sleepy girl and rocket power

This little girl is from Balouchestan, Iran. She’s either asleep or posing for the photographer. The caption from the satiric Iranian weblog it was captured from (thanks Mo!) is Sss! Let her sleep! A lifetime of suffering is before her…..

My associate DM, a god among men, sent me a pic of the rocket shopping cart guy. If I ever make a music video (collective gasp!) this WILL be in it.


Carly soccer

Jim and Carly are off to a soccer game in North Van and then to the excruciating pain that is the ferry situation on a long holiday weekend in Vancouver. He uploaded all the pictures he took so I will post some before I fire them off to his email address. The pork roast was absolutely exquisite and the rest of the food was okay— everybody seemed to enjoy it. Veg was salad, pan fried parsnips, yams, broccoli with home made cheese sauce and of COURSE potatoes, in this case new potatoes boiled in their jackets. Because Carly is a pollo vegetarian, I had to cook a turkey breast for her, but when we got to the market there was not so much as a shred of turkey meat in the joint and I didn’t feel like running all over town finding some, so I bought a boneless chicken breast instead.

Then I brought it home and went Jeezly Hell, how do I cook this? So I wrapped it around a celery stick and a couple of garlic cloves, dumped it in a corningware pot, dumped a five ounce can of coconut milk on it, covered it with pepper and salt and as an afterthought tossed in some fresh lemon juice. And stuck it in about an hour after the roast at 300 F; it cooked for about an hour and a half. Anyway, Carly devoured it with loud cries of glee pronouncing it extremely tender (it was) so I was VERY relieved because if she’d hated it, I would have been embarrassed. Pic is of one of her games…. she may or may not be in the picture.

As for the roast, what is there to say? You take a hunk of pig, cover it to the gills with sauerkraut, put the lid on the dutch oven and cook for 3 hours at 300. Damn but it was good… and there were leftovers! We had applesauce too, yum. Whole thing was Katie’s idea, and much as I love Keith it was a relief to cook a meal without worrying about what HE would eat.

Power went off twice last night briefly. No idea why. I was asleep at the time. Now I get to find out what marching orders I have from Paul for the day… and tomorrow, back to work! Paul got in about 1. He says he was very happy to be home.


I don’t know about you, but I find it’s really icky to be awake at 5:45. I heard some very loud traffic about 20 minutes ago and thought, well, Jim and Carly have to get up at six so I figured what the hell and got up. Glen and Marilyn are coming over for roast pork tonight…. I invited them seeing as how they didn’t have firm plans and it’s probably been a while since we’ve all been in the same room. JIM SET MY SOUND SYSTEM UP. I can finally listen to my LP’s again. Yippee. I have heard a piece of news about church which, if true, is the best we’ve heard in ages; more details will be forthcoming at the Board Meeting, which, inshallah, I will attend on Wednesday.

I know that mocking a gift is insufferably rude, but I just gotta. Jim and Carly returned from the soccer game with Chinese goodies in hand. And by the way, Carly’s team waxed their opponents’ collective heinie, which had NOT been expected, as the ferry bringing the rest of her team and the coach over went mechanical so they delayed the game rather than cancel or reschedule; Carly’s team had NO soccer balls to warm up with and when the rest of the team showed it was like ONTO THE FIELD and PLAY. And they won, three zip, so you can see what adversity does to people. Now Carly, who is NOT a morning person, has to get up and go to Ambleside and start a game at 8:30. It isn’t raining in Burnaby but who the putz knows in North Van, right? It’s like another world up there. You do have a nice view up there…. two months of the year! Carly did tell me that the Kelowna team has a member whose nickname is Sasquatch and that she’s legendary for falling on people.

Katie has finally gotten in touch with Matt, which allowed her to calm down a bit. You can see the floor in her room; a charming state of affairs, wish I could say the same. Off to get my tea and then fill up the kettle again, preparatory to Jim and Carly’s rise from the depths this morning (they are sleeping in the dungeon).

For those of you not familiar with the layout of my house, which is pretty weird, there is a room in the basement (which is technically the ground floor, as it is at grade) with NO WINDOWS. Considering that Paul occasionally works midnights, it’s a good thing to have a really dark, really quiet, really isolated room. Teenagers LOVE that room, it’s like a canonical law or something.

Keith got to Victoria okay. I love that kid. He is so consistently helpful and entertaining; he’s one of the funniest people I know and I know a few. Picture is something random.

sleep the unknown ideal

Ha! Didn’t tell the end of the anecdote. So anyway, these Chinese buns show up and in amongst them are almond cookies, which I fall upon with joy, because Ah loves almond cookes. I take a bite, and you familiar with the expression “Her Face Fell”? Well something similar happened to my face. I chewed carefully and swallowed and said, You know, these cookies were made with bacon grease. And Jim took the cookie, and the same expression came over his face. Smelled like bacon grease, tasted like bacon grease. Carly said, imagine trying that on a pollo vegetarian (she still eats things with faces, but they can’t have fur). In the entire time I’ve been eating almond cookies, which is over 35 years, I’ve never had such a culinary oddity. It’s not like they were bad, because the bacon grease wasn’t rancid. It’s just they were really weird. Sigh. Now I know why they were that odd… well, grungy brown colour. Okay, now I’m finished. Off to the kettle to put on coffee water.

Her eye is upon you

Sheesh, I forgot to blog today. Musta been having too much fun. Paul’s gone off to Courtenay with Dan T and his son Nicolas; Katie cleaned her room today (check for which direction the sun rises in tomorrow morning); we purchased replacement parts for our LP turntable and Jim P has kindly agreed to help me set it up tomorrow evening; Jim P and Carly have safely arrived and now we’re just stooging about waiting for the cinnamon buns to get out of the oven; Keith found my athletic pass to the Canada Games Pool (and when I said it was a sign from God he said, Yeah, get your lazy ass out and get some exercise; I am feeling much better now that I know that I do actually have something wrong with me but it isn’t serious enough to really rivet the attention of an endocrinologist. John is off filking at the V-Con and I am just really happy that my bed is only about 4 metres away. Picture is something at random from my files.

a big apple

Jamie Corston of the UK grew this apple. It is apparently not the largest apple ever grown in England….. but cow manure was involved.

Today is going to be a combination of running around, sitting still and work avoidance, so it will be a pretty typical Allegra kind of day. My tarot reading last night turned up Death, the Tower and Judgement, but reasonably well placed. I don’t mind when Death is in my past, and as for Judgement Day, isn’t it always in the future? Isn’t it always today? The happy family situation will continue for a while.

I checked. The sun did rise in the east this am. Gotta waken Katie in half an hour, she wants to be ready when Lexi gets here. Sent Keith out into the garden; he plucked herbs (mostly spearmint) to bring back to put into a bowl with boiling water so he could inhale the steam and we could get some air into him. He’s not breathing very well through his nose. This extremely funny family anecdote, involving a handkerchief and dimsum, deleted as there was no way to get the point of the story across without being really disgusting.

I assume Paul got to Courtenay okay; the cops haven’t called.

bite me takes on new meaning

Every once in a while you see a picture so marvellous, so ringingly evocative of the human condition, that you just HAVE to share it. Pictured is a man working on Big Tex, who is part of a display for a (one would assume) Texas sized theme park.

Yesterday I went to one of these parental events that fills one with dread. In this case the Parent Teacher night was bloody marvellous, and I’ll tell you why….

A black rabbit hopped over my foot while I was talking to the Math Teacher, Dave.

I got to see a black widow spider. And to listen to the Science Teacher Tim kvetch about how he doesn’t know what to feed the babies. Thasss right, there are BABY BLACK WIDOW SPIDERS crawling around (safely stowed) in my KIDS’ SCHOOL. And nobody seems to think anything of it. Which is Even Cooler. A goth schoooool! Oi! They have a gecko, which eats the excess African stick insects, so the kids get to see nature’s way right there in science class. The gecko barks, apparently, but I didn’t hear it. Company manners you know. I got to listen to Kelly the Socials teacher say that Katie was a pleasure to have in class, and Keith’s Socials teacher say that once he put his novel down he did quite well.

So my kids are BOTH getting 70’s and 80’s in school, and doing homework assignments, and generally acting like school is if not cool then at least tolerable. If somebody had told me this was in the cards a year ago I would have been right peevish with them. Oh yeah, Katie and Keith enjoying school. Riiiiight.

Started the family reading thing again, after a year long hiatus; gave up on Dorothy Dunnett’s last work, Gemini, and am reading Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass instead. We have reached the end of the second chapter; Lord Asriel has escaped being poisoned and we have learned that Lyra has a great role to play in the upcoming war, but she must not know her role or she will not be able to play the part. (The whole unconscious Neo the hero thing.)

Went shopping at Army Navy yesterday. For $64 we got a two year planner, six pairs underwear (three thongs, three of the dreaded ‘granny panties’) and they’re called pairs even tho’ they are units because they have TWO LEGHOLES, I just figured that out, and a pair of knockin’ about the house trews for me, and a pair of white and baby blue runners for Kate and a hat. I am deleting the next sentence. Katie knows what I want to say; it’s quite rude, and NOT directed at her, so I’ll leave it at that. There is more than one trial in the life of a parent, and sometimes it’s not provided by one’s child, but by the prospect of watching your child restrain herself with respect to the actions of her friends.

So there you have it. Our house is an abode of bliss, I am enjoying my time off mostly because I’m doing NOTHING, and Paul is LEAVING ME THE CAR for the weekend. Yeehaw. I even got something resembling enough sleep. Off to the Parole Officer Natalie today. I hear Jim and Carly are coming for the weekend. Maybe I’ll cook a turkey. If I have a car, I’ll be able to bring one home! There’s a thought. Okay, time to post the bite me picture and get on with my day.

finally the PO

What you are about to read may shock you….but our meeting today with the Parole Officer was a warm human experience during which we all communicated reasonably well and left with a feeling of having accomplished something important.

The Crown may still elect to send Katie to court. Extrajudicial Sanctions is at the discretion of the Crown.

Katie has quit drinking, had perfect attendance at school and is actually getting good marks, is working out, going to see a counsellor (next week, likely), no longer hangs out with the kids she got in trouble with, is orders of magnitude more pleasant and responsible than she was even three months ago and recognizes perfectly well that she screwed up – all of which revealed itself during the course of the interview. So there are conditions – and I have to say Katie got off pretty lightly – but she is prepared to go to court and take her lumps if she must. It’s unclear how long the conditions apply. It helps that she doesn’t even know where this girl lives and has no intention of raising a hand to her again so the condition about staying away from her will not be a problem.

In other news, an 11 year old girl tried to kill her 34 year old babysitter with a machete that she found lying in the yard after a dispute with the babysitter about the dog. You know, you hate to blame too much tv but you have to wonder sometimes. And any householder who leaves a machete lying around the premises should be hauled in along with the kid. (Parents’ reaction upon returning home… “Sh*t, now we’ll NEVER get a sitter for the Halloween party. And I guess New Years’ is a write off too….”)

Picture is something random from the Katie files.

a good hair day

The world’s best Mohawk, from New Zealand. Let me say this about that. It’s an hour in front of the mirror every day. He holds it together with a number of noxious and interesting substances, including egg white and sugar, which would a) be extremely funny here in August when the wasps are active and b) be even more funny in the rain. Now THAT’s something I’d pay money to see.

Keith saw Sky Captain. He says it sucks, and he usually tries to feel the good in things.

Paul went riding today with Dan T.

I would like to publicly state that Paul is the world’s bestest spouse. By me, anyway. Katie is off working out with Alex. Matt was here… I told Katie to wait until he explained himself. They have kissed and made up.

Talked to Lois for ages. Talking to her always cheers me up (That’s Paul’s youngest sister who lives in Brooks Alberta and is an active Mennonite). Cooked dinner for Paul and Dan T. – really that was the most energetic I’ve felt all day, which has been just this side of total somnolence.

Musical evening went swimmingly, in attendance Tori and Mike (what a GORGEOUS voice Tori has, I was so impressed), John of course, Joe and Jean (who make a very cute pair, who brought Miss Vickies Jalapeno chips, which are in my top five for junk food and who are buddies of Mike’s), and Brooke and Tom and Peggy. Paul didn’t show up back from Victoria until after everybody had left, which p*ssed him somewhat. Mike hauled out a LOT of Simon and Garfarkle, which will go over very well at any time, and sang his way through all nineteen verses (okay, it’s not that many) of the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I love that song.

Bye 4 now.

beary interesting

Pictured is a young polar bear playing with a pumpkin stuffed with fish. His name is Cranbearry, and he likes swimming, trying new food and people watching.

In family news, Paul is heading to Courtenay next weekend to go hang out with family members, Keith is hoping to get to see his uncle Jeff but OF COURSE hasn’t phoned yet to make arrangements, and since I have to go to church on Sunday, I’m hanging about with Katie, who is mad at Matt again, and won’t say why. Young lerv! Paul is always taking it personally when I don’t go places, but I’m kinda stuck at the moment with commitments every Sunday until next June. The way I feel right now I’d like to quit at that point but I know the feeling will go away once I start feeling better again, whenever the hell that is.

Reconnected with an old CDS colleague – now that’s going back a t’ousand years – and he described a summer in hell; he checked into a psych ward and from the description of what was going on at that time it was really the only sane thing to do. I send a virtual fig to his psychiatrist… five separate psychoactives? That’s like getting a blue pill to remind you to take the yellow pill. I salute Dan in ON’s new career – he’s getting a PhD in Biology, and teaching. His little mischievous boys are now sporting mohawks and developing work avoidance strategies – entertaining that I posted that Mohawk picture just before getting that part of my buddy’s story. Time do fly.

I’m going to Katie’s parent teacher night tonight and taking her to the parole officer tomorrow at noon. Yessirree folks, parenting teens in these parlous times takes you into buildings you didn’t even know existed.

For those of you who don’t know, Katie was charged with assault last March – same day I had a root canal… ah, memories! Many interesting things have happened since them, but the legal sequelae linger on. So we’re off to see Natalie the Parole Officer tomorrow to get a whole bunch of stuff ‘splained to us. While Katie frequently thinks of assaulting people these days, she doesn’t actually think it’s cool to do it, and I think that’s perfectly appropriate. I mean, I can think of dozens of people I’d like to assault, starting with Charles Ng (with a deadly weapon) and Ann Coulter (with a peach pie, see previous blogs). But these will all remain in my imagination. Yes, I’m talking about it. And no, it’s not in keeping with Unitarian values. However, my truth is that I constantly struggle with the urge to slap people for various infractions of my own admittedly bizarre and fluid social code, and the fact that I hardly ever do slap people is a testament to my sanity and restraint in the face of tremendous temptation.

Keith has been following the Veep/Veep in law debate more closely than I. I refer you to Wonkette’s blog. The drinking game on her site was pretty funny; you would have been plastered within about ten minutes, according to those rules.

Spoke briefly to my girlfriend in TO the other morning. Once again, in defiance of my Unitarian values, I told her to put his goddamned crap on the back porch and tell him to come and get it. Or maybe she can start charging storage fees. The removing a box at a time BS is like water torture.

Wonder when my blood work will come back. Got the same venipuncturist as last time, to my great relief. She’s gotta be one of the best vampires in history, I’ve never had a problem with her.

Paul finally had the stew I made on the weekend and liked it. I also made lentil stew last night. And Two Frikking Batches of cinnamon rolls – the first batch (I had three, the kids made little chuffing noises and vanished the rest) must obviously have existed because the pan got dirty. I made a second just so Paul could have some. I also cleaned out some of the cupboards, which was what triggered the lentil stew – gotta rotate stock or you just end up throwing it out. Jumpin’ Jimmy Christmas, those were the DIRTIEST lentils I have ever seen. For enough lentils to make about two or three litres of stew, I cleaned out no fewer than twenty little bridgework destroying rocks, two twigs and half a dozen really weird looking pieces of what were obviously organic matter of some sort, provenance unknown. It took so long to clean that I went through three different cleaning methods, finally settling on pouring about a 100 ml at a time onto a white piece of paper and shoving things around until I’d pulled out all the ick. My advice is, don’t chew it. Just roll it around in your mouth. Cooked the lentils with a big ass cube of veggie soup base, two cinnamon sticks, a whack of fresh ground black pepper, half a dozen whole cloves of garlic, about 300 ml of four cheese tomato sauce that was lying around the fridge in a suggestive fashion, about a teaspoon of turmeric and the rest of the celery that was in the fridge. Turned out pretty good. The turmeric and spag sauce are more for colour than anything else – I find without some kind of colouring agent yellow lentils turn a sort of almost gray colour that I don’t really associate with food. And if you put in cinnamon sticks, it takes away that “almost dirt like” flavour. I should probably add something tart to it as well – I’ll check it out for lunch and see what else it needs.

My pumpkin, my lonely pumpkin, is about the size of a basketball now. I’m actually going to have a homegrown pumpkin for Halloween.

Back to fruit fly control and cleaning out kitchen cupboards. Can’t sit here blogging forever.

never enough sleep

I can barely open my eyes – they squeak – and I feel like a barrel set in concrete, but other than that I am fine. Emotionally I mean. Katie and I had a very pleasant and low key day yesterday, killing fruitflies, doing laundry, making stew, doing a small shop. Nothing too taxing.

Now I have to do a bit of a clean as a bunch of people are descending on the house tonight – including Joe, whom I haven’t seen in donkey’s years, and his relatively new girlfriend, whom I haven’t yet met, and Mike and his friend Victoria, whom I have also not yet met. Then we’re going to sit around and sing and play, and at some point Paul and Keith will turn up from Victoria.

In a couple of hours I will take the bus over to Peggy’s and get a lift into church. We are starting something new at church, we’ll be singing for about twenty minutes as people file in. Peggy is apparently bringing her bass. I wonder which of his delectable guitars Tom will bring in. Anyway, there’s no way I’m walking over there, I am just barely mobile as it is.

Pokey broke his leash yesterday but Katie, who had been minding him, watched the whole proceeding and gave chase. Pokey surrendered without a fight.

Just reread Barry Broadfoot’s the Pioneer Years, and you know what? If civilization collapses, so will I. I simply do not have the gumption required to live in a world without push button appliances. My ancestors would disown me.

Speaking of which, my mother has, in email tones of highest excitement, announced that more ugly relative pictures are inbound from a cousins’ cousin over the hill a piece. These are of relatives she does not currently have photos of (stop the presses). The problem with all the early photos is that the word “Cheese” had not yet been correlated to photography, so in addition to all looking like they’d been beaten with an ugly stick, they all make marshwiggles look cheerful. My greatgrandmother in particular looks like the before picture in a turn of the century hemorrhoid ad. I know she was hard working, pious and an excellent mother and helpmeet, but honest to god, I’d give anything to have a picture of her smiling, and if we ever get a functioning time machine, that’s going on my List of Things to Do.

I am probably going to get an earful from my mother about making fun of her hobby. I am not making fun of genealogy. How else would I have learned that one of my close relatives is a street person? Or that a whole bunch of my close kin died in a house fire as young children while the parents had stepped over to the neighbours? I am making fun of family portraits, and if I didn’t know I’d mortify my father and grandmother (not to mention myself – I look like HELL), I’d post to this website the single funniest family candid ever shot (thanks Katie, I think).

And I am going to the family reunion in 2005, Inshallah, so I can witness whatever happens at family reunions which are heavily populated by Mennonites – don’t imagine there’s much point to ordering in a keg and (this part deleted) – and eat a lot of really excellent food. So it’s not like I don’t support my mother’s obsession, it’s just that I thank the nine gods of Clusium each day that cousin Lexi volunteered for the task in the next generation. Phew.

Picture is of a baby elephant born at Whipsnade Zoo. Whipsnade Zoo was where Gerald Durrell got his start, so I was thinking of him when I grabbed this picture. Damn, it’s cute! Do you want to know what Katie said when she saw it? She said, AWWWWW, I wanna see Dumbo and our copy is trashed!

One last thing. has a picture of George W.’s back at the debate, and it looks like he was wired. He needs a better ventriloquist. Or as the first commenter to the story wryly put it, did we need PROOF that he’s a remote controlled robot? I’m sure he’s a very nice man in person.