Incremental progress

Good news first, I have been asked to come in and talk to a recruiter this afternoon.  This is the closest I’ve gotten to genuine job hunting activity in months so I am obviously thrilled.

Bad news. I’ve lowered the price and still can’t get anybody interested in the cafe; I will have to break the lease.  HEAVY HEAVY SIGH.

Tarot for Atheists, a couple of hundred words’ worth of progress.

Turkey soup is on the stove – I will adjust seasoning shortly and then start freezing it in containers. Jeff can’t stand the smell of the bones, and has no idea how this sentence would have ended if I hadn’t backspaced over it.

Replaced cpap machine with one that smells a little less disgusting.  I must make a purchase decision within 2 weeks.

Completed writing down a song, converted it to midi and fired it off to mOm.  I only have another hundred songs to write out.  It really IS the Song That Never Ends.

Herewith today’s linkorama:

Crowdsourcing Tolstoy. 

This guy and guys like him are why I make no further efforts to date.

Fighting sexism… using MATH.

My cat wants an escape pod.

If you rape a girl and leave her naked outside in freezing weather, and you work for your family’s restaurant, and your local prosecutor despite eyewitnesses and video refuses to prosecute, and then the whole town turns on the rape victim and burns her house down, well, the internet just might give bad reviews to your restaurant.

Little yawning kitties.




We arrived safe in Victoria yesterday afternoon and repaired to the home of my folks with Katie in tow.  We have today been for a drive in the remarkably snowy back roads and we have also visited the Butterfly House and I hope to post pics after I get home. I figured out how to get butterflies to sit on me, and entertained a number of small children with my new knowledge. Might come in handy if I ever have grandchildren, sigh.

Yesterday I inspected baby Bean, Lady Miss Banjola’s offspring, who’s two months old more or less.  He meets all criteria for cute and normal; being who he is he could hardly miss the cute, but the normal is almost worrisome.  Katie got to cuddle him for a bit, and Lady Miss B stuffed him into his knitted yellow duck feet, which are squee-renderingly adorable.

I am looking at the facsimile of the journal of my great great grandfather Henry Thomas Wake.  There has been a terrible railway accident, 15 dead, and I am very very happy to see that my ancestor spent money on beer.

Having a lovely time.  Also, saw this, and loved it, highly recommended.

so grateful…. and a bit sad

Spent the evening of Peggy’s most recent b-day hanging around the Puddle (I swam eight lengths but boy is my back stiff this morning) and consuming mint tea and biscotti.  Highly recommended.  Paul and Tom were there too.

Last night I dreamed that Justin Bieber was dead and I was hired to squeal like a teenaged girl at one of his retrospectives, there being no actual teenaged girls to do the job.  I was giggling and squealing like a trooper when an unidentified woman about my age came up to me and shot me in the head with a Nerf gun.  And, such are the manifold blessings of my life, I woke the hell up.  No disrespect, but I think The Bieb has peaked.

My coffee is ready.  Jeff has consumed half a honeydew melon for breakfast, but I cannot bring myself to follow his example.

I get to see the Bean soon! My time off at the end of the month is rapidly filling up.

Kenneth Mars has passed away.

Most mornings I awaken

to the sound of Jeff tapping on his keyboard.  Sometimes it’s a cat and that staccato defooding sound in some very long-to-be-discovered corner.  Sometimes it’s the smell of a skunk penetrating through the window; sometimes it’s my natural clock, which spits me back out into consciousness anywhere between 2 and 7 am.  Sometimes it’s a leg cramp, and that’s what I got this morning.  I woke to pain pain pain and had a hell of a time getting my foot flat to the ground to get the muscle stretched out and the muscle – the same one I blew out running for the bus the year after I hurt my back – is still grumbling and hot.  Ah, but pain is what tells you that you’re alive.

Daughter Katie came over last night.  I picked her up after work (Dax tried to scare me by materializing next to my car window, but Katie had the kindness to warn me, so I let him know that he WOULD have given me a heart attack if I hadn’t been warned.  He also told me the size of his paycheck, which was respectable for his age and educational level) and then fed her and Jeff home baked schnitzel and veg, and we talked and watched CSI and the Mentalist, which amusingly enough had identical plots, and then we walked up to 7-11 where I got her bus tickets and milk and eggs for myself, waited with her for her bus and then walked home.  Canada Way is so noisy for pedestrians it’s practically deafening; two streets in Jeff and I enjoy a very peaceful little enclave, no barking dogs or noisy neighbours, and yet we’re smack in the center of Edmonds, 10th, Kingsway and Canada Way, all busy arterial streets.  We do get train noise at night as it echoes in the Fraser Valley and comes up the hill; we get the eerie booming noises at night that are actually special effects explosions down in that movie set off of Marine down in the flats; and we get airplane noise a fair bit, although rarely at very low levels, and hardly ever helicopter noise, which scares the crap out of me.

Soon there will be a visit by the rest of Paul’s family to abide for a while in the bosom of the alternative justice system of BC.  I have decided that with all my quirks and drama I’m best off staying away.  My mother is hosting them and that will be the right end of the family to shelter and help them while this goes on; who can say what will happen but I earnestly hope for some closure and a feeling that it’s what John would have wanted rather than a trial and jail for the woman whose inattentive driving killed him.

I am very seriously thinking of either giving Ziva to a family member or selling her.  I have taken so much pleasure in owning her that it may seem a little odd, but if I’m going to be that close to the new location of the office and I can still borrow Jeff’s car occasionally to shop, I should be in good shape to have enjoyed her and then released her back into the wild.  Neither of the kids have evinced much interest because they don’t really have the cash flow.

Ocelots at the Seattle zoo.

I am waiting for Jeff to awaken so I can cook him breakfast.  Finn pancakes and coffee; I’m going to have mine with applewood smoked cheddar.

I have shippiles of work to do today; I have Valentines to create.  I am planning on sneaking into work on Sunday after church and putting them in people’s mail trays.  Every year it’s the same thing.  People are travelling, or they never check their mail trays, and the next thing you know you’re getting thanked for the Valentine on March 1st.

I brought home the flowers Jeff and the folks gave me and they are still gorgeous and sweetly scented.  I know cut flowers are frowned on by some people in my connection, but I will never frown.  Their colour and scent brightened my work area and made many other people happy but me for the balance of the week, and now they’ll be pretty in my kitchen until they’re done.

I send a hug into the ether for Lady Miss B and warm wishes to her hub and miniB, and a big old mushy group hug for Tom and Peggy, my folks and brother (nearly typed bother, and that was NOT my intent), Scott for digging up the name of the psychologist for me, my coworkers Mike Y and Hassan and Kev and Patricia, and I blow kisses at Veronica.  Sneetchy scowling at some other folks for workpain, but I won’t name them. More hugs for Rev. Katie who visited me in sickness and hell that’s what ministers are s’posed to do, and Sue, Carol, Kathleen and Gary for a really good board meeting.  I wish the contractors working on the new building the time, money and safety to do a good job.

I wish a lot of things.  It’s strange to think that this time last week I wished for nothing but cessation of wishing.

Life is good.  I’m going to go work on Dandelions Dreaming now, it’s the best thing I can think of for Peggy’s birthday.  Later today I’m going to talk to Jeff about capturing video from games so I can do something really kickass for Left4Dead/Rising in a Zombieland Redemption, which is the new and deliberately awkward title for my zombie choon, and it may get even longer, at which point I’ll shorten it again.  Such is the creative process; you put your best shit in, you take you best shit out, you put your best shit in, and you shake it all about.

Deftly borrowing a suggestion from Lady Miss B

Katie force fed me internet puppies until I gave up.  I declare myself, if not sane, then at least not at imminent risk of sucking on the wrong end of a nitrogen hose, slurping back a castor bean smoothie or committing abutment graffitti with my vehicle, my current top three most favoured methods of self slaughter.

Then the minister showed up and said she’d stab me in the eye if I didn’t cheer up.  No, of course she didn’t do that.  I thought of that afterwards. She showed up with hugs, a piece of church birthday cake and the Beacon blankie. Sitting in a quilt that is specifically for Beacon members who are feeling porely is actually quite therapeutic.

Paul has arrived, having traversed the thickets and brambles of me being just completely fucking crazy over the last three days, bearing a standing rib roast, which you’ll have to admit is a very nice way to get me apologize for being irrational.

I’m just going to keep taking painkillers and apologizing, I guess.  It will be my new hobby, popping methocarbamol, averting my gaze and apologizing.

When I phoned my mother to tell her not to quit worrying because that really WOULD be insane, she said many encouraging words and some actively evil ones.   And that is why she is my mother.  Jeff said, “Are you telling me I don’t have to move?” and started giggling.  I was giggling too.  So surreal.  Long car drives suit me, even if they make me hurt. Then he gave me advice on how to fix what was fucked up with the tv.  Then I dug my dad in the ribs about his suggestion to volunteer at a soup kitchen.  That candidly got my poor tethered goat, seeing pOp has always considered volunteering for suckers (this a guy who volunteered for the Air Force and served during the Bay of Pigs) and so I had to take the suggestion as pOp considering me a sucker…. but it was kindly meant.  Overbooked already pOp, and I simply am too much like Sheldon Cooper to do well with really disenfranchised people.  Something about not really having a clue about my own privilege.  As for his further suggestion to get a dog, I already have one insanely demanding creature, I don’t need two, although having a reason to go for a walk is good.  I will use their largesse to buy myself some mental health, in those expensive installments that are only partly paid for by the plan at work.

quhat a day

Quhat being Scots dialect for What.

The night before I didn’t contact the volunteers.  I was SO anxious and phobic that I literally could not pick up the phone.  (Most of the time I’m not affected by anxiety to that extent but making phone calls is really hard for me, and I’m trying to work out why.)  I realized that I was a wreck and went to bed.  I got up at 4:30 am, picked out and edited the poem I read for the children’s story, printed it, edited the homily a couple of times more for clarity and accuracy and printed it, went through the undifferentiated piles of emails that are the complete mess that is cooperative ministry right now and found to my surprise that I did in fact know who all the volunteers were (amusingly, Paul was supposed to do set up this weekend but he left town… Luc covered him) and they were all sober and reliable people who of course all showed up.  So my list of cooperative ministry (the volunteers who bop about the church and make things happen on Sunday morning, from the extremely amazing Sally (aesthetics) to the extremely amazing Laura (coffee) was actually accurate!

I even put in all the announcements that Rev Katie emailed me, AND put in a different graphic for the front cover AND got the order of service printed all by about 7:30.  Then I packed everything up, had a shower, and realizing I had a WHOLE HOUR before I had to get to church, so I did the sensible thing and made Jeff waffles for brekky.

Saw Margot crawl into the garden plot and flatten herself to the ground to become ‘invisible’ waiting for the juncos to come back through the quinoa.  Sorry kiddo… you ARE NOT invisible.

Went to church under overcast skies – I was the first person there so there’s that great feeling of unlocking all the doors and turning on all the lights

It’s time to play the music

It’s time to light the lights

It’s time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight.

That kind of feeling, and then getting out the mats for the kids to sit on and helping set up the table for the altar and hauling out the podium and consulting with various folks, and watching as Sandy hauled out the enormous cart Tom made for the sound system. (Brief aside – we have hard of hearing folks in the congregation so we have a bunch of wireless headsets for amplification and all that stuff is in the cart, along with the board and the cabling etc etc.)  Then the greeter’s table is set up, and then parents come in to set up the kids (the older kids were off at a Catholic mass).  And just greeting people…. and then Tom and Peggy and Marnie show up, and music starts happening (12 string, stand up bass and piano).  Getting asked, once again, why it is I don’t consider ministry…. what am I supposed to say?  God told me not to?  I do not have a vocation, peeps!  When you get the call it’s unmistakable.  The only time I get a call that’s unmistakable it always ends badly, with me yelling “You freaking telemarketers, how did you get this number?!”  I’ll tell you why I’m not a minister…. because I read the behavioural standards that I would be expected to adhere to, like not sleeping with parishioners and ceasing to be nude in public on occasion and being somewhat less vivid and colloquial and vehement in my speech.  And don’t get me started on the drugs and alcohol stuff, it’s just unconscionable.  I’m also, not to put too fine a point on it, making the same amount of money as our current minister, who is 13 years out of school.  Ayuh.

Then it all started and it went very well.  I made the aside about being asked about which version of the Bible I was using for the verse and answering “Sheesh, Mom, what difference does it make to an atheist?” which got a huge laugh.  I have a lot of people to email the homily to.

I remember gazing at the congregation during the meditation and seeing Erin shifting her little one around trying to get her to latch, and passing my eye over all the mothers in the congregation and they (and a few of the men, truth be told) were all grinning.  They knew the feeling… after the service I went up to Erin with a mock look of distaste on my face and said, “Baby did NOT get memo about staying quiet during meditation!!!” and all the women clustered ’round her cracked up and chided me, and that’s when I told Erin how many people were smiling with their eyes closed as they heard the baby – I think she was pleased.

Delivering the homily and feeling comfortable enough to wander around the stage instead of staying glued to the podium like I have always done previously, remembering to look up often enough to connect with folks. It was easily the most attentive group evar….

Having all the handouts disappear. Anne in particular liked Carl Sagan’s baloney detection kit; somebody else, can’t remember who, saying that the little List of Cognitive Biases would make for an amazing conversation starter at Thanksgiving dinner.

Bringing strawberry twizzlers for snacks, and helping myself.

Talking, talking, to lots of people afterwards. Giving Carol a lift home in that magical fall sunshine that feels like summer filtered though dreams.

Blowing through the door like a hurricane and frying up the pork and onions for the stuffing, firing up the oven, stuffing the turkey, draping it with four pieces of thick cut bacon, jamming it in the oven, and ignoring it for about four hours. Katie calling to ask me if I’d forgotten anything and then showing up with cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie and whipped cream.  (She called ahead and offered!  I am not a failure as a parent! subtext).  I then hauled the bird out once and basted it and put it back in while Katie and I made veg.  Falling asleep on the upstairs sofa and awakening to see that Mike and Rozo had arrived, which triggered another round of Holy Crap, Must Feed People.

Final dinner arrangement;

Me Jeff Katie Mike Rozo:

Turkey with pork, onion, apple, brown bread, sage and garlic stuffing; hubbard squash drizzled with maple syrup, black pepper, garlic and allspice, boiled carrots, mashed potatoes, dripping gravy, green salad and dun tot (egg tarts from Anna’s Bakery OMG provided by Mike & Rozo) for dessert.

I came upstairs and both of the cats were on the dining room table.  Margot was inspecting the last of the gravy…. Eddie looked hideously guilty and was licking his chops rather inelegantly (his tongue was out an inch) but Katie couldn’t find anything missing.  Eddie’s expression made me howl with laughter.

I then bopped over to Planet Bachelor with Katie in tow (didn’t feel like going over there by myself) fed Kira who was most happy to see us, and then came back, watched some tube with the folks, and then announced around nine-thirty that I’d had a most excellent but also most lengthy day and I was going to have to say my goodnights.  Katie slept over and now I’m going to get up and make her a breakfast that will be awesome.

And that was my very long, very happy making, most excellently wonderful Turkey Day.

Today I plan to drink beer and wash clothes.  There IS nothing else on my to do list that I will do today.  Well, actually, if I want to keep things copacetic with Jeff I should clean the kitchen and run the dishwasher.  It’s pretty thick in there.

Oh, I lie.  After breakfast I have to run to the bank and get some money.  I think I may be buying a guitar today.

Heron Woman does it again. I do nothing for days and then explode into non stop action.  It is my way.

Sundry and various

Cross posted from Colin’s Facebook.

Cat pee = perfume.  Now we haz prüf!

Only one burning cop car?  Torontonians are so low-key.  If the facebook posts of eastern pals are anything to go by, Toronto’s a farking mess right now – apparently they shut down the transit system, which is questionable tactics.

Bearsneezle! Watch for how loopy the bear is at the end of its sneezing fit.

Camille Paglia overgeneralizes her way into the newspapers again.  I can hardly disagree with her assessment of Lady Gaga though.

Rehearsal tonight with Orange You Glad.

Writing projects:  None at the moment, but I’m transcribing dreadfully earnest Victoria poetry for my mOm.


Yesterday we went for a drive in the open-air chaise (ie the Camaro – pOp was wearing his pimp hat, a broad brimmed leopard velour creation, which added to the carnival atmosphere) and we drove in the country, saw THE biggest patch of skunk cabbage I’ve ever seen (it went on for literally city blocks in depth and width) and went to Dan’s Market, where we ingested treats and coffee and where I picked up treats to bring back to Vancouver, then outside where we fed ducks and chickens and goats (and I petted a duckling, goodness but they are soft, and admired the glossy plumage on the chickens, who looked magnificent), then went to an apiary and picked up lovely beeswax candles, including two I intend to inaugurate the next time I attend small group ministry, and then through the beautiful green and undulating countryside to a greenhouse which specializes in lovely smelling and odd-times blooming plants and thence back home.

After some uninteresting bits we went downtown in Ziva to Village de Valeurs, where I got the outfit I’m currently wearing (brown cords and a very nice top for work) and one other pair of pants for myself (stretch cotton with a vibrant black and floral pattern).  Katie got a purse for job hunting (she says it’s not professional to be carting about a skull and cross bones pack), two pairs of jeans and a pinstripe wool blazer so she can have a suit.  I smirk when I think she’ll look like Al Swearengen when she dresses up for an event.

Katie cooked supper – chicken Caesar wraps. I never taught her to cook; somehow she managed to teach herself. She apparently does much of the cooking in her household.  And further to the comestibles, they had yet more Lion Winter Ale at the Hillside Liquor store the day we came into town, woot.

Generally we are hanging out and being mellow.  I have been relieved of doing anything at all for transcription of family books, but will have to work on it back in Vancouver, which is good as I definitely type faster on a keyboard I’m used to.

As you can see it’s excitement central around here, and that is as it should be….  to give you an idea of the parents’ priorities, the pictures on the walls are of grandchildren and pinball machines.