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Wednesday, June 28, 2006
The Joys of Dog Ownership, continued. I took the dog and a book outside last night to enjoy the warm summer dusk. Last night was also my last Meisner scene study class, which ended two hours early, so it seemed like a good idea to relax outdoors with the rotten dog. She's quite happy to graze a little, chew sticks, bark at squirrels, etc., and I'm quite happy to get lost in a book (have set a deadline to finish "Cold Mountain" by this weekend, since I've had to keep interrupting my reads). It's a beautiful, placid, gentle evening. And then I notice the dog's upside down in the grass, kicking her legs in frenzied ecstasy. Uh-oh.
It takes about 20 minutes to wash away the scent of maggotty gopher carcass from a dog, for the record. But only about 3 seconds for the relaxed summer mood to vanish completely.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
So, the showcase. Five out of the eight scenes from our class were performed. We'd hoped to have more "industry" types in the audience, but alas, despite the rizzvips, the guest audience was small. Christianne gathered all the students together before class and basically said, "Do your best...for yourselves. To honour the work you've done all session." Well, it was nice of her to say it. I saw three of the five scenes performed, and was pleased by a lot of the acting. The horrible A's one-woman scene was not part of the evening, and though I know how small it is of me to say this, I was glad she hadn't made it. She's not without talent but she really needs to take a weed-whacker to her insufferable ego.
Anyway. Mandie and I got through our "Agnes of God" scene fairly well--but I knew overall that I still hadn't achieved the Meisner "moment to unanticipated moment" level of truthful acting. Dammit. I'd done all the emotional prep and the research and all, but still, as soon as I started the scene, part of me could not ignore that I was on stage in front of an audience. Goddammit. So looks like I'll be studying Meisner some more. It worked for Brad Dourif. It might work for me.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Chicken Day. I arrived at the farm at 9:00 a.m., just as Jean was heading out of Dodge. She's very open about not taking part in the killing and cleaning. Of course, she does like cooking and eating the birds, and thus it would be quite easy to accuse her of hypocrisy, except that she makes perhaps the best damned chicken soup in the entire world. So I kept schtum and just walked down to the killing field.
Say you believe in reincarnation and just happen to be lucky enough to be one of Tyke's meat chickens. Here's how you re-enter the ether: everything is as it should be, and then you discover that you're upside down. That's about it.
There were 11 of us present at the chicken processing, 7 adults and four children, and I must say the work went ahead in a miracle of efficiency. Tyke would grab a bird, chop its head off, let it bleed out, and then hand it to one of the other men. The bird was scalded and then held against the mechanical defeatherer, a machine-spun cylinder studded with rubber pegs. Then the mostly naked bird was given to another man who removed whatever large feathers remained. Then it came over to the table where I and two other women worked. These two women were mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, and extremely experienced in chicken cleaning. I started off on pinfeather removal, but after watching how efficiently and quickly the ladies were eviscerating the chickens, I decided to help out there, too. My Cliff Clavin impulse made me tell everyone around that the reason the guts were so easy to remove was because they were encased in the "omentum." "Yeah?" commented one of the women, with a polite lack of interest. I soon found that I was fascinated by the variations in heart, liver and gizzard size from bird to bird, and intrigued that there really wasn't any bad smell. These were extremely healthy birds in top condition, and as soon as they looked like the smooth carcasses you see in the store, I found myself almost salivating at the thought of roasting one and making stock from the carcass. Soon enough, Janey, soon enough.
It took slightly under two hours to process 80 chickens, which I thought very impressive. The children took on the tasks of trimming the hearts and gizzards and rinsing the cleaned carcasses, and then, work done, made finger puppets from a few of the chicken heads. Good thing Jean wasn't there.
We had a relaxing lunch back at the house, then bagged and shared out the now cool chickens. I bought eight of them at give-away prices, and right now they're in Jean's dad's freezer, waiting for me to remember my goddamned cooler next time I come up. Sheesh. Jean and I spent the rest of the afternoon bicycling, going to a farmer's market, having some snacks, and going to the lake. I had to come back to Calgary early for a rehearsal for the acting showcase on Monday night, so we didn't have time for a trail ride. And then, dammit, when I arrived at my scene partner's house, she wasn't there. She called me by cell and begged to postpone the rehearsal to Sunday. Ah, well...since my concussion made me forget a few rehearsals back in April, I suppose I can't really complain now. But do it again, and I'll show you exactly what I can do with a sharp knife, toots, that's what.
At the height of yesterday's sunshine Fearless and I went splashing in the fast-flowing Bow River. Technically the part where the Elbow River meets the Bow, yes, yes, shut up, Fearless. The dog was greatly confused by seeing me walk out into the water, and would only swim part of the way to me before panicking and heading to shore. There was a pretty strong current, though.
A pretty damned good weekend, overall. Says Jane, Doom of Chickens.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Yeah? Just see if I ever pull over to let you pass again. A lovely surprise in the form of a bill from the City greeted me in the mail. Approximately $500 for an ambulance trip from the riding stable to the hospital back on Concussion Day in late March. Now, I pay provincial health insurance, and I have some health coverage at work, and besides, I can really talk poor when I need to, so perhaps the $498 bill won't all have to come out of my pocket. Because my pocket is basically saying I'm SOL.
Mind yer head. I'm heading up to Jean and Tyke's this Saturday to help harvest some of their meat chickens. In other words, look! Is that a pile of dandelion greens? CHOCK. Despite coming to the same end as battery chickens, these birds have it pretty sweet: fresh air, a large fenced yard, fresh water, country music, hormone-free feed...and they meet their end pretty gently, unlike their factory cousins. I always wonder what the egg-laying hens think at such times. "Jeez! What'd they say to the farmer? We'd better keep it down for awhile."
Monday, June 19, 2006
See Jane get performance evaluation. See Jane get whack on snout. What, a writer with "time management challenges"? You jest! Anyway. See Jane get yummy lunch on the company. And, surprise, see Jane pledge to improve one or two tiny things in the near future.
My boyce! Those scruffy bums, the Edmonton Oilers, are in the 7th game of the Stanley Cup finals tonight. They even survived having me watch Game Six in its entirety. Go, boyce. Make this old bag proud, and several hundred thousand Calgarians wince in pain. Go! UPDATE: Sorry, boyce. Shouldnta' blogged about it.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Before anyone is tempted to cut me off in traffic, I'd like to point out that my Dante's Inferno Rating placed me in the 7th concentric ring, a.k.a. The Violent Killing Abusive Sinners. Yep, I swiped this directly from Owie, and he'd better not complain, or *SMACKO*.
Co-birthday celebration tonight with me old roomie and published author, Lori Hahnel. (Get yerself an Alberta Anthology 2005, it's great! Get it!) I succumbed to a wave of nostalgia and wanted to go back to someplace we used to go to in the 1980s. Hence we have reservations at Cannery Row. Will I find the downtown office crowd as amusing as I did 20 years ago? Probably even more so, now that I've, y'know, joined them. The funniest thing I've seen at Cannery Row has to be the first-time raw oyster eater. I love the things, but if you're not expecting the wet, cold, slippery, salty, soft thing, it can be hard to get down.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Lawn Bowlink! Last night we played the Pubic Mounds and they had the goddamned bad taste to beat us by a single point. So the Myrmidons have embarked on their usual season start, a win and a loss each night. I kept up my usual season start with some jack-phobic bowling. I, score a point? You must be mad.
Loony magnet still works: I took the dog to the river for some wading practice and the occasional disgruntled swim (the Piper does not like deep water, but once in awhile she gets caught in the current and has to paddle a few strokes). I soon realized that we had been joined by a very chatty, not very sane man, who wished to discuss pro sports and billiards and American Eskimo dogs and, well, everything, really. I figured hey, like kins to like, so I responded when I could, meanwhile throwing sticks into the river for Piper to catch or ignore. I was intrigued by one question about canine intelligence, and crafted a well worded answer--with a joke, even! Turning to see the man's reaction, I realized he was no longer there, and that I had been yapping away to nobody for pretty much the entire answer. So the next prattling "maddy" you see, just remember: he/she may not have started it.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Happy 43, you incredible reeetard. The "If Today is Your Birthday" part of the newspaper horoscope, which we all know is true, says that the upcoming year may be my best yet. Here's hoping.
Too cute to be true. I spent the better part of Saturday at a seminar for driving miniature horses, up in the tiny town of Rimbey. I was one of those people who said that she didn't see the point in miniature horses, I mean, what are they good for? The answer: they're quite an engrossing hobby, besides being desperately, possibly illegally cute. The only problem on Saturday was that Jean was sick near to death with some stomach bogey, and bravely soldiered on through her appointment with the driving trainer, only to disintegrate directly afterwards in her truck. Her horse, Chester, was quite happy to have me lead him around to all the different dandelion patches in the field, which he attacked the way I go after microwave popcorn. Update: Jean is back among the living. She also came up trumps with an awesome birthday present. Thanks again, Jeano.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Myrmidons Redux: Lawn-bowling started again last night, and I managed not to make a single practice shot until we took the field against the TUFGUMF team, last season’s champions (their name stands for “Trophy’s up for grabs, you motherf**kers”). What a shock, we lost. However, we did come back to win our second game, so for the Myrmidons it was a pretty good night. Quite a few new faces in the league this year. There have been a few breakups and divorces over the past year, which means that some of the teams I loved playing against no longer love playing in each other’s company. One of this year’s new teams has given itself the name “The Pubic Mounds,” which apparently they think is very funny. Yes, they’re all executroid men in their early 20s, why do you ask? And probably I’m unfair here, since I laughed at TUFGUMF but found “Pubic Mounds” just plain stupid.
IFBC Teams 2006
Please Prince
The Acme Bowling Co.
Blue Bowls 2006
The Ok Go Lawn Dancers
Bowling Gnomes
The Myrmidons
Pubic Mounds
Bowl Busters
Girls with Balls
Sod Busters
Bowling for Woodbine
The Bowling Lebowskis
B.M.A.D.A.I.T.Y. (Buy Me A Drink And I’ll Tell You)
Waving, Not Drowning
Outback Jacks
Yep, there are a few offish names there, all right. Maybe I just think “Pubic Mounds” isn’t subtle enough.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Third fall's the charm! Went for a sunset ride yesterday with Jean, she riding Lucky Luke, me riding the beauteous Honey. I decided to use my English saddle on Honey, and thought I'd tightened the girth sufficiently. About three miles into the trip, I put Honey into a lope, and realized that my view was going more and more sideways. Yep, a slipping saddle. Off I went, landing on the side of a deep ditch and rolling down a ways. That's definitely the way to fall off, since gravity is on your side. I was grass-stained and managed to bite the inside of my lower lip (but only a bit), but otherwise fine. Just horribly embarrassed to come off Jean's horse in front of Jean. She first made sure I was okay, then helped me resaddle Honey (meaning she did all the work), and get back aboard. The rest of the ride went very well, and I was pleased to discover that I was no longer afraid of falling off. This is a great transition to make, you realize. Jean echoed the comments of my riding stable associates when she said "I noticed you ditched your reins when you fell" and counselled me to keep hold of them at all times. So now I have to fall off again to practice hanging on to the reins. Knowing me, it won't take long before I'm reacquainted with the ground. Truly, the ride goeth before the fall.
Holy freakin' great weekend. Drank wine and chatted with four lovelies on Friday night, in Vinnie's backyard. There was Vinnie and her three friends Annie, Heather and Lindsay, all of whom are funny, clever, interesting, and very kind. During one conversation about house-cleaning, we devised a plan that would get procrastinators like me galvanized into trimming the amount of stored crap in our houses: someone would go in and hide a premium sex toy somewhere in the many boxes of books, paper, clothes, worsted weight yarn, etc. So the homeowner would be forced to glean through all the junk in hopes of finding the treasure. I tell you, associating housework with orgasms would change home life as much as the telephone and electricity.
Saturday I took a great riding lesson, ran the dog's legs off, rehearsed with Mandie and came to a couple of incredible insights about our scene, and enjoyed a lovely evening on the deck, with a quick toothful and a restful read.
Sunday was spent at Jean's farm, and was filled with enjoyment: playing with Spike and Chester the miniature horses, helping plant trees and strawberry plants, biking to the lake, watching Jean and Tyke build fences, feeding dandelions to the chickens, cooking lemon risotto to accompany grilled chicken sausage for dinner, and relaxing with homemade mango martinis for dessert. YUM. Then the ride, the fall, and a nighttime drive home with a now snoring Piper. She slept until 6:00 a.m. and then immediately fell back asleep after our walk, and even slept on the drive to the dog daycare. Definitely a sign that she had a great weekend, too.
Bees! I climbed up on the roof at lunchtime today and checked out my livestock. Man, those are laid-back bees. Rudy the beekeeper pulled out several honeycombed tiers to check on them, see how the queen was faring, etc., and he didn't even bother to wear the veiled hat. One or two bees checked out my veil, but that was it. Tomorrow I'm going to check out their favourite pollen source, the shrubbery around the parking lot. You know, I can see what's going to happen. I'm going to turn into a bee-hugger. Soon I'll be on the roof reading poetry to them.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
There they bee (sorry.)