Month: January 2009

My love for Canada explained

I am Poppy, Mikey’s long lost sister.  We finally found each other in 2006 through — who else? — Avitable.  I’m not sure how widespread the secret is, but everyone finds everyone else through Avitable.  It’s just a fact.

ANYWAY, yesterday Becky dared not do what I am about to do: Talk about all the times I’ve been to Canada.  Having lived in Vermont for the first 33 years of my life I actually went an obscene number of times.  A day trip to Canada was a frequent thing in my neck of the woods.  So I’ll just mention a few of my most memorable journeys:

1. Shopping in Montreal with my mommy. I needed school clothes.  My mom had the most brilliant idea ever to take me to Montreal to go shopping there.  I’m pretty sure I had been on a school trip recently and had loved it but had no money on me to buy clothes while all my friends around me were buying the clothes I looooooooved.  So, Mom and I piled in the car and did a road trip to a mall in Montreal!  We had a great time choosing severely funky clothes for me to wear.  Then we ate in the mall’s food court, bought lots of gum (my brother and I both have a thing for gum, it’s hereditary but inexplicable), and drove home.  My kinda trip!

2. Visiting one of my first online friends who went to Canada for college. My Best Friend Forever at the Time (BFFatT) was a boy I’d met through an online BBS where geeky kids chatted for hours and hours on the computer.  We also knew a chick named Shira (princess of POWER!) who was a bit older than us.  When she had been in college for a couple years my BFFatT and I randomly decided we wanted to go visit Shira at her Montreal apartment, so we did.  We drove up in BFFatT’s car, and when we arrived we somehow got talked into eating raw garlic cloves on a dare then I accidentally found (and handled without knowing what it was) Shira’s bedtime toy.  That’s all I’ll say about that.  After visiting we went to a local pizza joint and had (what else?) garlic pizza then drove home.

3. Going to Montreal to drink with all my friends who were over 18 but under 21. I can’t quite remember who all went, there were that many of us, but the first bar we went to was an Irish bar.  Yah, we went alllllllll the way to Canada to drink at an Irish bar.  We didn’t know what we were doing, though.  We didn’t tip the bartender at the right time so he stopped serving us and we left.  Then we went to a more Montreal flavored bar on St Catherine Street and I had my first ever Sex on the Beach.  Ah, mon dieu, I was in love at first sip.

4. Going to the gay bar, gay bar, gay bar to dance with my gay boyfriend. In my senior year of college I hung out with a gay guy.  We went to Montreal together so he could pick up boys. We went shopping first and I bought a really cute short dress but I only had my Tevas.  So I went out dancing in my Tevas and short dress.  I somehow got plastered enough so that I would actually dance on the dance floor.  I don’t remember if he picked up anyone or not, I just remember being very comfortably numb. 🙂

5. Visiting  Canadian Parliament. In my second senior year of college (it’s a long story that boils down to: I switched my major my first senior year) I had an actual boyfriend who took Canadian Studies class with me.  For Valentine’s Day weekend there was an optional school trip to Canadian Parliament in Ottawa.  My boyfriend and I both decided to go and I don’t know about him, but I had a fantastic time.  We watched the pre-Parliament procession, actually sat in on that session of Parliament, had a drinks party with members of Parliament after (free boooooooze), had a formal dinner in the Parliament restaurant (beef tenderloin medallions in a deliciously rich brown sauce), then we went for a walk to look at the ice sculptures on display nearby.  And this was all for class credit!  Is that not insane?!

6. A random visit to my employer’s head office au Canada with my boss who I hated. I worked for an international clothing company at the time, in the US head office’s IT department.  When I first started working there I loooooooved my boss, but she didn’t get along with the owners so she quit and a guy that she and the IT director used to work with at another place of employment was brought in as her replacement.  He and I got along like oil and water on a very bad day.  But for some reason that now escapes me we had to drive to Montreal together to go visit our Canadian head office so we did.  The president of the company happened to be visiting that day and I remember going outside to a canal and just watching the water go by.  The president and I discussed how wonderful Canada is… and then it was back to work.  And, of course my boss chose to drive us home during rush hour so it took 3 hours to get home instead of 1.5 hours, and he kept going the wrong way trying to get out of Montreal… And this is why GPS exists today!

7. Fondue in Québec City. My ex and I went to QC with BFFatT and his wife for a weekend getaway.  When we got there we found an incredible Swiss fondue restaurant and gorged ourselves on the magnificent liquid cheese and chocolate.  I tried the meat fondue but didn’t care for it.  I was allllll about the tomato-garlic cheese fondue.  And the beer that went with it.  And the aquarium we went to so I could stare at jellyfish.

8. Road trip to Halifax!!!!!!!!!!!! Same cast of characters on this trip.  We rented a Jeep Grand Cherokee and DROVE from Vermont, through Quebec, New Brunswick, and a bunch of Nova Scotia to arrive to Halifax.  The best part?  We had made NO reservations.  When we got to Halifax there was a big bowling tournament in town so we got the last room available at the third place we stopped at.  We then visited the most beautiful place on Earth: Peggys Cove.  We also went to the Meritime Museum, which was quite spectacular.  There was even an exhibit and a short film about the Titanic there!  I remember we ate at a steak house but I was feeling green in the gills so didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have.  Oh, yup, and we visited the Halifax Citadel.  Now, that’s a must see.

9. The return trip to Québec City for fondue!  And a lot of crêpes. This time I was with the ex, Break Boy, and a very first-timely pregnant Knitting Girl.  It was to be their last hurrrrrahhhhh before entering parenthood.  We walked around the city, ate at the same fondue place, and found a delicious place where I kept eating maple crêpes every time we went.  Delicious.  And I think we visited the street performers on the boardwalk about 5 times that trip.  I was entranced by the fireeating woman.  (I have a thing for fire.  It’s pretty.)  Actually, I’m trying to remember, but I think we had fondue twice on that trip.  That’s how much we all love cheese.

and… (drumroll please)

10. My fantasy trip to chez LeSombre (which technically hasn’t happened yet, but it will). Dawg and I will be invited to Mikey and LovelyWife‘s house and we will drink wine, eat fine cheeses, parler en français (I’ll teach Dawg some key phrases such as: “il faut uriner maintenant!!! … zut alors, où sont mes autres pantalons?” “où. est. la. bibliothèque??!?” “je voudrais manger vôtre poisson, SVP!” “qui a peté?!?!?! oh, c’est moi. 😀 “) and after our bellies are full and our minds are endrenched in sulphorous endorphins we will march over to Mikey’s work and tell off the garcons (bilingually, of course!).  Then we will return home, have a demi café, and ask the kiddos to go with us to the aquarium, museum, movies, a fine French restaurant, then a wonderfully charming pâtisserie.  Mmmmmmmmm, pain au chocolat….

Marvelous Morning

Hi everyone. I’m Becky from Girl Scout Dropout.  I had a few different thoughts about what I was going to write about. I was going to talk about the 2 times I was in Canada, then I thought, nah. I was thinking about praising Mike’s IT super powers, but I didn’t want it to go to his head Then, I was in panic mode, until this morning. Something happened that is just the epitome of being me and my oh-so-great luck.

My neighbor to the right is a cute family. The husband is a firefighter. I love men in uniforms…oops, I got sidetracked. But, that is important. Anyway, I went to let the dogs out this morning, and because it was actually above zero, all I was wearing was a tank top and boxer shorts, and slippers.

To let the mutts out, you have to go through the garage. So, I got them into the garage and opened the back door to let them out. It was cold, but this whole process should only take 2 minutes, tops. Two of the dogs ran right out. The littlest one didn’t want to go out. So, I picked her up and took two steps outside and set her down. As I did that, the door shut behind me. And locked.

I’m now stuck outside, basically naked. At least I have my slippers on. I walked over to the side gates, but we have them bolted shut because the neighbor girls open them and the dogs run. With all the subzero temps, they were frozen. I tried to climb over the fence, but I couldn’t get a grip on the chain link. I was beginning to think that I would freeze to death.

As this thought is running through my brain, my neighbor is snow blowing a path to his electric meter. He sees me and starts laughing. Even though I was cursing at him in my head, I was asking for help. Apparently, he hurt his back and isn’t able to do any lifting. However, he had a couple of his station friends over who could. And, they were hot! So, the youngest climbed over the fence, picked me up and handed me to the other guy, who then proceeded to carry me all the way to my front door.

They were so sweet through the whole thing, and I can only imagine how red my face must have been! I never want to these guys again…and I say that nicely. What a way to start off the day. Like I said, this is classic “me”. And, I am brave enough to share it with everybody. Hope your day started off much smoother!

Even if it makes me wrong

0created_at_www_fototrix_com_jpeg__small_1Hi All, I’m Janelle from Junk Food 4 the Soul.

So Mike put out a call for guest bloggers. I’m nothing if not a blogger whore and love doing guest posts! If blogging had a hobby, guest blogging would be its hobby.

I suppose that I should address the elephant in the room. I know that you are waiting for me to bring it up.

Here goes.elephant-in-the-room-harrison2-thumb-250x190

Yep. You guessed it, I gotta talk about the one thing that I really screwed up.

My use of grammar.

Grammar is not my thing. I put comma’s where there shouldn’t be one and a semi-colon, yeah, I just put those where I think that they look pretty. Hyphens just go where I feel like they should.There is no rhyme or reason to how I use commas and all those fancy do da’s.

And don’t get me started on my use of run on sentences. I like to think of those as my little tiny writers gift to you, the reader.  You’re welcome.

Spelling. Another bad, bad, bad thing that I’m really bad at. Thank God for spell checker or I wouldn’t have a job!

I blame my 3rd grade teacher. She was gone most of the year on maternity leave and we were taught by a different substitute every week, if not every day. Therefore, most of the school year I was watching movies, playing games , but I do remember writing the “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” in cursive over and over. Weird how you remember things like that. But that is basically all I got out of 3rd grade while the others were learning real stuff like what an adverb is and where to put a comma, I was learning where the red fern grows and the use of getting your dog a rabies shot ala Old Yeller from watching the movies, not from reading books. Oh no.

Stupid pregnant teacher. I blame her for most of my problems that I have in life to this day. It makes it easier.

Oh, you want me to talk about that other elephant in the room?

The fact that I really screwed up. Yes. Yes. I did.

I challenged Mike to a game of Mario Kart and I will have to forfeit. I did not get Mario Kart for Christmas even though I asked Santa for it. My hubby has informed me that our next Wii purchase will be Guitar Hero, Legends of Rock . We currently have Guitar Hero World Tour, but we find that we don’t do well with songs that aren’t spoken in English, except for La Bamba. We rock that song!

Is there something I’m forgetting? Something else you wanted me talk about?

Oh! I know… yes. You are right to bring it up.3006575706_77801c1004_m

If you had read my post about how Delmer’s costume was the funniest at Adam’s Halloween Party, You might have questioned me not mentioning Mike’s costume. Yes, yes, yes, Mike went all out for his costume. The dude shaved hishead! And wore make up that I’m sure took a full week to entirely get off.  (hehe, I said get off. I love that Prince song, don’t you?)

But Mike was missing one key element to having the funniest costume, one SpongeBob Ball.

Ihave no way of knowing this, but I am very sure that Mike had two balls at that party. So, am I wrong for thinking that one ball is always funnier than two?

picture1Pfff. If that makes me wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

The dark side

Mike was kind enough to let me squat here for the day. My bloggy home is located across the river from his, in Ottawa. Around here we say that Mike lives on the “dark side” of the National Capital Region. He lives in (cue suspenseful music) Gatineau. (Barage of girly screams!) Let me tell you what I know about Gatineau. It is made up of three parts the nice classy part where Mike lives, the middle and Hell*.

When I was in my teens, Hell was the place to be. The legal drinking age is 18 over in Quebec**, AND (very importantly) they’d serve anyone who looked like they might possibly be even remotely close to 18 within the next five, 10, or 15 years. Not that I would know really. I was good girl and I never EVER break the law.  Nor would I sneak out to go drinking. Nope I think fake ID is a moral outrage. Me — I’m all about obey societal norms and laws, I wear my seatbelt and never go over the speed limit.  I would never ever tell my parents I was sleeping at Roseanne’s place and sneak out. Rumours from 1987 that a  girl dressed entirely in black, who looked just like me,  was in the corner making out with the blond biker guy who looked like Keifer Sutherland from Lost Boys were simply not true. Me, I was sitting at home reading the Bible. 

But like little old me, things change and evolve. Some for the better. I’m not even sure the kids still feel the need to go to Hell. Well, mine will, but you know mainly because he’s got bad parents, he was born out of wedlock, and he’s not baptized. I believe there is not redemption for a sinner by happenstance like that.

Over the last few years, Gatineau has seemed  a little bit darker. We’re not sure when it happen. I wonder if Mike has seen it.  It’s no longer dingy bars smelling like teen spirit and $2.50 pints, it’s more Uncle Fester and his machete hiding in the closet plotting to kill us dark.  In fact,  my coworker’s brother’s wife’s sister-law’s friend says she knows a guy who went to Gatineau looking for cheap aluminum siding… and never returned. Something about Somber things…

Oddily as I write this, I see that today Gatineau seems brighter today. Not quite so menacing. A place I’d let my kids play. But I just saw a news report from Dakar.  Seems they are being plagued by the Gatineau shadows. (As well as a drop in their bandwidth.) Probably just some odd weather patterns, causing electrical issues right? It doesn’t mean anything? Can’t be… 

When did he say he was coming back? If you’ll excuse me… I have to go to Canadian Tire and buy a shot gun. I think may  have said too much.

___________

*This may be a bit of a typo for effect. It’s called Hull.

** Pronunciation is Kaybeck… not Kweebec.

*** Ottawa not Washington.

Some of my favorite things are Canadian

I’m Avitable. Mike is my doppelganger.

None of us is innocent.  Each of us has been at a party or a conference or naked in a hot tub and when the conversation quieted down, motioned for the group to huddle together, looked around carefully, and said, “Did you hear the joke about the Canadian who . . .”

Or maybe you were a part of that group, and you glanced around nervously to make sure that none of our Great White Northern neighbors were around before laughing uproariously at the latest jokes about maple syrup or saying “oot”.

Well, unlike the rest of you racist fucks, I don’t hide when I tell or hear Canadian jokes. I know I’m not racist, because some of my favorite things are Canadian!

  • Maple syrup
  • John Candy
  • Michael J Fox
  • Light bulbs
  • Duct tape
  • Superman
  • IMAX
  • LeSombre
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Bacon
  • Cable TV
  • Air-conditioned cars
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Ryan Reynolds
  • Basketball
  • Color film
  • Liquid hand soap dispensers
  • Telephone
  • Ginger Ale
  • Tracer bullets
  • Air hockey
  • Zippers
  • Avril Lavigne
  • Sarah Chalke

See? Now you’ll know that the next time I tell that joke about Celine Dion, unlocked doors, no guns, and a Queen, it’s not racist, because some of my favorite things are Canadian.

Senegal announces new coinage

lesombre-coin

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Senegal’s Minister of the Economy and Finance Abdoulaye Diop today unveiled the first pressings of the country’s newest coin, a 20-franc piece equal in value to 2,000 centimes. The coin bears the image of Michel Marcheterre, the Canadian educator credited with restructuring Senegal’s university system through the concept of distance education.

Marcheterre’s image was chosen for the 20-franc coin, Minister Diop explained, in appreciation for the thousands of bus fares that will be saved by students who no longer have to endure long bus rides to attend classes. The average one-way fare for a bus to University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar is 20 francs.

Marcheterre, who is currently attending a webloggers event in Santa Fe, New Mexico, could not be reached for comment.

[Chicago Tribune, April 24, 2009]

WADLL

Hello gang! (Bonjour tout le monde).

I’m Delmer, from What’s a Delmer Look Like? (Je m’appelle Delmer. Ma blog est: Delmer! Qu’est Qui Resemble?) and I will be guest posting today while LeSombre is in Africa.dscn3333

I’d originally signed on to guest post yesterday. However, as it was the only day Dave was available Mike (Michel) asked if I’d mind being bumped. I’d no problem with it as getting bumped by Dave is akin to being a guest on Letterman and getting bumped by Bruce Springsteen. To put it in Canadian terms, it’s like getting bumped by The Bare Naked Ladies or Rush. (To put it in French-Canadian terms, a été tué par ‘Les Femmes Sans Vetements,’ ou Le Vite’). Regardless of how it’s expressed, it is way better than getting bumped by Chilliwack, who have been gone gone gone so long few may remember them. [God! I crack me up. (Dieu! Je me brise.)]

I can tell right now that if I keep going the way I have been this is going to look more like a poorly-thought-out math equation than a poorly-thought-out blog post. So we’ll cut out the French; I’m sorry, but too bad for you my French-Canadian friends (Je regrette, mais ma tante piss pour vous, mes amis Francais-Canadianais.)

I’ve no idea why Mike’s misspelled Canada on his blog but I suspect that whatever it is about Canadians that allow them to sing, “Oh Canada, our home and native land,” without any irony in their voices also allows them to play fast-and-loose with the spelling of their country. I’m guessing that so long as the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Hawking, is careful to wear a Maple Leaf pin on his lapel Canada’s sense of patriotism remains intact.

[Canadians are a far more secure people than Americans. We are, however, nuclear. (As of the most recent inauguration.)]

Canada, as you may be aware, is vast! Yet, despite the fact it is almost as big as Texas and Arkansas combined, it has a population that comes in just south of that of Rhode Island. There are so few Canadians that Father Guido Sarducci once said something like, “There are enough Chinese people that if you were to pair them up and march them into the ocean you’d never run out of Chinese folks.” The point being there are so many and they reproduce fast enough your task would never end.

The father continued with, “… so why even try? Why not line the Canadians up and march them into the ocean two at a time? You’d be done by lunch.” He was referring, I’m thinking, more to the sparsity of Canadians than to their reluctance to breed while standing in a line.

I made my first trip to Canada when I was 12 or so; our family spent a week at Rice Lake in Ontario. I’d next go when I was 30 or 31… I was on my honeymoon then. And, as you recall, I dropped by Vancouver (which, despite being in the British-Columbian part of Canada, had little to offer in the way of Brits or South Americans) in early December; I’d have been, and still am, 48. So what is that? I make the trip about every 15 years or so. Canada seems none the worse for my visits.

As I’ve demonstrated above, my French leaves a lot to be desired. The interesting thing about this is if you were to ask a Frenchman about a French-Canadian’s French, the French dude might say the same thing about the Cannuk’s. The Cannuck might then say, “you need to drop an ‘n’ there big fella.”

Blah blah blah … I was going to end with a blurb about how Mike and I would likely survive if we were stranded together in Paris, what with the French-Canadian not-French French and my inability to reliably order anything off a menu aside from eggs, cheese, snails and grapefruit. That story ended with me getting by by snatching food from the plates of other patrons and them not being surprised as I’m an American and that’s what we do – take what we want … however, given the new administration I felt odd going there. Also, Canadian French and French French sound a lot alike to me – sort of like a low hum followed by a snarky, nasal “haw haw haw” – and I’m not really sure which version Mike uses.

So, instead, I’ll leave you with these three items.

One/Un

I’ve been saying for years “I’m so nice I’m damned near Canadian.” I’d really hoped this would turn into a catch phrase of some sort but I don’t have the sense it’s making much headway outside of my (really sweet) mini-van. I would like your help with this; see if you can’t work it in to your everyday conversation.

Two/Deux

During the Iranian Crisis of 30 years ago (eg. America Held Hostage … day 300) – at least I think this was the event – some Americans escaped from our Embassy in Iran and made their way to the Canadian Embassy. The Canadians smuggled them out of the country and to safety. A short time after this I read an article in the paper in which some Canadians were pulled over for speeding in the States. The officer who stopped them said something like, “I realize you’re probably just practicing rushing Americans to safety, but could you please watch your speed.” (After giving them a cavity search he sent them on their way with just a warning.)

Three/Soixante-neuf

After meeting Mike I commented to another Canadian friend, “I met a guy from Ottawa. His name is Mike. Maybe you know him.” Because that’s the joke we make about Canada due to its lack-of-populationess. “His real name is ‘Michel’,” I continued. “I think he goes by Mike when he’s in the US because ‘Michel’ is a girl’s name down here.”

“You’re saying it wrong,” said my Canadian friend, who’s name was, unfortunately, not René.

“’Michel’ … that’s wrong? How do you say it?”

“If you are talking about a woman you say it the way you’ve been saying it, ‘Michel.’ A man’s name is, ‘Michel.’

“That’s what I said. ‘Michel’”

“No. You said, ‘Michel.’ It’s ‘Michel’ for a man and ‘Michel’ for a woman.”

Now, I know my friend was trying to make some sort of distinction between “Michel” and “Michelle.” And there may have been a point when he said “Mi-shelllle” but I was never really sure he wasn’t picking on me. Because, you know, I deserved it.

I finally distracted him with, “Hey, how about them Maple Leafs?” which encouraged him to forget Michel/Michel and go into a hockey-related tirade that lasted for twenty minutes. (Twenty-five minutes and twenty-four seconds Canadian. Haw haw haw!)