Tag Archives: AmERica

At Any Time

Oh it is so hard to sit down here with nothing to say, no point to make, but it’s the ritual or, more accurately, routine of it I’m after. Not the content (obviously, she said, self-deprecatingly) but the being here. Morning is too crowded already, evenings are a slow slide to sweet sleep, the skytrain/bus, as entertaining and beautiful as it can be, is no place to type on a laptop. I do write in my notebook, though, yes, now I have made it so anyone can recognize me on transit because I haven’t seen another human writing in a notebook. Yet. I could draft posts on my phone but I don’t want to draft posts on my phone. Ah, I don’t want to draft anything at all. I want to be creative and I want to write and I want to stop talking about it just do it so that’s what this is. This is just doing it.

Let’s take blogging back and make it back into a boring hobby that no one pays attention to, a place to practice turning over buckets of sand. PERFECT.

I am in the middle of cooking dinner; a mixture of wild and brown and japonica rice, stir fried steak strips, and vegetables. The meat is marinating. The rice is cooking. My lips burn a little with the dust of habanero and lime-flavoured tortilla chips. The happy birthday banner we hung up yesterday is dangling from the ceiling like this: Happy Bi
It was my father’s birthday on Saturday. There are a lot of birthdays at this time of year. A lot of fathers. Well, two. Plus several aunts, a few friends. My co-worker’s niece and then her mother. Happy birthday, all you March babies. Happy blossoms and tiny green buds on trees and allergies, to those who celebrate allergies.

In a month it will be Eli’s birthday and he would like a Pokemon themed party. Can someone make that happen, please? Thaaank you.

I just finished a great book called California by Edan Lepucki. I recognized the writer’s name, possibly from The Millions or somewhere else on the Internet, otherwise I wouldn’t have picked it up, as this book was not my kind of book. It is a future-story, set in the wilds of a de-urbanized California/America. But it is a character-driven future story, which IS my kind of book. Once I dug into it, I enjoyed it a great deal. Although the end felt a little rushed, but to be fair, I was rushing through the last chapter, trying to finish the book before we had to return it to the library. I was keeping Eli company in the dentist’s waiting room while he waited for his turn, my nose buried in this book, but he kept talking to me. I offered to read it aloud. Four pages was all he needed, then he politely told me I didn’t have to read it aloud anymore.

At my job I get to talk to people using a microphone several times a week. I have to constantly remind myself not to hum when I am paused between sentences. You don’t realize how much you hum until you have a microphone under your face. I’ve developed quite a humming habit in the past few years as solitary child-minder. Time to curb it.

Unconscious-tic’ly yours, ’til tomorrow.

Forty-Five — Lost in the Cul De Sac

I don’t know, you guys. My brain is all jiggy from watching movies. Our camping weekend wore me out so much I had to watch The Hunger Games last night, but not the whole thing because I was tired. We finished watching it tonight and then started Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. One of those movies was good and the other, not so good.

I wouldn’t still be up this late, but I slept until 8:00 this morning for the first time since I think the last time I had the flu. It was disorienting. I spent most of the day being confused and feeling crappy and the rest feeling better but really awake. So I’m awake, it’s 10:18 pm and listening to SA talk to his friend on the phone. His friend is from Florida! And flew to Seattle and drove to see us. That is a long way. He is lost in the cul de sac, as happens. So I guess, thank you Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, for keeping me up long enough to meet Andy.

Eight — A Place I Don’t Need to Go Again.

From an e-mail I received today:

“There is no better time time to book your Mackinaw City vacation at AAA’s highest rated properties at great discounted early bird rates. These prices will not stay like this for long so be sure to book your reservations now to enjoy these special savings! We guaranteee the lowest rates on the internet for Mackinaw City Hotels!”

Last summer when we were in Ontario for three weeks, SA and I decided to leave the children with their grandparents and travel to Mackinaw City, MI, for some Adult R&R. We reserved a room at the Travelodge and refused to be saddened by the cheaper and dirtier than usual bedspread, the stains on the wall and carpet, the lack of (advertised!) wi-fi, and the proximity of the balcony to the next room’s balcony. (hint: it was about from heretohere.)

We put on clean clothes and walked down to downtown Mackinaw City, drank some cheap American beer and ate four pounds of fish and chips even though we ordered a plate to share (if you order a plate to share, they give you a ‘bit extra’ and charge you $2 for sharing it, resulting in still nearly a pound of fish and chips between us OHMIGOD I WASN’T THAT HUNGRY THAT’S WHY I ORDERED ONE PLATE NOT TWO JESUS) and walked around looking at the tourists who went into the t-shirt shops, bought shirts that said “Mackinaw City: Where Bros Go To Get it ON” and then wore them around the city while they looked for fudge.

And on the topic of fudge, of course we promised to bring the kids some, it was the only way we could convince them that their grandparents would NOT kill them in their sleep if we went away for two days — hey, they are fine grandparents, but apparently the kids are attached to us, whatevs — so on our second day away we went first to Fudge Brothers or suchlike, for a 1/4 lb of fudge and then to a Candy And Fudge Emporium Extraordinaire Est. 1921 where I tried to buy a bag of candy corn from a salesgirl who was a) from an Eastern European country and b) worked on commission.

Salesgirl: HI!
Me: Hi, I would like just a small bag of…
Salesgirl: Two bags for $5! Three bags for $7!
Me: No, that’s OK, I just want one small–
Salesgirl: Ohhhhh, NOBODY buys small bag. Everyone gets big bag! Big bag is $10, or two for $15!
Me: I just have two kids. Two small kids. I only need a small bag of candy corn.
Salesgirl: I don’t sell ANY small bags. All day. No small bags.
Me: Well, I want this one.
Salesgirl: Fine. $3.
Me: Here you go!
Salesgirl: Fine.
Me: Thanks a lot!
Salesgirl: Fine.

The kids ate two bites of fudge, half the candy corn, and forgot about the rest.

So no, Tourism Michigan, we have no need of Mackinaw City this year.

Although I just remembered the $30 gummy bear the size of an actual bear. I might need to go back for that, someday.

My feet, straining to be free of their Travelodge prison; Mackinaw City, MI, 2012

My feet, straining to be free of their Travelodge prison; Mackinac City, MI, 2012

For Dinner…And Beyond!

This morning, pretty much as soon as I opened my eyes, I started craving lasagna. Probabaly because it’s November, traditional “put cheese on it and bake the shit out of it” month, and because it’s raining and dark and actually I don’t need an excuse to crave lasagna. I’m half Italian and lasagna is awesome.

The other day, my pal mentioned in passing that she was making The White House lasagna for her dinner.
What? I said. The what?
It’s the lasagna the Obamas eat, she explained.
Oh. Well then.

Hey, this pal is American. She knows her POTUS. Secret: until about two weeks ago I had no idea what POTUS and FLOTUS stood for. I just saw the letters float by on my computer screen all the time and was all “shrug, I guess the Americans need to care but I don’t.” (It’s President of the United States and First Lady of, in case you were also being willfully ignorant. You may arrive here ignorant but you will not leave the same way! Aha!)

So this morning, anyway, craving lasagna, USian election coming up real soon, I decided I would make a symbolic White House lasagna and then eat it instead of voting, since I can’t vote in the US election because I am Canadian. Although! I feel like I SHOULD be able to vote, given all the tweets and facebook posts, dear god in his heaven, can we give facebook back to the nerds now? and baloney I am forced to witness, not to mention how close I live to the border. I vote for more Costcos that sell booze, right on the border! And for a woman’s right to choose! OK. Booze and choose. The end.

We already had a shopping list two miles long (see? Miles. That’s a nod to you, USian friends, else I would have said kilometres) so I added the ingredients to it that I needed for White House Lasagna and then remembered that today is Farmers Market day in New Westminster. I wrote two separate lists: one for Superstore and one for the market.

Down at the market, I got apples (such glorious, marvellous apples) and garlic and eggs (eggs a full dollar and a half less than at Superstore I will have you know) and saw the happy people eating the delicious foods and then I went into the liquor store next to the Paddlewheeler Pub and bought two bottles of beer: a Farmhouse Saison because Saint Aardvark likes that one, and one called Hop Manna, which said it was an IPA and I will always buy an IPA I have not yet tried.

When I got to the till, the man who sold me the beer told me the Hop Manna is Kosher and I smiled because my friend who told me about the White House lasagna is Jewish (although she doesn’t like beer) and it felt like everything was coming together in a most promising way.*

Here is the lasagna link at Oprah.com because that link has the least pop-up bullshit associated with it.

* and then! I saw that the recipe is from a book called A White House Garden Cookbook, written by a woman whose first name is CLARA and that’s MY NAME. Seriously. The universe is aligning for some good right now. I can feel it. **

** Also, the book is supposed to help your children eat more healthily and Fresco just told me that the food smells delicious but it won’t taste delicious and he isn’t going to eat it. Dear Obamas: Do you have a room in your house for my stubborn, stubborn child. I would vote for you if I could and if you took him in for a year or two. XOXO.