Thursday, May 14, 2009

Got me a ticket for an aeroplane...

What is it about some cities that makes you think, "This is a city where it's still possible to do things."

Not things like buy socks downtown or find a really good record shop but open a really good record shop or knitting shop that specializes in sock patterns.

Lest you get the idea that I am one of those folks whose head is turned by the sight of a pretty, young metropolis I will tell you that I am not.

Upon returning from a trip Leopold will say to me, "How was it?"

In unison we will both say, "Eh..." and then he will say, "You always say that." At which point I will become slightly defensive and name the two or three of the five or six cities that I have not lived in that I do like visiting.

But there are some cities that simply strike me with this sense that, if one were to want to move there and live there, you could do something really wonderful. Open that comic book shop or independent bookstore or gallery (1).

It's not that you necessarily would...but you could. On that side street you passed by the water. In the empty storefront you rode by in the bus. In that neighborhood you keep reading about in all the literature in your hotel room.

I'll say what you're thinking.

You don't have to move to a new place to make these things happen. That fantastic side street or bus route might be in your own backyard Dorothy...but for me that sense of something else, something possible, is the best part of traveling.

The better part though, is going home and having Leopold ask, "How was it?" (2)

1. I know...but I'm not really the type to open a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. We all have our own definitions of wonderful and sometimes mine are a little more selfish than they should be.
2. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Water, water, everywhere.

Okay. I've almost trained myself for the whole "c" means hot water thing but this morning there was another issue.

But first, a bit of background:

Late last week the proprietress over at The Tea Pages sent me an e-mail to say that she knew it was a bit obsessive to call out a spelling error on a blog but there was a word that I had managed to use and spell wrong about four times in two separate posts.

First I will say that I appreciated the note because it had completely blown past me and I have no idea why I had started spelling the word wrong to begin with. It was actually kind of embarrassing.

Second I will say that I appreciate this kind of obsessiveness because it is that very impulse that caused me to try and fix the shower curtain liner in my hotel room shower this morning.

While showering.

See...it started out innocently enough. I looked up and happened to notice that the liner end closest to the shower head did not match up with the end of the shower curtain. It appeared to be one hook shorter than the curtain which meant that the curtain was starting to get wet.

Being the good citizen that I am I simply unhooked the liner and moved it one hook over so that--while not magically causing the curtain and liner to be the same size--it would prevent me making a watery mess all over the bathroom floor (1).

But then I noticed that the liner WAS actually long enough and whoever had hung the curtain (2) had gotten to the end of the hooks, found that the liner and the curtain did not match up and folded it up on the one end.

Yeah. I couldn't let it go and ended up rehanging the liner and, yes, making a big watery mess all over the bathroom floor (3).

No, I have no idea why I felt the need to share this with you.

1. One in which I would invariably slip, hit my head and not be found for several days until a kindly Portuguese cleaning woman would make the shocking discovery of my dead naked body. Which would be quite embarrassing.
2. Perhaps a cleaning woman looking to score a little news time talking about how she found a dead naked body.
3. In which I did not fall.

More fun with French.

This actually happened yesterday but, what the heck right? Consider this post a flashback.

In the kind of creepy mini-van/cab that I took from the airport to my hotel the driver had a French-language news radio station on. While I had no idea what they were saying I decided it was a news station because there was no music and it seemed entirely populated by this woman speaking in a calm, fairly monotone fashion.

My favorite bit was this: "French french french french french french (1) french french french french french Elizabeth Edwards french french french french french french french John Edwards french french french french french french Mrs. Edwards french french french french french..."

Classy.

1. I know you know but so you know this is what I'm using instead of blah, blah, blah for this story because I'm not sure what blah would be in French. I thought about bleu but that's blue and not blah but with the accent that's kind of what it would sound like if someone who was a native French speaker were to say "blah." (2)
2. Is that inappropriate to say? Have I just unconciously slurred?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

On the wagon and over the border...

So, I missed a few days of posting and it's weird because I actually missed posting.

For those of you who stop in and visit my little popsicle stand (1) and have always wondered what inspired me to loose this mix of wit and whimsy upon the unsuspecting world you have the Scoopgirl to thank. It took her some time and effort but God love her she is one who appreciates a project.

She's also a wonderful person who knew that I needed to be doing something that was mine and mine alone. Some bit of writing that bypassed a board and an editor and all the rest of it and just got to be.

And so I set up shop and now, I realize, I actually like doing it. It's not much, but it's mine...leaky pipes and peeling wallpaper and all. So thank you Scoopgirl.

And sorry world.

Today's post is brought to you by the letter Zed, the number 10 and the city of Montreal where I am currently looking out my window at the Musee d'Art Contemporain (2) and two other buildings that I should know the names of but do not (3).

I love Canada. Which is weird to say because there is no single Canadian identity. Montreal is not Quebec City is not Ottawa is not Vancouver is not whatever it is there is in the Northwest Territories.

But growing up where I did there was very little separation given to the country of Canada. We moved pretty freely back and forth across the border. We had CBC channels on our televisions. In school we learned all the provinces and provincial capitals at the same time we learned to map the U.S. and those capitals. One of our big projects in elementary school was a report on a Canadian province done up like a little travel magazine (4). I had coloring books with Bon Homme and Jasper the Bear.

But lest this post devolve into slobbering sentimentality (5) and "we are the world" love...here's one thing that I can't seem to get used to.

It's the bilingual thing. Or, not so much the bilingual thing, but the fact that here in Montreal everyone is (6) bilingual but French rules the day. So, for example, when you go to was your hands "C" is not "cold" it is "chaud." Laboratory rats would pick right up on this after earning 3 or 4 food pellets.

I'm still working on it.

But one bit I do kind of like? It's the "Do Not Disturb" sign for the door.

On one side it says: "Do Not Disturb."

On the other it says: "Ne Pas Deranger" which my own private Tower of Babel translates to: "Do Not Make Me Deranged."

Given recent events I think I want to have a t-shirt made.

1. I have no idea how to do this so if you've been holding back a flamey anonymous post let 'er rip. I'll have no idea who you are and won't be able to do one of those "thanks for the anonymous post 38 year-old male residing on Maple Avenue in East Lansing, Michigan who found this blog by Googling 'Charlie Brown and Communist China.'"
2. Yes, while there is some autobiographical pep talking happening in today's book title I also chose it because the author, Seth, is one of our graphic neighbors to the North.
3. Don't worry, there's still time. I won't leave you hanging.
4. A project where I was accused of plagarism. Which was not only not true...it was made worse by the fact that it was my dad who did the accusing. I know. And no, I didn't...I was just that into British Columbia.
5. Except for the part where I once again bring up the whole Dad accusing me of plagarism thing.
6. Ok...not everybody. But enough that you start to feel conspicuous.