Saturday, July 29, 2006

Spider at the Spa Party

I went to a Spa Party last night.

Mel invited us (Nell and her sisters, Brandi, Lisa, Kim and baby Zoe and me) out to the beautiful countryside home where she's house-sitting for a promised evening of smearing luxurious goos and lotions upon ourselves.

We were not to be disappointed.

But first we got a tour of the place--we petted the horses, said hello to the chickens, and cuddled the three-week-old puppies. Kim and Nell got to reunite after not seeing one another since high school. Baby Zoe was introduced to all.

Lisa and I also couldn't help trying out the enormous old wooden swing-set in the garden. The chains creaked ominously as we went higher and higher, but it was scary good fun.

Later, as dusk fell, we went inside where a dewy-skinned Scottish lass named Agnes laid out her potion bottles and price lists. It was basically a Tupperware party but instead of oohing and aahing over plastic containers (and I just never can muster the enthusiasm for that) we were layered in lotions containing sea salt and sugar-scrubs and lavender essence. There were so many things to try that I ran out of limbs to try them on.

By the end of the evening we'd used up a mountain of warm, damp towels and were all sitting around glowing in the aftermath of heated cream masks. We were smooth-skinned and radiant. The appearance of fine lines around our eyes was visibly reduced. I smelled like the blackberry-vanilla smoothie I bought at an ice-cream stand the other day.

We made kissy faces at one another wearing our age-combating warpaint. The white lip mask gave me a flashback to the eighties when, ever so briefly, it was trendy to wear white lipstick.

Okay, now personally I won't drop forty dollars on a hand-cream or moisturizer (even when it feels that good), but my skin does feel rather nice the day after.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Little Brother's Wedding

Yesterday my brother got married to his long-time sweetheart, Kira.

The wedding took place in a serene corner of their backyard in Port Alberni, underneath the branches of a tree hung with paper lanterns and colourful prayer flags and beside a little Zen garden and pond.

(The Chinese stone lantern in the garden was a wedding present from me and Jeff, arriving shortly before the ceremony.)

There is something so sweet and natural about backyard weddings, especially when you're rather fond of the people getting married.

Kira looked beautiful and relaxed in a turquoise silk Tibetan wedding dress, while my brother wore a bemused grin for most of his wedding.

Sasha the dog, acting as a sort of furry flower-girl, rested between them on the grass with one paw on the bride's foot and one paw on the groom's until the marriage commissioner told them it was time to take each other's hands for their vows. Sasha, on her best behaviour, moved a foot or two away while her people exchanged silver rings carved with native frogs and moons.

They picked probably the hottest weekend of the summer to get married, but fortunately it was not one of those wedding where crowds of people sweat in uncomfortable formal wear through a long sermon in the summer heat: we were a small casually dressed lot of close family who could easily fit under the shade of one tree. It was lovely.

I have to say I became unexpectedly misty-eyed as they were pronounced married, and was still sniffling a little as I signed the registry as a witness. My brother later told me that he cried at my wedding too, fourteen years ago.

"No, you did not!" I said in disbelief.

"I did!", he replied.

Adam was eighteen at my wedding. I have to say I'm rather touched. :)

I've been to many weddings over the years, and more and more I prefer these non-formal affairs. There is simply less streess involved. Years ago, I remember a friend from high school getting married. Her guest list was near three hundred, her gown rivalled Princess Di's...and she became so anxious about the things that might go wrong, required a tranquillizer before she could enter the church. Fun, huh?

At Adam's wedding, there was thankfully no stress wasted on worrying about wedding etiquette. For instance, filling in for the bride's traditional removal of her garter, Adam did remove the bottoms of his zippered pants to turn them back into shorts. It was freakin' hot today.

Later in the evening friends of the bride and groom arrived with their children and dogs. More food was added to the tables already groaning with the weight of a seafood and salad and BBQ buffet. Apple pie and cheese-cake were devoured. Much beer and lemonade was quaffed.

People chatted and picnicked in the garden. Babies toddled around. The dogs played. A haphazard game of bocce ball broke out as the sun went down.

I got to know Kira's family a bit--they all seemed really nice. And I discovered that Kira's mom reads our blogs. "You're Spider Girl, right?", she said. Why, yes...yes, I am. :)

Heh, how about that?

Before my family left, Adam gave me some batchelor button plants from his garden for mine.... By the way, brother, your garden looked fantastic for the wedding.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

New Car

Scenario A:
"...And show our contestant what's behind Door Number Three, Vanna...Yes! She's won a new car!

* the crowd goes wild.....Spider Girl jumps jumps up and down *

Scenario B:

Spider Girl and Jeff spend a week roaming used car lots under a baking sun, calling upon all their haggling skills to finally purchase a shiny 2002 Toyota Camry for what they hope is a reasonable deal. They both feel like they've been run over by a train, but the ugly and newly-unreliable Dodge Shadow is history.

You guessed it: Scenario B.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Car Trouble Mystery

Have you ever heard those reports of people who are driving along a lonely road at night when all of a sudden their engine loses power and they coast to a stop? Then they see a bright light and a great big saucer-shaped ship above them and it totally wrecks their evening plans?

Well, that's what my afternoon was like, only without the lonely road and the saucer people thing.

I was leaving my driveway to go pick up Jeff from work when my car mysteriously goes silent. I drift a couple of feet and then I stop. I'm still in my driveway.

Sigh.I turn off the car completely and then restart it. Everything starts up again normally. Hmm, I say to myself, that was odd.

So off I go downtown and for a few minutes everything is ducky. Then, just when I'm heading for a major intersection with four lanes of traffic, my car decides to have an encounter with its own personal UFO again. Damn you, Saucer People! This is not funny!

The radio is playing, but that's all I have.

No power, no brakes. Uh oh.

I discover I have lucky personal horse-shoes because I'm able to safely drift over two lanes and coast down an inclined little road I'm about to pass...right into the parking lot of the place where my brother-in-law works as a mechanic. I couldn't have picked a better spot to break down if I'd tried!

I didn't actually have enough control over the vehicle to stop in an actual parking spot, but I come to a safe stop. Good enough. I turn off the car. Whew. I've never been so glad to be at Canadian Tire.

Alas, after Jeff arrives and our family mechanic inspects the car, it is pronounced that our car seemingly is just fine. We get in it and drive home. Well, Jeff drives us home. I am deeply suspicious.

Jeff joked that maybe its just my own personal electrical field that is causing trouble. After all, I can't wear watches for any length of time without breaking them. Hmmm...that is actually a troubling thought. But it's more likely it's just our old car getting an attitude--another troubling thought.

In my opinion it is much preferable for a car a) to have a problem, which is then b) fixed. And c) then you drive home.

But here we are two days later, and the old Dodge is running smugly. It feels like it may be teasing me.

I had a conversation with Kim last night where we discussed car trouble inconveniences past and present.

"Cars are supposed to be inanimate objects", she mused, "but sometimes I doubt that. "

Monday, July 10, 2006

Grilled Cheese, Johnny Depp, and Superman

In honour of the scene in Benny & Joon where Johnny Depp grills cheese sandwiches using an iron, that's what I'm making for lunch today. Yes, I watched that old movie yesterday afternoon (for the first time) and the craving for grilled cheese has not abated.

I don't really see any good reason why one couldn't actually make these sandwiches in this fashion (as long as you go easy on the steam button, as the movie character wisely informs us), but I'm nevertheless going to refrain from the experiment.

It's the first day of a week's vacation for me and I'm wondering how I'm going to spend my days off. I haven't made any plans. I chose a random week on the calendar back in May. It's alarmingly refreshing to have nothing on my to-do list.

I think I may kick back during the heat of the afternoon with the stack of videocassettes Kim gave me. She was getting rid of stuff before her move, and I'm her good friend who lives back in the prehistoric era where folks still own VCR's. Between her and Deb (whose VHS collection I also inherited) I will not have to venture to a video store for many moons. :)

On the subject of movies, I went to to the theatre with friends to see Superman Returns . I have powerful little interest in the whole complex Superman comic-book mythology, and so I went with low expectations. I ended up really enjoying it. Watch for a scene involving the space shuttle and a baseball game. Now that's good movie entertainment.

Not everybody in the theatre was as easily pleased as me though. A few rows back, a couple of fifteen-year-old comic-book geeks (er, aficionados )were openly weeping with frustration at all the touchie-feelie Lois Lane-and-her-little-boy family moments. "This is not happening!", moaned one.

They were the same lads I'd overheard outside the theatre before the show having an intense discussion about whether Superman could really get a haircut.

"Well, it's just not realistic if he can", insisted one of them. "He's supposed to be bullet-proof! So scissors wouldn't cut him!"

"As if!", snorted the other boy. "What are they supposed to do about their hair on his home planet then?"

Well, if Superman can't cut his hair, at the very least he can put gel in it. I don't think that guy ever has that forehead curl out of place when he's wearing his cape. That bottle of hair gel and the glasses are the only thing keeping him from being recognized by Lois Lane.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Iguanas I Have Known

I'll add some iguana pics as soon as Blogger cooperates...


Here's me and a few feathered friends.

Why do they like me so much? Well, my earrings are apparently really tasty.

There's a new pet store in town and I thought I'd go have a look at what's there, ostensibly to buy a nicer condominium for my beloved stick-bugs, but really I was wondering if this store carried baby iguanas.

You see, I once inherited an iguana. An elderly one.

Sophie had had a rather sad life with three or four previous owners and had somehow survived a decade or so of neglect. I really wanted to rescue her and was determined to give her a good home until she passed away. But, as I suspected from the beginning, she was not a pet for the half-hearted nor the faint of heart.

Despite having regrown her tail at some point (you could see how it had grown back deformed), she stretched a healthy three and a half feet from snout tip to tail. My cats gave her a wide berth. When she started lumbering towards their food dish, you better believe they made way. She moved in a prehistoric gait that reminded me of a crocodile. Or possibly a dinosaur.

She required heat lamps and finely-chopped fresh fruits and vegetables. She needed daily swims in the bathtub (she was potty-trained to the tub but would often only perform if you massaged her tummy). Her mighty toenails required clipping. She need special vitamins. And she really would have preferred trees to climb in, but leaping from sofa to chair was the next best thing.

Also, although she never bit anyone, she would turn her head to one side to give you a glare, and let you glimpse the tiny but razor-sharp teeth in her open mouth to let you know she wasn't trying out for Most Cuddlesome Lizard in the world. I loved her, but she was a handful. I would never, ever walk into a pet shop and buy a baby iguana.

Once, a few years after Sophie's death at the venerable age of fourteen, I spied some tiny and adorable baby iguanas in a pet shop down-island. I approached a clerk and pretended I was interested in purchasing one. I wanted to see what would be said to a potential owner...

It boiled down to "Cute l'il fellas, aren't they!"

There was no mention of all the special needs this kind of pet needs.There was especially no mention of the strong possibility that a male iguana might grow up to be as long as your love-seat. It seemed really irresponsible to me. This is probably why so many iguanas either die young from health problems, or are abandoned when they attain the size of furniture.

I was glad to find no iguanas at this new pet store. Apparently my town now has some sort of bylaw concerning them. I'll have to find out the details about that. But I do know that if you really want such a pet there are many older ones that can be adopted from reptile rescue societies.

Now that I travel regularly there is no question of myself adopting another one though. It's one thing to ask your mother to make sure the cat's dish is full of kibble while I'm away for a month; quite another to give my giant lizard a bath with massage.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Canada Day!

I love our flag! Yep, and it's even perfect for a preschool art project. :)

I'm off to go for a BBQ and then a Canada Day variety show with lots of dancing and such...we're dragging some friends from Australia along.

Hope everybody's having fun --today it's like a blast furnace out there in my neck of the woods...