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Wednesday, November 22, 2000
Time: 10:43 p.m. I am back from speedskating. I am going to mark the calendar, because tonight I finally learned how to cross over. I had a feeling this would be the night.
Was there a premonition? Last night I had a dream where I was sick and tired of being hetero and single, so decided to cross over and become a lesbian. Then it turns out that the lesbians in my dream had sworn off sex, so I got totally annoyed and decided to be a vampire instead. Two crossovers in a single dream--it had to be foreshadowing. One thing I remembered saying in the dream: "I'm afraid I'm not going to make a very good dyke because I actually really like men."

Tuesday, November 21, 2000
I shoulda' been a Casting Director: Okay. I think I know what would have made me love How The Grinch Stole Christmas. If Rowan Atkinson had been cast instead of Jim Carrey. His range of physical comedy far outstrips Carrey, and his silkily evil voice (not the loopy Mr. Bean vocalizations) would have been perfect.
The shiner is starting to fade into fairly gruesome reds, purples, and greens. I tried painting the other eye to match, just for a joke, but don't know enough about color addition/subtraction to be able to match the hues.
I went to church for the first time (not counting the odd Midnight Mass here and there) in about two decades on Sunday last. Sat through the whole deal. Sang, even. Gave a twoonie to the Lutherans. It would have been completely painless had the pastor not decided to spend half his sermon defending the current prime ministerial candidate, Stockwell Day, head of the right-wing Alliance Party. The pastor said old Stocks was getting lambasted because he professed to being a fundamentalist Christian. He said it was like the persecution of the early Christians who were "defending their faith." Cut to me seething in the pew. All I can say is, you started it, Stocky. If old Stockwell didn't want his religion to become an issue then he should have kept his damned mouth shut about it. It's a little late for him now to say "My religious beliefs are my own business" when he's based an entire campaign on them. Dumb bugger.
My dismay at the non-separation of church and state was soothed somewhat by being fed quite a delicious luncheon in the church basement. Of course, I had to watch a youth group perform "mystery" dinner theatre, called "The Mystery of the Missing Date Nut Loaf", during the meal, but the actors were cute and kept cracking up whenever one of them muffed a line. And anyway, I was getting cozy with mashed potatoes and gravy, and cramming same down the throats of my nieces and nephews.
In fact, I was so cozy with the damn lunch that my pants are tighter this week. I've taken myself off for a quick trot today, and hope this recent descent into Chubland is just a brief visit.
Saturday, November 18, 2000
I have just returned from wrangling the four nieces and nephews (2 of each) to a local cinema in the smallish city of Red Deer. We sat and watched "The Grinch," which I was not exactly looking forward to seeing. Chuck Jones drew the definitive Grinch, in my opinion, and while Anthony Hopkins as narrator wasn't bad, he just wasn't as unctuously chilling as Boris Karloff. And there was no basso profundo Thorl Ravenscroft to sing "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." And worse--unforgivably worse--they changed the story. Cindy Lou Who is no longer two. And there's this entire subtext of the Mayor of Whoville versus the Grinch, dating from their childhoods. And unrequited love and overcommercialization and--just about everything you could do to change the basic story. Well, you say, if they didn't do that, they couldn't have made a feature-length film. Precisely. And Jim Carrey is just too Jim Carrey and not enough Grinch.
But I was the only one not enthralled, so it's Voice in the Wilderness time again. The nieces and nephews were thrilled with the flatulent, trash-talking Grinch. They loved the live-action Max. The Whoville answering machines. They rolled their eyes at my rhapsodies over the original animated, innocent version.
And here's a hint: to keep four children endlessly entertained with a single joke, just get yourself a black eye. My younger niece has given me a new Lakota surname, "Purple Yellow Eye," and the elder two kids take every opportunity in public to say "If you buy us ice cream, we promise we WON'T hit you again, Auntie Jane."
Monday, November 13, 2000
Yes, yes, the shiner I am sporting. It is indeed a beaut. And acquired so innocently, too. I merely bent down to pet the rambunctious Theo after a refreshing 2-hour hike over hill and stump on Sunday. At that same moment Theo was leaping up for a quick smooch. The skullbone connected to the browbone, howdya' do, howdya' do, howdya' do.
My Quite Great Weekend: Friday: Off to the airport after work to pick up Bryce and his pals from their Mazatlan trip. They are clad in shorts. I am clad in parka, toque, gloves, and scarf. They get the hint, and quickly change. We cram them in the Dadmobile, and they are too gentlemanly to comment on what a wreck I've let it become, and what an overly cautious driver I can be. We drive to Bryce's, where Theo has been preparing "Welcome home" confetti out of plastic shopping bags in the basement. He implodes with joy at the sight of Bryce. It's as though every separate fibre in his body is wagging at once. Bryce says he reacts like that to a bunch of people, including me, but I insist there's something extra and unrestrained when Theo greets him. I force Bryce to feed me pizza, then talk till he falls asleep and I take the hint and leave.
Saturday: Lounging with the cats, a.k.a. duvets with whiskers, until far too late. Rush about erranding everywhere, then off to Banff in the afternoon for the night run: the Winterstart 5-Miler. I bump into JP and his talented companion, who are glowing and faintly sulphurous after a plunge in the hot springs. It's freezing, clear, and bright outside. In fact, the full moon is so radiant, I cast a shadow as I run along the mountain highway. What a race. We carry glow-sticks, but they have nothing on the moon for shining. The mountains loom in greys and blacks, the stars seem to be flaring brighter than usual, and I experience the perfect runner's zone-out, where I'm in a different realm, only dimly aware that my feet are moving and I'm actually running.It was a jolt when the race finished and I found myself in an underground garage with a noisy, happy bunch of runners. It was too much of a mood shift, so I left early and drove back to the city.
Sunday morning: Up with the dumber birds and out to the University, to take part in a morning run. Yes, my legs are tired from the previous night. Yes, I'm not getting any younger. Anyway. It's the Jinglebell Run and I paid my money and I'm going to run. But not with the damn jinglebell tied to my shoe. It weighs a ton and hurts when it slaps against the shoe. I wrench it off and tie it to my thumb for the race. It's clear, cold, and windy on the morning. Considering my fatigue, my time is only a minute off my best showing, so I'm quite pleased.
Later on, I phone Bryce and ask for the keys to the dog. Bryce is down with strep throat, and Theo could use a walk. I need a walk my own self to keep from stiffening up after my athletic pursuits, so Theo and I head to Nose Hill Park. There's a chinook wind blowing, and lots of playful dogs around. Couldn't be better. We stay out for two hours. Then back to Bryce's, a quick head bonk from the dog, and I head to the bookstore. At bedtime I checked my face, and had only a small dark bruise over my browbone. This morning I wake up and find that I've become an extra from the set of Raging Bull overnight. My colleagues are amused. It looks like I applied extra dark purple eyeshadow to one eyelid, and forgot the other one. The most common suggestion is that I paint the other eye to match, or punch myself, or something. I haven't had a black eye since I was 8 years old and got myself smacked by a car. I am more than ever convinced that I was born behind my time, and should have been in vaudeville.
Wednesday, November 08, 2000
Update: Theo develops a taste for literature. Last nightI left him unkenneled but confined to the basement for 4 hours, during which time he ate "High Fidelity" by Nick Hornsby. Actually, from what I can tell from the remains, he ate the first three chapters, shredding them carefully into impressively small pieces, then lost interest and flipped to the end, eating the last 20 pages or so. I know how he feels, as I tried to plough through "Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood" last year, and would have finished it faster if I had, indeed, chewed instead of read. Still, I found High Fidelity quite digestible, if a little light.
It could have been worse. Much worse. Bryce's rollerblades, his trombone, the duvet, the hockey equipment...I shudder at the thought. Losing a book is a pretty small price to pay.
I'm about to start a three-way writing process, which is supposed to culminate in a one-act play at the end of January. I get along with other writers like a bunch of cats in a sack, mainly because I have this little problem about letting go of my ideas (they're gems! Every one!)--but it's time to try. So I started writing the outline and basic character structures last night. Perhaps the others will go for them. Perhaps I'll keep my mouth shut.
Tuesday, November 07, 2000
Boy, is Bryce ever going to kill me. I'm looking after Theo this week while Bryce is off investigating (drinking) Aztec installations (beach bars) and primitive architecture (hotel bars) and cataloging (drinking) folk art (Tequila shots) in Mazatlan. And I had this bright idea of taking Theo to the Doghouse Pet Store. We came back with the giant rubber hot dog--go nuts, all you Freudians out there--to which I had give one or two perfunctory squeezes to make sure the squeaker worked.
Oh, boy, does it work. In fact, it gives a particularly pain-ridden squeak when Theo bites it in the middle. Is it loud enough to wake one out of a sound sleep? Oh yes. And if he lies on it and forces the air out of it, it wails eerily for a good 15 seconds as it refills. I am so dead.
Oh, yeah. Theo was quite taken with my friend K. last night. So much so that he ate one arm off her sweater while we were having supper. Heh.
More Marketing Musing: The label for Theo's dog shampoo lists as selling points the added highlights and lustre to the dog's coat, as well as a fresh clean scent. Wouldn't it be funny if the copy was written for the canine audience? "Hints of fresh cowpat and 6-week-old fishing bait. Friends will think you've just rolled in something extra rotten--finally, get them sniffing more than your bottom!"
Politics is generally not my onion, but I'm increasingly worried about the US election. Should a president be elected just because he's a character? Or should intelligence and statesmanship count as well? And that reminds me--why is it that film stars and other celebrities are always on the news supporting one candidate or another? I can't imagine the same situation here in Canada. For one thing, we don't have enough celebrities to go around, or they're already in the States, but even those who stick around tend not to grab microphones and sound off about one of our four primary parties. Or, if they do, it tends not to make the news. Everyone, including celebrities, is entitled to his/her opinion, of course, so no flaming me, please--but why is an actor's opinion more worthy of consideration simply because of fame?
Wednesday, November 01, 2000
Another thing to consider in this house-hunt: Hallowe'en. Next year I'll have to hand out candy. I've avoided this for over a decade. I read Grant's entry about his early Hallowe'en experiences (interruption: yes, I am one of those tiresome folk who insist on adding the apostrophe to "Hallowe'en") and it brought the following things to mind:
  1. I have never liked Mickey Mouse.
  2. As a child, I never once went up and hugged a mascot. True, I lived in a small northern town where we didn't have such, but on a family vacation to Edmonton I rebuffed the overtures of Klondike Mike at Klondike Days.
  3. I had an early growth spurt and was effectively denied all Hallowe'en activities from the age of 10 onwards. Adults would scowl as I approached the door, and grudgingly hand me a cheap sucker. It wasn't worth it
  4. The best costume I ever made was for the wedding reception of my friends who married on Hallowe'en. I went as the "Mummy of the Bride."
  5. I was once a mascot my own self, and it nearly cost me my life. Year: 1984. Location: Edmonton. Event: The annual Klondike River Raft Race on the treacherous North Saskatchewan River. I worked for the head office of 7-11 at the time, and we had built a sturdy-looking but amazingly tippy raft out of planks and oil barrels. Then we had the brilliant idea of floating down the river in our official 7-11 mascot costumes. Guess who got to be a giant Slurpee? My colleague Marcel was also chosen to sport a large metal and foam contraption - he was a big travel mug of coffee. The costumes were cleverly constructed, but blinding, hot, heavy, and definitely not substitute flotation devices. At one point we were beseiged by the Edmonton firemen's raft, which had its own firehose aboard. Their prank was to ambush other rafts and blast them with water. Witness the effect of a firehose blast upon a giant Slurpee costume with a human inside. I was overboard and sinking beneath the raft before I knew what hit me. I retained just enough awareness to try and get out of the costume before I drowned. The firemen were aghast at what had happened, and had motored over for the rescue. The costume came up first, followed by a cussing, spluttering me. It was years before I could drink slurpees again.
You know, sometimes I look back on these things and think--nah, that didn't really happen, did it? I have to admit it would have made for an interesting obituary.