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Friday, December 27, 2002

It's interesting how little we know.

Posted at 4:59 PM :: permalink :: home


Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Rosy cheeks and tingling noses, we crossed the park and went to C.J.'s for a soup lunch, mine - vegetable, his - cream of broccoli. Want to know how to make a creamy thick soup without the cream? Blender some chick peas, I'm told. We lingered for a bit and then went our separate ways. I was on a mission to buy M a Christmas present. Store to store, object by object, I mentally catalogued the possibilities, plagued by what he once said about keeping the receipt just-in-case. I've never returned a Christmas present, probably because those who don't have the patience to figure out what suits me have chosen to give me certificates or cash, so this thought that whatever I might buy could be wrong made the expedition that much more difficult.

First, a furnishings shop to look for area rugs. Nada. Then another. Nada. Now a paper shop for a card. Nope. Another. Yup. In and out of shops, the blur of looking at all that product has erased the details of what and wear. I did come across a wonderful old wooden cabinet system, the kind where the top opens and there is a turntable, radio and space to stash records. Only $150! They are going out of business, it seems. Incredibly tempted, I had to remind myself that this was about M's present and no more for me. Even the art supply shop came up short. I was becoming more and more tempted by the easy big-ticket present - the DVD player, but no, I must persevere and find that fitting and thought-filled present.

No such luck, even though I did stare at a beautiful hand-size sculpture from Madagascar, wondering if it would provoke the same wonder and awe in him as it did in me. Tomorrow will be more browsing and hopefully success. So far, the results on the gifts that I mailed out last week are in. They're all very happy which makes me smile. I have growing pile of gifts from them on my desk. Tomorrow we get the tree, do a little trimming and hopefully kick back with a nice hot drink and experience that warm fuzzy holiday feeling I have been getting since I could say tree.

Posted at 8:27 PM :: permalink :: home


Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Not very talkative these days, probably because I have to talk to people at work, a work that is purely for the sake of work and not-even-close-to-pleasure, or should I say, a minor version of anglophone hell. The experience of being an English minority both in this city and at this job is beginning to shred my nerves just a little bit. It's very blatant, as simple as a stressed quoi?! with a rising inflection, usually displaying a certain lack of insensitivity and a helluva lot of impatience. You eventually get sick of repeating yourself, especially since your tongue and mouth muscles undergo these formidable contortions in order to produce those tight little French vowel sounds, while keeping the consonants clear. I keep telling myself I should of learned Italian or Spanish, so much easier on the tongue.

Yet, I persist.

Why? has been a question rolling around my increasingly frustrated head. I already know two other languages quite well. English, as English I sound, is not my mother tongue, although it'd fool just about anyone since I've been speaking it since near birth. Why do I continue to subject myself to this divisive linguistic idiocy that has so deeply marked this part of Canada? I mean, it literally sets me back. No matter how fluent I am in French, no matter that my grammar (having been studied in depth) is better than the average person, this evident English accent marks me as different, and not different in a positive/interesting way, but different in that you are the evil english enemy who crushed our nation!! (super emphasis) way. Try getting a decent or interesting job with this accent. Part joke. Part not.

The silence was astounding. Not a single word. Just wind, traffic and the crystal crunch of boots on ice-snow. As frigid as it was, after work I walked past Parc Lafontaine and stopped to listen to the wonderful silence. The moon was a brilliant white. The stars pinpoints of light. The sky a liquid black. I stood there and softly said, hello moon... For that brief moment, I forgot about the tension of language and the politics of difference, about all the stupidities, about everything except that this city is wonderfully beautiful; exhiliratingly beautiful. Heartbreakingly beautiful. That's why I am here. There is nowhere else in Canada I want to be. That is why I persist. Me and my sometimes charming, sometimes christ anglaise accent.

I'll have to learn to deal with this difference. It's not a problem amongst the people I know. It's a problem for me because I like to blend in; shyness demands I blend in. In this city, the only way I can do that is to keep my mouth shut, and that sort of silence will make you choke the life right out of you.

On a brighter note, I have a few days off and will be happily wrapping up the web site, getting two last-minute presents, a tree and preparing the Christmas menu, plus making that New Year's resolution list, something I actually keep. Two years now and not a single cigarette!

Posted at 10:24 PM :: permalink :: home


Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Humming along to Sarah Harmer, Ron Sexsmith, Elliott Smith and Sportsguitar while I work on the Grenadine site re-design (check it out), which also unfortunately includes editing, something I usually don't mind, but the time is adding up and I'm not getting a dime for this; instead, I get basic health insurance. Nothing to quibble about, but the work seriously outweighs the cost. I'll quit before I sound bitchy:-)

Quickies on the subject of:

Posted at 11:08 PM :: permalink :: home


Saturday, December 07, 2002

The Bush administration has recruited prominent American writers to contribute to a State Department anthology and give readings around the globe in a campaign started after 9/11 to use culture to further American diplomatic interests.

There is a law in the U.S. that prohibits the dissemination of "propaganda" in the U.S., while the rest of the world is exempt from these protective measures. How long before someone figures out that treating people differently (read: discrimination) is The Problem?

Posted at 11:41 AM :: permalink :: home


Monday, December 02, 2002

A brilliant quote from Swiss sculptor Giacometti's Écrits loosely translated from the original French:

I don't know if I work in order to create/make something or in order to learn that I cannot make/create that which I would like to.

A thought that endlessly plagues me, and nearly drove me mad this weekend as I struggled with the site re-design (have I ever declared that I hate Macs? I will now. I HATE MACs!), and then as I poked around McGill's architecture site, silently debating the idea of me bent over blueprints, discussing the placement of sewage pipes, or the bathroom, as it's more nicely referred to. A very big, very insane part of me secretly walks around re-designing buildings, rooms or spaces, and has been since I was 10 years old drawing out floor plans for my dream condo, dream home, dream cottage. Then I looked at some Calculus and blanched. Then I read Giacometti's quote and laughed. Serendipity or a hellish foreshadowing?

Excuse me while I go to work on my story. Now that I've removed the pressure from my writing, there is an intriguing story building and begging to burst out. So far, only a detailed plot outline, but how exciting. Code name: Bianca.

Posted at 9:56 PM :: permalink :: home


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