Wednesday, July 30, 2008

21.6 Kbps!!!!!


I'm at my parents' cottage where there's no high speed, no cell reception. Just painfully slow dial-up, a southerly breeze, air that smells like sweet fern*, and many low-lying bushes laden with wild blueberries.

Atticus has learned how to eat berries off the bush, but his oral assault on the bounty has not prevented us from gathering liters and liters with only a little bit of 90% pleasant effort.**

Got to run, I have to put on some socks and read my book. Hope my readers are having a good summer! I'll try writing more in August.***

* An actual type of plant, not my own sentimental adjective applied to "fern". Also, this is one of my favourite scents in the world, so if you want me to love you, roll in it and then hover near my nose.

** 10% unpleasant due to the few horse flies and deer flies that are strong enough to battle the onshore breezes. This 10% can be reduced to less than 2% if you are wearing a sticky deer fly strip on the back of your Cedar Hill Trailer Park trucker hat. Record trapped so far = 13 of those winged bitches! (My sister gathered them on her run down a dirt road.) Nice work!

*** Likely starting mid-August.

Monday, July 21, 2008

church on time

Of course everything was chaos, but somehow we managed to get my sister to the bride's hotel at the designated hour so she could fulfill her bridesmaid duties. Where is the church again? we asked, as she sprung from the car, hair wild, dark circles under her eyes, dress and shoes in a bag under her arm, (also, wedding speech unwritten, and two hours until the ceremony).* Right down there, she said, pointing. We could see the spires. Just remember Saint Paul's - think of your friend Paul S. she said, and shouted thanks over her shoulder as she ran toward the hotel door.

My sister had just come off a week of little sleep, moving to a new place, massive work deadlines, and a red-eye flight across the country from Whitehorse, Yukon to Montreal, Quebec.

We took the two hours until the ceremony to get a quick bite, nap for a few minutes, shower and get dressed. We also were shamefully short on sleep and not in our finest form, but with me teetering in red heels and a crisp new shirt on him we looked sharp enough. We headed out the door, glanced at the time: 23 minutes to get to the church.

Out on Avenue de Parc, we tried to hail a cab. No luck. After a few unsuccessful attempts, a pretty red-headed woman noticed and told us, "You want a cab? There is a stand down there on Fairmount", and off we went.

By the time we were in the backseat of the taxi, we had 12 minutes before the ceremony. We told the driver, St. Paul's, down near the Delta Hotel, we have 12 minutes.

"That's not far. I can do it," he said. We soon learned that he had taken this as a personal challenge.

Have you ever witnessed Montreal driving? We experienced the following:

- tires squealing, repeatedly
- impressively excessive horn use
- up on two wheels around a corner, the two of us flung brutally to the side door, which fortunately held shut
- cutting off someone at high speeds by six inches or less, every 4-9 seconds for the entire 12 minutes

Grinning and flushed with adrenaline by now, we became concerned when, in this unfamiliar city and speaking in very rusty French (or Franglais, more like), we whizzed past the spires we'd been looking for, which we spotted several blocks away.

"Excuse me, but I'm pretty sure that's the church back there that we're looking for."
"I'm pretty sure we're going in the wrong direction."
"St. Paul's! St. Paul's in Old Montreal."
"No, it's St. Paul's near the Delta."
"There is a Delta in Old Montreal."
"No, we want a church called St. Paul's near Sherbrooke."

Stony silence as our cabbie pulled a U-ey and raced back up the street, lurching to a stop at a red light.

"How am I supposed to know! No address, just St. Paul's! There is no St. Paul's church."
"I'm so sorry, we gave you terrible directions. Can I please look at a map?"
"I don't see a St. Paul's... Shit shit shit. Oh! She must have meant St. James. Could she have meant St. James!?"
"..." **

After breaking most laws (traffic and otherwise) in the next two and a half minutes, (just short of gunning down pedestrians with unregistered firearms, I'm pretty sure), we screeched to a halt in front of St. James.

The only way to run in 3.5 inch heels is to bend your knees and get down low. It's not graceful - you look like the Minister of Silly Walks crossed with an orangutan, but if you need to move, it's much better than the little mincing steps you're otherwise forced to take.

Up the steps, and I swiped a program from the usher at the door. The right names were on it, so I ran back to the top of the stairs, gave my friend the thumbs up so he could throw a fistful of money at the cabbie and run to meet me.

Air on the G-String (sorry to report that I was so tired and frazzled that it is only JUST NOW as I am writing this that the hilarity of that title is suddenly clear)*** was playing as we snuck as inconspicuously as possible into one of the pews. We barely had time to mop the sweat from our brows before the procession began, and there was my sister, stunning in a strapless dress, looking miraculously as though she wasn't the least bit tired, and then the bride, looking like a 1930s movie star.

* But she is brave, articulate, and fast on her feet, so we were not too worried, even if she was.

** This is where I am quite sure he was quietly cursing us as the worst tĂȘtes-carrĂ©es to ever disgrace his automobile.

*** Think, for example, of whistling on a blade of grass between two thumbs, as my friend has just suggested, incredulous that it has taken me nearly 48 hours to clue in.

Friday, July 11, 2008

summer time summary so far


Did I ever write about that great documentary I saw years ago where this father-son team of crazy evangelists with identical blonde slicked back hair and light blue suits were going around doing some CRAZY Jebus preaching in the south and collecting money from hapless desperate people?* They were so ridiculous and over-the-top insane, I couldn't tell if it was a mockumentary or for real until like, an hour in.

At one point the little kid is preaching to a congregation of people**, and a man busts in, drags his wife out of one of the pews, and yells at the boy something like, "you've been brainwashing her, this is bullshit, you keep away from her, you stop stealing from her!!!" and the whole sermon event comes to an abrupt and awkward end. Then the camera follows the boy preacher backstage and records the kid, who is clearly shaken, giving himself a pep-talk as tears roll down his cheeks and stain the front of his baby blue collar. He sobs, rocks his upper body and stares at the floor, muttering a steady stream of supplications to his Lord in a thick southern drawl. Suddenly he clenches his little fists and says fiercely, "Get AWAY from me Devil, you ain't never done nothin' but LIE to me Devil!"

Well, as my friends and family know only too well, that has pretty much been one of my favourite lines IN THE WORLD ever since. I have discovered a multitude of applications for it and invite you to do the same.

Try it:


It's the best!

So that has been my mantra in avoiding caffeine, sugar and booze for the last oh, three weeks.

And here's the basic update:

  • doing pretty well, although I still crave caffeine every single morning
  • the withdrawal headaches subsided a week ago
  • I am drinking an espresso right now

  • I made it through a whole hot sunny weekend at the family cottage/cabin/whatever you call it without drinking a drop of alcohol and didn't miss it, living only on wild blueberries, burgers and lime juice
  • yeah, your cold beer looks tasty, but I am just going to go jump in the lake instead! Now that's refreshing, hahahaha!
  • went to see some live music outside, including Calexico, and someone had to finish that last little bit of vodka in the freezer, didn't they? Yes, they did.

  • it's like my own personal Ramy al-Jamarat, and I am still successfully lobbing stones at the three pillars of white sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and glucose***

Seriously though, I just want coffee to be an occasional treat, like this morning, and I feel so much better not drinking very often that it will be easy to keep that in check.

  • getting over my mental block that I'll never learn how to sail**** and went toodling around in the old Laser with a great friend in fairly high winds, having little or no comprehension of what I was doing, with no greater calamity than dumping several times and getting a scorching pre-cancerous sunburn on my thighs
  • taught my coo-coo puppy how to swim, helpful for the summer because he's black and gets as hot as the earth's core on sunny days
  • contract recently slipped through my fingers very unexpectedly, (client postponed the whole project possibly indefinitely) so it'll be beans and rice for a while! Ah, I'll be alright for the summer, but if you're one of my 600 friends getting married in the next three months, you might well be getting a home-made gift, like a table runner made from my poodle puppy's shorn fur, or a misshapen platter constructed from dirt and clay dug up from my back yard and baked in my bottom-of-the-line Sears Kenmore oven.

* I don't have a problem with Jebus, I just have a problem with the crazies.
** who may very well have been zombies
*** just a general analogy, no offence meant to any Muslims of course
**** honestly, I just can't hold that rudder straight