Big Mouth Monday

You know when you forget to run what you’re thinking past your ‘outside’ filter and all of a sudden you’ve said something stupid? That keeps happening to me.

Sunday night: I’m at the Fringe to see Sandii, who is in town for a few days. So glad to see her! And yet, it’s Open Mic night, which means it’s too loud, because the Fringe is a small room and everyone who straps an instrument on wants to be Heard! And! Discovered!

There’s a guy who always shows up for Open Mic. I don’t like him, because I find him both fake and reprehensible in both his public and private lives. Anyway, without fail, at Open Mic, he does ‘Watching the Detectives’ which I love, but he does it wrong. He can’t sing. He can’t play. (When I can tell, it is really bad!) His rehearsal strategy consists of getting high and then diddling on the guitar until he convinces himself he is a genius.

So last night, when he shouted, “Want more?” I stated, “No!”

Into an engulfing silence. I hit the perfect lull in conversation.

I turned to Will on my left and in a loud voice, said, “No, I think there are only 12 species of bats in British Columbia!”

Will, who is a biologist, and knows full well that there are 16 species of bats in BC, carried on the argument for a while. But, really? I could have edited that robust ‘No’.

Then today, I’m lugging summer tires upstairs at Commit, up to a space I have never been before. Basically, it looks like a B movie haunted house. Fading light going up the stairs, pitch black at the top. I’ve got a tire clutched tight in each arm, so no way to steady myself. Good times. One of the body shop guys is behind me. I slip on some oil, squeak, and right myself before continuing up the stairs. “It’s ok,” he says. “I’ll be here if you slip.”

“You’re kind of bony,” I say.
“Yeah. I want a fat guy if I’m going to fall on him!”

Um. Charming. Not.

Thankful, a Photo, and Slightly Stupid.

Yesterday I woke up late to get to my aunt in Victoria, so I took a thirty-dollar cab ride to make it to the bus to make it to the ferry on time. Canada – it’s big and spread out. We had a lovely chance to talk about the family and life. I’m really thankful for these times with her.

I left at three to get to Arwen’s for Deb’s party at eight. Five hours’ journey times two = a ten-hour travel day. Probably staying at the party until after 1am after such a long day was slightly stupid, but we were all having such a great time! Even with my less than auspicious start to the party.

Also, when I got to Arwen’s I had red eyes and a puffy face, Within ten minutes, my back and shoulders were covered with hives, my eyelids were swollen, there was some kind of lump on the inside of my lower lip and Arwen hurriedly gave me some kind of antihistamine. That’s my new party trick: Alarming histamine reaction ftw! Sorry for scaring everyone! Phil told me, “You look normal now” about two hours later, so whatever it was, was fleeting. Anyhow, I’m thankful for friends who can diagnose ailments and administer the right drugs. Again, slightly stupid to drink several glasses of wine with said histamine reaction happening, but I drank a ton of water as well.

So, a long day, but I’ve taken it easy today. Made spaghetti sauce. Rearranged the storage area. played with the cat. Little blessings.

Here’s a photo I took on the ferry:


So I kind of failed at the blogging every day in November. But stuff happened. Good stuff and bad stuff.

Stuff that happened:

I had lunch at Helen’s Grill at 25th and Main today. I am going to do that more, because what an experience, complete with tableside juke boxes and local pedant opining to the waitress about taxes and wages. I don’t know why I never went there when Cheesefairy and Mrs Dymund lived just around the corner. I know they did.

Snow. Cold. I’m a wimp.

An acquaintance of mine died in a mountain climbing accident today. She was a lovely and vibrant woman and leaves a Heather-shaped hole in the world.

I took the last snow tire car to Tremblay today. Unless something drastic happens, I won’t be going there again for any work reason. Rachel, can I take your car for an oil change?

E and I booked tickets for Regina for Christmas. His parents are paying, which makes him feel inadequate. I hate that. But really, we didn’t have twelve hundred bucks to feed his father’s Norman Rockwell delusions.

It’s E’s and my 11th anniversary. According to the Internet, steel is the traditional eleventh anniversary gift. Of course, that is marriage anniversaries, but we don’t have one of them. Um. Steel. He baked burritos in a steel pan and washed my steel chef’s knife. OK, we’re good.

I’m going to visit my aunt in Victoria tomorrow, and then to lovely Deb’s sendoff party. So if I blog tomorrow, it will be totally late and maybe a little tipsy.

In The Warm.

Yep, it’s still Monday and I’m still mad about changing garages. The good news, though, is all our snow tires are still at Tremblay, so I got to see my boys for a while today, with the bonus of not being out in sub-zero temperatures.

I had a good natter with Sam, the patriarch, and catch up with my mechanics. “Who’s going to bake us cookies?” asked Norm, the bald giant who is my best friend when it comes to clearing codes on Mini Coopers. “You’ll have to go on diets,” I sighed. Chris looked sombre, like he was at a funeral for all the cookies he would never eat.

We could have avoided this whole situation so very easily, and I hope I don’t shoot my mouth off at the wrong person in my disgust. As for the apparent money saving? I’ve been doing the math, and I’m costing the company about thirty bucks a week, just standing around waiting for a goddamn Cambie bus or hoofing it to the Canada Line. The lack of efficiency is almost physically painful.

Drunkie the Clown.

This is going to make me sound like a terrible, terrible lush. I have no excuse, but it is Stupid Sunday, and drunkenness and stupidity go together like, uh, one glass of red wine goes with another glass of red wine.

It wasn’t that long after my mom died. I was drinking a lot. It was not a good time in my life. I feel blessed that my friends didn’t cull me for being a useless, sodden lump.

Anyway, I was heading home from the Fringe, and E wasn’t with me, for whatever reason. Just in front of the firehall, I stumbled and fell. I wasn’t hurt, but I wasn’t inclined to get up. I’d conveniently landed on my back, and I just looked way up at the chestnut trees and the dark sky beyond them. I was thinking about light pollution and how it was such a shame I couldn’t see the stars. Because here I was, lying on the sidewalk and looking for stars.

Gradually it occurred to me that I was technically on the firehall’s driveway. Where the trucks drove. With urgency. Would the firemen stop for me? If they saw me. I mean, I know those firemen are pretty nice. They let me use their hot water way back when I was working on a student film. They always answer all the questions at the open houses, and let the kids (and me) try on the fire pants. The captain walks his dog in the community and stops to chat. They are nice guys.

I guess I was there for about ten minutes, lying on the firehall driveway and pondering my mortality and whether or not the fire trucks would run me over. Not once did it occur to me to move and do my pondering elsewhere, or that a drunk woman lying on the sidewalk might be considered a target by passers-by. (There were none.)

Eventually I did totter on home, where I lectured E about light pollution for a while before falling into bed. But lying around on the firehall driveway? Not my brightest idea.

Here’s Andrew the fireman and me.

Friendly Friday

The other day, I was car jockeying over on Commercial Drive. I was focused, and I had a million things on my mind. But it was sunny and so I guess I was smiling.

Some guy, a little older than me, looks like he’s done some hard living, is walking towards me. His face lights up. “Hi!”
“Hi!” It’s reflexive. I grin back.
“You’re beautiful!”
I blink. “Thank you!”

That guy really made me happy. I am going to give more compliments, even to strangers. What a great way to pay it forward.

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for what I do have. Right now, I am warm, fed, clothed, and comfortable. That’s more than a lot of folks can say.

Lots of times I grouse to myself when I see people spending on unnecessary stuff. But then, I have to remind myself that I deem it unnecessary. Those people may not have my values. I have to realize that that’s ok. They want a big screen TV, I want to go to Paris to take photos with my friends.

I like saving money. Excepting rent, which I pay because I love my neighbourhood, I can save a lot of money on the being fed and clothed. I admit it, though, sometimes I am just plain cheap. I kind of love that.

It’s not all steak dinners over here. I cook from scratch a lot. It’s way cheaper. And when E and I were discussing it the other night, we realized that our making our own bread means we pay about 60 cents a loaf. I was excited. When I can make a pot of soup that will feed us two meals each, with six dollars’ worth of ingredients, I get excited.

Clothing’s easy: Secondhand most of the time. Since I have given in and realized that I need supportive shoes, I get them on sale. And, it’s funny. Supportive shoes last longer. They’re made better than fifteen-dollar ballet flats.

I’m thankful for what I have, and that I can enjoy what I have. I can live in the city I love, in a neighbourhood where I have everything I need. That’s enough for me.


Today for Wandering Wednesday, I’m going to tell you all about my minor epiphany in the town of Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan.

Qu’Appelle is famous for being in the Qu’Appelle Valley, which is a little divot in the vast prairie created by the Qu’Appelle River. The town is a lovely little historical gem, with Edwardian houses with wide porches and gabled roofs. It is a very pretty place. E and I went there one summer when he was showing me Regina and its environs, and we had a wander around. I found it quaint, charming, and all kinds of other adjectives that connote how supercilious I felt towards it.

At one point, we saw that the general store sold ice cream. E cannot pass up ice cream. He loves it with a deep and abiding devotion. He might love ice cream more than me, but I am not going to make him choose. So we had to go get ice cream.

Here’s me hoping that it’s not going to be a manky, ice-encrusted gelatinous tub of Neapolitan, in that dusty little general store in this adorable little town.

Well. What did I know? There were about a dozen flavours, including handmade gelato, in a gleaming stainless steel case. They included Tiger Tiger, which is E’s favourite, ever, even though orange and licorice together is an abomination. And – I gasped – Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream. Chocolate ice cream with mini peanut butter cups, like, thumbnail sized, right there in the ice cream!

I had never seen it before, and since peanut butter cups are my favourite, hands down, of all the candy you can buy at the corner store, I had to have it.

It was a miracle. How did this tiny little town have the best ice cream ever? I stopped being supercilious right there. Cosmopolitan woman that I was, MY city had not shown me this delicacy. It was plain old prairie kindness, and I was humbled.

So when I whinge about Saskatchewan, remind me of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream. Because no place can be entirely inferior.

Fuck You, Cancer.

Today’s Mad Monday is brought to you by my hatred of gooddam cancer.

It has taken my mother, my uncle. It has taken friends. It has come for friends and been fought off. I have friends still fighting it as I type. I, myself have watched a laser (on cctv) blast precancerous cells off my cervix. It was satisfying.

But I’m just off the phone from my favourite aunt. She’s got fucking cancer and it is spreading. The oncologists are on it with everything they have. She may not last three months.

She is so very upbeat. She is philosophical and full of stories and laughter and anecdotes. She is the apotheosis of grace.

Cancer is stealing her. Fuck you, cancer.

Girl Racer-Stupid Sunday

When I was in my early twenties, I loved car racing. Not watching it on TV, or watching cars go around on some track. I raced.

People laugh when I tell them I was racing in an ‘85 Micra. But she never let me down. Sure, a four-banger, but with an aluminum engine and body, there was no excess weight. Lots of forward juice, but no ballast. Dumb.

I was stupid a hundred times when racing that car. I raced the clock (17 minutes was my best time from Metrotown to home at 21st and Dunbar. That was crazy, though. 24 minutes was more relaxed at midnight) or I raced real people. I’d pull up beside some guy in a hot car, with his girlfriend sitting shotgun. I’d gun my engine.

The guy would look over, and I would smile. The girlfriend would scowl.

We’d start off. Invariably, the guy would haul ahead, because he had the better car (I’m in a Micra, remember?) but I was always swerving into the parking lane to pass, I had split-second passing timing, and I didn’t have a shrieking girlfriend in my car. All those girlfriends, I apologize to you. I was a bitch.

Many of those impromptu races, I won. But I made a lot of stupid moves that could have killed me or someone else. I could have died a dozen times. All those guys who gave in to their girlfriends’ screaming to slow down? They were acting way smarter than I was.

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