Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I've been tagged!

By Debi. What have I ever done to her?

Seven Random Things About Me

1. I have been to Pompeii.

2. My paternal grandmother was a Liverpudlian. If you want to see a movie of her life, watch "A Little Princess." It was just like that. But without the magic. Or the dad actually being alive. Or being rescued from a childhood of drudgery in a boarding school kitchen before being thrown out on the street at age 16 with no life skills, like BEING ABLE TO READ. But man, could she clean. She deserved better.

3. I feel like I have aged 20 years in the last two. Being in constant pain and having your mobility restricted and your balance affected will do that to you. Luckily, I can see the light at the end of this tunnel. With regards one condition anyway. I fear the other is here to stay but I can handle that. As a corollary, I have proven that one does not die of loneliness. However, I still don't recommend it.

4. I can cram entire oratorios into my head. Okay, just the alto part, but still. WHO KNEW?

5. Cats will continue to love you whether you can walk long distances or not. As long as you can make it to the cupboard and to the food dish, you're in.

6. I MUST own a camera.

7. Number 3 above has made me fear old age the way Scrooge fears the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come.


From the "things I never thought I'd say" file

Yesterday, a badger arrived by post from Nottingham.

Update! The source is revealed. He's a Christmas present from Katherine, Kurt and Eve! Thanks, guys!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mr. Tommy Brock

... makes an appearance.
Most curious.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dante told me there'd be days like this

Remember the trampoline? The one right next to the fence in my neighbour's yard? The fence that's very close to my house? Specifically, the corner of my house that contains my bedroom?

The trampoline that was blessedly, wonderfully, fabulously GONE???

It has been replaced.

By a hot tub.

So instead of kids screaming and yelling at each other outside my window at all hours, it's going to be adults screaming and yelling at each other over the noise of the water jets at all hours.

That ground is cursed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Woe, woe and thrice woe - Part the Sixth – A room with a view

When we left our intrepid blogger in Part the Fifth (Sept 26 post), it was Saturday evening, she had finally wrestled the conference to the ground and everyone seemed happy. And no one had been murthered. The world's oldest coffee had been replaced with a nice chardonnay, the cell phone was still dying and there was still a distressing wobble coming from the car wheels and the exhaust system still being disturbingly grumbly.

Finally. Meetings have been met, awards have been awarded, allergic reactions have been avoided (barely) – there is nothing left but the small matter of getting the car repaired for the 672 km. drive home.

The resort is only 10 minutes away from the largest centre on the west coast of the island, so it only makes sense to head there on Sunday morning to see if I can get booked into a repair shop. Of course, just to add interest, the upcoming Tuesday is Canada Day. The national holiday on which pretty much everything is shut up tight. And every day’s delay means another night in a hotel that I can ill afford. So if I can’t get the car fixed on Sunday or Monday, I’m here until THURSDAY.

So, after a nice leisurely breakfast with a co-worker, I rumble into town on Sunday morning. I manage to find the Canadian Tire but it's booked solid both for the day, as well as all day on Wednesday, so no relief there. Just as well. I think they have a secret policy that requires their mechanics to never let any car leave without having wiggled wires, hauled on hoses and just generally cause some sort of small damage that will ensure a return visit very, very soon. Could just be my experience, but whatever. The only other place open with a garage is Wal-Mart. Right. It’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

So I head for one of the two hotels I’ve stayed at several times. I only get lost once. The hotel is in the downtown area, within walking distance of stores, restaurants etc. and I’m somewhat familiar with the general area. It will be SOOOOOO nice to be able to relax for a bit. Nobody will need me to do anything, be anywhere, know anything… IT WILL BE GLORIOUS!!!

I decide there’s no need to take luggage in while I inquire at the front desk, just in case there are no vacancies. Could happen. And as I approach the front door… 6 MILLION 14-YEAR OLD BOYS EXIT! Please. Please God, let them be checking out… They all trail to a bus in the parking lot, but that doesn’t mean anything. They could just be on their way to a game or some such.

I approach the front desk with fear in my heart, visions of pubescent boys roaming the hotel at all hours, hopped up on sugar and the absence of parents, whooping like monkeys all night long…

But there IS a God and the desk clerk tells me that they’ve just finished a week-long soccer tournament and they are GONE! Sweet Jeebus! He also informs me that there are no other groups currently booked in who are likely to run amok during the wee hours and they do in fact have a room. It won’t be ready for about another hour. No prob. I set off for a wee walking tour to kill time.

I’m leery of going too far by car both because of possible breakdown but also the fact that I never spend enough time in this city to get to know my way around. I’m either racing through at top speed on my way to the ferry or at some conference or other where I’m indoors and either being driven or am within walking distance of the venue. And like all older cities, the streets have sprung up from walking trails and cart trails and are very confusing. Not the lovely grids of newer planned-in-advance cities with helpful numbered and lettered streets so you can find your way around fairly easily.

It’s nice. Calm. I get to take pictures of things that usually I only see in passing. Have a leisurely coffee, whilst the locals stare holes through me trying to figure out if they know me or not. Like all islands, the local populace can be just a tad xenophobic at times.

It is time to check in. The lovely, lovely desk clerk asks me if I work for the provincial government. I tell her I do not. She then enquires regarding several other possible employers BECAUSE SHE IS TRYING TO GET ME A BETTER RATE. She knows how to do her job. I faint.

Not really, but it is a refreshing change from my weekend experiences. She manages to figure out a way to get me the government rate. I am tempted to re-enact the scene from “A Christmas Carol” in which Ebenezer Scrooge waxes eloquent about the boy about to fetch the turkey from the butchers, but one street over.

But I settle for a simple thank you and head for my room.

I seem to remember this hotel having a pool, but saw no signs in the lobby. I check the information binder in the room. I find out about laundry services, check out times, restaurant times, mini-bar (HA! $3 for a small bag of potato chips! I think NOT!) , fire exits…. Everything you could ever need to know but there is absolutely no mention of a pool. I decide I must be thinking of a different hotel.

I look out the window.

I can see my car from here! Life is always full of surprises, isn’t it? Although my car is not in this picture... But what’s this on the ledge below my window? A bottle. An intact bottle of… I strain to read the label…

Tahini. On a 2nd story ledge. Outside a window that doesn’t open. How on EARTH did anyone toss that up onto the ledge without A) breaking it, B) having it roll off again. I document it for posterity. I try not to think about the state of the tahini. Bleurgh.

I have supper in the hotel pub/restaurant, which is reasonably priced. And yummy. With a beer. And my iPod. *sigh*

I stroll across the street to Shopper’s Drug Mart and stock up on munchies. (along with the presence of a Tim Horton’s coffee shop, a Shopper’s Drug Mart is proof positive you are in Canada. Remember this if you are ever kidnapped. If you look out the window and see either of these fine establishments, you are Canada.)

I settle in with my munchies and check the phonebook, noting likely repair shops to call in the morning, then amuse myself with the TV/movie remote. There are many, many movies and channels from which to choose!

I realize how long it has been since I have been in a hotel room with enough time to peruse the movie listings. I settle on “Juno” which was actually quite good. Thus endeth the first day.

Next up our final (and it’s about time) installment - Woe, woe and thrice woe - Part the Seventh – Yes we have no resonator