Something funny happened on the way...

... to the back corner under the bed with the vacuum cleaner extension arm thingy.

Our vacuum is an upright, purple, airplane-sounding supposedly allergen-destroying Hoover. There is a stretchy plastic arm thing that hooks into the bottom, for reaching into dark corners and vacuuming couches and such. There is also a regular beater-bar setup. So I had this arm thingy attached, the vacuum running, and I was laying on the floor and reaching way in underneath the bed to eliminate the farthest, most menacing dust bunnies.

Allow me to explain that if I were the maker of vacuum cleaners, I would ensure that when the arm thingy is engaged, the beater bar would stop. Wouldn't that make all the sense in the world? Continuing on with my story...

I was wearing a hoodie, complete with strings around the neck. As I lay on the floor, next to the engaged beater bar, my neck was suddenly jerked over to the vacuum cleaner bottom and the strings tightened around my neck. I started yelling (I was the only one home, save for the poor cat who is terrified of the vacuum at the best of times) but to no avail. Because my neck was sucked right up to the bottom of the vacuum cleaner, I couldn't reach the on-off switch, which is toward the top of the machine. After much yelling and a few unpleasant visions of Adam coming home to find me strangled to death by the vacuum cleaner, I somehow reached the switch and turned the machine off. I pulled my strings out from around the beater bar and watched, horrified, as puffs of smoke oozed out from the bottom of the machine. The smell was actually so strong and awful that I had to open the window.

Suffice it to say that I tucked in my strings for the rest of the vacuuming experience. The vacuum seems to have recovered from its trauma, as have I.


The epitome of elegance - learning what not to say

You probably read the title of this post as "ee-pit-oh-mee".

When I was in my second year of an English degree, of all things, I was enrolled in a class called "Aging in Canadian Fiction". Great class, with a terrific prof named Stan Atherton. As part of the course, we would have weekly short presentations to do based on certain texts. One fine day, I was scheduled to do my presentation, and part of my written script was a paragraph including the phrase "the epitome of elegance". I can't remember what book or story it was from, but I most certainly remember what happened during the presentation. I had used the word "epitome" in speech for several years, but for whatever reason had never experienced it in print. I read it aloud to the class as "eh-pit-ohme". The prof very gently told me it's correct pronunciation after the presentation. I was mortified.

When I was in grade seven, I really wanted to be good friends with a certain girl (we'll call her Jane - not her real name) in my class. She was also friends with another girl from her community, and I thought that by saying something mean about the other girl, it would make her like me more. So I said "Leanne (not her real name) really is pretty ugly, isn't she?" I don't remember what Jane said to me, but I understood very clearly that that was the wrong thing to have said. I admire Jane for telling me so clearly and being loyal to her other friend. We did wind up friends - I'm not sure why she forgave me for being so cruel. I suppose I might have asked her to.

I was walking with some new-ish friends down the street not too long ago, and one of them asked me if I knew someone who lived in a house that we passed. "Yeah, she's kind of psycho," was my immediate, stupid, insensitive and unthought response. "Yeah, I was friends with her in school," the new friend responded. I could have shrunk into my shoes never to be seen again. I decided in that case to simply shut up and never mention it again.



Well, perhaps not so much oddities as gross things.

I had a wonderful day at work today (I say "at work" like I'm in one place, but that is most definitely not the case) and it started out in a hallway of an elementary school watching a kid throw up all over the floor. Poor kid - throwing up seems like something that should always be a very private kind of thing. I don't do well with vomit (maybe when we have our own kids this will change?) so I quickly scurried my student down another hallway.

Adam went for a run this morning and on the track there was a pair of pigeon wings. Just the wings. He also smelled something kind of like cooking, looked over toward the funeral home on that block, and saw the smoke pumping out of their stack. Hmmm.


Wood smoke

I was taking some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies out of the oven today, when I got a whiff of something else entirely that transported me back to being about 9 years old and in back of my cabin at summer camp, hanging my bathing suit on the clothesline to dry.

This has nothing to do with the cookies or camp. My supervisor was here for a couple of days this week; we went for a drive after we were done work last night so she could see the Sara Gamp. She wasn't quite up to climbing over the beach rocks to examine it closely, but we saw it from the road. Seeing as how it is so close to my parent's house, I asked if she wanted to swing by there and see where I grew up. So we stopped in, and my mom and dad were wonderful and friendly and genuinely pleasant, not with any undertones of "why did you bring someone from the city to our house to see the mess without any warning?". It smells wonderful like wood smoke and friendly dog at their house. And then there was the awkwardness when my supervisor is telling them how well I'm doing, and they beam because it was them, after all, who brought me up, and I'm just sitting there feeling awkward and feeling as though I'm supposed to be smiling. My hair still smelled like their house when I went to bed.


Dining room update

This picture gives a better view of the newly painted dining room. I wish I had more 'before' shots!


Mind at ease...

Apparently, Mr Gillings knows the location of the Sara Gamp. I feel better knowing that. Someone called a little while ago from Connecticut wondering about the location of the boat for possible salvage. He and Adam spoke for quite awhile. What a neat story...

Sara Gamp

Oooooooh! How cool is this? A boat called the Sara Gamp from Virginia washed up on a beach in Pembroke, a community just outside of Yarmouth, late last week. My wonderful husband Adam took a bunch of pictures. Here's the very cool part - during hurricane Wilma, a guy names Vic Gillings left from Liverpool NS, and was rescued by the Coast Guard just off of Boston because of the crazy high seas. He was hypothermic and so forth, was taken to hospital, and is fine. The boat bobbed along until it washed up here, with very minimal damage. I'm not sure how the whole salvage process works - is it a finders keepers sort of rule? Apparently Mr Gillings is a bricklayer who lives on a boat in Washington DC. I want to call and tell him we found his boat... I'm sure he'd like to know!


Speaking of good food...

This week I keep finding myself saying "I had so much amazing food!" This is as a response to "So how was the in-service last week?" You can tell what's important to me.

The first evening, a couple girls and I went to a retaurant called the Economy Shoe Shop for dinner. I ordered a lovely linguine dish with an aioli sauce and a very pleasant glass of red wine. An Australian wine... I'm not sure which one. The pasta was a tad salty, but very good on the whole. Just spicy enough that it made my nose run. Mmmm.

Dinner at Opa! Greek Taverna was a part of our mentorship program, and I enjoyed the chicken souvlaki. Mmmmmm. Lemon-garlic marinated potatoes on the side, along with a greek salad. Another teacher and I shared the vanilla bean cheesecake for dessert. We were seated at several tables in the restaurant, and I happened to choose to sit against the wall, in the centre of the table. Meaning that there were four people to my right, and three to my left. As I chose my seat, I thought "Oh, I don't pee as often as most other people... I shouldn't have to get up and weasel my way around the chairs." Two hours later, it was a much different story as I was certain my bladder had never in my life expanded quite so much, and I tried to hold it in to avoid asking four people to scooch their chairs in. I eventually did. (Both hold it in and scooch past). But my favourite thing about Opa is the after-dinner mints. No, not mints. Candies. They are lovely little spherical candies which feel very pleasant in your mouth. Blue wrappers are licorice flavoured, but not nasty black jelly bean flavour. Yummy wonderful licorice flavour. Red wrappers mean cinnamon. Not cinnamon heart yucky plastic kind of cinnamon. Yummy wonderful cinnamon.

A retirement banquet was part of the week's festivities, and a reception was held just prior with wine and hors d'oeuvres. Coconut shrimp, mozza sticks, bacon wrapped scallops, curry chicken skewers, marinated beef skewers, zucchini sticks, and other oh-so-greasy delights were available in abundance. I partook cheerfully.

Shrimp stuffed chicken breast, snow peas, and wild rice were the menu for the meal. The appetizer was a mesclun mix salad in a cucumber bowl. I googled for a picture, but was unable to find one. It's a strip of cucumber, shaped into a ring and set up to resemble a bowl and held together by a ring of red pepper. Beautiful! An almond vinaigrette made it perfect.