Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I'm back

Well, we made it. The journey itself with three cats on the plane was quite awfully stressful. They recovered beautifully by the end of the day. I was mostly worried about Svetlana who howled for more than three hours. What fun. Red Jane was on board as well (as some may already know). She was a great help on the weekend we settled giving us decorating ideas and making sure we did things like eat.
My step-dad, P., met us at the airport which was fabulous and helped the transition. He also helped us with the unpacking and setting up. God love family and friends. It made everything so much the easier for us and we had the pleasure of their company for the weekend.

I'm using the local library computer to post so I'm going to be brief because I have a ton of emails to respond to and other business to take care of using my allotted time. I just got my library card. I had to wait for mail to arrive with our address on it. Of course my first day in the library last week when I was a little more disoriented and new at being in this town, I ran into someone from way back when. The librarian recognized me after I gave him my name, asking "did you go to Concordia?" My reply, "yes, but ages ago." I was thinking that he was far too young to be in my age bracket and I do tend to get that "your look familiar" comment a lot. He then asked "did you take a poetry class?"
Me: "Yes."
Librarian: "You were in Mary's class."
Me: "Oh my god yes. I can't believe it." (or some such expression).
What are the chances? I admit that I wouldn't have recognized him beyond thinking that he looks familiar to me. There is no way I would have pin pointed a classmate from fifteen years ago. Yikes. That's life in whoville though isn't it? You're never far from home, you're always home.

Other news? Our place is shaping up nicely. We're still trying to decide on a suitable colour for the living room/kitchen area. We're getting closer. We're kind of not far from my whoville page colour. It's just for one wall so don't panic. I think we need something warmer though. D?
Our house/suite is on a bit of a hill so we have quite a view from the bedroom. The yard also on a hill means that the garden is on different levels and sloped and there are all kinds of shrubs and trees I don't know or didn't know they could grow so huge. We've got rhododendron trees for god's sake! We've got a lovely dogwood that isn't really being viewed properly. The owners/landlords are very open to us gardening so hurray. However, I'm a little intimidated.

We're close to all the amenities we could need. The bus literally stops across the street and also stops right in front of work for me. That's pretty lucky. The commute isn't great. It takes me longer to get home than it does D and he's travelling much further than I am. D. is thrilled because a new Italian grocery store just opened next to his work. He's got his favorite tomatoes and olives are reasonably priced so he's in heaven. I found planet organics that is just down the hill and has all of my favorite products so I'm happy. I also discovered a great running route if I just run further up our street. In other words, if I run up the mountain, there's a great descent that is long and fun. It ends up or meets up with a park and the trans Canada trail.

That brings me to the running terrain. Help! It's crazy out here. It's the toughest terrain I've ever run. I love running out here though, everything is so green and the air feels so crisp and clear. I know there is some illusion to it all, but it's such a switch from running in the "big city."

Anywho, must get to my emails. We're in the process of getting another computer so until that happens i won't be posting regularly, only on my days off from work.

Until then...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I'm supposed to be cleaning the fridge according to the list I made last night. I'm supposed to be cleaning the bathroom and tidying up. Ugh. After spending the morning running around doing errands (thank goodness I rented a car for today) I'm ready for a nap. However, the phone keeps ringing and since I've been playing phone tag with a couple of people, i have to keep answering.

This is the last minute dash to the finish line. I've packed up my sister's things (all except a few odds and ends that I will have to leave in a box. I've arranged to drop off our keys with a neighbour. Cat food has been picked up as has D's poster money (finally! I panicked when the store was closed during it's open hours and we couldn't reach the guy with our posters and we'd yet to be paid). I loaded up the car with one more drop off to Value Village. Goodwill wouldn't answer their drop off door so I scooted around the corner to Value Village. I don't have to lift anymore boxes of books. Someone is coming to get the bed this evening. While I've been running around, I received the results for Svetlana's thyroid and the levels are high, meaning new medication to be dispensed. That I will have to pick up????later today? Hopefully my vet is phoning it in as I write.

Last night I said good bye to more people. Three very talented women who I went to graduate school with. They're all doing such interesting things in their lives and keep moving forward. It really inspires me to be around them. Very cool women. I'm glad to know them and will have to keep in touch. Hopefully they'll visit the blog. I know julia visits regularly. Hopefully the others will stop by too.

Coincidentally, I just got an email from another incredibly talented woman who was also in our program the same year. Last night we were trying to recall people in our program who are still in the city. I think just the few of us seated around the table were the only ones left in this city. We wondered what happened to several other peers from those two years we spent in the program. We forgot all about this woman who moved back to India after finishing her degree. She's a fabulous filmmaker and had just sent notice that she's returned to India after spending a year in England. (It just occurred to me that we would have been in England at the same time last year. Oh well. It's a big place and i was there so briefly). I haven't heard from her in ages and now this. So, I will have to contact her.

Now, the after school stragglers are making their way through the alley. One last time I have to listen to their screaming voices. I won't miss the noise at all. I hope our new street isn't too noisy. The house seems to be set back a bit so this may help.

Oh yes, that reminds me that I also won't miss whoever has been dumping their garbage in with our garbage. This happens after hours either very very late or very very early. We've always suspected a neighbour across the street who is absolutely crazy obsessive about his house and car looking perfect all the time. My sister even caught him once crossing the street to leave a garbage bag next to our house. She confronted him and told him if he ever did it again she was going to dump garbage all over his front yard (which you should see it's hysterically bizarre with figurines and pruned shrubs that are shaped into little round balls all over the place. It's weird landscaping. I don't know who offers such a service...). Anyway, he stopped for a while and then occasionally another bag would appear. This morning I saw D. move two bags across the street to buddy's house where there was no garbage in sight. So it happened again. Then when I left the house, the bags were back! I dragged them next door. It was yard waste in big heavy garbage bags. All of our yard waste is in the paper bags as required. I went out, came back, went out and came back again. Our garbage had been collected, but not those bags. I was ready to dump them on his yard, but when I went out again, I saw that they were gone. I don't care who took them as long as they're gone. What kind of disorder is that? Anywho...I'm not going to miss him, his ugly house and his stupid car that he cleans with windex and paper towel. Okay now that I've gotten that off my chest....

I'll write again from the other side of the country.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Two days to go

Our departure is getting closer. So much is going on. I'm trying to ditch all of our bits of stuff that have for one reason or another been left behind in our house. We've sold and donated what we could and now I'm scrambling around to try and find anyone who will take our few things. I couldn't find anyone to pick up our bed as a donation so I posted it on craigslist and had a phone call within a half hour. Gone. Yesterday I put out two boxes of books on the sidewalk. Somone took a whole box and the other box was left with two and a half books remaining. My sister's furniture will remain in our place until she's ready to move. I'm packing up a few things for her.

I'm also trying to get the garden ready for the winter, but it keeps blooming! We have such a long gardening season here. I wanted to take the dahlia tubers but their still in full bloom. I will collect some seeds in paper bags to take with me. Afterall, if I can grow a beautiful coneflower or valerian in a peat pellet and transplant isn't that all the better? Recently, I took a gardening seminar at LV and that encouraged me to go ahead and gather those seeds and cut back the hostas now. If I get a small bag of mulch I should be able to pile up a little around the plants that will need it over winter. I'm tempted to leave a list of notes for the new owners, reminding them to water and also identify the plants for them.

Emotionally, I'm all over the place. I'm excited and anxious to get to our new place and see what it looks like and start setting up home. I'm also sad and nostalgic for our old home that we're about to leave. It's been such a good home for us. With my sister owning the house has made it all the more enjoyable since we all worked on the house together. It's been a good space for the cats, bright and spacious with stairs and ledges for them to climb on. Part of me doesn't want to leave. When you're happy in a place why leave it? However, it's time to leave this city. I always said I would re-examine by fall 2006 what I've accomplished in the last year and if I need to remain in this city to continue on the road I am on. It would seem that it is time to go.

* * *

It's been a week of good-byes -- good-bye to family, good-bye to work, good-bye to our beloved housecall vet, good-bye to friends, good-bye to my favorite haunts. D's parents were here last weekend. There was some minor drama, but all was sorted and we had a nice time in those quieter moments of moving chaos. Work overwhelmed me with a beautiful going away present of wood-turned fountain pen from Italy with five different tips. I can't wait to use it. I bought a caligraphy book from LV with my gift card they gave me. They baked a vegan chocolate cake that was divine with a ginger marmalade filling and orange glaze icing. Everyone enjoyed it. There were ridiculous pictures taken that I hope I never see and people were very kind with their parting words. I got weepy which really surprised me. We went to dinner with a good friend and I can't even think about him not being in the same city with us without getting teary-eyed. Hopefully, he'll join us west one day. I'm so glad red jane is flying out with us because I'm really not ready for that. I've said good-bye to my mom, but really we're just a few provinces more away and it only feels far, but I know we'll see lots of each other.

Mum came for the Thanksgiving weekend and we had a really nice time. I found the whole weekend quite relaxing. Saturday, she treated us (as she always does) to a delicious meal at little tibet restaurant. Mum loves the place, as we all do. It has a very calming atmosphere, so you feel very relaxed in the dining room. The food is lovely and fresh. It was a good choice to start our weekend.

Sunday I even made time for a run through the park. It was glorious. I had a great run. We cooked and had a nice dinner together with red jane. We had tofurkey, kale, garlic roasted brussel sprouts (recipe courtesy of bunnyfoot), roasted root veg, cranberry sauce (I found a package of frozen fresh cranberries in the freezer from one of our fresh boxes last winter), salad with pomegranite seeds, and two pies (pumpkin with candied pecans and mock cherry that red jane made). Earlier in the day Mum and I went for a walk. We did the same on Monday and visited a friend of my sister's who lives close by. We cut through Dufferin Grove Park which mum had never been to and really loved. It does have so much to offer as a park.

I saw mum off at the train station in that huge long line of people bound for Montreal and we had to say good-bye there while the line moved forward. I wish there was a way to make it easier for all of us. I know she'll be out to visit on her winter break and I think once she comes out it will be easier and we'll all see that we're really not that far away.

So, back to today. Another person just called about the bed. I'm starting to wish I'd asked for a few dollars for it. Oh well. It doesn't really matter. I'd rather someone who really needs it get it for free. D's waiting for some news on some remarkable movie posters he collected when he worked in a cinema in the 80s so maybe that will be good news.

I'd better keep moving on this day before it passes me by. i've got a long list of chores and i'm on foot with no bike and no car so I'd better use my running skills.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A trip to the vet, puzzles and vegan cheese

Poor little GiGi went to the vet today to get spayed. She's there now and will spend the night there. I miss her. She's such a sweet and loving kitten. As I walked part of the way home from work today (in the rain -- the weather was very west coast today) I wanted to stop in and see her, but I wasn't sure if it would upset her more or not. Would she think she was going home? She would see me (or not, depending on how dopey she is) and then I'd be gone. I made the decision to let her be in the capable hands of the staff at Queen West.

Tomorrow I can pick her up while I drop Svetlana for blood work. Then we can all travel home together. The price in cab fair rises rapidly!

We also got our travel bags for the kitties in the mail today. We ordered them from West Jet so as to be sure to meet their specifications for carry on kitties. They're nicer looking than my own luggage. At least they all have suitable carriers for the trip now.

It's been another busy day. Work flew by. I didn't even notice the time passing and it was a slow day. Somehow I always had something to do. There was a puzzle on the counter when I arrived at work. It was partially assembled for display in the showroom. Obviously, it's a puzzle we sell and it was amazing how everyone wanted to stop and peck away. People rearranged other work to come and work on the puzzle. I spent very little time with it, but got a kick out of watching others work on it , each in their own way and be focused on the puzzle, but also talk about all sorts of things. As one co-worker said to me this morning, "you can learn a lot about someone by how they work on a puzzle." It's not just the way the person works, but as in any situation (except when working with Dina -- never mind what that means) you talk and it's on that level that much more is learned.

Back at home, I was restless and a little keen to get cooking. I made dinner way too early, but hey...better early that too late (which I've done many times). I tried out this vegan cheese recipe from one of my favorite sites, post punk kitchen. I added my own flavoring to it, including, veg broth, sour supreme (tofuttis faux sour cream), spike, and a little red wine for good luck. Time to take it out of the oven. Yum.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Chip away at the list

Yay! I made headway on the list. Even though we have nothing in our place now, I still have to get rid of stuff. Red jane helped me with the Value Village drop. Wow did that feel good to get rid of so much, so quickly. There were many boxes, some golf clubs, tennis rackets and a few bags. Whew. Fortunately, I live really close to a Value Village so we didn't have to spend much time in traffic. Red jane seemed at the end of her driving rope. She'd just returned from dropping off sis and the cast of characters in Montreal and she drove back very early this am.

I also got the box of wool to julia. She requested and I delivered. I hope she had a good ride on the streetcar home with her new/and some used box of wool. I'm glad it's going to a good home.

My old bike went to D's brother. I don't know if I mentioned that earlier. The garage is looking downright roomy now. It's really just R and sis's stuff in there along with some wood and old paint cans.

I did a few change of addresses and I've started sorting through the books to sell, dividing them into subject categories (that can be debatable with some things). I'm leaving the poster sales for D since they're his. He's got quite a collection of promo posters and movie posters from when he worked in a Montreal cinema. I presume that some are fairly valuable like the Return of the Jedi original poster and a few others. They're in mint condition because he's just been storing them forever.

I made the calls I needed to and sent a few emails. I'm almost caught up to where I want to be at this stage before we depart.

Move, movers moving, moved

The word becomes more ridiculous the more I say it. I am quite tired of thinking about those words in my title and now I feel like the worst is truly over. There are no boxes sitting half packed or stacked and in the way of our living space. The stress level is going down. This morning I even went for a run and felt no hurry to get home and get back to work. I just relaxed and enjoyed my run.

The weekend came and now it's gone. My in-laws drove into town Friday, the movers arrived Saturday, and then my in-laws drove out of town Sunday. Most moving for me was my sister left the house on Sunday. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) it's been an emotional weekend.

We still had so much packing to do on Friday. D's parents took us out to dinner along with D's brother. We went to
Ferro after a friend recommended it, but we arrived too late and the line up had begun. Plan B led us down the street to one of our favorite places Mezzetta. D's parents don't often get to eat from a tapas style menu so it was a new and fun experience for them. They seemed to really enjoy it. The best part was being out of the house and not thinking about the above title related subject at all. We just sat back and enjoyed our food. There was a jazz quartet playing and it was all nice. D met the owner because he was intrigued with the coffee machine. They exchanged information and it may be a new account for Saeco. You never know.

Back at home, we packed until midnight. D's parent and brother helped out which was really nice. It saved us a lot of time. I slept a deep sleep that night.

Saturday we finished up the last minute stuff. The movers arrived on schedule and the day began. We took the cats up to my sister's while the movers tagged boxes and began to empty our apartment. It's quite amazing to see the boxes built up into a wall on the truck. I couldn't believe the organization of it all. It's quite a task. A bit of an art really. D. was truly appreciating their use of space being a shipper/warehouse/inventory guy. We both had a bit of a moment in the backyard when the stuff started going out. It was a bit of a realization that this is really happening. Something that we joked about in June is actually happening.

Even now as I think about the garden, leaving the garden behind, I'm getting a little misty-eyed. I love our garden and it's wildness and all that it has given us. I love watching the squirrels and cats pass through, the plants bloom where I had forgotten they would. The dahlias are still going strong (I may not get to take the tubers with me if they don't start to finish their cycle!) as is the lavender. I've never had lavender grow so strong and full. But i'm getting distracted.

Back to Saturday. After the truck pulled away, we headed to ikea to select a new bed that we could pick out in Coquitlam. It's no easy task. The latex matress really is astoundingly comfortable, but far out of our budget so we've found something else that will be comfy. After ikea we headed back to town and stopped at John's Classic Pizza to pick up a few large pizzas. I got a vegan one for sis and I. I started to see that we were coming full circle. When D and I first arrived in town and were exhausted from moving and setting up our place, we went to John's classic because it's close and really good pizza (unlike the chain gooey bland dough and tomato paste sauce pizza delivery places). We also spent our first week in this apartment sleeping in the living room and now we were doing it again since we gave our bedroom to D's parents and had brought a bed into the living room for us to sleep on. Anywho...we had a nice dinner with some of our homemade wine and again it was just great to have family around.

My sister left yesterday morning for Montreal. She's doing an English version Michel Trembley play called Assorted Candies at the Centaur theatre. I can't believe I won't see it. This is the second play she's done at the centaur and I've missed it. Red jane drove her to Montreal with the four cats. D and I helped her load the cats into the van. I said good bye to the cast of characters and Ruggles was the only one to really hear me since he was the most relaxed. I can't even put into words what I felt saying good bye to my sister. We've shared this place for the last seven years and have been through a lot together during that time. The last two months have been so insanely busy that we never had time to digest what's really going on and that we're both taking our lives in new directions. We'll still be in the same province and I'm going to make a huge effort to see her as much as I can.

So...the house is somewhat empty. I've borrowed some furniture from my sister. And now red jane is on her way over to help me get rid of the stuff for the garage sale we never had. That will be one trip out of the way. Value Village here we come.