Granny

My ninety-two year old Granny fed me, my folks and my kids lunch today. Home made macaroni, green salad, fruit salad and a glass of skim milk. Pretty obvious how she lived to be so old. Apart from her hearing – which has been terrible since she had scarlet fever as a child – everything is working remarkably well. Paul will be sad he missed seeing her, as he adores my grandmother.

We did all the normal regular things today – up the mountain to look at the view and take pictures, over to Tim Hortons to suck up some calories, and then over to Kings Pond to feed the ducks. The wood ducks are all gone but there were plenty of mallards.

There was a mouse at the bird feeder in my parents’ yard but he messed off before I could catch him. Then a little nap after reading a few bits out of National Geographic, then the blog – my site wasn’t up this am for some reason. Then put the foam beds away downstairs, wander all over the house looking for the usual wide range of things we’ve forgotten to pack and then the ferry. Paul sounds like he’s looking forward to having us back. Wonder if he got the second lot of worming pills into Kira – Zeek! scratched me so badly I was still oozing blood fifteen minutes later and that finger is still quite sore. More later….

glad to be me

Jan not only WASHED MY DISHES – and every freaking dish in the house was dirty, folks – she DROVE ME TO THE FERRY with kinder in tow. How can I not love in-common-laws like that? She’s a goddess among women!

Got a great picture of Katie taking a picture from the ferry but I don’t have the software to get it onto the computer at my parents so that will be for later. My 92 year old granny has a convection oven and BAKED MY FAVOURITE chocolate cake with butter icing (Homer voice, mmmm butter icing) and I made her a cup of tea and we all had pizza and various other foodicles for lunch. I’ve decided I don’t want to go to the Egypt exhibit, the notion of standing for hours in a line is not something I can grok currently, so I watched Howard Keel and Katherine Grayson in Kiss Me Kate instead. (Kate’s idea, she likes Grayson and really likes the movie – actually she’s a bit of a fifties musical fan – blood will tell dahlings.) I get a strange thrill every time I see Bob Fosse dancing in that movie. He could sing, he could dance, and man could he choreograph. Too bad he was such a little sh*t, but that’s the artistic temperament for you. Not much else has happened today, saw my brother briefly and watched Katie snap him while he snoozed in the dreaded Coils of Morpheus (the sun room La-Z-Boy), bought three kinds of underwear (Sponge Bob boxers for Kate, no name black boxers for me, and these cotton briefs that Katie calls ‘granny panties’ for me (Kate wears thongs, which for a variety of reasons I am too polite to describe in detail wouldn’t uh work for me)) as well as boys jeans for her. I sorted through some of my parents’ castoffs and collected two of my favourite books from my childhood/adolescence (being Bob Hope’s severely ghostwritten and really funny autobiography Have Tux Will Travel and The Marx Brothers at the Movies, which has long excerpts from the scripts, which after almost 70 years are still absolutely brilliant, anarchic, witty and surreal.) I could have had a brown suede coat and a spoiled mustard coloured coat but after almost a decade in Vancouver I’ve declared war on any coat that doesn’t have a functioning hood. I did yoink the moccasins, I’ve had a yen for such footgear for a while and they fit perfectly. My mother has just finished assembling her mother’s family stories with tons and tons of pics, and I bound some of them on the comb binding machine while parts of Kiss Me Kate (ie dialogue) were on that I didn’t enjoy so much. I LOVE James Whitmore’s suit in that movie, I’d kill for a suit and hat like that even if it made me look ludicrous. Katie loves Anne Millers’ pink Bianca costume in Kiss me Kate – it’s this wispy busty little number. Keith announced that he wants to learn tap dancing. I told him to practice some more on the mandolin and we’d discuss it. Actually I can see him Irish Step Dancing instead, which is one of the ancestors of tap. He says he’s a lot more coordinated than he used to be, which is very true, but we’re already paying for one set of lessons.

I think that this morning on the ferry was the first time in about ten years I’ve gotten onto a ferry without spending any money. Amazing. Picture shown is something I pulled at random off my mother’s hard drive.

My mother is thrilled that I did the comb binding on the three family books already and is getting the rest of them ready to finish so I’ll be off now. I feel so happy and so relaxed that I just know it won’t last.

sleep what is that

It has been a rather crowded 36 hours. Saw Arden B, the newly minted scion of two of my coworkers, on Friday aft (and his mum Char OF COURSE who’s looking pretty good), said goodbye to Bryan P. who has found work in rainier climes, and headed over to Sergey and Megan and Ariel’s for dinner. I had no idea in advance what I was going to be eating, and it turned out to be Taiwanese style seafood hot pot. Really reallly reeaaallly good seafood hot pot, like some of the best food I ever ate. And some really really really dynamite homemade wine. Brian C and Chari P were also in attendance (my Paul and Keith showed up as well) and we ate ourselves into a very merry state indeed.

At the time of departure Sergey pressed a VERY well loved copy of The Good Soldier Sveik into my hands, which is a book I had been meaning to read for about three decades, and I am now up to chapter 9 and very startled by it all, and reduced to helpless giggles by parts of it. Also pressed into my hands are an 11 by 17 colour picture of what Rob B looks like as he staggers out onto his porch the morning after B-fest; his eyes are literally different sizes in the picture and his hair is, well, uh, erect. And sort of, uh, combative. I will NOT be reproducing it as I do NOT have Sergey’s permission, and he took the picture, so I will abide by his decision. Always instructional when your friends are more nicer than you. Also pressed into my hands a mini series about the Crusades narrated by Terry Jones. Due to excesses no doubt, godawful night’s sleep – Paul and I were BOTH up when Katie cruised home long about 3:30.

Drove Paul into work for 7 am which did NOT sweeten my disposition.

To my satisfaction, Sally F has come, helped me shop and gone, and fitted the pattern for the costume and we picked up ALL the fabric – 9 jeezly metres of it – and all the buttons and notions and stays. I don’t mean to say I’m happy she’s gone, but that we accomplished so much. The fabric is not exactly what I was picturing but exactly what I want and will be relatively easy for Sally to work on, so that’s all good. Visited Fabricana afterwards. Holy virgin, what a place. Gave my mother a hint of the delights in store when next she darkens the pier in Vancouver.

Then a shop with Katie and got the desk finished and the old desk disassembled (thank you Keith) and sent sailing into the trailer that Tom L. has kindly left in the back yard as the garbage it truly is. Then Keith hooked everything back up again and demonstrated that it all works. *Oh and he mowed the front lawn today. Then cousin in law Jan showed up after having helped her daughter move into a place somewhere in East Van with two other girls preparatory to starting school here, and then picked Paul up at work, then cooked supper (pan fried parsnips, baby bok choi and mushroom stir fry, barbecued chicken over cherrywood charcoal *thank you Paul*, cole slaw, corn on the cob and the last delectable Stella out of the fridge). And now I’m blogging and I’d better be doing some dishes before bad things happen between me and Paul. It’s only 9 pm but I’m f*cking bagged. So is Paul. Fortunately Jan is low maintenance, all I have to do is haul out her bed and provide bedding and I can leave her to her own devices.

Tomorrow up for the 9 am ferry as walk ons to Victoria and back 5 pm ferry on Monday so Paul can pick us up after work without major inconvenience. Very much looking forward to seeing Mum and pOp and Granny. Kids very much looking forward to a weekend of multimedia. I am hoping to get to the Egypt exhibit but may simply be too bagged to do it. I hope to blog late tomorrow but I may just lie still for a while with a good book, now that Sergey has sought to fill one of the many holes in my education.

choke hold

Katie didn’t come home last night and she turned off the phone. I’d say why she stormed out of here but that would be imprudent, so let’s just say that Katie really doesn’t like it when her lack of planning doesn’t turn into our emergency.

Woke up at 20 after 4 after dreaming she’d been strangled to death, but that was because when she came into our room at midnight she had no voice because one of her friends ‘choked her while they were playfighting’. Yup, me and Peggy and and Mike and John, we get together and pretend to choke each other when we hang out together. Jumping Jimmy Christmas, I’m sure glad I’m not fifteen anymore; having functioning adults for friends and relations – even with their mental illnesses they don’t choke me.

grrr

Jumping Jimmy Christmas! That’s about the mildest thing to come out of me mouth all evening. The one page of instructions that came with the computer desk Mike sold me doesn’t even have an exploded view and I could and will go on at great length about how merde mangeingly berloody useless that pale sheet of paper is. I’ve been working on the f*cking thing since I stopped eating supper and it’s now 10:21. Just getting the Godfrey Daniel tray hardware glued down (okay screwed in) f*cking near killed me. I put it in the wrong way three times before I figured it out. It’s obviously a boy thing, matching indents to outdents. The funny thing is that I maintained my calm all the way through until I sat down to blog, because OF COURSE I know that things get worse when you panick and catastrophate. But now my ire is higher than a telephone wire and friends and neighbours and all my relations, what an explosively goooey and disgusting mess it is. Paul is making noises about bed. Goodnight!!!! more f*cking about with sh*tboard tomorrow.

oh.

I forgot.

As the rancid maraschino on top, the goddamned package had a bug in it, for true and no sh*t. How do pine beetles get to Canada? In packages of consumer goods. I swear by the nine gods of Clusium I won’t buy wood from China ever again.

what the ffff

Since I last stood in this spot, a whole new generation of the Miller Family has been born: Four great grandchildren.

Along with all the other members of our close-knit family, they are my and Shirley’s most precious possessions.

Okay, Mr. Zell Miller (the sadly misguided individual responsible for saying the above noted from the RNC podium), mind explaining to me how and why you consider grandchildren to be POSSESSIONS? Jumping Jimmy Christmas, I don’t even own my cats!!! Then he goes on to say that only George Bush can protect his prized possessions. I think somebody has mistaken GWB for GOD.

almost enough sleep

I see Wonkette has actually managed to have her spies spot a number of people of colour at the RNC. Too bad they were cleaners. Oh, I lie. Two of them might actually have come in through the front door.

Katie inherited a garbage bag full of really nice clothing yesterday. Some of it she passed over to me but I have to be ready to give it back to Danielle at any moment. One of them is a slinky black Calvin Klein dress in my size, o glory.

I had a really great day yesterday – 4 loads of laundry, working on curriculum, reading a book about perceptual handicaps, solid day at work, until midnight, when some inconsiderate screeching female decided to commit noise awareness therapy in the middle of my street. As strolling out naked with a lit cigar in my mouth and an ABC fire extinguisher in my hands was not an appropriate response, I found my black neoprene earplugs and jammed them into my head. Full moon so I couldn’t fall asleep – falling asleep is not usually my problem – and then young screechy thing in the street, so of course I got to lie there and listen to my heart race in my ears while I attempted to control my breathing.

Forgot to mention that we did actually get Akiko out to supper at Mr. Ho’s. She is a Japanese forest management grad who’s spent the last months in Canada volunteering at Burns Bog and taking Karate with Keith. He does like older women. Got a picture kicking around but can’t locate it at the moment, later I guess. Also Paul took Ariel (called her Jenna in a previous post, my apologies) flying yesterday and this line deleted because Paul will wring my neck. Everybody had a GOOD and safe time though. Pics later.

Keith’s driving proceeds apace, Katie’s continuing to take lovely pictures, and TONIGHT I’m going to Sally’s for a costume consult. Hya! I’m gonna get me a full bore Trinity-from-the-Matrix costume, and if you think it’ll look funny on a middle aged woman who weighs 13 odd stone, you’re absolutely correct.

That time I reported a bus driver

Minister Katie Stein Sather had a letter published in the Sun today. My Katie disappeared with the new camera last night, prompting Paul to nearly blow a head valve, as they say, but of course she brought it home safe and sound, and loaded with pictures of her …. friends. Not much else to report.

later…..

I have come to regret ever volunteering for the youth program at church. My heart tells me I am still doing the right thing, but I look at this pile of well meaning literature (which has come to my hand like the dreck of ages as oozed by VERY Nice ‘n’ Earnest Humans) and have to suppress a shudder. I will do it their way because that’s what they’re expecting, but I think about the Correction that is coming and I have to suppress another form of nervous tremor, which is me envisioning a Unitarian Gun Club. I mean really, if you were cursed with an imagination that could think up the Unitarian Gun Club without suffering cranial herniation…….. I am a sad sad puppy, and need to think about other times, things and higher stuff.

I committed labour unrest the other day, by reporting a bus driver for using a cell phone – while manipulating the bus MY preciousss heinie was parked on. Under normal circumstances this would generate an unproductive but bilious fury. Under these circumstances, which I am about to relate, which I witnessed with my two (still barely functioning) eyes, which really happened to me and belong to me until my neurons part with them – under these circumstances I did not transform into a dove but into a f*cking stool pigeon. Dear friends, relations, neighbours and strangers, there was a family of FIVE GERMAN TOURISTS in the front, aged 15 to 50, the boy and girls as bleached and Teutonic and GORGEOUS as it is possible to get without lurching into parody, the parents trim, big featured and intelligent looking. The looks on their faces as they watched the driver answer his phone and then PULL OUT OF THE STATION should, by rights, have knocked the phone out of his hand and onto the street. Now even then, all my relations, I might have kept my little cheese-eating paws in my pockets and swallowed the river of molten lava/bile that was mounting in me like the cork pressure behind Krakatoa’s little urk, BUT he made a mistake. He WAS TALKING ABOUT HOW MUCH HE WAS GOING TO MAKE ON OVERTIME as he was on the phone. What’s a good citizen to do? Of course I ratted him out. Three f*cking strikes baby.

As the Bible says, a puppy will go back to its puke (okay, I’m paraphrasing, but not by much) I will go back into the mopes and wails of my life, telling them over like a rosary made of fossilized porcupine sh*t, ever so tactile. I guess the thing that makes me saddest (or maybe sadist, they’re pronounced the same way in my dialect) is thinking that teaching these kids peace love and understanding is not really gonna help them that much when the crap hits the fan. So I am not really inclined to teach principals that won’t keep you alive when evil men pack weapons, but I know that I must or abandon the post.

It says that a youth advisor must be drug free. I happen to really like beer, although I don’t imagine that I’ll drink that much around.

As a Canadian woman, I would be a fool, and the worst kind of feminist (in other words, impractical in my understanding of human nature) not to acknowledge the role that many thousands of Canadian men and women played in giving me the life I have today by valiantly parting with life in local and foreign wars on behalf of my ancestors, and the ancestors of the governors of my part of the world. I don’t believe for two seconds that anybody deserved to die in the conflicts of this last or any other century (okay Ceaucescu), but democracy is worth dying for (the ideal, not the nation state), if only because it seems the single chance for the improvement of self government.

Okay the boys are back from F 9/11 so I guess I’d better get away from the computer. I still think I’d like to teach UU Youth to blow things up, but I’ll have a hard time getting THAT on the curriculum.

teenangst infestation

not enough sleep
2004-08-21— Posted by: allegra

Well you can tell Katie’s back in town. At 10:30 JJ and Billy showed up with Natasha and two other boys and started verbally abusing her – Natasha not bothering to say a thing in her defence all the while – so she left for the skate park, shrugging and ignoring them. Fifteen minutes later they are still – all five of them, standing in easy earshot and yelling and carrying on so I asked them to kindly move along so I could sleep, no doubt getting sworn sotto voce at as they immediately and without demur walked away.

At 11:37 pm – Jesus – every light in the house was off do you suppose this kid could have collected a clue, some knob bangs on the door and rings the doorbell twice yelling for Katie. I didn’t even bother going down to the f*cking door, I just yelled at him from the sun room that Katie was not there and it was a little late, didn’t he think, to be disturbing people who have to be a work at 7 a f*cking m in the morning the next day? He apologized and skated off. Have no idea when Katie got home from the skate park but her shoes are here and her door is closed.

Keith appears to have had a wonderful trip and was very pleased that the Frank magazine was here when he got home.

In retrospect I look like a terrible parent

today’s mgmt tip
2004-08-19— Posted by: allegra

Suck UP. Bite DOWN.

Little furry animals
2004-08-19— Posted by: allegra

Winkie and Spud.

As you can see, the phrase ‘they get along as well as a dog and a cat’ really depends on the critters involved.

These animals own Mike, and crew-ell-eee force him to toil in the salt mines to buy them treats and keep them in luxurious (and remarkably work-free) accommodations. Winkie has very nice markings, in my opinion, a long and slender tail, and a one man cat kind of disposition. Spud is more of an obsession than a dog. Bone idle and a suck for attention, she coasts through life on her sunny personality.

nowhere close to enough sleep
2004-08-19— Posted by: allegra

In the words of the immortal Martha Ballard, my comforters are much as Job’s were.

My initial hunch that I would be better off not calling any of my friends about what’s going on right now was borne out; fortunately my family is being a lot more sensible about it. Nobody else believes – or appears to believe – that Katie will smarten up while she’s living with me; my loosey-goosey style of parenting would likely prevent this from happening. I go through phases when I want to kick her out, but they don’t last. I should steel my spine and just say, you don’t respect me, out you go. “She needs to go to someplace with a LOT of rules.” “You’ve done your best, it’s time to get out of the situation.” It’s like I’m the only person who believes she’ll smarten up, and I’m being gently rebuked for thinking so. The alternative, according to my friends, is that she’s going to end up dead, hard drug addicted or on the street selling herself or some dreadful combo thereof. Katie, if you’re reading this can you email (names deleted but available on request) and let them know that these – while interesting and dramatic life experiences – aren’t in your immediate plans? You might want to add something about how you have two parents, as well…. I mean, if you want to.

Interesting dreams. In one, Peter and Cheryl announced that they were going back to South Africa (and a very DIFFERENT lunch bunch all screamed about it, going on at length at what a bad idea it was (there were a bunch of people there, but it wasn’t my usual lunch bunch from work)). But they were adamant. That’s bloody weird, cause I can’t imagine them doing that except to visit.

Next, I was molested by forest trolls (picture the Egyptian god Bes except green and furry and two feet tall) and gotten beaten until I couldn’t see when I was spirited enough to bite one.

Then I was watching a giant picking up two little people, howling at them, “I’ll grind your bones to make my bread” at which point one said, “How unsavory!” and the other said, “How un …. sanitary!” Where’d that come from? Paul thinks he knows, see below. Also in other news from dreamland, Glen and I worked at the same place and seven people were laid off and we were both on notice that we were next and Glen said, “You’d better get your resume up to date!”

Then I had to fill out customs papers on a Hungarian typewriter. From the script of Starman “Weird you want, weird you get.” But I swear, officer, I did NOT melt that man’s lugwrench.

Snap back to reality, drum roll please. Paul was dreading going into work this morning, and rightly so. Air Canada skated out of bankruptcy by renegotiating all the union deals, all the deals with suppliers and creditors (same thing) and of course it made a deal with Cara. People on the bottom of the Cara Foods organization do NOT make what I consider a living wage (specially in THIS burg). Air Canada wrung concessions from Cara and then Cara blithely asked some very poorly paid, mostly immigrant, sandwich cutters and food preparers, if they could offer up some bone mass for the next Air Canada passengers’ meal in the form of wage concessions. I know that conservatives will argue that there is no moral difference between getting a 5% concession out of a regional pilot who makes 70K a year and getting a 5% concession out of a sandwich cutter who makes 20K a year, (and the market will reward sandwich cutters who improve their educations, etc.) but conservatism aside, there’s a practical difference. Full marks if you spot it. Anyway, Paul, who has already had his pay packet lightened by some hundreds of dollars a month (and is content to keep still for it if he keeps his job, true so far, and the management quits p*ssing away money on paint jobs and VPs of French Communication, which so far is not true – 27 VP’s for a company in bankruptcy protection???? I prob’ly don’t have the number right but Paul hauled out the org chart a while ago and we reviewed it with bile, liberally mixed with disbelieving fury), is furious on behalf of the Cara employees. He is so upset that I can’t repeat what he said because it’s the kind of things that makes lawyers turn green, then slowly flush. Anyway, Cara is on strike effective today, so I’m sure the food purveyors in the airports will be smart enough to make bag lunches for the masses – or will they? Capitalism is not as quick off the mark as everybody says it is. Sorry I’m writing so parenthetically, I’ve got a mind like a trash compactor.

I went over to Hank and Margaret’s last night. Terence was utterly charming – he kept running up to me and patting my leg and then running away. I collected ‘the story so far’ of the youth curriculum and at least we got that out of their basement – and into our front room. Paul grumbling throughout.

I have to confirm if it’s circle tonight and then we pick up the kids tomorrow. Another grisly day awaits. Okay, it isn’t grisly, I’m just spoiled. And seeing as how I’ve gone off, maybe it’s time for a shower.

marmots via Jerome

marmot sighted
2004-08-18— Posted by: allegra

Head for the hills! Provided by Brother Jerome, taken at Garibaldi. PLEASE SEND FURRY ANIMAL PICTURES, especially if they are digital, reasonably detailed or have a good story connected with them. This means you, Glen and LJ!.

I will have to make a second post for the second picture as you can’t post more than one picture at a time in a single post with this software.

marmot sighted
2004-08-18— Posted by: allegra

Head for the hills! Provided by Brother Jerome, taken at Garibaldi. PLEASE SEND FURRY ANIMAL PICTURES, especially if they are digital, reasonably detailed or have a good story connected with them. This means you, Glen and LJ!.

I will have to make a second post for the second picture as you can’t post more than one picture at a time in a single post with this software.

not enough sleep
2004-08-18— Posted by: allegra

Have confirmed that both of the kids are coming home on Friday night. I am just dazzled at the email I got from Keith. Apart from the one typo (and hell, I’ve made some dandies) it was a masterpiece; entertaining, informative, well constructed and droll as all get out. He really didn’t sound like an 18 year old man except in his enthusiasms. (Boys and toys). Anyway, he actually did get to shoot at things and is claiming good accuracy. (I’m a pretty boy! I’m a bright boy! – which is actually a quote from Frank Magazine which Keith and I use all the time – the follow up is a dour “Please! Silent affirmations!!)).

Glen is trying to get me to use wordpress which will make this site a lot more interactive, but I am being somewhat Luddite and having problems with the back end. I mean I log on and look at things but I don’t really know how to do stuff, so I think I’m going to have to admit my ignorance and get some coaching. I did download it and the documentation looks really good.

Various people I’ve lit virtual candles for are doing better, so that’s a bonus. Anyway, if I’m going to make the bus I’d better assemble my feces and fly. Completely inadequate in the sleep department. My eyes are squeaking again and I’m yawning convulsively and repeatedly.

Was very pleased to hear that Meg the Temp is going to be with us until September. The department she’s going into is short staffed. I would run out of adjectives to describe how badly.

Raillery
2004-08-18— Posted by: allegra

Pictured is the newest bird, the Calayan Rail. Locals call it a piding. I have to ask, how the hell did the wildlife biologists miss a bird that’s wearing conspicuity garments? Native to the Philippines but not for long, apparently. They found it while it was on the verge of extinction.