week and it basically rained the entire time except for one glorious sunny day which just happened to be the day that we had planned to take the ferry across from Port Angeles. We walked around the city and soaked in the British atmosphere, complete with double decker buses everywhere. A couple of other things reminded us that we were in Canada. One was that when I ordered iced tea, it came to the table sweetened. Yuck. I had already forgotten that it's nearly impossible to get plain unsweetened ice tea up there. Secondly, and I love this, the server at the restaurant that we went to for lunch asked how many checks we would like when she took our order. This doesn't happen in the states even though the technology makes it so easy now. Indeed, when we had lunch at Elliot's, arguably one of the finest seafood restaurants in America, we were told that that policy was one check per table. How's that for customer service? I'd call it a big fat fail.

Had a good time with the family. Baby bro and I, as usual, tried to gross each other out constantly. I believe he was the big winner this time. No need to go into details but suffice it to say if you know me, you know that is quite a feat. We spent a week with the folks in a rented house and I would have sworn that only three days had passed when it was time to go. I'd say the hallmark of having a good experience is the inability to judge the passing of time.

I though this was amusing. It was at the start of a trail near where we were staying. With a forest full of animals pooping everywhere, I didn't really see the necessity of picking up after your pooch. Not only that but with the constant rain, it would be washed away rather swiftly. I don't really think embarrassment is really a concern. If Georgie is any indication, it's more of a welcome addition to the buffet.

Now we are hanging out in our old stomping grounds, Long Beach, California. Yesterday was gloriously warm and sunny. Today is expected  to be as well. We feel so smug watching the East coast people digging out from that blizzard. Montreal was spared apparently, but not from the hideous cold. We will stay here until New Year's eve when we will start the next leg of our journey. More on that next week. I hope you all had a marvelous holiday and if I don't get a chance to get back here before then. Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Au revoir

Here's our holiday picture we sent out. It's hard to read Georgie's shirt but it says, "I love poo no matter what you say." That wasn't my idea, it was Serge's but since it was so fricking true, I didn't protest. Something else we've discovered is that he likes the yellow snow too. He snarfled up a pee snow ball the other day. One can only hope that someone spilled their lemonade.

We're off today for our annual holiday junket out west. In a few minutes I'm going to take Georgie to jail camp where he will be well taken care of. (They better for five hundred bucks.)

Posting will be spotty around here for the next three weeks. I may be a little more present on Facebook though. Here's wishing everyone the happiest of holidays. See y'all on the flip side!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Autumn in Montreal. I bet you can't wait to buy your plane ticket. Actually, it's wonderful for skiiers. I took this picture while we were on our journey to get to the bank.

It should have been so simple. Go out to the car, drive to bank and come back. Well, we went out to the car but the key wouldn't turn the lock. So we walked over to the shopping center to buy de-icing fluid to squirt into the lock. Serge, as you see above, picked up a carton of milk while we were at it. The de-icing fluid worked and we de-snowed the car's windows and bumpers and tried to leave. But the car wouldn't move. It seems there was a layer of black ice and the front wheels only spun. We worked on breaking up the ice for a good half an hour before we finally dislodged the car and were on our way. Total time to go to the bank and come back? An hour and a half. Serge put the de-icing fluid in the car and said, "We need to keep this here." Obviously, we weren't thinking clearly. The next time the lock freezes, the de-icing fluid won't be much good staring at us from inside the car now, will it? Once that dawned on us, the de-icing fluid came into the house.

I think I've already shoveled more and it's been colder than it was anytime last year. And it's technically not even winter yet. I shudder to think how it's going to be when we get back from vacay. I have been here for several "brown" Christmases, those years where there is no snow on the ground. It's pretty much a foregone conclusion that this will not be one of those years. I don't mind the snow so terribly much, though I'm learning the local tradition of despising it, but it's the cold that really chaps my hide, both literally and figuratively. I don't think I'll ever get used to sub zero temps or sub minus twenty temps Celsius. Not fun.

Alright, enough of my whining, I'll stay inside as much as possible cozy and warm and hang out with my boys. I'll leave you with a spot of Georgie porn.

Every time we take him out for a walk it's like Christmas. He jumps repeatedly in his excitement. Three times a day and it never gets old (for him).

Monday, December 13, 2010

12 of 12

I'd say Serge sleeps with me about half the time now. I have no idea how the choosing works. I always go to bed around 10 and he stays up a variety of minutes later than that. If he sleeps on the couch I don't get woken by snoring but it's also nice to sleep next to a warm body. I feel guilty saying it's better when they're out in the living room, but it's true. Always someone (Georgie) pulling on the covers.

Got a haircut. I kept getting bed head from wearing my tuque so I told him to get rid of it. I love how easy it is to "do". I look in the mirror ready to apply a comb or gel or what have you and then realize, a la The Fonz, that it looks just fine. Those nipple hairs though, that's another thing entirely. A trimming I will go.

After the shower, it's long walk time. The temps were much warmer than lately so Georgie didn't need any booties. How about that stink eye though? There's a lady who invented little ornaments that hang on the tail and cover the "eye". It's an interesting idea until you consider what happens to the ornament at the key moment of defecation.

On our walk, we passed by this car with a sign on it. It says he/she lost their key, please go around me please, thanks for understanding, sorry. I guess this was intended for the street sweeping or snow removal people. Would this work in your neck of the woods?

Yeah well, here neither. Still, I wonder about the people who give the tickets. You see the poor guy has lost his key, probably doesn't have much money or he'd have found a solution, the car is on a little industrial street with ample parking and there was really no harm done. I'm going to ticket the bastard anyway. Only doing their job? That's a good little city arsehole.

Shortly after we got back, it began to snow. It really came down for a couple of hours and gave us about 4 inches. I was getting nervous because we had our Christmas dinner planned at the in-laws and driving would have been dicey if it hadn't stopped and turned to rain.

It was a workout day. Even though the diet has officially concluded, I still might want to lose a few more pounds. That doesn't seem likely though, given the time of year.

I finished my workout, saw that the snow was letting up and went out to shovel the walkway and in front of the garages. Can you believe it? Do we need to paint giant NO PARKING signs? Is it not obvious that a) it's a garage door and b) there is a clearly posted sign forbidding the parking of your car there? Oh how I was frosted. Serge didn't want me to call though since this is the first time this particular car has done this. I put an uber-nasty note on his windshield. Sheesh!

The snow had stopped and it was just raining a bit when we toodled off to mother-in-law's house. They don't do nearly as good of a job clearing the snow out in the burbs. It makes for a pretty scene though. It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

She always decorates the table (and the house) for the holidays. We ate like pigs. I'm just now noticing the crudite served in Christmas tree shaped dishes. It was a bit early to celebrate, I agree, but we are leaving next weekend and spending Christmas in the Seattle area.

We exchanged a couple gifts. Here's Serge showing a gift that we will certainly put to good use. He usually breaks one or so per month so it was an ideal present.

I liked hanging out with the dogs too. They both wanted to be on me and were jealous if one was and one wasn't . That's MIL's dog "Tigars" which translates loosely to "little guy".  We went home stuffed to the gills and watched a bit of tv before bed. All in all, a lovely day.

To see other people's photographic take on the day, visit Chad. Sadly, this is the last month he's "sponsoring" the  project. Hopefully someone else (not me) will pick up the baton.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Post number 1492

Although he loves the snow, he's having a tough time acclimating to the frigid temps. Last year was like the winter that never was with little snowfall and balmy (for winter) temps all season. I kept saying that if every winter could be like this, I'd be very happy. Well, it's already colder than it was last winter and it's still Autumn! Anyway, his little feet hurt and then he limps so I bought him some booties.

It took him a while to get used to them, ie to stop trying to pull them off right away. They have little velcro straps to put them on and the tighter the better. The back booties stay on nicely but the front ones tend to come off after a while. He is so darn cute with them on though.

That was during last night's walk. Can you believe I got them at the dollar store? Well actually now it's the two-dollar store. They used to have a ceiling of one dollar pricing but now they've doubled that. It has increased the variety of offerings in the store and I've really liked the expanded pet supply section. The same thing at the pet shop is twenty bucks.

All this snow has been aggravating. I dug a space for the car in front of our garage door and I haven't been able to park there. Why? Because f$*%ing as$*%les feel that it's okay to park in front of someone's garage. Even when I went out and bought "No Parking" signs and posted them on the doors, someone parked there. Unbelievable. I've got the towtruck guys on speed dial now. What is wrong with people?

We were able to rent the apartment that is going to be vacated in February. Have I mentioned this? I think so. Well, there were a few calls, one of whom was the biggest pain in the butt and I knew after two minutes on the phone with him that there was no way I'd be renting to him. Basically, he was trying to negotiate a remodel and a lowering of the price without ever visiting the place. He eventually did visit and he was an old hippie queen who just loathed the carpet, paneling, paint etc. etc. etc. We didn't even give him an application. In the end, a nice ex pat American couple, both dancers, took the place. They work for an Indian casino down in New York every weekend but love living and teaching dance in Montreal. The girl's name is Chelsea, the first person with that name I've ever met.

I bought chicken milk. In case you don't know what that is, that's what they call egg nog up here. We have had a bottle of rum on the counter for over a year that someone brought over, and since Serge and I don't really like rum (except the super aged kind) we don't drink it. I figured if it's wrapped and camouflaged in egg noggy goodness, we'll hardly notice.

Have a great weekend y'all!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Snow and politics

We got our first big snowstorm of the year. They had predicted 2 inches and we ended up with a foot of snow. I haven't seen them this wrong on a snow forecast in ten years. Fortunately, I am a weather geek and I did see it coming so instead of driving to the hinterlands Monday for my afternoon courses, I took public transportation. Apparently the afternoon commute was a three hour drive for most people. Even with public transportation, it took me an hour and a half, but so what, I got to read and play games on my ipod instead of feeling frustrated and nervous driving in a winter storm. Georgie just loves to romp in the snow. I tried to take a video last night but it came out too dark. Above you see him rooting around looking for his toys buried in the snow on the back patio. It has been snowing since 1pm Monday and it is still coming down this morning.

It's been disappointing watching the gridlock in Washington. I was watching the talking heads on TV the other day and it was pointed out that compromise is political suicide for candidates, so instead everyone digs their heels in and no governing really happens. Plus, no money is pouring into candidates from corporations over social issues like marriage equality, so those issues don't get addressed. It got me thinking on how the system could be changed so it could actually work again. Yesterday's "deal" extending unemployment benefits coupled with tax breaks for the top 2 percent seems wrong on all kinds of levels to me. Shouldn't one of those have paid for the other? Here are some of my ideas, naive as they may appear.

1. Voters should be qualified. You have to pass a test to become a citizen, but not if you're born in the US. Why not? This may sound elitist, but why do simpletons get to shape our country? You have to pass a test demonstrating your knowledge of the issues and candidates' platforms to have the privilege of voting.

2. Corporations are not people. They should have no business shaping the debate. Individuals should be the only supporters of candidates.

3. A viable third party needs to gain seats in Congress

4. Term limits. Not just for the president, but for everyone in Congress. Once your term is over, run for some other seat. This would lead to more compromise and less intractability on towing the party line.

5. Votes need to be weighed differently. Why do 80 year olds have the same vote weight. The younger people have to live longer with the legislative consequences. So, 1/2 vote to those 18 -30 (immaturity penalty), full vote to those 31-55, half vote for those over 55.

6. Wealth inequities will lead to civil unrest. Thus a maximum wage should be in place. Say at 50 million. If the rich want to avoid the 100 percent tax rate above that amount, they can give the excess to charity.

7. The only TV ads when running for office should be the candidate speaking to the audience. If they're gonna smear, they'll have to do it face to face.

Any one of these would improve the gridlock. What do you think? I don't even have to care about this since I am a citizen of Canada, but it's hard to watch your homeland wither.

Happy hump day peeps, the weekend is in sight!

Sunday, December 05, 2010


* Let me in, let me in, let me in. Then three minutes later it's let me out, let me out, let me out. I don't think his short term memory is all that great.

* Our good tenants have decided to buy a house (good for them!) and so are leaving at the end of January. It's a great apartment at a good price but February 1st is not the ideal time to rent a place here. Not only is it in the midst of winter, but up here, most people move in July. I put an ad out on the internet yesterday and we got two calls. Here are the details.

* I got this graphic via We Move To Canada and I thought it charming that the majority of Americans do not consider Serge and I (and Georgie!) a family. And when I say charming, I mean insulting. I guess if we adopt a kid, we become a family. Serge and I discuss adoption at least once a year and we always come to the same conclusion. It's too much work and we're too old now. Anyhow, once again, happy to have become Canadian.

* On the positive side, did you see that "what would you do" segment on ABC Friday night? They had actors play out a teenager coming out to one of the parents. The actor parent doesn't take the news well and lambasts the teenager. It was interesting to see how bystanders reacted. Personally, I found it very difficult to watch. Even thought they were actors, it hit too close to home. If you haven't seen it, here it is.

* Georgie decided to jump into bed at two am last night and vomit. Why???????? I let Serge stay there and went off to finish sleeping on the couch. Gross.

* Gas is at $4.74 a gallon up here. Insane. We are an oil exporter and just across the border, it's 2.75 a gallon. What gives?

* I still haven't had poutine yet since finishing the diet. The line, "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" keeps haunting me.

* On our upcoming holiday travel extravaganza, we are planning to go to California Adventure, the sister park to Disneyland. I'll be fine if I never go to Dland again, but I'd like to at least see the other park once. Tickets are $76 apiece! Geez. Ten years ago, it was $24 for residents and now it's triple that. And you still have to pay for parking and eating.

* Our friend Daniel bought a business. It's a small artisinal pasta manufacturer/distributer with a gourmet grocery storefront. He has had it for 25 days and has worked as many. Welcome to being your own boss. We visited yesterday while they were making lasagne. Very cute place and we are wishing him all the best success.

* These xmas decorations cracked me up. All down the boulevard, these "candles" lit the way. Am I the only one who sees peen?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

One pic each

He has readopted his place before the window on top of the sofa. I picked up a throw blanket at the dollarama so his peen gunk wouldn't mar the microfiber. Not that he's constantly oozing gunk, since he usually slurps that up for himself. Yum.

For the first time in many years, I have made my self imposed deadline for finishing shopping and xmas cards. Got them mailed out yesterday on the first of the month. What a nice feeling having it all done. I got all mad at Serge though because yesterday he chose our xmas card picture as his profile pic on Facebook. He has since cropped and reposted part of that photo but I like the final product to be a nice little surprise when the card is opened. Later, I'll post the pic here too.

Serge got a belated bday gift. It's a rice cooker. He's 44 by the way. It's probably not going to get used all that much. Uncle Ben's microwave rice pouches are so fast and easy and delicious (should be getting paid for this but am not) there really isn't any need for such an appliance. But the rice cooker was pretty easy too. Just throw the stuff in and the cooker does all the rest. It "knows" when the rice is ready regardless of how long you've set it to cook. Cool.

Since I'm bored and have nothing to say because I haven't been writing things down to remember to say here, how about a few expressions and their French counterparts. I've probably done this before but am too lazy to look. It's raining cats and dogs translates to it's raining ropes. Boy did it too. We got like three inches over the last two days. I'm spaced out translates to I'm in the moon. This happened to me on the bus yesterday. Totally in daydream land, I went several stops past my intended exit point. It cost an arm and a leg translates to it cost the eyes of my head (although they also say it cost me an arm, but there is no mention of leg.) The straw that broke the camel's back becomes the last drop that made the vase overflow. I kinda like that one better than ours.

Winter gear. Our big rain event washed away all the snow. But soon the snow will come and stay for oh, I'd say about 4 months. I'm looking forward to when it does so I can take Georgie back to the doggie park. Last time I took him, it was so muddy and gross and he came home drenched in the stinky doggie park mud. It's really peepoo mud which is quite vile. I didn't even want to let him in the car but we had to get home so I could bathe him. We'll go back when the ground is frozen with a nice layer of the white stuff on top.

There you go, a dispatch from the three of us. Have a lovely day.