Wednesday, 18 February 2009


1. I have a deep and personal affection for all things silly. Two immediate examples: Larry the Cucumber and his diddies make me smile no matter my mood, and I am actually going to take the time to fill out this survey. I may even combine the two.

P.S. This is a note that originated in the world of facebook. Usually such notes, the kind that are more ...revealing... in nature, are avoided on this blog. I like having a certain anonymity, though I'm sure most of you know exactly who I am; but, upon the request of my family (that I may share this with more family), I am leaving it here. I hope that this may entertain you, or at least help you to settle once and for all in your mind that you are not the oddest person on the Internet. I am a quirk. And now anyone can prove it...

1. I believe that even numbers are the single most aggravating invention of humankind. My frustration is not specifically with things that are grouped in multiples of the pair. It is the numbers themselves that irk my very core. For example: 2. Eww. Or even worse, 4. From time to time I can handle the number 8, but 10 is unsettling and 6 gives me goosebumps... actually. A physical reaction. But odd numbers... ah yes. Odd is where it's at.

3. Sometimes I wear mismatched sock in honour of my best friend. I secretly find it unsettling and I am incredibly aware of my feet all day. I prefer life barefooted more than any other way.

3. The ring I wear on my right hand has never technically belonged to me. I don't know who's it is... I'm sorry if I've been wearing your ring for the past five years, but you can't have it back. I love it too much. and I think it makes my finger look lovely... :)

5. I have mutant bunion feet.

7. I love public transportation. My bus pass is by far my best (inanimate) friend in North Bay. We have made many excursions over the past year and a half, and I know their are many more journeys and adventures to come.

7. I like every left-handed person I have every met. Just for the sake of repetition, I have never met a left-handed person I was not attracted to in some way. I have often wished to be left-handed and for about a year I tried to train myself to be ambidextrous. (I did not succeed at the time, but my left-handed chalkboard writing isn't horrific.) Part of me is quite sure that I will marry a lefty.

7. I can speak fluent Pig Latin. When I was little, if my Mom wanted to have a conversation that she didn't want my sisters or me to pick up on, she would spell the key words. When we learned to spell, she resorted to Pig Latin. I don't think my Dad ever learned, but I remember being quite confused for a few months, listening to my Mom and my Grandpa chatting it up over my head. But then I learned the trick to that too, and spoiled their fun.

9. I love to write... and I currently have five blogs, three of which you have access to via my profile, for days that you find yourself with some free time and nothing to do (or if you need to procrastinate for a while), and one is my diary (of sorts) and one is my prayer journal... or prayer blog, I suppose... I'm pretty sure God gets the message no matter the medium. I'm also in process of creating a choose-your-own-adventure story that needs a few more alternative endings.

9. I collect dimes. I have over $200 in dimes at home and I'm building up a nice collection here at school as well. I have a hard time spending them, and I often sort them into a different pocket from the rest of my change when I'm shopping - the habit is mostly subconscious at this point. If I see a dime on the floor, even in a busy hallway, I will more than likely stop to pick it up. One time, I bent to pick up a dime that was sitting in a doorway... just as a heads-up to all of you would-be dime collectors, make sure no one is following you very closely before you stoop. They may go flying.

11. I love second-hand stores. I would guess that about half of my clothing comes from Value Village, Sally Ann or Winners. The other half comes from Wal-Mart. The other half comes from (of course there are three halves) a variety of other cool places (ie, Eclipse and Stitches).

11. Stickers = the bomb.

11. I picked up my clarinet for the first time in six years this afternoon. (It was a little squeaky...) My goal is to be able to play it with ease by summer. I'm working on Disney tunes for the time being.

13. My parents have instilled a wonderful appreciation for antiques in the depths of my soul. My personal passion is books... Anything printed before or around 1900 is of instant interest to me. Upon moving to school this year and packing/unpacking my life I realized that over half of the boxes I had brought up were filled with books. Alas, some of them have since been sent home due to a lack of shelf space, but I proudly display the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, John Bunyan, Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain and Dr. Seuss among many other authors throughout modern history.

13. I have four dresses in my closet up here. One of them is a marvelous princess ball gown, a strapless floor-length coral thing that I am absolutely in love with. Some times I wear it around my apartment when no one else is home and sing all of the greatest Disney love songs to myself, just for the fun of it. I hope you have things you do just for the fun of it.

15. I am afraid of mathematics. (2+2=5) (If you read 1984, you may understand some of my apprehension... or at least that reference.)

17. I love shrimp, but it's actually the dip I'm addicted to. Did you know that pretty much anything dipped in seafood sauce tastes like seafood? One of my favourite shrimp-alternatives is cheese and crackers... "Tastes like chicken"? Nope. Tastes like seafood. MmMmmmm :)

17. I struggle with both insecurity and vanity, often at the same time. The tension between them tend to leave my self-image in a pretty shaky place most days.

17. I will never need alcohol to bring life to a party; just keep me up past 2am. Apparently, I am pretty entertaining all on my own.

19. I took three years of Spanish in high school and I can still read and understand quite a bit, though I've lost most of my conversational skills. One of my life-goals is to become bilingual (or trilingual, if Pig Latin ever becomes a recognized language...) and live in Central America for at least a year. I would love to go on a long terms mission trip there, or perhaps go over to teach English. In high school I went to Mexico for just over a week and in 2007 I went on a trip to Costa Rica for a month. I think I left part of my heart in those places. One day I will go back and retrieve it.

19. I am a pyro. I love fire. This has lead to a number of nearly-dangerous activities in my time, many to do with campfires or bonfires, some to do with candles and matches... But the flame is such a naturally intriguing thing... I understand why it has become such a metaphor.

19. I am a country girl to the bone, to my very core. Country music is my therapy for homesickness, especially those old songs and the artists from my childhood. The Dixie Chicks, early Shania Twain, Jo Dee Messina, Garth Brooks, Shedaisy, Kieth Urban, Martina McBride, Lonestar, Terri Clark, Tim McGraw, Phil Vasser... the list is a long one. Country music is all about the old-school, old-fashioned, simplistic ways of life. That's how I grew up, it's how I live, and how I'd like my kids to grow up. I was raised by a cowboy and very proud of it.

21. Rain is my favourite precipitation and dancing, singing, running, playing or just standing in the rain is the best feeling in the world. I wish it would rain more. Maybe I should move to BC or England for a while. I think I would have a wonderful time.

23. I have had blonde, brown, red, black and green hair. The green was on purpose. I'm going blue next, but just little bits this time.

27. I write secret notes to one of my friends in Runic.

29. I wear an apron about 90% of the time I spend in my kitchen, whether or not I am baking or cooking anything. I think I just like the domestic feeling. It makes me feel like maybe the world still has some of those old-fashioned principals and values that my favourite country songs sing about. It's the kind of thing that I think our modern hyper-progressive culture is deprived of... I think that maybe if women wore aprons more often and guys started styling the tie again from time to time that some of the problems that feminism has brought into our society would be tempered. Maybe people would feel more settled, more at peace...

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

A Change of Plans

Something as mundane and ordinary as a spoon should not have become as important as it did, but dream, like life, is completely unpredictable, and nothing could have prepared us for the drama that the tiny utensil would bring.

We were sitting in a high class restaurant somewhere in Paris, the kind of place where you not only pay by the dish but also by the hour and you tip your server every time he comes to your table. The ladies looked fantastic, almost majestic, and there was no denying the glamour that dripped from the diamond jewellery and perfectly fitted floor-length gowns that framed each woman’s unique beauty in the perfect way. In a word, the evening was exquisite.

The maître d’ gave firm yet professionally hushed direction to his waiters in perfect aristocratic French and the restroom had beautiful daybed seating for those who found themselves in wait for one of the plush, elevator-sized stalls. Each plate of food came on sterling silver 19th Century style covered dishes, with delicate gold leaf inlay on each lid, and the food between the precious metals was no less lovely. Course after course we were pampered with the finest that France could offer.

It was the third dessert selection that changed the mood. With his usual, graceful bow our waiter presented our dish. With a flourish he removed the lid and revealed...

... A large ice cream sundae.

Ashley looked at me with a question in her eyes. I tried to offer a wordless response; I didn’t ask for it. I don’t know what’s going on. Suddenly a young man burst through the double doors at the entrance of the restaurant. He was wearing a black leather jacket, a white t-shirt and a light washed pair of jeans. He looked like Fonzie, but this guy was not the Happy Day’s star. This was a 50’s or 60’s version of Jon Margeson.

“Hey there, dolls!” He shouted from across the room, hopping light-heartedly over other horrified guests as they sipped at expensive soups or sliced delicately at warmed peaches with miniature forks and knives. Jon slipped past an astonished waiter as he tried desperately to keep his five plates of food in composed balance. Then Jon skipped over to our table and grinned at the giant sundae that sat, untouched between us. “Wowee, what a bash! And would you check out this cat here?” Jon was waving his arm towards the frustrated maître d’ who was trying to hustle Jon back out the door without making an even more intrusive scene for the patrons of his restaurant. “Cool it, Clyde, we’re gonna cut out of here in a flash if you just lay back and give me a chance to explain! You don’t have to get so frosty, man, ya dig?”

Jon turned his attention back to our table. Marsena’s jaw had dropped in shock during that last speech and her facial expression would have easily spoken for the rest of us, if we hadn’t already been expressing our own disbelief; Jessica had dropped her glass and its contents were leaking across the tablecloth towards the place where my last mouthful of cheesecake had fallen, and Ashley looked like she was struggling to make a decision between gracefully fainting to the floor or taking Jon my the ear and throwing him out of the restaurant herself. Before she could act on either, however, Jon has seized our sundae in his left hand and one of the long sundae spoons in his right. He proceeded to scoop the cherry off the top and toss it into the air, catching it, along with the following glob of whipped cream, in his mouth. Then he licked the spoon clean and began to twirl it like a baton around the fingers of his right hand. “So,” he grinned, “Let’s get down to business, shall we?” In perfect unison every lady at the table shook her head. No, I thought, Let's not. We don't even have to say we did.

Jon, with a mischievous smile on his face, had evidently taken our stunned silence as licence to continue. He began drumming his spoon against the rim of the sundae cup along to the song “Johnny B. Goode” that had just started playing over the restaurant’s speaker system. As soon as he tapped at the lip, every shimmery-gowned woman, coat-tailed gentleman and all of the waiters and attendants in the room froze in place, with the exception of my dinner party and our personal Pied Piper, leading us through the maze of beautiful, life sized marionettes to the back of the restaurant to the doors of the kitchen. Jon gave the swinging doors a swift kick and my friends followed him into the next room. I hesitated, looking back into the room I was leaving. The people looked so terribly still, so caught in the actions of life... life unlived is not alive at all, and this scene was unsettling. Jon came up just behind me, now humming the appropriately titled Herman’s Hermits hit, “This Door Swings Both Ways” to himself. He rapped his spoon against the bowl of the glass three times and suddenly everyone sprang back to action, as though nothing more disruptive than a collective sigh had taken place. Satisfied and smiling once again, I turned to follow him through the still-swinging doors.

The first thing I saw was the long counter, not of the high society professional kitchen I had anticipated, but that of a 1950’s style diner. “Ah, the good life!” Jon called out to the guy behind the counter. “Ladies, please let me introduce my pal, here...” But no introduction was required. We already knew this friend, more or less. Behind the counter, flipping burgers with one hand and in a permanent salute with the other, stood a member of the Queen’s national guard with a traditional chef’s hat on top of his own bearskin mountain, and he had a cow-print apron overtop of his red uniform jacket. He also had an incredible moustache, the specific description of which I will leave to your own imagination. It was Brian Jaques. He put down his barbeque flipper and, still in salute, pulled a flask from one of the apron’s pockets. He took a swig and then splashed a dose on the sizzling hamburgers. “Lime eet up. Eetz dah seeecret engreeedient, yaah.” He was an obvious imposter of the accent, but he kept it up consistently and was always smiling, so no one bothered him. “Vaat tave you been doeenk zis eevenink, Jon ov zee slicked back hair ov red?” Jon pulled a small comb from his back pocket and smoothed the sides on his hair into a perfect ducktail. “Well, I just picked up these chicks in some fancy joint in ol’ Pari’ and I’ve got a big gig in about an hour.” He leaned in to Brian in faux secrecy and whispered, “These gals would be late for everything if we weren’t around...” He gave the group of us a smart-aleck wink and added, “Imagine, showing up late to get circled!”

Brian chuckled heartily at the joke and the rest of my dinner party, apparently not yet filled from our dainty French meals, hiked up the hems of their gowns and hopped up onto the stools in front of the counter. I joined them, surprised at the renewed hunger that the kitchen smells had brought out in me. Brian flipped the hamburgers backwards and over top both of his hats in quick succession, each patty landing perfectly centered atop the toasted buns that had magically appeared before us. We couldn’t resist... in a flash our prim and proper ladylike manners went down the drains and our appetites got the better of us. For a few minutes we ate in silence, listening to Jon jabber on with Brian as he finished what was left of the sundae. When the last drizzle of chocolate sauce was gone, he stood up from the counter. “Time’s up ladies. It’s been a kick, sugar-booger, but we gotta jet. Places to be ya know.” With a salute back to our chef he started once again to rap against the edge of the glass with his spoon. At that moment the scene froze again and Brian, with a patty in mid-flip and one hand to his brow smiled his farewell. The burger didn’t fall to the grill again until we had almost passed through the double doors at the back of the kitchen, when Jon reappeared to free him from the spell of the spoon with three sharp raps. The last I saw of Brian Jaques, he was reaching into his apron once more for his flask.

The area through the double doors was more like stepping into an alternative universe than into another room of any kind. We were, quite suddenly, outside. It was springtime and the sunshine was fresh and warm. On either side of me were rows and rows of collapsible chairs filled with friendly and familiar faces. My dinner party was walking ahead of me slowly, trying to take in the scene. Their dresses shimmered in the morning light, their jewellery sending rainbowed reflections in every direction. The path before me was a deep blue, the colour of sapphire, and there was something white scattered along the ground. Marsena had picked up a basket of flowers that was by the back door of the diner and was dropping them along the path. I looked down to my own feet to have a better look when I suddenly realized for the first time exactly what kind of gown I was been wearing.

It was... whiter... than I remembered.

Marsena, Ashley and Jess walked up the aisle and to the left, wiping tears from their eyes and smiling with the kind of smile that struck fear into my racing heart. Helplessly, I followed, now acutely aware of my trailing train and wobbly high heels. Janis suddenly appeared to my side and passed me a bouquet of white lilies and lilacs. I smile in spite of myself.

The flowers had done their job to distract me, for the next moment I looked up, I was at the front of the chapel, facing Jon who was still holding the sundae cup, though in the past few seconds he had added a thin black tie to his wardrobe. He began to tap the side of the glass again, but this time there was no stillness. Instead, they fell into a quick silence and turned their attention to the front of the room as Jon began to speak.

“Dearly beloved, ladies and gents, we are gathered here today to witness a uniquely awesome and blessed event...” In an unusual mix of dread and curious delight I turned my head ever so slowly to the right, to my mysterious groom.

And then I woke up.