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Thursday, February 23, 2006
Remember: I am not actually broke. I have less ready money to spend because I'm putting more of it out of harm's way, i.e., where my bank card can't get at it.
The Sign of the Four: Despite being slightly dismayed that no one tagged me for this blog meme, I'm going to carry on anyway:

Four Jobs I have had:
Keyword Entry
Court Report Transcription
Copy Editing for legal publisher
Night reception in a nursing home.
Four Movies I can Watch Over and Over Again:
Withnail & I
Tom Jones
Blazing Saddles
Four places I've lived:
San Francisco
Fort McMurray
Four TV shows I've loved:
Absolutely Fabulous
Trailer Park Boys
History Bites--no, wait! Wait! Blackadder!
Four favourite vacation destinations:
Santa Cruz, California
Sligo, Rep. of Ireland
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Vancouver Island, B.C.
Four favourite meals:
French bread, good Parmesan cheese, red wine
Red Beans and Rice
Chicken baked in Foil (Mahdur Jaffrey's version)
Homemade chicken noodle soup with fresh baked bread.
Four web sites I visit daily:
Four places I'd rather be right now:
On the beach at Santa Cruz with Lester Polyester
Scuba-diving off the north Cuban coast
Riding the saddlebred paint mare, Miz Scarlett, along a country lane
At the country cabin with both brothers and their boisterous families
Four bloggers I'm tagging:
I would have tagged more people, like Jon or Danyon, but you buggers don't blog anymore. Okay, fine, you don't blog on your original blogs anymore. Why not? I miss my friends' blogs.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Congrats, you horrible goon. My old pal Bryce is now a brand-new father, and if there were any doubt that his son has inherited some of pop's hockey genes, just consider: Tabitha (poor Tabitha) was in labour forever before finally getting okayed for a Caesarean yesterday morning. How does hockey come into it? Well, as I wrote to Tabitha, "considering that the kid has a generous dollop of hockey chromosomes from his dad, it's not such a surprise that he couldn't find his way out of a room with only one door." Hey, little Jack! You had to get surgically removed from your Mommy's abdomen! Ten and a game!
I fell off! At last. Finally, finally, I have the answer to my question, How Much Will I Hurt Myself When I Inevitably Fall off My Horse? Not very. While riding at the trot, without stirrups, I lost my balance, flopped forward and slid over my mount's neck with all the lissome grace of a drunk toppling off a bar stool. Natural law dictates that you only have such gormless falls in front of an appreciative audience--in my case, four teenaged stablehands. My neck is stiff and one hip is sore. But I'm glad to get the first fall out of the way.
Take this credit card to Havana. Well, there turns out to be one sour note from our Cuba vacation. Jean used her credit card only once on the trip, at the little store in Havana that was supposed to sell the best smokum and rum on the island, according to our tour guide. The cashier took her credit card into the nearby restaurant to "use their machine." And gosh, wouldn't you know it, suddenly last week all these charges from Southern Florida appeared on Jean's card. Kudos to the card company for contacting her right away. Oddly, the cigars Jean bought weren't charged to her card, so aside from the inconvenience of a cancelled card, she actually came out ahead. Still, shame it had to happen.
Bitten again! This time by a mare who mistook my forearm for the muzzle of the inquisitive pony in the next stall. I have the perfect imprint of two equine teeth in a lovely indigo bruise near my elbow.
Jane's Family Day, 2006: Playing photographer at the Rimbey Wagon and Sled Parade in a near blizzard. Actually it was great fun, although in terms of photographic quality, let's just say that my efforts were worth every penny, and I was a volunteer. Yeah. Later on, hot rum and lemon banished my worries about creeping hypothermia (and about nuclear war, menopause and bird flu, too, let's be honest). I just wish that when I'd set that pail of leftover chili on the hood of my van while I put the dog in the back seat, I'd remembered to take the pail off the hood and put it in the van before driving off. I expect Jean and Tyke weren't too thrilled to have their driveway studded with chopped meat and beans. I didn't even realize what had happened until I went to get the pail out of the van, and there it was, not there.
Friday, February 17, 2006
I've always had problems with judged events at the Olympics, and I'm not alone. Skot over at Izzlepfaff thinks that ski jumpers get an unfair deal, in that it's not considered enough of a challenge merely to fling themselves off ramps with boards strapped to their feet:
How insulting, then, and I forget about this every Olympics, that these nutters are judged not only on how far they fly, but on style points. STYLE POINTS? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Listen, there is only one metric I'm interested in: Who went the farthest? Style points? I don't give a fuck if a guy looked like Bea Arthur with a hundred carrots stapled all over his body and pinwheeled madly all the way to the bottom while screaming "I REGRET EVERYTHING!" If the skier landed on his feet then HOW FAR DID HE GO? This is all that should matter.
Why, O Fates, is this man not doing the commentary for all judged events? Why?
Thursday, February 16, 2006

That Goddamned Half Boat pose
Originally uploaded by Hane6952.
I cannot do this pose. It makes no sense that I cannot do it, as I have possibly the world's squarest bum and should logically be able to hold this pose while balancing a Volkswagen on my kneecaps. But no! As soon as I try to hold this pose, I go turtle up. The Hindi word for The Half Boat is something like "pravasana," so now you all know how to say "Jane wobbles and falls like an unstable dictatorship" in Hindi.

Monday, February 13, 2006
TO: Makers of Nike-brand yoga tops: Fuck you! Fuck you to death! It was not nice to sell me on the concept of a "shelf bra", which must be garment industry speak for "vaguely elasticized cloth which won't do a thing to keep one's bust from suddenly slooping out over the neckband during a sustained Downward-Facing Dog, right next to the president of the company, too! Nice one!"
Another complaint about fitness garb: At breakfast yesterday I was complaining to my brother and sister-in-law about the limited range of sizes at the cutey-cute Lululemon clothing store. "I'm going to write a letter to the company president," I said."What's the point of marketing yourself as a liberating clothing company for enlightened women when you don't carry anything higher than size 12? At the very least the bugger could offer clothes up to size 16. Or a plus-size line!" Alayne nodded and quipped, "Yeah, lulugrapefruit." Brief pause while I partially asphyxiated on a mouthful of coffee. I think Alayne's got something there. Hell, I'd buy lulugrapefruit.
A weekend wherein small equines nip my fundament: There's a tiny week-old foal at the riding stable, and I am delighted to be able to pat and scratch him as his mother blows hay-scented breath into my ear. The little guy doesn't quite know how to deal with getting a good scratch, tries to scrub my face with his tiny teeth and gets gently pushed away, and settles for nibbling his mom's shoulder. I get up to go, and suddenly: chomp! A mouthful of sweater, pants pocket, and flesh. Cute but painful. Then, Sunday afternoon, I get reintroduced to Jean's now amazingly tame miniature horse, Spike. Spike thinks he's one of the farm dogs and follows Jean everywhere, even up the stairs and into the house. He also tries eating everything she eats, and if there's nothing going on foodwise, will take small inquisitive nips at her or anyone close by. He followed me to the chicken coop at one point, and suddenly: chomp! He, too, gets a mouthful of Jane hinder. Cute, but still painful.
Shaun White, thanks for making me cry at your half-pipe victory yesterday. I just love snowboarders. They'll save the Olympics yet.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Cuba won my heart as soon as the plane touched down at Varadero. A flight announcement informed us that smoking was only allowed in designated areas--in other words, you know, CUBA. Sure enough, the wave of tobacco smoke inundated Jean and me as we entered the terminal, a foretaste of things to come.
In terms of smoking, Cuba is 1970s Canada. You can smoke pretty much anywhere, and indeed the public bathrooms at Brisas del Caribe, our lovely resort, had that long-forgotten miasma of ass and cigarettes that you used to find in every Canadian biffy. On the early morning tour buses it was quite common to hear that other remnant of heavy smoking, the phlegm-bound coughing spasm, generally emanating from such ancient life-forms that I was surprised that they could breathe, let alone smoke.
How to describe Havana? My reaction to it was one of melancholic fascination. Havana is a living ruin. A place that should fall down completely but cheerily refuses to do so. The cemetery? Amazing. The pre-revolution American cars? Incredible. The poverty? Unbelievable. The music? Unstoppable. Oh, and yes, I did buy cigars and rum, thinking the whole while that I was probably being hosed out of quite a few pesos (and really, I didn't save much compared to the prices at our resort), but that buying such in Havana was de rigueur. And I drank a surprising amount of rum at the Tropicana night club, where we were give a bottle of 5-year-old Havana Club and a bucket of ice for every four guests. Jean and I were pleasantly dumbfounded at how much we were enjoying the type of nightclub show that inspired Meyer Lansky to copy it for his Las Vegas hotels in the 1940s and 50s. Apparently I enjoyed the rum a little too much, as I slurred loudly along to "Guantanamera" on the bus ride back until I fell asleep, my head punctuating the trip with several slams against the window frame. The next morning Jean informed me that my rum capacity was "astounding." I attribute the fact that I did not die, and indeed was able to get up and out for a bike ride and cave tour the next afternoon, to the quality of Cuban rum.
Things we can't believe we did, and can't wait to do again: Scuba-diving and swimming with dolphins. On our first morning at the resort, Jean and I took turns talking each other in and out of taking the free scuba lessons at the pool until we got fed up and went ahead and tried it out. We loved it immediately and could hardly wait until our scuba trip the following Tuesday. It was the classic first-time dive in ultramarine waters on a sunny day, over colourful reef with mesmerizing iridescent fishes, as well as some big white louts that kept nipping at my hair and fingertips. Our first dive was included in our package, but we happily paid for a second dive straightaway. Unlike the rather whiny English tourist who didn't think there was "very much to see" under the surface. He'd also been the one who'd kicked me in the mask on our first trip, so I was just as glad he didn't come along. Anyway, scuba-diving! Fabulous! I'm hooked.
Although we swam with the dolphins in less than transparent water in a nearby estuary, it was also unforgettable. At one point I was instructed to float on my front with my arms and legs extended. Suddenly, there was a dolphin snout pushing on the sole of my foot and I was skimming across the water surface at remarkable speed. One final push, and then the dolphin swam back to tow me back to the dock as I held onto his dorsal fin. Great fun. We had our photos taken and I think they're my favourites of the entire week.
I took one more tour, this time up the Rio Canimar, while Jean elected to get indecently tanned on the beach. Before we were ready for it, it was time to go home. I could write at length about the pristine beaches, the clear water, the beautiful sunsets, the sheer lazy, lovely fun of it all--but the point is to go there yourself and enjoy it. We met great people there--mostly Canadians, although we did also chat with some very fun English tourists--and we met some pretty damned friendly Cubans. Thank you, Manuel, for the goodbye smooch. I don't have a picture of it so no one will believe me, but it's definitely a nice souvenir.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Burnt, bug-bitten, broke, blissed. That was one fantastic vacation. Despite the politics, despite the poverty, I think there's more to love about Cuba than not love. I know I'm going to become one of those Canadians who's fallen in love with the place and who'll go back not only for a vacation, but to bring certain things such as medical supplies or used bicycles.
More details in a bit. I'm pretty tired today, although Jean may be right and it may just be sudden mojito withdrawal.