Sunday, December 15, 2002

Oh, so kind. It's been two months since my last posting, forgivemefatherforIhavesinned, and the blogger blurb says, "Welcome back, Lawrene," the nice granny blog in town who is so very pleased to see you no matter how infrequently you can visit, as opposed to the granny blog next door who, even if you blog every day purses its lips and says, "Of course you're busy with your own life and don't have time for your old granny blog. She doesn't have long on this web, but you're busy. They'll shut her down because you don't have a minute to visit, but that's okay ... because you're busy."

Saturday, September 21, 2002

What a day! Should I tell you about it? Well, sure. You’re not talking much. Haven’t signed the guestbook or anything (hint, hint) so it’s up to me.
Soooo, yesterday we kicked things off by getting up at four a.m. to catch and crate chickens. Roosters. You probably don’t even have chickens around to catch; you live in a city maybe or watched Chicken Run (I haven’t seen it) and became a vegetarian. We, however, raise ’em and catch ’em and I won’t tell you what happens to them next. It is not, although we tell them it is, a nice cruise.
Chickens caught and in the truck to, um, Carnival Cruises, I drove to one town to drop off a trumpeter for band practice then backtracked to Glencoe to be at the International Plowing (they don’t spell it Ploughing) Match for the 8 a.m. bucket set-up. Buckets? Yes, a handful of us booked off the day to sell Home Hardware buckets for the Rotary Club until about 4 p.m. Sounds easy, but like the cruise story we tell the chickens, lies were involved. The Rotary organizers told us these buckets sell like hotcakes and are all gone by noon. I pictured standing in a shady tent, handing out buckets and accepting toonies with a smile. Buckets do not sell like hotcakes. Sure, some people see them, want them, but most have to be “hard sold” at carnival barker pitch. That’s a lot of work on the fuel of one corn dog. Corn dog? The church lady food tents had lines going ’round their respective blocks. The corn dog booth had no lines. For a reason…
But back to the plot thread. At four p.m. we were promised a five p.m. cold beer, but at five I was to be dressed and practising to sing with the choir in another Plowing Match tent. With just a little time lag for the practice I might have had the beer and not cared with which hand I needed to manipulate my hat during “Mr. Sandman” (bring us a dream). I might have flipped the hat into the audience like a rock star. I might have had a voice this morning so I wouldn’t be silently typing on and on just now…
Oh, while I'm here I need to add a note about my unfairness to Oastler Lake, below: Our niece was regaling the family with the story of her canoe trip in late August and when she got to the stay-at-Oastler-Lake part and we were comparing notes, she said, "Wasn't that cool that the train tracks go right through the park?"

Monday, September 02, 2002

Back from the Bruce Trail with no bear tales for ya, but a snake tale (photo to follow when developed) and a bad magician tale. What shall I post first? The latter, I think. You’re not from Oastler Lake, right? Okay then, Oastler Lake Provincial Park is the WORST CAMPGROUND IN THE WORLD. After six days on the serene and rugged Bruce Peninsula we wanted (read “needed”) showers before we hit civilization at IMC Camp, Parry Sound – there were Torontonians there in Capri pants, so, yes, civilization. We easily booked a tent site on Saturday of the Labour Day weekend (hmmm…) for Oastler’s night life. Trains went through every hour or so in the wee hours, whistling and howling and screeching brakes, bush planes took off, motorboats roared, and, worst of all, a bad magician was giving a show on the hill above our tent ("Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, and Genders and Generations I haven't mentioned..."). Maybe he wasn’t bad. Maybe he was Houdini and I couldn’t hear the clapping and ooos and ahhhs for the howly trains. There was trainscreech-absence enough, however, for him to fill with un-ahhhed patter. Sleeping bag over the head didn't help. Oh for that nice quiet trail with the nice quiet bears and the nice quiet snakes. But there were showers. And we covered ourselves over with biodegradable camp soap for that. (No soap allowed in the lakes on the trail – rogue bears might take the mounds of it that collect on the shore and fashion fake moustaches and goatees for themselves, terrifying hikers.)

Thursday, August 22, 2002

I must tell you about the wayzgoose when I get back. It had Michael Ondaatje in it! In the meantime, I'm packing to hike with hubby in the wilds of the Bruce Penninsula for a week. Dehydrated food, extra socks, two-(skinny)man tent, massassauga rattlers and bears. Should we have invited you? There will be better photos for the album upon our return.

Friday, August 16, 2002

You may get a word in edgewise now. And find those hidden archives if you so desire. I mucked about with the template to put in a guestbook and republish the archives. I say this as if I'm a code-writing expert, but no. It involved clicking only. Bravenet is a wonderful help. (By this I mean it does all the work for free - that's a *wonderful help.*) I did it during an electrical storm, though, so that makes me *intrepid.* Have fun with the guestbook. You know, a friend pointed out the other day that I'm using the word *wonky* frequently -- you know how you just seem to settle on a word and use it to death? -- but I think I'm using *mucked* as in *mucked about* too much. Maybe *you know* too, after rereading this.

Sunday, July 28, 2002

The seas were angry that day, my friend.
Starting out, "So, I went in this sailboat race in Halifax Harbour," (and letting the "Harbour" rise in oft-used-by-youth questioning tone) does not carry the authority of, "The seas were angry that day, my friend." The latter was recommended to me by one of the crew and I'm rather attached to it after practising it in the car as New Brunswick then Quebec flashed by. So...
The seas were angry that day, my friend. The spinnaker was proud, the mainsail taut, the hull lying over on starboard for the tack. Or not. It might have been port. It might have been gybe. Lying over on port for the gybe. I was too busy scuttling at "break" and clinging at "ready about" to remember which side was over for what. And the seas were angry, but they were showing it by pouting. On the home stretch that spinnaker sagged as the sky held its breath. For which an Ontario girl was grateful. Her scuttling hadn't been deft.
Why are ropes called sheets? If you are escaping from an asylum, your sheets can become ropes, but when are ropes sheets? How are Ontario farmlanders supposed to catch onto that? And you, you Ontario farmlander or Torontonian, you think I've spelled gybe wrong. You think it's jibe. But I looked it up.

Saturday, July 13, 2002

You don't have to be good. You just have to be from Ontario. So here I am in the cosy Ontario webring. Getting approved was laughably easy. How awful would it have been, though, if I hadn't been? How discouraging ? To be the right age (well, well over 13) and from the right province? Don't tell 'em I'm not from Toronto. They may kick me out. They won't suspect if I complain a bit about the garbage collectors' strike... Ew, yuck, get a load of that garbage all over the, um, streets. Yeah, streets. Ew. (Parking lots? Where does it pile up?)

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

I’m here out of guilt. I posted a message at a Sarnia Theatre website preaching that they might consider updating their site, quack, quack, quack, and maybe look at getting a student to do it for his/her forty hours of community service (an Ontario thing, not a criminal thing – same thing? Tsk, no). Then it struck me why there are so many sites still listing the 2000 playbill or under construction or thanking me for my patience or not even there. It’s because you get the site up and feel like you’re done. Novelty’s worn off, hasn’t it?
So I’m crowbarring out the beam in my eye and posting. Posting about not posting.

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Here's what you do, frustrated first time bloggers! Do you want to save those changes? Sure you do. You go to the template, make the changes, *save changes*, then go out of the template and into settings. Don't make any changes there (unless you need to change something) but *save changes* anyway. And there you have it: an edited blog. Oh, you're welcome; it was nothing.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

But I don't need a tutorial on blogs! I just need to know how to save changes to the template. When I type things in (yes, of course in html! yes, of course in the right spots!) and hit SAVE CHANGES the changes do not save. Can a tutorial help with this? I don't think so. Breathe. Again.
Right, so I'll just stick to text. Must let go this obsession with changing the template.

Monday, June 10, 2002

Why won't "This is where you stick random tidbits..." allow itself to become "'Look,' said Andy, 'there's some cows over there. How casual.' -Martin Amis, Dead Babies" Must keep attemping template edits and saves.

Sunday, June 09, 2002

I'm a thief. Yesterday I stole an apostrophe. It is here on the desk in front of me, green construction paper folded sticky bit to sticky bit, a sad hostage. Twenty-four hours ago it was on a wall at the Wish Centre (no, I will not say in what city) where we were to sing. I walked into the gymnasium/concert hall with the accompanist and an alto and there it was with its carefully cut out and placed fellows: The Village Ladie's Choir. Did they know we were from N******? Did they know we come from a place where "strawberrie's" are advertised for sale? (Yous can pick you're own.) Were these big city snobs or was the creator from N****** his/herself? Either way there was no time to lose. The alto and I grabbed a ladder from the back of the hall and clanked to the stage. This was the only time during the whole of the day we were happy the acoustics of a gymnasium/concert hall are so dreadful. The sound did not carry. I zipped up the rungs, grabbed the apostrophe and stuffed it in my cargo pants pocket. That's what cargo pants pockets are for!
Later, decked out in choir goddess blue I watched through heavy mascara for signs of impending alert. No one searched the stage area; no one asked if anyone had seen an apostrophe. No one snipped and applied a replacement.
Now I am home and wondering what to do. I could throw the apostrophe out. I could mail it to the Wish Centre in an envelope unmarked except for the address. There, I have unfolded and stuck it to my monitor casing. I could collect them. An inappropriate apostrophe collection, chopped from signs, pried from lattice, unstuck from walls, quarter moons and tadpoles of wood and paper will line my monitor, my picture frames, the cover over the breaker panel.
What do you collect?

Friday, June 07, 2002

While I'm messing about trying to put links in the other colour blocks I'll put the (Put our WORD WARRIORS to work for you!) link here, and humour, Chandra K. Clarke, and literature, Arts and Letters Daily, and, finally, a favourite island, Seguin. One day this site will be useful in its way.
Hah! Webmonkey taught me how to create links. This will be ever so much better. Okay, I know, 41 years old and couldn't create a link isn't a way to impress, for instance, other bloggers. The cat is mightily unimpressed and doesn't mind yawning to prove it.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

I'm happy that paper is not used for this...
It's a 14-hour drive from SW Ontario to Bath, Maine. It's a 24-hour drive to Halifax, Nova Scotia. It's 13 hours to Keithsburg, Illinois, 12 hours to Manitoulin Island and 12 hours to Marthaville, New York. I don't know the straight-through hourage to Florida -- we actually STOPPED on the way when we went there. STOPPED and SLEPT. Otherwise it's the straight-through business, stopping only to fuel up the car, herding the kiddies out at the time to avoid any wastage of precious minutes between fuel stops. We run laps around the car (quick ones) every second stop for exercise but we're not talking much exercise -- we drive a fuel-efficient little Civic.
With us, it's not the journey. It is the destination. We hate travelling. We like being other places, but we hate doing what it takes to get there. So we marathon drive, and wait until our eyes are sandpapered by the road to smarting unblink-able orbs before turning the wheel over to the other. We do not take winding, lovely or historical roads. We take queen's highways and interstates and toll roads and anything hideous and reeking of diesel just to get there faster.
On the road we live on dried apricots and smoked cheese. We listen to books on audio tape, borrowed by the armload from the library. We listen to Christie's Murder on the Orient Express and long for a comfy sleeper berth, murder and all. We do sleep, with heads balanced on taut seatbelts, and the parts of us that haven't gone numb are cricked. We wake up drooling, "What, what?" when the driver asks, panicked, "Do we want exit 2A or 2B?"
And because it is three a.m. we fumble for the flashlight we know we have somewhere near the front seat but that we won't find until dawn. We attempt to make out the small print on the map in the dark, and because by now, of course, we've taken the wrong exit, we attempt to navigate through the snarl of downtown streets that we would have missed had we taken the right exit. Our map doesn't have the detail we need. We find ourselves at last back on the interstate. We have found it by smell.
Our short-term memory fades with sleep deprivation and we leave our gas cap at a service centre but miraculously pick it up a week later on the way home, when our common sense (which would tell us that it is, of course, someone else's cap) has been diminished by the new round of forced wakefulness.
We sing arias in the front seat until the back seaters plead for mercy. The back seat choir sings the hits from Grease until the we-lived-through-it-the-first-time-thank-you front seat squares get bossy. "All right now, that's enough." Know what's worse, though? What's worse is when the back seat sings out every radio/TV jingle for every recognized sign passed. "Bob Evans, down on the farm..." and "Did somebody say McDonald's..." That's why newspaper/blog page advertising is sooooo much better. No jingles.
We finally reach our destination and have our fun, and attempt to forget that we'll be driving home again. Someday we'll drive somewhere, say to British Columbia, and just stay there. With our two t-shirts, our two pair of jeans and extra socks each, plus 24 books on audio tape and a few wizened bits of cheese, we'll snap, and stay there forever.