Sunday, July 31, 2005

Soaked to the Skin

I went to the flea market today but it was literally a wash-out.

Oh, I should have listened to the little voice in my head this morning that said "Stay in bed, you fool! You need your sleep and it's going to rain!" I even checked the weather forecast and it said a 40% chance of showers by afternoon.

But I'd gone to the trouble of loading up the car the night before and so I weighed those 4 in 10 chances of a "shower" and decided to go ahead. And the first two hours were excellent. I made forty-six dollars before the heavens opened up and DUMPED their load of rain on us all. I've never seen flea market merchants (usually a leisurely sort of folk) move so fast! I've never seen shoppers make their decisions to purchase so fast! "Rainy day bargain sale!" I wailed as people threw money at me before running for shelter.

The rain was coming down so hard the gravel in the parking lot was jumping. It was a deluge. Everything got soaked. It was futile trying to wring the water out of the Mexican blankets I'd laid on the ground; they were so heavy I had trouble heaving them into the car. Usually it takes me an hour to pack up--I did it in maybe fifteen minutes. Not elegantly, but everything was in the car.

Then strip down to my skin and put on dry things and then the enormous project of drying all my goods (and their sodden cardboard boxes) out.

Bah! And then the rain went away for most of the rest of the day. Bah, I say!

The Boyfriend, A Musical

My mother took me and Joan to the Sid William Theatre the other day to see Rainbow Youth Theatre's production of "The Boyfriend", which is a very light and frothy romp set on the french Riviera during the roaring Twenties.

Last time my mother saw it on stage it was in 1957, but it was much as she remembered it. What can I say? "Aida" or "Les Miserables" it's not.

It was very amusing in parts (note to self: if you are ever cast in a musical be in the comic relief role like Lord Brockhurst because that is everybody's favourite) and I loved all the flapper costumes with their fringed dresses and black stockings. I enjoyed the energetic Charleston dance numbers. My mom's friend Amanda played the female lead Polly and she has a nice voice (she also sings with Cantiamo) and Laurel's daughter Anya nicely played Hortense, the French maid.

But the male lead Tony had a mediocre voice: it just wasn't very strong. And the whole relationship between Polly and Tony was just SO shallow! I just couldn't root for them. I know, I know, the whole point was that she had to have a boyfriend, ANY boyfriend. But still...

Rainbow Youth Theatre is fabulous though, and I highly recommend going to see any production of theirs. This one wasn't my favourite though, so Tai, I agree with you that SOME musicals aren't the greatest,don't let your experience with "Miss Saigon" sour you entirely.

If you want to hear clips from songs in this musical you can follow this link to the page:

But thank-you Mom for taking me out to the theatre! I DID have a fun evening despite this not-so-stellar review. And I've been really happy this summer to take in so many shows (bellydance and flamenco), "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead" and "As You Like It" at Bard on the Beach, the Ecclestons concert at the Filberg Festival (the Ecclestons are FABULOUS!) and coming up soon I will be seeing "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Sid too.

Really I can't think of a more satisfying way to spend an evening than taking in a really good show. :)

I Met Emily Carr

"We artists need moral support, whether we are doing it in the old way or in the new way, it does not matter, so long as it is...with the feel and spirit of Canada".

--Emily Carr

So yesterday I talked to someone who I THOUGHT was dead, and I also talked with someone who I KNOW is dead. But Canadian artist and writer Emily Carr apparently lives on in the form of an actress names Molly Raher Newman who has become a "living history exhibit" dedicated to spreading the spirit of Emily's work by BEING Emily.

Her artist's caravan/shed and awning were set up underneath some trees at the Filberg Festival and Emily/Molly painted busily away, breaking off every once and a while to entertain passersby with readings from the work of Emily Carr.

Molly bears a fair resemblance to the middle-aged Emily Carr, paints in a style uncannily like Carr's, and certainly has a wonderfully theatric way of reading. She shared a little story from "The House of All Sorts" concerning Carr's time as a boarding lady when she was forced to put up with boarders hanging their "peach scanties" (undies) out the front window. Molly railed and fumed and bristled and I don't know if that's what the real Emily Carr would have sounded like but it was very entertaining in any case.

Molly (now out of character) told me about a trip across Canada planned for 2007 which will reenact Emily's trip to meet the artists known as the Group of Seven.

She also autographed a little card for me that proclaims that "I MET EMILY CARR". She said she's won bets from her perfect imitation of Emily's signature.

Mostly what she wanted people to know was that Emily Carr was an author as well as an artist. I adore Emily Carr's writing at least as much as her art so it was nice to be able to tell this lady so.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Very Glad to See this Ghost

I think it was Mark Twain who said that the rumours of his death had been greatly exaggerated. I guess that sometimes happens because today I saw somebody who I believed to be dead. Because somebody told me so, and I wish I could remember who. I'm so pleased that this was a rumour greatly exaggerated.

It was Mr. Claydon, my wonderful teacher from fourth and fifth grade! (And Tai, I'm sure you'll also be glad to know this because I think I passed on the "news" of his passing to you..that's how it goes).

I was at the Filberg Festival today inside the Lodge where a cloth and fibre art show was being held. There were some beautiful things there. I was just admiring some truly detailed and imaginative dolls when I looked up and there beside me was Mr. Claydon. It gave me quire a start. "Mr. Claydon?..." He is slimmer and greyer now, but considering it has been over twenty years since I was his student he still looks the same as ever.

"It must have been about '82 or '83 he reckoned, since I was in his class. "But there's always something in a face that makes you remember", he said. He remembered me!

Tai and I used to pester him with all sorts of science and mysteries-of-the-universe type questions and he always took the time to give us a thoughtful answer. (Does everybody taste things the same? Do we all see the colour blue the same way?...I remember particularly the day we posed these questions to him.)

I told him how much I appreciated him as a teacher, and that Tai and I still remembered him fondly. We chatted a little bit about old times and art and I introduced him to my mom and her friend Joan. It was just so wonderful to see him.

It is so rarely you get a chance to tell someone how much you appreciate them after they're dead, you know. Although I didn't tell him just how surprised I was to see him.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Thirsty for Culture

This is a story concerning an art piece "valued" at 42,500 British pounds. Trouble is, it looked mighty refreshin' on a hot day...

Poor thirsty guy was just appreciating the art!

Back to the Flea Market

This weekend was my first time back at the flea market since I got my appendix out. My absence was one part not being able to lift heavy boxes and one part being too busy on weekends having fun doing other things.

But now it's only a month until I leave for Africa and so I figured I should at least try a few more times to sell some things before the trip. Pin money for bug spray and Immodium perhaps?

For those who don't already know this, my flea market earnings are all put aside for travelling money. I started selling things in 1998 for my trip with Tai to Ireland, and whole basements and garages worth of junk have gone towards trips to Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Italy and France.

"Where are you going now?" is a familiar question from regular flea market customers. Now of course some folks don't really care whether their fifty cents is going towards a safaria in Kenya or car payments and soda pop....but there are a number of people who DO seem to care.

One little old lady is so sweet. She tells me she is so glad I'm doing this, that I'll never regret it. Every time she comes to my table she buys something and usually leaves an extra dollar or two.

Another lady told my mother (who always drops by when I'm running a table) that she must be so proud. She said to me, "You're living your dreams!...I saw a show on that the other day, and now I've met a person who's actually doing it!" She seemed very excited for me and she was a total stranger. I am so glad there are people like that! :)

I'm also very glad there are people who pass on their cast-off things to me. I can sell my items without any sentimentality because they were never mine. Thanks Tracy, Emily, Karen, Bonnie and all you others who have made my basement full of ever-so-profitable junk!

Under a sunny sky on Sunday I sold such varied items as :

* eleven romance novels * a brass shark *napkins with a "tennis theme * three dollhouse chairs * a bag of rawhide bones * a microwave cookbook * a slightly deflated basketball * a chipped salt shaker in the shape of a blue bird * an A&W pin * assorted costume jewellry and oh! so much more.....

I made about ninety dollars which is less than I've sometimes made but considering that most of my items go for under two dollars it's not bad at all. As I say to many who ask how the day's going: "I'm nickel and diming my way to fortune!"

Mark, the guy at the next table, whose junk is of a much finer calibre than mine, was in a tizzy. He had just watched someone else scoop up an authentic chastity belt for only five dollars. oh, the pathos!

I'll probably never have a find like that on my table (naw, that's what Ebay is for!) but it's much more relaxing knowing I'm an honest junk merchant. Recycling you know!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Gin and Tea on a Summer Afternoon

These are my friends Sherry and Emily decked out in their Outrageous Ladies finery at Susan's birthday/tea party. All the ingredients for fun were there: gin, tea, food, friends, and music.

We also formed teams for a most amusing scavenger hunt: Ie. Find someone on your team who is not wearing underwear. At first I couldn't figure out why team captains Claudia and Emily ( today christened Dubya for her zest in battle)fought so fiercely for the privilege of having me on their respective teams.

"She's my best friend!" "No, she's MY best friend!" Until I saw the scavenger hunt list and realized they both loved me only cuz I was not wearing a stitch under my black evening dress. Well, it was THAT kind of dress, you see.

There was also a talent contest wherein Donna got full marks for singing the Canadian anthem in French. Someone spontaneously joined in on kazoo and soon we all had our hands over our hearts humming along drunkenly. It brought a tear to my eye I can tell you.

There was a contest for the weirdest job ever had (it was a toss-up between the woman who sexed beetles by listening to their different whirs, and the person who wanked dogs for a breeding program. "It got me through college", they both sighed.

The contest for grossest stories involved a lot of nudity, ant hills, and urinating sleepwalkers..but you probably had to be there.

This is the third annual party of this sort that Susan has thrown and people are definitely getting into the spirit of it. Only one lady copped out and went for the floral garden party look this year. We had ballerinas, exotic bag ladies, princesses, cabaret stars, and even one drag queen (and Bruce, the name Fiona even suited you!)

I think the winner for party spirit had to be Theresa though. Prim little Theresa who runs a posh kitchen store downtown. She showed up in nothing but flesh-coloured skimpies and a BBQ-Naked apron and chef hat. Both were products from her store with the tags still on. Good advertising I guess. :)

She insisted that she didn't usually drink gin and you could tell.

By the end of the evening (we DID start at three in the afternoon) she was plastered and decided to walk home with her friend who was wearing the most flesh-revealing bridesmaid dress I have ever seen (mostly because she wore it backwards and it didn't have much of a back). We called their husbands to come pick them up because we figured they'd cause a traffic accident walking along the side of the road. Theresa DID look pretty naked from a distance. Sherry and I drove by later and passed their cars by the sides of the road. BBQ-Naked and the Bridesmaid From Hell were both necking with their respective husbands in the backs of their cars. Seems romance was in the air.

Oh, it was a FUN party. And I should know because I was completely SOBER being still on antibiotics. Way to go Susan! Looking forward to next year!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Why I Can't Go on Fear Factor

Besides the fact that I would never climb out on a plane's wing, bungee jump off a sky-scraper, or ride in any car that goes purposefully airborne (except for that one time in Tai's old Charger), I could never win at a show like Fear Factor because they would probably ask you to eat something disgusting.

Now, I used to enjoy that show because I figured I could at least do the gross stuff like eating tentacles and bugs. I'm not Eval Kneivel perhaps, but I'd always prided myself on not being grossed out by...things.

I mean, come on, I tried worm pancakes in Grade 4 science class, and once I tried eating a mouse as a child. WHAT was I thinking, you may ask. Well, thank you very much Mr. Farley Mowat (mmmm, remember the souris a la creme in "Never Cry Wolf"?)

Also, I seem to recall some really disgusting "corn" bread made from gerbil food when my dear pre-adolescent friends and I liked to play "We're Lost in the Woods and It's a Survival Situation".

So I hypothetically had a shot at winning if I should ever find myself in front of cameras on that sort of reality show eating or wallowing in something gross.

But now I know I've been fooling myself. Somewhere along the way, my olfactory sense has honed and turned against me. NOW what would I do In a Survival Situation?

The SMELL factor would really be my downfall. Two recent incidents have led me to this conclusion.

Once, several months ago, I opened a small Tupperware container from the back of the fridege. "Hmmm, I wonder what this could be?", I said all unknowing. By the gods! How could vegetables in salad dressing become a thing of Satan? The thought of eating this runny lettuce suddenly sent chills down my spine! I would probably die if I had this smell in my mouth. Suddenly the rat-milkshake people from television had more of my respect (if that's the word).

And today at daycare, just at the end of a sunny pleasant day, my intestinal mettle was tested anew. I heard my co-worker calling out for someone to help her. I went in to the children's bathroom and was met with the sight of one of our kids projectile vomiting. My co-worker was splashed to the knees. The four other children in the washroom were similarly decorated. There was a tide of chunky pink puke everywhere.

On the mirrors, the baseboards, the art cupboard. Everywhere.

And the smell was a creature all its own. The other kids and Justine started to heave in sympathy. Oh my God! If there were going to be six people throwing up, I don't get paid enough! :)

I helped Justine herd them all out before disaster could strike. She took care of the poor little sick girl. And me, I was on cleanup duty. I waded in with rubber gloves and towels and bleach.

When I came out of there,my eyes were watering from the smell. Bazooka barfing in Technicolor Smell-A-Vision. That'll do it to ya.

And that's why I will never be seen on Fear Factor. I just know the smell would do me in. And by the way, childcare workers do not get paid enough. :)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hurray for Pol!

This is just a quick post tonight...but I just wanted to say how very glad I am that my friend Pol has started a blog. Peer pressure IS a good thing! :)

It is so easy to lose track of what is going on in friends' lives. We are all so busy. And so different. I want to know what makes y'all tick. I love to read your ideas and thoughts. You can rant. You can whine. You can write poetry. I'll be happy you wrote. :)

Although technically anyone on the internet could stumble upon our journals and comments here, it is far more likely that we have a very select readership. Really, it's mostly us reading I think. What's that, a readership of five or six?

If you are a random stranger tuning in, bless ya, for you are responsible for expanding an ever so select audience by one. Ahem, I COULD be famous one day so remember these quiet times. :)

One of my friends has what she cheerfully calls a "blog stalker", a regular someone who leaves comments. Sigh, that would be nice (if they were nice comments) but I guess my life and writing needs to get more controversial before I attract such acclaim.

Anyway, congrats Pol! I will happily visit your blog.

P.S. Jeff says he'll be my blog stalker, but *sigh* it's just not the same....

Monday, July 18, 2005

Tea Leaves

Oh, I had a fantastic weekend, full of good conversation, Shakespeare, flamenco and friendship. But I'm so sleepy I'll have to write about it tomorrow I think.

But I had a conversation with Trace this weekend which got me thinking about the Calico Cat Teahouse and my last visit there with friends to have our tea leaves read (and to savour that fabulous mushroom soup they serve too).

What makes a good tea leaf reading? (Or tarot card, palm reading, what have you)..Is it accuracy? Comfort? Comfirmation?
Tell me what you think.

And here's a link to have a virtual tea reading. It's not as fun without the actual tea, but still a nice meditation.

Tea Leaf Reading

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Harry Potter Hysteria

We were down on West Broadway last night. Calhoun's is a cavernous all-night coffeehouse and just a few steps from Kim's house so it seemed the logical choice as poor Kim was feeling a bit delicate and green around the gills. It's a great place but beware the strawberry smoothies. If sugar is white death, then these things are going to kill you outright.

It was also filled with pre-pubescent witches and warlocks, desperately quaffing hot chocolates in order to stay awake for the midnight arrival of the latest installment in the Potter books: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Yes, KidsBooks on West Broadway was a mob scene last night as hundreds of Rowling fans milled and quequed for a chance to be one of the first to carry away the newest tome in the series. There were stilt-walkers and phoenixes, sorcerors and babies. The sidewalk and part of the street was blocked off, the lights on cop cars and tow trucks flashed.

When we first cruised by, all-unknowing, Tai saw what was happening and muttered in a tone of dread, "Oh no....." I thought it must be the scene of a dreadful accident. "Worse", said Tai. She shuddered. "Harry Potter".

Okay, not everybody's a fan but I like the books myself well enough. I don't need to be first in line to read them, but I'll definitely read my mom's copy when she's done. As a librarian's daughter, I can't help but feel that it's a good thing for kids (and grownups) to be excited about literature. Really excited!

Shortly before midnight, shrieks and howls rose into the clear evening air. A brass band uniformed in shimmery cloaks and fanciful hats heralded the arrival of a caravan of three white trucks bearing the insignia of the Owl Post. The books were arriving with pomp and ceremony. The excitement was palpable.

We turned tail and fled back to Kim's house. But not before Kim had a ticket for a pre-paid copy of the Half-Blood Prince. :)

Handy Shakespearean Insults...

I'm off to the Bard on the Beach Festival in Vanier Park tomorrow afternoon, and in honour of the occasion I thought I'd share a little of the vitriol that comes out in the form of great and classical literature. Could be useful!

You know those times when you wish you could think of something really insulting to say? Those times when "You jerk!" feels hollow and deeply unsatisfying?
Or perhaps you're trying to give someone the brush-off and you feel in a literary mood.

Well, perhaps you should look to the Bard for inspiration. He was great at sassing people and making them feel like dirt.

"Let's meet as little as we can." --As You Like It (the brush-off)

"I will smite his noddles!" --Merry Wives of Windsor (a threat that gives one pause for thought)

"O illiterate loiterer!" --The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Great for telling off those people who riffle through magazines without purchasing them in convenience stores)

And in rush-hour traffic:

You bug! Thou misshapen Dick! Away, you cutpurse rascal, you filthy bung, away! You whoreson upright rabbit! You peevish baggage! You viperous worm that gnaws the bowels!

Yes, Shakespeare could really dish it out well....

My mother followed the Bard's philosophy that it is better to insult creatively than to lower oneself using common cusses. It is a treasured childhood memory: my mother bellowing out the passenger side window after a Mack truck cut us off on a California highway----"Peasant!....Hamster brain!"

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Look, it's my cute little friends!

Ah! There you guys are!

And for those of you reading who are NOT one of the three pictured, let me just tell you that it's hard to find friends as good as these!

So, Kim, Tai, and Trace, you are now immortalized on me blog. Happy early Unbirthday you beautiful,talented creatures :)

Virtual Hedgehogs?

What won't they think of next!

Here is my little cyber hedgehog. And like the real James, it seems like my cute but curmudgeon-like virtual hedgehog has to be nudged a little (clicked on)before he will come out of his corner where he is all curled up and refusing to show his face.

Yes, I used to have a wee prickly pet named James.

We met James on the prairies somewhere near Rocky Mountain House, Alberta at a distant relatives house. We were passing through on our way to Saskatoon. They didn't want their hedehog anymore. It was destiny.

James made strange huffing sounds when he was annoyed, which was often. But he seemed to adapt to living in our car, our pockets, and various hotel rooms on our way back to British Columbia. And our cats eventually got used to him stealing from their dish. :)

James: grumpy, cactus-like, but oh so cute.

adopt your own virtual pet!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Three Dreams

I've noticed lately that if I don't immediately tell someone my dreams aloud right after I wake up they disappear like smoke.

It never used to be that way when I kept a regular dream diary. When I was thirteen I could go on for pages about them, and sometimes I'd be mulling images from my sleep months after a particular dream.

Here are three dreams from this week:

One night I dreamed that I secretly joined the military. And then I surreptitiously joined a religious choir. But I still kept my day job and everything else in my life was the same. I ran around in a totally exhausted state. I found out that I really sucked at all military training exercises and, oh yeah, I couldn't sing hymns worth beans either.

The next night I dreamed that I was an environmental activist who was really steamed because some company was going to log EVERY SINGLE TREE around Cumberland. Boy, was I mad. I was talking to a politician who endorsed this policy and I whipped out a ball-point pen and stabbed him through the hand with it. Naturally I am charged with assault, but my lawyer advises me to plead to something lesser. The only catch is, with the lesser charge, I have to spend every single holiday like Christmas and Valentine's Day in a jail in Alberta. It's the thought of having to drive myself back and forth from Alberta which really has me shivering with dread.

The third night I am a journalist interviewing the people who have "inspired" celebrities. I meet the mild-mannered if slightly morbid Binks family, the REAL people behind the fascinating Morticia and Gomez Addams. the Binks are nice but sort of boring. And then I interview the REAL MacGyver. Trouble is, I'm an awfully awkward reporter who stammers out questions like: "So, er....what does it feel like to be the "real" MacGyver?" And the guy replies. "It's okay I guess". Gosh, I can really feel my journalistic career taking off....

Ya know, I think it's about time I dream I win the lottery or a prize or something. :)

Saturday, July 09, 2005


Sometimes when you've had a hard day and you're deservedly surfing the internet, it's nice to just relax and play mindlessly, giggling softly to yourself. You don't need drugs, you just need to spend some time in the Boobah Zone. You might actually feel your brains sliding out your ears, but only in a very gentle manner.

Yes, I am still drinking absinthe.

By the way Kim, I love those films summaries RE-ENACTED BY BUNNIES. :) Thanks for linking to it.

I'm not seeing any little green fairies...

Absinthe is a very pale green and smells like licorice. It burns pleasantly going down, and I recommend sipping carefully. It's probably not as delicious now that it's legal but I found my first taste of it quite nice.

I was under the impression that they don't make it with wormwood (or some other potent ingredient) the way they used to, but Chris says they do.

Chris happened to have some handy in his kitchen cupboard while we were all watching the silly but amusing movie Eurotrip. In the movie the characters sample absinthe and mention to the pudgy green fairy at the next barstool that it is very disappointing that they aren't hallucinating or going the least bit mad after all.

Hmmm....nope, no hallucinations to speak of and I don't even think my typing's that mangled.

Jeff and I popped down to Victoria today and had a very multi-cultural day.

We took in the Folk Fest down by the waterfront and watched Middle Eastern dancing, we ate a Hungarian lagos as a prelude to lunch, migrated to a tasty little Vietnamese restaurant, roamed Chinatown, and ended up having dinner at a very British fish and chip place. All this to the soundtrack of the rowdy Dropkick Murphy's playing in Chris's car.

We considered taking in a movie downtown, most likely The Fantastic Four, but really, as Chris is already the king of home media, we decided we really didn't need to go out to a theatre to see something. Chris has stacks of films we haven't seen yet.

Aside from the aforementioned Eurotrip, we decided on Kill Bill, which really satisfied any urge I had for funky samurai girl fights. I kept thinking 'Wow, that floor must be really slippery with blood by now' but Uma is one sure-footed kind of gal. Maybe Tarantino's style is growing on me because I really enjoyed it.

Our friend Chris can usually be relied on to recommend worthy movies, but I always take his reviews with a grain of salt if they happen to feature Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, or Keanu "Chris spits upon him" Reeves.

He has a five star movie rating system ranging from "Amazing" through "meh" and spiralling down to "Crapfest".

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Thinking of London..

My mother called me this morning to tell me about the bombings in the London Underground. I was still drifting in a blanket of sleep when she called.

I always think of the area around King's Cross Station as my neighbourhood in London. On both visits there I stayed in a hostel only a few doors away from King's Cross. It was a pleasant afternoon walk to Russell Square and the British Museum.

This morning I thought about the picnic lunch with Mom in Russell Square (she was so upset to see it on the news) and my first time in the London Underground with Tai, asking directions and muddling through.

I also thought about riding on the double-decker bus with Tai. We were the lone passengers up top and we giggled to ourselves because it looked like the bus was driving itself. I thought of this when I saw the mangled wreck of one of those red buses on television this morning.

I'm feeling sad for the people of London today. I know that London has seen a lot of trouble over the years, but this was senseless and random and cruel. I hope nothing else happens.

I'm going to be in London the second week of September for my 13th wedding anniversary. Jeff's never been there and I was thinking we might stay in the same neighbourhood once again. I wonder if it would feel the same to me?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Drat these technical difficulties!

Hello there,
I was going to try to post a picture here on my blog (now that I can theoretically upload images from my computer to this site), but alas nothing happened when I followed the instructions. Worse, nothing happened when JEFF followed the instructions.

It was going to be a picture of my beautiful friends Tai, Kim, and Tracy taken at the Crow & Gate Pub on one of our UnChristmas nights. They all look very lovely, but until I figure out this thing you'll just have to trust me.

It's bedtime and I don't have the mental stamina to wrestle with my computer. Goodnight all!

Monday, July 04, 2005

I was kissing little Johnny a lot this evening...

Yes, every three years I find myself (usually on a sultry summer evening) hunched over a plastic half-torso in the St. John's Ambulance building and getting really personal with it. And the dummies always seem to be named Johnny or Annie.

I used to actually lock lips with Johnny in first aid courses of yesteryear, but now we always do the rescue breathing with one of those little rubber masks that cover the mouth and nose. Which is much nicer, and you're less likely to get vomit on you if you are resucitating a real person. But what are the odds I'll have a mask in my pocket when I happen upon an accident scene? The odds are low.

I really enjoyed the teacher's style tonight though, which is good because I have to go back tomorrow for another four hours. His name is Larry, and he's an ex-paramedic. He had all sorts of interesting (and surprisingly amusing) anecdotes about kids getting slurpie straws impaled near their brain stems and guys wth hypothermia suddenly stripping naked for a nap in a snowbank.

He pointed out that most doctors and paramedics need to develop a black sense of humour as a coping mechanism. We, as daycare workers, will probably never have to deal with sucking chest gunshot wounds. Lordy, I hope not.

It's usually road rash, bee stings, nose bleeds and blood glucose tests for kids with diabetes. I think the worst thing in nine years has been a fractured wrist.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Wearing Pink to Bellydance Parties is Dangerous

I meant to earn money at tonight's hafla at the Abbey in Cumberland. As well as dancing there was a bazaar table provided, and I thought I would sell some of my seldom-used bellydance items. And I did. I sold a yellow veil, two tops that weren't quite right for me and a sword that just wouldn't balance on my head.

But tonight I wore pink to the dance party. And Kathy Stoyko (enormously talented seamstress and Abbey owner Kathy) had a beautiful outfit for sale. It was pink, pink, glorious pink. A dancer named Laura (who bought my sword) thought it might be a beautiful costume to invoke the goddess Flora. Did we think so too? Bronwyn and I nodded yes.

Then again, Laura reconsidered, Flora liked most of all to be invoked by dancing in the nude.

I picked up the chiffony floral top and tried it on over my summer dress. Oh, too cute! But did I know there was a flowing chiffon skirt and silky harem pants that matched with it? Sigh, my sword and veil money flew mostly out the window and left me with a profit of five dollars. Oh well.

Bronwyn said I look great in pink and that it really suits my skin tone. I have to say that I used to abhor pink...but for some reason it is a colour that seems so fun and pretty to me right now. As Tai would put it, I'm exploring my inner Barbie.

So much for pale skin, black clothes, and mournful poetry. Darn it, I'm just a Perky-goth who wears pink and likes spiders.

I am feeling reinspired to dance after tonight. So many beautiful dancers! Everyone wanted a turn! And the atmosphere was so relaxed and warm and friendly. Women lounged on cushions drinking wine and zagareeting their appreciation. Sherry observed that sometimes when the whole audience is composed of performers, dancers feel more intimidated than dancing for a roomful of strangers. But tonight it felt like a roomful of friends. And looking around, I realized that many, many dancers ARE my friends.

I was so proud of the Yalla Gypsies tonight. That's the name of my own little troupe. I ached to be up on the stage with them doing Santiago. It's a great little gypsy fusion dance and our very own choreography. I am going to dance it with them on July 23 at Cafe Cairo. At least, that's the plan.

I didn't perform myself tonight because of my still-healing belly but my heart was with them. But I couldn't resist dancing to the gypsy music at the end of the evening. It just draws you in. Kathy and Edith, in their peasant blouses and swirling skirts, led us ...and nobody was in their seats.

Edith ( who is also my French and drumming teacher as well as bellydancer extrordinaire) also introduced me to her mother who is from Quebec and doesn't speak any English. Edith said it was good she was here because I could speak French to her. Heh, most of the French I know flew out a window in my head but I managed to stumble through a few polite sentences. I was glad when Chris from my dance troupe showed up and started speaking in French to her. I could follow along a little bit and did my best to nod intelligently and say "oui,oui" every once in a while.

It was a great evening! Yalla habibi!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Did You Know Taping Spiders Down is a Job?

I was flipping channels the other day when I paused in mid-flip at the sight of a young man taping an overturned spider's legs to a piece of glass on the Knowledge Network. The spider was a large yellow and black orb weaver from Florida and seemed almost resigned to its fate, which was to have its silk harvested every few days by a young scientist from UBC who was studying organic polymers in general and the incredible strength of spider silk in particular for his thesis.

Big Bertha (this particular spider) was only one of many who were taking turns donating their drag lines. Apparently, once the drag line is started you can just keep reeling and the spider will keep spinning involuntarily. The scientist, Carl Michal, and his partner Ellis have collected something like three kilometres of the stuff. They had to have a lot of sample apparently. That's a lot of spider-taping and silk-winding.

The reporter asked them if they had known when they started where their ideas would lead them. Did they ever think they'd be so good at catching honking big spiders with tweezers and coaxing them with sugar water so they would start spinning. They had not forseen it at all.

"They really are rather beautiful", said the reporter, smiling nervously, "...from over here."

She, too, got to help with the delicate job of spider-taping in the end. You just never know what each day will bring.