Sunday, August 30, 2009

Autumn approaches

This weekend I have

-- put on fleece pants. Not cotton shorts, FLEECE PANTS. And have been happy to do so.

--Gotten a blanket out of the closet, and fallen asleep on the couch under said blanket, following Senator Kennedy's funeral. And was pretty happy to do so. Seriously, I have had enough of summer, of temperatures so high that I wish I had never met Husbandly One, just so that I wouldn't have to get in to the same bed with him.

--Looked over my tomato plants, crying, "Why? WHY??" when faced with yet more shiny green fruits. Dudes, in two days it will be SEPTEMBER, and so far I have harvested three tomatoes. The hundreds of green ones in my garden mock me, I tell you, they MOCK me.

I mentioned to Husbandly one the other day that, if we were counting on my garden to feed us through the winter? Not only would we starve, we would have starved BY NOW.

Sighs, brushes dirt off self, and stands up.

This was my first year trying to do something truly useful with my garden, to move beyond the occasional salad from the backyard. Just because I failed (abysmally) doesn't mean I won't do it all again next year.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

So, so sad

As you may recall, I participated in an archealogical dig of a pre-Deportation Acadian village just a few weeks ago.

I have pledged the rest of my life to a man who wasn't even born in Canada, he is from Portugal and chose to become a Canadian citizen in his thirties. My brother married a lovely girl from Japan, who chose to call Canada her home. Both Husbandly One and my sister Ai are exceptionally proud of their new country, and I am willing to bet that they know more about Canadian history than most native-borns do.

So is it so strange that, given the context of my family, and where I live, that I, as an English person, have come to identify with our French community, that I feel like an honourary Acadian?

Two weeks ago, I participated in an archealogical dig of an Acadian village. This is actually the fourth year that the dig was open to the public, and it has been well received by the people who actually KNEW about it, but it seemed like the general population had no idea what important work was being done.

A week after I participated in the dig, it made the front page of the newspaper. Glowing coverage, talking about how important the site is, how much we as Canadians will learn about our history by excavating this site.

The very next day, the site was desecrated.

Some LOSERS with metal detectors, under the cover of darkness, went out to the site and dug out anything they could find. What they hoped to find I will never know; it's not like the Acadian PEASANTS had a lot of gold and silver laying around.

But these unknown ASSHOLES showed up and destroyed the the site, by digging arbitrarily wherever their metal detectors told them to dig. They plowed through clearly identified layers of soil, layers that helped the archeaologists date items. They destroyed the chronological stories that the site had yet to reveal, just because they hoped to unearth some financially valuable treasure.

When the story broke, my friend Yvette tore in to my office. And stood inside my door with tears running down her face. She actually is Acadian, and so she personally mourned this loss of an opportunity to understand how her ancestors lived. Her tears cut me like a knife.

I am English. Specifically, I am Scottish. But oh, in the hour of her pain, I WAS Acadian. And I am Acadian now. How fucking DARE you touch "my" history.

How dare you.

O sol de l'Acadie
Protege vos enfants
Qui sont ici debout
Qui le seront toujours
Vive notre Acadie!

And this has nothing to do with anything, but it still makes me feel better. kd lang singing Leonard Cohen's "Halleluah".

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to the real world

Our camping trip to Mount Carleton Provincial Park was fabulous. The three of us spent a lot of time hiking, canoeing, staring in to our campfire, stargazing....and, on the second night, lying on our backs in the tent at 8pm while a massive thunderstorm raged overhead (it was awesome).

(Son's view from the middle of the canoe!)
We got back to our house late Friday afternoon, and almost immediately started getting read for Hurricane Bill, which was expected to hit our area Sunday morning. On Saturday morning, I went to the grocery store to pick up supplies for a few days; around 5pm, I returned for a few little things I had forgotten and was shocked to see that they were completely sold out of bottled water. (I had bought mine that morning, thankfully.)
Sunday morning, I woke up to gusting wind and lashing rain. And then, umm, about an hour later it just turned in to a rain storm and by 3pm it was all over. Totally not a big deal.
Granted, my town was not in the direct path of the storm and I knew we would get off easier than other areas. Still, even in the areas that were hardest hit, those areas that lost power or had roads wash out, the damage was -- in comparison to Hurricane Juan a few years back, which whomped out collective ass -- far far less than people had feared. And for that I am grateful.
In other news, I went back to work today. Sigh. Husbandly one is still off for another week. SIGH. Stupid "real world".

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My vacation so far

I finished work on Friday, and then about a dozen of the managers were treated to a great dinner, in thanks for our work on the two concerts this summer. The restaurant in question was an hour away, in the middle of NOWHERE, and fabulous; they are only open three days a week and they were packed. I ate far, far more German food than can possibly be good for a person and I loved every bite.

Towards the end of the evening, my Chef called me over to talk to the owners of the restaurant, "This is the girl I was telling you about!" It turns out the restaurant raises and processes most of their own meat, they make their own sauerkraut, they makes all the breads.... Anyway, Chef wanted to display me as an exhibit of a "normal" suburbanite who still wants to LEARN traditional skills. He was trying (brilliantly) to point out to the owners that there could be a whole new revenue stream for them, just teaching people like me the things they take for granted.

The owners seemed interested in the idea, but questioned what I wanted to learn. I said the first thing that popped in to my head: "I want to learn how to kill and butcher chickens."

I don't think they expected THAT, but the very friendly female owner looked at me and said, "Great, come on Monday, I have forty birds to get through and you're more than welcome."

And she MEANT IT, she wasn't looking for me to pay her, she was honestly telling me that they are butchering on Monday and I am welcome to come and get very, very dirty.

Of course, I can't actual GO this Monday, but I am not going to let this go....Chef is friendly with the owners, and I will follow up on this for sure. I am so excited!

So that was yesterday. Today, our Outdoor Club participated in an actual archealogical dig -- for real -- put on by Parks Canada at Fort Beausejour. Yes, we spent Acadian Day actually excavating the site of an Acadian town, pre-1755. It was very, very emotional for all of us (even for me, as an English person, and Husbandly One, who wasn't even born in this country.) The archaeologists who led the dig were wonderful, were able to explain so many things to us....and by the end of the day, we had uncovered lots of animal bones and teeth, several sewing needles, a name seal, some jewelry, some pottery fragments... it was mindblowing.

Parks Canada offers Public Archaeology programs in many locations throughout Canada, it is DEFINITELY worth checking out.

We had planned to leave on our camping trip tomorrow, but it turns out we won't be leaving til Monday morning. Man oh man, I can't wait....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


We are going camping on Sunday and I can't wait.

Husbandly One learned long, long ago that I literally must retreat to the woods at least once a year. I need to be outside, I need to be without electricity and cell phones, I need to stare in to a fire, I need to get soaked in the rain, I need to go three days without a shower, I need to get bored, I need to eat Jiffy Pop, I need to just STOP.

Tonight I picked up a few odds and ends that I know we will need for this trip; later tonight Husbandly One is going to drag all of our equipment out of the garage and in to the livingroom so I can go through everything. Because we have plans for Friday and Saturday, tomorrow I will buy whatever I decide we need for five days in the woods (note to self: get Jiffy Pop), and then Sunday off we go.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Gluttony is a deadly sin for a reason

I have no idea how many escargots in garlic butter it is actually advisable to eat, but I assure you it is NOT eighteen.

I went out for a wee work thing the other day, and I only ordered an appetizer (mainly because I didn't want to be there all bloody night.) But of course we were in one of the hotel's restaurants, and the kitchen apparently knew the escargots were for me, because instead of sending out six perfectly innocent snails, they sent eighteen. I slurped those puppies back in no time flat, and if my server had then brought me more? I would have eaten them, too.

But four hours later and I still wanted to die (had felt this way since about number sixteen). My mouth kept flooding with this weird buttery sensation, and if I had burped garlic one more time..... oh but MAN it was worth it.

Well, that's over

The AC/DC concert was a huge success, all around. There was fabulous weather, a larger than expected crowd, a FABULOUS show (so I was told....I was running the VIP tent and was inside it all night and therefore didn't see a thing.)

There were a few scary moments for some of our operations, particularly after we closed some of the bars, and then an almost-riot behind my tent at the end of the night when people were tring to find their way out of the site. It is very difficult to explain without a diagram, but my tent and the Grandstand vending tent were located in a corner, blocked on all four sides by fencing. People came pouring out the grandstands in to our dead end (instead of turning slightly to the left and easy departure points) so the crowd started backing up in our tiny corner...and a fight broke out...then some more guys got involved...then some chick went in punching...then SHE got hit (probably by accident, really) and twenty more guys jumped in....

It was TERRIFYING, and the whole thing unrolled in about twenty five seconds. My friend Tammy was running the Grandstand tent, and turned to me and said, "Go get the security from your tent NOW."

I ran like I have never ran before, and had them over to her within 30 which time things were slightly calmer. Tammy, my loud mouthed, deep lunged Tammy, had stood at the edge of chaos and bellowed, "I HAVE CALLED THE RCMP AND THEY WILL BE HERE IN TWENTY SECONDS." Which, uhh, was a total lie, but it totally WORKED, they started breaking up immediately.

Give me a chick with a set of healthy lungs over a dude with strong arms any day, lol.

But really, I don't want to focus on the few negative things that happened, all in all it was a great concert for everyone.

Let me go backwards for a minute.... the concert was Thursday, so on Wednesday the managers and a crew of line staff went over to the site for set up at 8 am, we were finally done at 9:30 pm... which is quite early, believe me. Concert Day, I was back on site at 8 am, and only finished working at 5:30 am the next morning. Husbandly One and I made it back to our house at 5:40am, and at quarter to six in the morning, with the sun coming up, I cracked myself a beer before going to bed at 6 am, only to be back in the office three hours later. Concert Planning is a two month methodical process for Husbandly One, but actual Concert DOING is an insane three day period for the managers (including him) and one hell of a long day for the 800 staff we engage for such an event.

But the day after the concert? Soooooo the best day of the year. It's a day when very little work gets accomplished in the offices, we all kind of wander around and listen to each other's stories, get to recount our own. It brings us all together and I love it.

I'm just glad we don't have to do it again for another year.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fifty two hours to go...

This is it, kids, we're in the home stretch.

Tomorrow afternoon, we go over to the AC/DC concert site to set up our operations. Thursday is the concert itself, and by 2am Friday it'll be over over over. Except, you know, for all the stuff that won't be over, all the accounting, inventory, and follow up stuff to do on Friday and Saturday.

I am actually pumped to do this one, I feel great and looking forward to a kickass day. But yeah, I am still looking forward to that moment fifty two hours from now when it'll be over.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bloody Oz

When I put the Kitty Sticks in the garden, Husbandly One laughed at me. (Kitty Sticks are brochette skewers, impaled in the garden every four inches or so to keep cats out of the garden bed.)

All through the summer, I watched our cat Oz loll about in the front flower bed...because I had not placed Kitty Sticks there, they're just FLOWERS, what do I care?

This afternoon, I looked out the back window on to my vegetable garden. Apparently I left one corner undefended by Kitty Sticks, because there was the cat (possibly the World's LARGEST Cat) sleeping like a king in what should be my onion bed.

I ran outside and attempted to shoo the cat out of my garden. He just looked up at me, punch drunk from the smell of my onions and tomatoes, his expression clearly saying, "Hey lady, what's your problem?"

I went all horror movie on him: "GET. OUT." At least he reacted to that, and I was able to plant six new skewers in the hot soil previously occupied by his ass.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Just. Can't. Take it.

You know it's funny, I am almost 40 years old and I have never had an air conditioner that entire time, until one fateful (read: reeeeeeeeally BAD) summer three years ago. I snapped, and went out to buy a window model that I made Husbandly One install that night when he get home. I was so hot, so miserable, and when he finally had it installed and turned it on, I got on my knees and pulled up my t-shirt to its life giving, chemically based, cold. I was a happy girl. Not a very dignified girl, but a happy one none the less.

This summer, the weather has been strange and cool enough that I haven't thought about the air conditioner at all. Until now.

It is August 2nd, 8pm. It is still 34 degrees Celsius. I just cooked dinner. Then I did the dishes, plunging my arms up to the elbows in to steaming hot water. And I literally can not take this heat one minute longer.

Husbandly One just dragged the behemoth up from the basement, in a minute he'll have to set up the stepladder outside (our lvingroom is quite a distance off the ground) and get StepSon to come help. I have already done my part: locking the cat in to our bedroom so she doesn't escape while the window is wide open. (Hey, I do my share around here, too!) And within the half hour? My heat related suicidal thoughts will be but a memory...

(oh, and a major star of our dinner tonight? Green beans from my own backyard. I put the water on to boil so I could steam them, and then went out to the garden with a collander to collect them. From on the bush to on the plate took ten miuntes, and you really can't ask for fresher than that. Life is good.)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My lovely Saturday

So far today I have pickled cherries and carrots. (No worries, those ARE two separate things.) I love looking at the hot jars, spying the floating produce inside the brine, waiting for the SLURP-POP that tells me the jars have sealed sucessfully.

Life is simple. And Life is good.

And here is my beloved Ashley MacIsaac, doing what he does best.

Namaste, everyone.