Sunday, June 28, 2009

I forgot my favourite part of yesterday!

I was in my corporate tent towards the end of the night. BonJovi was on the stage, but I was trying to close and count one of the bars so I was a tad busy, not paying attention to the concert at all.

So I'm counting bar tickets and trying to concentrate, when I hear them start Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".... only my favourite song on the planet.

I have no idea where on the multi-multi-acre site Husbandly One was when they started the song, but he immediately got on his gator and drove down to the corporate tent. Apparently he asked several of my staff, "Where's Irma? Where's Irma?"

Finally he found me counting the bar in a far corner. I didn't see him approach, but suddenly I felt his hand on my shoulder and he said, "He doesn't sing it as well as kd lang, does he, dear?"

I laughed and agreed that no, he doesn't. He squeezed my shoulder, winked at me, and took off back to work. I hadn't seen him in ten hours, and I didn't see him again for three hours more.

But when my song was played? He felt the need to share the moment with me.


One down.

The BonJovi concert is over. Next up? Catering for 70,000 at the AC/DC concert in August. But at least we made it through the first one, had a bit of a warm up for the chaos yet to come. (yesterday's concert was "only" about 20,000 people we had to feed and water.)

Among our many operations yesterday, I helped run the VIP tent of 250 people. Whereas most of our staff wore jeans and concert T-shirts, those of us in the VIP area were expected to "dress up" a bit, meaning black pants and logo'd golf shirts. And in my case? High heels. No, I wasn't expected to wear heels, but other than my hiking boots and sneakers, I literally do not own a pair of flat shoes.

I started the day off at 9 am in sneakers for set up time, but by the time the gates opened at 12:30 I had put on my Big Girl Shoes. Our tent had a carpeted floor, but in addition to walking around there for eleven hours, I also had to do a fair amount of walking across a field to the separate tent where our kitchen operations were located. Did I mention I was in heels?

Good. Because the funny part of this is that, although my feet were killing me by the end of the night, the didn't hurt anywhere NEAR as bad as they did at the Eagles concert, when I worked all day on flat shoes.

Maybe I actually do have some hidden potential to become a chick, who knows.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Here we go

First of the two outdoor concerts we are catering is tomorrow. We only have to "feed and water" 20,000 people this time, the one five weeks from now is expected to be 70,000. So this first one should be no big deal right?


Except I have been here before.

And I know that Concert Day is more fun than I can ever explain, and I know it is harder on all of us physically than anything you can imagine, and I know what it's like to slowly peel my shoes off in the deserted concert grounds at one in the morning, to look out on the sea of garbage that was left in the field by the ticket holders, to finally crack a beer for myself after cracking a few thousand for people with cash in their hands. I know how proud you feel at 1:00 am, so proud that you made it through. Most of the hourly staff are gone by that point, so you pass a few words with the other managers, and laugh at their stories from the day, because we made it through. No one ever seems to know exactly HOW we made it through, but we did. Together.

Then we put those shoes back on, put the beer down half finished, and go back to loading equipment in the trucks. We are so tired we can't even see straight, but by 3 am you would never even know we had been on the site at all.

We are good at what we do.
I am proud of every single member of our entire team.
I love how good we all feel at the end if a crazy, crazy Saturday.
But I am not looking forward to how I KNOW we are all going to feel come Sunday morning.
And this is the "easy" concert this summer.

Wish me well.

Can't wait for the difficult one, ha ha. Crap.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

No. WAY.

Michael Jackson died?


What the hell....

You know, tonight I planned to write about my garden (big surprise). Then I found out that Farrah Fawcett died, and although I'm not a huge celebrity watcher, I do watch a bit, so I thought I would proably mention something about that. (Which I will still do: Premature death is always sad, but at least she had the blessing of having two people who loved her, with her at the end. We should all be so lucky.)

But I just turned on the TV and omigod. Michael Jackson.

It isn't his death exactly that makes me sad. What makes me sad is the horrible life he had, the horrible compulsions that haunted him, and now he has no opportunity to get well and/or redeem himself. I don't know if he was a spiritual person, but I hope he at least tried to get right with whatever Power he believed in, because I think he has a lot to answer for. I also think he never grew up, never really understood that ferris wheels and giraffes and compulsive shopping don't bring any real happiness.

On the other hand? Remember the seventies and eighties? Remember when he amazed us all, when he was the biggest star in the world? I mean, the man possessed mid blowing talent.

And now his life feels like a waste. I can't really explain what I'm trying to get at, because I don't even think I know what I'm getting at. But the whole thing feels sad.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Didn't see that coming

Did a quick six kilometre hike (more of a walk, really) with the Outdoor Club tonight. The rain has finally let off (for now...) so it was sunny and quite humid. When I got home, both my feet hurt and I had a blister.

To which I say, "Huh?"

I wore the same hiking boots, and the same type of socks, that I always do, and I have never had an issue with my feet before. Any one have any idea what happened? At first I blamed it on the high humidity, but I don't know if that makes sense because, hello, I go hiking in the rain. And I only walked about half of the distance I'm used to, so I'm stumped.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Three posts in one day?


I love Husbandly One with all my heart, but I'm not some dewy eyed newlywed, ok? I KNOW this man. This frustrating, procrastinating man.

Oh waaaahhh, we have the Big Concert in six days, waaahh, I have so much work to do.

Yes, you do. You also deserve a moment's peace, never mind an actual day off. We both know that all you can reasonably expect right now is a moment.

So when you came home from work at 5pm on Friday? I was shocked but pleased. You did absolutely no work on the concert that evening, despite the multiple times you mentioned, "God, it's in a WEEK, I'm not ready."

And when you didn't do a $%$$# thing on the concert Saturday? I thought, wow, dude is really using his down time and charging his batteries, good for him. Yet you again told me, "If I don't get some work done today I'm hooped." Yes, well.

It is now Sunday at 10:40 pm. You have whined about how much you need to do, off and on, for the last eight hours. You are currently watching boxing on TV while playing soccer on the computer. "So really, DEAR, how's the concert coming??" And you look at me like I'm not even speaking English.

You are my heart and soul. You give me more joy than you will ever know. You make me feel safe. You make my heart sing.

But I KNOW you, you procrastinating loser. Earlier tonight, you even set out to clean the bathroom, rather than get your REAL work done. I grabbed the sponge and spray bottle out of your hand, told you I would do it instead, and I swear I thought you were going to cry. It is now three hours later, and you still haven't done any work. And God HELP you if, between now and the concert, I hear one more single complaint out of you about how far behind you are.

I love you. You're an idiot.

Happy Father's Day

I love you, Daddy. Wish you were here.

A hike in the rain

Another great hike with the Outdoor Club today. It seems that only the HardCore Members come on the weekend hikes, as they are the long ones. Today we did 12 kilometres in the rain (hey, nothing stops us).

This is two of us three, today we became the Blue Women Group. (I provided identical rain ponchos for us all.)

All three of us, sans panchos, when the rain let up. (but check out the bottom of our pants, there was a lot of buschwhacking, a lot of puddle jumping, and a few misses!)

I found the very first strawberies of spring.

Great day, and we proved that you don't need to stay home just because it's raining. A little bit of water never hurt anyone.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday thoughts

-- Man I love my little vegetable garden. I swear my pea plants are bigger every time I look out the window. Many of the blogs I enjoy keep track of their harvest in terms of overall pounds of produce harvested. I strongly suspect that, at the end of the summer, I'll tell you something pathetic like, "I harvested four whole pounds!"

And when I do that? I will be so proud of those four pounds. Me, making food. Amazing.

-- Remember those pickles I made this srping? They are technically ready to eat now but I can't bring myself to crack a jar because omigod, what if I did something wrong and they're full of botulism and I have one bite and my Son has to grow up without a mother?

-- Must make progress on the whole "Don't let imagination get away from you" thing.

-- In the summer I am allowed to wear open toed shoes and skip nylons at work. Seeing how it is already a million degrees and only mid June, I appreciate this relaxed dress code. But it also means I have to keep my toenails polished and my legs shaved. Girlie stuff. Am this close to going back to black nylons and pumps.

-- I caught a guy checking me out today. It was pretty funny, but still pretty nice.

-- Which reminds me: Husbandly One has a very attractive "figure", doesn't have an ounce of fat on him, and has an ass that would make you weep. But the man IS almost sixty, everyone's metabolism slows down eventually, and in the last few months he has developped this little pot belly that I adore. I can tell he's not really thrilled with this change in his body, but I think it's the cutest thing ever and can't keep my hands off it. Besides, now his tummy matches mine.

-- StepSon just hit me up for money so he can go to the corner store and buy some food. I pointed at the full fridge with one eyebrow raised. Turns out that the type of groceries we buy aren't manly enough for him to take as his lunch at a construction site. I gave him some money, because the laugh he gave me was worth the ten bucks.

-- Have a crazy day at work tomorrow, appointments (including some across town) booked back to back to back. Why do I do that???

-- The group of people I have lunch with every day are amazing. Oh, I suppose to the outside observer, we are all giant freaks of nature, but I love the fact that today's topic of conversation was "Top Ten Narrators". I don't know how we got on the subject, but we all, men and women, started listing our favourite voices. (Mine include Morgan Freeman and Richard Dreyfuss, and Liam Neeson if it's the right subject.)

I'm weird, I know. I just love that I have people around me who are willing to be weird too. Another topic briefly touched upon today was, "Is There A Bigger Freak Than Tom Cruise?" And the whole thing started because I said I had watched We Were Soldiers last night, how much I love that movie, and how it's from a time where it was still acceptable to like Mel Gibson. That drunk driving, adulterous, anti Semite. I long for those simpler days.

And that's all I've got for today.
And I bet you're glad.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You go, girl

(okay, that's a cheesy post title, but you don't know why I said it yet. Please reserve judgement.)

This evening our Outdoor Club at work had an event. We do one big hike each weekend that begins in teh morning, and some kind of walk at midweek that begins around 5:30 pm; the midweek walk tends to be about 4 kilometres, and tends to be on easier trails, so that we can bang the whole thing out in time to still get home for a late dinner and not have to worry about navigating the deep woods in the dark.

"Membership" in our group is very fluid as we all have different schedules and responsibilities. And because I had previously missed a susbstantial hike, I hadn't yet walked a trail with Serena, an occasional member.

When I go walking or hiking, I do not mess around, I move quickly and efficiently. I recognize that this is not everyone's style, and that is what is so great about this Outdoor Club: we are respectful of each other. So if one of us sets a pace that is challenging, the slower members work hard to maintain that pace. And if it becomes obvious that some are faltering, the faster ones slow down. Nothing is ever said, it is instinctual.

I am a strong walker. I go fast. The ground tonight was NOT a nice, level path, so it took a lot of concentration to avoid tree roots and jump mukky spots, but I kept my usual pace. I kept turning around, to make sure everyone was at least still in view. They always were, Serena always bringing up the rear. Keeping up, but just barely. I would try to slow a bit and she would say, "No! Keep going!"

Did I mention that all I was carrying was a small bottle of water in one hand? And that Serena was carrying twenty five pounds of squirmy one year old son on her back?

It reminded me of my best friend Kelly. Waaay back in the day, when we lived in the Rockies, she used to push a double stroller, containing her two toddlers and a diaper bag, 4 kilometres straight down a mountain to my house. And after the play date was over, she would push that same double stroller with two children in it 4 kilometres straight UP a mountain to go home.

My admiration for these women knows no bounds. I could never pull off the physical feats they do.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rain, rain, GO AWAY

It is Friday evening, 8:30 pm. I am in my living room with the windows closed. And yet I can still hear my newly planted potatoes in the backyard, screaming, "Save me! Save me!"

The sky has been dumping sheets of rain for over 24 hours now. The ground is saturated and there are puddles everywhere, including around all the tender plants in my garden. Please stop now, ok? Much more of this and many of my vegetables will rot in the ground.

Where are those hot, sunny June days that cause my tomato plants to overspill their cages? Where are the days that cause my lettuce to bolt? The days when I come back in to the house and lunge at the air conditioner?

Ok, don't actually want those days, but I sure would appreciate some actual sunshine for my poor veggie babies.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Seriously, is there ANYONE cooler than Leonard Cohen?

No. No there is not.

Don't let the fact that he is in his seventies, or the fact that he can't really sing, fool you.

Go to YouTube or wherever, and enter his name. Make sure that the resulting video you watch is really him, and not some tribute.... unless it's kd lang, DAMN. But listen to his words, and you too will be transported.

Scenes from a "garden"

My sad, sad beans. I am not feeling great about these poor babies, but I am not giving up on them, either.
Some of my garlic. Ignore the dandelion leaf at the bottom of the photo. The other day, a good friend of ours stopped by to look at my beds, and he was blown away by how much better my garlic was doing than his. Turns out that he planted entire bulbs in each hole, he didn't realize you had to separate the bulb into cloves before planting them. Oh well, at least he realized his mistake early enough in the season to start over.

A slightly overhead view of my "Paul Peas" in most of the bed, along with my carrots at the bottom. Just trust me, the carrots are there. I swear.

The bed out front Husbandly one dug last weekend, and we planted today: it looks pathetic, I know, but we are dealing with perennials here, people, and I am not going to spend piles of money this year in order to accomplish what Mother Nature will in two or three. We planted four different hostas, some flowers, some ground cover. We'll see.
Not pictured?? Most of the garden. My tomatoes, the onions, the herbs, the asparagus peas, the annual flowers, the beds that I haven't planted yet, etc.
Even if I showed you photos of the whole thing, it would probably look small and pathetic to the casual observer. I don't care.
I am on a grand adventure.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Is this a sign of the apocalypse?

I just saw a TV commercial for a new prescription drug that will help the user grow thicker eyelashes.

What what what WHAT?????

Hey, Eyelash Scientist Man, way to go! Seriously, be proud of all those lush lash lines! You totally managed to make a pile of money off of the "fun" science, not the "depressing" science like working on cancer or multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries or even bloody DANDRUFF. No, you went ahead and created a miracle drug that will help vain, vacuous people everywhere! Don't let anyone tell you you wasted your God given gifts, because a full lash line is every bit as important as curing juvenile diabetes. Promise.

And you know what is funniest about all this? Because of bad chicken pox scarring from when I was a child, I actually AM missing about half of the eyelashes on my left eye. And yet somehow I have managed to lead a full life, I have had a successful career, I have known love, I have enjoyed my years as a mother. All without a complete set of eyelashes!

And when I eventually and inevitably hear that insurance companies are willing to pay for this miracle drug? I'll probably start pulling my own remaining lashes out, just so the pain can distract me from where our society is going....

Friday, June 5, 2009

Going hiking in the morning

Nine kilometres, or about 5 miles. Normally this wouldn't faze me in the least but, umm, my back. My stupid crummy back that keeps betraying me. Scared. And on this particular hike, we are being dropped off at point A with our personal cars waiting for us back at point B. So if I realize that, due to my current back issues, I can't do the hike? I pretty much have to do it anyway. No pressure.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

There oughtta be a law

Well, before it became a law, it would have to be a bill. It would be called Irma's Bill, and it would receive media coverage. Pundits across this fair land would debate it on thoughtful news programs, but in the end, the Bill would be victorious, and Irma's Law would be just that: LAW.

If you empty the garbage can, you are required to actually place a new garbage BAG inside said can, before your Wifely One comes along and dumps half a bowl of soup in to the bagless receptacle.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bad mood

My back is blown AGAIN. Have no ide why, but it is. Am terrified of walking across Spain this fall. Terrified.

Step Son was home alone all day. But apparently he only felt the need to spend quality time in the bathroom the very second I got home, that second when I wanted to pee. I have now been home for almost two hours, and everytime I walk past the bathroom, the taint wafting out of the bathroom is still so nasty that I don't dare go in. Seriously, whatever dude unloaded in there was EPIC. I am five minutes away from squatting in my bushes outside because there is No. Way. I am going in THERE.

One of my cats went all Garfield Meets Lasagna in my front flower bed. Needs to be replanted but with my blown get the idea.

Big story on the news here tonight has me wild. My city is officially bilingual (French & English), has been for seven years (first officially bilingual city in the whole country). A "language watch dog" group has stirred up a frenzy because too many business signs in town are only in English, what are we going to do about it, this city is not friendly to the French, blah blah blah. First off, bite me. Bilingual means both languages are welcome and generally understood by the population, doesn't it? And I ASSURE you, the vast vast VAST majority of the French community here speaks English and can understand those English signs. Plus HELLO, who is going to pay for all these businesses to replace their signs??? I do agree that, when a sign NEEDS to be replaced, it's a good idea to replace it with a bilingual one, but to get rid of a perfectly good sign that almost everyone understands?? The next city over from us is officially French, and many signs in that city are ONLY in French, but because most people in my part of the world ARE bilingual, it doesn't stop us from shopping there or understanding what that particular budiness is about.

Sorry, I am ranting and not making sense....language issues here are just so overblown sometimes that it really makes me mad. I whole heartedly support my own pie-in-the-sky vision of bilingualism, which is both languages living together and being able to commmunicate and grow side by side, each appreciating the other. I do not react well to shrill hystrionics.

Monday, June 1, 2009

How NOT to start your day

Around 6:00 am this morning, I lay in my bed, in that magical land between asleep and awake. I was vaguely aware of the real world, but I was also still having a kickass dream, very difficult to explain. So while the Techoncolour drama unfolded in my head, I was also aware of how cool my bedroom was, and of how delicious it was to snuggle my cold butt in towards Hubandly One's body, how lovely to have him fling a warm arm around me.

Sigh. Perfect.

That's when I realized it was raining on me. Not kidding, RAINING. The wind outside had picked up so much that rain was falling on my face, a good five feet away from the open window. This particular phenomenon has never occurred in the six years I have lived here....but Husbandly One did live here before I did, and now I may understand why he was so enthusiastic all those years ago when I picked that side of the bed as my very own!

Looking down

If you spend any amount of time around me in the great outdoors, you will very quickly notice a trait I inherited from my father: I look down.

No, not because I am timid or trying to avoid eye contact, but because there are so many fascinating things at ground level that your average bear never even notices. Want some wild strawberries? I'll find them. An interesting rock? It's right over there. Beach glass? Sorry, there's none left because I already found it. Majestic mountains and stars? Ummm....huh?

Okay, I do notice the mountains and stars, but looking down is an under rated joy, and I am the undisputed queen of beach glass. On SUnday morning I announced to Son that we were packing up and heading for my favourite "glass beach" an hour away. At first he was reluctant because he knows how singlemindedly I pursue my glass-related goals, but, as I knew from experience would happen, as soon as we got there he assumed the exact same pose I had: slightly hunched, walking slowly at the water's edge, turning around periodically in case the different angle of the sun would reveal some treasure we had overlooked. "You know what, Amah? I forgot how much fun this is!" Yes, Son, I know. And I gave you have the same downward gene I got from my daddy. You're welcome.

After about two hours of this, we sat down on the warm sand and examined each piece we had found, selecting only the pieces that truly spoke to us to keep. Sometimes we keep a piece because it is rare (such as the large piece of ruby red glass I found) or because the shape of the piece speaks to us. For me, the main fun is in finding it, not necessarily in having it, and we already have so much beach glass at home that we literally can't keep everything we after choosing our very favourites at one end of the beach, we walked the beach again, occasionally throwing our "rejects" back in to the sand so that other beach combers can find some treasure, too.

At work today, I casually mentioned to a co-worker what Son and I had been up to at the beach. Turns out that her parents live on the beach in another part of the province, and beach glass is her mother's passion. She makes jewellery out of the large pieces, and intricate mosaics out of the smaller ones. When I got home tonight, I sorted through all my jars of glass, keeping my favourites and put the rest aside for her mom. I have (gasp) the equivalent of about twenty cups of glass to take in to work tomorrow, and I only kept about a cup and a half, only my most prized pieces. (Other than rare colours, such as blue, red, and purple, the pieces I prize the most are the TINY ones, because it takes so much more attention to find them.)

Does it pain me to part with so much of my collection? Not in the least; here it just sits in jars, at least in their new home the pieces I have hoarded will go to use. Next time Son and I go glass hunting, I probably won't throw so much back either, I will probably keep some aside for this lady.

But I will always throw some of it back in to the sand so that other Down Lookers can squeal with delight, too.