lundi, janvier 31, 2005

epic sunday

Since we started brunching sometime last fall, Kate, Justine, Sait and I have had a few epic Sundays. The kind where we meet on a street corner at 1130 in the morning and part company around 630 in the evening, and in between, all manner of hijinks are gotten up to.

On epic sundays I get back to my apartment late in the afternoon/early evening, and sit in my brown chair exhausted but unable to stop smiling. I forget, in the middle of these afternoons, the stresses of life here, the annoying people I deal with on a daily basis, the strife in the world, and I laugh with my friends until my stomach is spasming and I can't breathe.

Yesterday was an epic Sunday.

All of us short on cash, and me with an abundance of eggs and flour, we cogregated chez moi to eat pancakes and watch episodes of six feet under. A nice sedate plan for a January brunching. Except the weather/temperature gods decided to go and create a spectacularly beautiful day, and bump the mercury up to -2. It was practically summmer.

Tv watching was abandoned in favour of skating at Parc Lafontaine.

The parc is to the east of my flat, and is quite a masterpiece of created greenspace (or whitespace in the winter). there is a large serpentine lake in the middle of it, now nicely frozen, and there are benches at intervals in the center of the ice to rest on or relace skates. Classical music playing through loud speakers. Lots and lots of Montrealers skating.

We rented skates and headed out. We were all of equal skating finesse and spent much of the rest of the afternoon chasing each other around the ice; Kate had an untiring appetite for spinning Justine and I around-especially when surrounded by lots of people. We saw children for what seemed like the first time in ages (the university bubble doesn't really make for integrated social interaction), and older couples skating around and around, holding hands.

It was bright and sunny and the air was crisp every time I inhaled. I wanted to stay forever.

Afterwards we hiked up Mont Royal with Justine's roommate Isabelle. We were supposed to be helping Justine take pictures of eggs for a photo assignment, but we missed the light by about five minutes so we climbed up to a lookout point and sat watching the lights come on in the east end. We ate cookies and drank hot chocolate out of a thermos, and slowly began to freeze to the bench.

On the way down, we eschewed the path, prefering to slide down the side of the hill on our bums, resulting in some really wet trousers and a lot of hilarity. Running through the snow in the forest we kept falling over because our feet would break through the snow cover and we would unexpectedly sink up to our thighs. Pelting down a hill at top knots only to be suddenly face first in the snow...

Kate made dinner at her flat, and while she and Phil and Ninn did their harmony homework, I fell asleep on her bed.

I'm still exhausted from it this morning.

mercredi, janvier 26, 2005


this town is teapot deficient.

For a city with as much diversity as Montreal, it is remarkable what a homogeneity it is displaying on the teapot front. Currently there seem to be only three models of teapot on wide release:

1) the white 1-2 cup ceramic teapot. This model will nicely compliment our white flatware and serving platters. It will also not clash with the white (accented with red/blue/black) mugs. Sometimes this model has a bamboo like handle in an effort to relieve its crushing monotony of white and infuse it with a psudo asian sentiment. Now, I have a white teapot. And white dishware. But my teapot is in the shape of an elephant and I had the dishes well before the "boutique hotel" look came into vougue for apartment living. And they are from the dollar store. Buying a $32 teapot that could easily camoflague itself in an arctic lanscape is absurd.

2) the $6 china town teapot. the main attraction of this genre of teapot is its price and the fact that it is usually decorated by some nice painting of bamboo fronds. (fronds? stalks? branches? What is the correct bamboo terminology?) However, if one is seduced by the price and pretty design, it bears remembering that it was probably painted in some dodgy teapot-painting-factory in the nether regions of china, and that it is inevitably designed badly. The tops fall off while pouring, it is prone to cracking, it pours badly. And really, no matter how much money you save on a cheap teapot, if it pours badly it will drive you insane. Trust me. I applied thrift to the purchase of a kettle that pours water anywhere but into the apropriate recepticle and every time I use it I get a step closer to the straight jacket and pureed food.

3) the cast iron japanese teapot. This type of teapot is not a bad option as long as you are the type of person who will pay 75 dollars for what is, essentially, a nicely forged teapot in miniature. Truely beautiful, these teapots are perfect for people who not only know how to make proper Japanese tea but who also don't mind drinking said tea in thimbles. Firmly Anglo-Saxon, I distrust a teapot that doesn't make enough tea to fill one of my white dollar store mugs. There is no way that I will be hosting a tea ceremony any time soon; my flower arranging skills have been likened to that of a caffinated octopus with ADD, and I don't have enough egg cups.

the search continues...

mardi, janvier 25, 2005

home made hair cuts

A barber shop near my apartment has a sign in the window:

"we fix home made haircuts "

I wonder how many people have gone in specifically to have their home made wonders fixed.

Most of my friends cut their own hair, or get others to cut it for them. Mostly it looks pretty good, and, seeing as we live in Montreal-city-of-fashionably-insane-hairdos, we can get away with a lot. The other thing is that we wear touques for about 5 months of the year, and no matter how much you spend on a hair cut it will come out the same after any extended touque wearing experience.

Actually, come to think of it, it's been ages since my hair was cut. Not that it matters, since a) the above touque reasoning applies, and b) I just don't care that much.

No. That isn't true. I do care, a lot actually... the real reason my hair hasn't been touched by scissors in around a year is fear.

The last time I got my hair cut I went to a fancy salon/spa thing in the swish area of St Laurent. It was the kind of place that I feel out of place in because I am obviously not cool enough to be there. I sometimes wear corduroy: the people in this place would never dream of such suburbia.

The guy that cut my hair was very chatty-I don't do small talk well. All I wanted was a haircut that would make me look cool (in my cords) and not like a republican or an anchor-woman. By which I meant: no one length bobs and it better look good without the use of a straightening iron or blow dryer. Maybe because it is my hair and I have been dealing with it all my life, these instructions seemed simple. Chatty pink shirted stylist (Not hairdresser... stylist!) was either not listening or didn't think I was serious. He lost interest in me soon anyways because I was loath to discuss the scene in Montreal or the relative merits of feathering versus layering my locks.

I ended up looking like a Fox News correspondent... my stylist managed to make me into a republican anchor woman, without the nasty puce blazer.

I've been trying to forget the horror, and ignoring my hair seems to be working. It's getting a little long though... maybe this time I will take the scissors to it myself-at least I know I'll have a back up plan!

jeudi, janvier 20, 2005

gentlemanly behavior

So Kate and I were eating lunch at the Midnight Kitchen yesterday, munching on vegan chilli and cake, when she brought up the question of what qualities a gentleman has to have. The list, by no means finished, is below. Bear in mind that Kate, being Scottish, has a mildly different take on the subject than I do: she thinks he should be able to ride a horse if the need came up, I think that being able to jumpstart a snowmobile is far more practical. But I guess practicality isn't the point of being a gentleman. Let me know if you think we've missed some integral element...

-should be able to ride a horse/snowmobile with passable ease if necessary

-should be able to remember types of drinks ("and a vodka tonic for the lady") and coffee/tea preferences without prompting

-able to play golf

-able to tell a joke well

-women: is charming enough to make any woman in the room feel beautiful, but knows to stop short of making her feel uncomfortable

-deals well with animals

-can converse on a wide variety of topics: politics, literature, current affairs, music...

-in conversation, actually listens to what others say and does not monopolize the discussion-keeps the ball rolling

-knows when to send flowers and when to offer up the heartfelt apology

-never criticizes/spats with partner in public

-dresses apropriately for all occasions (kate went on about morning suits and smoking jackets...I just wanted a moratorium on plaid shirts and sports jerseys when not at sports matches...)

-will use moisturizer if he has dry skin

-has cufflinks in his posession

-walks on the street side of the sidewalk when with a woman, to shield her from splashes

-can hold his own in a game of pickup football (soccer) with the lads (boys)

-has basic mechanical knowledge (ie: can diagnose car trouble and can change oil/tires/windshield wiper fluid)


lundi, janvier 17, 2005

"doing well"

(thanks neasa)

I am beside myself. For the first time I think I finally understand that turn of phrase. I feel like I am standing beside my self, much like a base coach, whispering suggestions in my ear and watching to see whether I follow them. Similarly to the poor base coach, I am increasingly feeling that no matter the intensity of my suggestion to myself-(for example: "Claire, you really should eat.") following through is up the capricious whim of a completely unknown two year old.

Melt down is not really the world for this, closer to willful self destruction.

If I could, I would run away and deal with life here later, when somehow I am stronger and more able to cope. But, due to financial constraints, I would only be able to go as far as my two feet would carry me. Escaping reality in the side streets of Laval or St Hubert is really not what I had in mind. As soothing as video lottery terminals and neon signs advertizing all you can eat poutine 24 hours are...

"I think she overstresses, sometimes, to maintain a recognizable stress-level"

somehow I seem to have outdone myself this's a slippery slope

mercredi, janvier 12, 2005

broken things

It's been a bad couple of days for keeping things together.

My headphones lost an ear piece.

My christmas present watch from my brother fell out of my jeans pocket when I hung them up to dry off the cuffs. The glass face which protects the hands dislodged itself and when I tried to play Miss Fixit, I cracked the glass.

A particularly out-of-left-field and shattering arguement with someone who is becoming quite dear to me left my (already shaky) peace of mind jarred.

The death of a friend of friends in a skiing accident. I didn't know him at all, but it's still tragic and horrible. And those of us who have lost other people (such a lame euphamism: "lost" for death... as though those of us left living have absent mindedly misplaced our loved ones) are grieving Chris and mourning our private sorrows.

Days, I guess are like this: fragile.

vendredi, janvier 07, 2005

family pictures

"there's a security guard. Quick! don't look like you're planning to do anything naked..."

"if we get caught, I'll just tell them it's nothing sexual-we're related..."

honestly, my darling cousins are completely and totally insane. the concept of photo booths has a whole new dimension for me now.

lundi, janvier 03, 2005


I wonder how many people in the world carry a piece of a place within them... somewhere that is home to them, the smells, sounds and the feel of the air on their faces...

Even though I didn't grow up on the west coast, it's embedded somewhere behind my diaphragm, between my ribs. The rhythm of waves on shore is a background track to much of my life, and the smell of low tide makes me smile. I'm never here long enough, and never frequently enough.

On the ferry from Saltspring to Crofton this afternoon, in the blinding sunshine, I wanted time to stop. I wanted to be alone-but-not-lonely standing on the top deck of a boat watching the driftwood and fishing boats, one masted dingys and kayaks, for the rest of eternity.

Justine said she thinks of me as surrounded by water, as though even when I am on dryland, I am somehow aquatically inclined.

The coast is my check. The tune, whistled in the wind, that I am relentlessly trying to pick up and carry.