Friday, February 29, 2008


* I got a kick out of penning these. Please excuse the self indulgence.

* Somebody mentioned the "vaporized shit" effect the other day as a reason for having a cover on your toilet bowl. In case you don't know about this, when you flush, some shit particals are emitted like an aerosol and waft all over your bathroom and settle onto places such as the bristles of your toothbrush. Sounds uber icky, I know. I don't get too narded up about such information, I figure we've been shitting in close proximity to one another for milennia, and I'm sure our bodies are used to filtering out any unwanted natural particles.

* Anyway, the only time I ever closed it was to sit down to put my socks on. It feels weird now to sit there with my pants on as I dress my feet.

* One of my students told a hilarious story about her aunt yesterday. Somehow we got onto the topic of shit. (Not hard to imagine given that I'm the teacher.) Seems her aunt and mother were out on the town and went into a swank watering hole after dining out. Upon entering, the aunt just had to go and went into the dark bathroom, squatted and OH MY GOD THE LID IS DOWN, splattered all over her fur coat which she was wearing but holding the length of it off to the side of the toilet. She got out of the bathroom and hustled up to her sister, "We have to go now." And her sister responded, "Something smells funny." "NOW NOW we have to go NOW," she wailed. I didn't think it was possible to crap your coat until I heard that story.

* At Home Depot, there is a no return policy on toilet seats that have been opened. They come in a box with a strip of packing tape over the end. Serge didn't open the box but when he returned it, the man at the return counter opened it to verify that the screws etc were there and then said, "We can't take back a toilet seat with the box open." I am not kidding. Of course Serge pointed out that it was the guy who had opened it and the clerk got all huffy and said, "The box is open though now, so I it can't be returned" Serge made him get the manager but a quick phone conversation with the manager was all it took. Their policy is for "hygenic reasons".

* The perfect shit:* Here's how immature I once was (still am?). Em's daughter was a baby. They were at our house in California and Em went into our bedroom to change the diaper. Immediately the most acrid smell swirled through the entire house. I grabbed my camera and went in for a look. It was like half of the volume of her body had come out in the form of brown gook. Ghastly. I snapped a picture, impressive as it was, and vowed to give it to her on her 16th birthday in a locket. I still have it and have amused myself over the years with the idea. But now, girl is nearly that age and there's no way I will have the heart to do it.

* Okay one more. This is about my ex. He tells a story of the first time he had the buttsecks. He was a teenager and he slept over at a mature man's home. Once they were finished, laying in the dark smoking cigarettes, my ex felt a hard lump in the bed and pulled it out with his hand and asked the mature man to turn on the light. He complied and there the ex was holding his own turd in his hand. Can you imagine? If you only knew how fussy and clean the ex was because that makes it all the funnier.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

This n that

I do this thing where if I run out of something and have to improvise, quite often the improvisation becomes a new habit. This is exactly how I became a black coffee drinker, though originally I started out with sugar and milk in it. Or like when I ran out of coffee filters that time and found that paper towels worked just fine.(Now we have a permanent filter.) Also, I seem to remember a couple years back there somewhere where I didn't use shampoo, just soap on the hair a few times a week. (Now it's Head and Shoulders or generic variety of same.) Kleenex as dinner napkins? Right on! (Hey, they're all doing it in Japan.) I think it's because I'm cheap and if I find a way to avoid buying something, I will.

Oh and this was kind of funny. Someone called and asked to speak to Mr or Mrs Spouseslastname. So I inform the caller that though Mr Spouseslastname is not there, I'm married to Mr Spouseslastname but I am not Mrs Spouseslastname. "Well, I'll just call back another time then," he responded. And then I cackled.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thinking out loud

It's so interesting the take people have on everything. So many varied impressions from the "sara wall" of yesterday. There was quasi-judgement like we were so over the top with our dog that we would decorate our house with her likeness. (It reminds me of a friend of mine who has an extremely rich father and when I visited their house for the first time, I couldn't help but think they were freaks because in every room was a giant, and I do mean giant, blown up photograph of he and his wife. One of them was right over the bed in their bedroom and I thought it was so creepy that I passed judgement secretly thinking, "Narcisstic much?") Still others felt that we should definitely fashion the wall as it looked in the pic yesterday. Interesting. It was also yesterday that I thought it strange that David would have such a negative reaction to the idea of sitting home watching TV. That sounds like a marvelous stress free evening to me! It turns out we had very different childhoods. He was constantly in front of the TV as a child and I was forbidden to watch TV. Hmmm. We certainly do rebel somewhat against our upbringing. Current mothers might want to take note of this.

It really made me grateful though, this marvelous spectrum of opinions is what makes the world so interesting and engaging. If we all thought the same way, which I suppose is the intent of some cults (I wanted to say religion, but that might offend) then the world would be a drab and dreary place indeed. I imagine North Korea is rather drab this way. (Wow, I'm flying with the judgements today. So unlike reveal it.) Varied opinions on things don't HAVE TO translate into conflict, though I'll admit it often does. Just something to ponder upon today. There is no war if everyone has the same opinion on everything, but perhaps a world with no war is not worth the cost. Agree or disagree?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Snow cues heavy sigh

Here we go again. Another snowstorm is predicted. Actually it's already snowing but the real accumulation is supposed to come tonight and tomorrow. Oh goody gumdrops, now with sarcastic center. You know how people said that "God" was involved in the New Orleans disaster (to punish the depravity there) or the big tsunami in Asia (to cull the non-christians)? Now I'm wondering what we did up here in Montreal to deserve this. Another week of parking insanity and traffic nightmares coming up. I'll be a good boy I promise, just please no more snow. Unfortunately, the long range forecast shows snow 12 of the next 14 days.

Serge painted half the bedroom. It's half brown now. Serge did something with photoshop and put sara on the wall but in real life it's just brown. Also at home depot, I was lured into the clearance section because if there's one word that acts as a tractor beam on me it's "clearance". That's where we saw the bedside lamps. Less than half price. I didn't want to get them though because they didn't fall into the "need" category. Overruling me was Serge who said the magic words, "I'll buy them." I'm being especially cheap these days because as I reminded spouse, there's only three months until the fabulous vacation of life. Three months to save up so we can splurge. "It's the last thing," he assured me. It never is though, sigh.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A walk in the park

It was a picture postcard day yesterday. Crystal clear and not too cold either, I dragged Serge over to the botanical gardens to go for a walk. The Olympic stadium is just across the street (the tallest inclined tower in the world). All the pics are clickable for screen filling versions.

In the warmer months, the gardens offer guided tours aboard the mini-train. Here you see the trains snowbound.

The place was crawling with squirrels. They kept popping their heads up to see if we were nut carriers. We weren't but I wish I had thought about it, I could have gotten to know them better like Elizabeth. I like to think of this shot as "squirrel spirit".

This little guy looked like he was posing for a winter calendar.

The forest without clothing.

I was happy as long as I was facing the sun.

After our walk, Serge said, "Okay, now we're going to Home Depot." Since he had purchased the wrong sized toilet seat, he wanted to return it for the right one. On our way there, we passed under the Jacques Cartier bridge. I always think it looks so flimsy, the scaffolding nature of the base of the bridge.

Across the street from Home Depot, there is a statue of Cyr. Cyr is some famous fighter up here. I cracked up when I saw the statue. It looks awfully phallic, don't you think?

When we got home, Serge went to work on the toilet. When he was finished, I came in to take a look. Here, you can have a look too. (Why do I look so haggard in the video and so fresh in the above picture? I mean the images are only a couple hours apart.) Serge is adorable, as usual.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Boring weekend update

The moose dinner was divine. Not gamy at all. It was a marvelous evening with good friends and lots of laughs. It was kind of a repeat of a dinner we had 10 years ago, same friends different residence, and I forgot how well this particular mix meshes. Of course ten years ago, I didn't speak French, so this time I got the jokes. Also I guess we're more grown up now, because instead of ice cream for dessert, we had cheese.

Yesterday was kind of dull. I finished up our taxes, prepped for work this week and practiced the piano. Boy am I rusty. I haven't played since before Christmas. I had to feel my way through a few songs trying to remember them. My fingers remember better than my brain, so that if I think about it too much, I won't find it, but if I play real fast without concentrating, my hands will remember and I can watch them to figure out the chords. Weird actually. I wonder what memories are locked up in other body parts.

Serge went out to home depot in the afternoon. He invited me to come along, but I hate going there with him, because we have to do every single aisle, and I turn into a bitch questioning the merit of everything he puts in the cart. So I said, "You go honey, I'll stay home and practice the piano." He was looking for the lights to replace burned out ones in our kitchen and bathroom. It appears they don't make them anymore because we can't find them anywhere. Anyway, he didn't find them, but that didn't stop him from buying things. Things like a toilet seat. "Why did you buy a toilet seat?" I asked. "Because ours is disgusting and you can't clean it," he reasoned. I wondered aloud why we couldn't just paint the underside (where the icky stains are that bother him). I also asked if it was going to fit, seeing as how we have a kind of designer toilet (bordering on oxymoronic, that) and he said, "They're all the same." I don't think it's going to fit. I'm 99 percent sure of that. Oh well, I should just be happy he didn't buy a whole new toilet.

Friday, February 22, 2008


* There's only one recipe I'll "stir constantly" for. Pudding.

* I recently read that one in five American adults believe the sun rotates around the earth. I bet you they voted for Bush.

* Much happiness can be salvaged if self-bashing (also known as regret) supplants "what can I learn from this?"

* I also read that graduating European students have far better English skills than graduating Quebecers. In the province's attempt to preserve the language, the coming of age workforce is put at a disadvantage comparatively. Especially considering the proximity/intertwining of the surrounding English speaking states and provinces. I know it's a complicated issue, but who wouldn't want their kids to have an advantage in the world?

* Still, perhaps I should be grateful. If the adults had better English skills, I'd be out of a job.

* I did a lame thing the other day. See I had my Ipod on and was listening to tunes on an elevator. And you know I discovered a little autonomic filter that happens when a flatulent announces its intentions to be let. If the ambient noise is loud and I'm alone, I'll let her fly without a real meeting with my conscious mind. And so I did. Only then did my brain say, "Wait, you're on an elevator! And it stinks! Please let there be no additional passengers. " Of course at my floor, three people got on. One of them was a student of mine! So I made a face and said, "Whew! It was like that when I got on!" I don't know if they believed me.

* Speaking of farts, it's been my experience that the more voluminous, the less smelly. Said another way, the smaller the ranker. What say you?

* Tonight I'm having moose for dinner. My first moose dinner. Oh boy!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

This n that

Today is a full day. Yesterday is a full day. Every day is full. Work is cramping out play, and sick is horning in on energy, and all of them are conspiring to drown me. That's just a little desperation talking. Being sick on the weekend was like work shifts sans the productivity. And my brain feels sapped. Do you ever feel like you're swimming through your day? Not like "swimmingly" but more like you're trapped underwater? Yesterday, I taught a whole class before I realized I was doing the wrong chapter at the wrong time. Skipped a whole chunk of the book. The students just followed along and didn't mention a thing figuring I knew what I was doing. Truth is, at this point, I could probably teach every bit of grammar blindfolded. I've got a good schtick, and I've done it long enough that I just look at what the schedule says and then teach it. It helps of course if you are looking at the correct schedule. The simple mistakes always create the most havok.

Today I teach and then a dear friend and her daughter are coming to spend the night. She's an artist and I'm going to help translate her cover letter to English. I've already done the resume, but her "bio" if you will, is very poetic and I need to catch the image she is trying to create for the reader. I have to find the worm. The worm is the thread that connects all these poetic ideas together. Once I get a sense of it, I can write it for her and not just translate. When things get poetic, translation is a minefield. Her daughter is a treasure and I can't wait to take another video of her. She's a STAR! Of course everybody thinks that about some kids. I don't think I'll have permission to post it here, but I'm excited nonetheless.

Oh I forgot to mention. Serge got sick too. Tuesday he complained of a sore throat, came home early from work and I told him, "You won't be working tomorrow." He said, "No! I have to work tomorrow. We have a deadline." I chuckled and informed him that if he caught what I got, he would not be working. So yesterday morning he gets up just before I'm heading out in the morning. "How do you feel?" I asked. "Better than yesterday," he replied. I chuckled again and said, "Wow, your body is stronger than mine." Then I left and two hours later I get a text message. "I ma at home." (sic) And there it was. The third chuckle. (I'm allowed to chuckle because he insinuated that I was faking on the weekend to get out of painting the bedroom.) I think he'll stay home today too, but he thinks he's going to work. We shall see.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Unpaid plug

I finished Middlesex. Wow. That book is now in my top five fave books. It was like a 20 course meal, each one building on the flavors of the previous so that in true crescendo style, a masterpiece is formed. I read stuff like that book and I'm humbled, what a hack I am, I'll never be a real writer. I hear it took him nine years to write, and I can see why, it seemed formed strictly from the muse, those moments when she visits and clarity, poetry and insight conspire together for a creative geyser to erupt. The way the sky, water and land can sometimes scheme up a jaw dropping vista.

I always have a favorite line in a good book and my favorite from this one was, "There was something in the air, like the air was keeping score." This was before the race riots erupted in Detroit. I loved all the literary tricks in the book too, the simile and the personification (as in my favorite line) so expertly crafted. By the end, I felt like the author and I were intimate friends. If you haven't, you simply must read it. It's about a hermaphrodite, but so much more.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On the mend

I will not blog about my ailments. I will not blog about my ailments. I will not blog about my ailments. It's the swirly brain here. The fog of sleep is still clinging to me, like cigarette smoke to fabric, and I can't think of anything else. Well that's not true actually. Sitting here the last half hour has been going something like this: I wonder what ever happened to Jane the skirt crapper. I loved that story of hers, but now her blog is gone, and the story lost forever. And the Irish bar downtown that's facing fines for having antique English bar art. Everybody's already blogged that story, I couldn't possibly add anything more salient. Oh look the newspaper just arrived, it's got the plastic bag on it doesn't it? Yes, it does, it darn well better as it's snowing again. Snow, well now there's an original topic. And Dad. Poor dad, attacked at the bark park by a testosterone filled youth. I should tell that story, no, it's not mine, gotta stick to my life. Ugh. My life. Sicky. Better today though, yes definitely on the mend, but nobody wants to hear about that, so you caught a cold, so what. I will not blog about my ailments.

So yeah, I guess you probably want to hear more about the bark park. I hope Dad doesn't mind I'm retelling it. Apparently at the entrance, a man, 6 foot 2 early twenties, arrived with his Boxer. Dad was at the entrance with his pooch and the Boxer ran up to him, the owner holding one of those "leashes" that extends to a remarkable length. The owner is not preventing the leash from extending. So Dad assumes the position. The position to take when a dog charges you. He probably got this from the Dog Whisperer. One leg forward, bent knee at the animal. Something about being the dominant animal. Anyway, he can't remember exactly, but he nudged the charging dog with his knee. Then he turned around to let his dog in as behind him he hears, "Hey Holmes! Nodody kicks my dog!" The next moment of consciousness found him down on all fours in the dirt. His hat flew off revealing his elderly bald pate. He can hear the agitated man repeating "Nobody kicks my dog" as other park goers ask if my dad is alright. The agitated man's girlfriend asks too. As he told me, my father calmly assessed the situation, wasn't seriously hurt and just said, "Fine, fine. Yes I'm alright." Someone suggested he call the police, and he didn't see how prolonging the encounter had any merit. Sure it was aggravated assault, but lawyers and court appearances flashed through his mind and that was it. No calling the police. The girlfriend of the roid raged man hustled him away and they left. The whole time, my father refused to look at or speak to the agitated man. I told him I wouldn't have been able to keep my mouth shut, and I probably would have at least threatened to call the police. He suggested that that was because I have more testosterone coursing my body, given my age, and he doesn't have those aggressive urges much anymore. "You know testosterone decreases as you get older," he informs me. "It's nice. I like it."

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sick humor

Witless. That's how I feel. The proof? Finding humor in peeing. Well, more than that actually. You know that commercial for Flomax? I probably saw it a hundred times before I really paid attention to the problem for which they were hawking the pill. Then I groaned as I got the name of the pill. Flow max. Oh my God honey, I'm peeing too slow, what should I do!? (note: I don't mean to belittle people with swollen prostates and I don't mean to trivialize the discomfort that they feel.) Anyway, I'm far too amused each time I pee as I call out to spouse, "Honey, come quick! Am I peeing fast enough? Do you think I need to see the doctor?" We've been doing this routine for a few days and getting lots of chuckles out of it. Yesterday, spouse got me laughing when he called out, "Honey, come quick. Do you think it's the right shade of yellow?" Then we came up with a new pill name, Yellorite. Watch for it in upcoming ads.

It's another day of misery here but I'm not going to pontificate on it, if experience is any indicator, this should be the last of the really bad days. I feel like a ride at Disneyland with a sign "closed for repairs".

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Malicious software

Having a cold is almost a bonding experience. The snot bonds to the nostrils, the phlegm to the lungs. But also, the universality of the experience tends to garner pity and suggestions. Everyone's had a cold. No one is immune. Well that's not entirely true actually. As I understand it, there are a hundred or so distinct strains of the cold virus, and you can only "catch" each one once. Thereafter, one is immune to that particular strain. It's why young children seem to have perpetual colds and old people rarely get them. Perhaps one can influence the severity of the event with healthy habits and immune system building supplements. But one can not avoid catching it. The body, when faced with a new intruder, must learn how to vanquish it, and no vitamin can teach it that. I'll use an analogy of learning to ride a bike. You can't learn it from books or from tutoring, you've got to do it and fall down a few times before you learn. Then you never forget. That's how it is with the immune system and each variety of cold virus.

If I had to put this one on a scale, it's about a 7. Bad, but it's not going to finish with pneumonia. (my desk, being made of wood, has just been knocked) I camped out on the couch all day yesterday and read, dozed and watched movies. Drank at least 2 gallons of water. I could feel how the virus, more clever than my body, slipped into primordial sockets, trying to hide out and get an upper hand. Who gave this virus a key to my body? I felt my body discover the intruder and ferret it out from its hiding place. Then the virus, on the run, scurried up out of my lungs and throat and regrouped in my nasal cavity. About three o'clock I felt the shift, and the snot spigot turned on.

Spouse took care of me. He made soup. He tucked the blanket around me as I shivered on the sofa. He kept telling me to take cough medicine which I don't believe in. My experience with medicines targeted to colds is that they don't make you feel better, they just alter the kind of bad you feel. A distraction really. And they make my scalp tingle and my brain swirl, so I avoid them. Rest, liquids and hourly pep talks to oneself is really all one can do. So that's what I'm doing. I hope y'all are having a better weekend that I. Peace.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My turn

Upper respiratory tract infection. That sounds so much better than "cold", because when you feel like you are dying, you need a nasty sounding condition to give how you feel merit. I've always liked the phrase "death warmed over" too and find it particularly apt this morning.

I tried to head it off. Valiantly. Yesterday, I felt it coming on and crammed liquids, popped vitamin C and echinacea hoping to make my body so slippery inside, the virus wouldn't get a toehold. Alas, the virus laughed and sneered while digging its nails into my throat. 10- 14 days is how this thing goes, dammit. I'll do my best to whine cleverly in the upcoming days.

This was supposed to be a free weekend too. The first one in a while that has been chore and plan free. Of course I still made a list of things to do, but this morning I've changed the list, scratched off working out, scratched off painting the bedroom. I doubt I'll get out of my peejays today.

Friday, February 15, 2008


* I actually thought this was pretty yesterday, despite my crankiness about the snow. Check out those icicles too.

* At the end of the summer I brought in the exterior potted plants and kept 3 in the apartment and put the other three in the pitch-black basement (they were already scraggly). Every week when I went down to work-out, I saw them slowly dying. I wrestled with the guilt of dooming the plants to die. Then one of them flowered last month and yesterday I saw the geranium had come back to life. So I brought that one upstairs. I don't see how it's possible since they've had no light or water since October, but he/she must really want to live.

* It would take only a half million dollars for us to pretty much retire. That's how much to pay off the buildings. At the current rate, they'll be paid off in 20 years for the one, and 24 years for the other. I'll be 66 then. So far away, I wonder if I'll make it.

* Gayprof wondered aloud about the garage we have for the car. Well, since the city seems to pay no attention to the fact there is a garage with a no parking sign on it, they pile all the snow plowed from the alley in front of it. Therefore, we have to keep the car out, or it will be entombed inside until they get around to clearing the snow (usually day 5 after the storm on that side of the street).

* Up here they have an expression "avoir les petits yeux" (to have little eyes) which means, "you look tired".

* The earth is such a perfect sphere that if it were the size of a basketball, you wouldn't be able to feel Mt. Everest with your fingers.

* We've got another tenant woe. I've been keeping it to myself because, ugh, it makes me feel shitty to think about it. Here we are the 15th, and he still hasn't paid fully for February. This is a 20ish guy who just "had to have the apartment" back in December and when we said that we always check credit, offered to bring his father over to cosign right then. So we relented. My gut told me no, but he waved cash at me, and like Kryptonite on Superman, I crumbled. Anyway, the story (this month, last month's was different) is that he cashed his paycheck and then got attacked and robbed! When he told us, he scrunched up his eye as though it were sore from being punched. He got an advance from his job for part of the rent (and gave me the company check that he signed on the back). I really hope this is the only thing I'll ever have to write about this one.

* That reminds me. Two party checks. They won't take them if you go see a teller to make your deposit. However, slip that sucker in the ATM, and it clears every time.

* You know soon, we will adorn our walls with digital screens to display any artwork of our choosing. That's the logical next step to the digital photo frames. (Which I want, but am waiting for the price to go down.)

* I've been a crankball all week, the snow being a major instigator. Still, I'll take a crankball week over a bluesy depressed week any day.

* I saw nude dancer Wednesday while I was driving. He was walking down the sidewalk. I spotted his swagger first and thought, "That's how nude dancer walked, oh and look, he's got red hair too, is it? Ugh, it is." That swagger man, it still gets under my skin. (For any newbies, the nude dancer saga can be found here.)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I can't heart the snow

Can you hear that? That grinding noise? It's probably the collective hatred of a million teeth up here gnashing over the latest snowstorm. 11 feet this year and counting. March is typically the snowiest month and it's still over two weeks away. When I went to bed day before yesterday, they were predicting 2-4 inches, and when I got up, the storm was raging outside and suddenly, they were announcing 10 inches. It takes them a week to clear the snow and it seems like we get another dump just a few days after they finish cleaning. I had to go out to the burbs yesterday and when I arrived home, there was no place to park. Zero. I spent about 15 minutes going in ever wider circles in the neighborhood before I found a spot eight blocks away. I am just so OVER this. I never thought I'd feel this way, but it's just too much this year. Too frigging much. (Wait, tell us how you really feel.)

In other news, I picked up a Quebecois film at the library the other day. It's called Le Bonheur c'est une chanson triste. (Happiness, it's a sad song.) It's about this girl, conflicted with where she is in life (successful, but...) who finds a video camera and decides to accost strangers and ask them what "happiness" is. I loved this film, it made me think about so many things, but finally, I concluded that "It's the wrong question." Why? Because it's undefinable, mercurial, different for each individual, and unsustainable. The cool part of the film is that the answer is in all the little moments of connecting with people, the moments we take for granted, a shared smile with a cashier, or a laugh with a coworker. She's experiencing happiness but unaware because she's too busy trying to define it, so that she can "look" for it. Happiness. It's all around you, all you've got to do is take a bite.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rational, or rationalization?

Spouse isn't ready to quit smoking. I know, he's told me so. I wouldn't hinge my quitting on his quitting if it were clement outside, but as it stands, there's no way I'll be able to force him to smoke outside until spring. Oh, I could try, but we've traveled that pot-hole riddled road before. That's how you break a marital axle. And I know that I am not THAT strong to live inside a smoky house without succumbing. So then I'm thinking, okay, I'll quit in May.(At any rate, we will stop smoking in the house then.) But wait, the most fabulous vacation of life has been planned for that month. Wouldn't want to spoil that suffering from withdrawals. So that puts it up to the end of June. Now I've got to circle a date.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Deaf, not dead

Sara is pretty much deaf now. She remembers all the routines though, so it took us a while to realize she couldn't hear us when we told her, "Tell me!" If you hold a cookie out to sara and don't give it to her right away, she will do the WHOLE routine, developed long ago to impress friends - sit, speak, hold out the left paw, then the right, then down on her belly and a final yelp. Ching ching ching, magical cookie code. It's really hard to pinpoint when she lost her hearing, but over the weekend we confirmed she just can't anymore. Maybe this is why she groans all the time, she doesn't even hear herself doing it. Sometimes she'll lay there for half an hour with a constant low hum, like a person with too high a fever. Oh does it pull on our heartstrings. Still, she makes the same sound when she's happy and wagging her tail, so the groan isn't necessarily indicative of pain. Gosh I hope it's not. Serge keeps hinting that it's "time". See, he comes from a family where when the dog got the milky eyes and the scraggly look, they just put it down. As MIL said the other night, they're luckier than us humans, they can be euthanized. I have come home a couple times unable to find sara, and then discover her sleeping in the closet. Of course I don't think she's sleeping, I think she has gone in there to DIE, and I stand and look for the rise and fall of the fur (is she breathing?) before my heart will descend from my throat. When I'm home, she stays in whatever room I'm in, always right up against my leg or the chair. This is irritating at times because I forget she's there, and certainly in the case of the office chair, I've rolled onto her flesh causing her to cry out innumerable times. If Serge is home, he will scold me for this. I keep figuring she'll learn about the office chair danger zone, but no, it is I (me?) who have (has?) the responsibility of always looking before rolling. Also the pooping routine is cumbersome. Now she doesn't hunker down to get the whole shipment out, she just stays crouched long enough for one morsel, then she travels a few more feet, squats, another orb comes out and repeat. Seriously, she'll do this five or six times for a single movement. She still plays and begs and cuddles too, so a little hearing loss isn't going to make me relent. I'm sticking to my guns - if she can't walk or shit by herself, I will relent, but for now, she's staying.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Grain of salt

There's so much saber-rattling going on these days about the economy. I would get caught up in the contagious fretting if I didn't read several times about the other "terrible recession" in the eighties. At that time, I was in my late teens/early twenties and politics and economics were just words the grown-ups cared about. All through that "recession", I had no trouble finding multiple employment opportunities. Then there was that book about the terrible stock market crash due in 1999. Was gonna turn the world upside down, remember? Nowadays, we're constantly assaulted with the recession word among other calamities, so much so that the news should just be retitled "Everybody Worry." I've heard the phrase a dozen times this week, "When the US economy sneezes, the world catches a cold." We should be afraid, very very afraid.

It's like peak oil. There was a show on the topic last night. I've read the hysteria, but again, what do I care if the oil companies lose their grip of power in the world. We humans are remarkably adaptable and clever, we'll find another way to power the world. The wind and the sun aren't going anywhere too quickly. I still think the biggest threat to the world is mutating viruses, but there's nothing we can do about that, so why worry about what you can't control.

We watched Hotel Rwanda last night. Riveting film. Tragic. It was so chilling to see the white UN peacekeepers say "Nobody in the west will help you, there are no votes here for them." Sometimes I just have to shake my head and wonder about how fucked up the world is, not the way we're being told it's fucked up, but the real things that happen slipping under the radar.

Well now, isn't this a jolly way to start the week.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Avoiding discord

We drove out to MIL's house yesterday. As you can see, the snow is ridiculous this year, with snowbanks everywhere you go. Apparently, we're having one of the snowiest years on record. I've been here seven years, but this is the first where I've stopped and thought, "What the hell am I doing here?" I figure this will just make the dawn of spring that much more special. Spring. I can't wait. It'll be awhile though, as it snows into April up here.

Usually, I'm the one who drives when we go somewhere, but lately, Serge has been the alpha male, announcing "I'm Driving!" before we take off. This is fine by me, because I then call, "I get to choose the music!" Anyway, I have to admit, Serge is a better driver than I am. My own mother told me this as well last summer. Apparently, I'm too "jerky" when I drive. This is a trick I learned driving in LA. If you put on your flasher to indicate your desire to change a lane, most times, this is taken as a cue for the driver in the destination lane to speed up and prevent you from switching. So I learned this trick. Jerk the wheel just a bit as though to change lanes and watch the other driver slam on their brakes and honk. Then slide into the spot the other driver just gave you. Also, I tend to be a "speed up so you can slow down" kind of driver, most times in the act of accelerating or braking. Serge tends to get a nice even slow-as-you-go rhythm. When I drive, Serge is always commenting on screeching about every manoeuvre I make. This usually ratchets up the discord in the vehicle. Yesterday, he asked me, "Am I driving too fast?" and I said, "I'm paying no attention to your driving." This is a much better dynamic in the vehicle, so I think we'll keep it this way.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

This n that

I've been sitting here an especially long time staring at the screen. The blank screen. Sometimes this works, I'll let the coffee wriggle into the wires of my body until it jogs the brain into an idea. That doesn't seem to be occurring this morning. (insert 10 more minutes of staring)

I had a pretty good class yesterday. Actually, all my classes are nice this session, a nice mix of old students and new ones. One of the new students yesterday said that she couldn't believe how fast two hours passed, and then just as she was going out the door, she said, "I'm, how do you say, a groupie." "Fan," I corrected her as I blushed. Stuff like that's likely to give one a big head. I can't say it didn't feel good though.

There was another first this session. One of my previous classes requested a different teacher. This was ego-bruising for sure, but was mitigated by the fact that it was an early morning out in timbuktu class. I have many students who sign up "only if we can have Richard", and to them I mentioned that I was unwanted by a class this session and they all expressed shock, unable to understand why someone would request that. That soothed my bruises. The comment I got (via HR) from the traitors was, "he's too relaxed." I guess they want some uptight nazi for a teacher, and that ain't me. Or maybe they hate fags. Who knows.

Friday, February 08, 2008


So I have this class that switched spots and now I've got to go out to the burbs by 7, today and every friday. Ugh. Plus, I'm so busy mid-week that I can't even keep up on the blogs, I've got hundreds sitting in my queue which I'll try to get through on the weekend. Two Fridays in a row now with no snippets - what's happening? I sat down and tried to bang some out yesterday, but I haven't felt so creative lately, and nothing really forthcame. It's all part of the bleakness of winter I suppose, the almost constant gray skies and snow, snow, snow. Cold. Cold is what spouse accused me of being the other day when I stopped by to pick up the car at his work. Apparently I didn't run around greeting and kissing everyone as I should have. Mind you, he works in an office. According to him, it's not that kind of office. I told him if people think I'm cold, that's their tough toenails, as anyone who knows me knows it's not true. Perhaps when I'm in work mode, I'm more "professional" which could be construed as cold. Yesterday when I went in, I made sure to kissy-kissy, but I didn't like it. All part of the constant negotiation that is marriage, I suppose.

I keep chuckling over the picture over at Joemygod of the Fox news headline: Crack Found in Man's Buttocks Apparently, a drug dealer hid the crack in his ass and was caught and arrested. The thing that makes me laugh is that the guy who wrote it was probably totally oblivious to the double-entendre. I've had things like that come out of my mouth. I wish I could remember one to regale you with, but I'm not even fully caffeinified yet. ... Okay, must go. Sorry for the paltry post, I'll try to do better next week.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bearded clam

Lately I've been thinking that I should probably have sex with a woman before I die. You know, because I want to experience simply everything in this lifetime. (Okay, maybe not heroin, but even there, I could probably be convinced.) Sex with women used to be on par with, oh I don't know, eating fish guts or something. (The same "ew" feeling expressed by many heterosexuals when thinking about homosexual relations is shared by homos thinking about straight sex. ) As I get older though, I've found that while the idea of relations with females doesn't fall into the turns-me-on category, it doesn't cause me to think "ick" either. I suppose just stating that is heretical enough to have my gay card revoked, but you know, gay is just a label, and a limiting one too. I find most parts of the female body to be attractive, the smooth skin, the curvy hips, the nurturing nature of breasts, the soft lines of the face, but I still can't really find much beauty in the magic triangle. Unfortunately, that is really the most important part necessary for heterosexual intercourse. So now I'm thinking about how to change my attitude about it. I'm reading this story right now, "Middlesex", and I find it kind of erotic how a hundred years ago, even during relations, many times the woman is not completely naked. Obviously certain access has to be granted, but it doesn't necessarily have to be visible. That's the way I'm imagining it, without my face buried in the thicket. I do have one small, niggling concern......what if I liked it. I mean really, really liked it? That kind of scares me, though there's probably only a minute risk of that. I bet Brice would have some fine insight on the matter. Hey, maybe I'll put this on next year's goals list. This year, there is but one, to quit smoking.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Rubberband man

I told serge about the reaction to my tooth-to-toenail grooming and he said, "Can you still do that?" Then I demonstrated as he said, "God! You are not human!" He couldn't understand how I could be so flexible. Two words - tall and skinny. Anyway, because I was so amused and I just know this will drive Dirk insane, here's the proof. Yes, it is MY foot and not spouse's. (His are more stumpy, hairless and in my opinion beautiful. Except for his nails which he will let grow out way beyond the end of the toe. This kind of creeps me out.) I probably should have saved this for HNT, but I've got nothing else today.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


We've been getting this bill for the past few months. It's for a rented water heater in one of our units. We've owned the property for almost 6 years and this is the first we've heard of it. Apparently the previous owner leased a water heater for one of the units but didn't tell us, then when he moved and we found a tenant for his apartment, she paid the bill for the last 5 years! According to the notarized papers from the purchase, all the heating equipment belonged to the owner. That means that according to my documents, the water heater is mine. We are receiving a bill because apparently when the bill is not paid, it falls to the current owner of the building to pay it. So I call to see if we can somehow find a solution for this. Serge had already called twice, the first time was told it was a mistake, the second time was told it'd be $287 to close the contract. (about the price of a new water heater.) I told him I'd call this time since we keep receiving bills.

I got so mad I hung up on the girl. She kept talking in circles, "this is how it works" she kept saying. She wants to send an inspector over to the building to verify that it is their water heater. I kept saying, legally, it doesn't seem like you can pin any kind of responsibility to me. Who did you sign the contract with, I asked her. "That doesn't matter sir, if it is our heater, you will have to go after the notary who was supposed to verify this." I told her that Gosh that sounded like I have to do some work and all I have is your word that "possibly" the water heater (installed 7 years ago) is yours. Sounds like you don't have a legal leg to stand on to me. The most telling moment came when she said, "Sir, it's not fair that you get to keep a water heater sold on a rental contract." AHA! That pretty much tipped her hand. "Not fair" and "illegal" are vastly different things. But I was reasonable and kept saying, let's find a solution, let's come up with a dollar amount and then we can both be done with this. The third time she said, "That's not how it works" I told her I was done talking to them and I'll wait for a court order giving them the right to enter the premises. And then I hung up as she pleaded something. It kind of ruined my day as I was so infuriated. We're not the first this has happened to, they did a show on this very thing a year ago. If you want a little french lesson, you can see more here.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Better today thanks. There's sunshine forecast, that always puts a spring in my step as well. I kept calling spouse "scourge" all weekend, which is what I do when we're the grumpy duo. Em came up with that one a long time ago and it's stuck. Scourge put in 17 hours of work for his job this weekend. I say things like, "it's healthy to set limits at work" and he retorts with something about deadlines and "but it HAS to be done this weekend". He explained the whole thing to me as my eyes glazed over and his speech became a blur of blah blah blah punctuated with Can't and Must and Won't and Have to. A whole host of work characters seem to have conspired unintentionally to have it be this way. He was supposed to paint the bedroom (his words) but no, chained to the computer all weekend.

I read in the paper yesterday that you can get a ticket for having snow on your car. Anywhere on the car as it could fall off and impair the visibility of other drivers. I had no idea, I thought you just had to brush off the windows and lights. I guess I'm lucky I haven't gotten a ticket because there's been snow and ice in the luggage rack on the roof for weeks.

I watched the Superbowl last night. This is only notable since it's the first time ever that I've watched. It was so cool how they superimposed the line the players had to reach to get to first down. It's probably been that way for years, but since I never watch football, I'd never seen it. That fourth quarter had me riveted and spouse was rather horrified that I was watching it. "I don't even know you!" he declared. I wanted the Giants to win and they did. I only wanted them to win so the Patriots would be humbled. Unbeatable would have given the Patriots swelled heads.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Bluesy weekend

I just had too much to get done yesterday to do a post. If I do do a post, then I'm always going back to check if there are any comments. Yeah, yeah, I know I'm vain, but that's just the way it is. If I don't post, I don't have that nagging, "Check and see if there are any new comments" tape playing in my brain. Plus we had a big ass snow and sleet storm that left a foot of HEAVY snow-ice that I had to deal with. Patio, front walkway and dig the car out. As I was huffing and puffing, I thought about what great cardio it is, but what I didn't think about was the noodle arms I was going to have this morning. As I was digging out the car ( I made a nice perfect rectangle even though I probably could have done half the effort to get out, but I wanted it to look nice, lol) Serge hung his head out the window and called me a freak. He said that because I was in quite a mood yesterday. I woke up with a bad case of the blues, and this happens every so often (monthly maybe?) and I'm just on the verge of tears (inside) all through the day. These kinds of days are filled with me giving myself pep-talks, "it's just hormones, there's nothing wrong, your body just wants to exercise the sad muscle" and busying myself, must keep moving, don't find thoughts to feed the misery. Because, you know, when you're in the pits, it's EASY to find things to be depressed about. Even when there are none.

It was easy to keep busy, as there were all my preparations for the new courses that started. I have to take the students' stated objectives and plan the exercises and activities based on that for the 15 week session. Each class is different and takes several (unremunerated) hours to plan out. I finished up about sundown and chilled with a martini, our weekend ritual. As it's the beginning of the month, we expected to receive rents and we have from the "good" tenants (like us when we were tenants, always paying our rent in a timely fashion) but of course, we have to run after a couple of them so they can give us their excuses. We always say the same thing, "We have bills and budgeting to do too, and we're reasonable people, just inform us before when you know you're going to be late, don't wait for us to come see you and then you spring it on us." Still it's the weekend, banks don't open til Monday, so who cares really. Oh wait, that's the depression concoction of hormones talking again. I think I'll wheedle Serge into accosting them today.

What else? Blah blah blues. That's where I'm at. There's something strangely sweet about it though. Melancholy. Sweet sadness. Tomorrow's Monday. Peace.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Got a nasty burn on my hand yesterday. Spouse decided to go out with his friends from work so I popped a pizza in the oven for dinner. When I was pulling it out, the crust broke, and as it was falling, I tried to catch it with my free hand and the cheese bonded with my flesh. The pizza landed face down on the floor. As I was ow ow owing, I was interjecting "NO SARA!" to keep her away from the steaming mess on the floor. The flow of thoughts was very fast at that point as my hand resembled a cartoon burned hand, bright red, throbbing. "Now when was the last time the maid was here, sara stay away, it was Monday wasn't it, the floor's not that dirty, just our stocking feet have been on it, plus sara always cleans the kitchen floor of any detritus, a spatula, that's what I need, a spatula, Sara No, why aren't there any clean spatulas, shit, oh here's one." Then I scooped up the upside-down pizza onto a plate, scooped up the remaining goo and put it on top and spread it around. Twasn't half bad, actually. I consoled myself with the thought that it's good to challenge the body to germs now and then to keep that immune system primed and at the ready. But honestly, this morning, I'm a bit aghast that I ate something off the kitchen floor. I wonder how many sara hairs were in that mess. Ugh.