The weekend’s over

Well, this was certainly a movie rich weekend.  Besides Inception and the inevitable True Blood episode, there was Growing Op and Numb, both hilarious Canadian films with American TV stars thrown in for extra visibility.  The notion of the guy who plays Hodges on CSI playing the paterfamilias of a marijuana farm in the suburbs is brain bending, and he delivers one of the best lines I’ve ever heard in a movie… no, really.  Ask Keith, he was there. Definitely worth seeing. both of them.  Both of them had F8CKING AMAZING soundtracks.  Seriously.

We got the mower back from the lawnmower place (unfixed, may they achieve decomposition in a quiet place) and Jeff mowed the lawn while I edged things and watered the peas and quinoa and whacked weeds.

This weekend we also managed to get Granny’s stamps to the dealer, so between the weed whacking and carrying all the boxes upstairs my back is unbelievably sore.

I read Plantinga’s Breviary of Sin, which Ontie Mary gave me last I was in Victoria.  Very Christian but brilliantly written and very quotable.

I’ve started taking my musical instruments to work so I can practice at lunch.  I am now practicing every day, and I have the callouses to prove it.

Lightning – the Diving Horse.

Still feeling cheerful despite everything

My thinky thoughts include sadness at the dissolution of my granny, who, candidly, ain’t getting better, and why should she, being 98, and what I’m going to plant when I have a garden next year, and how I need to get going on my projects because I won’t have much time soon because I suspect I’ll be working full time, and how well the bagels went over yesterday (I took homemade bagels, plus butter and cream cheese, in to my assignment), and how I’m a bad puppy for leaving the passenger side door unlocked the last time I borrowed Jeff’s vehicle, and how not taking glucosamine for three days makes my back hurt scandalously, and how Jeff is working on getting a somewhat more modern furnace filter installed (you should see the old one – it is disgusting), and how I wouldn’t mind learning how to do different things to my hair as opposed what I do now which is wash, comb, leave it be, and how hilarious it was that Robert Wagner and Michael Weatherly got to play opposite each other on NCIS when Michael Weatherly looks so much like Robert Wagner he played him in The Mystery of Natalie Wood. By all accounts a ludicrously bad miniseries.  This all represents a tiny fraction of what I am currently processing.

Bedside reading – Worship that Works, The Artist’s Way at Work, and a Latin English dictionary.  I should probably find something fictional. It’s just, as I get older, I realize that the odds of me reading any fiction that will be as good as Dunnett or O’Brian is freaking small, so I’m a lot happier with non-fiction.

And now for something incredibly cheerful, and sexist (all the way ’round).  The person who forwarded it to me (the Luddite) called it “East Germany’s answer to West Side Story” but I suspect it’s actually West German.  I don’t know how they got all the women to dance like penguins, and all the men to scowl in such an ineffectual way, but full points for goofiness, folks!

Furbabies & Gilgamesh

This morning, while Eddie was grumbling the whole time, Eddie and Miss Margot played over the same little  stuffed mouse.  I am trying to train Miss Margot to run along a track (which is interesting, because once she has ‘prey’ in sight she’s indefatigable, like a squat and furry greyhound) and Eddie got into the act.  Then, grumbling still, he walked away.  Twice or three times this morning he’s bopped her on the head.  She never says a thing, just flops on the ground.  She’s 1/3rd his weight, it hardly seems fair.  Gizmo never hisses at or hits her.

Yesterday I wrote another tune.  The recorder was sitting in front of me. I recorded it.  What was so hard about that?  Why have I not done that before?

A zillion years ago Loki told me that the oldest story was the epic of Gilgamesh.  It’s been on my list of things to read since I was a small child.    The most recent reworking of Gilgamesh is by Stephen Mitchell, a noted scholar, writer, translator, and custodian of wisdom literature.  I heard about it when the book was released on the CBC and put it on my list; it seemed that finally the translation, or retelling, worth reading now existed.

Yesterday I went to the library, because the *^%&$$ ICBC finally got off its duff and sent me my address change, without which I would not be able to get an update to my library card.  I did so, and Gilgamesh was waiting for me; that and a number of other fine books and movies.

I highly recommend it.  I wish a really good animation studio would bring it to life; there’s no way you could do it as a live action film, in my view.  What a different world that was, even in the mythic retelling.  To read the flood myth…  a snake stealing the  plant of immortality…. to feel Gilgamesh’s grief when Enkidu dies…. to shake one’s head how the gods cluster round the first offerings after the flood – they are so hungry because their humans are all dead and there’s no one to make offerings …. to smile at the wisdom of the tavernkeeper Shiduri, taking shelter on the roof of her tavern when Gilgamesh shows up, not wanting to be killed by the powerful and crazed-with-grief man…. it was all very beautiful, and very strange.

I have had dreams about Uruk, the city of Gilgamesh.  I just didn’t know that’s what I was dreaming about at the time.

I had a productive and happy day yesterday.  I ran errands on my bicycle, and Jeff and Keith and I watched The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn, saw Katie, and Paul briefly, and Mike came over for dinner.  Mike’s kilt came, so I gave it to him and he was VERY happy and immediately donned it. Best gag of the day – BOTH KIDS assumed we were watching Court Jester, because there’s Basil Rathbone in the same sets.  Anybody ever notice how Una O’Connor and Mildred Natwick look awful similar?  I didn’t until yesterday.  And Errol Flynn is among the hottest men who ever lived.

Anyway, if you like costumes, you have to see Robin Hood.  Olivia de Havilland’s gowns are swoonderful.

We watched Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey (the documentary by Sam Dunn, which like his followup Global Metal, was awesome… and SO Canadian) and we celebrated Jeff’s birthday by eating barbecued chicken, and steak, and heart of summer salad with blackberry vinaigrette, and home made garlic bread, and bear claw ice cream.

This morning Jeff walked to 7-11 and they were OUT OF MILK.  Why?  Because their fridges were not able to maintain safe temps for dairy.  Kinda tells you what the last week in the GVRD has been like.  So he went to the other 7-11, which is a bit closer as it turns out, and they had some, and I made Jeff waffles and bacon for brekky.

Here is the recipe for heart of summer salad.

1 mango

1 small purple onion

1 tomato

1 orange pepper

1 red pepper

Cut everything into half inch pieces and drizzle either store bought raspberry dressing or home made blackberry dressing over top.  Take a tablespoon each of Tom’s blackberry jelly and olive oil and three tablespoons of vinegar, add basil, parsley and garlic to taste, then mix well.  If it sounds yummy, it is.

If I was making it in quantity I would likely add half an english cuke and more tomato.

How’s that again?

Last night when I got home from work there was the same picture I’d left on the screen from the morning – it’s from a series of pictures Cousin Gerald sent me.  It’s of the underside of a dock in the wintertime. Margot walked across the computer keyboard and – I’ve not the faintest notion how – suddenly there was a picture of a person holding up a sign saying “Most of the things you worry about never happen.”  Bizarre.  Then she stood on the brightness key until my screen disappeared, which is a much less entertaining and more cat like thing to do.  Took me ages to figure out what had happened. All of these miracles would not occur if I just closed the darned thing up.

I am reading my grampa’s stories.  I am now up to the point where his family could have taken the Titanic across the ocean but left a couple of days earlier that it did.  One of his near relatives was so famous as a bookseller and antiquarian in England that a letter from America with his name, occupation and country on it – and NO other details – was delivered to him. I find it entertaining that anybody who really wanted to find me could do it in two steps on the internet, but the Post Office would be scunnered if somebody sent me a letter with my name, occupation and country on it. Mind you there was delivery twice a day in England then, and a little more enterprise among the employees.

He mentions another person from his childhood who noticed that the Greenwich Mean Time was off by two seconds one day and reported it by telegram.  He was right, and they said so.

My grampa worked in the Cadbury chocolate factory when he was a boy.

Eddie is eating and going outside again, so he has recovered somewhat from the cold Jeff gave him.  Mistress Margot is showing signs of wanting to go out.  Sigh.

The laundry list

Woke up at 2.

Eddie crying in my room again, but this time he let me pet him for about half an hour.

Could not for the life of me go back to sleep.

Did not want to go to work.  So…. tired….

Another commute to work in the drear rain, which magically transmuted to snow on the hill, and they are doing construction and thus diverted us onto a pathway that appeared to be clay mixed with greasy snow.  Almost fell four times on the way to work, again, the worst slip causing me to pull muscles.  Being diverted into a muck heap almost wrecked my shoes.  Complained to the site supervisor that where we were being forced to walk was a safety hazard, you bastard, have a nice day.

Got to work and everybody is asking me why I’m limping.  I wish I knew.  The last time I limped this much my back crapped out shortly afterward.  The pain in the top of my foot is worse when I walk and better when I climb or descend stairs, which makes NO SENSE to me. Why would flexing the foot hurt less?  The pain is markedly less when I do not wear footgear, which means I should hie me off and spend more money I don’t have on orthotics.  I used to get depressed when I was presented with yet another physical challenge, now I just set my jaw.

In the afternoon, Jeff got me at work and dropped me off at David Lam campus where – I had learned that morning – I was NOT going to get a contact lens fitting from my son but from a total stranger.  I stopped off in the campus bookstore and got Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell, and a really cool flashcard book about human anatomy, then went to my appointment and then learned that all the grudgy hopeless feelings melted – all Keith had had to do was say I was his mother, and they swapped things around so that I could get the fitting from him.  Got fitted – it was damned thorough – and walked away with saline and two new contact lenses, which fit great and which I wore for about three hours.  My eyes are a bit gummy today, but not significantly more than they are in the mornings anyway.  As we were commuting back home together I read bits of Homage aloud to Keith and the two of us were killing ourselves laughing, because grim as the subject is (Spanish Civil War), parts of it are screamingly funny.

Then Jeff went to a job interview which went well and he can news about it if he wants to, and then on the way home my cell rang and it was ScaryClown, saying OMG new kitty I’m coming over (reMARkable what getting a new animal does for your social life) as ScaryClown is crazy mad insane for cats and then we watched the 1929 ship around the Horn documentary, with ScaryClown occasionally emitting phrases of stunned appreciation, amusement and awe (JUST as I expected).

Then I cooked pierogies and fed them and then we watched some Robot Chicken including one I hadn’t previously seen, and then I went to bed because I keep having insomnia.  Thankfully, not last night.  Miss Margot slept with me voluntarily last night (she got up to explore in the night and then came back to bed) and I slept until just before six.  So I actually feel like a human being this morning, and my son is showing signs of turning into a professional, and a friend stopped by, and tonight I gotta fetch la Margot to the kitty hospital and get her booster shots.

I hope to go swimming with the folks from Planet Bachelor tonight.  I may feel subpar with all these aches and pains, but I still have to exercise and walking is turning out to be problematic.  I mean, bus drivers are stopping between stops to pick me up, how often does THAT happen?

Oh, and I fixed my hat so it sits on my head better.

Oh, and Katie called me voluntarily and without asking for money.  And she asked me for my opinion about her hair, which is like asking Miss Margot for an interpretive dance on the Berlin Air-lift.  I said, “You’re twenty years old and stunningly gorgeous, do your hair however the hell you like!”  Now that’s what I call solid parental advice.

Why I blog

Take that, people who say it’s nothin’ but narcissism.

Also, I have a terrible memory and a blog helps me remember when things happened.

Also, Katie has used my blog to help her remember when distressing and horrific things, as reported by me, happened.

Yesterday Paul and I drove up-island to visit his cousin Ruth in Nanaimo.  She’s living on an acre of land and she got it for a steal of a price, and she and her fisherman spouse are living very happily.  She has to walk fifteen minutes to get her mail, and another ten to get her eggs, but she’s a five minute drive from a yoga studio and she has her own well, so there.

She made us a fabulously warm welcome, and soon we were deep in talk about cob houses and straw bale houses and the Cuban 5 and the amazing local arts and politics scene, and after Paul re-strung her guitar I said I’m getting my mandolin, and she hauled out her Indian drums (sounds like tablas but they weren’t) and we had a fabulous 90 minutes of jamming.  I kept nervously checking the Malahat webcam.  Long about 4 we decided to head back.

And it snowed.  Paul and I were bemoaning our lack of cameras, because the snow slid down the road signs and just hung there, and some of the visual effects were quite funny.  The snow was worse in Victoria than up the Malahat, go figure.

Paul went off to hang with Dr Filk for the evening (more music, somewhere, and a meal in there too) and I grabbed some Mayan Chocolate Haagen Dazs and a small round of Brie (my god, they fell on it like animals…. well behaved, queuing animals) and Darwin had a noisy bath and went to bed and we ate pizza and I started reading The Caryatids by Bruce Sterling and at 7:30 I collapsed.  See what a day without coffee can do to me?  Also I did all the driving, since Paul has come to the realization that he can tolerate my tailgating and random lane changes way better than vice versa.  A couple of hours in the car also allowed us the opportunity for an airing of the grievances (or was more usually the case, the bragging of the amazingness) re the kids. Sometimes it’s good to have a chance to bash away at this stuff so we can present a united front when the next issue comes up….

Woke up at 4, edited the sound files I recorded yesterday of Darwin’s charming vocalizations, finished the Caryatids (three stars but I still want to know where the food of the future will be coming from), showered, and now I’m looking forward to a meal at my Granny’s place of residence and a nice ride home on the ferry, probably late in the afternoon.  And I can haz new quilt, which is actually a quilt that my mum made when I was tiny, so I am extremely happy about my ‘haul’.  Oh, also my grampa’s memory book (two thick tomes) has been delivered to me in duplicate for Jeff.

So far an AWESOME weekend, and watching Katie motor her way – reading, my god, she’s reading! – through the Sookie Stackhouse books is making me very very happy.

Sundry and Various

Last night when I was coming home I realized I wanted retail therapy, so I got Robaxicet, a teach yourself to read music book (which actually taught me something I had not understood before in the first five minutes, so that was useful), a miniature Gumby and Pokey set for Jeff, Ecuadorian chocolate, Cutthroat beer & a proper set of headphones for work including volume control.  Now of course I realize that I’m an idiot and I just should have gone straight home, so I would have avoided a broken down bus and…


wait for it….

auditions for Canada’s Next Top Model in Brentwood Mall – when the batteries in my camera had just quit.  Oh, and my cell phone batteries quit in tandem, so I couldn’t fire off an irritated text message to Jeff. I wanted to take a picture of the swarm of identical, malnourished, streak haired, pointy faced hopefuls, but instead I got an eyeful of leering men and resigned looking parents.  Rechargeable NiMh batteries do not cut it for this application.

I am just about finished my laundry, finally, and will be moving on to other interesting events today, like trying to sweet talk Jeff into accompanying me on a shopping expedition.  Yes, I know, but I want two things you can’t get nearby or easily, being my favourite kind of soap (French, honeysuckle scented) and more Sculpey so Katie can finish her chess set. And more paint.  I think I need blue, clear coat, and maybe a bronze or silver metallic.  And a fatter brush so I can really slop it on.  ScaryClown says he paints everything he does flat black and then paints overtop of that.  I will defer to the master on that one. He has severely restricted his alcohol intake, but frankly, he doesn’t look happier. And he’s bringing his lunches these days. So has the Dalai Jarmo, but that’s traditional for Finnfolk in early January, and he looks very happy these days and he’s going to be sitting close but not too close to me in the new regime.  PS note to self I need one of those who the **** is behind me mirrors for work.

Katie, bless her, did not actually look for work yesterday, rrr.  But Keith fitted his first set of contact lenses (perfectly, so he says) the day before yesterday so it appears that continuing to support his efforts to get edumacated is wise.

Jim and Jan are here this weekend and I can’t wait to see them.  They are so wonderful.  I wish I could just buy a city block and move everybody I love here. Except that many of them, like a kitty cat struggling to escape, would not be happy about living in Vancouver.  It’s a nice place to visit, etc.  And when I get a house I want laundry on the same level as my bedroom.  I got that when I was living in the Cornerstone building and gosh darn, I want that again, although that might have something to do with how steep the basement stairs are.  I nearly fell down them this week and it was scary as hell, because Jeff had his headphones on and I might have had a very poor time of it.

Biscotti.  Again.  I will be shipping it off to people by mail.

Valentine cards.  Since I am sending work valentines to Barcelona, California, Indiana and Washington, I have to start early this year.  There are 150 people on the list!!! I have created a monster, yet again.

I know somebody personally who is going to the inauguration, and I will be able to hear about it later this month.  Me happy.

Master Jeff is in da house

Eddie and Gizmo celebrated his return by running up and down the hallway in an attempt to mimic the percussive qualities of army boots on wooden floors.

No matter how hard I try, I can’t stop with the ghetto slang.  I know there are many things that are seriously wrong with me…that seems to be pretty minor, all things considered.

That goshdarned full moon, which was fan-dancing with the clouds when I was standing on the ‘train platform last night!  I went to Brentwood Mall under its malign influence and bought matching earrings, bag, shoes and hairband (?!) and then bought, yeesh, makeup and got taught, in a very luxurious and unhurried way, how to apply it.  I’d say something about lipstick on a pig at this point, but I suspect nautilus3 is rather sensitive on that subject, for two reasons; one, the pig is her totem animal and she’s not one for mocking them, and two, when she was a high powered executive with 600 full time equivalents reporting to her (didn’t know that, eh, thought she was just a nice old lady, did ya?) lipstick was the only makeup she wore.  I wish I’d stayed and gotten my toes done but I’ll see if I can do that tonight.

mOm and pOp told OnSpec to send me a free copy of the their mag, and for bedtime reading (I hardly ever read a book these days, such is the pull of one phosphor dot screen or another) I read halfway through it.  Apart from thinking that the writing style of all the contributors remarkably similar, I really enjoyed it, and I think I will subscribe.  When you pick up a mag and DON’T think at any point, why’n’earth did they publish this, that’s a good sign.  I even liked the poetry, which is either a sign of necrosis of the brain or quality, you pick.

Off to a party tonight (thus the matching shoes, bag, earrings, hairband), and I will look fabulous in my outfit.  I even depilated, which is either a sign of the apocalypse or that I’ll be exposing more of my surface area than is normally the case, you pick.  Daughter Katie’s supposed to turn up and fix my hair, but after a lot of fussing around last night (Jeff would have been harrumphing had he been here, I was in the facility so long) I think I can do it myself if she bails. At least she’s okay.  I grouse, but I worry ’bout that kid. She’s moving back in with her pop and Keith and I for one am thrilled.

Tomorrow, I go shopping at Famous Foods in the AM and then ScaryClown comes over in the PM and we’ll have a documentary fest and I think I’ll cook up some yummy food.  He has to leave early (after supper) because he’s due to get up at hours ungodly on Sunday to get to the airport to fly to Providence, where he intends at some point to climb in a taxi or round up a sympathetic coworker (it’s a biz trip) and get driven out to HP Lovecraft’s grave.

This, like everything else in my mind, dovetails neatly with other family news; the parental units have commissioned a metal sculpture of one of the Old Ones.  It is disguised as a cephalopod, but those in the know will be aware that it is actually (dah dah duhhn!) something otherworldly.

I am planning on taking ScaryClown to Gadget House at some point and asking my parents to adopt him as a grandson, or possibly a nephew.  The idea of going on a road trip with ScaryClown alternately makes me blanch, giggle and furrow my brow.

Then, Sunday, my 50th birthday. It simply wouldn’t BE my birthday if I wasn’t importing guests, so Dr Filk has, with my warm thanks, agreed to come across the pond – Lady Miss Banjola, who will likely also attend, is requiring his presence for further practice, rehearsal, and scoffing, teasing and saying, You’re Fired repeatedly. All perfectly standard.  It should be a small and convivial crewe.  (Also with any luck Darwin the Alert and Lexi the Not-So-Alert-as-Darwin will attend.)  I’m gonna have an acoustic bass in my living room.  Let joy be unrefined!  Oh, yes, there will be filk.

I just opened a card from my folks, which reads “Thank you for the special gift of being our daughter.  Happy half century!”  Gosh, (scuffs toes) couldn’t have done it without yuz. PS thanks for the terabyte drive pOp.  Jeff and I are considering what uses to put it to…..