The End of the Beginning

photo by TheBro 2012

TWCN has a big sister shirt, too. She got it from her Auntie Jenn the first time.

The BroFam was in town again last week. Partly, it was their vacation. Partly, they picked this specific time because of the last of the three wedding receptions Paul and I threw–this one for the family and friends who didn’t fit the parameters of the first two: 1. immediate family and 2. Now Church people. We had a big picnic on a we-couldn’t-have-asked-for-a-more-perfect day in one of our favourite hiking spots, and had a great time visiting with our guests. Kind of overestimated the necessary meat and bread, though.

It’s too bad we didn’t figure that out before the end, because we could have re-enacted a Jesus-parable by inviting the veterans in Our Fair City to the party, too. As it was, we just packed up the leftovers and I drove them over to the Veteran’s Shelter. Their faces said, “Yathink?” when I told them my husband and I had had a party and overbought a little, but they whisked it away soon enough and seemed pretty delighted to incorporate it into the dinner they were already serving. That drop-off ended up being one of my favourite parts of the day, actually.

But so anyway. The BroFam was in town: TheBro, Sister-in-Lu, TWCN, Smiley-Guy, and . . . wait, what?

Smiley-Guy was wearing a t-shirt when we saw him that first Friday night which said, “I’m a big brother.” Wait, what?

TheBro and Sister-in-Lu make pretty sweet kids and I’m stoked. Can’t wait to meet the next one. But as we were falling asleep after hearing the news, my Paul said drowsily, “Your brother’s gonna have another kid.” And I said, “It’s gonna have to be a boy. Because if it’s a girl, I’m going to have to change TWCN’s blog nickname.” Smiley is not a superlative. The World’s Cutest? Kinda is.

I guess I’d probably better start thinking about an alternative, just in case. Suggestions?

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Laughter

Here’s the second installment of my new weekly Bible-story-retelling:

Laughter

Genesis 11-23 (NRSV [Link CJB])

Oh yes, I did laugh.  I sat behind the curtain, while the men ate and said ridiculous things like, “I will return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son,” and of course I laughed.

“After I have grown old,” I laughed, for I was old even then—ninety years, “and my husband is old,” for he was nearly one hundred, “shall I have pleasure?”

I guess I laughed a little too loudly, for the man (if he really were a man) heard me.  “Why did Sarah laugh?” he asked Abraham.  “Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?  At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.”

It was then that I wondered if he were really a man, and I was afraid, and I wanted to hide my doubts.  “I did not laugh,” I said from inside the tent.

“Oh yes, you did laugh,” he replied, and he was right about that, too.

Maybe I laughed in my doubt.  But maybe I doubted because I had to.  Maybe ninety years is too many for a woman to wait for a child, while her husband wrenches her from the land and the people she knows, on the trail of a God she can’t see.  Maybe it’s too long to wait while this God teases her husband with promises that he will father a great nation, and her husband teases her with hopes that she’ll mother it.  Maybe, after ninety years, when this God promises such a thing in a voice even she can hear, she laughs, because to believe is to hope, and another dashed hope might kill her—after ninety years.

I didn’t even bear a child in Egypt.  I was Sarai then, and I was younger then, and Abram, the coward, reckoned they would kill him because of me.  Well, I was beautiful.  Abram said, “Say you’re my sister.”  He still says that, when he thinks he needs to.  It is something like true, so I said it, and then I was whisked to the palace, and the Pharaoh installed me as one of his wives.

Those were the days I deluded myself with the grand thought that Abraham would be the father of a nation in name, but I would be the mother in fact, and the blood of Egyptian princes would run in the veins of my children.  But no such thing happened—only a plague on the Egyptians for taking me, and we were sent away at once.  It was a humiliation, compounded with the humiliation of my life—that I could not have a child—and the only things I had to show for it were some trinkets and a slave-girl named Hagar.

It was after Abram told me that God had said, “No one but your very own issue shall be your heir,” that I thought of Hagar.  It was another hope dashed when I realized with certainty that, after all, I would only mother this nation in name, but Abram would father it in fact.  But who am I to halt the purposes of God?  I should only further them.

So I said to Abram, “You see that the Lord has prevented me from bearing children; go in to my slave-girl; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.”

I covered my ears when they coupled, and pretended it was all a matter of course.  After all, Abram had seemed not to mind much when the king of Egypt had me.  But that thought only made it worse.  And worst of all was when the girl conceived.  Then it was sure that the fault of our childlessness was mine, and I was humiliated even in the eyes of my servant.  She walked about with mincing steps, the baby showing soon in her long, lithe body, and she gloated over me with her eyes.

“May the wrong done to me be on you!” I shouted at my oh-so-dutiful husband.  He would do anything to make this God’s promises come true—even to abandoning his own wife.  He could have said no.  “I gave my slave-girl to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt.  May the Lord judge between you and me!”

Submissive as ever, Abram said, “Your slave girl is in your power; do to her as you please.”

So I did, and she ran away.  But the desert was harsher than I was, I guess, for she came back soon enough.

Then one day Abram started calling me Sarah, and himself Abraham.  He said God told him I was to be the mother of nations after all.  But it was too much to promise an old woman like me, and even when I heard God say it myself, all I could do was laugh.

I laughed again when it came true, and we named him Isaac, in memory of our laughter.  Now it was not the laughter of doubt, but of joy, and I cried out, “God has brought laughter to me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.  Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children?  Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”  Suddenly, the joy and the honour were greater than Hagar’s, and greater than the humiliation.  Anyone could bear a child in their youth; most women did.  But God had granted me the special one, the son of my gray hair.  Did He know it would be like that?

More joy and more sorrow came after the boy than any I had known before.  After he came, I knew him and loved him; before he was only a dream.  So when the slave-girl’s boy got too close, I sent him and his mother away for good, and when God nearly called Isaac back Himself, I could have sent myself away in grief.  But God gave him back again, my only son, and I saw him grown to a man—a man who would father nations.  That knowledge is a shoutable secret, and it makes me want to laugh.

Oh. Hi.

The new hang-out

Like the nerdy kid who gets noticed by one of the cool ones for a second and then ditches her old friends to try to get noticed again, is . . . me. Huh. That sentence didn’t exactly go as planned. Kind of like my Authonomy membership.

In case I didn’t explain it fully or well enough before (possibly because I didn’t really understand it even as well as I do now, which isn’t very), Authonomy is a website where authors try to get noticed. Particularly by the powers that be within Harper-Collins publishing. It’s kind of like an author-farm site for author scouts for one particular company. If you’re one of the authors trying to get scouted, you create a profile and post some chapters (or all the chapters) of your book, and then you bop around the site asking people to read and evaluate your stuff if you promise to do the same to theirs. You hope that they will “back” it for you (any one person can only “back” 5 books at a time), so that it will go up in rank, so that more people will see it, read it, back it, raise it in rank some more, and maybe even make it to the “Editor’s Desk.”

Natasha, who told me about the site in the first place, claims the Editor’s Desk isn’t quite as necessary to achieve as everybody on the site seems to think, but still. You do kind of hope that your book will get more backings than, say, one. Like mine has. (It used to have two, but that was because one of the people backing it was me. I decided that was just kind of sad and pathetic, and plus it used up one of my five books I could back, and there really is some good stuff on there, so I wanted the wiggle room.) I’m still trying to figure out how my book’s rating went down after the other person backed it, and before I stopped, but . . . like I said, I don’t understand it all yet.

What I do understand is that it’s pretty great when people (whether they back you or not), say things like this about Favored One:

Whilst I haven’t read all posted, I have read enough to first of all commend you for your beautiful style of writing. It is completely unforced and a pleasure to read. You maintain the pace like a gently flowing river and I suspect this will greatly enhance your story. You create attractive imagery and I loved your use of the old names for Nazareth, Bethlehem etc. This is well worth supporting and I have starred it too. One tiny error spotted in what seems very polished work. First chpt. second para. Two ‘now’ in quick succession, apart from that I was too busy reading to notice.

Happily, although I only have three comments on there, they’re all kind of like that. Actually, that one has more of constructive criticism than the other ones, believe it or not. Less happily, although I have a number of  new “friends” on this site, it would appear that my book is not exactly on the top of anybody’s “watch list”–or even on the list of most of these people so far. So, as in the days when I was on a new dating site and hoping someone interesting would notice me (which worked, by the way–just saying), I’ve been hitting Authonomy multiple times a day, clicking on random profiles, promising to read people’s work and requesting that they do the same. Or, sometimes, responding to similar requests. And reading. Reading reading reading–which, for a relatively slow reader is quite the feat, and maybe part of the reason I’ve been neglecting the blog the last few days.

I think, when I first signed onto the site, I was hoping I’d also drum up a broader blog-following, and so I’d be blogging more. But frankly, when other people on Authonomy post or recommend their blog urls, I don’t follow the link, so it’s not that shocking that people are probably not going to mine. After whining a few posts ago about how the Readership was disappearing, I have to admit that it is still the fact that you all are the Readership, and have stuck with me longer than any of these people I’m just meeting and, as I keep reading on other people’s blogs and tweets (and have felt, myself, previously), everything’s all about relationship. If I can write a nice book but can’t relate to you, well, it’s not worth much. Or, as another writer said once, “If I speak in the tonguesof men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

I fell prey to what I subsequently called clanging cymbalitis during my first year in London, and I’d really rather avoid the ailment in future if I can. So . . . I apologise, the Readership. I think trying out Authonomy is a good move for me and my book, but if I pause in blogging again, it won’t be because I can’t balance you with new friends. Thanks for reading.

Seminary, Interrupted

Last post, I mentioned that if and when I begin taking courses in the autumn, it will be my third attempt at a Master’s degree–and seminary, specifically. The first shot was in 2003, and I thought I was going to get a degree in Counseling, but it was a wretched fit.

Before the first attempt at Seminary, I worked in a place where I dressed like this. So . . . maybe that explains the “bad fit” thing.

Then in 2006 or something, my ideas about women in ministry altered drastically, almost overnight and certainly unbidden. A few years later, I enrolled in seminary to get a Master’s of Divinity. If you’ve been around the Jenn Stories for a while, you’ll remember some of my posts about this–actually in the old blog, too. I took a number of courses on-line, but then used up my on-line allotment, and continuing to attend my original seminary of choice was going to involve a two-hour one-way commute. Plus, then I started dating my Paul. I took a couple of semesters off, and looked at a few other institutions to see about going somewhere that could offer me more financial aid, and then opted for one that probably can’t, but which does offer classes in our own town, and with a schedule tailored to people already working/ministering full-time. For some reason, however, it took a ridiculously long time to get all the bits and pieces of the application together, and then to find out whether I was accepted or not, and then to get the acceptance materials.

All of this starting and stopping has made me really quite ambivalent again about schooling, especially now as I contemplate the possibility of self-publishing. What if I postpone courses yet again and start up in January or so? If I did that, I could possibly afford a lower-tier publishing plan with a press like Abbott, Writer’s Digest’s self-publishing arm. But then it just drags the entire educational process out further and further. And so I am applying for federal financial aid. Within the next week or so, I guess I will enroll in my first two classes in this particular institution. I’ve decided not to Kickstart the publication of my book. So maybe that means I’ve decided on traditional publishing? But I don’t think so. I’m just wondering how this will play out next.

If this were you, what would you do?

Odds and Ends

1. What the heck? Where did my “Pages” go? Do you see them in that top bar that looks like a strip of paper under my blog heading? Because I don’t. I deleted one when I decided to put my books in image-form in the sidebar. But that shouldn’t have made them all disappear, should it? I feel like I am constantly making magic tricks happen which I never intended to enact. I’d like to be able to post chapters of Favored One on Authonomy, too, but for some reason it thinks that my .docx files are an unacceptable file type–even though it says they’re acceptable indeed.

2. It’s really really hot outside.

3. Although the faithful few keep “liking” my posts (thanks, guys), my Readership seems to be dwindling drastically. This seems generally disappointing, and also kind of bad timing when I’m hoping maybe I’ll get another book published in the next year or so. I mean, I guess I had it in my head that you’d read it. Please tell me the rest of you are all on vacation?

4. I started filling in a FAFSA on-line. I don’t even remember what that acronym stands for. No one ever says it out. It’s an application for federal student aid–in the case of graduate students like me, loans exclusively. What I do know is most people pronounce it “FAS-FA” instead of “FAF-SA.” It’s harder to say the first way, to begin with, and also, it’s wrong. Therefore, it kind of drives me crazy. Because silly things like that drive me crazy. I know. I have issues.

5. If and when I start classes in the autumn, it will be my third attempt at seminary. We are going to discuss this anon, I think.

6. My sunglasses are so dirty, they probably wouldn’t even need tinting to keep the UV out.

The Woman

Not the first Bible-story retelling I ever wrote, but . . . it makes sense for it to be the first one I post. This one was written, I think, in 2002, shortly before I returned to the U.S. from London.

The Woman

Genesis 2-4 (NRSV [Link isComplete Jewish Bible due to availability, but quotations below are NRSV])

I will put enmity between you

and the woman,

and between your offspring and

hers;

He will strike your head,

and you will strike His heel.

The world was young when God spoke that.  It is old now, and so am I, and I am still waiting.  Perhaps I will die before I see the fulfillment.  For I will die.  God said so, and God does not lie.

Painting by Yuri Annenkov. Of whom I had never heard before, until I discovered the blogpost you can get to by clicking on the picture.

The first time I saw the Man, he was sleeping, and he was beautiful—the sun and leaves above him dappling his earth-brown skin.  I knew I was his and he was mine, and God was there at our meeting.

The Man knew it, too, when he woke up, and he sang a poem of delight about me:

This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;

this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man was this one taken.”

He was the Man.  I was the Woman.  We were both naked, and we were not ashamed.

We knew our one-bone-and-one-flesh-ness, and we shared all things.  All things were a delight and to be shared, in that Garden in the morning of the world.  We shared with each other, and in the time of the evening breeze, God came down, and delighted with us in our delight.

So maybe that was why I shared the fruit I never should have touched.  We shared everything.  Maybe that was why.

The Serpent was talking to me.  He sat in the Forbidden Tree and made me doubt God.  At least, that was what I told God afterwards.  Really, I just listened, and doubted God all by myself.

“Did God say,” the Serpent hissed, “’You shall not eat from any tree in the Garden?’”

He was wrong, but at the mistake, I doubted.  “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the Garden,” I replied, “but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the Garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’”  I was wrong, too.  God had never forbidden the touching.  But as touching may lead to eating, so one doubt may lead to another.  For the first time a shadow shaded the light of God’s image.

The shadow grew deeper when the Serpent said, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

I could not at first hold the thought.  I had never known someone to say anything other than what was, or what would be.  I had never known God to keep back good from the Man and me because He wanted it only for Himself.  Was it possible?  But was that Tree not really as it seemed then—the most beautiful Tree ever to grow from that beautiful soil?  And was God not holding it back from us?  The fruit beckoned and I touched.  And I ate.  And I delighted.

And I did not die.  And now I knew what a Lie was—that spoken thing which did not tell what was or what is or what will be.  So God was a liar.  The Liar.  The greatest Liar—because He was God.

But forbidden delight sours.  I had scarcely tasted when I felt the dread and the wish for undoing.  Maybe this was dying after all.  But maybe I could postpone the dying and prolong the delight if I shared it.  We shared everything, the Man and I, and he was right there.

He was looking at me with an expression I had never seen before then, but have seen many times since, and now I know it means Fear.  But when I gave the fruit to him, he touched it.  Not eagerly as I had done, but reluctantly.  And then, seeing the light of delight still in my eyes, he ate.  The light in his died.  And we were naked.  And ashamed.

Then God came down, and I knew what Death was.  Death is realising that the Lie was not God’s, and that you believed it.  Death is wishing, when God comes, that He had not.  Death is knowing, when He finds you, that you are still not with Him at all, and it’s your own fault.

“Where are you?” God called.  It was terrible—the separation of worlds in the question.  It was a stern question—angry.  It was an anguished question—sad.  Before, God always knew where we were.  Before, we always wanted Him to.

We came out in the fig leaves we had sewn, and the Man said, “I heard the sound of You in the Garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

But God said, “Who told you that you were naked?  Have you eaten from the Tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

Then the Man, the bone-of-my-bones-and-flesh-of-my-flesh Man, separated the worlds even more.  “The Woman whom You gave to be with me,” he said, “she gave me fruit from the Tree and I ate.”

It was true, but the words cut more than a lie, because they were true and they were not.  He had eaten that fruit himself.  But when God turned to me, I said the same:  “The Serpent tricked me, and I ate.”

Then God was angry.  Then I knew what Holiness was, because suddenly we were outside it.  He cursed and cursed and cursed.  Holy curses, and we were damned.  But maybe not, because it was then He spoke the Promise to and against the Serpent about my offspring:  “…He will crush your head and you will strike His heel.”

First I thought He meant Cain.  The pain of bearing a man inside was worse than I could have thought, in spite of the curses, but when Cain emerged, I wondered, and sang, “I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.”  I loved Cain, and I loved his brother.  But the one killed the other, and then the dead one could crush serpents no longer, and the live one was cursed by God like we were.

Now I have Seth.  And now on the earth there are many of us, and now we need the promise fulfilled more than ever, and maybe Seth will do it.  In any case, I know that, whether I live to see it or not, it will happen.  God said it will.  And God does not lie.

Hearing Voices

Uncle Phil’s beloved’s book

Within the last two days I’ve written two blogposts which cannot be posted. One is simply pending one of its subjects’ go-ahead, and the delay is about timing. The other is one of those that’s just not fair to post on a “nonymous” (opposite of “anonymous,” right?) blog, but which I needed to write for my own sanity. Neither of those do you any good, though, if you came over here looking for reading material.

So here’s this: reading material and more reading material. Uncle Phil has a beloved, whom I’ve met once but don’t really know at all. Evidently she’s multifaceted–artist, therapist, writer, mother, etc–and she’s just come out with a book. Which I received in the mail from Uncle Phil yesterday. I read it all at once. Well, it’s not very long, but still. It’s a series of dramatic readings based on stories in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, and meant to be read over blues music. It’s called, not coincidentally, Jezebel’s Got the Blues. Evidently it’s going to be performed in New York City this summer, which is cool, and if summers weren’t so absurdly hectic for me, I’d try to get down there and see it and drag my Paul with me. But they are, so . . . I’ve got the book, I guess. The mono/dialogues are spoken from the point of view of Biblical characters, but more often of personified objects in the Biblical stories. Like the rouge on Jezebel’s cheeks, for example. Or the mark of Cain or the harp of David (those two were my favourites). I’m a fan, and I know this because, as I said, I’ve read it all, already.

It’s not quite the same as, but somewhat similar to, what I used to do in London when I put myself in the shoes of a Biblical character and wrote a short vignette about a Bible story from that character’s point of view. It’s just that my characters were always people, and most of Uncle Phil’s beloved’s aren’t. It’s also kind of like the extended experiment I performed on the Gospels to write Favored One, which, as you know, is a difficult-to-classify novel about Miryam, mother of Yeshua. That one that you’re going to buy after I figure out if I’m going to self-publish it or if someone else is. Right? (*Smarmy grin.*)

Anyway, I was kind of thinking that maybe I’d once a week post one of those old vignettes. Keep in mind that I wrote them when I was about fifteen years younger than I am now, but if you’re trying to understand what I’m talking about regarding the whole fictionalising-a-Bible-story thing, well, check it out. First one? Will be the next post. Mostly because it took me way too long to lead into this.

Curmudgeymoon

Remember that complicated guestlist? Well, the final festivity of all the wedding festivities involving all the complicated guestlists is upon us . . . on Saturday, three and a half months after the actual wedding. I guess it made my Paul nostalgic or something, because he has spent the last two days tweaking and retweaking his reminiscences of our curmudgey–honeymoon, I mean. Without further ado, then, the first ever That’s a Jenn Story Guest Post, written by my Paul:

____________________________________________________________________________________

In honor of our summer wedding party, I thought I’d share some random observations  from our Montreal honeymoon.

We’ve decided to call this our Curmudgeymoon, because as we sit together on the couch our stomachs are grousing at each other like Statler and Waldorf in the Muppets balcony.

photo Jennwith2ns 2012

Remember this guy?

A random cafe in Old Montreal, 10 degrees out, my first smoked meat sandwich. We met Rafael, a period tour guide dressed in  1700’s french military regalia. Turns out he lived in [Our Fair City] for several years. He told me that I am a very, very lucky  man, then directed us to a place to buy Jenn some gloves so I could have mine back.

 

 

 

 

The Notre Dame cathedral is breathtaking. What the italian masters have done with stone cathedrals, these people have done with wood.

photo by Jennwith2ns 2012

Lighting and wood . . .

A trip to Mount Royal park, Jenn’s first time on snowshoes. Two feet of snow, trekking through the woods, doesn’t feel like  the city. Beautiful, crisp, impossibly bright day. The cure for Jenn’s migraines is fresh winter air. We walked the loop to the  iron cross, then to the chalet for a chocolate hydration drink. We took pictures overlooking the downtown skyline, then  headed back down to a restaurant known for some of the best Poutine (pronounced Poot-zine) in Montreal. This is lumberjack  food–french fries cooked in pork lard, smothered in cheddar cheese curds and gravy. A multitude of topping choices include smoked meat, sausage, hotdogs, hamburger, onions, peppers, bacon, and even guacomole for the vegetarian crowd. Who are eating potatoes fried in pork lard.

photo by some other random tourist

Lovebirds over Montreal

photo by Jennwith2ns 2012

Poo-what?
So delicious, so ridiculous.

Rue Mont Royal, the neverending Newbury St of Montreal. We stopped at L’Orange Presse for breakfast, and were waited on by a  perfectly lovely French mother, as wide as she was tall. She spoke no english, but was very sweet. She reminded me of a  nesting doll, I kept waiting for her to split open and a smaller version to step out. Fresh squeezed OJ and the food was delicious. She saw us saying grace and stopped to say that she approved, and that she does the same. In French, of course,  Jenn had to translate. I’m getting a lot of practice in smiling and nodding.

Words can’t describe the barnyard noises my wife makes while snoring!!! She’s pretty OK when she’s awake, though.

photo by Jennwith2ns 2012

It’s March, guys. Where does the freshness come from?

Underground Mall day started with a walk down the length of Ste. Catherine St, past Berri-Uqam station (which sounds like Berry Pecan), a stop at Lavazza for lattes and scones, and a wander through a really cool Chinatown for gifts to bring home. We continued on and found an entrance to the Montreal underground, a series of tunnels, shops, and stores that connects the downtown. With the winters these people get, I don’t wonder that they burrow underground to avoid it. A nice man who wanted to practice his English gave us directions, and off we went. The tunnels were full of modern art exhibits, some of them interactive. Jenn got to practice her hopscotch for an eighth of a mile on one of them. We arrived in the section that had most of the shops and stores, and stopped for lunch. I know I keep mentioning food, but the thing that surprises me here is the quality and freshness  of it. It’s winter and all of the tomatoes taste like tomatoes. The smallest corner store is stacked to the ceiling with fresh fruit and vegetables. Picture a Honey Farms with two Trader Joe’s crammed inside. You can’t get a bad meal in this town. The shopping malls were a surprise. If you took the Natick Mall, Copley Place, and Providence Place mall, dug a hole, and buried them next to each other, you still wouldn’t have shopping the size of this place. Here’s where the signage peters out, much like a casino they’re not big on telling you how to leave. I’m pretty sure the walls had scanners reading the mag stripes on our credit cards, once they max out the exit sign turns on. By this time our legs were blown, and the Metro ride back was a relief.

We agreed that on our last day in Montreal we would play Whack-a-Mole. This would consist of our purchasing subway day passes, jumping off at random places, and sticking our heads above ground to see what was there. We did this for a few stops, only to discover after too much coffee that shops and stores in Montreal aren’t required to have public restrooms. Our next stop was Olympic village (which had facilities, thank the Lord!) and we decided to tour the Biodome. A big building full of plants sounds boring you say? Not when it’s low 20’s and windy out. I got in line and purchased tickets from a woman who  spoke only French. I suspected something was wrong when we walked quite a long distance to the Biodome entrance, then saw another admissions line. I asked a woman who told me that our tickets were for the RV show going on in the main stadium. We  agreed that this too would be fun and warm, so we headed back.

I’m pretty sure every RV known to man was at this show. We kept turning corners, thinking it would be over, only to enter another area filled with more elaborate and ornate versions of Home Sweet Mobile Home. Who knew there were so many human terrapins willing to shell out beaucoup bucks on wheeled abodes? We turned another corner and entered the main body of the stadium, overflowing with RV’s like a Mentos dropped in Coke. There they had the Ultimate Behemoths, RV’s with tractor trailer motors and more popouts than a Transformer movie. Jenn and I climbed aboard one selling for the low, low price of $268K Canadian. I was half expecting to be greeted by a concierge. This machine had leather recliners, black marble floors and counter tops (weight’s not a problem–diesel’s free, right?), cherry cabinets, and mirrors in the bedroom like a bad 80’s California waterbed. Everywhere there were signs saying don’t touch, don’t sit, s’il vous plaît, and velvet ropes to ensure the huddled masses stayed in steerage. One such rope was stretched across the bathroom door, and as Jenn and I walked past a boy of three or four ducked underneath and began fumbling with his zipper. We looked at each other and smiled, not quite believing our eyes. As we exited we heard the boy’s mom yelling in a high pitched voice NO! NO! NOOOO!… I’m thinking the price might have dropped a thousand.

photo by Jennwith2ns 2012

Going somewhere?

My five star Yelp review: For the last night of our honeymoon, we were looking for something special. We found it and more at O’Thym.  We were staying nearby, popped in to make a reservation, and were told that dinner seatings were at 6 and 9. We chose 6, and  were greeted by a gentleman who was kind enough to warn us off of the table near the door,”because of the smokers” and  seated us near the window. Our waitress Vanessa was cheerful and helpful in a genuine way, not with a forced smile for the  American tourists. She was very busy but attentive, an excellent waitress. We brought our own bottle of French red that we had purchased earlier; I only wish we had brought a better wine to complement the delicious food. We started with an entree,  my wife had a veal liver dish with pistachio and star anise, I had foie gras in a pastry with fig sauce. The flavors were intense. The Trou de Normand, or palate cleanser, was a lemon sorbet in citrus vodka served in a martini glass with rind  and a sprig of mint. It was the ideal setting for the next course. My wife’s lamb chop plat was superb, and my filet mignon was the finest piece of beef I’ve ever had. For dessert we both had a concoction of spiced pears, Cointreau, tamarind, and cream that was the perfect ending to a wonderful meal. Any anniversary visit to Montreal will certainly include a return to  this place; it was a consummate ending to our week of celebration.

Grumpy Tuesday

Yesterday I realised to my delight that ever since my Paul and I said I do to each other in front of a whole bunch of people, my migraine suffering has gone down considerably. Then I got a migraine. Which I might have been able to sleep off last night, had I not woken at midnight and then been unable to fall back to sleep for over an hour while I hashed something round and round my head to no purpose.

I am pretty sure I need one of these.

So I stayed in bed late and went to work later, and then later still I went to run a work-related errand. Said errand took . . . well, I would say forever, except here I am, writing a blogpost, so we all know that’s not true. But it did take a long time. Then I came back here and did some stuff and now I’m waiting until an upcoming meeting and in the meantime, I decided to try to follow one of the friendly WordPress Tech Support folks’ instructions on creating a blogroll in my sidebar.

Thing is, I think that some of us who are particularly technologically inept are quite beyond the comprehension of even the most down-to-earth techie, so when the one presently in question simply said, “Use the Links Widget” and linked me to the instructions, it still didn’t help me. I’ve tried that before. I’m not that dumb. (Right?)

Somebody else help? Why, when I try to add a blogroll to my blog, do I never find, within said Links Widget, a place actually to put my links? So I end up with all sorts of WordPress links in there instead, which are all very friendly and helpful, I’m sure, but which I never access (maybe I would know everything about WordPress if I did) and which I don’t care to add to the side of my blog? What am I missing?

Besides, as it turns out, every WordPress blog I’ve ever subscribed to? I discovered this when I was searching for links to plug into random blanks in the Links Widget, just in case it worked. I guess it’s probably because I changed the private email address connected to this blog (on account of the creepy spam of last week), and all my subscriptions were connected to the old one. I am pretty sure I am never going to remember all the blogs to which I was subscribed. (Since I don’t have a working blogroll and stuff.) So if you wouldn’t mind posting a comment if I used to be subscribed to yours (or you wish I were), so I can find it again and sign back up, that would do a lot to cheer up my Tuesday.

Hope yours is already cheery! Someone’s should be.

Our Fair City

Yesterday as I was returning home from Now Church, I stopped at a red light. While I was sitting there, a man began to cross the street at the crosswalk. He was of average height and average build, but with a decisive beer belly (How can beer bellies be decisive? Difficult to say). He was probably in his mid to late fifties, and his not-too-badly-thinning-but-nevertheless-still-thinning hair was pulled back in a ponytail. He was clean-shaven, though, so he didn’t quite look like a hippie. I think he was wearing glasses. As I watched him lope across the street I thought, “If Our Fair City were a person, it would look like that.”

Then I went home and told my Paul about it. “You know the kind of guy I mean?” I said. “Kind of artsy but kind of just . . . creepy?”

“Yep,” he agreed. “Our Fair City lives in his mother’s basement. And keeps his radio tuned to the classic rock station.”

When I laughed, my Paul, who grew up in Our Fair City and so would know first-hand, continued: “Smoked pot in the sixties, did hash in the seventies, coke in the eighties . . . wheat grass in the nineties.” Then he said, “I sense a blogpost coming on.” He knows me, too, evidently. So well.

Here’s the thing. I love Our Fair City–just like I loved the part of the East End where I lived in London even though whenever I told British people where it was, they would wrinkle up their noses and say, “You do?” or “Why?” (I kind of miss the cultural diversity I got in that part of London which I can’t seem to encounter in Our Fair City even though there is some, but that’s another story.) There are a lot of talented people in this town, and a lot of really cool independent initiatives, and a whole lot of hidden treasures. All the same, the general consensus is that Our Fair City has a little trouble getting his act together. I can’t say much about that, since, even though they weren’t living there at the time, I myself just spent the last seven years living in my parents’ house . . . until three months ago. Maybe I’m just saying I know it when I see it.