dreaminghope: (Apple Picking)
We had one of those blessed sunny autumn days in Vancouver today. It was a day to love fall: bright, but cool enough to wear a hat and sweater, and the smell of crushed dried leaves was in the wind.

I needed vacuum bags. After failing to find them at The Bay earlier this week, I found them on a website for a local vacuum service store and headed there this morning after the gym and farmers’ market.

It was like stepping back in time. Most of the stock was behind the counter, so rather than being on your own to find what you need and take it to the register, we stand in line and the man bustles about and brings everything to us. He was packing up someone's new vacuum when I arrived. The next person in line had a bag of parts with him and the man checked each one and let him know whether or not they needed to be replaced. He also explained to the customer how he could check to see whether or not his vacuum’s belt needs to be replaced – apparently a common problem for that type of vacuum. When it was my turn, the man brought me two options: the brand name bags and the aftermarket versions, which were half the price. He also told me about the most common repair needed for my type of vacuum and that I should make sure no one charges me more than a dollar for the part required to fix it. And he gave me a sticker with his shop information on it to put on my vacuum at home. I did it.

I went to the grand opening of a new location of a huge chain craft store. I have a lot of craft supplies (I am probably pretty close to S.A.B.L.E.: stash amassed beyond life expectancy), but there's always something else I need, for some definition of "need". Right now, I need a couple of tapestry needles. I have some already, but I can't find them. The store was chaotic. The whole time I was there, someone was ringing a big brass bell – the kind an old school marm would ring to call students in to start the day – which had something to do with a wheel people were spinning to win discounts and stickers. By the time I found my tapestry needles – a two dollar item – the ringing and the crowds were getting a bit much and I was done. I moved towards the front of the store but found that the line for the registers wound all the way to the back of the store. I didn't want to waste that much more of the beautiful autumn sun. I'll go back for the needles another day. I wonder if the vacuum guy would consider opening a craft store.

The Girl Guides were out selling cookies. Today was also Apple Day – the day Scouts sell apples as a fundraiser. There were adorable kids in uniforms on almost every corner. The Scouts were supposed to say "apples by donation", but the ones outside the SkyTrain station were enthusiastically yelling "apples for donation". I gave some little boys a couple of dollars but declined the apple. As I dug out my wallet, I told them that my husband used to be a Scout when he was a little boy and loved it. I doubt they cared, but they nodded and smiled politely. I remember doing the nod and thank-you when people used to reminisce about their days in the blue uniform while buying Girl Guide cookies.

I found Ivan E. Coyote's new book – Missed Her – in a bookstore even though I thought it wasn't coming out for another month yet. I immediately went to one of the ubiquitous coffee shops and read half the book over a pumpkin spice latté, while trying not laugh out loud or cry while sitting in the front window on a busy corner.

A lady in the coffee shop was trying to give away apples because she'd bought one apple from every Scout she saw, but she'd also already bought a bunch of apples at the grocery store. The staff took some off her hands and got themselves a nice fall snack. I went back out into the sun and started walking home.
dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
There are stories to tell.

There was an afternoon at Quest spent cleaning up rodent droppings and re-shelving hundreds of dented cans and dusty pasta packages with a recovering drug addict. She had just moved to Vancouver to enter her father's treatment center, and she was looking forward to having spaghetti for dinner.

There's the new website at work, and the long list of complaints and struggles and other associated annoyances. And there's my assistant, The Kid, who sure gets sick a lot and should maybe start investing in large bottles of Pepto.

There's the deck... well, the deck isn't so much a story as a saga. The project sounds reasonable: remove the poorly made railings, yank up the rotting plywood, replace any rotten boards in the structure, then put down new plywood, treat with a deck finishing product, and put up new railings. Simple. But our deck is almost 300 square feet... a small Yaletown apartment.

If you've been through East Van lately and noticed some any weird(er) behaviour, it's probably my neighbours, high on the fumes from the deck surfacing. Russ put on three undercoats and one topcoat, which made for some pretty intense fumes. And since houses are pretty close together here and our deck is seven feet up, a lot of people were getting whiffs of our deck. Luckily, our neighbours on all sides are kind and tolerant. Mostly, they are just teasing us because the project's now four weeks old and not yet complete.

There was the 3-Day Novel Contest. I only wrote just over 17,000 words, and the resulting story – Dream in Toner – features a magical photocopier, a bunch of pigeons, and Bananagrams.

And there's my new love: a Rigid Heddle Loom. I bought a assembled-but-never-used 24-inch Ashford from a neighbour a couple of months ago. Since then, I've made a couple of scarves, a set of place mats, and a whole lot of dishcloths.



There are plenty of stories, but I just haven't had the right words. But if I wait for the words to come to me, I'll never write. So here I am again, trying to tell a story with what words I have.
dreaminghope: (Default)
In the morning, as I rinse my coffee mug, I see a chickadee on my back porch. Russ and I have seen him there before. He is almost completely round – a little feathered ball with a beak – so I'm not how he can fly at all, much less take off fast enough to escape the neighbourhood's feral cats. He pecks about, probably eating the crumbs from my breakfast. When I next go to the window, he is gone.

If I'd thought that I had any aptitude as an artist, I don't think I'd ever have become a writer. All I ever wanted to capture was moments. The trouble is, most people want narrative, so I tuck those moments away in the pages of a story. If I could draw or paint the way I see those moments in my head, I wouldn't have to write about them.*

As I walk along the street, a bald eagle soars over my head, disappearing just over the top of the two-story warehouse behind me. The cars speeding past me had no idea why I stop suddenly in the middle of the sidewalk and turn slowly to follow that eagle with eyes and wish. They may not even see me stop.

The cars also don't see the raccoon. A juvenile by his size, he looks like he has fallen out of a natural history museum display – he is frozen in position, no sign of trauma, as though he was walking along the sidewalk and then simply fell over dead. I saw him in the morning on my way to the gym. On my way home from the gym, someone had covered his face with a piece of paper.

My back deck is high and I can see over all the fences for houses around. The elderly Chinese woman next door has five items drying on plastic hangers scattered about her garden. She doesn't notice me lingering over a glass of wine when she takes them in.

Two fences over to the West, a man is building something. Something that involves a sheet of plywood as big as his porch. Something that involves frequent re-measuring and a lot of standing back and looking. He doesn't seem to have any power tools, and I don't think he is very accustomed to hand tools. The saw scriches through the wood three times, then he pauses to check that he is cutting straight. Scrich-scrich-scrich – pause. Scrich-scrich-scrich – pause. Then he moves on to hammering: bang-bang-bang – pause. Bang-bang-bang – pause. For all that he is close to twice my age, quite a bit larger than I, and male – he reminds me of myself.

Across the alley, someone seems to be rehearsing some sort of stringed instrument. The music drifts through their open window; it sounds like a higher pitched banjo. The melody wanders from song to song, pausing but never stopping.

As the sun begins to dip below the roofs, the house two yards to the East hums with an electric lawn mower – the first grass cutting of the season. I don't know how he justifies using an electric mower for his little strip of grass; it must be more work to pull out the mower and deal with the cord – he holds it high over his head most of the time – than it would be to use a little gas weedwacker or a manual mower.

At about five in the evening, the crows stop in East Van on their daily commute from Stanley Park to the suburban park where they roost at night. The electric lines are full of black wings and the air is full of their excited cries. They seem to be telling stories; I bet they know the best stories.

*Charles de Lint, "The Fields Beyond the Fields", Triskell Tales.

Where I am

Apr. 2nd, 2008 12:02 pm
dreaminghope: (Dancing Cat)
Where I learn that cookies won't keep you together

Two people who were customers of mine as a couple split up recently. He moved out, and she kept their old apartment and account. He opened a new account from his new apartment across town. They order the same ginger spice cookies in their deliveries every week.

Where I feel bad for the dog

The dog next door has a thick, tightly-wound tail that coils on his back. When he is happy or excited, his tail twitches like a snake dreaming of swallowing a fat mouse.

Where I am pedantic and get a new enemy

Someone called me "caustic" yesterday and told me that I must be a very unhappy person... or maybe it was a very angry person. To be fair, I was rather condescendingly correcting her grammar and spelling in an email at the time. I maintain that I was provoked: she works for a book publisher and she sent me an unsolicited sales pitch wherein she spelled the title of the book wrong, spelled "distributor" wrong, and neglected to use full stops on half her sentences (amongst other problems). In the final email of our correspondence, she told me that "grammer [sic] doesn't matter in emails", which is when I gave up - anyone who believes that good writing doesn't matter when selling a book cannot be saved.

Where I want the unwanted

This week, I keep encountering random cases of black jellybeans being used as a metaphor for something or someone unwanted and left behind. To that I say: Send me your black jellybeans. I always leave them for last because they are my favourites. I always like the underdog.

Where timing oneself by others gets confusing

I know that I am going to be on time for work when I pass Marionette Man at the corner of Hastings and Clark. We pass each other somewhere along Clark every morning. It is a non-encounter; we don't even nod to each other. All too often, I pass him many blocks farther up, as he turns off Clark towards his workplace and I start walking faster towards Hastings because I must be running late.

Today, I got to Hastings and Clark and Marionette Man was nowhere to be seen. He is distinctive: more than six feet tall, lanky and long-limbed, and his is arms only swing forward of his hips and his knees seem to bend too much. This peculiar rise and fall to his step makes him appear to be controlled by invisible strings and a not-entirely-talented puppeteer.

I finally saw him a couple more blocks along, turning on to Hastings from McLean. I wasn't early for work, so he must have been the late one today. I wonder if he knew that by when he saw me. I wonder if he'll notice when I'm not around for the next two weeks.

Where I realize that even if I write this in an email while in my office, it does not count as work, and I have far more tasks to complete than I have time to do them in as it is...
dreaminghope: (Hand)
As tagged by [livejournal.com profile] katz_purr: Once tagged by this entry, the assignment's to write a blog entry of some kind with six random facts about you. Then, pick six of your friends and tag them; no tag backs. This explanation should be included.



I own a whole drawer of jewelry and accessories that I use for costumes. When I wear bracelets, I start gesturing more frequently, and increasingly randomly. I don't just talk with my hands; I also start thinking with my hands.



When I was a kid, I used to give a little curtsy every time I said "thank you". It was an entirely subconscious gesture that I had for years. Now I just say "thank you" too much. Four more facts with pictures )

Bonus random fact (without picture): When I get confused or stressed, I tend to flap my arms like I am trying to fly away. I've done it for as long as I can remember.
dreaminghope: (Giggle)
10 things that make me happy in no particular order:
1. My meditating gargoyle statue.
2. Chocolate and peanut butter.
3. A thermos of hot tea at work.
4. Listening to the rain while cuddled up in bed.
5. The really soft and warm blanket my grandma made for me.
6. Round knitting needles.
7. Hot showers.
8. The smell of dried rosemary.
9. Being able to surf the Internet while sitting on my bed.
10. Wearing my pumpkin hat.
dreaminghope: (Flying Demon Girl)
Ooops... I got tagged for this by [livejournal.com profile] gerimaple weeks ago and really did mean to do it. I like talking about myself!

So, here we go... 20 Random Things )
dreaminghope: (Playing Zoey)
Cin tagged me for this earlier this week:

id·i·o·syn·cra·sy
n. pl. id·i·o·syn·cra·sies
A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.

Write down five of your own personal idiosyncracies. Then, if you wish, tag five people from your friendslist to do the same in their journals.


I don't think any of these will surprise anyone who knows me in real life, as my friends like to tease me about a lot of these things.

1. I really like pillows. I have more then a dozen pillows around the apartment, not including the ones we actually sleep on or the decorative cushions. Most of the pillows are old and either lumpy or a little flat or both. I have enough pillows to make a decent mattress out of them.

2. I can't blow my nose. I don't know why. I'm not sure if it's related to the fact that I also can't make the "pfft" noise. Every attempt to teach me how to make the "pfft" noise has resulted in me giggling uncontrollably. Oh, and I can't whistle either.

3. I tend to dance to the music in my head when my mind wanders. I don't always notice that I'm doing this.

4. I talk to my cats like they can understand me, such as telling Puck not to stay out too late when he goes out in the evening.

5. I never remember to charge my cell phone. I even have an extra battery that I keep charged so I just have to switch out the dead one, but I never remember to do it right away. My cell phone is probably dead an average of one day out of four.

I won't tag anyone in particular, but I look forward to reading about other people's idiosyncracies. It'll make me feel less odd. :)
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
- Yeah and thanks to [livejournal.com profile] misselaineeous for new underwear!

- Dinner out and a chance to see my Oma. She looks better then the last time I saw her, so that was really nice.

- Russ and I found another neighbourhood we'd be willing to live in (part of Strathcona). We wandered around, and there's some really nice houses and lots of work being done. And the streets just had a nice vibe, especially along the 600 and 700 blocks of Union and of Pacific.

- It was nice to spend time alone with Russ in the car to and from Beltane and while walking around Strathcona. We laughed a lot.

- Lots of creative stuff going on in my house, though it has resulted in a bit of a mess. I sure am glad that nothing's happening at my house this week!

- The ants have retreated!

- My part of the Gathering confirmation package is done and has been sent to the Board for final checks and comments. I should be able to mail/email them starting the first Tuesday in May!

- Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] tareija, could I get Eats, Shoots and Leaves back from you tommorow at drumming? My dad is really eager to read it.

- The weather this weekend was simply gorgeous! I got to pull out my sun hat and I didn't wear a jacket today.

On those happy notes, I'm off to bed now!
dreaminghope: (Default)
I am determined to believe that something is going on in my life besides a house search. I am clearly in denial, but that's OK with me.

(Oh, for those who missed the last post: house-related ramblings are being confined to a CG to avoid cluttering the F/L of those who aren't interested. If you are interested and haven't already told me, please let me know that you'd like to be added.)

Random things unrelated to houses, realtors and banks:

- I'm working on a mixed CD of gender-related music. So far I have 38 songs. After I'm done this one, I'll be starting the political mix for the next election party.

- This takes me to: BC politics. Don't forget to learn about the referendum question, people. Or, if you don't care enough to learn about it, just vote "yes", and take my word for it that anything is better then our current silly first-past-the-post system (except for the American electoral system, which is silly and incomprehensible).

- I have gradually become the only female employee at Green Earth. Now the toilet seat in the employee washroom is always up.

- I listen to the radio a lot at work now, and the impossible trivia question on Fox is driving me nuts: What song contains the lyrics "the song never dies if it's sung"? Google doesn't have the answer!

- Our bathroom sink drips and we haven't had time to get a new washer for it. It is slowly making me nutty.

- Breakfast at [livejournal.com profile] vcooke's on Sunday was great! It was wonderful to see everyone and there was much laughter and general silliness.

- Russ makes neat noises when he sees a new PS2 or X-Box game that he wants.

- I picked up a magazine called "Other" yesterday on the basis that the cover had ballerinas throwing pies at each other. I haven't read much of it, but pie-covered ballerinas make it worth the purchase no matter what the content.

- I've sent the first draft of the Gathering confirmation package to the board; hopefully I'll have comments back soon so I can update it in time for the next board meeting. I think this is going to be a great Gathering!

- I've heard rumours that Bif Naked's coming out with a new CD this summer. If that's true, not only is that good news in and of itself, but it means that she'll probably have another concert! Who wants to go see Bif?

That's enough! I'm going to get ready for bed.

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