Thursday, July 31, 2008

Scammed is scammed

The overnight flight to Paris is brutal. Hurry, hurry eat dinner, out go the lights. Then three hours later they wake you up for breakfast, the sun already well into morning. Of course we didn't sleep, we were in coach where the little blanket and eyemasks offered did little to alleviate the discomfort of essentially a tight chair. As we disembarked, we had to file through the first class section where every seat becomes a bed. As if we peasants needed another reason to hate the rich. I'll just bet you they got hot washcloths in the morning.

I don't know when it happens exactly, where you get to the point of exhaustion that could be called bleary-eyed. But it happened sometime that morning between landing and getting to the hotel. At the front desk, the lady was very nice and had our reservation all ready for us but sadly, no room until two in the afternoon. It was now 11am. She suggested we visit Sacre Coeur just nearby and gave us a map. Off we went to hike up the hill, a big gnarly hill whose steep stair-lined sides seriously attempted murder on us. (I wonder how it would be now, now that I'm nicotine free) At the top, panting, we joined the crowds of tourists that made the place feel more like an anthill. Touristy. It would become tiresome early on, this constant badgering by souvenir peddlers, petition signer uppers, tour operators, and scammers. I thought Mexican beaches were a pain in the ass, but European sightseeing locales really (take the cake is too hackneyed and I can't think of a suitable replacement), and I do mean really. As we were descending the stairs, admiring the panoramic view of Paris beneath us, we heard something we would hear hundreds of times during the trip.

Do you speak English?

Often it was in a pleading voice, the kind of way someone who was lost or needed help would ask the question. The man was just in front of me, searching my eyes for a response. If I may, I'd like to blame the bleary eye for what came next. I said yes. Then suddenly he was so grateful to have found someone who spoke English, where am I from and when did I get here, is it my first time. As I'm answering his questions, I'm all off-kilter by his needing-help vibe being replaced by a jovial welcome-wagon guy vibe. He asked me to stick out my finger, and in a flabbergastingly bad move, I complied. He promptly put a thread around my finger and started to tell me his story and where he was from. Now Serge, who had already been down a couple more flights of stairs, has come up, and these are his words later, "to rescue me". Within moments, my guy had a friend who had Serge's finger out and was doing the same macrame thing with the threads, peppering him with questions. Mind you, we hadn't slept in 30 hours at this point. Now I'm no idiot, though the evidence would surely suggest otherwise, and I did have a nice friendly chat while the man fashioned a little bracelet and tied it around my wrist. It was a clever little mafioso technique - you have to destroy it if you want to take it off, so now we owe 10 euros, and we're lucky because, as he confided, he charges the Americans 12 euros. I laughed and said, I'll give you one euro, that's a ridiculous price, it's a bit of thread, what does it cost two cents? Then they got mad and threatened to get the authorities. I said, look, I'll give you the change in my pocket. As it turned out I had I think 8 euros in my pocket. Totally scammed we were, and believe me, after that, whenever I was approached with that question, I acted like I didn't hear anyone speaking. It was not the nicest way to be christened by the city, but who knows, maybe that eight euro scam saved me much more by sharpening my awareness and keeping my wits about me. It took a few days, but it wasn't long before I was grateful.

After it happened, Serge and I both felt ashamed, how could we be such country bumpkins, rubes, suckers. We got over it fast enough (Hello, we're on vacation in PARIS) and soaked up the sights with a little bit better caution about us.

And it's weird, because that whole drama last week, though more of an emotional scam than financial, made me feel those same feelings. And in similar ways, I've a bit more caution about me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bumpy but not damaging

This might look familiar. We ate out at the same restaurant as last year. That wasn't the plan of course, no, the plan was to walk to the best Mexican restaurant in town. And we did walk there. Unfortunately they were closed. The sign said open. But there was another sign that said "Will Return at 12:15" It was 6 o'clock and the sign said they opened from 11:30 to 9:00. The 12:15 part was perplexing. Anyway, then we had to walk all the way home. We phoned the other place I had in mind to see if they could take two in ten minutes. They said, "No, we can take two at 10:30 though." (Oh yeah, gee now that you mention it, I didn't really want to come eat dinner in ten minutes - I wanted to come in in four hours, thanks for the suggestion) Serge kept suggesting we try a "new" restaurant but I stood firm insisting on going to a place I already know is good. Why spoil a birthday dinner by chancing a lousy meal? So that's how we ended up walking two blocks to the same place we ate last year. We had a bunch of appetizers and a bottle of wine. Twas delightful.

Spouse got me the man's package over at the spa for my gift. Pedicure, facial and massage - all done in a four hour session. I've never had two of the three and I don't like massages because they always hurt. Serge told them this and they promised no discomfort. What do they call it if you just want them to lightly tickle the skin with their fingers? I don't think the last masseuse I had had normal hands, it seemed like they were all knuckle. I don't want to be kneaded, I want to be tingled - a tingly massage.

I was talking to my mother yesterday when they had the earthquake in California. It was scary as I listened to the commotion in the background. Turned out to be a fairly mild one, bumpy but not damaging. Mom remarked that it wasn't a side to side movement but more of a jolt straight up in the air movement. As in all things, every earthquake is different.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bird day

That's what serge calls it anyway. It's my bird day. Actually most of the native French speakers don't say that word quite right. They'll substitute "d" or "t" or "s" in place of that unvoiced "th" in the word "birthday". The Quebecers tend to substitute with "d", hence bird day. Today is my bird day and I've got to work as it turns out. No matter, 43 is really no big cause for celebration. I think I'll insist on going out for dinner, however. We'll see. In the meantime, here look out our happy hour cloudburst we had yesterday.

Monday, July 28, 2008


So that's it. The nicotine is all gone from my body. I decided a few days ago that the whole quenching-my-craving-with-a-dose-of-nicotine plan was probably helpful at the beginning, but now it's just keeping me hooked to nicotine via the inhaler. So I stopped and have gritted my teeth the last couple days. Anyway, it's true what they say, when you're really ready it's not that bad. It's hard of course, but the mental approach can lessen the severity. It's really the difference between, "Hey, those guys over there are so lucky, they get to smoke," and, "Poor them, they have to feed that addiction every hour of every day." A mental trick? Perhaps, but who cares as long as it gets you there. Placebos work, just that fact alone tells you how powerful the mind is.

As for side effects, I have indeed put on some poundage. I've reclaimed the blubber that I lost when I was sick a while back. I don't mind. It's like reclaiming part of myself, a kind of reverse battle scar. And anyway, fat feels good in bed.

It's Monday, so I should probably do the big walk. It's five hours. You know, mail carriers (wrote men, had to think hard to find appropriate non sexist term) probably do that every single day. I think I'd quite enjoy being a mail carrier. They even get to wear their ipods up here. (or simply wear without the "get to", I don't really know)

I don't know how to finish this post even though it feels done. Plus I've got poop at the door clamoring for liberation. Type at you all later...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Kinda gossipy

I wasn't going to write today. You get Saturdays off, I tell myself, but writing sounds easy now, maybe I can skip Sunday instead. Spouse is sleeping on the couch. His robe is open and one leg is bent up as the sun comes in through the window and slides across his very white belly. I woke up at five-ish and noted that Serge wasn't in bed although I could hear him snoring from the living room. I wasn't sure right away if it was the dog or spouse doing the snoring, but soon the human quality of snoring became clear. More ragged. I had gone to bed before he got home. He had gone over to a workmate's place. I didn't want to go since we're going there tonight to watch the fireworks. Anyway, I appreciated that he slept on the couch because the snoring intensifies with the level of alcohol consumed. He is snoring loudly as I type.

Well this is just scintillating isn't it? I should have skipped today after all I suppose... I don't know if I'm anti-social. I mean, I love being among humans, but I'm not so keen on interacting with them. Serge always says before we go to a party, "You have to talk." It's probably good that he reminds me, otherwise people think I'm haughty and aloof. I'm not aloof, I just don't like talking all that much. I'm good at listening and nodding though.

Are you still here? Can't imagine why. Hey, I know. The big news of the week in (and I can't remember who coined this one but it wasn't me) blogaritaville as many of you know, is the shocking story of fraud and intrigue. Long time reader and commenter Cooper is not what he claimed to be. Start here. Anyway, when this story broke, I was shocked and skeptical. Mad at myself for being duped. Just because it's easy to fool people doesn't make it right, you know? Anyway, because I think this is funny now, about a week ago, RJ wanted to leave a snarky comment in the comments but thought better of it and sent me his comment privately. "Cooper" (let's call those quotes snidemarks, shall we?) was the first commenter of the day.

I'm sure he's nice and he's always saying the sweetest things-- which is probably why I hate him so much-- but that Cooper's picture makes me stomach-sick every time I see it. I can't even tell you why because I don't know why myself. A gut reaction.

Now I'm sure had he left that comment, he would have been flamed. Even I was defensive about poor ""Cooper"" (double snidemarks) and didn't even respond to RJ's comment. But now it all sounds so funny. He's not even real! And I wonder what poor guy's picture was being used in the profile. Okay enough gossiping, time to eat my bagel. Then my workout. Day 26 is here.

Friday, July 25, 2008


* I got some good shots at the Botanical Gardens this week. All the dahlias are in bloom. Trying out the macro functions on the camera, I got this nice closeup shot. I left it pretty big if you click it.

* It's been so hot and humid around here that the towel I use to dry off after my morning shower is mildewed by the next day.

* Rosy-Lipped Batfish

* Here's something fairly new I've noticed. I'll be surfing the net and the ads all come up in French no matter where I surf. I guess very few English speakers live in my neighborhood. It also shows you how your IP address is being used to target advertising to you.

* I drove by a field yesterday (had to run to Costco for some cream cheese, of course I left a hundred and seven dollars poorer, which to be honest, is probably the lowest amount I've ever spent there) and there were bursts of yellow color created by wildflowers. I thought it looked like pieces of the sun had fallen on the meadow.

* These are the orchid people. There were several types like this where the flowers had "faces".

* Being snide, Em noted that I'm not living in Canada, I'm just living in America Adjacent.

* There was a beeping sound all day yesterday and I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. It sounded "beep" about every 10 seconds and each time I went to the area where it sounded like the sound was coming from, it sounded like it was coming from elsewhere. Maddening. Finally, last evening, I figured it out. It was the dishwasher, though I have no idea why it was making that sound. All I did was close it completely and it stopped.

* This was at the Just for Laughs festival. David and I both took pictures of us being the swung around lady.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Last night I turned to Serge after I had been humming a bit and said, "It takes about a half a martini before I start to sing." He responded, "I know, it's annoying." This charmed me so I said, "It's also about that time I want to come over and give you a hug and pet you." He replied, "I know, and it's REALLY annoying."

Of course I had been haunting the Quitnet just before that. I love that there's a support group for this on the net. There was a thread about what addictions have replaced smoking and mine are Tootsie pops (though I'm down to two a day from 6) and long long walks and my daily meditation. It's weird, last summer was all about the bike and this year it's all about the walking. I haven't ridden the bike in 2008. Idiosyncratic comes to mind.

Actually I spent a lot of yesterday on the internet. It kept threatening to rain and we even had a waterspout near us yesterday. Serge said he had never heard of that happening here before. See the story and pic here. It's been stormy for days now, big thundery cloudburst weather. It's supposed to continue through the weekend. We have had more thunderstorms this week than I had in my ENTIRE 35 years of living in Southern California. Clearly I was born in the wrong spot because I think I feel the most alive, the most me, when my eyes are riveted skyward and the lady in the sky is dancing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Our latest appearance

We were on tv as I mentioned a couple days ago. We both hate watching ourselves and think the other looks just great. I think I look like a pompous windbag, even in French. When I told Serge that, he said, "But you are like that." I guess I should own my pomposity. Of course they used one part where I totally used the wrong word for access and it makes me cringe terribly. Anyway, most of y'all won't understand any of it, but if you're interested in seeing us and clips of the wedding, go ahead and watch:

I'm still working my no smoking program, here's my latest stats:

Time smoke-free: 22 days, 9 hours, 30 minutes
Cigarettes not smoked: 680
Lifetime saved: 5 days 4 hours
Money saved: $116.50

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How to make Semifreddo with chocolate

You only need four ingredients.

Grate the semi-sweet chocolate squares.

Keep the egg whites and ditch the yolks.

Whip those egg whites until they peak stiffly.

Combine the powdered sugar and cream and whip.

Fold the chocolate into the whipped cream.

Fold the whipped egg whites into the chocolate whipped cream. Fold in one third at a time.

Scoop it into a loaf pan lined with wax paper.

Put it into the freezer for at least 8 hours.

Slice and serve. Here with blackberry purée. Delicious, four ingredients and no cooking. What could be better? And thanks David for the wonderful dinner and recipes from last night.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Montreal Franistan

So I think I've done well. I made sure our visitor tasted Montreal smoked meat, poutine and beaver tail. The first is like pastrami or corned beef, basically the crummy part of the cow gets marinated for eons and then it gets salted and cured. This renders it very tender and salty and pink, nothing like its raw form. I think it gets boiled too for a day or two. It's served on rye bread with yellow mustard. The middle thing, poutine, is french fries with cheese curds and gravy. It's the cheese curds that make it unique, that squeaky cheese that you can only get around here and in Wisconsin. The last thing, beaver tail, is a desserty thing, basically a big flat doughnut slathered with nutella, cinnamon, or powdered sugar. I get the nutella one with bananas. Did you know that nutella makes a fine crumb coat on a cake? We used it for the crumb coat on the wedding cake and the fondant went on top of that. Don't ever forget, never entertain the idea of making your own wedding cake, you will succeed but you will spend more money and more time than you can imagine getting it right. No, no, no, trust me just don't.

Today, David is going to make us dinner, he is a chef after all, and teach me how to make a new frozen dessert. I forget what he called it though, something with whipped egg whites, whipped cream and grated chocolate. Franistan? No, that was the fictional country that Lucy acted like she was the princess from when she tested Ricky's fidelity. He'll tell me what it's called later.

I'm going to be on tv tonight with spouse. Speaking French even. Don't worry, we'll tape it or link it or something. I'm sure I made a million mistakes speaking even though serge said I did well. I'd be worried if it was Fox who had interviewed us, like they'd snip it all together to make us look like scum. Telejournal, tonight at 10 on Radio Canada. I have no idea during the hour where we'll be. Doesn't matter, I'll post it tomorrow.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weekend update

We've been touring the town even though it's been pretty rainy the last couple days. Here's a shot I got down in the old city after we went to the archeological museum. I don't know what the "equalize" function does, but somehow it made this picture better. Last night we saw Australia's entry in the fireworks competition from the top of the Jacques Cartier bridge. I've lived here eight years now, and we've never walked onto the bridge to watch the fireworks. It was spectacular, though it would suck if a storm popped up as there's no shelter up there.

Today we've got to turn over the apartment to the new tenant so David is moving to a hotel for the last two nights of his visit. He scored a four star hotel downtown for a little over half price on Priceline. I've said it before, Priceline is like a casino where you always win.

There's not much else to talk about. I've been playing tour guide mostly, a job I think I'd be good at, and staying satisfactorily distracted and occupied so that this quitting smoking thing is practically a non-issue. Hey look 20 days today.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Not snippets

I think we all enjoyed Kathy Griffin. The show was being filmed for TV and they wanted her to have five f-bomb free minutes. She couldn't do it. She is so vulgar and snatchy and she did an awesome Celine parody. However, she was just the host of the show and the other comics had me laughing so hard, I couldn't stop crying. My favorite joke was from Nick diPaolo: you know fifty-four percent of marriages fail, now, let's put this in perspective - imagine you're watching people cross the street and fifty-four percent of them don't make it. Are you gonna cross the street? As for me, the reason I got married, well, I was sitting around thinking, "my nuts are empty and my wallet is full, how can I reverse these two things."

Okay now I accidentally pushed the control key and some other key and the post published. That's a cool trick if I knew which buttons I pushed. There's not even a title, I thought it wouldn't let you publish without a title. Stupid blogger.

Anyway, we tripped around town all day yesterday, and I figure there'll be more of the same today. It's rather rainy today, so perhaps a museum is in order. Here's a nice shot I got downtown yesterday.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This n that

Yesterday was a good day. I woke up in an unusually good mood and rode that wave all day. It's about time. It's been a good month since I woke up feeling like a million bucks. In the afternoon, I went and picked up David, who remarked that it's hot here like in Houston. (Not as hot, mind you, but hot still) We got him squared away in the apartment downstairs and went for a stroll in the village. I fixed some barbeque and we stayed up rather late chatting.

Two girls just passed by the front of the house on the sidewalk and one of them spit into our yard. She spit like guys who spit spit. So automatic, it was almost like a tick. I wonder if she chews.

So there's nothing much else to say. Sometimes I feel like I've already said everything and I'm just waiting for the universe to supply the next storyline. Which reminds me, the TV people are coming over today to interview us about being married. They're going to ask us what it changed for us, and Serge wants to practice so we don't argue in front of the cameras. I told him that married couples often argue like we do, and that it will show how utterly ordinary we are. It's not arguing really, it's more like constant correction of each other. They asked us for video and pics of the wedding too. We found the video of the ceremony, and were both alarmed at how much younger we looked. Less than four years ago.

Serge, Em and me Oct. 9th 2004

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Uninspired again

The only way out is through. This is an oft repeated phrase on the quitnet. It's so true, and not just for quitting smoking but for nearly every difficult change in life. The only way to get over heartache is to go through heartache, minute by miserable minute. Same goes for grief. I would say that our resistance to change stems from this very truth.

The cravings are so severe sometimes, it's like a guy shouting at me from my abdomen and then pulling different emotional cords. He's the disappointed parent scolding me. Why can't I just please him? Now he's the strongest desire imaginable, stronger than lust. And now he's terrible sadness, sadness that I've turned my back on him. I had to give him a likeness in my imagination. He's balding but fat-headed. Always grimacing. Hasn't shaved in a few days. He's losing his virility slowly.

Today I get to be distracted by a new visitor. I think I will enjoy showing a first timer around town, and I hope that his excitement reawakens my newbie eyes for this wonderful city. Of course I'll be taking pics. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ever seen a pet squirrel?

Yay, I made two weeks smoke free. Of course it crossed my mind that to celebrate, I could have one, but that would be like celebrating your sobriety with a drink. Plus I don't want one. Really. But I've been down this road too many times to declare victory. It's always the cockiness that sets in at four-five months that sabotages me. Must keep my guard up at all times. And anyway I'm still addicted to nicotine. I'm down to one cartridge a day which I guess is the equivalent amount of nicotine in four cigarettes (if I can believe what I'm reading) and they recommend that when you are down to 1 or 2 cartridges per day, that you should stop. There's no rush though, they recommend that you use it for several months.

I went for one of my long walks yesterday. I saw a guy with a pet squirrel. It had a little collar/harness thing with a chain leash attached. The squirrel just hung out on his shoulders. I didn't want him to see me taking a picture because he was hustling money and I didn't have any. I had just spent all I had on a sandwich and was heading to old Montreal to eat it. So I took the picture when he wasn't noticing.

Oh and I scored tickets to the show Kathy Griffin is hosting Thursday night. They must not be going to sell out because I got them two for one. I look forward to some hearty laughing.

Oh and this stole several hours of my life. Again.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Unnecessary purchase

We own a pressure washer now. We went to Home Depot to get some waterseal for the deck and came home three hundred and fifty dollars poorer. Last year it was a dehumidifier after popping in to get some lightbulbs. Spouse definitely knows how to play me now. I tell him, this is how it starts you know, this slipping into old mandom.

It's not me, mind you, that's purchasing these things, yet nonetheless their utility has warmed me up to them. (Can you say that? Yet nonetheless. I think it's redundant. Kind of sounds like a jazz band.) I'd like to think that I am not like this with people, warming up to them only after they have demonstrated their utility. (I'm no republican.) When I was in my 20's, I'm sure I had no desire for one of these machines. But you should have seen the glee when Serge put it together. "And it has different nozzles!" "And I have TWO kinds of soap!" "This one is much better than my mother's." Here I'll show you.

Really, he's going to use it to clean the deck before we put the sealer down. Then what? He claims that window washing will be done with it. I'll bet it won't be as satisfactory as doing it by hand. I really tried too to talk him out of it. "We can rent a machine if you want. The gas one with the manly sound and smell! That's a lot cheaper." "How many times do you think you'll use it? Twice?" His response to that was, "A year," which of course justifies everything. So we have it now. I have to admit that the dehumidifier from last year is good down in the basement, that thing sucks a gallon a day of water out of the air down there. Maybe I'll come around to the pressure washer, in time.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

12 of 12

The sun shines right into our bedroom in the am. Even the thick red drapes don't adequately block it. This wakes me up. Spouse isn't bothered by the light. I added the star only to avoid marital discord.

The other love muffin in the morning.

Spouse was awakened when his mom and boyfriend came by. I'll spare you a pic of his grumpiness and instead show you Tigars, MIL's dog. This is the only non-blurry picture I have, as this dog never stops moving.

Me and the MIL.

After they left, Serge went back to sleep. I had to get out of the house, so I went down to the huge sidewalk sale downtown. It was miles of discounted merchandise, bands, buskers and crowds. I only bought one thing. Gelato. It was delicious but at $4.50 a cone, it will be an infrequent splurge.

Check out the pimped out police Segue. Instead of only two wheels, there's 3. It's got all the equipment that the police car has too - radio, computer etc.

Then it was time for the annual Twin Parade. Thousands of twins march through downtown as part of the Just for Laughs festival. This was the first time I'd seen the event. I took lots of pictures, but this is probably the best one.

On my way home, I saw this Cookie Emergency truck. There's something oxymoronic about cookie emergency, but it's a cute idea. It was only after getting home that I noticed the smiley face on the back of the truck.

Once home, Serge had awoken and it was well past five on Saturday. That means martinis.

She's usually more discreet than this.

Serge likes to tidy her up after her movements. (kidding)

Finally, dinnertime. Those are not my cigs. I'm on day 13 today and feel like king of the world. Have a lovely Sunday peeps.

Friday, July 11, 2008


* In the park yesterday, there were some old guys feeding the animals. It was strange to see birds and squirrels together "begging".

* Before cars, life was a lot of walking punctuated by sitting. Now, it's the opposite - lots of sitting punctuated by walking.

* On July 10th it was chilly outside. It can be cold anytime here.

* Someone approached me for a cigarette. They had mistaken my tootsie roll stick sticking out of my mouth for a cigarette. I grinned as I said, "Sorry, I don't smoke."

* Habit and addiction are just shades of the same color. They can be good or bad.

* If you get everything you want, you'll invent new things to want. It's the "wanting" that is flawed.

* One of the slogans of the quitters is "Don't buy, don't bum, don't ashtray drive." I have to admit that in the past, I've done all those things when quitting.

* I've got a hard job today. I have to tell the girl that I offered the apartment to that we're giving it to someone else. Strictly business decision. (He's ready to move in sooner, has money, will sign for one year.) She will learn that she has to have money to put down when she decides to lease an apartment. (She won't have any til next Tuesday.) Still, the guilt monster is eating at my insides. I keep thinking about her shrieking, "I'm so happy!" when I offered the apartment to her on Tuesday, sigh.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Journal entry

1. Woke up, wanted cigarette, didn't have cigarette, drank coffee while posting blog/checking blogs

2. Prepared and ate toasted sesame bagel with cream cheese and glass of orange juice

3. Spouse parted for work

4. Took shower and then listened to meditation tape (I say tape, but it's on the ipod)

5. Showed the apartment to someone who just arrived to live in Montreal

6. Felt conflicted after saying yes to the girl, but this guy wants to move in as soon as possible (She can't pay anything or sign the lease until next Tuesday)

7. Went across town to the farmer's market and paid tax bill at the bank

8. Walked home in the very muggy, sprinkly weather

9. Only took one picture of church doors along the way

10. Bought a lease agreement, onion soup, tootsie pops, strawberries, artichokes, wedding card. Ate two samosas while walking.

11. Noticed all the poor smokers, slaves that they are to the nicodemon.

12. Made "easy pasta" which is ground beef, a can of diced tomatoes, water, pasta, onion soup mix and cheese.

13. Had martini and wanted cigarette, didn't have cigarette. Ate strawberries instead.

14. Watched Voyager. I happened to catch the very first episode of the series a few months back and now I'm hooked.

15. The new arrival didn't have very good credit so we declined him, felt good that we'd honor the "yes" we gave to the girl

16. Watched a bit of the news, brushed teeth, went to bed.

Omitted due to high frequency: bathroom activities, gum and tootsie roll consumption, interaction with dog.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

This n that

I have on my list "video - dance/funny faces - nasty gorgeous song". I don't think it's going to happen. Here's how far I got with the project.

I received an email the other day from this guy, whose blog I always enjoy reading. He sent me a picture of me saying, "This sure looks like you, doesn't it?" He had found it on a m4m (that's man for man) personal ad on Craigslist in Las Vegas. It's a picture from this blog some past winter ago. So I guess somebody is using my picture instead of their own. See, now I don't really understand this. If you end up meeting the person in real life, which I would think the goal of the personal ad is, then you're not going to look like the picture, you know, because it's NOT YOU. What's the point? Anyway I can't decide if I'm flattered or grossed out by the whole thing. Flattered feels better, I think I'll go with that.

We've been showing the apartment. One girl applied for it, her credit is clean, but both of us got a "trouble" vibe, like she's the kind of girl who could really get on your nerves. She went from "oh it's much smaller than it looked in the pictures" to "it's so cute, I love it" in ten minutes time. Still, psycho is fine as long as she pays. It looks like we'll have to go to court now if we want to get Jimmy's father to pay the $700 ($40 for june, 600 for july, 60 for the missing stuff) because he's now playing games, never available to come to the phone, etc. etc. I have a feeling the hassle is not gonna be worth recovering the money, though we will send the registered letter and then a lawyer letter to see if scare tactics work. Look at it this way, I tell myself, in 6 months you'll make that money up in not smoking. Not worth stressing about.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Me me me, blah blah blah

Despite the relentless admonishment of "SIT STILL" during childhood, it seems I am still unable to do so. I can't seem to stay in one place too long, nor focus on one task for much of a length of time either. With the exception of the meditative time-outs,I end up bouncing from one thing to the next, often without having satisfactorily finished the previous activity. It's how I went to take out the trash and ended up watering the plants via folding some clothes. Which reminds me, I need to go finish folding. It's how I went out to buy a card for my cousin's wedding and ended up having a tomato and bocconcini sandwich on olive bread (just like they had on Lido Isle in Venice) via stocking up on gum at the Dollarama. Totally did not get a wedding card even though I was actually inside a store that carried cards. Retard! Anyway, you'd think I lived in some vast mansion the way I get lost going from room to room. But it's not true, I get lost just turning around in my chair to fetch something off the shelf. Something always seems to catch my eye and waylay (weighleigh?) me. It's been particularly bad the last week. This is why the walks are so good. Hours and hours of meditative walking. I've started stopping at corners and surveying. Even walking, I feel like everything is going by too fast. Yesterday I only lasted 3 hours outside, it's getting quite hot and muggy and though I enjoyed popping (I typo-ed pooping first) into the shops and the free-for-the-taking coolness, I had sweat quite a bit and begun to funkify.

They (rehab smokers) say that you learn a lot about yourself when you do something like this. (And if you're sick of the "quitting smoking" posts, stop back in a few months kay?) What have I learned? That I can't get through the newspaper. That I love tootsie pops. That the cravings diminish in frequency but not intensity. That there is a want that can't ever be filled. That I wish the want were a tumour that could be cut out. That meditating seems to provide a paradoxical assuagement and intensifying of ALL THINGS. That if I stress about money, I want to smoke. That I can let the money issues go in order to stay quit. That I will walk miles for good ice cream.

Monday, July 07, 2008


It seemed like yesterday when I thought about this, there were a dozen things to talk about here. Now, the brain is devoid of much thought. I could mention how Jimmy's dad isn't calling back even though we spoke to his mom Saturday. I guess I just did. You know, platitudes rush in during times like this (like father like son, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree etc) and I'm slightly comforted that we are not the first to have experienced the reason for such sayings. Still, every cloud has a silver lining even though sometimes you can't see it since it's at the end of the tunnel, you know, where the light is. (I'd like to think I'm being clever, but retarded is more like it)

Cut me some slack, it's day seven. Week one. Done. I've been haunting the Quitnet site which has a wonderful forum area where you can lurk or participate in discussions. I love the NOPE (not one puff even) slogan and the way they make you promise to post on the forum if you are about to break down and smoke. After you post, you must wait for two replies. This is usually long enough to get you through the crisis. I haven't done that, nor will I (ah so pompous) unless necessary.

I'll go now. I just can't get it together to be interesting today. I think my brain chemistry is changing.

Time smoke-free: 6 days, 8 hours, 40 minutes and 4 seconds
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 191
Lifetime saved: 1 day 11 hours
Money saved: $32.00

Sunday, July 06, 2008


The little fucker. This is what I was stomping around saying yesterday morning which woke spouse up. That little fucker. The last we'd heard from Jimmy downstairs was last weekend when we reminded him that he still owed forty bucks for June. He said he was going to his Dad's house to borrow money. Then we didn't see him or hear from him all week. So yesterday when I finished my workout downstairs, I decided to pound on his door. There was no answer so I took my key to enter. This made me nervous, I don't really have the right and I had no idea who would be in there. But there was no reason to be nervous since he had moved out! Gone, plus he helped himself to a few items that didn't belong to him. Like the coffee table. Or like the two sets of sheets. Or like the pillows. That little fucker!

We spent the day cleaning the unit from top to bottom, replacing the linens and advertising the place. The big moving day in this city is July first. It would have been easy to rent it had he given us notice, but now it will likely linger until August or September. We may try to rent it to vacation types until then but I'm a little apprehensive about that. Of course if any of YOU are coming out for a visit, there's a great little apartment for you.....

We called his parents. His dad co-signed for the apartment so hopefully we won't have too much trouble getting paid. Just typing that made me flinch, getting paid is rarely easy. But I don't care (too much) because there's only one prime directive, don't smoke. Nothing else is allowed to matter right now.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Pics of late

Even though the jazz festival is finished this weekend, we have oodles of other festivals to go. Next up is the Just for Laughs festival. I may break down and get Kathy Griffin tickets.

Serge and Ida at the jazz fest. Ida's been staying with us the past couple of days. I appreciated having a non-smoker around me.

You want porn? We don't discriminate here. Something for everyone's taste, step on inside....

This is either a clever tactic to thwart graffiti or evidence of someone's obsession.

You wouldn't believe how many church door pictures I have. I should put together a book.

This sign made me laugh. Yes, I'm still 13.

That dog was IN the fountain just moments before. His master called him out.

Is this a lady Buddha? I stumbled upon this temple with this very large statue in the courtyard.

Nothing else to report really. It's boring to be around me lately as I only have one thing on my mind. Don't smoke. (So far so good!)

Friday, July 04, 2008

This n that

Well I've laughed. The first time was when Charlotte crapped her pants in Sex and the City. I may have giggled once or twice in Get Smart too. Then yesterday after Serge went to his (free perk from work) therapist, he told me that as he was listing all the things that are stressors, when he got to "my spouse quit smoking", the advice from the therapist was, "Just try not talking to him. He doesn't want to talk right now." Oh how that tickled me. I could never get away with just demanding that he not talk to me without bruising egos and feelings.

The Montreal Jazz Festival is going on. We've been the last two evenings. Can you wander around listening to live bands playing music for 12 hours a day for 12 days, FREE, anywhere else on earth? No, I don't think you can. Sure the food and booze is pricey at the kiosks, but you don't mind since you get so much free entertainment. We saw this awesome acapella (sp?) group called Naturally 7. This is a group that sounds like a whole band but doesn't have any instruments. I'm sure there are youtubes of them somewhere.

Anyway, just keeping busy, keeping moving, and running a little matra in my head.

I can live with the occasional desire to smoke or I can smoke. There are no other choices.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


I can't believe this, but I received an economic stimulus check yesterday. Three hundred buckaroos. I'll be a good American and spend it in the casinos of Vegas next month. Doesn't it seem strange to you that I haven't worked or paid taxes in the U.S. for 7 years but I'm still eligible? I still file every year but I only have to pay taxes in the place where I live. Which is here, in Canada. My thoughts feel very scattered these days. I'm not going to mention why since it should be obvious and spouse tells me to stop talking about it which is hard, especially when he's puffing on one of the god-damned things. And just like that, the evil monster pops out. Sometimes it feels like my stomach is digesting razor blades and crushed glass. I know this is a withdrawal symptom and I marvel at its clever insistence. Sometimes that's where/why/when the evil monster comes out. I've been good I tell myself. Very, very good. Breathe.

The secret weapons are these and tootsie roll pops. No biting! Can't bite the tootsie roll pop and you're only allowed to focus on the tootsie pop and its texture, taste, almost imperceptible malliableness, zeroing in, anticipating and tongueing for that little weakness in the shell of hard candy, then crescendoing to the first taste of the brown goo inside. I recommend sitting down and giving it your full attention. This reminds me of the time I bought tootsie rolls for the Japanese kids. They wouldn't eat them. Of course they wouldn't they look like little turds right? Now that reminds me of when the Japanese family served this. I graciously ate them, and begrudgingly even liked them. But kids don't have that skill yet. I need to get some more Japanese students, they're fun. Anyway, where'd I go? I'm having a hard time keeping track of myself. Better run along. (Day three, yay me, yay me!)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


I survived day one. I don't know why, but the withdrawal seems lighter than times past. Keeping busy is key and I did just that bouncing from one activity to the next. Walked ten miles yesterday including in the picture above at the nearby national park, saw Wall-E, had Ben and Jerry's, even had a beer on a patio in the village before we came home and made dinner. Then we watched Terminator 3 and the glorious moment of going to bed, smug from success and the escape from suffering that is sleep. Here I am at day two, and days two and three are just as hideous as day one if I recall, so I'll be out the door soon.

Here's something interesting. I'm using the Nicorette inhaler which I purchased last year to have for long train/plane journeys. I've found that it calms down the nicotine attacks and decided to use it for my cessation program. But here's the weird part. They say you are supposed to use 6-12 cartridges per day at the beginning, but I only needed three. Whoopee! Maybe those black market cigarettes have less nicotine than the commercial ones. Not that I would know anything about black market cigarettes. No, of course not.

I want to give a great big huge gigantic (redundant much?) THANK YOU for all the encouragement I've received from all of you, both in the comments and in my inbox. I'm astonished, humbled and deeply grateful for it. You can't imagine how much it helps to read those words. I'm off to tackle day two. Ciao.