Thursday, March 29, 2007


Perche ride? Parlo tante male l'italiano?
Translation: Why are you laughing? Is my Italian that bad?
I just know they are phrases that will come in handy in Italy....thanks for the new phrasebook,, grazie, Mama, I mean. :)
Just before I went to Italy in 2003 I took a class in conversational Italian. Since then most of it has flown right out of my head alas.
It didn't help that I've taken French classes since. Ah, the Romance languages...all lying around lanquidly tangled up in my brain waiting to be retrieved in halting sentences delivered in pigeon-turistico speak.
I'm a little embarrassed NOT to be bilingual actually. The European friends I know usually speak at least two languages and sometimes three, as well as a smattering of anything that borders them.
Of course, in Europe one could conceivably get in a car and drive through several countries with different languages before stopping for the night whereas in west coast Canada you have to drive a long, long time before this becomes an issue.
Anyway, that's not a very good excuse so I'm carrying my Italian books with me every day on my coffee break... it's nice to at least try and speak Italian when you're in Italy.
I remember a fellow laughing behind a take-out food stand in Capri after I did my best to order in Italian: "Oh, you speak-a Italian! I'm-a going to give-a you a bigger piece of pizza! "
I miss Italy. :)
Most Amusing Compliment Received in Italy: "You are more beautiful than Barbie!"
38 more days till we go and counting!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Little Black Dress and Cantiamo Night

I have a vision in my head: my beautiful friends and I are sitting at a little table in a sunny piazza in the city of Rome. We are talking and laughing and sipping wine. We are full of the joy of life and being together in Italy. And we are wearing cute little black dresses.

I have my passport. The tickets are reserved. European euros and traveller's cheques are ordered from the bank. I leave in five weeks. There are plenty of likely piazzas in the sunshine waiting in Rome. And all that is missing from this vision was the dress I am planning to wear.

The mission this past weekend: to find a Little Black Dress to wear while in Rome.

You know, so I can look something like Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina , something that Coco Chanel would have approved, something simple and sophisticated and yet kicky and fun....

Do you think there might be such an article of clothing to be found in the town I live in? There isn't.

Well, there is if you count the little black barely-there suede dress from Paris I once borrowed from my friend Nell for a fancy soiree (she has a closetful of gorgeous evening wear) but no, I meant to have something of my own.

So I went shopping down-Island on Saturday and found my sweet Little Black Dress at Le Chateau after a minimum of fuss and angst in the changing rooms. The third dress I tried on was the charm. I knew it was the one just looking at it on the rack.

Sigh, I'm not usually a girl who gets into the spirit of shopping, but this was satisfying. I'll post a picture at some point.

But at least some of you have seen it already as I
also managed to have a visit with my friend Pol (who is travelling with me) before racing up the Island again in time to become a volunteer Serving Wench for the Cantiamo Choir's Italian -themed fundraiser night.

The choir was raising money to sing in Prague and Salzburg this July and tickets were around fifty dollars. But you could avoid the ticket price altogether if you didn't mind rushing around up and down stairs like a fiend carrying trays of bruschetta artichoke and olive tapenades, and hustling out plates of bocconcini salad and ricotta cannelloni and chocolate-drizzled tiramisu for a crowd of two hundred.

Between courses I could listen to gorgeous Italian arias and duets (I was definitely in the mood tonight for eighteenth-century Italian music) and (eventually) be fed besides.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Well, rereading my last post it might seem as if I was in a morbid frame of mind, but it's Spring now, so I just can't stay there for long!

Here are some pictures of art projects I've been doing with the preschool kids--it was time to take down the Valentine hearts and the chilly winter-time pictures.

Also picture are my new helleborus plants (one white, one pink) that I acquired at Seedy Saturday and have since planted in my garden.

I've grown to love helleborus as they flower as early as January and look nice all year long.

Also acquired at Seedy Saturday (an enormous local seed-swap): seeds for red poppies, nigella, zinnias, Siberian fritillary, scabiosa (looks much better than it sounds), clarkia, sunflower, calliopsis, and yellow and pink hollyhocks.

I hope I actually get them all in the ground this year. I tend to concentrate on already established perennial plants and I haven't been very talented at nurturing flowers from seed. But I try every year, and by Gum! Sometimes they come up!

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Butterfly Effect in a Nutshell
I've been thinking lately about how the smallest events/decisions can affect your life.
For instance, recently my friend Pol celebrated her birthday on the first of March, which is indeed the day she was born. However, on her seventeenth birthday she decided (for reasons I've long forgotten) to have her party on the tenth of March of that year. We ended up in the local Teen club and that was where I met Jeff, who I married.
Now, if she'd had her party on her actual birthday would I have married the same person?
What if we'd decided NOT to go to the club? Or what if Jeff hadn't? Or what if I'd had the flu that day? Or what if I'd been grounded and couldn't have gone to her party?
What would my life have been like now? One small thing. For good or for bad.
Even much smaller things can change the course of a life.
I was reading about chaos theory and the Butterfly Effect tonight. (The link above is easy reading compared to some of the more technical stuff on the theory of Sensitive Dependence on Initial Condition .
According to this theory even something very, very tiny ( like the flap of a insect's wing) can cause ripples of effect in the universe space-time continuum thingy. Tiny little things making all sorts of far-reaching changes that nobody can know or fathom (unless you're heavily into chaos equations and fractal whatchamacallits).
Makes my head whirl to think that something I did today, perhaps some 1/4 second of my life today crossing the street walking faster or slower, or perhaps something as banal as my breakfast cereal choice has changed the course of my life or perhaps someone else's in a way that I will never realize.
Something of this nature that spooked me once: I was working at a video store circa the year 1989 and I rented out a games system and a couple of games to two teenaged boys. We chatted for a few minutes before they left.
Maybe an hour later a police officer brings the things the boys rented back to the store. There had been an awful car accident about a mile away. The boys' vehicle had been T-boned by another car and both of them died.
Morbid thoughts: Was I one of the last people they spoke to? If they hadn't rented the games or spoken to me, would they still be alive? Or did they stop for slurpies at the 7-11 across the street and did that put them at the fatal intersection at the moment of impact? If they'd paused to tie their shoelace before they caught back in their car, was that enough to change their fate? Yeah, it was spooky to think about alright.
According to Butterfly theory, even the fact that you are reading this blog post instead of doing something else has probably changed the course of your life in some infinitisemal way. Or possibly just a weather pattern in Brazil.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Other Job

Have you ever been hired sight unseen, resume unseen? That's how I fell into my newly acquired job. I've never met the person who hired me three months ago--so far they are only a shadowy figure on the other end of an email address where I post my hours worked.

Somebody asked me the other day, "So how do you like your other job?"

As it's been one of the things cutting into my blogging time, and jobs have been on my mind lately, I thought I'd talk a bit about it.

My new job, as once mentioned before, is at a dentist office in the evening. Two or three times a week. I clean all the sharp little instruments a dentist is likely to wiggle around in your mouth. I scrape out disgusting strawberry-flavoured mouth moulds--its like bubble-gum in appearance and consistency. I polish the great HUGE stainless steel needles and rinse blood out of the syringes. As I've long suspected about myself, I'm not grossed out by much. Lucky for that, huh?

Some of the thingies I clean I can't even imagine how they are used in the context of sticking it in someone's mouth...although I can envision their usefulness as a weapon in a self-defense situation.

Things I LIKE About This Job

* It's quiet.
*I work by myself.
* I can actually see that work is getting accomplished.
*I like fiddling around with all the funky medical equipment. The models of actual mouths and teeth are really interesting to look at too.


* Thanks for ruining my appreciation of strawberry flavoured bubble-gum, like, forever , Dentist Job!

But, all in all, I actually rather like this's gotten me thinking about doing other work in general.

Things at my day job, at the preschool I've worked at ten years, are a little up in the air right now.

Government cuts. Possible wage roll-backs. Low staff morale. "Reconfiguration": a vague word I'm growing to swiftly dislike. It's doubtful I'll actually lose my job, but some brutally un-fun staff meetings have made me wonder about other lines of work. Seriously.

They say that the average person changes careers eight times in their lifetime. I think I may be overdue for one.

Any ideas for me, people?

Er, something lucrative, entertaining, and with travel perks preferably.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Healing Dances

There were dances for healing, dances for hope, and dances for the joy of it in honour of a fellow dancer.

Sunday night's bellydance show was a fundraiser to cover some of the medical costs for a talented local bellydancer who was in a tragic car accident seven weeks ago, leaving her with a broken back and unable to move from the waist down.

Imagine the awfulness of suddenly being unable to move when your love is for dance and your whole livelihood depends on your ability to move...

We have a very beautiful dance community where I live. I haven't danced myself since the show in June, but seeing many of the dancers I've performed with in the past made me suddenly miss the comraderie. I felt very moved to see a packed standing-room-only building for the performances : such an outpouring of support for her.

There is hope too--at the beginning of the show a friend reported that that very day, Dee had wiggled her toes for the first time! A cheer went up!

Monday, March 05, 2007


Although he's probably just doing it to be annoying....I would.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Why I Need to Check My Brother's Blog More Often

These are pictures from three morning's ago, taken from my brother's blog under a blog post titled. "How to Get a Day Off Work".

Yep, wiping out in the company truck will do it.

Actually Adam was a passenger and Mike was driving. Both of them are okay fortunately. (I talked to Adam this morning.)

I'm glad they only ended up in a ditch instead of one of those nasty ravines along that stretch of road.

But this will teach me to miss reading someone's blog for a couple days!

I'm talking to my mom on the phone and she's suddenly talking about my brother's accident and how his back was still sore, and Jeff is nodding as he overhears my side of the conversation. He apparently knows about it too.

See, apparently they all knew about it because they read his blog.

Sigh. I was temporarily out of the loop.