Head 'em up and move 'em out: Edmonton-style

Friday, June 30, 2006

Torn between two love ( - ers?)

Okay, so as my adopted team (Vai Brasil!!!) plows through its opposition at FIFA I now find myself in a bit of a quandary. You see, Wimbledon has begun. And where there is Wimbledon, there is Roger Federer. Oh yes…Roger. Mmm…sweet, sweet Roger.

For those of you out of the tennis loop, my (I guess I have to share him with my mom and a few others too) Roger is being touted as the greatest tennis player of all time. After so many years of boring smash and bash Sampras-types, he brought back finesse and skill to the game. Oh yeah, and he’s totally kicking ass (the only person who’s beaten him in the last year is Rafael Nadal, who ain’t so bad to watch either).

So, what’s my problem? Well, since the World Cup is in Europe this year I’m having several scheduling conflicts as the two tournaments are aired largely at the same time. Yes, yes, I know that FIFA’s only every four years and it’s rare I get to see a Brazilian soccer team on TV here, but Roger’s playing absolutely brilliantly and it’s hard to peel my eyes off him.

Okay, so in the complaints department maybe this doesn’t rank too high – but it’s making my mornings rather difficult in another way as well – I’m not starting my work until 3 in the frickin’ afternoon! And further, what the *hell* am I going to do on July 10th when they’re both over!?! I’m going to be in some serious withdrawal…I may require beer.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

P.S. You Rock My World: Final Musings from Saskatchewan

Not a bad way to spend my last day on the flatlands, eh? Plus 28 degrees, Heinekens, a pool, and a view. I may have gotten a wee bit too much sun however, as I’m in a teensy bit of pain at the moment.

Anyway, so I’ve been writing a ton the last while, maybe it’s some kind of weird purging ritual I have to go through in my decompression??? So I figured, what’s one more contemplative (hah) blog!?

This trip home has been a good one for me, really very relaxing. It’s really been good for me to be away from things and help me gain some perspective. The other day I visited the gravesite of an old friend of mine who killed himself some years ago, not really sure why. But it had been a few years since I’d been there and while driving by I felt I should stop. I was so struck by the incredibly fitting epitaph they had for him, I had forgotten what it read: “he was easy to love.” But what really struck me while I was there, was exactly how much life has gone by since his passing. How many births, deaths, relationships, and life changing events have happened in the time since he’s been gone for what, in relative terms, is a short period of time. He never even had the chance to find out what potential lay ahead for him. There is, of course, always something different when someone ends their own life – why he didn’t think there was anything there for him in the future. But it strikes me even more when I think about Juan. When I think about how much potential lay in him, in that brilliant, funny, loving soul that’s gone now.

So I went for a walk to ponder some of these things and this song by one of my very favourite bands came round on my CD player:

“I was at a funeral the day I realized
I wanted to spend my life with you.
Sitting down on the steps, at the old post office
The flag was hanging at half mast.
And I was thinking ‘bout how everyone was dying,
And maybe it’s time to live…”

What this means for me right now, I’m not entirely sure – but it just clicked with me. It sort of sums up things for me right now. The last 6 months I’ve dealt with a lot of death, with a lot of loss. But despite all those things, I know that I’m an incredibly lucky person who’s had some pretty amazing opportunities, and has some pretty amazing people in my life. And I have only myself to blame if I don’t make the most of these opportunities; if I don’t visit the places I’ve been dying to see; if I don’t nurture all the relationships in my life; if I don’t at least try to go after what it is I really want. In yet another clichéd vein, what do any of us really have to lose in the grand scheme of things? But there’s always so much to gain.

So yeah, maybe it’s time to live…

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Prairie Wanderings

So I had some interesting prairie wanderings this trip home. I actually visited a nice chunk of Saskatchewan that I hadn’t seen in quite some time: Moose Jaw (home of too many fabric shops for someone as broke as I am); Southey (home of…mmm…”Pizzas and Cream”); Qu’Appelle (home of 2 gorgeous clothing shops which provided me with 2 marvy new skirts); Indian Head (host to the stinky but “crafty” elevator); Lumsden (er…home of a big valley); and of course, Punnichy.

The latter city, no…town…no…village, holds a special place in my heart though as it’s where my dad was born and raised in a wee little shack of a house. My sister and I visited last week and though it was disappointing to see that many more of the houses of our (but especially her) memories had been torn down, we were at least a little heartened to see that the place was still alive and not in quite as dire a shape as we’d thought it might be. Amongst the poverty of that little town though, it’s really quite something to think that our dad was amongst the very poorest and our family was generally treated like trash there. My grandfather would never be paid for his smithy work; they wouldn’t let me dad watch TV through the windows with the other kids; they wouldn’t extend any credit to the family at the shops. But the kicker was a story my mom told me the other day that I totally hadn’t remembered.

After my grandfather died (he was only 57 when he died suddenly), the family was in dire need of food. They just wanted to buy some beef or something, and were a nickel short but the store wouldn’t allow them a cent of credit. Apparently to keep their house warm in the winter, they used to layer wallpaper over the walls (couldn’t afford insulation or electricity), and someone recalled that a nickel might have been caught between the layers. So what they ended up having to do was literally rip down their walls to find the nickel so she could feed them all. How heartbreaking is that? It’s no wonder my dad had just a wee bit of a chip on his shoulder about people in that town…oops, I mean village.

Anyway, it really was nice to get out onto the prairies again. I’ve flown nearly every time I’ve come here in the last 6 or 7 years, and I’ve really missed being able to just sit and look at the prairies rolling by. Some of this province really is quite stunning, and if you haven’t taken the time to drive through it, I think you’ve really missed out. If it weren’t for the ticks (*shudder*) I honestly could have just sat out on the hillsides near Punchy (sic) for days.

I strongly suggest you take the opportunity to spend some time wandering these Prairies if you haven’t yet. Hurry, before bovineclassifieds.com takes over the whole damn thing.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

6 degrees of blog-(something that rhymes with 'ation')

Every wonder whether anyone’s actually reading your blog? Whether the various musings you put to paper (er, keyboard) are actually being consumed by someone else? I have to say you’d be surprised at the ways in which someone you’d never expect can come across your words.

The day before I left to come here I had a strange experience. A writer from the Journal happened to be a friend of Mingus Tourette’s, whose play I had written about earlier. He was apparently looking for reactions to Postcards (which was so unfairly maligned by a certain chickenshit writer from SEE who wouldn’t put his name to his ‘review’ – though I use the term lightly) and came across my blog. He went through the whole thing and figured there was an interesting feature in it.

I didn’t really mention this to a whole lot of people because I almost panicked. I had to mentally run through the various postings from this year of blogging to figure out just *how* embarrassed I should be about this. I’ve never used the blog as a personal journal, but of course I was reminded by the writer about my lengthy essay on petit gateaux, the photo of my dogs sporting superhero costumes, etc. I couldn’t help but feel a little naked, a wee bit vulnerable. I’ve been interviewed about asbestos stuff before, and my personal connection before, but none of the interviews have focused on me as an individual. So I was feeling a little insecure about it all.

I needn’t have worried, the article ran yesterday. It was a good one and I was really happy with it, but it does serve as a reminder to be careful what you blog – you just never know who’s reading.

Oh yeah, and one must be especially careful when you’re an “emotional” girl like me, as the asbestos industry called me in their response to my claims that they’re evil corporate murderers. Oh well, at least I’m an emotional person who doesn’t have the blood her hands. Whohoo!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Curse you Iron Chef Hashimoto!

Goddamn my stupid thyroid. I was finally starting to feel chilled out and just slightly refocused here when bang, my thyroid crashes again. Now generally I don’t think of the whole thyroid thing as a big deal in terms of health problems. In the grand scheme of things, who frickin’ cares if you have to take a few pills every day for the rest of your life (that are mercifully cheap). God knows there are so many worse things in this life. But every so often IT JUST PISSES ME OFF!

I’d just lost the extra weight from the last go round in Brazil (I know, I know, I shouldn’t complain about the weight – but I’ve been tiny my whole life), had a fair bit of energy, and was feeling pretty good about things. Within the span of only three days, though, I’m back to sleeping 10+ hours, having zero energy, dragging my ass, feeling cloudy and sad, gained 5 pounds overnight, and the hives, oh the hives. So now I’m slicing and dicing my mom’s leftover thyroid meds to try increase my dose to get back to normal (heh). I’ll probably be back to normal just in time for the end of my vacation. Goddamit.

On the brighter side of things, though, I went to see Matt Dusk as part of the Jazz Festival the other night, and I have to say it was quite a groovy evening. And to any of you naysayers who think I’m just being trendy listening to these guys, I’ve been into the whole lounge scene for quite a while. How can you not enjoy love it? What’s nicer than lying on the floor with someone special, with some groovy mood lighting, tasty cocktails and listening to a great crooner?

But I had taken a bit of a break from attending shows after that nasty Jaymz Bee encounter (I shudder even recalling it now), he totally turned me off going to live shows. But with the arrival of Buble and Dusk (both of whom are clearly not 50 year old perverts with cocaine habits), I was really excited to go to this show. And Mr. Dusk did not disappoint. He has a wicked sense of humour that I was really not expecting, and the tunes are great. He really plays the crooner character well and has a self-effacing manner that just cracked me up.

And c’mon, what a cutie!! He’s surprisingly taller than he seems on stage as I discovered afterwards. And any guy who is willing to admit to a chick his similarities to a Muppet (and Fozzie bear specifically), is way cool in my books. So for L, who wanted a photo if I could get it – voila! And to boot I’m wearing the absolutely awesome dress I got with my Maggie Walt gift certificate. I've got to be the only person who goes to South America for three months and comes back paler than when she left...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

As Oil reserves finally run out, a young girl’s thoughts turn to flights of FIFA (and a mysterious Brazilian man).

I’m not sure that it’s gone as far as my mother claims, that I’m now her ‘daughter, the jock’. But I’ve definitely developed an appreciation for sports of late. I think it started in Brazil with the genuine enthusiasm for both soccer and tennis, but the momentum was kept up by the atmosphere in Edmonton, then the French Open and FIFA, and now Wimbledon is creeping up on us once again.

I will say that this year’s playoffs really rekindled an appreciation for hockey that I’d not had since I was 8! People say it’s the new rules, or it might be the Oiler-craze, whatever it was, it sucked me in. There was almost a tear in my eye Monday night when the panned the Oilers bench at the end of the game. So I say thank you for the hockey (to be sung, of course, to the tune of ABBA’s “Thank you for the music”).

But now I must move on to bigger and brighter things: the World Cup! Of course, neither of my nationalities are in this year. Of course I never would have thought Canada would be, but I’d had a faint hope Ireland would qualify! So I shall have to choose the next best thing and go with my temporary homeland of Brazil. True, they’re also a strong bet to do well, but I genuinely feel they should win. And mmm…that Kaka. But a friend told me to take a closer look at the goalie, Dida, which I did. I could not for the life of me figure out why he looked so familiar. And then I realized: my train boy!

One story I never got around to telling was of the mysterious man on the train that I fell in love with. I was hung over, tired, and sick. Not feeling my prettiest by a mile. To top it off, the train was just packed and I had to stand for the hour long trip. Anyway, I soon noticed this Brazilian man across from me smiling at me, and sweet jeezus, what a beautiful man. Not in a typical way (those of you have heard my theses on Latin men know what I mean here), but he had the warmest face and smile I have ever seen, eyes that just make you melt (I swear this is the one and only time I will be this schmaltzy on here!). And his manner was just so striking. On a hot, stinky train with pieces of wood covering the massive holes in the floor, he was smiling and joking with the little kids next to him who had no seats. We locked eyes for nearly the entire trip. Then it got really surreal and these buskers came out of nowhere making up and singing songs about all the people on the train – this was remarkable since generally the people asking for money on the train are selling toothbrushes and cookies, not musical creations. He and I laughed together the whole way. It was just one of those moments. The kind that just floors you and you’re not sure what to do with, but damn, it’s fun while it lasts.

But alas, my stop came and I had to leave. Had I not had an interview booked for that hour I would absolutely have stayed on that train. Especially since in a city of 22 million you’re not too likely to bump into someone again, especially since we’d already actually left Sao Paulo and gone through 5 more cities by the time I disembarked. You know that James Blunt song, “Beautiful?” Of course you do, it’s been overplayed on every continent. Anyway, it was totally like that! It didn’t hurt that when I stepped off the train the song that was playing was Beautiful (what did I tell ya – overplayed).

Or maybe it was more Sliding Doors-ish; what would have happened if in that instant I’d stayed? Ooooooooh. But alas, I did not, and perhaps that was the way it was meant to be. Or perhaps nothing is. Meant to be, or means anything, or something. It’s too late and I’m too tired to get too Camus-ey (Camooey?). But it’s one of those things that really stuck with me. Now I have other people/things/whatever sticking in my brain, but still, that one was nice while it stuck.


Monday, June 19, 2006


Okay, so I’ve already blogged today, but this was too cute not to mention! I just called home to check my messages, and there was a wrong number – sounded like he might have been native.

Anyway, he says “well this is the wrong person, but how but them Oilers eh?? I’m calling from the Northwest Territories – and you rock Edmonton! I’m sorry bout the wrong number, but whooooooooooo! Goooo!”

Game on, baby!

Alrightey, so I’m done with my anti-father’s day ranting and now will move onto something that was near and dear to my paternal figure’s heart: hockey!!! I can’t help but wonder what life would have been like for us if my dad had been able to put on that 20lbs the NHL scout had requested and he had started playing in the majors. Well, I wouldn’t exactly have a life to contemplate since I wouldn’t exist (I know, perish the thought!). But I’m sure my mom’s life would have been mighty different! But I digress…

Okay, I will admit that I partly wanted the Oil to lose on Wednesday night, but honestly, I just really wanted a good night’s sleep and I didn’t want to awake to some kind of post-apocalyptic 28 Days Later scenario. That being said, I am totally stoked for tonight’s game! This past Saturday I actually forced my sweet Irish mother to watch the game and we were both right in there, man!

And I am actually lamenting the fact that I won’t be in Edmonchuck to enjoy this! To watch my friends run down the streets naked (you SO know who you are); to scream ‘Goilers!!!!!!!’ of the roof-top of the Dog; and to just generally rock-out with you all.

But I shall celebrate in my own way. In honour of the final, and father’s day, we shall be preparing the traditional family Stanley Cup meal of mini sandwiches and chips and dip. Now if I can just find one of those goddamn provincial liquor boards to find some Heineken, I’ll be set. Party on.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bah Humbug.

Okay. So if I don’t have a father anymore, no one else is allowed to celebrate father’s day, dammit. Actually, I don’t really care, especially given that the various hype and media that traditionally surrounds father's day doesn't in any way bear a resemblance to my own dad (i.e. barbecues, fishing, golf). Goddam he was hard to shop for! Okay, there was the typical dad thing of liking beer, but that was never a typically father’s day kind of thing to buy here, especially in Regina: home of public liquor boards.

So what’s my point here? Well, I guess I’m just setting the scene – it was an unbelievably quiet day here in the Queen City. Not only was it a Sunday, but the throngs of non-fatherless children had whisked their pappies off to cottages, or the beach or Montana’s or some damn thing, thus leaving the downtown core desolate. But after having watched enough FIFA to have permanently fried my retinas, I really needed to go for a walk. Badly. That and the fact that I’m finding that nowadays if I go more than one or two days without dancing I really don’t feel too good. So with my trusty Discman I hit the streets of my hometown of 15 years in an attempt to reconnect with Pile ‘o Bones.

My reconnection didn’t exactly happen though. Maybe it was the whole Brazil thing, the whole ‘needing to re-evaluate life’ thing I’ve been going through lately, and maybe it was when someone pointed out to me the other day that I’ve been in Edmonton now for nearly 10 years, but the city really feels foreign to me now. (The exception to this entire discussion when I’m within the confines of my parents’ home when I always feel comfy and cozy, when I’m being mothered, etc. which is the reason I needed to come here at this time).

The city, of course, is changing, and it really is a lovely place (I’m soooooo not getting into that debate right now), and while I know my way around just fine and dandy, it’s really feeling alien to me. There is something very isolating about walking the streets of a city knowing that you’re not going to bump into any of your friends, not going to be able to go for that impromptu coffee or pint. Sure, there’s a couple of acquaintances remaining here, but not really friends. Not the people you can talk complete and utter bullshit to, share your wack-job plans and schemes with and, most importantly, sit with in complete silence. That part of Regina is gone for me now, and it’s really kind of sad.

Now maybe I’m being a wee bit over-the-top maudlin about all this, it may have to do with the fact that when I went for this 2 hour excursion I had “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning” on replay the whole time. I have absolutely been hooked on this CD since I saw Bright Eyes at Red’s (I know, I know) the other week. Goddamn it’s a great album! You know when you hear a record and it’s just got you so happy that people are still making good music that you want to cry and skip down the street? Hmm, maybe that’s just me. Anyway, it’s a damn fine album I highly recommend. The only thing is some of his lyrics on this album are too easy to connect with in a visceral way and you can send yourself into a spiral of over-contemplation very very quickly. Trust me on this one – choose your listening times with discretion.

Saturday, June 17, 2006



That is all.

Friday, June 16, 2006

What a home-coming!

So not only has Regina been blessed with my presence for the next couple weeks, but they now get to have the likes of Colin Thatcher gracing them! I was floored today to discover that the convicted murderer was just released to a halfway house in Regina after 22 years for hacking up his wife, Joanne Thatcher.

Yeah, yeah, I know I’m not exactly Miss Crime & Punishment, but this particular guy I hold in real contempt. Aside from being a murdering bastard and a former Conservative MLA (both sufficient to earn my contempt), the guy placed one of our close family friends on his hit list!!! Maggie Siggins (her husband being my unofficial godfather of sorts), the author of A Canadian Tragedy (made into a movie with our treasures Kenneth Welsh & Kate Nelligan), after writing this best-selling book, found her name on a list of people Thatcher wanted to get rid of after his conviction! Not only was the guy a murderer, but he was also an idiot. Guess where the genius kept this list? In his prison cell. The guy’s convicted of hiring someone to off his wife so what does he do? He writes up a list of other people he wants to have hit and keeps it in his cell. Yep, nothing screams innocence like your own personal hit list!

I don’t know exactly where this halfway house is, but it’s downtown. We’re in that general vicinity ourselves – near the legislature – and it’s just a stone’s throw away from the house where Joanne was murdered. I don’t know, maybe it’s all this grey weather we’re having that’s putting me in this mood – but I’m genuinely creeped out by this...or maybe it's sleep deprivation...whatever...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

3-day torture contest!


Okay folks, a BIG apology that I didn't post this sooner as the deadline's tomorrow. But you can complete an application online, so no worries!

For those of you that don't know, every year a 3-day novel contest is held for aspiring writers attempt to attempt to write a complete novel in, you guessed it, 3 days!!! This year people will be able to watch the pain and agony that is this contest for themselves.

The Southpoint Chapters will be having 12 writers undergo this grueling literary battle live in the store. Having witnessed my sister attempt this several times, I can tell you it's VERY entertaining for observers. And if you're brave enough to actually want to attempt this feat yourself, what better opportunity than this!?

More information and an online application are available at booktelevision.com
I'm attaching an application to this email as well for your perusal. The application is quick and easy so you've got time to get it in AND to pass it along to any writer friends.

This event has already received publicity in the national press and a buzz is quickly developing. They're looking for interesting people who have the guts to stick out the weekend in a fishbowl. The event will take place on the September long weekend and a documentary will be produced about the weekend. It's a great opportunity for anyone who wants to break out onto the writing scene with some drama!

And if you're not a writer yourself, encourage a friend so that you can have the pleasure of taunting them throughout the whole process and watching them slowly going insane - that's what I do!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Aw nunts.

Okay, so I’m forced to eat my words. This week I set out to see the play “Postcards from Hell” at Nextfest. A couple folks I know were involved and I wanted to check it out. However I was pretty trepidatious about seeing it and I didn’t figure I’d get that much out of it. You see, the performance is based on the book of poetry, Nunt. I myself had not been a huge fan of the book – I found the flow disruptive and the prose just didn’t work for me. I just didn’t expect I was going to enjoy this.

But I have to say I must eat every little last one of my words. I was incredibly impressed by the production in terms of its adaptation to the stage, the direction, and the performance of its lead. Suddenly a great deal more of the text connected with me. I would go so far as to say this is how Nunt was meant to be appreciated. The text has always felt like a narrative to me rather than poetry and as such, the stage seems to be its most appropriate medium. So kudos to cast and crew. Jason Carnew did a great job with the direction, and Charles Netto did an amazing job with what was really a very difficult role to perform convincingly.

There’s just one show left on Sunday and you should really try and catch it. Info’s at nextfest.ca and if anyone wants to go I would actually go see it again (never thought I'd be saying that!)

Oh yes, and thanks also to everyone who came out and supported the I-India show. It was a great time and we raised a nice chunk of money for the orphanage. Now I must go spend my gift certificate at Maggie’s store…yeehaw!!! I’ve already got my dress picked out!