Monthly Archives: May 2011

Camp Nono

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I love nature.  I love the outdoors.  This might surprise some of you, but I really truly do. 

What I don’t like is camping.

My parents were teachers.  They had the entire summer off.  We camped A LOT.  I don’t mean trailer camping, with wifi and showers, I mean big ol’ canvas tent, one hole pooper camping.  A favourite spot was Pancake Bay, up on the north shore of Lake Superior.  Beautiful sand beaches, sparkling water and greenery as far as you could see, forever.  It still evokes very magical memories in me.

BUT IT WAS M/F COLD, dudes, especially at night.   That lake is beautiful and unspoiled, and warms up for about two days at the end of August.   I spent every night with my teeth chattering, lying on my air mattress, listening to everyone snore.  I’d refuse to drink so I didn’t have to get up to pee.  I’d pee in the lake when we swam (oh, get over it, it’s a big lake).  Anything to avoid that nighttime run to the OUTHOUSE, that stinking open holer.  I didn’t know what was down there.  All I knew was, it smelled, and it was a long way down if you fell in.  My brother used to tease me, scare me.  I was terrified every fucking day.

As a result of not drinking hardly anything, and peeing in the lake, I used to get about eight kinds of constipated when we were camping.  So. Just imagine how happy I was.  Hot, dirty (no showers), sandy, constipated and freezing cold at night.  Stuck in the tent on rainy days.  I used to sit in the car and read comic books and try to figure out if I could drown myself.

Upon getting to the park, after 8 hours in the car, no one was allowed to do ANYTHING until the campsite was set up.  Stand here, hold this pole, stop wiggling, shut up.  No beach.  No snack. No.No. NO.

Later on, we got a tent trailer.  They developed marginally better toilets in the “comfort stations” (don’t let the name fool ya), and showers.  It was slightly less hellish.  The high point of the trip was a visit to the A & W in Wawa, and maybe a night at the amphitheatre watching a film about wolves and getting the hell scared out of us by Ranger Bob. 

We did make friends there, another family who came every summer.  They were from Rhode Island, and had a VW Microbus in which all five of them slept.  No kidding.  There were nature trails, and crayfish.  There were campfires and marshmallows, orienteering games and canoeing to the point.  As I said, I do have magical memories of that place, it’s breathtaking.

But mostly, I was miserable because of the physical discomfort of it all.  I am now officially too old for that shit.  I refuse to go through that anymore.

I will gladly go camping with you, but only if there’s a warm bed, a hot shower, a coffeemaker and a decent toilet.

Is that so much to ask?

Post Rapture Fin Du Monde Tour

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What a time I’ve had. The Post-Rapture Fin Du Monde Tour is now complete.

I started out Tuesday with a trip to Toronto to see Thing One.  We drove his former roommate somewhere with some heavy shit she had to carry so she didn’t have to take it on the TTC, cuz I’m nice like that, then we went looking for a good deli, but couldn’t find one.  I wanted to take him to Annapurna, but there was NO parking anywhere, so we wound up at a little place on Dupont called Franny Chadwick’s and had a super lunch.  Then we went back to his place for fibre fun and chitchats and a beer. 

Wednesday, I met the lovely Colleen Gray for lunch at Tortilla Flats, then we went to Romni where I talked her into some very pretty yarn for a summer cardigan.  That was when I got the $30 parking ticket.  Curse you, Rob Ford.  That is TOO MUCH MONIES.  Just sayin’.  I drove her back to her new place, but the traffic was crazy and no parking, so I dropped her off and it took me an hour and a half to drive back to Etobicoke.  That’s when my traffic anxiety started.  That evening, I went over the Frieda’s place for a drinky-poo, and caught up with her and her man Lloyd.  It was pouring rain and thundering, so I wimped out.  I’m too old to drink later than 10 anyway.

I was a little hurtin’ the next day, but I hauled my carcass out of bed and met Rebecca for lunch at a lovely little place called Lady Marmalade – there was quite a wait, but mmm mmmm worth every minute – cheddar and spinach waffles in a tomato cream sauce with avocados and bacon on the side.  Then we went to her LYS, the Purple Purl.  Never been there before, it’s a super place.  We spent the afternoon knitting and chatting and coveting yarn.  Then the clerk and I realized that the reason we seemed familiar to each other was that we used to live two doors down from each other on Bolivar Street ten or twelve years ago.  Small world!

After that, it was off the Mary Lynn’s for dinner with her, her husband Jamie, and their delightful, inquisitive son “Charlie” (names changed to protect the innocent).  We finally caught up IRL, OMG.  It was awesome to reconnect with her, and we’ll be doing that again soon ( I hope).  Jamie made a bang-up dinner, complete with a nice big pot ‘o tea to finish it off.

Then, I got lost on the way home, and ended up driving around some seriously sketchy neighbourhoods about 10:30 at night.  Creeped me out.

Today, I went out to Picton to see my very dear old friend Greg from university days, and his man Pierre.  It was like we’d spoken just yesterday, a wonderful reconnection with a great friend.  What a beautiful spot they have on the lake!  It’s not THAT far to Picton…Right?

And now, home.  Elliot’s away at Anime North, and it’s quiet and nice.  It’s nice to go away, and I’m specially blessed to have such lovely family and friends old and new to visit, but it’s nice to be home too!  Photos to come tomorrow, I’m too whipped tonight.

Peace.

Doomsday? Doesn’t Look Like It.

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WTF?  I’m still HERE?  What happened to the rapture?  Either I should have been taken, or I should have been left to face my doom.  It kind of looks like the first nice day in over a week, not doomy at all, and as far as I know, no one’s been taken, although to be fair, I haven’t checked the NY Times website yet, so I could be wrong on that.

See, here’s what I think.  There is a God.  God loves us.  We are His/Her children, and that love is unconditional.  It doesn’t MATTER that we screw up over and over again, we are still loved.  There is no way my loving deity is going to pull the plug on the world and just take His favourites.  We’re ALL favourites.  Some of us are better behaved than others, but we’re all loved.  Did your mom stop loving you when you got a D in history?  No?  How about when you broke the living room window playing baseball?  No?

I don’t understand the use of the threat of “Judgment Day” by religious groups.  Seems to me like it’s the ultimate empty threat.  Who are these individual groups to presume that THEY are the ones who will be chosen, anyway?  What if it turns out God really only digs Asian chicks, or people who like the Ramones (in which cased I’m going, fer shure)?

It’s pretty arrogant to presume you know the mind of the Almighty.  I do know this:  it’s better if we all try to be nice to each other, whether we believe in God or not.  It’s just better. We don’t all have to be the same to be loved. 

Getting My Act Together, Taking it on the Road

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I’m on holiday next week.  I’ve left my office in good shape, and in good hands.  Everything there is shipshape, nothing to worry about.

This week, I am seeing friends from university, friends from highschool, and even friends from public school.  I think it’s going to be fun.  I also think it’s going to be surprising, and lovely.  I’m quite excited about the whole thing.

So, this weekend is dedicated to getting the house in shape before I leave;  vacuuming, tidying up, laundry, etc.  I’ll feel funny if I leave a mess behind, and I won’t be able to enjoy myself (cuz I’m a freak like that).

Assumptions

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I think we always wonder how others perceive us.  It’s vanity, it’s self-consciousness; call it what you will, but it’s there.  How much we care about it varies. 

Sometimes I think I come across as being a bit of a fool, in person, at least.  It’s because I don’t want to come across as a snob.  I’ve been dumbing it down for so long that that’s my persona now.  It’s tiresome having to explain the “big words”, so sometimes it’s easier just not to use them.  Sometimes they just slip out, and I get some really funny looks.  How did an idiot like me learn a word like that?

I think it’s in bad taste to brag about education, IQ, or accomplishments.  If you want that information, I can send you a resume.  But sometimes, when being spoken down to by someone who I KNOW doesn’t know what they’re talking about, I just want to say “Here – here’s my stuff.  Now shut up and stop making assumptions.  You don’t know me at all, and you’re just making a damned fool of yourself.”

Subversive Anti-American Stuff

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What did I tell you, America?  80 dead in Pakistan.  The Taliban states that they are revenge killings for Bin Laden, and that it is indeed “only the beginning”.

I believe I said that right after they executed him without a trial, didn’t I?  Wouldn’t it have been great to have a trial in a court of law?  Isn’t that the American Way? America, F**k Yeah! Freedom and Justice for all, except for little brown people who talk funny and wear dishcloths on their heads, because they don’t count as people – they don’t espouse American values.

When was the last war fought on American soil?  History buffs?  Anyone?  I’m guessing the Civil War, as far as I know.  I think the American glorification of war has something to do with the fact that it happens far away, overseas, to people who are “not like us”.  Well, guess what?  I think it’s about to get a whole lot more up close and personal than that, and I think as Global Bully’s next-door neighbour, we should  be very afraid of the potential fallout.

I liked it better when no one knew Canada existed.  

On a similar note, I heard on the news yesterday that there was a bus crash in Toronto, two TTC vehicles hit head-on at a station.  The CBC announcer stated that “14 people and one toddler were taken to hospital”.  Because although women have had status as persons for some time in this country, apparently toddlers have not.  I know they’re a handful, but come on.  Good thing it happened here and not in the States, though, because I don’t know who they classify as people.

Also in the news:  the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie comes out next week, and Geoffrey Rush is in it.  There’s something worth living for.  All that and Captain Jack Sparrow too.  He could set America straight.  Is there anything Johnny Depp can’t do?  Yes, indeedy and shiver me timbers, matey.  Yum.

I just got a bag of half red, half purple merino and some natural tussah silk at Romni yesterday.  I have plans for the red involving gold sari silk fibres and glitzy angelina, representative of the feared Other, and for the purple to be blended up with the silk into a pale soft dream of peace.  By spinning, I shall overcome all my anxiety about potential global warfare.

 Peace out, fellow Canucks!

Work

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My work, no surprise, gets me down sometimes, although not because of the other staff anymore, which has to be counted as a blessing.  We are a good team;  friendly, but not in each others’ pockets.  We’re pleasant, intelligent people who all have lives outside of the office.  It’s pretty awesome.  No one ever asks me anymore, “Do you think I’m STUPID?!?”  That’s an awful question, because really there’s only two answers.  If it’s yes, you’re in trouble.  If it’s no, you’re lying.  I usually chose not to answer at all, which was taken as a tacit “yes”, but really couldn’t be used against me.

When I worked for lawyers in private practice, sometimes people were happy.  Sometimes people were buying their first home.  Sometimes they were making wills because they were expecting children.  Sometimes  they were getting settlement proceeds from accidents or inheritances.

None of my clients now are happy.  They either have been accused of crimes, have problems with the mental health system, or have terrible family problems that they can’t resolve without a lawyer.  Sometimes they have overlapping problems.  They’re frightened, they’re threatened, they’re defensive.  They smell like fear and depression.  They’re afraid of losing their children, or their liberty.  They cannot be joked with.  There is no relieving levity, just relentless heaviness, day after day. 

There’s me, sitting in my office at court, counting the number of times I hear the “f” word out in the hall.  No wonder I say it so much.  There’s me, reviewing the inmates’ requests to be seen, mostly badly spelled,  and sometimes completely unintelligible.  There’s me, respecting an inmate’s request that his papers not be sent to the institution so the others don’t see that he’s been charged with sexual offences against children.  There’s me, reviewing a court application brought by Childrens’ Aid for Crown Wardship.  There’s me, interviewing a young person who’s in trouble with the courts because nobody cares about her.  There’s me, trying to explain why I can’t help them.

And here’s me, at home, still chewing it over after 13 years.  I still haven’t learned to leave it all behind. I hope I never do, because it would mean I’ve stopped caring.  I care, but caring weighs such a lot, sometimes it wears me out.  I’m tired of poverty and illiteracy.  I’m tired of a system that would rather put people behind bars than into treatment programs.  I’m tired of uniforms and suits and protocols.  I’m tired of policies and procedures. 

So, I think I’ll go be a crack whore for a while and see how it looks from that side.  I’ve got lots of contacts, I’ve been networking for years.  Maybe I can change the system from within.  I’m sure as hell not making a dent from over here.