Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"What if I changed my name to Zimbu the Love Chimp?"

That was the question that Mr.Q had for me as we were walking home from the bus yesterday afternoon. I suspect I looked a little like a fish out of water, my mouth opening and closing soundlessly as my addled brain tried to compose some kind of answer. My brain failed utterly. Sometimes, the mysteries of life just cannot be solved. Sometimes, you just have to accept that you will never know the answer, and you must move on, trusting that the cosmos is unfolding as it should. And also, that you shouldn't encourage certain people by responding. So instead of an answer to that particular question, I'm going to tell you about my weekend.

A week and a half or so ago, my mother called me. Not so unusual, we talk pretty regularly. She wanted to know what I was doing on the 26th. "Not so much," I said. "Why?" Well, she was organizing this women's conference, and needed some entertainment for the Friday evening. Could I come out and do a few songs?

Let's leave aside, for the moment, the fact that I have done just about zero performing in the last few years. And the fact that there would be almost zero time to practice with my partners-in-crime before the event. Since I would be arriving about 2 hours before I had to perform. No, these weren't the big problems. There was the minor little detail of living about 800 km away, and plane tickets into wee towns being ridiculously expensive (I could fly to Manchester cheaper than another town in the same province!)

Well, my mama's a bit on the stubborn side. A flurry of phone tag followed, and the next day she called and said they'd discovered a credit with the local airline that needed to be used, and so my ticket was covered. By this time in my life, I try to be smart enough to accept that when some things fall into place just so, it's meant to be. So I said yes.

Then promptly panicked (see "facts put aside" above!) I found myself on the bus to and from work, practicing a couple of Meryn Cadell pieces under my breath. Though I think there may have been some actual out-loudness going on. Whoops! Evenings were spent frantically emailing set- lists back and forth with my musical buddies, and digging out CDs and trying to re-learn music I haven't touched in 4 or 5 years.

Needless to say, the week flew by. And I was rather a little nervous! Also, the cab driver to the airport was completely psycho, which did nothing to help my delicate state of mind. As luck would have it, though, I got into town just in time to practice the tunes once or twice, before we rushed over to the venue.

There was time for a quick warm-up in the bathroom. (Which turned out not to be empty. She did say she'd never enjoyed a serenade in such an unusual place.) As well, my Dear Darling Baby Sister, besides arranging for the sound system and agreeing to sing a couple of songs, handled the really important detail: the traditional mickey of Fireball Whiskey. Even Mom thought it was a great idea:

The whiskey helped with the warm-up, and the performance went even better than I'd hoped. "The Kitchenettes" - my pal Anie and I - sang a few songs, and were joined by Sis for a couple at the end. Then we went for a drink with Mom and a few other crazy chicas. And then went to bed rather earlier than expected. Not that I was complaining!

A restful sleep at my sister's was necessary to prepare myself for some serious cuddle time with The Niblings. Here we are all practicing our pouty faces:

Also, they drew me some fridge art to take home...of Mr.Q and I being "stunk by a skunk." In the picture, we do not have happy faces.

Saturday night, I stayed with Mom and her friend, and we had a bit of a slumber party - lots of ridiculously good food, tequila, and Festival Express (a great documentary, I highly recommend it!) It was a girls' night, since Dad was in Toronto visiting family...and we were in bed by 10:00. I don't remember being that much of a party pooper when I went to slumber parties in school!

Sunday, Dad managed to get back from Calgary in time to see him for about an hour and 22 minutes...but it was an hour and 22 minutes more than I'd expected, so it was good...his mother sent some of Granddad's old hats back for the kids. They are so very, very cool - too cool for this old auntie!

It was great to have a weekend away - to sing with good people - to see the mountains and the sunshine - to have some good estrogen-bonding time - to get a few cuddles from the kidlets - I could have used another week! Still, it was nice to head home to my own space and my own bed...Contemplative airplane photo:
And of course, I missed the cats. I'm still deciding about Zimbu the Love Chimp.
(I wrote "Zimbu the Love Chimp" on his lunch bag. I would love to have seen the faces of the other guys on the construction site at lunch time!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Mr.Q and I were having a nice little snuggle after dinner. Maybe even getting a little cozy, if you know what I mean (wink wink, nudge nudge!) But just before things started to get interesting, there was a smell. At first, for one too-brief moment, we thought the kids upstairs were sneaking a joint while their mother was out. Then we realized the smell was a little too acrid for that. We looked at each other and at the same time, said "Skunk. Oh shit." and went looking to see if all the beasties were accounted for.

One was not. I was fairly-but-not-entirely certain we'd have heard it if she'd got into a scrap with a skunk. But what to do? Risk having her come inside, full of skunk spray? Go looking for her, and risk getting sprayed ourselves? As we debated, the smell got worse and worse. Mr.Q (brilliant man!) phoned upstairs to see if they smelled it - one of their dogs got blasted in the back yard - hence the proximity and potency of the reek. And let me tell you, it's strong. Way worse than Mom's car smelled that time she whacked one while driving. Up till now, I pretty much thought that was my benchmark for stinky. Not so much anymore!

Boiling vinegar on the stove, with cinnamon and cloves. A baking dish full of mulling spices in the oven. Cups of coffee grounds placed strategically around the house. It smells like Christmas morning in a grow-op.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Just saw this in the "Oddities" section of the CBC news site (bear in mind I'm giving you a highly-edited version!):

Landlocked Mongolia becomes new maritime ally for United States

WASHINGTON - Somebody should have looked at a map.

The State Department with great fanfare on Tuesday signed an agreement with landlocked Mongolia that will allow Mongolian ships to be boarded and searched if they are suspected of carrying weapons of mass destruction.

This despite the fact that Mongolia, a vast land that's home to the Gobi Desert, windswept steppes and largely populated by nomadic yak herders, has no navy at all and lies thousands of kilometres from open waters.

Still, its tiny merchant marine is recognized as one of 32 "flag of convenience" countries by international maritime authorities. (So the State Dept. is concerned about North Korean ships using such a flag - my note)

Asked what Washington hoped to achieve with the agreement, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said "I'll have to check..."

If you want the whole story, go here.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My armpits are so soft!

I have this really nice foot butter that I picked up in Canmore this summer. It's in a dispenser exactly like the kind that's used for deoderant. Guess which one I picked up and used yesterday? (It was pre-coffee, I'm not entirely responsible!)

We picked up the fabulous Jel yesterday morning, and Mr.Q chauffered us to the yarn store. It was great. I picked up a sweater's worth of yarn and found a pattern for it...and I may have found myself considering actually jumping on the NaNoSweMo bandwagon...ooops! Also, there was some very sexy sock yarn that I was able to add to my stash guilt-free, thanks to Jel's super-ninja skills (she managed to get me a gift certificate to the store while I was just a few feet away from her - very sneaky!)

The photo, of course, utterly fails to do it justice. The colours are so warm they glow. It's Celestial Merino Dream by Lucy Neatby, in the Honey Pot colourway. There's a note on the tag to "Make your yarn happy! Knit it now!" I love it.

Yarny mission accomplished, we stopped for "lunch". This is a picture of Jel's "lunch" but mine was pretty much the same, but with a different pattern and some chili powder on top of mine:

I think she took that photo, coz all the other hot chocolate ones on the camera are all fuzzy. Those ones, I definitely took! She also took this one, of chocolate shop bliss:

The espresso machine was so pretty and shiny that I tried my hand at cool art shots:

Also, note that this was lunch: I was now 2 out of three for my chocolate goal yesterday. Was I successful in achieving the third? We'll see! After chocolate, I had a nap. (Or tried to - I was too busy thinking about the pretty new yarn!) Then Mr.Q announced that he was "taking me for dinner but we had to stop by a friend's place and pick up a present first."

Are you suspicious yet? I wouldn't have been, except that he'd been saying things all week like "I created a secret facebook event for you birthday, but you can't see it!" and "Go away! You can't see what I'm doing on the computer!" and giggling and rubbing his hands together. And then telling me repeatedly that I made his life so difficult by dragging secrets out of him, how did I expect him to do anything to surprise me?

So no, I wasn't suspicious at all! (Hah!) However, he was so proud of himself for putting this super-secret thing together, and Jel and my sister were soooo smooth about the whole thing, that I played along for their sake. And it was well worth it. We "stopped by the friend's place for a minute on the way to dinner" - and there were some of my favourite people, and blue streamers, and cheese (and more cheese!) and guitars and singing and good conversation and some knitting - and a funny interlude where the host, a fine musician, realized that Jel and I were talking "knitting gear talk" and he plopped himself down between us and was totally fascinated and delighted by the jargon.

And yes, there was chocolate, courtesy of my loverly sister:
It was very, very tasty. And I think I don't need to eat chocolate for awhile now. But it's good to have goals, and to have the satisfaction of achieving them! It was such a lovely day, mostly because it was full of lovely people, and I went home very late, feeling happy and satisfied and most of all, very lucky to have spent a good part of a good day with fine human beans.

And also, my armpits are now very soft.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Breakfast of Champions!

Today, I had this for breakfast:

Why? Because I can. And because it's my birthday, and I plan on having chocolate with all three meals. (Note: with, not for all three meals...when I was younger, that might have seemed appealing. But now that I'm an old fart, the thought makes my teeth hurt. Not to mention my digestion. Need more prunes!)

Mr.Q is taking me yarn shopping shortly, for my birthday present. Which confused my mother: "Why is that special? Don't you do that anyway?" (OK, maybe she wasn't so much confused as being a smartass. But still.) Yes. Yes, I do. But it's nice to have it sanctioned once in awhile! reason I've been so busy and far away from Blogland this week was a visit from my Baby Brother and his very cool Significant Other. They stayed with us for a few days while they got the last of their arrangements together for an extended trip overseas - 6 months in India, then a few months of walk-a-bout in Asia. Life's rough!

It's his first real experience travelling, and I am supremely jealous. Also very proud of him, for learning from his big sister's experience. ("I wanted to go before I got all tied down with student loans and stuff like you did!" Thanks. I think!) Seriously, for all that he's a stinker and still thinks it's OK to give me wet willies, I'm totally stoked for him. Not to mention the silk yarn they said they'd try to find me in Nepal.

Here he is, just after getting through the kerfuffle of acquiring his Indian visa. He really looks very bored with the whole thing:

He pretty much looked like that all night. I cooked them up a big farewell dinner, and the sister formerly known as the Princess Bride came in for a family supper:

It was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself. But it occurred to me the next morning, fragrant as we all were from the 3-bean chili...that maybe it wasn't the best choice just before a long international flight. Close quarters and all that...oops! My apologies to the people sitting close to them on the flight.

A nice sibling photo:

A photo bearing more resemblance to reality:

We really do look a lot alike!

Now - off to fortify myself for an afternoon of yarn shopping! I have something pretty specific in mind, so we'll see how that goes. I am also the wee-est bit...well...hungover. There were a couple of folks at work with birthdays close to each other, so we went out for a couple of drinks last night. Sure, I only had a couple drinks - a couple of times! Yikes. I don't remember that being an issue when I was nineteen....sigh. (*gigglesnort!*)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Let's get dinner delivered!

Apparently the cats are unhappy to be excluded from the pizza we ordered. They opted for poultry. Fresh, free range.

I do wish they'd waited till we were done with our dinner, though!

Tag! Now who's it?

Rabbitch tagged me a few days ago, for a meme about books...I miss books! What with the libraries all closed here due to a municipal strike that has lasted 3 months and is predicted to possibly go on into 2008. Oy! The closed libraries upset me even more than the lack of garbage pick-up, which says something about how much I love to read. (Also, I have no TV...) Anyway, I'm finally finishing this up, having been delayed mid-composition by a nasty, nasty cold.

So, here goes:

1. Hardcover or paperback, and why? Hardcover. I tend to drag them along on the bus, pile them beside the bed, bring them into that vast wormhole of chaos otherwise known as The Van...paperbacks wouldn't survive the abuse. A hardcover has a fighting chance.

2. If I were to own a book shop, I would call it... Spinning Yarns. Coz then it could also be a yarn store, and that would be fun! A book-and-yarn store! I'd never leave.

3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title)... I have tried and tried to think of something. I can't. Since my brain totally doesn't work right now. I promise to rectify as soon as I can think again.

4. The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be... Elizabeth Gilbert. Her book "Eat, Pray, Love" made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions - on the bus, even, which got me some funny looks. And she made me crave Italian food like nobody's business...a lazy Friday evening, reading in bed...till I startled poor Mr.Q by bounding into the living room and demanding that he take me for Italian food NOW, I must have it NOW, I wants it, preciousssss! Anybody that can get that kind of visceral response from their writing would be fun to go for lunch with. And I know a great Italian place...

5. If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except for the SAS survival guide, it would be… The Complete Works of Barbara Kingsolver. (No, I don't care that such a book doesn't should!)

(If I can't have that, I'll take The Lord of The Rings, unwieldy though it is when all in one volume)

6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that… would hold the book suspended from the headboard of the bed, so I could roll over and change positions (while reading, of course! Omg, get your minds out of the gutter, this is a family blog! Sheesh.) (HAH!) Anyway - that would suspend the book so I don't have to worry about holding the book at funny angles while I read in bed. Also, it would turn the pages for me.

7. The smell of an old book reminds me of...Romance, sexiness, adventure. While in university, after attending some student rally or another downtown, I once met a cute boy whilst marching through downtown. Afterward, he sat down with me in the musty stacks of Macleod's Books and read me poetry. I don't remember his name, and I never saw him again...but it was very romantic!

8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be… Elizabeth, from The Paper Bag Princess. Smart, sassy, independent, and doesn't give a hoot about fashion - what's not to love?

9. The most overestimated book of all times is… a rhyming dictionary. 'Nuff said.

10. I hate it when a book… Is really, really engaging, when it catches you right up in the plot and the characters and it takes you right down that Reading Rainbow.... and then it ends! How unfair is that?! to tag? (Who has a reasonable hope of getting it done, and who won't hate me forever?) Let's see....Sarah (you can ask Al to help - I bet the two of you would come up with quite a list!), Rebecca, Barb, and Ari.

Now to watch some Firefly reruns. (I guess they're all reruns now...sigh!)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

(self)-pity party

Mr.Q has kindly shared with me the cold that he picked up on the weekend. The cold that he got from over-indulging in the rock'n'roll fantasy, and which I, being the sensible go-to-bed-at-a-reasonable-hour wife, nursed him through. I think I have inhaled a lemon seed (don't ask - but - I'd notice if it punctured a lung, right?) And the fact that Mr.Q made dinner tonight only barely mitigates the fact that he is making me listen to Garth Brooks and Toad the Wet Sprocket sing country-ballad versions of KISS songs.

I have a very strong hot rum toddy at hand. I think I shall have to conduct some very rigorous and scientific experiments to see if it will alleviate some, if not all, of the above.

Monday, October 8, 2007!

I spent part of Thanksgiving weekend in Gibsons, home of that iconic Canadian TV program, The Beachcombers:

There was music, merriment, a lot of food, soaking in a hot tub, and rain. Lots of rain. Which brings out the natives:

Banana slugs! What fun! I am so glad I didn't step on it! Here it is, next to my foot for scale:

Also, there was Guerrilla Produce Art:

And last but certainly not least, an unexpected break in the weather:
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I laughed so hard a little bit of pee came out!

Rabbitch linked to this on her blog. It's just what I needed today. It's a frackin' brilliant idea!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Comfort food

Mr.Q has this idea in his head that he needs to take me to Ireland someday. Now, I wouldn't argue if someone handed me a ticket! But if I were planning my dream trip, it would be to Italy. He has this romantic notion of me wandering the Irish moors in a wool shawl, singing mournfully in Gaelic. I have a romantic notion of myself wandering through the sunny Tuscan hills, gesticulating wildly as I practice my newly-acquired Italian vocabulary.

This upsets his preconceptions of me. His regular argument, offered pleadingly and often: "But you like potatoes!"

Well, yes. Yes, I do. I also like tomatoes and basil and garlic and pasta and cheese and olives and bread and margherita pizzas and wine and gelato and espresso and....(Did I mention the cheese?)

However. I have a shameful little secret that I need to confess. Please don't tell him! But on a cold, wet night, sometimes the best prescription for pre-winter blahs is a big bowl of boiled, buttered potatoes for supper. Maybe with a little (!HAH!) grated cheese on top. Washed down with a bottle of Strongbow. (Yes, I know it's English, not Irish, but once you're all the way over there, why not visit?)

But really. You must be able to get potatoes in Italy. Can't you?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Togo or not Togo?

Today, I had to haul myself out of bed at the ass-crack of dawn to attend the sequel of Friday's festivities: the bloodwork (routine, nothing to worry about, Mom!) to go with previous indignities. It was raining. It was dark. I was not allowed food - not so bad. But I was not allowed coffee. Not allowed coffee! I tell you, the cruelty of it should be covered in the Geneva Convention!

I got to the clinic seconds after they opened, and there were already a half-dozen people in the waiting room. I waited patiently for a half-hour, and I was finally called into the chamber of horrors to be voluntarily exsanguinated by a sadist.

OK, she wasn't that bad - she was even pretty OK, compared to some. But she just couldn't find a vein that was willing to give her what she wanted, and there was some rather uncomfortable poking and prodding and unusual angles attempted. Not that I blame the veins - it's not like they'd had coffee or anything! To add injury to insult, this was the result:

In homage to Rabbitch (feel better!) I asked Mr. "Geography-Head" Q if it looked like a country. He swears it looks like Togo. I think it kind of looks like a cave painting of an ant-eater. Or an aardvark! What do you think?

(P.S. - "ass-crack" of dawn isn't my line. I wish it were. I think it's brilliant! I don't remember who I got it from. Thanks, though. Also, I'm hoping that it will help my blog rating. It was "PG" last time I checked. Gotta do something about that!)