embarrassed (the previous day)

Jesus, what a buttload o’ driving we did that day. Back really took a beating.

Anyway, after a fucking brutal amount of driving we were in a Martian landscape with fumaroles. Pics including video when wifi stops barfing. Stench appalling, colours weird – off kilter. Don’t know how else to describe it really.

Then a briefer but still brutal regime of driving and we were at a waterfall or foss as they say in these parts. Pics to follow. I can’t remember what the hell it was called, and I don’t have to, we’ll all get a map with a pronunciation guide at the end, so I’ve been told.  It was big, it had multiple parts, I bought stamps to go with the postcards I acquired from the night before and jesus that reminds me I should post those two I wrote out and stamped.  Wonder if I’ll remember, I doubt it. Anyways it was compared to Niagara Falls and all of us who have seen Niagara Falls laughed our asses off because Niagara Falls would pick it up and love on it for being so goshdarned cute.

Trip to north of ghastly WC, avoided spending any more tourist money cept for stamps.

Then we went to a farm to table restaurant and I paid forty fucking dollars for a very small fraction of a humanely slaughtered and lovingly raised cow nestled in a tasty goulash that gave me an eyewatering case of heartburn. Or maybe it was before the fumaroles. Only the roll of digital pics will give me the gooooddddammned timeline here. I’m just trying to move it along here so I have a minute to repack.

In the middle there somewhere or who knows really it’s all the most excellent blur, we saw FALSE VOLCANOES. These are formations which happen when a certain viscosity/composition/density of lava rolls out over wetlands. You get these miniature cones which are … well, miniature. I loved them. Pics later, relax.

Okay I’ll try.

Nope, barfed again.

Then we went to a real forest. Some enterprising farming family planted trees on their property overlooking The Lake of Midges for the best part of half a century and when the old lady died she deeded it to Iceland. FUCK I LOVE ICELAND. Short hill, nice view, incredibly tame birds and there will be pics, yeah whatever.

Then. The Darkwood.

I had a really really really bad feeling the entire time I was there. The landscape is effin’ creepy. I took pics, including one I think is the jewel so far, but anyway, it’s not a wood. It’s crumbling towers of evil looking stone, as if ogres and trolls had really been frozen in place and then were subject to ten thousand years of weathering. Another kind of formation from lava on wetland. I could not fucking wait to get out of there and felt much better the second I was gone. The equivalent of Santa lives there but in Iceland the Santa’s Mom will eat you if you’re naughty so I guess…. well anyway things are a little less scary in Iceland now since the government asked people nicely to stop telling stories that made their kids not want to leave the house in December. Wish I was kidding.

Then another foss, including a closeup of a piece of ice melt the size of a school bus, long freaking walk in the wind, unpleasant trek to a WC which the guide said was the worst rest stop in Iceland (ten portapotties, five a side back to back ) – cheerfully – and after viewing the digestive output of a hundred strangers at much closer range than would made any but the most scatologically devoted happy, I was forced to experience something I’ve never had to before; the sensation that some mofo was trying to tip the loo over. I was so terrified I braced my hand against the wall, always the worst possible idea in a port a potty, but it proved that the violent rocking motion which so disturbed my attempt to commune with nature was merely what happened when a two hundred fifty pound man bounded up onto the wooden walkway surrounding the loos.

Imagine that despite my description…. there was virtually no smell. THAT WAS HOW HARD THE WIND WAS BLOWING.

I slunk back onto the tour bus last, kinda wishing I could be hosed down in Dettol first.

Then a long long long long longass drive and we climbed a mountain and took pics and we saw a thousand migrating birds and then came down the other side good god my tummy and came to the city of Elves and saw puffins. SLEEP.

Anyway it was a long day, long driving, much walking and many definitive Experiences.

 

 

amazing fish soup in Dalvik

mulligatawneyish, plus salad plus really decent coffee and cream *not like this morning **** me*

The restaurant is really cute, all barn boards and home made fishing gaffs. It’s named after three brothers who lived and died in Dalvik and were regarded by the locals as the holy trinity of village idiots.

They decorate with baleen in Iceland. Just ponder that for a mo.

Jeff & mOm, forgot to mention that the crosswalks in Iceland have …. *a green man*. We’re so used to the orange man that to see a green one is kinda cool and weird.  I am now going to add that in to Jesse’s part of Honey on the Moon.

 

awake, of course

Mike feasted me at Yianni’s last night, and the lamb shoulder was quite splendid. I even drank alcohol last night, and for my trouble I have a faint pain behind my right eye. Back to sobriety!  I love the stuff, but it doesn’t love me.

Since I’d already had five solid hours of sleep, I’ve kipped for a  couple of hours and now I’m awake in the dark and quiet, but I shan’t repine despite my wakefulness; I have the LAST CHAPTER of the current book, which is going to be a monster, in prospect; the book will be somewhat shorter than I intended, but I may plump it up during editing, since I invariably put more in to be clear than I take out avoiding repetition or extraneous stuff.

Jeff has produced (I do not know how many hours he put into it, but it was work) a wonderful cover for MMCo, which you can all see when it goes live on Leanpub. My only contribution was the basic design idea (which Jeff immediately improved, by adding an unmarked white truck), a creative commons picture of a man against a starfield, the font and a suggestion re the basic shape.

Back to work….

More surgery for Paul

Man, to have dental surgery on your birthday.  I walked him home yesterday at his request (and Keith’s, the text I got from him was so nervous granny-like it was sweet as heck), and we hung around his place for the afternoon being lazy. Molars make damn big holes.  Now he has to wait a month to get the sutures out, and then be healed enough to get a post and implant.

140/82 is my blood pressure, I checked yesterday.  I won’t say what Paul’s blood pressure was since it was somewhere between ouch and boing.

I made pulled pork.  It is nommy.

 

No MMCo today

Jeff and I hosted Paul’s birthday last night. I got tired and went to bed at nine (folks came by at two, which is fine, because the Alex was one of them.) Also that might have something to do with the fact I was up at 2 am YESterday too.

Watching Paul with Alex. Alex pretends to feed him chili, Paul pretends to eat it, the two of them laugh like drains. This went on for about ten minutes.  I got one decent pic, which mOm already has.  He’s laughing so hard his face is almost blurry.

Alex refers to himself as Ack. This is charming. He is now speaking in perfectly intelligible sentences of two or three or four or even five words. Then the next thing he says is gibberish, right about the time you were thinking of boasting.

Nita, Keith, Alex, Katie, Peggy and Tom, Mike and Cassidy and Rob Warner all came by.   Plus Cassidy gave preserves to Paul which he will enjoy mightily.  Her southern rellies put magic in that woman’s kitchen….NOM.

Alex on his belly watching Jeff fix the deck with a screwdriver, and calling him Unca Jeff quite clearly. Playing with the hose and running all over the yard. Playing with the posture ball.

He was so busy he never even got to play on the pinballs!

Extra special hugs to cousin Lindsay for singing happy birthday to her uncle! That was very cheering.

Happy people eating chili. I made vegan chili and I’m glad, I tell you.

Much very good beer including Dageraad.

Heart full of gratitude, mind full of I HAZ NOT ENOUGH SLEEP.

Thus the pause today on the writing.  Back tomorrow, have no fear.

Just bizniss

Kenny Gu and the housing blues. I knew the Vancouver market was fucked up, but holy shit.

Dinner with Mike last night.  It was such a spectacular early fall evening we ate on the patio at the Quay. I had the prawn pad thai and Mike had the glass noodles with chicken from Longtail Kitchen, and the meal was so good my eyes couldn’t focus for a while afterward. I drank a Tiger beer.  I should get it for Jeff. It has ABSOLUTELY NO TASTE.

Now I’m hongring for coffee and thinking about Starbucks.  I don’t normally want to have anything from Starbucks, but the alt-right wants to boycott them, and I do fancy their chocolate croissants.

 

Feeling weird and bilious NO MMCO TODAY

I find out about the job interview today.

Alex was over yesterday.  He climbed up on the sofa to sit next to me, played with a cat toy, and was pretty much the crab man from Mars the entire time because he had a little cold previously this week. At the same time he was wonderful playing on the pinball.

Buster left a metre long scoot streak on the kitchen rug. I said angrily why does he do that when I’m just washed it??? Once he literally watched me put down a fresh rug straight from the dryer and he scoot motored across it within seconds.

After that lovely visit I heard from Mike; we had a really subpar meal at Brooklyn but damn that view makes up for it.  There’s also help wanted signs and I haven’t had the same server there twice.  There was eggshell in the burger and chicken bone in the quesadilla and it’s like Who is in the Kitchen and Why are they So Sad.

1. In which we meet our heroes

Jesse Silver moved quietly for a big man. At twenty-three, he was as muscular as his junk food intake and nocturnal workout schedule allowed. No-one, seeing him move with exaggerated stealth around the alley’s dirty puddles and broken glass at 1:25 in the morning, would guess he had chronic health problems, or that he was anything but a guy ducking into an alley to unload after too many pitchers at the Brickhouse.

He was not, in truth, scoping a place to take a leak. He wanted to sneak up on his coworker/partner/friend, and as with every time he’d tried, at the last second George turned toward him and waggled a finger.

“You covered in mirrors, or what?” Jesse exclaimed in disgust.

“If you’d had my childhood, nobody could ever sneak up on you. I heard you coming; it’s hard once the glass shards get stuck in your shoes.” George tried to sound sympathetic and smile, but often his intentions were better than his execution.

“You never make a sound when you walk,” Jesse said.

“It’s a gift,” George said, in the self-congratulatory tone Jesse liked least. Then, with more edge, “And I do make noise; I make the floors creak at your place.” For perhaps a tenth of a second, George seemed to vibrate slightly under the cone of orange glare from the sodium vapour streetlight. Jesse blinked and the sensation was gone.

“You okay?”

“Whatever,” Jesse said. “Did you find the apartment?”

“It’s over the Money Mart. There are two exits – not sure where we should park the truck. Our client texted that she thinks her ex will show up any minute.”

“Well, you can use your famous charm on him,” Jesse said.

“We’ll see,” George said. He was a slender, sharp-featured man in his late thirties, dressed as if he’d been at an Edwardian re-enactment and had somehow, in a fit of adventurous befuddlement perhaps, found himself in an alley famous for administering needle sticks to the incautious.

Jesse knew three things about George for certain. He was improbably strong, very smart and imperturbable. As they plied their odd trade, nothing that cops or clients (or their ranting landlords and former lovers) could do, and no hindrance the drunken wreckage drifting out of bars could create, made him lose his good spirits and inventiveness in dealing with problems. He seemed to like problems, although not to the extent of making trouble for himself for bonus points.

George was a piece of work, and Jesse had no clue what motivated him. As far as Jesse knew, George had an independent income and a complacent girlfriend, whom George insisted on referring to as his ‘mate’. She was some sort of difficult, gorgeous creature who apparently made the independent income possible. Jesse had started to think she was imaginary. George hadn’t so much as given her a name, let alone introduced her.

Why George would be okay with sitting in a rental truck for hours while waiting for the client to show and then moving a one bedroom apartment in the middle of the night, for however long they had until they lost the dark and Jesse had to bail, was still a puzzle to Jesse. If he had money he’d never work again. Only an idiot would. No, George was after something else, but Jesse was not able to work out what it was. He’d started to wonder if there was a Greek word for sexual gratification from moving furniture.

And it was a job, and it was a cash job, and it wasn’t every night, so it didn’t dig into Jesse’s personal life too much. He didn’t have much of a personal life, since the diagnosis, but he tried to see his sister and one of his ‘girlfriends’ at least once a week. It was better than collecting disability and feeling that his life was over. He felt like he’d just barely managed to escape from his shitty excuse for a mother. Then, within a few years of his glorious liberation he’d woken up in hospital after an allergic reaction that nearly put a lily in his hand.

Welcome to Vancouver. Here, have some atypical solar urticaria. Being in the sun raised welts all over his body. His eyes would swell; the itching was on a scale he could not have believed if he had not been forced to live through it.

“Oh well,” said one of the many residents who had come past his bed, collecting him like an animé critter, “The sun hardly shines here anyway.”

That was true enough, if you were an ordinary citizen who didn’t consider light overcast to be a death sentence. With tight clothes, and a special mask with special goggles, he could go out in the sun, if he felt like being stopped by the police and glared at by civilians all frickin’ day long. Jesse couldn’t deal with the freak show. He realized freak show was not a good way of expressing his feelings and tried to find a less ‘othering’ way of saying freak show, and settled on circus, even though circuses are supposed to be festive. The words you’re not allowed to say have more traction.

He almost died, but the doctors had nothing to do with that.

It was still hard to be up all night and sleep during the day, and the grogginess and digestive strain of it was made even harder to bear by George’s knack for getting four hours of sleep, whenever he felt like sleeping, and then bouncing out of bed with all the eagerness to face the day of a Labrador pup. Jesse was as energetic as he’d ever be in his life, and George made him feel like he was walking backward.

Let the saliva flow

Halibut and salmon on the barbecue which Paul *keeps in his vehicle*, shrimp with lemon garlic butter sauce, fresh corn on the cob, green beans, green salad, beer and wine for dins; Katie and darlin’ Alex, Leo and Linda, Keith and brO et moi bien sûr for company, and the weather cooperated sufficiently that we could eat al fresco.

A completely splendid meal with even better company and I now have another wonderful family memory and I’ve seen almost enough pictures of Pikku Leo and Annabelle, Leo and Linda’s totally gorgeous grandbabies. Oh yeah and their kids are good-looking too, whatever.

Rather than ask some tired questions about how was your trip I asked the specific question, “Where did you get your worst night’s sleep?” Which prompted much reminiscence and hilarity. Also, Linda’s ‘best thing about the trip’ question has a one word answer…. TUNDRA! Plus rocks.  She’s going back to get her degree!  Being retired is awesome.

Our visitors are off to Washington State today and I wish them good weather and a safe journey as they drive their way back through the US to Ottawa. Thanks for visiting!! Now I’m waiting for them to get up so’s I can make the coffee they brought, given we haven’t had any in the house for yonks….

IMAG1326

Leo and Linda and Alex.  Sorry for Potato Quality, both of these pics are from my cell phone.

 

IMAG1325

 

And here, in a picture that would make John grin, is my daughter and grandson, and he has a dandelion in each hand.

Leo and Linda are here

 

Yet another brannigan with Keith yesterday, once again via text.  I made the mistake of telling him that black people are finding his current starryeyedlove fandom ‘problematic’ around race.  His response was the kind of white hot and manly flameout one might expect.

If somebody walked up to me and said, “The treatment of race in Dorothy Dunnett’s oeuvre is problematic, especially the novels set in the modern Caribbean!” you might get a faceful of rapidly exhaled oatmeal, followed by me saying, “No shit! What it is! Gimme some skin, sister!” but I wouldn’t defend it.  I would call it a problematic fandom, and I would be able to give examples and counterexamples of how that’s so.

Keith’s basic argument was I don’t see it so it isn’t there. Plus, the tone argument.

Ow.

My many failures as a mother to provide my children with adequate tools to overcome cognitive bias are being written on the world, and there’s bupkes I can do about it.  Heaving sighs over here.

Leo and Linda treated myself and Paul (Jeff declined with thanks) to Bombay Bistro last night. It was splendid and yommy and now my paltry return to them is a pot of oatmeal currently burbling on the stove.

Paul was singing and playing with me on the back deck when they arrived, and so that was very pleasant, and we’re also rehearsing for next weekend, but with the bug situation (Keith has found another live bedbug in their apartment, so the cheap exterminator turned out to be an expensive exterminator) we don’t know if Paul is going.

Buster is teaching Miss Margot to hunt.

 

I’m going to check on the oatmeal.

 

 

 

Keith’s coming for brekky

As the Jeff Birthday celebrations continue.

Home fries, eggs, bacon, sausages, avocado, tomatoes and if Keith wants coffee he’d better bring it.

Editing Homilies.

 

 

added in the early afternoon…

 

HE BROUGHT COFFEE. Now of course I have to clean out the coffee filter but HE ALSO BROUGHT CREAM. This concludes my whining in the subject.

I’m actually enjoying editing the homilies since they aren’t on my to do list.  Funny how that works with us sickly creative types.  Ah, good, my backspace key still works.

Working on a standup routine, goes something like this.  Nope, nope the backspace key still works.

 

the wonders of Qatar

A man has been arrested for entering Qatar with (and candidly, this is really hard to believe) in excess of 12 kilos of bacon packed in his ass. I’m not going to link to the site, but it shows a picture of the customs officials standing in front of the packaged bacon like it was a pile of seized cocaine. Also, it looks like 4 kilos of bacon to me, but what do I know.

He was selected for special inspection because he appeared ‘nervous and sweaty’. I am amazed he wasn’t ‘ruptured and lifeless’.

In other news the World Health Organization advises you to avoid any bacon which might make it onto the Qatari black market.

Wha happen?

Yesterday was the Solstice Feast, and it was wonderful.  Julie, Brandon, Baby K, Mike, Paul, Keith, me, Kate and Alex attended. Kate and Paul did all the heavy lifting for cooking. The one thing I made was gravy, not my best effort but still damned good.

We had turnots and carnots mushed, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, roast turkey with homemade stuffing, cranberry sauce, home made brown bread, steamed green beans, and OMGOMGOMG the brussels sprouts were so amazing I declare it a family standard festive dish.  Mike declared he was going to preempt the normal way of doing brussels for his family festive meal later this week.  You steam them, them pan fry them and then drown them in fresh parmesan and garlic. KEITH HAS NEVER EATEN BRUSSEL SPROUTS before last night.

People were getting seconds, it was unreal.

Alex was mostly fine but when he was hours overdue for a nap he was pretty fragile.

Then Mike drove me home and we stopped off at the one place in the lower mainland he knew for sure he could get Crown Royal Northern which the Whiskey Bible author says is the best whiskey in the world this year…. for less than 35 bucks a bottle.

It is really rather good, and for the price point it’s insanely wonderfully good.

The liquor stores are out but the Oliver Twist had two bottles left. Trouble was Mike had already blown through his 2 bottle limit, so there I go with my stupid hat and buy some more, and that’s it, it’s probably gone in the Lower Mainland.  Helping Mike with Christmas shopping was an awesome way to end the day.

Then home and after a contemplative couple of hours winding down I went upstairs to bed AND STARTED REVISING THE SECOND NOVEL which meant that I was actually writing. Four hundred words or so – since mOm will want to know it’s the longish chapter about the pregnancy close to the beginning of the novel. There were two particularly tangled and compostian sentences and I killed one and inverted and broke apart the other, so, yay me.

THEN Ulrika on Livejournal this morning SHARES THIS WITH ME. I am absolutely gobsmacked and will immediately implement some of her suggestions.