Monthly archive for August 2009

A mutually beneficial arrangement

So, Mike and I met at summer camp.  It’s the classic story:  boy meets girl when girl is a young wisp of a thing and boy is a cabin leader 5 years her senior.  Later, when girl is slightly older and therefore the situation is slightly less creepy, boy and girl become friends.  A few years subsequent to this (when boy is a graduate student and girl just finished her last high school exam but a few weeks prior) boy and girl decide to enter into a mutually beneficial dating arrangement.  A few years after THAT, when boy is quickly approaching eligibility for old age pension and girl is a fresh-faced university graduate, boy and girl enter into a legally binding expression of their love.

For that reason, and for a plethora of others, Camp Hermosa will always have an incredibly special place in my heart, so much so that we go back as often as we can.  Luckily for us (and for the many campers who benefit from this cost-saving measure) the camp program relies very heavily on volunteers, which means in the last 10 years and in spite of having Real Grownup Jobs With Real Grownup Responsibilities, I think we’ve only passed one summer without spending at least a weekend there, sharing the best oatmeal porridge in the world and the best sunsets in the world with some of the best people in the world.

We’re off to Hermosa next week, where Mike will get to play his guitar and I’ll get to wander around organizing gladiator games and reverse scavenger hunts and photo slideshows and generally making sure none of the campers plunge to their deaths in the creek.  Seriously, you guys, the “extra supervision” gig is about the best volunteer role around.  My responsibilities are few, my involvement is great, and I can spend the week helping to make sure a bunch of kids have the kind of week that will keep them coming back over decades later.  Plus it’s kind of in the job description that I need to do a lot of for camper watching, which works out well for me, because I like to keep an eye out for the bookish baseball-hating Bible-study-loving 11 year old with an obvious crush on one of the leaders, because you never know – we may be attending their wedding in 10 years.  And that’s kind of the magic of the place in a nutshell.

You got chocolate in my chai (you got chai in my chocolate)

As much as some days I wish things were different, I have never developed a taste for coffee.  I’m a tea sort of girl, and I don’t expect that to change any time soon, even though some mornings I curse my stupidity and lack of foresight in not developing a caffeine addiction in university like everyone else.  The embarrassing truth, though, is that I don’t have any sort of predilection for expensive high-brow British tea, which is something one really ought to have if one is going to profess to be a Serious Tea Drinker (one should also speak in the third person whenever possible).

My taste in tea (much like my taste in music and reality t.v.) is a little questionable at best.  I’ve tried to get on board with the whole organic loose leaf freshly-brewed-in-exactly-98-degree-water sort of thing but if I had my druthers, I’d choose a big paper cup of Tim Horton’s finest orange pekoe with two milks and two sugars every time.  I also like dessert, and I seem to be determined (against all evidence to the contrary) to find a tasty hybrid of the two.  Thus far, I have had very little luck.  (more…)

Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack

I’m going to have to ask for your forgiveness in advance for any egregious spelling errors or typos in this post, since I’m writing this on the couch with a dog – a dog whose actual size is rather disproportionate to her perceived size – sprawled out across my lap between my arms and my laptop.  When we decided to cancel cable, I never really considered how it would affect the dog (or the cats for that matter … won’t SOMEBODY please THINK of the CHILDREN?!) and I think she would view it as a rather selfish decision as she misses her regular t.v. time cuddles and is forced to seek them out at different times and, it would seem, in ways that are much less comfortable for both of us.

I spent most of the weekend at Mike’s baseball tournament, and although they did not win, the guys played well and seemed to have fun.  At one crucial interval I had to heave myself off of the bleachers and retrieve a ball, so between that and supplying half of our picnic, I think my contributions were a necessary part of the whole tournament experience.  (Those who actually had to play five games in less than 24 hours might disagree, but a healthy little bit of disagreement never really hurt anyone and I don’t really have time to argue about who among us played baseball in the scorching sun for hours upon hours and who baked cookies ahead of time and then lounged comfortably in the shade whenever possible.)  I think I might have finally mastered the lingo and perfected my encouraging cheers, with the remaining piece of the puzzle (actually being audible beyond the back row of our team’s bench) finally falling into place during the last game.  At least I’m fairly certain one of the players made eye contact with me at one point, although that may have been a coincidence or a humidity-induced hallucination.  (more…)

Rex Logan, Space Viking

I had coffee the other day with my friend Dahl while he was briefly in Waterloo via his sister’s wedding in Chatham (and via, originally, Thunder Bay, where he is a graduate student studying spiritual something or other in the books of whats-his-name).  Dahl and I met in university, where we had a few classes together in our first year (including one with a professor who would ask the most painfully simple questions, and then wait patiently amongst the chirps of a veritable army of crickets until a student would raise his or her hand and offer the obvious answer, at which point the professor would heap praise upon the brilliant student, and Dahl and I would chuckle quietly and derisively to ourselves in the way in which only first year students can do so), ate dinner together on Mondays in our second year (after which we would both retire to our night classes, only to inevitably sneak out at some point, and compare notes the next day to see who had lasted the longest), and lived together in our third year (during which period we also lived with his friend Craig, who had a tendency to leave the toilet seat up in the bathroom, until one day I awoke to see a piece of paper taped up next to the toilet with “PUT THE SEAT DOWN” written on it in large letters; upon questioning Dahl about the sign, I was told that he had noticed I tend to get up at around 2:00 a.m. every night to pee, and that since I was never wearing my contacts at the time, he was concerned one day I would inevitably fall victim to Craig’s inability to put the seat down and, I’m not exactly sure, fall to my death in the toilet bowl or something, all of this being at its heart a gesture that is among the most thoughtful and touching I have ever received, and in some small way maybe also the creepiest).  (more…)

A New York state of mind

I’ve been trying to figure out how to recap our vacation for several days now, and I’m not really having much luck.  I think the problem sort of boils down to the fact that for the duration of our trip, I waffled dramatically between wanting to buy an I Heart NY t-shirt (plentiful and inexpensive in every part of the city we visited) and wanting to track down and buy an I Hate NY shirt (something I would imagine you’d have to buy from a trenchcoat-wearing guy in a back alley in Tribeca) in several different colours.  I couldn’t make up my mind at the time whether I liked New York City, and in fact I still can’t.  The thing is, for a few deliriously joyful moments every day, I fell in love with NYC, or maybe more so with the idea of New York City:  with the energy, the hustle and bustle, the giant Hershey store in Times Square, and the woman in Central Park who bought her dog a snow cone.  When those happy moments inevitably dissipated, they left me a sweaty, seething, frizzy-haired, misanthropic mess wandering from Wall Street to the Staten Island ferry terminal wondering why in the  name of all that is holy and air conditioned would anyone ever want to live in such a hole.  (more…)

A spider came out at the break of day

Today is my first day back at work after two weeks of vacation, and there is a small problem in my office.  While I was away, it seems an arachnid of a fairly reasonable size built a home in the well of one of my office windows, and apparently has no intention of vacating the premises at any point in the foreseeable future.  Every time I approach him with a copy of The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton, he seems to realize that I mean to use it to dispatch him, and abruptly and in high dudgeon hightails it into a hole in the window frame through which G.K. and I are unable to reach him.

I’m a little unsure of how to tackle this problem, although I think my options are clear.  Should I choose to eschew my feminist ideals, hightail it out of here myself, and work elsewhere in the house?  Should I give him an affectionate yet exceedingly pretentious literary name (like Dostoevsky or Wilde) and attempt to live peaceably with him?  Most importantly, should I decide I surely can’t be expected to work under these conditions, declare Monday a wash, and retire to bed with a mug of tea and the next book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series?

I’ve been unable thus far to come to a decision on the matter.  Meanwhile, I get the feeling (although I can’t say for absolute certain, due to the large number of eyes spiders supposedly have, an exact number of which I can’t provide for you without Googling “spider eyes”, a search that will likely end with me in the fetal position under my desk) that he is staring at me and it is making me a little uncomfortable.