samedi, novembre 26, 2005

In which our heroine learns some valuable lessons

1)that now that the parentals are home, any desire to use the automobile must be submitted in writing not later than 48 hours before the desired time of departure. All applications must be completed in triplicate and filed well in advance of the aforementioned 48 hour consultation period. Success is never guaranteed and furthermore, acceptance of application may be terminated at any time prior to the automobile actually pulling out of the driveway. Termination of this kind will often be accompanied with an explanation such as "We need to do some errands, you are welcome to come if you like," or "I'd forgotten that you had mentioned that, [desire to use auto]can't you do it later?"

2)The feelings accompanying knitting lace are akin to being stretched on a medieval rack for the duration of the project.

3)Attempting to knit one's first lace pattern using moehair yarn is frankly, insane. Whoever is stupid enough to think this is a good idea deserves to be tortured (on a rack maybe?)...

4) There was a fourth, but I am about to run out and try to snag the car in my 15 second window of opportunity....

samedi, novembre 19, 2005


if I ran the world we would all read this

jeudi, novembre 17, 2005


I consider myself a nice little social democrat who sees the purpose of taxation (to fund public infrastructure and programs not covered by the invisible hand) and does not really get bent out of shape about paying 1/3 of my wages into the coffers of (a possibly corrupt) government.

That being said. There is a limit.

I was at the local Canada Post outlet this afternoon, shipping parcels of love and affection to some dear friends, and the clerk asked if I wanted to keep my receipt. Out of habit I said yes.

I glanced at it in the car (to figure out how I just spent $16.43 on postage for 3 small parcels,) and noticed that under the total for the parcel that was sent to Montreal, a small typewritten line informed me that a fuel surcharge of $0.65 had been applied.

There are a plethora of reasons that this small line of type caused me to go from mellow to apoplectic rage in less than 2 seconds. Here are a few of them:

1. The surcharge only applied to the parcel sent within Canada. The stuff sent to Brazil and the UK, destinations much further away and thus probably using slightly more fuel, had no such vile surcharge applied.

2. The above point makes me wonder if fuel used within Canada is somehow more expensive to use than if the same fuel was used in another country. As though it magically gains value when it crosses the 49th parallel. That or Ralph Klein is papering his walls with twenty dollar bills at the expense of the rest of the country. Come to think of it, the prior two hypotheses may not be mutually exclusive...

3. I can deal with fuel surcharges when I AM ACTUALLY CONSUMING THE FUEL BEING USED. The ferries add surcharges, so do airlines. This makes sense to me because I am actually on the vessel using the fuel. I am not on the Canada Post plane/bus/truck that is taking my parcel to the other side of the country, thus I am not actually using that fuel. The company is. A company that is totally subsidized by the government and thus which already has my money going into it... The evil bastards at CP are therefore making me pay for their fuel twice: once in my taxes and once when I use their service.

4. On top of the indignity of #1-3, the thing that really made me shoot fiery rage out my nostrils was that the clerk informed me that standard shipping to send my parcel from BC to Montreal would take 7-10 days. At this rate of speed, I am convinced that Canada Post has abandoned fuel powered vehicles all together and has reverted to horse and carts. Or sleighs for winter. Which begs the question as to the necessity of a fuel surcharge in the first place... Wouldn't it be more efficient to ask for donations of hay and apples for the horses?

7-10 days. Seriously. I could walk there faster.

mercredi, novembre 16, 2005

The countdown is on...

... on so many levels.

one week until the parentals arrive back from their respective adventures. The 23 year old part of me is quite excited to have them back: no more grocery bills, sometimes my laundry will be done for me, people to talk to in the house other than the cat and the voices in my head. The 3 year old inside of me is screaming "What did you bring me? What did you bring me? Presentspresentspresents!!!"

Hopefully we can get her under control sometime in the next seven days.

Also one week until the great MEC pilgrimage whereupon I will equip myself for the approaching travels while trying not to terrify the sales staff with my addiction to goretex, polypro long underwear, and any type of footwear. Pray for them, for they know not what is about to descend upon them.

Four weeks until the petit frere arrives from his year of insanity. I am so, so excited to see him, but I am also kind of freaking out about a Christmas present for him. If it is going to be knitted I'd better sort it out and start the sucker now.

(knitting update: the cabled scarf is finished and on its way to the recipient. The alligator mittens are blocked, but I need to figure out how to make french knots for the teeth... And I got a fair amount of a touque (for me) finished this morning as I waited for the snow tires to be attached to the car.)

And Seven weeks until I depart for the bottom of the world. The Falklander is en route to South Georgia to count birdies, and I am counting the days until I can terrorize the population of las Malvinas.

Is it any surprise that I am not getting much done? I just sit on the chesterfield (hahaha, such a canadian term) and count days on my fingers.

vendredi, novembre 11, 2005

How to make me laugh...

...out loud, so hard that I almost shot juice out my nose.

Send me a postcard that instructs one how to "survive adrift on a life raft."

"You are more likely to die of exposure or hypothermia than of anything else."


jeudi, novembre 10, 2005


A small indication that I may in fact knit too much:

Recently, the restaurant has been pretty slow. So slow in fact, that we did not have any tables before noon today. As much as I love standing around and making minimum wage for breathing, I tend to want a little something more out of life. The mitten I am knitting fits perfectly into the front pocket of my work apron. I can knit during the slow periods and quickly stash it when guests make an appearance.

I finished the mitten this afternoon. I am a genius.

vendredi, novembre 04, 2005

Do not choose a coward's explanation...

...that hides behind the cause and the effect.

You sent me Leonard Cohen and made me weep in the middle of the morning.

And now, sitting here 36 hours later, still drained and feeling like my skin has been rubbed raw, I am trying to think it all through. There is so much I want to say to you but at the same time I wonder about the point of it all. So I will write it down here... in a semi public forum... in half formed thoughts and cryptic phrases. Cowardly, yes. But you do it too- just in verse, and thus think of these sentences as my stanzas.

"Damn you for being so content and reserved in your satisfaction elsewhere, and damn you for not fawning over me for the rest of your entire life..."

I won't fawn over you for the rest of my life-I think too highly of you to do that. And debating my levels of contentment and reservation could go on for ever. And it's all mental masturbation anyway: a pleasure occurring only after prolonged periods of narcissitic introspection.

I wonder about the value of digging through the debris of two years worth of memories to get at a dozen moments of pure joy. On the one hand, my moments of joy are held apart by months, years even. Allowing the mess of everyday sift overtop of them leaves me with a mind of memorytape unwinding in my skull like an analogue tape that a two year old got a hold of. I should keep my joy near at hand, to be taken twice daily as an antidote for mundanity and mediocrity.

On the other hand, I will go to great lengths to avoid pain. And all the rememberings of our good times eventually slide into how we lost our respective grips and how childish we were, and how-though I am not lonely for the whole relationship-I would like to sink into one of our endless Sunday afternoons like a warm bath.

That picture of a girl looking over her shoulder in a parking lot somewhere in Conneticut, I don't even recognize her. She looks like someone I could be friends with, but there's no pulling of heartstings when I see my two-years-ago self glancing over her shoulder daring the two-years-ago you to catch her in the act.

I don't even have a stable mental image of you. You reinvent-adapt to circumstances. No loitering for you. Movement. Progress.

You pointed out that we weren't friends, and you are right. We weren't. I think part of the reason I can't disengage myself from you is that I have no label for what we were. I can't find the right branding iron to cauterize that ten months of existence. Lovers? it says too little and too much at the same time.

It's why I am wary of a friendship with you now. She who builds her house on quicksand should not be surprised when she is sucked back in.

If we could go back and play the film again, would we edit? Would we ask the actors to be kinder to each other and a little less like vipers? Would we change to more flattering lighting? Alter the beginning and ending to create a full plot arc? Would we fastforward to the crisp winter mornings, running for the bus or up the Main, holding hands and pelting along like the world would end if we stopped... our breath coming in jagged gasps...

I can't help you with the solitude and loneliness. If it means anything, know that I have been there too: Surrounded by people, unfamiliar sounds shooting out of every throat, judged on appearance, personality ignored. It is hard and you will survive. Something inside of me aches in recognition when you described the alienation.

Damn you too.

mardi, novembre 01, 2005


When I was little enough to be stuffed into a cat/princess/witch/gypsie costume and paraded around our street, clutching a pillowcase that gradually filled with the largest amount of chocolate my little eyes had ever seen in once place, sixty to seventy children would tramp up to our front door. "Trick or treat!" they'd yell in squeaky little voices, and we would capitulate by dumping peanuts and caramilk bars into their pillowcases. I don't think any of us ever thought of a trick to play if anyone refused candy. Our brains were so loaded up with a pre-emptive sugar high that we could think of nothing other than "candycandycandycandy..."

This year, the first I have spent at my childhood home in six years, we had 12 trick or treaters. 12. I was so disappointed. Also, I had about 36 liters of candy just sitting in the front hall like a predatory wild beast.

As I sat there, with my friend R, waiting for the non-existent hoards of costumed beasties, we got to wondering about the decline. Was it just a function of my neighborhood aging, of the kids growing up and moving on to Halloween parties where they dressed up like naughty nurses and drank orange punch out of bowl?

Possibly, but certainly not the whole story.

The real culprit, we decided, was the Evil Subdivision. The Subdivision exists as a sprawling ring of stucco houses on treeless lots that encircles the older part of the neighborhood in which I live. The older area has architecturally different houses that were built over a period of 20 years. The yards are large and individual and full of gardens and pine trees. There are no sidewalks, but the roads are wide with large shoulders. There are no streetlights, but all of the houses have porch lights.

The Evil Subdivision went up almost overnight. All the houses look the same, the only trees are ornamental because the developers bulldozed the whole area at the outset of construction. Ornamental lawns are good. Chaotic perennial borders are not. These places have a front walk slicing through the sidewalk every 3 meters. There are streetlights.

While I do understand the attraction of closely spaced, well lit houses to both wary parents and candy hungry kiddies, I think it is fundamentally wrong to attempt to sanitize Halloween.

It is supposed to be a dark and scary night.
You are supposed to hear unexplained howls in the darkness.

Subdivisions suck out the mystery of life. Be wary.