Category Archives: Holiday

No Holiday Excuse

Happy Thanksgiving.

Spent all day yesterday making: turkey (now little more than a carcass), brussels sprouts (roasted – none of that boiling like it’s a severed head, or anything), mashed potatoes (spaced and left the skin on), peas (ripped from the pod) and stuffing (for the stuffing).

Is that not an excuse for this truncated blog post? I think it isn’t.

After all:

turkey

brussels spouts

mashed potatoes

peas and stuffing.

 

Such a fine repast! Such a cultivated dinner, civilized, tame.

***

The preference of white meat over dark meat (and vice versa)? Perplexing.

 

 

 

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Filed under Ceremony, Food, Holiday

Big Beautiful Month

Hello October, you big beautiful beast of a month!

Here you are at last, and again.

It’s been too long.

Too many days not October, too many days of rain or snow or sun.

Too many days in waiting: the anticipation, the despair. No more.

Harvest time.

***

Some October Facts:

– October is gourd month. Did you know that? Don’t you know that? There are gourds galore everywhere, right now, and here you are just sitting there.

Thanksgiving is in October, in Canada. But always a week earlier than seemingly expected. How does that happen? October magic.

– Halloween, the 31st, culminates October. No other holidays do that. December 31st, after all, is a more an ending of one day and a year (one particular episode among so many others) only to begin another. October’s end is October’s and October’s alone.

October does not drag.

October does not blink.

October is a harbinger.

             For whom? Of what?

That is for October to know and decide.

Just remember that I told you so.

 

 

 

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Filed under Change, Events, Holiday, Time

Teeth (Part 1)

We found ourselves across the street from the famed Peters’ Drive-In, just off of 16th Ave, NE, Calgary, Alberta.

Peters’, “The Drive-In You Can’t Drive By.” Peter’s, the with its thick, custom-made shakes and flame-broiled burgers and “Family-Sized” fries that could easily satisfy a small battle-worn army. Peters’, a virtual institution (established 1962, though under new ownership as of 2015) – politicians eat here (on campaign stops), weddings (plural, yes) have been photographed here, birthdays (children’s, even) happen in its adjacent parking lot – Peters’, in short, THE go-to place to go to if you happen to be on that particular side of Calgary at any particular moment.

Or not.

*CASH AND DEBIT ONLY*

(Debit since 1990)

Peters’, unfortunately, only had outdoor seating and it was a blustery, grey day in the city turned cold, unfriendly evening, and this place, a bubble tea bar with à la carte snacks (fish cakes and yam fries and wings and fried dumplings) thus seemed warmer, more welcoming.

Staying at Peters’ would have meant having to eat in the car, a tiny, overpacked Corolla that would not have comfortably seated four adults let alone a box of Family-Sized fries, a couple of shakes, a burger a piece. Staying at Peters’, institution or no, meant fighting what appeared to be a mostly teenaged crowd (and a scraggly one at that) for position and territory (seating was available, but limited). Staying at Peters’ made us feel exposed.

This is not a story about Peters’.

Yet, I wonder what would have happened if we had stayed there instead of going to the bubble tea place.

***

It had been a long day in a series of long days during which time our plans to take a road trip through the province had finally been made. In a day or so, we’d be off.

Terry[1] was in a mood. He’d come out West to see if he and his girlfriend, Mae, [2] could make a go of it; try and start a new life, etc. Easier said than done and even then, the dream was difficult to articulate.

Why out West? Opportunity, maybe, but wasn’t that years ago? What was it, anyway, to “start a new life?” Was he so completely over, and done with, his last one? Was Mae? 

When does this one life end and another, the other, begin?

Terry and Mae found temporary housing renting a unit at the nearby college (it was summer, the students were long gone from that place). Just was well, since the plumbing was busted and the electricity was spotty, at best, due to construction. Terry had a couple of leads but nothing confirmed, nothing solid, in terms of work. Mae was having a harder time even finding places to interview for. The city was indifferent to their plight; the people seemed strangely withdrawn (at least compared to their counterparts out East); the moon (Terry swears it) scowled at them from above, looming large, inescapable. It had been weeks.

So, when we visited and then agreed to join them on the road trip, Terry was in a mood. He was animated as he always was, with that look about his eyes that could only be described as “dogged”; he was even amiable (for Terry), but worn around the edges, slumped, a little, at the shoulders. Frayed, picked-over Terry.

Our server set our order – a smattering of snacks and four custom made bubble teas – on the table. I think mine was Strawberry Something. Stephen had something with mango in it. Mae’s was purple (very purple). Terry brightened at the sight of our glorious repast. He reached past Mae and speared a dumpling with a chopstick, popped it into his month, and screamed.

“My tooth! My fucking tooth!”

Terry had chipped his tooth, and badly (or to hear him tell it, the fucking dumpling chipped his tooth and so very badly).

This is a story about Terry’s teeth.

 

… TO BE CONTINUED

 

 

________________________________________________

[1] Not real name, though he really could be a “Terry” if he wanted. Alas, “Terry” wants for nothing.

[2] Not real name. No sense veiling “Terry” if I’m going to out “Mae,” is there?

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Change, City Life, Food, Friends, Holiday, Interruptions, People, Places, THE PAST

Baggage Claims

 
Here’s a quick one, and it comes as a warning:

Hey!

Those guys at the airport at the baggage claim for international flights? The ones dressed vaguely like ice-cream men or low-level cops, with neutral ties and short-shelved dress shirts. Beware of those guys. Be wary.

This is how they do: they come up to people. Certain people, especially. Ethic people, really. The people who may not know, exactly, precisely, how to get by in an altered reality. Strangers in a strange land. Or people who look it, anyway, and/or especially those travelling alone. Maybe you, definitely me, my mom in particular.

Then they go like this: “Hello ma’am. How are you? Hey. You got booze in those bags of yours? You got meat or fruit or animal skins or poppin’ pills or anything else? Things that would make customs tsk, tsk, tsk at you and cause you all sorts of embarrassment? Little special somethings for you or your family or your friends to enjoy from the homeland? Then come with me! With me carrying those bags of yours for you, there are no worries for you. They will not check those bags of yours if you are with me! No? You don’t have any naughties in those bags of yours? You’ve got all the receipts? All the paperwork? Crossed your “t’s” and dotted your “i’s”, hmm? You know how it works here, eh? You sure? You can never be sure. Now come with me!”

They take your bags, before you or me or my mom in particular can stop them. Exasperated, tired from a long flight, you acquiesce. There is no other word for this: acquiesce.

Then they parade you or me or my mom in particular out, past the gates, to arrivals, through the waiting crowds, past the crowds, past arrivals. Outside. Outside into the chilly night air where there are not so many people, even less paying any kind of attention. Today, customs did not intervene, but it’s plain to see that others, others accompanied by Baggage Men like him have, indeed, been stopped.

Then: “You see? No trouble at all! Here are your bags! $30 dollars, now.”

Maybe you or me or my mom in particular on this Saturday night (August 10, 2013), exasperated, tired from a long flight, lonely and disoriented, have had enough of enough all goddamn fucking ready and say NO.

Then they do like this: a step back in mild shock. A step forward in hard cajoling. A little foot stamping. An accusatory finger pointed at your heavy, heavy baggage.

“Hey, now. I helped you, now. I helped you with those bags of yours. Quick now. $30 dollars, no one the wiser, see.”

Desperate now more then ever for home, with this stranger in your face, in your space, suddenly decidedly very unhelpful if not ever kind, you or me but especially my mom just give him the last $20 dollar bill you have, just to make him go far away.

He is far from satisfied. He demands his last 10 dollars but vanishes very, very quickly back into the busy lights of the airport once the words “…speak to your supervisor” cut into that chilly night air.

But then he already has the money.

No lies. Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Be very wary.

I should probably call someone.
 

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Filed under Holiday, Travel

Burning Bright

Merry Christmas!  How is yours?  Mine is Grrreat!

Tiger Great.

Why?

Because. This:

In the forests of the night.  And my dreams.

Burning bright.

LUXURIOUS.

Home now for the holidays – my childhood home, which is gradually becoming my parents’ house – and this is the bed that is my bed away from bed.

My love of Bed is as much about quantity (in the sense of MORE and LOTS) as it is about those certain touches that make sleep time quality time.

For me, for now, for reals, this means Tiger.  Lots of it.  But also:

MAJESTY.

I have a majestic bed.

Get some!  If you can. (I doubt it). (Unless you have a nearby gas station).

Awe. Some.

Don’t fret, don’t hate.  It’s just the way Things are.

So while you enjoy your cookies and sugar plums and nutcracker princes and the obligations that make those Things the essential trimmings for time spent with Loved Ones, I will be here, swaddled in the luxurious majesty of my White Tiger Bed.  Ensconced in powerful paws, claws retracted.  Nestled under gentle feline purrs.

Luxuriating.

So warm.

So sweet.

When the stars threw down their spears

And watered heaven with their tears:

Did he smile His work to see?

Did he who made the lamb make thee?

Merry Christmas!  Bitches.

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Filed under Holiday