Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's that day again

Everything's so quiet. Everyone's holed up it seems, digesting Christmas and preparing for end of the year festivities. It's been a tranquil couple of days for us too. Spent most of yesterday at MIL's house and got a lot of knitting done. Tonight, party boy upstairs is having another one, and it's sure to be loud and late. I don't mention our other "neighbors" much but he is one of them. Most weekends he has a party that goes late. The clomp clomp clomping is disturbing, but it's the weekend so we just deal. We'll probably step out tonight, though I really loathe going anywhere public on this day. Everybody gets so messy and I (sniff, sniff, snob) don't care much to be around messiness.

It was terrible when I used to work in restaurants on this day. Invariably, some woman who had (unbeknownst to me) been eyeing me would insist on KISSING me on the LIPS at midnight. I don't think I have quite the same effect on women these days, but it reminds me of the time Serge and I went to Jackie's wedding (a bartender at the place I was managing). After several hours of champagne, the bride came up and french-kissed me and whispered, "I still wish it had been you" in my ear. It was a matter of three minutes before I had said my goodbyes and got out of there.

Then there was the time I was drenched with bottles of champagne at midnight, a case of employee enthusiasm gone wrong. I had to close the place squishing around in those clothes. God I was pissed.

I really have no big expectations for this "holiday", so I shouldn't be disappointed. And I guess it's requisite to wish everyone a happy new year, so consider that done. I'll see you all in the year of James Bond, the only 007 year any of us will know. (Excepting of course any centenarian readers.)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Snippets: What I learned in 2006

* First and foremost, that I am always capable of accomplishing more than I believe.

* Perhaps consequently, that I must put limits on my "doing". I have (and only just started) begun to learn how to relax my mind.

* How to meditate.

* That no matter how genuine a person seems, it is entirely possible that they are lying.

* What an anxiety attack is. I had always pooh-poohed the existence of them, until I had one.

* That hemmerhoids cause itching. (Sure the commercials mentioned it, but I reserve the gift of my belief until I have experience.)

* That there are a huge group of interesting, good-hearted individuals in the blogosphere.

* How to take and edit movies from my camera.

* That there really is no bad or good. Only what is.

* Many, many words in French and English. I don't keep a list, but I will in 2007. I love me a good running list.

* That my farts could be mistaken for egg sandwich.

* Why it can snow when there are no clouds. (Only at temps below -20C/ -6F, and it is called diamond dust. It just materializes out of thin air. )

* That I can ride my bike thirty minutes and be in the company of deer.

* How to make carmelized onions. (Thanks John!)

* What it's like to visit Miami, Puerto Vallarta, Cozumel, Jamaica (blech!), Grand Cayman, Ottawa, most of New Brunswick and a refresher course on Big Sur.

* That the older I get, the more the days seem precious, even as they slip ever more swiftly by.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

This 'n that

Well we went to the rental board yesterday and filed the eviction request for nude dancer. He's been absent for over a week now, so we haven't had a chance to pitch options to him. The hearing won't be until the beginning of February, but I don't know if I'm willing to wait that long. We'll just have to see if he shows his face around here anymore. If he doesn't, we might just take things into our own hands and empty his place. At least the animal has been rescued. Yesterday, the SPCA came and took away the poor cat. They have to wait a while to see if the owner wants to claim it (hahahahaha), and then it will be put up for adoption. We had to send a certified letter to him informing him of the action taken but he will never get this letter, nor go to pick it up at the post office. He has a dozen such notices on his kitchen table amongst the detritus.

Some of you remarked about my skinniness in the videos. Well, that's what stress'll do for you, however real or imagined the stressors are. There was a day last week I forgot to eat dinner. Plain forgot. The following morning I was ravenous and realized I hadn't eaten in 20 hours. Don't worry though, I polished off the pumpkin pie yesterday and there's still the pecan pie and the ice cream log in the freezer to get through. A little insulating fat would be welcome about now as it has turned much colder.

Today we 86 the christmas tree and decorations. Ditto for the christmas music and left over sweet potatoes. We've eaten turkey at every meal since the 24th, and turned the remaining carcass into soup. Frankly, I'm sick of it now. (Still, it's amazing how many meals you can get out of a $20 bird.)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Toilet talk

When we first moved into this place, we were quite taken by the amenities that came with - fancy appliances, central vacuum, and the "silent toilet" as Serge put it. And it's true, when you flush this toilet, it makes no sound since the water from the tank enters the bowl from below the water line. Now I would never notice something like a "silent toilet", much as I don't notice a dirty toilet, but spouse, the one with taste, notices all these things.

However, there is something I've noticed that I don't like about this toilet. It doesn't evacuate all the turds. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the purpose of the toilet? Evacuating the turds? This toilet is good at evacuating the bulk of the turdage, but always seems to leave a morsel behind. This tends to be embarrassing when you have visitors. (Particularly those who choose to do number two.) Now personally, I avoid defecating if at all possible in any toilet other than my home's. Still there are times one must do the deed when away from home. For me, clothes shopping works better than coffee at nudging the fudge. Maybe some people experience this "nudging" while visiting others. Our friends seem to, lol.

So then last night, I was telling spouse about my dissatisfatction with the turd evacuation device in the bathroom. And you know what? He said that I was mistaken, that there is a little chipped porcelain at the bottom which has become stained and thus gives the illusion of remaining turdage. In actuality, all the turds are indeed evacuated. He said we needed to change the toilet because of the chip. And this is where he made the big mistake. You see, if he had let me go with the illusion, we would be getting a new toilet. But for chipped porcelain? No way. He's still got a thing or two to learn about me.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Visual holiday recap

Everything was splendid

Here's a look around before the in-laws arrived.

The money shot of the night. God we were stuffed. We finished off the night with word games and Uno.

Today we spent a fabulous Christmas day outside. Then I came home and edited together this video.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Time's up!

I hope you're ready! I'm cookin' a turkey today for the in-laws. And stuffing, and pecan crusted sweet potatoes, and green bean casserole. Of course we have to clean the house too, but I'll leave spouse to that - I seem to be dirt-blind.

We went up yesterday to check on the cat. No water again. At least nude dancer left the ripped open sack of cat food on the floor for the poor thing. And the stench! Cleaned up the cat box (again) too. There was a long letter on his door from his ex. She was worried about him, knew things weren't going well and "please don't disappear like last time" and "please let me know your new address for real, not like the fake phone number you gave me". Also, she had received the divorce papers and she needed to talk to him. This put a human face on his situation (whatever it is) and I actually felt some pity for the guy. Still, we have a plan of action.

Next time we see him (we are changing the entrance code to the building to force him to ring our bell) we are going to give him three choices. Well one choice really, it's just the manner of proceeding. We are going to tell him that we want him out, and that we will get him out. 1. File a request for eviction with the rental board, as we have enough evidence now to support the request.(they are closed until Wednesday.) 2. We change the lock and empty his apartment. It will be up to him to sue us in civil court for wrongful eviction (once he's out, the rental board has no jurisdiction.)We also have a strong case to defend ourselves there. 3. You sign this paper cancelling the lease and you get out by the end of January. Don't pay us a thing, just sign the paper and get out.

I feel pretty strongly that he will jump at the chance for number three. But we'll have to see his reaction. This is my first goal of 2007 - get nude dancer out!

But I feel sad too, this is probably his worst Christmas ever.

I hope you and yours have a splendid holiday!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Spouse endures Christmassy pestering

Really, he was singing the song just moments before I picked up the camera.

Also, the French words spoken:

T'es fatiguant calisse! = You are annoying, chalice!

T'es con. = You are a fool.

Toi, t'es con. = It is you who is the fool.

Friday, December 22, 2006


* This is the shot that made the Christmas card.

* Watched "the Devil Wears Prada" last night. It doesn't matter what Meryl Streep does, she is perfect in every role.

*I learned this week that Kimodo dragons can procreate without copulation. Actually, several lizard species can do this. It is not a miracle.

* I've been cracking myself up all week saying, "The ferret ate my baby's toes."

* The phone number nude dancer gave me was indeed a phony.

* When you watch the sunset, you're watching the past. Actually the sun has already set because the light from the sun takes several minutes to reach us.

* This was the creepy clothing store I passed while shopping yesterday.

* To avoid ground knuckle, don't push with the cheese, simply pull lightly with the grater.

* Favorite blog line this week: "You're short. Own it." (From Farmboyz)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Development of a phobia

My last massage took place on a cruise ship. For the bargain price of $120, you could have a "rejuvenating" massage and hot oil treatment. The little brochure promised things like relaxation and "enlivening one's senses". It failed to mention that the sense they'd be enlivening was pain. The spa visit was the one big splurge we did on that trip, and this is how it went down.

I arrived at my appointment and was shown into a room with lots of little oils and lights and soft music playing. I was told to get undressed and put on the towel and get onto the table.

"Helga will be right with you."

Helga? For some reason I thought the masseuse would be a male. And further that males would do males and females would do females. I was there waiting, hoping Helga was some swarthy Greek male name. And then she came in.

"Hello Richard how are you today?"

"Fine thanks," I said as I was trying to place her accent. Not quite German, perhaps some stern former Eastern Bloc country like Sadistivakia.

"I vant you to try and relax Richard, and remember a little bit of discomfort iss normal."

I immediately reacted by thinking oh no, she is going to hurt me, and now she is telling me not to be a baby. Of course then I couldn't be a baby, and didn't feel confident enough to tell her the truth: I just wanted to relax and feel all tingly and stuff. (Dirk's story reminded me of Helga)

She started by digging her dagger fingers and knuckles into the flesh of my shoulders, "Oh my, but vee have a lot of tension here."

There were two voices in my head at this time. The first just wanting to say "ouch" and "stop" but instead sufficed for a tear, unseen, trickling from my eyes. The other enraged, bellowed, "Of course there's fucking tension, you are bruising every inch of my flesh."

This went on and on to each part of the body, " I never see someone vith so much tension in their muscles, you are going to hurt for a few days, but that is good because all the toxins are coming out".

Detoxifying? Had I missed that part in the brochure? Who said anything about detoxifying?! So Helga is here to squeeze every last toxin out of my body while I'm on a cruise ship being a perfect lush?!?!

Afterward, I got the added joy of her attempt to peddle lotions to me. Bwahahaha. I don't do lotions Helga.

Anyway, it scarred me. No more massages for me. Ever. (I might make an exception for Em, but only if she gets on a plane.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

This n that

I gave my last classes of the year yesterday. Normally, I would fully rejoice at the upcoming two and a half weeks of off time, but I'm afraid of the tendency to fester about things when I have too much time on my hands. Especially when there are things to fester about. I'm working on keeping everything in perspective, it's only money after all, and I know that we will get through this and come out the other side with a learning experience worthy of any lost money. In the meantime, it's peanut butter and jelly for lunch, soup and baguette for dinner. Thankfully, I like those meals.

I spoke with beloved relatives yesterday, a conversation spirited by martinis on both ends of the line. I laughed a good deal. In the end, I was told to quit whining and to look at the whole learning experience angle of this. I pointed out that I didn't like what I was learning, to whit, you can't trust anybody. It's hard to love and distrust at the same time. I know there must be a way, but it seems like you have to kill a part of yourself off to do it. (Quit your whining!, lol)

Spouse and I decided that we are not going to give each other gifts this year, but we are going to go to a spa next week, him for a massage, me for a pedicure. After all, things don't matter, experiences do.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Damn, the saga continues

Boy, the SPCA doesn't mess around. Within two hours of me emailing them, someone was here for an inspection. They will be taking the cat if nude dancer doesn't show up by Friday. Since we are taking care of it for now, they don't need to "rescue" it. The poor thing cries all the time so I brought her down to meet Sara. They carefully inspected each other and no blood was shed. I think it went quite well. Mostly the cat just wanted petting. I would take the cat as a pet but spouse has been talking about a year free of animals for quite a while now, and I figure I should honor that. Sara is on her last legs anyway. Sniff.

We gave all our renters gift certificates to the market. We know of no other landlords who do this. I call it a goodwill expense that will pay itself off in friendly interactions with our tenants. I couldn't bring myself to include nude dancer though, even though I wish I were a big enough person to do something like that. But I can't get past the fact that the fucker owes us $725 and abandonned a cat.

Get this. Just now as I write this (4:30pm yesterday) a truck pulls into the yard and starts unloading a couch. Where could this be going? I go open my door and there is nude dancer in the stairwell. He comes into my apartment (at my insistence) and tells me he's been at the hospital for a week for serious depression, he broke up with his girlfriend a year ago and he should have his pay Thursday (the 21st, the end of the grace period according to the rental board) and he saw the notice from the SPCA and he would be cleaning up his apartment, and blah blah fucking horseshit. I gave him the cat food and litter that I bought and told him it was 10 bucks. I also told him that he should have called us about the cat, and he responded in the fake contriteness of an adolescent, "I know." (head bowed in "shame")

Then he said he had a new cellphone and left without giving me the number. I went up to his apartment and asked him for it in front of his moving friends. If you can't pay rent and you're laid up in the hospital, how do you get a new cellphone? (what I should have asked) It's probably a fake number anyway, him and his "rotted teeth" buddies howled when I left with the number. Then they left and nude dancer has not returned as of this morning. He was here maybe ten minutes in all. I guess we're the Man and they're sticking it to us. Sigh.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Googly and stuff

The blog searches leading to by blog are interesting. While "how to make perfect french fries" is still the number one search leading here, "window peeping" is a close second now. I'm number four if you google the song "let it snow" and I saw a new one yesterday, "blocking my peehole". It made me wonder if the person's peehole is obstructed or if the person would like to obstruct it. I get all sorts of "sticky" references too. It all seems so random, I got a hit from a search for "hemmroidectomy" (sic). I'm pretty sure I never wrote that, perhaps it was a commenter.

But then I thought about how random my own searches are. In the past week, I have googled "hip displaysia dog", "Aspirin dosage animal", "Exquisicorpse", "Telescopic horse penis"(don't ask), "Pigs dogs smarter", "SPCA", "Self realization fellowship", "Kundulini energy", "Weight of an olympic bar", "Teach English Inuit", "Supralapsarianism", and "Everyone says I love you music". Yesterday, while playing Scrabble, I was incensed because someone used the word purslane. I had never seen that word before (cheater cheater!), so of course, it had to be googled. Turns out it is a fairly common edible plant. There are even recipes for it. (The person probably wasn't a cheater.)

Often times I'll find someone's blog via a search. I end up getting a story about how the phrase I entered in the google box had reference in their lives. Many times, it's a perspective quite different from my own. Many times, it is the same. I love that in all this randomness, there is also a kind of connectivity, the chaotic path of each life careening and crashing together in the ether. It's like a shadow of our connectedness.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Tagged by LBB

"Each player of this game starts with the '6 weird things about you'. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says “you are tagged” in their comments and tell them to read your blog."

1. Each night before going to sleep, I listen to the weather radio. This is a special weather band radio you can get at Radio Shack. Government issued weather forecasts and conditions are broadcast on three frequencies. I've been doing that for over 30 years and it might possibly be my oldest habit. Sometimes I fall asleep with it on and spouse has a phobia that the telescopic antenna is going to poke his eye out one of these days.

2. I hate putting anything on my skin. All my friends know this. Dry skin? Get that lotion away from me. And I use nothing but barsoap for body and face. In fact, my entire skin care regiment consists of Lever 2000.

3. When I am walking, I have dialogue in my head with the trees. "Well, you are looking mighty fine this morning. What's that? Oh thank you. I bet most people just walk right by you and don't notice your majesty and your steadfastness, rooted there for decades." And then sometimes I pet them.

4. Most days I drink coffee and water and a couple glasses of wine at the end of the day. Occasionally, I treat myself to a diet coke. Then I refill the diet coke bottle with water a hundred times.

5. (I am going to copy what LBB wrote. It was perfectly stated. Maybe it's not so weird after all...) I stopped maturing at 12. Other than taking an interest in the opposite (ahem, same) sex, I haven't changed since childhood. As a teen and then as a young adult, I assumed one day the aging process would instill a decent work ethic and a sense of responsibility. I figured a codified adult mentality would “kick-in” at some point. I'm in my mid-30s (I'm 41!) and I'm still waiting. My biggest priorities are still: sleeping in, dodging work and responsibility, watching TV, surfing the Net, scoring good meals and dessert, playing games, working out, hanging out, wasting time and doing as little as possible. No joke, people. Honest Indian. Mind you, I don't just long to do these things. I actually DO them. I've worked part-time most of my adult life, including my present job. I still watch cartoons. I still eat candy. I still play with toys. I still contemplate what I want to be when I grow older. Between leisure time and a chance to earn more money, I'll take leisure every damn time. I've tried, but I can't give a damn about adult stuff. Who gives a shit about careers, productivity, mortgages and retirement funds, really? Fuck that shit.

6. The evidence for number five can be found in my years long fixation on Scrabble. I have played over 4000 games online, and at half an hour a pop, well, you do the math. I am not proud of this, but it is free and noodles my mind. Also, every morning I play this game.

So now I am supposed to tag six people. I don't really like tagging people. If you would like to participate, you can consider yourself tagged.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Human sewage

Well, we have finished rekeying the whole building, including nude dancer's apartment. The locksmith came yesterday so we were able to enter. I am sad to announce that the cat did not have food nor water. Even the toilet was closed. The cat was starving for attention too. We set her up with dogfood and water, today I'll go get some catfood and litter since the box is all shit and no litter. There is garbage everywhere. But nude dancer is missing in action, I only saw him around for an hour last Saturday morning. Even the old owner, pornstar, has left a note on his door demanding that he get in touch with him. We can go to the rental board on Friday. We have the key to his apartment now, so we will not let the cat die. (I want to just take her, but Spouse said no) We took pictures and a video.

I can get over the lazy messiness, but the animal cruelty is reprehensible.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Holiday snippets

* Here's another shot that didn't make the Christmas card.

* Mom always fills the adults' stockings with practical things. Aspirin, batteries, dental floss and the like. I love this.

* I avoid teaching the word "wreath". The French say it "Reet" and the Japanese "Leath". Both of these pronunciations cause me to laugh thus undermining student confidence. Best not to go there.

* Spouse is tiring of my constant playing of the Charlie Brown Christmas CD. I've played it dozens of times, as I do every year.

* I have never seen a "flocked" tree for sale up here. Maybe because the real thing is outside. Is it just a California thing?

* I asked my muslim student if he celebrated something at this time of year. He explained that he was going to sacrifice a lamb. He will go out to a farm, slit the animal's throat himself, then the farmer will skin and gut it, and he will take it home and divvy it up to family and charity. Call me crazy, but a tree and presents sound more festive.

* All the snow has melted here and none is forecast before Noel. It'll be my first non-white Christmas in 7 years.

* Despite the lack of snow, this seemed Christmassy. They had bells and they were jingling.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Something light and cheery

Spouse came home the other day raving about the new underwear he bought. He modeled them for me and I said, "Not bad, how much were they?" He said they were originally $50, but got them for $20 at the warehouse sale. I laughed, "For underwear!? That's against my religion." He talked about how they felt so good and snug and then he said, "Here, you try them on."

Happy HNT!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

This 'n that

Last night, spouse and I had THE talk about the dog. Spouse wants to prevent any suffering, while I want to wait until she can't shit on her own anymore. This time seems near. But near and now are two different things. I'll keep you posted. (whether you like it or not)

I'm off today. The semester is coming to a close and though I have scads of paperwork to do, it can be done in my robe. Also, I'm calling the locksmith to schedule the lock change of nude dancer's apt. on Friday. He'll have to contact us to get the new key. (And I'll be able to check on his cat.) This whole story is getting boring and repetetive, I know, but that's how life is - up and down, in and out, exciting and boring.

Yesterday I passed by a restaurant called "Derriere les Fagots". I swear. They even have a website. I'd be a little wary of the brown sauce, ba dum dum chh.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rainy days and Mondays

Sometimes being depressed has a sweetness to it, nudging one into reverie and if you really let go into, you can cry the cry of a thousand people. Who knows why some days you wake up knowing it's going to be a fabulous day and others just the opposite. Sometimes it's circumstances, what's happening in your life, but other times it must be hormonal or depending on your hippie quotient, chakras or some such thing. The flu would certainly do it too. But there is also a different kind of depression (maybe it's melancholy?), a cloak of blue that descends upon a person, and if the person opens up, lets go, accepts the sadness, then the merest smile, or the slightest expression of kindness will send a person into tears. (I'd like to report a run-on sentence) There seems to be a common well from which all emotions stem and once you really get down in there, they tend to all come out at once.

Have you ever seen someone laugh and cry at the same time? I mean cry crying, not because you're laughing crying. It's a trip to see that, lemme tell you. I have not done it myself. I have cried and been angry at the same time though.

Yesterday was a blue day. The dog was sick and threw up white. White is not the correct color of vomit, I'm fairly sure. Of course nude dancer (toujours absent) is on my mind, and I had some enraged paranoid fantasy that he poisoned our dog. My cheeks turned red even. And then I caught myself and began to laugh at how ridiculous my mind works and then started to cry a little. (Not at the same time, please note.) And I thought about Jill, how her day must be, and I cried a little more. It felt good to be sad in that way.

Sometimes it feels good to just feel.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Laughing and crying

A couple of weeks ago, one of my students, we'll call her Jill, had to leave class early for a doctor's appointment.

"It's nothing serious I hope," I asked.

"Oh no, it's a regular check up for my chest," she answered (while indicating to her breasts)

"You mean your annual breast exam?"

"Well, my mother died of breast cancer as did my aunt, so I go more often. I have a kind of cyst that they are monitoring. It's just a cyst though," she happily announced.

"How old was your mother when she died?"


"Wow, that's terrible, I'm so sorry. Have you ever thought about getting a breast reduction?"

Gasps and bewilderment all around the class. Okay, maybe it's not the most tenderly put question, but in my defense, this girl has veritable melons.

"Well, I mean you could get rid of the cyst, and you know, women of your size often get back problems."

Sometimes I don't know how to talk to women. One time I told my friend I thought her thighs had gotten bigger. Big mistake. Anyway. I was just thinking "clinically" as it were about a 30 year old required to get breast exams every three months. Why not just nip it in the bud?

"My breasts are not that big! You're the third person who has suggested that to me." I had obviously touched on a sensitive spot.

"Okay, they're not freakishly big, but you've got to admit they're not small!" and we all laughed to diffuse the tension.

Last week, Jill was not in class. Turns out the cyst was not benign at all, it was a very rare form of cancer. So rare that she will have 9 doctors following her case to learn about it. She starts chemo today. And that's where my heart will be.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I did it to myself

Yesterday sucked. We worked ourselves up into a froth over nude dancer and were gearing ourselves up for confrontation. Somehow, he slithered out without our noticing. I saw him come in after he went for breakfast, but never saw him leave. (Incidentally, when he came in, he didn't see me spying through the blinds. He must have removed his shoes and tiptoed up the stairs because he made almost no noise. Like a child hiding from angry parents.) At 5pm, we went up to knock on his door, and he was gone (or hiding and not answering). The cat, however, meowed, so it's okay. Speaking of the cat, I can't go accusing people of animal cruelty without proof. It's perfectly possible that he has a friend coming over to feed it, or stopping by himself while we are out at work. All we know is that he is not sleeping there, and that we see him very rarely these days.

He does have 8 giant sacks of garbage on his balcony. He has not taken his trash down to the street since we moved in, the pile just keeps getting bigger. Charming fellow.

But I hate that once again I let this situation ruin my mood for a whole day. He's just being passive aggressive by not responding to our letter or letting us know when he intends to pay his rent. Fine. Want to use the apartment for your tricks? Fine. Want to sneak around? Fine. I have no control over these things. It's one thing to know it, and another to not let it get to you. Yesterday, I failed, and I really let it get to me. In the end, it was only I who suffered. And it really sucked.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Mini update

Nude dancer just came home after a 10 day absence. We left a note on his door asking for the rent of course, but also to borrow his keys to make a copy since we don't have one. I wonder if the cat is dead. 10 days is a long time and it stopped meowing on Tuesday. He's certainly making a lot of noise up there right now, there must be quite a cleanup to do.

Some of you have suggested that we take the rent in trade, ie services from nude dancer. Let me tell you, I wouldn't want to touch him with a 10 foot pole. The depth of my disgust for him precludes any possible attraction. He tries though. He will answer his door in his undies, his lithe body seductively posed in the doorway. And I just think, "Loser!" Losers are not attractive. Nuff said.

And if he left his cat to die of starvation, that will be the ultimate proof of his vileness.

*Update: He just left with a trick! That explains all the noise. Went to the restaurant for breakfast. Maybe he'll come back and pay then. Yes ladies and gentlemen, we live in a brothel, lol.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Snippets n pics

* I have lost my scarf that I made. Over 30 hours of labor left on a bus somewhere. Sadness.

*Disco Santa

* One of my students is flying to the Arctic to collect a sample. Of water. From the tap of a federal building. Apparently, it must be brought back to the lab for analysis within 24 hours, and mailing could hazard it to be tampered with. Must be a human with the sample of tap water at all times. The cost? Five grand. Our tax dollars at work.

* One of my other students who is quite fervently muslim (yes, I know I'm supposed to capitalize it, but please don't kill me) bowed his head and prayed during each romantic scene in the film Hannah and Her Sisters. Apparently, it was evil for him to witness a man and woman kissing in a fictitious setting. And I specifically chose the film for its lack of female nudity. Sheesh.

* Early December at the Old Port of Montreal (taken yesterday)

* Did you know that airlines do not only discriminate against overweight people when hiring, but also tall people? I was rejected by United way back when for my freak of nature height of 6'3.

* Think you're double jointed? Think again.

* Do I care who's penis is currently entering Jennifer Anniston's vagina? No. Why is this information constantly in the news?

* I haven't ever been the best at anything. True story. (Except I guess at being me.)

* I thought this shirt was funny. However, I would scoff at anyone wearing it.

* Eggnog is called "Chicken milk" or "Hen's milk" in French. Ewww.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Off the cuff

There's nothing going on here. Work, work, work, rush, rush, rush. I got quite a lot done yesterday, little of which is blogworthy. We're coming up on the end of the session, so there are finals to grade and evaluations to pump out. Instead of thinking about all I have to do before the holidays (causing as it does anxiety and panic), I'm trying to just look at today, now. and "forgetting" what has to get done in the next two weeks. This is a strategy I'm not used to employing, but it seems to be working. Today is manageable. The rest of my life will come as it comes.

It's working so well that I forgot to think about what I would blog about today. oops. Well there you have it, off the cuff blogging at five am.

I'm putting snippets on my list for things to do today. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Inflated sense of self

I remember back in high school learning about the phrases, "might makes right" and "power corrupts." I grasped fairly easily the first one, I mean the history books are written by the winners. The second one I always felt skeptical about. And even as we saw some examples of this, I thought surely there are people who, once they found themselves in power, did not succomb to the temptation for corruption. And in my mind, I decided that power only corrupts if you let it. And when I have been in positions of power, either as manager or landlord, I have remained true to my inner belief that every one is just trying to do their best with what they have. And that everyone deserves a minimum of respect. Maybe that makes me stupid.

Now, as I look at all my students and classes I've given over the past five years, I see that power does indeed change people. In fact, the higher the position the person holds, the less likely they are to come to class, do homework and learn from the process. Maybe it's because they have built in respect (being the boss and all) at work and coming to class means giving over the reins of power to me, if only for a couple hours. When you learn a new language, you have to be willing to subject yourself to a certain degree of humiliation, since your worth is measured more by your ability to digest and use new information than it is by your title. Department heads are the worst, and they often show frustration when I point out their errors. (I point them out so they can learn from them!) Usually after two or three classes, they stop coming, refusing to better themselves. (Hey, they're already power brokers, they don't need no stinking pipsqueak teachers.) Give me a class of underlings any day.

So now, sadly, I have to agree, that power does seem to corrupt. It corrupts ones personality.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I have nothing to report. In fact, I am completely qualmless this morning. It's movie day again today in two of my classes. They didn't have Swimming with Sharks as I had planned to show, so I got my favorite - Hannah and her Sisters. Did I mention that I showed Somewhere in Time last week? I was rather bored to tell you the truth. I don't think movies unfold that slowly anymore in North America. And the watch always bugged me. Where did the watch come from if he got it from her and she got it from him? Bugs me.

Warning, nonsequiteur ahead. (Sorry, that was a geekburp. As was that, I'm afraid.)

I've been wondering about pedicures. I wonder if they're like massages - they sound oh so nice and relaxing but then you spend the whole time trying to prove that it doesn't hurt. The only good massage is from your lover. So I'm wondering if the idea of a pedicure (oh it'll be so tickly and wonderful!) is really not the reality, and that I'll go in and they'll rip flesh from my toes or something. Enlighten me please before I spend money for pain.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Let it snow

The first real snow of the season occurred yesterday. And we got more than they forecast which is a bonus. It was the perfect weather for holiday decorating. I sang "my favorite things" as I walked to the other place to pick up rent checks. Snowflakes were, after all, sticking to my nose and eyelashes. And the whole world is muffled when it's snowing. Even the cars passing on the street are quiet mumbles. It was rather magical. ( Come February, it'll be evil, but for now....)

I can't seem to get an unblurry shot of the tree. Must be something about the shiny ornaments messing up the autofocus mechanism. I even tried the tripod. Sure you can use the manual focus controls on the camera, but that would require the effort of finding and reading the novel sized guide with instructions. We bought the tree already bound up with wire, so it was a crap shoot as to whether it would look good when we got it home and "opened" it up. As it turned out, I couldn't have asked for more in the symmetry/straight department. And there's no big holes either. Just perfect.

After decorating, I had a chat with Rebekah via Skype. The conversation turned humorous when Serge started butting in so I picked up the camera and taped it. It was quite a long video, so I've only uploaded the first two minutes.

She goes on to show us the garments she plans to send us for Christmas, all of which, Serge approves of. And we laugh, laugh, laugh.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Getting into the season some more

I'm up before dawn. I didn't plan it this way, but I'm kinda excited about getting the Christmas tree today and kinda depressed about the dog. I got to thinking about those things when spouse came to bed at 4 and didn't really get back to sleep. I'm pretty sure this will be the last Christmas with our dog, as it seems her genetic timer has been switched to "time to die". She's over 12 years old now, and her legs are giving out and she's getting lumps all over her body. These things don't seem to bother her much, maybe because she doesn't have enough "sense" to catastrophize them in her conciousness. That must be my job.

It's turned cold here and snow is on the menu today. These are ideal conditions for getting a Christmas tree. Then it's jazzy tunes while decorating, perhaps enhanced with a festive eggnog or two. But before all that, I'll be finishing up the Christmas cards giddily awaiting spouse to wake up.

I'll also be pondering the wisdom of purchasing candy cane ice cream. You see, when I spotted it in the market yesterday, I stood before the freezer door for a good 30 seconds debating it. "It's only available for a short time!" "Your stomach isn't going to like it." "But look it's candy canes and chunks of chocolate!" "You know you wake up with a stomach ache if you eat ice cream." "But it's on sale!"

My tummy hurts this morning, but god it was good.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Snippets n photos

* Interspersed with other snippets are some shots from my 45 minute walk during my break yesterday.

* I believe I have hurryitis. I've had it since I was a boy, wolfing down my food. "Taste your food!" my mother would shriek say at every meal.

* Remember giggling at the word "masticate"?

* In Quebec the equivalent for the derogatory American English term "faggot" is "tapette", which literally means "flyswatter". Makes about as much sense as a bundle of sticks.

* Shouldn't exterior holiday lights be banned? I mean all we hear the rest of the year is about the importance of energy conservation.

* A friend of mind once told me that when your "gaydar" goes off, to be careful, as there is always a second possibility - German tourists.

* Always note wind direction and intensity before peeing outdoors.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

This n that

I just showered, shat, shaved and dressed in 12 minutes. It would have been shorter had the shat been in one swoop, but no, there were a couple curtain calls.

Nude dancer showed up yesterday and paid the rest of the rent for November. So I can relax now until the next rent due day, which is tomorrow. Actually, I'm learning more and more about how to relax, about how to see that my thoughts and emotions are not "me", they are just processes happening within me like waves on an ocean. I'm learning to sit back and watch them rise and fall, crest and wane.

I'm learning how to see them, acknowledge them, and let them go. I must say, this book that Peter started me on is changing my life. I'm sleeping again, for one thing.

Speaking of Peter, go on over and wish him a fab birthday. He's trying to make it a "dry" one, so he would appreciate some encouragement. Go Peter, go!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Deadbeat tenant update

No, nude dancer still has not finished paying his November rent. I went to the Rental Board to get some information Friday and was told I could submit a demand for eviction since he is over 3 weeks late. Once the demand is submitted, it is 4 weeks before a hearing is scheduled. If nude dancer pays before the hearing, the claim is "dead". So I decided to wait to see if he finishes paying for November and if he doesn't, to submit a demand after December first so that I can claim December's rent as well. We put a "last chance" note on his door Sunday, but he has not come home since last Thursday.

We decided to go into his apartment yesterday and discovered that the key we have doesn't work. I actually laughed when the key we were given at the close of escrow wouldn't even go into the lock. I figure since Pornstar (previous building owner) is good friends with nude dancer, they planned it this way. We'll be calling a locksmith today to have his door re-keyed. I figure that the whole eviction process (assuming he doesn't pay anything before he's evicted) will cost me two grand. I'm starting to think this is a bargain.

In a way, I really hope he doesn't finish paying for November so I can get this whole thing started. I also see that I've gone through the five stages of grieving. Even though no one died.
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I like hanging out here in the last stage.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

You can see it now, or wait til you're dead

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, why do we go to so much trouble to beautify ourselves instead of expanding our beholding mechanism? Unless you're winking at your bad self every day in the mirror ( a al Fonzie), it's like rehearsing for a show whose script hasn't been developed.

For example, haven't you found moments of beauty in an old person's face? I certainly have - the beauty of wisdom and experience is written there in the hyroglyphs of wrinkled flesh. And an old person's eyes twinkle even more brightly than a child's.

I had a chance to watch American Beauty again the other night. That movie is like medicine, for eveything I've beheld since then has been beautiful. The final line in the movie delivered by the "dead" protagonist is worth repeating. "Every single moment of your stupid, boring life is so full of beauty, the heart can scarcely contain it. But don't worry if you can't see that now, because one day, you will."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Getting into the season

My project yesterday was to prepare the picture that we are going to send out in our cards this year for the holidays. I bought some hats and a pointsettia. I dug out the holiday decorations (we haven't decorated for three years because we were so cramped in our last place, there wasn't even room for a tree) and set up the camera. Here is one of the shots that didn't make the cut.
Afterwards, we sat down to dinner in front of 60 minutes. The line that caught me last night was from Andy Rooney: We all have to behave better than what naturally comes to us.

A half an hour later, Homer Simpson whined to Marge about her hostility: Is it because I have enormous flaws that I refuse to work on?

Hmm, two vastly different programs touching on the same theme.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


It's another crazy weekend around here. Sorry I didn't post yesterday, I was too caught up in "what I had to get done". I'm moving into the final stretch of my contracts, so I had to make exams yesterday. Plus the usual housework drudgery.

We used to have a maid that came by every couple weeks to clean. This was when we lived in Long Beach in the 90's. I must admit, it was wonderful. Actually, the impetus for hiring her was to diminish the frequency of marital squabbles over chores. It worked great. I don't know if it's because of the whole "voluntary simplicity" lifestyle we chose when coming here, or if we've matured, but now we're actually fighting over who "gets" to do a chore.

Yes, the words "it's my turn to vacuum, you got to do it last time" really came out of spouse's mouth yesterday. So I went out and raked up all the dead leaves and enjoyed the fresh air. First I went out to pick up the dog poo (I love to pick it up when it's cold out, like picking up stones - so easy!) but spouse had already beat me to it. Here, let me go dig out an old pic of Serge scooping up hot dog rockets.

Peace out!

Friday, November 24, 2006


* Illegal immigrants are often referred to as "wetbacks" in the U.S. When Serge was there, people jokingly (or not so jokingly) called him an "iceback".

* I've come to the realization that I have a horrible habit. I keep wasting my "nows" dreading the future.

* Oopsie, I accidentally shut off nude dancer's hot water. (He probably won't notice though, he seems to be staying elsewhere.)

* It is still a mystery why mass extinctions (over 95% of all life on the planet) occur regularly on the planet. What is known is that similar climatic trends occurred before each extinction. Eerily, our current climate trend is the same.

* For me, the weather and sky are magic. I don't understand how people can ignore the constant amazing movie playing out over our heads.

* Conversely, I don't understand people's fixation on the private lives of celebrities. Blogger's lives are far more interesting. (and real)

* A student asked me what an ox was. Since I've never encountered one, I had to guess. I said it was like a cow-slash-horse and we make their tails into soup.

* The Japanese proverb for the English expression, "Nobody's perfect," is "Even monkeys fall out of trees."

* I don't miss black Friday in the states. I imagine that as I type, crowds are congregating before every Walmart in the country.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

This and that

We watched Sixteen Candles in class yesterday. I chose this because it is relatively easy to follow even if you don't catch everything that is said. And there are plenty of visual jokes too. Still, I had to explain some of the idiomatic expressions used in the film. (There's no explaining those 80's hairstyles, but that's another post.)

Don't have a cow. (remember that one?) = Do not express such a negative reaction

She got her monthly bill = She's bleeding like a stuck pig

Geek = unpopular kid

Faggot = politically incorrect epithet (lol)

Did you know there's a baby faced John Cusack in the film? He plays one of Anthony Michael Hall's cohorts. It's funny how he was just a bit player in the film, but he's the one who went on to the greatest success. Whatever happened to Molly Ringwald and Hall?

Happy Thanksgiving to all my peeps south of the border. Eat some turkey for me. I'm off to a full day, regular Thursday as it is up here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Window peeping

I'm turning into the old lady who peers through the blinds. We've got two apartments above us and two others below us. We are careful not to make too much noise (hardwood floors) in the early morning so as not to disturb the below tenants. The upstairs tenants don't seem to have this, er, sensitivity. And I keep seeing strangers come in and out of the building. They all know the code to the entry so they must be "people" of the tenants. I peer out of the blinds to try to emblazon their faces upon my memory. And then I listen to hear which apartment they go into.

I'm whacko. The nude dancer upstairs still hasn't paid his rent for this month (just repeat last month's performance, sans my hysterical reaction and angst to it) and so I pay particular attention to his apartment. He was gone for 6 days and he has a cat. The cat would cry out when he heard any of the doors in the building open/close and so I knew he was starving. I hoped he was at least able to drink from the toilet. I had decided that I would enter his apartment and feed his cat if he didn't show up by yesterday, but he did, and he had some lame and unintelligible excuse for not having the rent, "My boss moved his office so I still haven't gotten paid". He is a nude dancer working for lapdances ($20 for 3 minutes) in the gay village. So you can see how his excuse is really, REALLY lame. I told him that I really didn't care why, we have the right to ask for a resiliation of his lease since the 21 day marker had passed, and that he would be responsible for all related fees if we did. (This is all spelled out here.) He said he knew all that and would have it today. We shall see. He wheedled himself another day. I told him, "You have to give me something tomorrow or I'm going to the Rental Board." Then I went back into my apartment, heard his door open/close and peered through the blinds to see him run out and hail a taxi. I thought, "Sure, got money for a fucking TAXI when the metro is a five minute walk and two bucks away."

I really need to stop peering out the window, it's bad for my health.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Karmic demonstrations

20 years ago, after having my heart ripped out, stomped on and shredded, I had a brief fling with one of my university colleagues. Really brief, I mean I was on the rebound, and no one could really take away all that hurt except time. Anyway, Chris and I had a couple romps in the hay and then I lost interest. I didn't really consider us to be "together" so I didn't see any reason to "break up". I just stopped answering the phone. He left me a dozen or so messages, each one more aggravated and needy than the previous. This didn't endear him to me and so we never spoke again.

Until. Several years later, I was at an AA meeting and Chris spotted me and accosted me. He was clearly agitated even as I was having difficulty placing him. He told me that after our fling, he started a downward spiral into drugs and alcohol that led him to rock bottom and that it was only now that he was on the road to recovery. Without outright saying it, I could tell that he blamed me and my (in)actions.

Last year, when I went back to California and stopped in to see my buddies at the old place I used to work, a young hispanic man approached me and exclaimed, "Tornwordo!" and proceeded to embrace me as though we were long lost friends. I had no recollection whatsoever of this man though it was clear I had made some kind of impact on him. I feigned recognition and he asked me how Montreal was and then he said, " I'm so glad I have the chance to thank you. When you hired me, you told me something that I will never forget." This did not jog any of my memory, but I was certainly curious. "What?" I asked. "You told me that if you were going to believe in me and give me a chance at this job that I had to believe in myself too. You said you never wanted to hear me say, 'I can't'" He went on to tell me how he had moved up the ladder from busboy to server and then to manager. He was positively beaming with gratitude and confidence.

So. It does not matter if we are aware of our actions and words just as it does not matter if you are unaware of the law you just broke. Consequences occur despite your awareness or lack thereof.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Death without the mess

Today I say goodbye to a couple of Japanese kids that I've been tutoring for two years. I like goodbyes. They are like death without the mess. Not that I like death or anything, it's just that in death, it's more bitter than sweet. With goodbyes, you can wish one well and promise to keep in touch. I still receive letters from past students (Kuwait, Japan, Poland and Spain) who inform me of their lives after Montreal.

Goodbyes are like the final bow on an xmas gift. Goodbyes make room for new Hellos.

I cherish them.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A last birthday nod

We had a lovely time. We (Serge and I and Dan) went out for tapas last night and stuffed ourselves full of foie gras, ceviche, steak and tuna tartare, smoked crab and avocado salad and more.

This is our favorite style of eating - sharing a dozen appetizers. Since we have all worked in the food biz, we were constantly discussing the merits and the detriments of each item.

I thought it was genius to put hot candied cranberries on the foie gras. We didn't think about how the animal had to suffer to get its liver so big, we just enjoyed it.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Did you hear a rat?

Yesterday was fairly lackluster. Poor Serge had a hellish day at work and just wanted to come home and relax. I had been prepared mentally for an outing or even a pub crawl, but he called from work saying, "Have the martinis ready, I just want to stay home." The rule in this house is birthday boy wishes rule. So I had a frosty one ready when he arrived. Then he continued to work all evening. For his job. We're going out tonight to celebrate instead.

I'm still waking up a lot at night, but this book that Peter sent me has helped me find ways of coping, and learning things about myself that I didn't even know, er believe. Things about how my mind works. I'm looking forward to practicing the techniques described in the book.

Here Serge details how I woke up thinking I heard mice in the walls.

Happy weekend!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Spousal snippets

1. Serge is 40 today. That means he has spent a third of his entire life with me.

2. He can sleep anywhere, anytime. He can sleep the entire night in a chair.

3. He never follows recipes and therefore he never makes the same thing twice.

4. He equates price with quality.

5. Serge is a handyman kind of guy. He's not afraid to destroy a wall, take apart a radio, install an electrical outlet.

6. He is gruff with a soft center.

7. Sarcasm is his main form of defense.

8. He still turns me on after over 13 years.

9. He knows how to lean on me, and I him.

10. He is cleaner than I am. I am grateful for that.

11. When he received his first publisher's clearing house sweepstakes entry, he believed the million dollar check was real. It took hours to convince him otherwise. You could taste his crestfallenness.

12. He is an easy target for salesmen. He is forbidden to speak to telemarketers.

13. He is a beer drinker.

14. When he gains weight, it all goes to his belly. I like to rub the buddha belly.

15. If I want him to do something, all I have to do is start doing it myself. Then he will come over and inform me of how I'm doing it wrong and take over. Works every single time. (Why has it taken me so long to learn how to load the dishwasher? tee hee except now I'm busted)

16. If you give Serge a compliment, he will invariably respond, "I know".

17. He loves doing laundry. Apparently he dislikes folding the clothes or maybe I do that one thing "right".

18. When we first met, he would cry out, "Hostie que t'es beau." I wouldn't know that it meant, "Damn, you're beautiful," for another 7 years. Now, when I mention it, he flinches.

19. He can't grow facial hair, for there are patches of skin where hair refuses to grow.

20. He is still with me even after the "ball" incident.

21. He has the perfect hands.

22. He tolerates my flaws, of which I have many.

23. He will slug you and make you angry if you attempt to tickle his ribs, poke him in the ribs or even grab him there. Seriously. Don't do it.

24. He doesn't like sauce much. And refried beans? Forget it. Doesn't care for dressing, and I think he doesn't really like anything wet on his food. He adores soup though.

25. He eats his eggs sunny side up.

26. He works full time for a magazine doing layouts and managing their website.

27. He takes a nap every night after dinner when we stay in.

28. We make a good team for real estate purchasing, we would have never done this if we had been on our own.

29. Serge speaks English though he has had little formal training. He lived 7 years in California which forced him to learn.

30. He is a smoker, always planning to quit in the "near future". Rarely does it arrive. (But I love you honey.)

31. Beer and discretion don't always add up with Serge.

32. He loves it if I do something unexpected in the cleaning department. Like changing the bed sheets.

33. He likes to be romanced.

34. He sleeps on the right side of the bed.

35. At night, he sometimes gets the jimmy legs or scrapes his toes along the edge of the bed. It's kind of cute. Sometimes.

36. He knows computers so I don't have to so much.

37. He married me.

38. He does a mean chicken dance.

39. Our pet name for each other is Bébé and we often say "Tu pus!" (you stink) to each other.

40. He completes me. (Okay, that was a little barfy.)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The stickly nature of truth

Here's why "knowing" is the same as "believing". Disclaimer: this is my opinion.

First, let's take a look at history where we can find innumerable instances of "fact" being false. From the flatness of the earth to the movement of the heavens, more scientific facts have been disproven than have been proven.

Second, we need only analyze some obvious facts that everyone "knows". Let's start with "The sun rises in the east." Sounds simple enough, it's something we can observe every day. But in reality, the sun does not rise. The earth, as it spins on its axis (of which there is none, only the concept of) simply moves from shadow to light. Semantics? Perhaps. But how about "Water freezes at 0 degrees?" Any American knows this to be false. Because it's all relative to how you measure temperature. And what is temperature? The measure of molecule movement or vibration. And what is freezing? Changing from liquid to solid form. Still, we don't talk about the metal car door being frozen, even though technically we could melt it. And do we KNOW that temperature is the measure of the vibration of atoms and molecules? No, we have simply applied the label to something we can feel but we cannot directly observe. Is it possible that temperature is something else? That gravity is not what we think?

Then again maybe it's the limitations of language placed on the limitless possibilities of the mind that cause these contradicitons. Nevertheless, most "facts" that you "know" to be true today may one day be regarded as fiction. After all it's all relative. Perception is reality bladibladibla.

Anyway, that's just a quick explanation why knowing and believing are essentially the same. The only thing I really know is that I am here now, and that "now" is an ever changing thing. Or at least that's what I believe.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Testing the waters

Here I am. I thought I would be so relieved to take a break from the blog, but instead I keep wondering about everybody and getting drawn into their blogs. I thought I would watch more TV, do more knitting, more sitting and being still, but no, I still spend the bulk of my free time in front of the computer.

And it has been raining since Saturday without stopping.

Spouse turns 40 Friday and I've already bought and given him his gift. (a leather jacket) I keep telling him that life begins at 40 to which he snorts in reply.

Tomorrow I'll be back to my usual predawn posting. I feel like I took a day off work and then worried about all the work that was piling up while I was gone. Not so relaxing after all, lol.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

500th post

This is the milestone I've been waiting for. It means I can take a little bloggie break. Don't worry, I won't be gone long, just a few days to recoup, reenergize and rebalance.

Love to all.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

This and that

I don't want to switch to the "new" blogger. They (whoever is in charge of this apparatus) are getting more insistent that I switch. The only change is that I will have to sign in with my Google account. Ah. The proverbial fly. You see, I do not have a Google account. Oh I tried. On two different occasions even, and was denied. They did not feel inclined to inform me as to why nor to respond to my emails asking just that question. So I'm sticking with the old version as long as possible. Could it be that sticky crows' days are numbered?

We've got a car for the weekend. We're only using it to go shopping for stuff we can't afford. We picked up some blinds for the office window (there's a lovely stained yellow sheet covering it now) last night and spent $200. Spouse of course longed for custom blinds (the uber cool ones) and I had to steer him to the looks-just-like-real-wood kind. They're white, and they're going to be just fine.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Snippets in a rush

* Compassion is not the same as "tough love". One label adheres more readily to liberals and the other to conservatives.

* I was lost for three months. I finally feel myself again.

* Most languages in the world do not have the verb "have". In such languages, possession is expressed with a prepositional relation. "The coffee is to me" or "This house is with me" for example.

* I believe the "trickle down"' theory can only work if there is a "maximum wage".

* This just in. Holes in your socks can lead to foot blisters.

* I saw a girl that looked just like my friend Donna. Same vintage coat, same hair, same distinctive face, same walk. It's your twin D! (I really thought it was you at first.)

* One remarkable thing about the internet - it's turned into a great equalizer. The reins of creativity are no longer held by the elite.

* Spouse often bemoans his hairlessness. But I like it.

* In other spousal news - he turns 40 next week. I still don't know what to get him.

* Is it legal for a man to marry his widow's sister? (You do not need to know law to answer this.)

Thursday, November 09, 2006


It's Thursday, so as I was taking (at 5am) my shower wracking my brain for topics, I realized I could just take a pic and voila! Blog done.

It's supposed to be balmy for November today, hence the lack of long underwear.

Happy HNT

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Not a bad post election morning

What a lovely surprise to find the lock on power the Republicans have enjoyed be tempered by the gains of Democrats. And while I would like to conclude that people are finally pulling their heads out, there are still the 8 ballot measures approved overwhelmingly to BAN same-sex marriage. (That makes 28 states who have passed similar legislation.) It says a lot that so much energy is spent on BANNING something that isn't even permitted. It's like that little known law that bars people from fraternizing with aliens. (the kind from outer space, and no, I'm not kidding.)

Also charming is xenophobic Arizona voters making "English" the official language of the state. That's a whole lot of freedom there.

As usual, lots of bittersweet. On the sweet side, Rick Santorum has lost his seat, maybe I could be convinced to visit Pennsylvania now. Hopefully I'll not have to hear his vile gay bashing rhetoric anymore.

I must say that overall, I'm pleasantly surprised. Maybe the will of the people will be more accurately reflected for the next couple of years.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Short on time

I've got no time again this morning. And nothing in mind to pontificate on. (Not that I'm a grand pontificator or anything.) I am keenly aware of the election south of the border, but I am far less vested in the outcome than I was in '04. Still, I have some hopes for a shakeup.

Spouse made spaghetti squash last night. And then he served it with spaghetti sauce (bolognese if you must know) which struck me as odd. Squash with red sauce just didn't sound right. But wow, talk about delicious. And no bloated full feeling like you get from pasta.

Here's an old joke from an old friend: A guy walked into a bar. He said, "ouch".

Get it?

Enjoy the day. And vote dammit!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Returning to normalcy

We had a normal weekend! No terrible drama, no angry bitterness, lots of sleep. We had guests over on Saturday, and Sunday was a glorious day of puttering. I took the dog out for a long walk and marveled at the leaf carpet in the park.

While I was out with the dog, Serge decided to work on some things around the house. When I returned, I noted his grouchiness. Apparently he was harboring resentment because I was not attending to the things which until then, only resided on a list in his head. I decided to get the camera to see if that would soften him up a bit. Here he is cleaning the ceiling fan.

I've had good luck with a "go back to sleep" method suggested by one of my students from Health Canada. She stayed after class last week to tell me to "imagine the top of my head is cut off, and then focus on your breathing as with each breath your thoughts all escape from the top of your head". I smiled and thanked her thinking, "yeah yeah, but I've got it bad." Nevertheless, it's worked three times. I start doing it and the next thing I know it's morning. So cool.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

True fables

Many years ago, I lived with Em. Like many in their early 20s, we lived beyond our means. We had a cat named Spam. Sometimes we called her Spammy and perhaps even Spamela. I do not remember how we came to posess this cat, but I'm fairly certain she was free. We loved this cat and its calico coat. One day Spam got sick and wasn't eating or drinking. The veterinarian said she needed a blood transfusion. We (agonizingly, excruciatingly) borrowed money to pay for it. We brought Spam home from the vet and three days later, she disappeared and we never saw her again. Now is the moral of this story one, blood transfusions are a waste of money, two, don't let the cat outside, or three, do not name cats meat products?

Friday, November 03, 2006


* Where did the word "bulldozer" come from? I fail to see the relationship between the machine and sleeping bovine.

* Here's a fun trick at work. Place a dollop of whip cream/sour cream/mayo etc. on the ear end of the receiver of the telephone. Push the hold button and replace the receiver. Tell the intended target there's a call for them. (Be careful who you set up! A response of rage is a distinct possibility.)

* If 9/11 hadn't occurred, do you think Iraq would still have been invaded?

* I was horrified to learn that in North Korea, the state begins caring for children at six months of age. The indocrination officially begins then.

* I can safely say that I fully understand the phrase, "Buyer beware" now.

* The doctor asked if I had signs of depression. I said, "Yes, but isn't that normal when you buy a building full of deadbeat drug addicts and you stay up nights fretting about it?"

* Favorite Seinfeld lines. Elaine: It shrinks? Jerry: Mulva? George: Vandalay! Vandalay! Kramer: People kept ringing the bell!

* You know why we haven't switched to ethanol yet? Multi-national oil companies protecting their profits, that's why. This is the loophole that the virus enters in the Capitalism software.

* A sense of entitlement is the direct opposite of gratitude.

* My cousin had a baby. (Congrats!) Now what is my relationship to this new being? Second cousin?

* I once had a customer who informed me that she was seriously allergic to California wine. I managed not to burst out laughing.

* You get much more in life by simply replacing "I want" with "I need" when making requests. (It's an old trick I learned from a former boss.)

* We've switched to police officer, firefighter, and flight attendant. But a manhole is still a manhole. (Insert crude double entendre here.)

* It's simply impossible for you to lick your elbow.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Blessing count

It looks like Friday will see my 50000th hit for the blog. I know this is peanuts for the more popular writers, but I like that I have a couple hundred readers who come back again and again. In a little over a week, I should reach my 500th post as well. This is unbelievable to me. I guess I can say I've written a book of sorts. A scrapbook if you will, of the life I've led over the past couple years. One of my favorite "emotions" is a sense of accomplishment, and that is what I'm feeling now.

It hasn't brought any money my way, but it has brought some things that money can't buy. Comeraderie for one, and the chance to bond with people that I wouldn't otherwise have had the chance to. It's amazing how much affinity I have for all the folks on my blog list on the left. I carry them in my thoughts and wonder about their days as I go through mine. It's a whole big love practice, and for that I am grateful.

I flirt from time to time with quitting the blog. But then I remember the big blog family that I'd have to say goodbye to and I just can't. So I guess y'all are stuck with me for a while. I'm sendy big sloppy kisses to everyone. (God I'm sentimental this morning. Who says men can't get hormonal?)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Garbage day

Let's see. We have a leak in the garage (which we're avoiding presently) and the main drain backed up in the building (the emergency service - read *expensive*- actually blamed dental floss). I think I'm on record saying that when life gives me lemons, I pretend there are no lemons. However, it's a little harder to take this view when life is pummeling you with them. I know, I know, I made my choices, now deal with it. Join the chorus in my head, won't you?

I squeeze out a few happy moments, don't worry. Funny how work has suddenly become a sheltered cove where events unfold exactly as I predict. I never thought I'd be the kind of person who felt more comfortable at work than at home. But there you have it, still learning shit about myself. Hard shit. Deep shit. I don't want to talk about it.

Yesterday, I was served breakfast by a lady in a nun's habit. She said, "The usual?" and I nodded. I burned the roof of my mouth on the breakfast potatoes. As you can see, the rest of the day fell in line likewise.

Today just has just got to be better!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Question of the day

What's the best costume you've ever worn/seen for Halloween?

Spouse and I dressed up as nerds for a couple years and had the greatest time walking around being the ugliest, nerdiest guys. When we lived in LA, we'd stroll Santa Monica blvd (a Southern California tradition) on Halloween night with a hundred thousand other revelers. Each time we'd see other "nerds" we'd run up and geek out with them. Good times.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Health is hard to come by

It's the time of year for sickness! I shouldn't have been so surprised with the proliferation of cold medication commercials of late. Sometimes I imagine I'm immune, or that I can "will" myself not to be sick. This doesn't work. I wish I could call in sick, but then I woudn't get paid. Sigh.

I saw the doctor last week for my sleep issues. It has taken me four tries to see the doctor (they forgot me in the waiting room once, and the other times they were closed or had a three hour plus waiting time) and when I finally did, I got treated with suspicion. He prespcribed me a month of pills and said that if I needed more, I'd have to see a shrink. (this is not a deterrent for me, what better than to sit around talking about oneself?)

I didn't really feel "cared for", and the doctor basically wagged his finger at me with his words. He obviously doesn't know the depths of my aversion to doctors, and at the same time reinforced same.

I'm the guy who put his toe back into its socket himself, and never went to the doc for pain pills.

I didn't mention that though.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday before Halloween

This is in the heart of downtown Montreal. Though there are skyscrapers all around, I managed to find one vantage point without them visible. This little park and cathedral have been looking very Halloweeny lately, what with the falling leaves and gloomy weather.

We keep showing the apartment and people continue to say, "I want it!" We reply, "Okay, just fill out the form so we can check your references and credit and it's yours." The people leave promising to fax the form to us while assuring us there is nothing tawdry on their credit, and then they never send it. There was one girl who said, "Well, I had a problem with (cellphone company) so I decided not to pay them." Spouse and I both thought the same thing - so when you have a problem with us, you will decide not to pay? She never sent the form anyway.

Yesterday, we finally got prospective renters who actually filled in and faxed us the application. Two twenty year old working girls who are moving out of their parents' houses. They both work at banks and possess credit cards. Tomorrow we'll know if they are in good standing on their cards and rent the apartment to them. This could be very good news.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Kind of a gloomy Saturday around here

I'm getting a little behind in everything. See, I've taken on new contracts (can't say no to $ opportunities right now) that require preparation and more of my already limited free time. I may have to skip a day blogging here and there, simply for lack of time (please, no cheering at this news). Have I mentioned that I must take the 5:30 bus on Friday mornings and haul my ass out to timbuktu for a 7am class where the only coffee available comes from a vending machine with a thimble sized cup, all for the bargain price of sixty cents? No? It's a gift, lemme tell ya.

What's shocking is that the 5:30 bus is FULL. I get on at the beginning of the route, but by the 5th stop, it's standing room only. Who knew there was so much life going on, what, all these people got up at 4:30 like I did? Half the seated passengers sleep while the others chat vivaciously, having bonded over time on the same bus everyday. I read the paper.

This weekend is rainy. I have extra work to do and we have to show our old apartment again (it's still not rented). Also, I'm coming down with something. While this is not media alert news, it is the facts. Peace.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Pissy morning

The frequent flyer program for Air Canada, called Aeroplan, has just sent out a mass email detailing upcoming changes to their "loyalty" program. In a nutshell, not only do you have to have "activity" on your account at least once a year, but also that the miles you earn now will expire seven years from now.

I can understand the first requirement, and it is easy to satisfy, what with the credit cards and adjunct businesses offering miles for using their services / buying their products. In fact, it seems to be more the norm than the exception in the air miles business.

The second part though is incomprehensible to me. Well, actually that's not true, it's a money grab. At the expense of loyal customers. I sent the following note to Aeroplan to express my displeasure.

I received the new guidelines for mile expiration. My question is, "How does it make business sense to tell your customers that their loyalty only counts for 7 years?"

If I were to want to save up for a first class round trip Europe flight with my miles, I would not be able to since I only travel twice a year or so. I'm seriously thinking of going back to Northwest airlines whose miles don't expire as long as you have activity in your account.

I'm quite disappointed with this news, and I'm sure that I'm not alone.

They replied that they were having trouble with this feature of their contact page and said that I should call them. What for? There are plenty of other carriers that fly out of Montreal. Maybe it's time to switch to Westjet. Well, that is after I accumulate enough miles to drain the account (in a year or two.)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

TMI in pictures

Enough of the clamoring for Half-Nekkid-Thursday shots.

This one is spouse approved because it is "artistic".

Okay maybe I exaggerated a bit about the hairiness.

Happy HNT!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Cosmic joke

Saw a guy on the subway yesterday morning (pre dawn) playing a fighting game on some kind of hand held gaming contraption. And though I couldn't hear the sound effects, piped as they were to his head, the graqhics were so, well, graphic that the blood apeared nearly to fly off the screen. I supposed he was imagining some surly coworker to pummel in the game. And I had to wonder about a man who spent his free time dismembering others, however virtual.

I thought about it all day. Where does this desire come from, the zeal for aggression, the goal of absolute power over others? Is it instinct? It's not my instinct, but I wonder if I'm more the exception than the rule. If it is instinct, which we could substantiate with innumerable instances from history, then "being civilized" goes against our root nature. Civility would mean stamping down these instincts, or perhaps keeping them while masking them on the outside. It does seem that the most successful in our society are aggressive and attain power over others while appearing to be on the "up and up". Survival of the fittest comes to mind.

If males crave battle and power while women yearn for companionship, the whole setup is really a big joke. I hope (insert creator label here) is laughing, because it really is quite funny. If we look at the behaviour of children whose instinct is to grab and hoard, I think you'll find that adults' don't lose this instinct, they simply hide it and "control themselves". Maybe if we accepted that as a species, we are both selfish and violent, we would better be able to understand tragic events as "natural".

And in the end, we may just be fucked. So enjoy today while it lasts.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Question of the day

I'd had one of those mornings, woke up late, rushed around to get ready, cut myself up shaving and nearly missed the bus. But once I was on the bus, I noticed the cheerful expressions on the passengers faces, so many smiles on this bus, and I quickly forgot about my harried departure from the house.

Then I had an itch on my neck and I reached up to scratch and blood stained toilet paper tumbled to the floor. See, I had had so many nicks from shaving that I put two panels of toilet paper, one on each side of my neck. And then I forgot that I had placed them there. Must have looked like I was trying to staunch the blood with a feminine pad. Now these panels were floating down to the floor, in what seemed to me to be slow motion. From there on out, I refused to look at anyone on that bus, and when I came home that day, I had a mirror to install at the front door to prevent other such mishaps.

And you, an embarassing experience you care to share? We've all got them.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Rotation, alignment and balance

Tire changing sounds like a metaphor for life, doesn't it?

We had some time to relax yesterday. No visits (which is a bad thing considering we still have a two bedroom apt available) and no calls. We were able to have breakfast out with a friend, take the dog for a walk in the park, putter, and do a little household cleaning. In short, a regular Sunday. It's just that we haven't had one of those in a couple of months, so it was like a gift.

I made a couple videos too, though I can't show one or spouse would murder me. (It was a stealth video of him washing the dog in our shower. He still doesn't know I took it, tee hee.)

This one's for Ed.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Letting myself go

I worked out for the first time in 5 weeks yesterday. I haven't skipped workouts for such a duration in, well, forever. This morning, my chest and arms are carpets of pain. I've learned to appreciate this pain, as it usually indicates some kind of gain. Five weeks of atrophying muscles did make me weaker, but oddly, not flabbier. That would be because I've lost a good 10 pounds at the same time. My secret? Gut-wrenching stress to remove hunger. Try it, it works!

In other physical news, I've fallen out of a decades long habit. Manscaping. You know, the trimming (not shaving!) of unruly hair about the body. Sure it's vain, but no more so than a lady who plucks her eyebrows. Anyway, as I said, I've let things slide and now "down there", I have a thicket befitting of Liberace's head. The goods aren't quite entirely obscured, but with perspective, the merchandise appears, shall we say, more inferior. And my tits look like two sand dollars on a dirty barber shop floor. Quite fetching. My armpit hair is macramé -able length, and my happy trail is so bushy it protrudes between my shirt buttons.

At least spouse isn't complaining.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Rude awakening

At 5:30 this morning, we received a knock on our door. We didn't hear the knock as we were sleeping and all, but the dog did. It was the barking that woke us (and I imagine the other sleeping tenants in the building.) It was lap-dancer paying his rent.

This guy knows the rules. You see, you can't really do anything about tenant problems without adhering strictly to guidelines imposed by the rental board. This is the government body that regulates rental properties. It is only after 21 days that the owner can go before the board and request a hearing for expulsion. He must know that, since today is the 21st.

And no, we can not charge a late fee. Looks like we're stuck with him for now.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Feeble snippets

* Every time I work on these snippets, I think, "Who cares what I think."

* Having control over your life is an illusion, albeit a comforting one.

* Useless things: fear, anger, self-pity and regret.

* The more you "need" to win the lottery, the less you should participate.

* Why, if the plural of woman is women, do we change the pronunciation of the first vowel? Shouldn't it be spelled wimmen?

* In the end, it will be ego that destroys the world.

* Lately, I've really been wishing that I could replace my emotions with indifference. Is there a pill for that?

* I had one of those dreams where you stop and go, "Hey, wait a minute, this could be a dream I'm having. (pinching arm) No, no this is real alright."

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Because I'm not up to it today. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Some people will say anything to get you off their back. We've been trying to get Pascal to pay his rent, which he has in dribbles and bits, always with a sob story and a promise of "tomorrow" for the rest. Twice now on the phone, he has claimed to have the rest of the rent, and then when we knock on his door, he doesn't have it. Last night it all came to a head.

In my mind, it's our job to make him uncomfortable until he pays. So each day, we either call or knock on his door to "remind" him of his obligations. Since he lives directly above us, it's really quite easy to know when he's home and when he comes and goes because WE CAN HEAR HIM. So last evening, when I arrived home, I knocked on his door and there was no answer. About ten minutes later, I hear his door close upstairs and steps coming down the stairwell. The fucker was hiding when I knocked! So I opened my door as he was trying to skulk out and he claimed he'd be right back with the rent. I rolled my eyes at him and said "Uh-huh" in the most sarcastic way I could. (Oh and this is after he claimed to have the rent already in an envelop, and could he just leave it under our door mat. We declined this method of him paying and said we'd like it in person thank you. He thinks we were born yesterday.)

Festering with anger over his repeated lies and broken assurances, we discussed our options. Then we heard him come back home at 10 so Serge called him.

"Stop bugging me every five minutes. I don't have it!" he (in what might be his first truthful statement) cried.

"Stop telling us you have the rent if you don't have it!" Serge barked back at him.

"I already have parents, I don't need anymore," he groused.

"Stop acting like a child then," Serge said.

And then he slammed the phone down and stomped around his apartment impetuously for the next hour.

If only he knew how "nice" we really are. We are very understanding if you're straight with us, but the constant lying magically turns our hearts to stone. I'm sure it's hard for him, he's not that hot for a lap dancer so he probably earns much less than his hotter colleagues and his roommate split on him without paying his half of the rent. And now we are bugging him daily about it. I wouldn't want to be him.

Still, I'm not going to subsidize him with my pity. I just want him gone now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Question of the day

The first time I can remember being sick was as a wee child, maybe two years old, after eating a lunch replete with green bell peppers. The subsequent vomiting made such an impression on me that I spent the next 30 years unable to eat them. I wouldn't even eat a pizza with peppers on half of it (or picked off) because the smell alone would send me gagging.

I finally got over it and will now consume them cooked. (Raw is still inedible.)

What is the one food you hate so severely that the mere sight/smell/mention of it makes you cringe?

Monday, October 16, 2006

It's not all bad

Yesterday as we were running around like headless fowl, and answering dozens of apartment inquiries, I said to spouse that we could just "decide" that all of this was fun. It was the first time he laughed in days. We kept chuckling the rest of the day at the "fun" we were having.

We've shown the studio apartments downstairs to lots of people, and one of the first things people notice is that the bathroom is not a closed room. Consequently, we have had a couple of amusing remarks from the looky loos.

"Dude, if I have my girlfriend over, how am I going to take a shit?"

"I guess I can't go crap if my friends are over."

"Where's the bathroom?" (he didn't even notice the toilet in the corner, and then when we pointed to it, he gasped)

So yesterday, we went and bought rods and curtain panels to install around the toilets so that some semblance of privacy could be had. Sure, the noises and smells will still have unfettered access to the unit, but no one is going to see you wiping.

Then we showed the apartments and 4 people decided they wanted them. I guess enclosing the toilets was the magic missing ingredient. It won't be a done deal until signatures are given, but I'm hoping. Then just one more apartment to find renters for, and one problem renter (payer) left that we'd like to see get out.

I know I've gone on for weeks about this stuff, sorry, that's just my life right now. It'll change though, because if there's one thing you can count on, it's change.