Best time ever! An evening downtown with MUSE!

So had the best time ever! Evening out with my children, a lovely supper in historic Gastown and rocking out to MUSE.

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Adam, Kerstie, Bryson, Chloe and I drove to Gastown, parked up and walked to the Pourhouse for supper. We were going to go to my son Jonathan’s restaurant but couldn’t because of a private party, so we went to his best friend Jonathan’s restaurant instead.

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Here’s Jonathan behind his bar. I’ve known him for fifteen years or so and he’s always been Good Jon as compared to my son…

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Jon made us a variety of yummy special drinks he invented…

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…and we had some lovely appies to share. Some of us had made-to-order burgers, some had French onion soup and Kerstie and I shared a delicious bowl of spicy steamed clams. If you come to Gastown you should go!

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We were very happy leaving the Pourhouse and decided that a good brisk walk was in order. LOL

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I bought my T-shirt

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We got our wrist bands for the floor and ran down hand in hand just in time to welcome MUSE to Vancouver!

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I wanted this evening to last and last so I made a little movie using one of my favorite muse songs and some of the movie footage I took and uploaded it to my Media Tala YouTube channel. Here’s the YouTube link

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MUSE played the best concert and after it was all over we got the munchies and drove down to Fritz for poutine before finally making it home. That was such a good time.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a 24 hour, 24 page zine!!!!

Begun at 7:30pm July 3rd, completed at 7:19pm July 4th as an answer to the 24hour Zine challenge.

What do Sylvia Plath and Steampunk have in common?

Me!
This evening I wrote a slash-your-wrists-by free verse to a prompt on Rosemary Mint.
My excuse is that the prompt was a wordle from Sylvia Plath…what did you expect? Ok, I’ll not post it here (sensitive souls read here) so if you really want to read it, go here.

This evening I linked Media Tala to a Steampunk challenge here. It also made me feel like I want to create more and more Steampunk images! Yay…go Steampunk. Steampunk! Ok, I’ll stop saying it.

All of this was Margo’s fault with her brilliant Friday Freeforall. I so have to check out more!

And I also laughed my head off at some images which came on my Facebook feed. I’ll show you:

I know…what am I like?
I laugh at the silliest jokes. Go ahead and tell me one, you’ll see.
PS. If you’re not on my FB then add me. We can send each other silly jokes.

Knowing myself at the end of 2010

Funny how the close of one year and the beginning of another always prompts reflections of past times and intensions of times to come.
Somewhere between jetlag, work, snow and the general hectic holiday season I seem to have lost a day with the result that the 31st has snuck in out of nowhere, so I sit down somewhat late at the closing of this year to write down these words.

It’s taken me a while to grasp it all, but I think I have finally arrived at that grown-up place where life is what you make it and not all things we go through are easy, comfortable or ideal, but, looking at the state of the world, they could be so incredibly worse, and a simple life of comfort does nothing to change us or make us into better, stronger, more beautiful versions of ourselves.

Looking back over this past year, I’ve been reminded of the situations which have tripped me up and served to teach me just what I’m capable of. Perhaps it’s some sort of plan, this 2010 full of lows and discomforts and challenges, to push myself more towards new chapters in the story of my life.
This year has been extraordinary.
This year has been painful.
This year has been enlightening.
This year has felt mostly like I’m stuck in some sort of liminal space, on the threshold of something new.

Overall it was a good year, one which has shown me who I am.
I am capable and I believe they will be good chapters.
Happy new year everyone.

If there’s coffee it must be Vancouver

I have a confession to make; I don’t really like coffee. But I love tea. Any kind of tea really. And have had times in my life where I’ve been totally addicted to Starbucks venti chai lattes, non-fat milk, seven pumps of syrup…mmm.

The way I see it this is a practical thing to be addicted to because it helps one put life into perspective…like…”What do you mean $7 for that sandwich? That’s practically two chai lattes!” So it’s reassuring for me to walk round Vancouver with my Starbucks cup; at least I look like I fit in with coffee culture.

Jet Lag…Ug

I’m relieved now that my brain has calmed down a little and I’m no longer wandering the house at night. My cats are staring at me with gold owl eyes. They’ve had two months of peaceful nights and suddenly there’s their long forgotten pink-faced beloved wandering around on their time.

I am trying to look at it all philosophically — the existentialism of being awake at night and…

I’ve been staring at the letter B on the key board for the past ten minutes. It’s like an R except the straight part is curving. It’s not like the D because there’s no indent through the middle.

What was I talking about?

Oh, yeah, taking responsibility. So while I’m prepared to take responsibility for my own jet lag and wander from room to room, I’d just like to say for the record, I think that maybe Nietzsche didn’t have to fly back and forth over the Atlantic too much.  

*Note to self: buy floor length ivory gown. Effect is slightly spoiled in blue flannel jammies.

Hang on a minute lads…

So, does everyone know we are completely mad about minis?

The Knight Templar next door

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.”
— Macbeth

It’s Tuesday afternoon.

I’m in Oxfordshire, about 10 miles southwest of Oxford, in my small village Northmoor, in St. Denys church, lying on the cold stone floor, (as one does), beside the effigy of the Baron Sir Thomas More, a 12C Knight Templar. The knight’s full height, from lion at his feet to tip of his helmet barely reaches my shoulder. I think about some of the doors in some of the older houses in the village, the sitting rooms I can’t walk across without ducking.

Man, these were some small people.

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But this can’t have included Sir Thomas? He was a Knight Templar.  Surely he was a 6’4, 220 lbs, solid muscle, chainmail wearing, draft horse riding, super-he-man. Hasn’t anyone read Dan Brown?

So here I am, lying on the ground of a 12C church, on top of a 16C grave, and the reality is staring me in the face and I’m making up my own explanations.

Explanation no. 1 (also known as the most favourite):

His body was buried in his full 6’4 muscle-bound glory and his effigy made 1/3 scale due to lack of above ground church space.

Explanation no.2 (also known as “well, it could happen”):

He died in some noble and virtuous fight from having his legs chopped off at the knees and there was only so much Sir Thomas left to bury.

Explanation no.3 (also known as probable)

He really was that short…damn you Dan Brown, stick to reality next time.

I twist my neck around to look up and behind me; there is his wife, the Lady Isabel.  She’s dressed in chemise, tunic, wimple and veil, her feet rest on her faithful dog. I shuffle over to her effigy, this time I line my head up with hers and my knees, calves and feet protrude past her dog. Maybe that was tall for the middle ages. I wonder what they’d make of me. At 5’7 I figure I’m pretty average for the 21C. I imagine I ran into a time machine and was landed in Tom’s time. Would they dress me in a tunic which only reached to my knees? That probably would be indecent. That might lead to wimples, chastity belts, forced marriage to some medieval midget and the predictable short and miserable life of backbreaking labour and flea bites. I give my over-imaginative head a shake, get off the floor and walk out of the church into the very real, warm August sunlight.

Where she links dead foxes with croissants


Today I drove over a dead fox on the A 404.
I was driving my Austin 7 and going about 60 mph and, well, I’m a complete wimp about these things. The problem is that the fox was right in the middle of my lane and I didn’t have the time or space to swerve around it. I didn’t have a choice but to straddle it hoping my wheel base was wide enough and my clearance was high enough that I wouldn’t drag, smush, squish, or otherwise attach the fox (or worse – bits of the fox) to my mini.
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It was a big fox.
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Ug. UG!
Poor innocent fox.
Stupid A 420.
I should write a letter!
There should be fences! All the foxes, badgers, pheasants etc. should be relocated away from roads!
I looked in the rear view mirror to see the fox still in the middle of the road and everyone one behind me driving normally.
Am I the only one having problems with killed foxes on roads?
Maybe the British collective consciousness weighs heavily on the dead fox idea. Let’s face it, historically foxes have not had an easy time frolicking around in lush woodlands, sleeping out in a verdant and sunny meadow for any longer than three minutes before some pack of dogs and hunters set on it, chase it down with fanfare bugles and a hearty “tally ho, what”, drag it out of any hole or den it might try to hide in and rip it to shreds.
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Maybe the fox intentionally hurled itself under a car.
Wouldn’t blame it.
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Had to lose myself in retail therapy and buttery croissants for the rest of the afternoon.

Some children on a bus

Parking in Oxford cost about £100/hour (allowing for the most marginal exaggeration), and even if you can afford the fees, the parking is usually limited to only two hours. I hate being under any kind of limit so I use the park and ride service where the parking is free and a double-decker bus runs every 15 minutes. I know that I’m generally an Oxfordian when I’m here – this is an easily recognised fact when you hear me pronounce Magdalene  “Maudlin” – but if I have my camera with me I can play at being a tourist and I believe this grants me permission to take the front seat on the upper deck of the bus where the view is much better. Unfortunately it’s also the favourite spot of all the children I’ve ever seen.

This morning I shared the front of the bus with the most charming little family. I heard Parisian French coming up the circular staircase and three small children, ages about 8, 6 and 4, came running up to the front with mother and father closely behind. The two older children, Laurie and Thomas, took the front seats opposite and the youngest, Jeremy, began to register his protest.

His mother said, “viens ici”, and sat him beside me. The youngster felt shy and stood up. She then sat him between his siblings but he complained he was too squished. “Arrêt petit, ne bouge pas  Cher(gurgle)émie. ” The mother said. Tomaaas arrêt, sil-vous-plait. Finally Jeremy moved to the seat behind me and the bus started to roll down the round-about, scratching the roof on the tree’s branches, much to the delight of the children.

Thomas noticed the black rectangle in front of him. “qu’es-ce que c’est ca Papa?” His father replied in perfect public school English, “That, Thomas, is a camera, which is focused on the mirror above. This allows the driver to see the status of his passengers on the upper level.”

“es-qu’il peut me voir aussi?”

“Yes, Thomas, most certainly”

Thomas grinned, pushed his index fingers into the corners of his mouth and stuck his tongue straight out into the camera. This was met with whoops of laughter from the children. “Assis Tomaaas” the mother said. “ Cher(gurgle)émie, arrêt petit.”

Jeremy was jumping up and down on the seat with excitement.

“Jeremy,” said the father, “try not to destroy the bus before we reach our destination.”

I tried to suppress my giggles. Laurie looked at me with a suspicious eye.

“Maman, maman, maman, es-que que-el qu’un peut me comprendre? ” She whispered.

The father said, “Remember when we’re in the markets of Bordeaux and we hear English, or German or any other language?”

“Oui papa.”

“Do you remember when I told you to be careful to watch your language because anyone may understand?”

“Oui papa.”

“Well, England is very multi-linguistic Laurie, you never know who can speak what language, so you have to be prepared for any eventuality.”

Laurie thought about this for a minute then turned to Thomas. “You smell!” she said and turned to look at my reaction. I really tried hard not to burst into laughter. “You smell like poo.” She said.

“Ça suffit.” Her father said.