January 30, 2016
Hello again, everyone, wherever you are!
It’s been a long and full day. It started somewhere around seven a.m. with a brisk walk outside. I could still feel the effects of the previous day. It seemed bitterly cold but my daughter assured me it was not so cold, it was either my imagination or the result of the cold that had reached my bones the other day.
I had guests today and I went shopping in the morning for the things that I had forgotten the evening before. Not a problem, I still forgot some of them again. Don’t you love it when you prepare a shopping list and once you are in the store you forget to check it? I do, it happens every time.
So my shopping trip ended with only half of the things I needed but it was not so bad, really.
I had to try my housekeeping skills, of course. My housekeeping skills are very close to null, and because of that it took me the remaining part of the morning to clean without noticeable results. That if I don’t count the tiredness and muscular aches.
The visit went well – if one wants to be evasive. Actually, my dear little pug barked a racket and even tried to bite one of the guests, probably because he was the tallest and sturdiest in the room and he felt threatened. It was a real delight to have to take him out all the time so that he’d cool off, meanwhile having to let my daughter try to entertain the guests.
Due to my going out with him all the time, I was never sure on the direction of the conversation and I am pretty sure a few eyebrows rose from time to time when what I was saying had no relation whatsoever to what was actually discussed.
One thing is certain: his behavior tired me much more than the actual work I had done before.
Once my guests left I decided to clean everything fast: I didn’t want to wake up in the morning and see everything lying around. It would have been too depressing.
And after everything was put back to its place, I had a new walk with Rex and then got back to my room. The moment I lay down with my tablet to read, tiredness hit me strongly. I wanted some water at a certain moment and I couldn’t even move.
I’m afraid there will be another walk in the future half an hour as Rex has already drunk four bowls of water and I honestly don’t know if I am able to move.
Anyway, right now, he is extremely upset and he doesn’t even want to look at me. He plays possum. I am sure it will pass. He will forget till tomorrow, won’t he?
Nevertheless, till tomorrow, I will say good bye. Probably, there will be a very full day tomorrow as well. I’ll let you know.
January 29, 2016
Another day in this big city! Sometimes big is not so great but I will get back to that a bit later.
Today I changed my route to work, not because I was interested in expanding my knowledge about the city but because I was looking for a specific shop and I couldn’t find one where I went before work. From there, I chose to take a bus I’d never seen before – it said something with South on the sign, so I imagined that at least I’d go in the good direction.
It was a good impulse. It is true that I went from one terminus point to another but I got to a subway station that helped me to get downtown.
Now, I have to admit that I have often noticed how parents deal with their children on the bus. I probably made a note in my mind or a comment of sorts but it wasn’t something I’d dwell on.
Today, though, I had two different sets in front of my eyes.
There was the mother with the toddler in the stroll, browsing her cell phone and every time the toddler would protest or say something she would push something in the child’s mouth – a biscuit, I think, without taking her eyes off the phone. The child was bored and wanted attention but didn’t get any.
On the other set of seats, there was another mother with a toddler. She had taken her daughter out of the stroller and put her on a seat next to her and given her a book. They were turning pages and discussing the book. Any question was answered – sometimes with an answer, other times with a question that would make the child think of an answer. At a moment in time, the mother’s phone rang. She took it out of her pocket, looked at it, turned it off and turned back to the child and continued the discussion. The child was happy and laughing all the time.
Leaving aside the happiness or the grumpiness of the children, which one would grow to be a well-adjusted adult with a thirst of finding out things and solving problems? Which one would have a foot on the door of success? I wonder, because sometimes, there are surprises and not all of them too pleasant.
That was just a small parenthesis in my mind. A question, if you want, I have asked myself several times. You have a chance to see all sorts of parents and nannies and so on.
Let’s get back to what I said: big is not always good. A very big city sometimes has lots of disadvantages.
I went shopping to the other end of the city into a shop with specific Romanian foods and I bought quite a lot. With much difficulty, handling the multitude of bags with frozen fingers I went to get the bus and go home. Surprise, surprise! The bus didn’t want to cooperate. It was quite dramatic for a while there: the wind was fierce with a serious bite and no bus in sight.
After about thirty minutes, understanding that I wouldn’t be able to stand in that wind too much, I decided to return in front of the shop and call a cab as not even one taxi had passed by.
To return there was necessary: no cab would come to a bus stop. So, I called and gave them the address. I explained in detail where I was and they assured me that in five or ten minutes tops, I would have a cab. I was told that I had to be exactly in front of the shop so the driver could see me.
Well, I was in front of the shop in an empty huge parking lot. There was no other human being or any other kind of being in sight. No one was as crazy as I was to stay there in the open when the temperature had gone down so much and the wind had added to the chill. Of course, now that I’d called a cab, on the big street cabs started passing like crazy. Before my call, as I’ve already said, no taxi was in the street.
I waited for about fifteen minutes and no cab appeared. By that time, the cold had seeped into my bones already. I felt like my skin was icy and it started feeling quite strange – and I am not talking about the skin on my face that was exposed to the wind but the skin that was covered by a few layers of clothing.
I called the cab company again and explained to them, in a clipped voice, I must admit, that I had been freezing in a parking lot for over fifteen minutes and the taxi they had promised never appeared. The dispatcher informed me that the taxi had been there but couldn’t see me.
Now, I understand the problem. It is hard to see one person with lots of bags lying on the ground at their feet (I had already ditched them as I had no feeling in my fingers anymore – even to dial the number for the taxi company was a real hassle).
It is much more difficult than normal when the said person is completely alone in a big parking lot. The space there is completely open – which helped the wind to do its job much easier. Besides all that, come on, I am not a very small person. You can overlook me only if you want to not because you cannot see me.
I explained all that to the dispatcher – not rudely but very matter-of-fact. She apologized and said that in maximum five minutes I would have a taxi right there. After ten minutes, I had to call again. Of course, no cab had come.
This time, however, when I told them that in a few more minutes the taxi driver wouldn’t have a passenger anymore because I would turn into an ice statute, they assured me that the car would be there any second.
And this time, the cab came. At first the driver simply looked at me as I was trying to gather my bags with uncooperative fingers. Annoyed probably because he was wasting precious time, after a few minutes he got out of the car to help. I was so angry that I couldn’t even try to smile to him, not that I could have. I am not sure my lips would have moved to form a smile.
Anyway, it turned out that the man was not really aware of the area. After a while, he asked me where we were and if I thought my house was close. I understood him. I didn’t know where he was driving either. The important thing is that in the end we did manage to get to the destination.
As result to this beautiful adventure in the wild, I spent an hour shivering, trying to get some work done and then I lied under the comforter for about two hours to bring some warmth inside my body. I can’t say I really managed to do it but I started developing a bit of fever. If that doesn’t warm me, nothing would.
Anyway, I will finish my post now and go back under the comforter. I have guests tomorrow and I have to be healthy at least.
See you tomorrow!
January 28, 2016
All in all, it was not a bad day but it wasn’t very exciting either. All right, each of us think about exciting in a different way but considering some of the exciting days of my life, this one would rate somewhere around very stale.
Besides the fact that I was with my mind somewhere else almost all the time and did everything in a wrong way, nothing special happened. Have you ever had days when you did strange things all the time?
I have had them before but this day I managed to raise the bar.
Among the slightest things I could mention going to the bathroom to throw the water from a cup in the sink and actually throwing it on the floor. I didn’t even notice but Rex wanted to go into the bathroom and started to whine because he couldn’t pass. He actually wanted to steal the little mat I have in front of the shower.
When I came back from our first walk, instead of putting my shoes in the closet, I tried to throw them in the garbage. Luckily, the garbage was full – which reminded me that I should take it out, and there was no room for them.
Instead of putting milk in my coffee I added hot chocolate – not a bad combination, now I can vouch for it, but even now, I can’t realize how I could make such a mistake.
Anyway, besides all these little things that went wrong, everything was fine in the grand scheme of things. I didn’t have to travel so TTC didn’t bother me and I could enjoy all my free time reading and strolling.
It was a bit cold today but the surprise came in the afternoon when it started snowing with huge snowflakes. Not that their size did them any good. The snow melted as soon as it touched the ground. However, that means my balcony is completely wet. Hopefully, the temperature will not drop during the night or I’ll need to take out my skates to be able to go out on the balcony and Rex might try the walls with his little head again. He did it before and survived, though.
Regardless, it is Friday already! It is true that I have a few errands today and I do have to go to work but that only means that I will have new things to tell you. I can bet you can’t wait. It’s been boring lately, hasn’t it?
Till tomorrow, goodbye!
January 27, 2016
Good morning to everyone!
I don’t really remember when it was the last time I went to bed so early, but today I won’t make it till midnight. I am completely wiped out and I haven’t done anything so stressing today.
Besides work, I went only to see a good friend of mine, and that was it.
A trip that should have taken me about an hour with the public transport turned into something close to two hours and I had the chance to relive memories of the public transport in my country twenty-five years ago.
Luckily it was cold enough not to feel too unwell being pressed as fish in a can.
What I enjoy most is when you run to catch the bus and the bus waits for you. However, exactly when you got to the door to get on the bus, the driver closes the doors and with a grin drives away.
It makes you feel important and that’s a feeling that doesn’t go away too soon, especially if you have to wait for the next bus for about ten minutes and the bite of the wind is quite bitter.
Public transport offers lots of stories if you observe the people around.
I noticed that it’s turning into a real fashion to get on the bus with a baby in a stroller and occupy three seats with the named stroller so that no one could disturb you during the trip. Of course, the fact that people are pressed one into the other and that they may be tired going home from work is just a passing thought – if any.
A very interesting situation occurred on the bus on my way home. A young lady offered her seat to an older gentleman – he looked around eighty. While she was trying to let him pass to sit down, a young man came from behind, pushed her aside, making her bump into the old man and then he took the seat that she so generously offered to the senior citizen.
People looked, shook their heads but no one said anything. The poor old man held onto the bar for several stops until someone else noticed him and offered him the seat. This time he was lucky: no one pushed their way to take the seat away.
Anyway, I had plans for today and quite a lot of them, but unfortunately, with the trip that seemed to last forever, I couldn’t do too much of anything.
I was stuck mostly in front of the computer, gathering stats for the magazine and doing my regular job. Hopefully, tomorrow I will be able to accomplish a bit more because the weekend is almost here and I do have to finish some things before then.
Rex is sleeping away and I can’t refrain from feeling jealous. My eyelids are threatening to close and I really need to catch up on my sleep. Maybe I am getting older! Four hours a night used to be quite enough but right now it seems that I have exceeded my limit.
I know, it’s been a boring blog today. However, I cannot say the day has been boring. The stats for the magazine are great and there have been so many surprises there that I couldn’t contend my pleasure and I had to bother the other editors with the news and not for a minute or two but for over half an hour. It was like I couldn’t stop boasting. Eh, not everyone can be dignified before such good news.
Okay, I really have to go to sleep because I am simply rambling. See you all tomorrow night!
January 26, 2016
Good morning to everyone taking the time to read my thoughts – no matter how messy they are.
It was a very beautiful day of spring. Yes, I know, it’s still January! I haven’t lost my senses completely. But it was a beautiful spring day – early spring. Just a bit of a wind but that didn’t mar the day at all and the temperature was around 6 if not more. I had the chance to stroll around the forest several times today and to climb up and down the terraces according to Rex’s whims.
Spring ended in the evening. When I went out again at eight, I found out that it was snowing and the wind had a bit of a bite. We had a very brisk walk which soon turned into a real jog as my little mutt decided he had had enough and wanted home.
I talked to a friend today whose daughter would celebrate her sweet sixteen on Saturday. In my time, in my country, important was the 18th birthday.
I remember mine. It was one of the parties I’ll never forget. I am pretty sure my family won’t either. We had over fifty people in the house and, more important, I didn’t know half of them. I had actually invited about fifteen.
Two hours into the party, no food or drinks were left and my parents went into town to see if they could find something to buy in a restaurant because it was late on Saturday evening and everything else was closed. They managed to save face but were not very happy with the results of the party.
At that time, such parties would start around seven or eight in the evening and would end somewhere in the morning around six or seven.
Well, in the morning the house looked like a hurricane had swept over. That wouldn’t have been a problem – with so many people (by the way, I made a lot of new friends that night) it was expected. They didn’t appreciate though to see cigarettes put out in the bookcases and ashes all over the place.
Here anniversaries are not the same. The second year in Quebec, I decided to celebrate my birthday the same time with one of my daughter’s friends’ mother who was born the same day, month and year as I. The two of us had become quite good friends by that time, although we were as different as night and day. She was serious and hardworking while I was flighty and dreamy.
I obtained a reception hall in the hotel where I was working and we started inviting people. We had many surprises. It seems that if you invite someone here, they consider that you expect them to pay for their food and drinks. They looked at us as if we’d lost our minds when we told them that they were not supposed to pay for anything just to come over.
That was another interesting party. It started with my friend agonizing over her age – I didn’t get to that point till this year. It wasn’t on my birthday but two months after when I realized that actually, unconsciously, I was telling people the previous age and not the present one. Around the same date, I also realized I stopped adding years at my daughter’s age. When my mother corrected me one day, I couldn’t believe it. I had really stopped counting. It was a real blow as I’d always prided myself with being honest and not fearing growing older. Anyway that’s another story for another day.
Now back to the party. So, we had the hall and I had arranged with the event manager in the hotel to organize the catering and the guys from the hotel bar decided to contribute with the drinks as a birthday present for me. Imagine, I was extremely happy! Till we got there. And we had lots of people in the hall. There was a lot of booze but no food. The event manager had forgotten about that. It seems she had had another event to organize as well.
We had about 40 people and no food. It was again a Saturday night. In Quebec City, people go to bed early so at that hour nothing was really open and anyway, who had the time to cook while people were already there waiting for the food?
I must admit that I lost my composure for a moment there. I didn’t yell like a banshee but it took me all I had to keep the yelling back. It seems I am a very unpleasant person when I am riled: my voice gets hard and words are clipped and once my cousin told me that if eyes could kill mine would have had a big count.
Anyway, it worked. The event manager called the general manager and explained the situation. That one called the hotel restaurant and discussed the matter with them and in 15 minutes food started appearing on tables and everything was perfect till the end. They even managed to make two big birthday cakes.
The party was a success in the end and I am not sure that people had realized that for a moment there no food was supposed to come.
The people from our community were used to such parties, with dance and food and no financial contribution from the guests, however, the Canadians were a bit puzzled by everything.
I admit that it might be nostalgia or the pink coloring the memory paints over events, but parties in my youth were something else. We would dance and tell jokes till the wee hours of the morning and sometimes, like for New Year’s Eve parties, we would have parties three days in a row, changing only the venue each night.
Here, for New Year’s Eve, 90 % of the people sleep. The others are either very young or new comers. I, for one, I read till three or four in the morning and I say I celebrated the New Year.
A couple years ago, my daughter invited two friends to celebrate with us and we played games like countries and cities and so on. I was bored to tears.
Luckily, it was Rex’s first New Year’s Eve and that night he climbed up the stairs for the first time and had an entire conversation with the guys across the street. They’d ask something and he would answer. He was much sociable then. Now he is like an hermit, minus the silence. He’s too noisy to make a proper hermit.
Well, that party was boring but I imagine my accounting of these parties is also boring for you. I got swept away thinking of my friend’s daughter’s sweet sixteen.
I’d better leave you now or you’d hate seeing my lines again.
See you soon!
January 25, 2016
Good morning to everyone, wherever you are, especially Maria and Louis – who need a bit of cheer up (each of them for different reasons) and to my loyal readers from the former Soviet Union whose presence I greet with pleasure and gratitude every single day.
It’s been Monday, as you well know, and I don’t always like Mondays, I have to admit. I am pretty sure I mentioned it before and I don’t want to repeat myself going into details.
However, this has been a special Monday. It wasn’t special because something happened but because it didn’t feel like a Monday. I am pretty sure I am not the only one who has that ethereal feeling that the time ceases to exist now and then and you have a chance to live in a bubble with no time and no worries.
I did my job – more or less better than I should have but I tried not to let my right hand be a deterrent in doing it. I’ve already taken two sick days as you know and with the three personal days to prepare the magazine, I will soon be out of any days off and I still cling to the hope that this summer I will roast on a sandy beach and listen to the waves charming me into believing that a vacation could last for as long as you wish.
I navigated on Facebook minutely, and that was something I haven’t done in a while. However, my left hand is not good at writing too much but it is good at handling the mouse so I enjoyed endless videos with cats and dogs and birds and my favorite – wolves.
In a way it seems meaningless to spend time like this especially when you have lots of other things to do but in my defense I have to say that it beats stress out. I actually always said that laughter is what a person needs in life the most. We have enough of others, if we think about.
So, not doing anything very important, just laughing my day away, taking a stroll now and then – not healthy to sit down in front of the computer all day long, and reading a book – by now you must know that I enjoy reading and I need to read at least a book a day, it didn’t seem to be a Monday at all.
The only stressful moments were when Rex was barking hearing my daughter blowing her nose or sneezing. He always manages to puzzle me with his attitude: it is normal for him to sneeze, but it is not normal that someone else does the same. Could you see me shaking my head?
Anyway, believe me or not, I started writing this a while ago. Right now, I have to use two fingers only and it is difficult when you’re used to typing with all your fingers. Uncountable mistakes are made and I have to go back and correct all the time!
Besides that, about two hours ago I started my second book today and I really find it fascinating and I want to finish it before going to bed, if possible. That will keep me from thinking of the chores I haven’t done – not because I didn’t want to but because I couldn’t. (Okay, I’ll admit, it wasn’t like I was dying to do them. I am very lazy when it comes to such things and only thinking of what might crawl into the house if I don’t keep it spotless is the only encouragement I need).
Anyway, there is tomorrow and I hope nothing will crumble till tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to do it and if not, I am going to buy some surgical gloves and do it. It’s not like I could see the cat or the dog trying to do anything and my daughter is too sick to ask her to clean the kitchen for instance.
I will leave you and say good bye. The moon outside is covered in clouds in such a way that it looks like an owl. It’s fascinating! I am thinking to stay out on the balcony for a while. The temperature is over zero tonight - which is something else that amazes me. How can temperature be lower at noon than at night? Hmm?
Anyway, the important thing is that is not so cold that I cannot stay outside for a while. I wish you to feel warm wherever you are. I am sure that there are some places where the weather is much much much more frigid than here.
January 24, 2016
Good morning to everyone, wherever you are.
Do you enjoy cloudy winter days with no sunlight in sight? I doubt many would. Today, I did. It seemed appropriate and that not because I was depressed or sad or bored. I just enjoyed the day. Probably, because there was not too much bite in the wind and the air was just a bit brisk.
I have just seen a post a friend put on Facebook (I do surf on Facebook when I have time). She was longing for a snowstorm and she was stating that she would enjoy one from the warmth of her house.
Yes, that would be nice, but how much would she enjoy it, had she had to go to work in a snowstorm? And as luck has it, snowstorms mostly occur during the week providing poor TTC with a lot of challenges. A signal failure is the most common occurrence in such circumstances and that leads to hours of no service on the subway lines.
I have just seen a photo from New York – the article said the New-Yorkers abandoned the public transport and took out their skis. I really don’t know if it is true – I, personally, haven’t turned on my TV for over 6 years already, but it seemed funny. Funny because I was here and didn’t have to face such an extreme weather. I don’t suppose it was too funny for them.
But let’s move on. Weather is of no concern right now - for me at least. I even felt like taking a stroll several times today and I enjoyed the forest near my house. What I enjoyed most was that I didn’t even need my boots to do so. Shoes were enough.
The creek was frozen but lots of birds came out and I had the possibility to see some species I have never seen before.
I am a fanatic for nature, if you haven’t known that. Probably, it is because I trust wildlife more than my fellow human beings. At least I know that a hungry wolf would eat me but I am never sure how a smiling person would react in the end.
Of course, Rex didn’t enjoy the bird’s singing too much. I think he was picturing plates with roast birds and that’s why he was trying so hard to catch them.
Despite some small tribulations this has been a day full of contentment.
There was a little problem in the morning, though. Everybody in the house is sick: child, dog, cat, everyone. Now, I’ve done my best trying to soothe attitudes and lower fevers and so on.
This morning though, my daughter decided that the medication I provided was not efficient enough and I found myself watching her getting out of the door for the pharmacy.
Here, there is a huge chain of pharmacies named Shoppers Drugstore. Normally, these stores are open between 6 or 7 am to 12 am.
When she came back though, I found out that the store in our area is open only two hours on Sundays – I have never heard anything like that before. She got there exactly after the shop closed. So, we went back to Tylenol and chicken soup and orange juice.
I can’t say anyone is getting much rest around. There is so much sneezing and coughing and whining that you can’t imagine.
That always befuddled me. People can stand high pain – for instance a broken bone and they don’t carry around at all. However, when it comes to the common cold or the flu, it is like the end of the world is coming. And that’s valid for Rex too. He’s whimpering now and then but never when I say the magic words: let’s go out for a walk. Then, he is fit as ever. In conclusion, motivation is everything. It is important to find the right one, eh?
I wanted to finish some of the translations I started, but due to a little accident, my right hand is not in a very good working state – even this blog has not been easy to write; it’s been taking some time already.
Therefore, I’ve read my day away: it is not so difficult to turn pages by touching the corner of the tablet. A couple more hours, and I’ll have finished my second book today. What else can one ask?
It’s been not a bad day. The only unpleasant thing is that it was Sunday.
Tomorrow, a new week begins and I don’t really feel like it. However, if I don’t think of that, everything seems fine.
Let’s continue tomorrow. Hopefully, there won’t be any snowstorm, no matter how much some people would want one. I have to leave the house tomorrow and I don’t feel like waddling through a storm.
See you soon and stay warm if you have the bad luck to be in an area with snowstorms.
January 23, 2016
Good morning to everyone.
It’s been a long day or at least this is how I felt it because I have done lots of things and nothing in particular. It was one of those days when one thing leads to the other and somewhere at the back of your mind there’s the thought saying ‘I’d like to linger for a while, just doing nothing’.
Anyway, the day’s almost gone and it was full of sneezing all over the house as everyone is more or less sick after the adventure with the stubborn furnace that decided to take an unscheduled vacation for one night.
We do hope it was satisfied with that night off and it won’t repeat the experience again. It prompted two visits at the pharmacy already, one yesterday and one today because my daughter didn’t even bother to read the instructions on the bottle that said to take the coughing syrup maximum four times a day and took it six times a day.
The good news is that my voice is back – not entirely, to be honest, but I don’t sound as creepy as yesterday. I only speak like I’ve smoked at least two packets of cigarettes per day for the last ten years or so.
Today it’s been a very intellectual day. Right now, I know a lot about Japan’s history, much more than I expected and I had a lecture about the differences in women’s condition in the medieval times in Japan and Europe.
To be sure my eyes won’t cross because of so much information about customs and social taboos in the two geographic areas, my daughter also sparkled the discussion with a presentation of Einstein’s theory of relativity, which I ended with a very simple conclusion (which does not belong to me but to Einstein, of course): time is relative; someone waiting in front of a closed door at a washroom has the feeling that time flows with difficulty while for the one that has already managed to get in, time flows fast like it’d be a second.
She was so put out by my conclusion that she forgot all the other lectures she’d prepared for me. There is tomorrow though.
I have a pile of work on my desk (figuratively, of course, because actually everything is on my computer – we live in the era of technology and even though I tried hard to cling onto old habits, technology caught up with me).
However, I am a procrastinator and I kept pushing everything off with the promise that in an hour I’d start working. By the evening, I told myself it was weekend after all and if I wanted to keep reading a book, that’s what I should do. And that’s what I did.
Tomorrow, though, I do have to try to get something done. If I keep putting everything off, I will never manage to get through everything I have to do.
I’ll see tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow. I am sure the work won’t go away and it will be there when I get to it.
So, till tomorrow, may everything be fine in your life, wherever you are!
January 22, 2016
Good morning to everyone.
I was so lost in a book that I missed my deadline. It is already passed midnight now. Better later than never, eh?
After a very agitated night filled with nightmares, I had a delightful day. All night long I had dreams with my manager. In one of them she told me she didn’t need me anymore because she had one perfect employee (which befuddled me) and in the other she told me I had a new manager and presented me with a ferret as the manager. At least, the ferret was cute. I suppose I had all those dreams t because I took the day off yesterday.
I went to work today, however, I was sent home because I sounded creepy. I was told my voice was like the voice of a stalker that makes calls during the night to scare the hell out of people. I couldn’t contradict them. It was true.
So, I missed a second day at work but at least I had fun reading a very good book, checking stats on google analytics – it seems I became addicted to that.
I witnessed a war between two neighbors: one wanted to steal the cart the other one had parked in front of the house and he was caught red-handed. Not a problem, later on, I saw the would-be thief with his own cart.
He had visited Basic Foods and came home with the cart so that he could have one parked in front of his door as well. But he was smarter: he chained it to the house to be sure no one would steal it from him. I could understand him: after all, he knew very well what people could do and at what lengths they’d go to have a cart.
Half an hour ago, I went out with Rex for his last walk and we had two interesting encounters, both with raccoons.
The first one went quite well: they looked one to the other and then they turned around and left. The second encounter wasn’t so peaceful. The raccoon was hidden in a bush and started growling when Rex came near so my dog considered he had to pay in kind.
For a moment there, I was afraid I would get to the hospital this night for a rabies shoot. Luckily, I was spared. I hear they’re very painful and the wait in the hospital is long and atrocious during the week. I don’t even want to think how much you have to wait during the weekend.
Now, my mutt took his little teddy-bear in his mouth and runs all over the house whimpering. It is his habit. Whenever he filled his stomach or before going to bed, he has to do that for at least half an hour if not an hour.
It drives me crazy but in almost three years I learnt that nothing I’d say or do would make him stop and I have to wait till he drops because exhaustion. It’s like a baby with the pacifier. Sometimes I think I am too old for all of that. That’s why only young people have babies.
Anyway, it’s quite late, and besides everything I have already written nothing interesting happened. Maybe tomorrow, who knows? Till then, a nice Saturday to you all.
January 21, 2016
Good morning to Maria and Louis but also to my readers from the former Soviet Union. I thank you. As far as I can see, you are among the most loyal readers I have ever had. Whenever I see that you visited my blog again I cannot stop thinking of Pushkin, Chekov or Dostoyevsky – three of my favorite authors.
Imagine, this morning I woke up without a voice because it seems that our furnace failed us last night. My daughter’s cat was shivering so bad that she had to be covered with the comforter. My daughter had a sore throat and I could speak only in a whisper and that cost me a day at work as my job is to talk to people all day long.
I tried all remedies I remembered from my grandmother and finally, in the evening, I could speak above a whisper. Hopefully, tomorrow, my voice will be back in force. And also hopefully, the furnace will continue to work during the night as it did during the day.
This is a day when I was very proud of my nationals. I translated two stories in Romanian and put them on the Romanian side of the magazine and, in one day, I saw that one of the stories was read by 82 people and the other by 58.
It seems that Romanians’ affinity to literature has never ceased. They made me proud. Now, I have to work hard and translate the others. All my authors deserve to be read by as many as possible and now I am sure that my people back home will make them justice, so I do have an incentive to work harder on the translations.
Not being able to talk, I had a very peaceful day. If you read between the lines, you understand that it actually means it was a very boring day.
I am a talkative person. I like to communicate and I rarely have days when I prefer solitude and silence. Even Rex was quiet and good as if he had understood I couldn’t admonish him. I think he does a lot of things just to get a reaction out of me and probably today he realized he wouldn’t.
The last few days, I kept telling him that if I was not here or I didn’t wake up and he had to go, he could use the shower as it can be easily cleaned. The result was impressive: now, when he needs to go out, he goes into the shower and whines. When he did it the first time, I couldn’t believe my eyes and I couldn’t stop my laughter – not a good educational tool. Now, I know: I do have a smart mutt.
If only had he made peace with the stars and the moon! I think the neighbors are preparing my demise as every night around midnight he starts barking at the stars!
As I didn’t do too much but working on my computer and reading, I took Rex out for longer walks. Again I was surprised to see people leaving with their carts to do their shopping. Considering how many carts are around, I don’t know how Basic Foods is still in business.
Their idea has merit though: take the cart from your front door, go into the shop, fill it with what you need and go home. Maybe it is not very ethical but it is practical, I have to say. Probably that’s why I saw that the number of carts in the condominium increased.
Anyway, I don’t have anything interesting to say tonight. Boring day, as I have already told you!
The only thing that made the day livelier was my neighbor’s attempt to make her children go to school in the morning. It seems a real ordeal every day. Probably that’s why the smell of beer is so strong in that area.
Today, though, I heard her older son telling her that if she didn’t stop pestering him with that going to school, he would tell his teacher she abused him. She stopped trying to cajole them immediately. I wonder: is this a good educational thing?
I let you ponder this question – if you find the time, of course, and I will get back to my translation. I am pretty sure I will be more successful there than I am here.
Tomorrow it will be a new day and I will have a new voice and things will look better, I am sure!
January 20, 2016
Good morning to Maria and Louis (as they read this blog in the morning) and hello to everyone else, especially the ones that come almost every day and read everything.
I must say I am extremely delighted to see that some of you find what I say interesting or amusing. Even if you read it just because you’re looking for a way to pass the time, it’s all good. At least I know I’ve shared some of my thoughts with someone.
This was an interesting day for me. It was filled with everything. I had moments of joy, moments of sorrow, moments when I enjoyed my work but of course also moments when I felt like finding another line of work.
Who knows, one day I will win the lottery and I could choose whatever I want. I have the feeling that that day is close – every girl has a right to dream now, doesn’t she?
I had a chance to catch up with friends – over the phone, as I went out only with Rex. However, we talked about other times when life seemed free of responsibilities and the worse that could have happened was not to pass an exam.
Is it only my impression or truly old friends, the ones you’ve had a relationship for over 25 years for instance, are the best in the world? They know you, maybe not entirely, because we always keep something hidden inside us, but most of you. And you shared moments and those moments built the relationship more.
I always thought that people are the sum of their experiences and the thought crossed my mind today while recalling about stupid things or daring things I used to do way long in the past. No matter what, with all that comes the feeling of being alive but also the feeling that one can reach their goals only if they try.
I was amused by Rex’s antics with his huge pillow – three times his size. Anyway, size doesn’t matter always. He managed to wrestle with it and even carry it in his teeth and jump with it on the bed.
I also amused myself and Louis telling him about something my “sweet” little dog did yesterday. In a way it showed he is a very intelligent dog but on the other showed that males of all species have a tough time firing straight, no disrespect intended.
Things are going well. I even got a notice concerning royalties – considering how much I spent on advertising campaigns (whose result was zero, maybe even less than zero, mathematically speaking) and how much I got in royalties, an economist would tell me to forget about publishing and royalties.
However, I publish for my own pleasure and I never imagined I would get rich by cashing royalties. I know the winning lottery ticket is just around the corner. The question is that I have to find the right corner and everything will be fine afterwards. I can even travel and follow in Hemingway’s steps, minus the drinking, as I have no inclination for that whatsoever. Had I been younger, who knows! I had my wild years – not wild in the terms of nowadays world but wild all the same.
Now, till I have that winning ticket, I still have to do my job and anything else that crosses my mind. And as someone was remarking today even, too many projects cross my mind and too many ideas. The advice was to learn where to stop. That's something I have never learnt!
For the moment, goodbye, and see you tomorrow again!
January 19, 2016
Hello, there, wherever you are and whoever you are. And hello Maria and Louis as I know you’ll be reading this, only if not to have me ask you if you have.
It’s been a long day, not because I had too much to do – it seems that there is always a bit of idle time as I am a lazy person and I like to snatch a moment or two for my own comfort.
I always find time to read a book or to take a walk literally or figuratively – daydreaming is my favorite pastime.
Today, I can say I’ve done everything and I’ve found things to do only not to do what I was supposed to. It’s been a long day because it started at 7 am and hasn’t ended yet and I’m nearing midnight.
As I proposed myself to translate at least another story for the Romanian part of the magazine – thing that I kept postponing for the last week, I think my day will continue well after midnight.
I am aware it is never good to procrastinate but I always do that. I remember when I was working full time as a free-lance translator and I was working especially for companies that had to submit documents for tenders, my secretary used to tell the clients to give me a closer deadline than the real one – huh, she didn’t know I caught on that, but I did! It was clear that she was doing something behind my back – with good intentions I must admit but the result was the same. I would always wait till the last minute and then took an all-nighter to finish all. There have never been complaints, so I pulled it off, I’d say.
Anyway, I received a few complaints concerning my blog. Actually, my mum complains every day because the blog is in English and she doesn’t read too much in English but I find it too difficult and less proactive to write it in English and Romanian the same time.
One friend told me to ease off the weather thing – but really, weather represents a huge thing in my life. Thinking to take Rex out when it is freezing cold and knowing that after a little while I have to run back with him in my arms – he is small but anyway he weighs a bit, it is not a pleasant thought. The same friend told me my blogs are too long. Maybe, yes, but I find myself rambling one thing after another: and two or three pages add.
Another friend told me that Rex has become a bit of an annoying character. My poor little mutt! Well, most of my time I spend with him, especially if I work at home, and he entertains me a lot. Especially with his little quirks – by the way, for a moment there today I thought he overcame his fear of stairs. I went upstairs and left him downstairs. I went only to bring something down but he didn’t have the patience to wait and came after me. However, it was only one-time thing. He refused stubbornly to climb up the stairs afterwards. I had to carry him.
Another friend complained about the constant presence of TTC in my lines. Well, TTC is a very important side of my life. A trip to work might take me an hour – although once I had a trip of 2 hours and a half curtesy to TTC. Therefore, TTC must be part of my daily dealings if I go out.
Today, I didn’t travel, the weather was cold and Rex was funny and stubborn as usual. He made peace with the moon and the stars for the moment but who knows tomorrow night or when we go out on the balcony next time.
I got a few good pieces to read through the submission process at my magazine and I am really delighted the respective authors submitted them.
I drank more coffee than you could imagine – just because I could and I wanted to, and now I am quite wired I must say. However, I am sure I could sleep if I were to go to bed. But I have to finish my ramblings here and a translation afterwards and I simply have to finish the novella I started to read earlier today.
There will be tomorrow to chat with you more. See you soon!
January 18, 2016
Although it showed everywhere that the temperature would be either minus 10 (that in the subway stations) or minus 13 (that on my cell phone and tablet) I am definitely sure that it has been at least minus 15 and it felt like minus 20.
When we went out in the morning, Rex and I, after a long fight that tired me completely before leaving the house – as you already know Rex doesn’t take it too kind to getting dressed or to have the leash on, I felt like every breath would freeze my throat and the skin of my face would peel off in ribbons.
Of course, after not even 20 m, I found myself in the situation of picking him up and running towards home, as he had already stopped frozen, with one little paw up. He was looking at me with so much sadness that I felt like all the pains in the world dropped on him.
To give him a chance to take care of his morning ritual, I left the door to the yard open so that he could run out and inside without freezing and I decided, bravely, I may say, to have my morning coffee outside while talking over the phone with my mum.
I work at home some of the days of the week and not only for my regular job but also for my side job as an interpreter and Rex learnt that while I am on the phone, he must keep silent.
While I was talking to my mother, the neighbors decided to come outside and smoke. Now, I must tell you that Rex hates them with a passion – not that he loves any strangers, though, but there are some he simply ignores. Not these ones, though!
Of course, he wanted to bark to them, as he is prone to do whenever he sees them, but the problem was that he saw me on the phone. He came to me and started to push his head up and open his muzzle to let me know he had to bark but I pretended not to see – yes, I know, I was very mean. Anyway, he was so funny! He wanted so much to show his displeasure that those guys were out and he couldn’t! However, I appreciated that he managed not to bark even if he wanted to. I didn’t expect so much of control from him, especially because I never work in the yard and I thought he would see the difference.
After a while, he started running again, and again, he slid on the frozen snow – I haven’t cleaned the snow in the yard and I don’t think I will do it too soon (or ever). He tried to stop but ended with his little head in the fence again. I don’t think he was hurt as he came back and started playing with his ball and anyway, after having fallen on his head so many times and after the episode when he managed to strangle himself when he was a puppy (luckily I found him in the nick of time), I don’t really think that there’s something that could really hurt him.
He has learnt a lot from his mishaps. Now, he avoids certain things, and that keeps him safe. The problem is that if something happens, he never tries that thing again and that happened with the climbing of the stairs.
If up to last week he could climb up the stairs and I had to carry him only downstairs, now, after sliding down the first flight of stairs, he refuses to approach them anymore. To make him climb them, it is impossible. So, presently, I have to carry him downstairs but also upstairs. Luckily he is not very big.
After the rush in the morning, I had to turn into a mummy to go to work. At least, that’s how I felt after I got dressed.
The bus was fine, I cannot complain. However, the train had a little surprise for me: a fire alarm investigation at Eglinton station delayed the entire traffic on line one and I got to work late.
As Bloor St was not very clean – how I miss Quebec City sometimes, I couldn’t walk with usual speed and I got to my office only at 12:15. Luckily, tomorrow I work from home and I don’t have to repeat the trip!
The trip back home was much more adventurous. When I got to the subway station, it was effectively packed – either no train had passed by for a while, or suddenly everyone had decided to take a ride.
There were lots of young people – probably coming from college, I don’t know, but there were lots of them and they were so noisy, that I could feel my head starting to protest.
It was not possible to get onto the first train – I can’t stand the crowds and, besides that, I had the laptop with me and it gets quite heavy in the evening.
The second train came only after a long time. I checked the time showed by the station: three minutes. I had an entire conversation with my daughter for about ten minutes, before the train came. I think my cell phone shows a different time than the one of the TTC. There’s no other explanation.
Now, when the train came, I realized that the evening belonged to specialized trains: the first one was 80% students; the second one was 80% drunk people – for a Monday evening, that’s amazing! There were a few working people lost in the landscape.
After enjoying the lewd remarks of some of the majority population on the train, I managed to find a corner where I was protected by the loud music that a guy was listening to without using earphones. The music was much, much, much better than the words of the others and therefore, I decided to stick with it.
Then I had to take the bus – a never-ending trip! The bus was there when I got to the stop. I got on the bus, I even found a seat. The driver closed the doors - I thought he was going to drive away. Suddenly, he stopped the bus, opened the doors and left. He came back only after about five minutes – now the bus was completely packed.
I think the driver thought nobody would try to get on the bus at the following stops and he waited to drive a bus filled at entire capacity from the terminal stop. Unfortunately, he was wrong. There were lots of people waiting for the bus at the stops along the way. And some of them didn’t make it on the bus as the regulations say that no one can be beyond the white line. I do hope the next bus came soon – it was too cold to wait at the bus stop!
Anyway, it’s been a busy day but it’s 12 am right now and I have to post this blog.
We’ll try again tomorrow and maybe I’ll be able to share more.
January 17, 2016
Finally, by the middle of the morning I finished with the grueling work I had to do during the last few days and suddenly, when the engine stopped, I found myself drifting. I knew I had to find something to do, and something that possibly didn’t involve the computer or the phone.
By that time, I had already had the morning walk with Rex, and as the weather was mild – then, we took the walk in the woods, which in the end turned out to be a very bad idea as there were patches of ice long and wide – you couldn’t find a safe place to step for nothing in the world.
I am sure we made a quite funny show, both of us sliding this way and that, trying to keep our balance. Had Rex fallen, the distance to the ground for him, wouldn’t have been too long, but had I fallen, then I’d have really felt the drop – the distance is a bit longer for the fall, my body mass and gravitation would have interacted and believe me, I’d have really felt the fall. Plus, there’s always that fear lurking somewhere at the edges of my mind, that I would twist my ankle or worse, and no one would be able to help me.
Rex has a very strict policy: no one gets close to me, and the allowed distance is half a meter in his good days. People that tried to dispute his policy on distance in the past met with unfortunate results.
Luckily we made it safe back home and I continued with my work till I finished with everything. I breathed deeply for a few moments and then a question aroused: what now?
I felt a bit lost not having to do something. I could choose and that turned into a conundrum as I’d have liked to do a lot of things but I didn’t know which one to do first.
In the end, I did a little of everything: I read a little, I played with the dog, I did some housework (that not by choice but by necessity) and of course I verified my blog. Oh, bother, no comment left! That clearly means you didn’t like it at all. Well, I will have to think of writing something else.
Let’s see if you like the following piece. It is the beginning of another novel named: Double-Edged.
Maybe this time I hear from you so that I know which one to continue.
She was sitting in the lobby with a magazine in her lap, pretending to be lost in an article. She was wearing a huge blue slouch-hat that was covering half of her face, perfectly matching the short summer dress exposing her long and tanned legs, and a pair of big black sun-glasses that made her look like Audrey Hepburn in Charade.
Hidden behind the lens her eyes were actually watching the people coming to the front desk carefully. She had already arranged with the young man from the front desk to give her a sign when the person of interest would come. He was supposed to raise his hand, like he’d say “just one moment”, and then turn away.
Two couples came by and they took their keys so she didn’t bother with them anymore. Finally, a tall, dark man came to the front desk and spoke to the clerk. This one nodded, raised his hand, the sign they pre-arranged, and then took a bag from behind the counter and handed it to him. The man took it and then turned around, his eyes brushing over the people in the lobby.
She imagined he wasn’t too impressed with her because after looking at her from head to toe, taking his time when he got to her legs, he turned and went towards the elevators with no worry in the world.
As always, her senses perceived nothing clear and that annoyed her a little. This was the first person in the world she couldn’t read at all. She imagined that at least in his presence, being so close, something would come up, but apparently, she was wrong. He was completely opaque to her vision and that increased her frustration.
When she couldn’t see him anymore, she stood up and put the magazine on the table next to her and walked slowly towards the front desk herself. The young man smiled at her with a little more than the professional smile he showed everyone. She figured it was the effect of the huge tip she’d given him a little while before but somehow she knew she was a little wrong.
He actually enjoyed the game and imagined all sorts of scenarios in his head. Her hat and big sunglasses, as well as the vague clandestine air of the affair he was involved in, made him feel like something special was happening in his life.
“I’ll be leaving this afternoon, I think. I won’t be waiting till morning. Of course, I will pay for tonight, no worries,” she said smiling apologetically to the young man full of hope.
She could bet he was hoping something more would follow but it was only one scene to be played, and that had already ended. She got what she had come for and the game was finished.
“We’re very sorry you’re leaving, ma’am. Didn’t you like your suite?”
“Oh, yes, don’t worry. But I’ve already rented a house on the beach and I was thinking to profit from it right now, you know. There’s the sea and a pool just for me… Would you mind preparing my bill till I get back downstairs with my luggage?”
“No, of course, it will be ready when you come back,” the man said and rushed to the computer to prepare the bill.
She left the lobby going towards the elevators and pressed the button. Deep in her thoughts, she didn’t notice the man behind the column watching her, although she could feel the fine hair on her neck straight up. She didn’t have any idea that he could have caught the words she exchanged with the clerk and as she had already decided to end that chapter of her life, she tried not to think of him anymore.
She went to her suite and in less then ten minutes she was already downstairs. As she hadn’t bothered to unpack that morning when she came, she didn’t have too much to do to gather her things.
She paid her bill and asked the valet to bring her rented car in front. It was a small car, nothing fancy, something just good to get around. The valet had lowered the top of the car and only that little gesture made her smile and feel that her vacation had begun.
Then he put the only suitcase she had in the trunk and the bag with the laptop in the back seat of the car. She gave him a banknote together with a big smile, which really made the young boy’s day.
Once in the car she turned the key in the ignition and turned on her navigation system inputting the address she was looking for.
Then she took the hat off and shook her head letting her hair falling over her shoulders in curly waves. It had the colour of the honey with a few shades of red here and there and it was shiny in the light of the afternoon sun.
She was feeling relieved. Now things had to go back to normal. No more restlessness and unanswered questions. The life she knew so well was back. It was the life she wanted, where control was in her hands and where she could know beforehand where she stood with the people around.
She drove her car off the driving alley of the hotel and got onto the road towards the beach without noticing that a little behind her a black SUV was pulling out, following her.
She was driving steadily, without rush. She knew the house would be there when she’d get there. She was on vacation after all and what she had to do was over.
Now there was only the sun, the ocean and she, lying on the beach, swimming in the pool in the evening, far from the world and far from anything that would have tormented her mind and her feelings.
Somehow it had been nice to have those feelings that made her unease. It had been nice the restlessness they brought with them. But it was nicer to be yourself, to pace yourself without trying to figure out things that couldn’t be figured out.
The trip was not long. Within fifteen minutes she stopped in front of a bungalow right on the edge of the beach. She drove under the shelter improvised for a car and put up the top.
She got out of the car and breathed in the salty air of the sea. The breeze was playing in her hair and she felt a short jolt of pleasure.
She took out her suitcase from the truck and reaching in the back of the car, she took out her laptop. Then she let herself into the house and closed the door behind.
The interior was everything she had been expecting. It was vivid and warm the same time. The furniture was light in the living room and consisted mostly in osier.
She put her laptop on the little coffee table and looked for the bedroom. She had to climb a few stairs to get there but she was pleased with what she saw. The light of the sun was bringing up the yellow of the walls and the brick-colored cover of the bed. It was intimate and she felt she could find her peace of mind in there. She had connected with the house. Now, she could be part of it.
She left the suitcase on the floor next to the bed and, without bothering to change the designer dress she had on, she decided to go on the patio that faced the sea at the back of the house.
She poured herself a glass of wine in her way out and she took her cell phone out. She knew a call had to come. She went outside where she found a few osier armchairs and a round table covered by a big colorful umbrella.
On the sand, beyond the patio there were two deck chairs ready for her when she wanted to sunbath, right on the edge of the pool. And just a little farther, maybe a two–minute stroll, there were the waves of the sea.
She put the glass and the cell phone on the table and sat on one of the armchairs, raising her legs on another.
She closed her eyes for a few seconds and let her mind wander, with no precise aim. She only wanted to shudder away the impressions of that day, to leave them behind in the past where they belonged. She had seen what she had come to see and she didn’t want to think about that anymore.
Then the phone rang. Reluctantly she looked at the display. As always, it showed private number. She made a naughty grimace – that one that made her look so young despite her years, and answered.
“Kate, it’s you, sweetheart?”
“Yes, it’s me, of course,” she said trying to cover a growl growing in her throat.
There were moments like that when she simply loathed that word: sweetheart. She wasn’t able to read sincerity or insincerity in his words, and that drove her crazy. She could not understand for one second why he was the only person she had ever got in touch with that she couldn’t define.
“Thank you, my love, I got it. You are fantastic!”
His voice was low and hoarse and seemed pouring something itchy on her skin. She could feel every nervous termination getting excited.
“Of course, I am,” she thought, “fantastically stupid, maybe!” but she said: “Then everything is all right, yes?”
“Yes, my dear. You sound so close now, usually I cannot hear you so well,” he wondered.
“Probably you’ve got a good line,” she replied.
Of course, he could hear her better. They were in the same town, but, she wasn’t about to tell him that.
“Now everything we’ll be all right. I’ll finish everything here and come to you!”
“Don’t hurry on my account!”
“What do you mean?” he asked with the same tone he had whenever he wanted to show her he was angry. There was a lower tone in his voice and a hint of more authority.
“I mean I might have to leave for a while. Family problems, you know. Of course, my phone won’t work outside the country. I’ll call you when I can, all right?”
He didn’t answer anything for a while.
“Are you still there?” she asked.
“Yes, I am. I am here. And when I say here, that means here,” the reply came angrily, and then she heard footsteps on the veranda surrounding the house and he came in sight shutting down his phone.
January 16, 2016
It’s been a very, very, very long day and because of having slept only two hours and a half last night, I have been like in a permanent fog.
As you already know, last night I had to launch the first issue of our magazine and after working on a beautiful format for days, I was suddenly confronted with the limitations of a website building.
Not only couldn’t I use what I prepared, but it refused to let me upload anything for a couple of hours and brought me to desperation laced with a very black fury.
Finally, I found out what the problem was, after chatting for over half an hour with the guys from technical support: the stories were too long and I could upload them only a few paragraphs at a time and after doing so, I had also to format everything again because the website didn’t accept the format I worked on.
All right, then, I did what I was told. Exhausting and time-consuming work, however, I was determined to have everything up and running at 4 am Eastern time, as promised. My daughter would tell you: have I given my word, I will keep it no matter what.
To have everything up the same time, I scheduled all the stories to be published at 4:00 am. I finished at about 3:30 and I went to bed initially, but I couldn’t sleep. I was afraid that something might have gone wrong and finally at 4:10, I decided to go on line and see the finite product.
I was in shock. First of all, not even the order the website had decided upon was there, but the worst, there were stories and poems missing. I couldn’t find them.
I went back on the building side of the site to see what was going on. After two more hours – my mind was mush already, that’s why it took me so long, I think, I discovered that actually there was a button at the end of each page and if you clicked on that, you could find the missing pieces.
It was already over seven when I calmed down and went to bed again, thinking I would sleep a bit.
Then, the emails started – my phone lets me know when I have an email and I forgot to put it on silent. Almost all of them were saying the same thing: I cannot find my story or my poem.
I realized that they had the same problem I had during the night. I told them to click on previous and then went to bed but I couldn’t sleep. It bothered me that people had to go through all that hassle.
Then, I had an idea: I’d create categories. That would make it easier to find stories or poems. So, I forgot about sleeping and went back to work.
I was very satisfied with what I managed to do in the end, and decided I’d forget about sleeping and go out to solve other pressing matters.
So, after a very cold shower – no warm water came, and, please, don’t ask why, because I don’t really know, I left wearing light clothing, as it was quite pleasant outside.
On the bus, almost when I got to the subway station, I realized I had forgotten my bank card at home. I was hunting without ammunition. So, I got off the bus, crossed the street to the stop on the opposite side and waited for a bus to take me home so that I could take my card.
That was the start of my day. Everything evolved accordingly afterwards: wherever I went, it was closed, or the person I was looking for was not there. Worse, it got colder and colder and I got to the point where I was freezing. No problem, after about an hour or so of freezing, I got warm again: apparently fever started looming over me. That’s what I was missing.
I made a short stop at a Romanian shop on my way home and when I left there, it started raining. That was the cherry on top.
I finally got home, made a few corrections on the site because one of the categories was holding only one short story and the others were nowhere in sight.
No matter what I tried, that category didn’t show any more stories, even though on the building side of the site, it did. Therefore, I created a new one and put all the missing ones there. Not a work of high finesse, but I was already bordering on the desperation side.
And, then, blissfully, I slept for two hours. I am not 100% and I am pretty sure only tomorrow I will be but at least I managed to finish my blog with only about 10 minutes delay.
I do hope, I won’t be so annoying tomorrow, though.
Here I am again! However, I have nothing interesting to say and my humor took off and left for a short vacation only, or at least that's what I hope. It''s been one of those days when nothing went well and if something had a chance to go wrong, then it took it.
Therefore, I imagine you wouldn't like to here about the hassles I've been through, as each of us has worries and problems and you've come on this blog to evade a bit not to be charged negatively.
So, not to bore you with insignificant matters, I decided to present you with a sample of the novel I am working at. I jumped over the prologue and went directly with chapter 1 so that you could make an idea.
By the way, I'd welcome comments - positive but also negative. It would help a lot.
So here it is, sample of "EYES IN THE DARK".
The night was dark and thick and the air was heavy with the smell of the mimosas surrounding the house. She breathed deeply and closed her eyes just for one moment to let the sounds of the night invade her and calm her restlessness. It was cool but bearable.
Although she knew she was supposed to be alone out there at the small ranch house, she had the feeling that someone was watching her. The fine hair at the nape of her head felt electrified, and, for the first time in her life, she felt lonely and frightened the same time and she disliked her weakness deeply.
Nevertheless, she was living far from the usual roads, too far. Before, she’d never imagined she wouldn’t be able to live there, only by herself, without being surrounded by legions of people and the cacophony of noises in the big city.
Since the death of her aunt, a few months before, she’d been thinking of moving out of the town she disliked immensely and making a life there in the middle of nowhere.
She had done it in the end, but she’d never imagined, not even for a second, that she could feel loneliness so deep and that the sounds in the night could be so scary.
Trying to ease some of her aches, she leaned against the pillar of the porch, watching the stars powdering the sky above her.
She’d longed for them in the heart of the big city, whose sky was always covered in smoke and dust. Now, they winked at her and she smiled inside, enjoying the moment as a young child discovering a marvel for the first time.
For a few instants, she let her mind float towards the clear sky and find peace in the movement of the few clouds sailing across the expanse of the horizon. She relaxed and her fingers started caressing the pillar made of old pines, witnesses of a few generations before her.
She started wildly as the rough voice woke her up from her dreams. Her heart started beating so fast as if it had wanted to jump out of her chest and lie at her feet. Old fears invaded her mind again.
The voice had come from the left side of the yard where there were lots of bushes and tall trees. The night and thickness of the foliage hindered the view and she couldn’t see too much there. She only had the impression of a tall shadow in the dark.
At first, she had the thought of making the man believe she could be dangerous so he’d leave her alone.
“I’ve got a gun, right here,” she said. “And I know to use it!” she continued in a shrilling voice, as fear strangled her.
She could hear him laugh loudly and she felt hundreds of itches on her skin, realizing he hadn’t believed her. For a flitting moment, she regretted not having started those defense classes she’d been thinking about back then when she was living in the city but now it was too late.
“Yeah, I bet you do!” he uttered laughing even louder. “Sweetheart,” he drawled, honey dripping from his words, betraying a specific southern accent, “I’m sure you can shoot me if you want to, but I doubt you do. However, I want only a bit of help for one night, two the tops,” he lied through his teeth.
Fear stepped aside and anger took its place, climbing up to her lips as she felt the biting irony in his words. He was mocking her and she couldn’t forgive that.
“Town is in that direction,” she showed him, waving to the left. “There you can find all the help you want,” she added in clipped words. “There’s nothing here for you!”
“I don’t feel like going into the town now. I’ve walked too much. My car broke a few miles down that road and I need a place to stay. I think I like this one,” he said equally, coming closer and getting into the spot of light from the veranda.
“How dare you?” she managed to push through her tight lips, anger and fear almost suffocating her.
He was tall, too tall for her taste. Had he been shorter, she’d have had a chance but like this, she was afraid that she had none. He had a lot of pounds more and was built like a fighter.
“Be a good Christian, girl,” he said with a laughing derision. “You won’t let a poor man outside in the night thinking he is lonely, cold and hungry, will you now?”
“You could bet I would!” she said with more conviction than she felt, trying to parrot his earlier expression.
She didn’t want him believe that his words would move her as if she’d been a simpleton. The time when people used to open their doors to strangers was gone and, anyway, she was a city girl. That habit was far from her, as far as the moon.
He came closer and reaching the stairs of the verandah watched her with smiling eyes. His eyes tried to play the innocent and pure soul he wanted to present to her, but she could read toughness behind his easygoing smile and that made her think he was far from what he wanted her to believe.
The man was built like the rangers she’d read about. Over six feet tall, he could look at her from the same level, even though he was at the foot of the stairs, and his shoulders were broad enough to carry her if he felt like it.
She knew she had to do something and she cursed her urge to admire the night. Had she been inside, at least, she’d have had a door between that bear of a man and her, even though she doubted the locked door would have made any difference if he had wanted to invite himself inside.
“Come on, Missy, don’t be a bitch,” he tried to cajole her. “I need only one bed for the night and I promise it won’t be yours,” he tried to persuade her with a friendly smile but she could see that his smile never reached his eyes.
His eyes were two black arrows trained on her, surveying her every movement. Chips of ice were sparkling inside the irises.
She felt his sarcasm crawling on her skin and his attitude scared her more because she couldn’t guess what his game was.
It was clear that she was in disadvantage and she couldn’t have defended herself from him if she had to.
“Are you crazy or what?” she manage to spit back.
“Or what, I think,” he softly answered back.
“How could you imagine I would let you sleep in the house?” she said furiously, as if she wanted to spit on him and be done with him.
“All right, then your barn, what do you say? You can lock your doors at night, and tomorrow we’ll speak more. What do you say? To me it seems like a good trade.”
She thought that a locked door wouldn’t stop him if he had wanted to get inside. However, to end the discussion, she had to accept the offer he had made and hope he’d keep to the barn. It was the only wise thing to do and she couldn’t hope to get a better offer.
“Go to the barn and wait for me,” she said. “I’ll bring you some blankets so you won’t feel the cold of the night. Okay?”
He smiled again, this time showing her two rows of perfect big white teeth that made her think of a wolf in front of its prey, and then he bowed mockingly, turning around and going towards the barn erected on one side of the big yard.
She heard the noise when the door of the barn opened – it was a bit rusty as she hadn’t had any use of it, and then she ran inside and locked the door behind her. It was a futile gesture at least, she was aware of that, but she needed the blanket of pretended security for a moment at least.
She knew she had to go out there with the blankets she’d promised to him and to bring him some food to avoid his coming to the house to ask for it, but she couldn’t make her feet move. The connection between her brain and her feet had gone missing.
Finally, the fear aroused by the thought that he’d come back, made her able to force her feet to move and with shaking hands, she took two blankets from the cupboard in the hall upstairs.
Then, after raiding the kitchen and preparing three huge sandwiches and taking a can of soda, she went to the front door, with her heart beating faster and faster. She was so scared that she could have jumped out of her skin.
Before opening the door, she watched out carefully and saw that the light in the barn was on but she couldn’t see anything else. Hopefully, he’d been waiting for her there. She had nothing but hope right then. She knew she could have called the police but by the time they’d made it there, she could have been fodder for the vultures.
She opened the door and went out in the dark. With fast steps, she reached the door of the barn and shouted: “Mister, are you there?”
Suddenly the door of the barn opened with a screech, making her start jumping back a few steps, and screaming surprised.
“Have I started you?” he asked mildly, as if the answer hadn’t been of any importance.
“What do you think?” she frowned at him and made a grimace. “Here are your blankets,” she said angrily for having showed weakness and shoved the blankets to him with force.
After she’d almost thrown the blankets to him, she turned back forgetting about the food she had in her hand. She caught a glimpse of a brow hitching up sardonically. He was eyeing the sandwiches and then she realized she had forgotten to give him his food. She felt like throwing everything to him but schooled herself in handing him the food calmly and only then she turned around and left the barn in a hurry.
“Good night to you too,” he said ironically to her back, bursting into a healthy laughter afterwards, aware that her imagination had run wild and that’s why she was behaving like a scared doe.
She mumbled a few choice words she wasn’t supposed to know and hearing her, he laughed even louder, his laughter conveying that he was quite pleased with the situation and that he was enjoying her colorful vocabulary.
Furiously, she left the barn in a hurry, but not without noticing the man’s scent of musk first and something like a butterfly fluttered in her stomach making her aware of things she’d preferred not to know.
She refused to dwell on the weird sensation and tried to focus on her fury. Impotence to retaliate made her ready to scream in anger.
She almost ran to the house making haste to put distance between her and the giant, and getting inside, she locked the door behind, breathing with relief when she heard the lock clicking in place.
She gave up drinking her usual cup of tea before going to bed and she went directly upstairs on shaky legs. That was the delayed effect of her fear.
She changed in her pajamas, even though it took her sometime as her fingers were trembling so hard that she couldn’t button the blouse, and went to bed.
The noise of the birds in the night made her anxious and she’d never been anxious before. She could imagine that the man in the barn was the cause for everything new she was experiencing that night.
She had the acute sensation that nothing would be as simple as before and she could not explain why she was feeling like something was supposed to happen.
She fell asleep late in the night, tired by thoughts and by fears she couldn’t even name.
The morning was young, just at dawn, when he went out of the barn and found the water pump in the yard.
He stretched at first, to appease the aches in his shoulders, and then took off his shirt not showing any modesty, thinking that it didn’t really matter to him if she was watching. He was not shy and he could afford to offer her a show for free. It would have been his way to pay her back for making him to sleep in the barn.
He counted on making her pay dearly for her mistrust, although deep down he was aware that she had the right of it, as no woman with a few neurons in her brain would have accepted an unknown man in her house at night.
However, he was pricked. Damn it! It wasn’t as if he’d looked like a bandit. He even thought he’d had a good appearance.
It was true that he’d had to march for hours although he intended to be there in the afternoon. But the damn car broke and he couldn’t do anything about it. The battery finally expired and couldn’t be revived anymore.
He’d been dusty and sweaty, but he’d made a long way from the other end of the country to that God forgotten place and he’d even worn his best pair of jeans and his favorite shirt.
While he was washing his neck and strong muscular arms, she was watching from behind of the curtain, her eyes roaming the expanse of his back. She knew he’d woken up.
Maybe it had been the sound of the barn door opening or maybe his steps in the yard or maybe the water flowing from the pump. Nevertheless, she’d woken up and gone to the window and now she was watching him with a shadow of lust inside that she refused to name. Her mouth had never watered seeing a handsome body before. It seemed that there was always a first time for everything.
His arms were sculptural and his chest was large and covered with dark hair that now was glistening with the water drops. She felt a huge rush of passing her fingers through the thick hair and then, shaking her head she thought: “Damn it! What are you thinking?”
She left the window and entered the bathroom for a long shower, to wash away any dirty desire for the man she’d locked outside the night before.
She let the water beat her body and punish her for the thoughts she’d had. Then, choosing a modest t-shirt and a pair of jeans, which had seen better times, she went downstairs and unlocked the front door.
He was there, rubbing his skin with a rough towel he had taken from the backpack he’d had with him the night before.
She tried hard to take her eyes from his chest. Damn! Why was she obsessed with that chest? Only then she said loudly:
“If you want some breakfast, you may come in!”
Then, turning her back to him, as if he’d been of no consequence, she went inside and headed to the kitchen.
He didn’t move his eyes trained on her behind snuggled in the tight frayed jeans, imagining she’d put them to chase any desire away of him but, as it would always happen, desire ran deeper and stronger than she could have thought.
The jeans might have been old and their color might have washed long ago, but they looked perfect on her, like a second skin, and the moves he was witnessing were more than he could bear. The lower part of his body was already giving signs of brutal awakening.
Smiling ruthlessly, in derision for himself, he finished rubbing his body and put the t-shirt on and then he also went into the house, following the noises in order to get to the kitchen. When he got into the kitchen, the smell of the food had already filled the room, and his hunger started climbing its way up and making him feel as if he could eat everything she was cooking on the old stove.
“People usually say “Good Morning” or at least “Hi” when they see each other in the morning,” he said calmly with a conversational voice, leaning on the jamb of the door, his legs crossed at the ankles.
“Maybe they do, but I don’t have time for niceties, especially with you,” she threw over her shoulder keeping busy at the stove.
“Oh, really? And what important things do you have to do that you can’t pay the slightest courtesy to a guest?”
She made a grimace and thanked God he could not see her face. Courtesy, indeed! To a guest! Like she had invited him! But she didn’t know what to say.
Actually, she should have worked for her next exhibition but she couldn’t find inspiration at all so, for the moment, she was doing nothing special.
She had already finished with the cleaning of the ranch house. That was why she’d been exhausted the day before. Now, she would listen to music, read a book or simply admire the nature around. She’ll find something.
However, she wouldn’t tell him that.
“Things,” she replied shortly, unfriendly, trying to end the subject.
“What kind of things?” he insisted, making her roll her eyes with exasperation.
He was like a terrier with a bone in his teeth. His jaw was stubbornly set and it was obvious he wouldn’t let go.
“Various,” she replied without showing any particular interest in him.
She had the worrying feeling that if he didn’t leave sooner, he’d drive her mad. Turning to him with the pan in her hand, she put the omelet on his plate and snapped at him angrily:
“Eat and leave!”
“Nice manners, I have to say,” he drawled his words without backing down.
He didn’t seem affected by her rude treatment. If she were to guess, she’d say that he had the time of his life. She couldn’t understand why.
“What’s wrong with you?” she gave up and asked watching him astonished. “Don’t you feel when you’re not wanted?”
“Oh, yes, I do, don’t worry. It’s not like you haven’t made all the possible effort to let me know where you stand. The problem is that wanted or not, I have to stay here,” he said sitting down and taking some of the eggs she had prepared for him with his fork.
“What on Earth do you mean?” she asked him completely stunned this time.
She didn’t even know how she could utter the question as she was so stunned that almost all her thoughts had frozen in her mind. She couldn’t believe her ears. He had simply stated he had to stay there as if her wishes had been inconsequential.
“It’s simple, dear! I have to stay here. Haven’t you read your aunt’s will?”
She couldn’t say a thing or think anything for a few seconds. She was just looking at him as if he’d suddenly sprung a new head.
“Not very attentively,” she admitted muttering. “But I think I am sure that I am the only one who inherited this house.”
“Yes, indeed, you are. But it was something else there too. She asked that you share the house with me for at least two years. That was the condition attached to your ownership. I am the one who takes care of the property for two years, until you decide that you really want to be here or not.”
Her eyes went so round that he was afraid they’d burst. The next moment, she rushed from the table and he could hear her getting noisily into the next room and opening a drawer.
He smiled satisfied hearing the sound of the papers shuffled around and turned one after the other. He knew that what he had just said was true and he couldn’t imagine how she hadn’t seen it by then.
However, the reasons of him being there were a bit more complicated than what he’d told her.
It was not about her decision of staying or leaving but about her protection and about finding the truth. He had to pay some things back to some people and the late old woman made it easier for him stipulating her last wishes.
At those thoughts, his smile changed and became like a real sneer. There were things he couldn’t forget or forgive. Payback was a given.
When he heard her sighing loudly and the drawer slammed, he composed an indifferent face and started to eat again.
She came back like a real fury and she leaned over him:
“What the hell is this? Why is she doing this to me?”
“She’s doing? Dear, she’s already done it,” he said continuing to eat as if he hadn’t been concerned about anything.
“You know what I mean. Damn it, I’m too furious to think!” she snapped starting to pace.
“Are you? Then, sit down and eat!” he said calmly, pushing the plate with eggs in front of her. “Maybe that will help your thinking process.”
“I’m not in the mood to eat anymore,” she snapped back. “Do you think I can eat knowing that a stranger is going to share the house with me?... And not any stranger, but you…,” she sputtered.
“Why not? You can’t do anything, can you? The will is extremely clear, if I am not wrong. It is ironclad. You can’t change a thing.”
She didn’t reply. She started thinking ferociously trying to find a way out, but there was no way out: the will was very clear and she couldn’t do anything to change it. She could only be at his mercy. That made another thought pop in her head:
“What would it take to make you leave for good and leave me alone, hmm?”
“I won’t leave, so sit down and eat,” he said always calm, very matter-of-fact, no expression showing on his face.
She had almost shouted at him like a banshee, losing the thin shreds of control she had over her temper.
“Why can’t you be a reasonable boy?” she asked meanly.
He raised his eyebrow hearing her calling him a boy and his features became sterner.
“Okay, a reasonable man, then,” she said quickly trying to appease him. She needed his consent after all so it wouldn’t do to alienate him.
“I am reasonable. I am reasonable because I don’t intend to let the judge know of your pathetic try to make me leave. It sounded like a bribe, didn’t it?”
“You are the worst…” she started but he stopped her with a brief gesture.
“I wouldn’t continue if I were you. I’ve already finished eating, so I’m going to wash my plate, so that you can’t complain that you are the only one working here,” he made fun of her, taking his plate and going to the sink.
She sighed again, and her temper pricked again, she took her fork and threw it towards him hitting him straight in the middle of his back. When he turned his head to her, she froze. His eyes weren’t just calm anymore.
They were icy like a very cold winter day that chilled her to the bones.
He turned completely towards her and watched her long, weighing her, as if he couldn’t believe his eyes. It was as if he’d seen that unmated force in her for the first time.
He could have sworn she was just a little pretty thing that had no resources for real anger and now he realized he’d been entirely wrong. He sighed inside, and then said mildly:
“What the hell is wrong with you?”
“There’s nothing wrong with me, besides you, of course,” she replied. “I haven’t asked for a house mate, have I now?”
He had to admit she was right in her fury and that she had all the reasons to feel cheated and even put with her back to a wall, but he didn’t say it out loud. It wouldn’t have been a good move. She’d have thought she had the upper hand and he couldn’t afford that.
“Okay, sweetheart, let’s settle this down,” he said walking towards her with measured steps.
He could see sparkles of anger in her eyes. She clearly didn’t like to be called “sweetheart”. He simply smiled and that made her much more furious.
“There’s nothing to settle down. You simply have to leave. That’s all!” she pointed out tapping her foot to the floor the same time.
“Now, you know I can’t do that, don’t you? I’d like to respect the old woman’s wish. You should too. After all, she was your aunt not mine.”
He could hear her teeth grinding and could have sworn she’d liked to throw him as far as possible. But he wasn’t there to leave. There was some unfinished business to be dealt with and he didn’t have the intention to let a pretty face get in the way even if he commiserated with her and understood perfectly well how it was to feel powerless at the whims of the fate.
“So, how do you see this problem?” she managed to utter after a few moments of silence.
“As it is: I will live here for the next two years, whether you like it or not. You choose what bedroom I take. I am not so whimsy so I can sleep in any of them. Keep in mind, the barn is out of question. My mother raised a gentleman not a farm boy.”
She snorted at that and looked at him coldly but didn’t make any effort to reply back at first. Then she said:
"I doubt it.”
“What?” he asked frowning because he had a good guess what she was talking about.
“I doubt the part with the gentleman,” she said and then stood up and went towards the kitchen door.
“Hey, you, where are you going?” he hurried after her, afraid that she might have wanted to run away.
“Hey, you?” she turned back angrily, suddenly feeling sick of his way of talking to her.
“Till we make the introductions, I’ll call you like that!” he said coldly even if there was a twinge of guilt over the fact that for reaching his own goals he had to trample all over hers.
That was the moment she realized she didn’t even know his name or where he came from and actually nothing at all. He was just a stranger and she was supposed to share the house with him and implicitly her life because she doubted she could lead a completely separate life with someone else in the house.
“Yes, we skipped that,” she admitted thoughtfully. “The conversation was too fascinating, don’t you think?” she asked ironically.
A grin appeared on his lips, relieved that, at least she had a sense of humor. He was glad to see that side of her knowing it might be less boring to live with her than he’d expected. That was the only aspect he dreaded in that affair.
“So, sweetheart, what’s your name, by the way?” he asked leaning with his hip on the table. His arms were crossed on his chest, like if he wanted to keep her at bay.
“Diane and not sweetheart, so don’t call me that anymore!” she retorted meanly.
“Okay, not a problem, baby!” he said smiling not only with his lips but also with his eyes.
He had the pleasure to see her clenching her fists hearing the new term of endearment he used.
“Damn it, man, I am not your baby! Is it clear?”
“Clear, don’t worry! I will try not to say it again,” he replied laughing now. “I’m Stephen for you,” he continued.
“For me? Does that mean you have several names you use?”
“It depends on the case,” he admitted, “but at least, you have the chance to use the real one. Isn’t it something?” he asked mockingly, a playful light dancing in his dark pupils.
“Oh, stop making me favors! I can live without,” she snapped stopping out of the room with her back a straight arrow.
“I’m sure you can,” he said to himself as she was leaving the room.
It's been a chaotic day.
I am still working on the issue I have to launch in the morning and I cannot find a moment to write my blog.
Therefore, I decided to share with you something that happened to me almost 10 years ago in Quebec City and that amused me immensely.
I will share the facts with you exactly as I put them on the paper in 2007.
I am at the front desk of the hotel where I work as a night auditor when he comes in. My colleague that works the reception desk hasn’t even looked at him at the beginning.
He is a man in his fifties, with salt and pepper hair, whose clothes do not match the hotel’s standards, an idea that does not bother him at all because he has got other things in his mind now and all these things seem quite overwhelming. Actually, he does not seem to have cared about anyway.
He comes from somewhere in the north and from what he mutters, you can understand that he knows only a few things: work, drink, weather and his woman, and exactly in this order. Oh, yes, his woman, waiting for him, who always waits for him - a thing that has never ceased to amaze him. He never could imagine why she was waiting. When they were young, that had some sense. Now, he had few things to offer and not the things a woman would want. Anyway, he has never cared too much about her needs. Between his work and his drinking, he had too little time to spare on her side and too little inclination to find some more. What to talk about or what to do together?
He comes out into the lobby, wobbling, looking wistfully at the small quantity of liquid left in the bottle he has got in his hand. At first, he shakes the bottle as if he couldn’t believe his eyes – the liquid has disappeared too fast, damn it, and, then, he shakes his head muttering bitterly: “Damn it, all bars are closed already! What am I going to drink now? Damn city! A man can’t have any fun in this town! I should have been more careful and bought more!”
Pure sadness almost brings some tears in his eyes and his lips becomes thinner and tight. If anyone had looked at him, they would have thought that hard problems were trying him cruelly – maybe some life and death matters.
Suddenly, with a start, through the steams of his drunkenness, he discovers that he has also got a more pressing problem for the moment and after some consideration upon it, he gets determined to solve it out and reaches the front desk where, with decision, despite his leaning against the counter – he needs some support, you know, because his head is spinning, and his legs are not as steady as they used to be i, he asks the young man behind the counter, in a very polite manner, if he could help him.
The young lad, who’s reading a book, looks up and watches him with a badly hidden curiosity at first – he rarely had such a bizarre guest in the hotel, and only afterwards, he can utter a few words:
“I don’t know, sir! Could you tell me in what matter? I’ll do my best” he promises as if he is about to take an oath in front of the court. He sounds solemn and a bit ridiculous but he doesn’t seem aware of that at all.
His job is to answer his customers’ needs and he wants to keep his job. After all, he’s got an apartment to pay rent for and he needs some food now and then - not very often, as he discovered after a few months of misery. His salary cannot pay for everything and he does not have any chance – at least for the moment – to gain more.
“Oh, of course!” the old man replies his questions promptly and hits his front as he has just discovered something very important.
Actually, he has just remembered what he wanted to say. While he was taking his few steps to the counter, he has already forgotten what he wanted to talk about. “Damn age!” he thinks. “When I was younger, I didn’t use to forget anything!”
However, he pushes these thoughts far in his mind for later and, leaning better against the counter, with a measured voice, because he cannot speak quite properly if he hurries, he tries to explain what he has been thinking of: “
You know, I’ve been drinking … for the last three…. or maybe two days…”
His face shows a real struggle to get the correct answer but he doesn’t seem to be too close to it. With a grimace, waving his hand, he gives up and continues:
“I’m not very sure how many days… whatever, I’m not very sure that anyone could tell me how many days…., and I don’t think this is too important…. but, you see…., the problem is that ….I don’t know where I parked my car!” he bursts with his last forces.
The receptionist starts inside but his eyes show nothing. After all, he had been trained to deal with unexpected matters for one year in college and he knows that he always has to be at the height of his task. Smiling, he shakes his head as if it were very natural not to know where you’ve parked your car and says respectfully:
“I suppose you’ve driven to our hotel, sir, haven’t you?”
“Oh, no!” the old man waves his hand again, blowing up the hopes of the young man.
Things are not going to be too easy for him. He growls inside, deep inside, but keeps smiling, showing that, no matter what, he has the answer hidden in the sleeve of his outfit.
Then, the old man tries to explain some facts that seem quite simple for him. He even has some hard time seeing that the lad in front of him doesn’t catch simple facts.
“You see…, I started drinking to another hotel a few nights ago… Don’t ask me which because I can’t tell you which hotel…. You see, I don’t remember right now…. However, I was too drunk to drive so I called a cab…. Smart thing, don’t you think?” he smiles showing some small teeth and his smile says more than his words. “That’s the thing. I think the cab driver knows where my car is… I have the number of the cab”, he concludes satisfied with himself and very sure on his words.
He starts checking the pockets of his trousers to find the number of the cab. He is trying hard to find it and finally he takes out a piece of paper with a number written on it.
The young man looks at him silently for a few moments, trying to find a way to get out of the situation, but he finds nothing outstanding and then he says the only thing at hand:
“Yes, sir, no problem! I’m going to call the cab company. You will talk to them and they might help you!”
Then, I can see clearly that he continues in his mind: “If they can do it or want to do it, but I honestly doubt! If anyone comes with such a story to me, I’d send him walk away!” Actually, that's what crossed my mind as well.
Keeping a professional smile on his face, trying to seem as understandable as possible, he dials the number of the cab company and then waits for someone to answer the phone.
Meanwhile he watches the man in front of him noticing everything with a lot of accuracy, as I realized later when he attacked the subject with me.
He notices the man is in his fifties and, the most interesting thing for him, he is wearing a nice old sweater eaten up by moths. There are even some very large holes in the material. Someone could try to pass their fist through the holes. He could say, without doubt, that the sweater in question had seen better times before but a very long, long time before. The sweater had been washed so many times that the colors fainted completely. The same patina of time could be seen in every detail of the old man, even in the color of his hair and in the wrinkles on his face.
Finally, someone from the cab company answers the phone. The lad sighs unwillingly but he has just felt his lips were going to crack completely because of the forced smile he showed to the old man all that time.
“Hello, sir!,” he says to the man who picked up, “I’m the receptionist of the hotel “Bellevue” and I have a client here who claims that one of your drivers brought him here two days ago. He has the number of the car and he needs some information.”
“Which is the driver’s number, please?”
“Which is the number of the driver, sir?” he asks the client who is about to fall down, even though he tries hard to lean against the counter. The steams of drunkenness have invaded his brains completely and he can barely see through a thick fog. He starts because he has already forgotten what he was doing, but then, pulling up together, he says:
“05, it’s written here!” he shows a small visit card to the receptionist after he’s been trying to blink his eyes to see what’s written on the paper. “He gave it to me after he left me here.”
The young man nods as if he understood perfectly and repeats everything to the man at the other end of the line.
“I’m sorry”, this one replies, “but number 05 is free today. Call back tomorrow and we will be able to reach him”.
The receptionist tells that to the client but this one loses his gentle and nice smile at once and says a bit angrily:
“Pass me the phone! Damn it! I’m going to settle this matter.”
The young man doesn’t argue with him and gives him the receiver, relieved he doesn’t have to speak to the dispatcher any more. The old man starts a fast conversation with the taxi dispatcher and he seasons his conversation with large gestures and exclamations, meanwhile wobbling.
However, the dispatcher doesn’t give up and apparently explains him that his arguments are not useful. He cannot contact the driver till the next day. Finally, the old man gives up and says bye putting the receiver in the hook.
He bows to the receptionist and then goes to the front door with some difficulty in keeping the straight line, and he looks outside through the window of the door. Then, he goes out.
The receptionist breaths relieved and sits down again. He opens his book and starts reading about the amazing German spy who made the entire west to tremble. Unfortunately, he doesn’t manage to read too much. He gets completely tense when the old guy comes back and says:
“Young man, be kind, and call the cab company again!”
The young man smiles professionally and nods, but in his mind, he starts checking the arsenal of all the swear-words he knows. He discovers that he has managed to find over five till the dispatcher answers the phone.
“Good for me!” he thinks.
“Hotel Bellevue, again! Our client wants to speak to you again, sir!” says he having the satisfaction of hearing a deep sigh at the other end of the line. Why should he have had to suffer alone? It is always better to have company when it comes to pain, no matter what kind of pain.
He passes the receiver to the client and keeps smiling while watching out of the window. His eyes go round seeing the snow has just started and the curtain of snowflakes seems to steal his sight. He’s calming down little by little and listens to the conversation with only one ear. He is not interested in it at all because he knows the outcome. If the driver is not at work, the dispatcher won’t look for him.
He is right. He sees the old man putting the phone in the hook with total resignation on his face. Suddenly, he feels sorry for him. Old man’s eyes are wit and he seems an open person and even though he has forgotten of stopping drinking, he doesn’t deserve the trouble he’s been through. There are a lot of people drinking out there. Even he drinks now and then, maybe quite often and he doesn’t drink only a bit. He drinks quite a lot. He has the feeling it is fun.
The old man wobbles to the door and gets out leaving the receptionist with his interesting book. The lad doesn’t even offer him a thought after his leaving. He’s too busy doing nothing and having fun.
After a long while, the man comes back, radiant and happy. Victorious, he says:
“I’ve found it! I’ve spent over 100 dollars but I’ve found it! I’ve asked a cab driver to drive me in circles with larger diameter around this hotel and I found it. Now I finally can go to bed! I can sleep because I have peace of mind!” he ends in a crescendo and leaves the hotel, with the same bottle in his hand.
This final move leaves the young receptionist speechless and, not being even aware of what he is doing, he watches to the front door of the hotel and back to the corridor where the room of the old man is. But God knows where this one is actually gone!
My poor colleague was able to talk about that only after another half an hour.
Hopefully, you'll enjoy this story. Tomorrow evening, I will be back on track.
January 13, 2016
Once I heard someone saying that what we love, we learn to hate as well. Love and hate are two facets of the same coin. Today, I became a believer.
I am a very enthusiastic person when I start a project and I always do my best to carry everything out. I hate not being able to keep my word to myself first of all and then to the others.
One of my volunteer editors told me one day that my enthusiasm is contagious and that’s why I manage to drag people into achieving my projects and that’s perfectly plausible. I always managed to reach my goals if I tried enough, and if something seemed important to me, of course, I did my best.
However, sometimes you feel like enough is enough and you’d like to throw everything out of the window.
For instance, today, after working hard to prepare the first issue of our literary magazine for over 12 hours, I feel like this project, so dear to me, for which I made lots of efforts, has become my lethal enemy. For the last hour, I’ve been asking myself who pushed me into getting involved in such a highly time-consuming activity.
I can’t even look at my computer anymore – and to think I still have to write my blog and tomorrow I still have to get back to finish the issue for Friday, which would probably mean at least 12 hours more! Not to mention that my chair turned into a torture device, in spite of its plush pillow.
Even Rex is looking at me confused. He knows I spend a lot of time with my computer, as a norm, but today, even his patience has run out, not that he has too much patience to begin with. Even when he expects a treat, after managing with lots of efforts to be good – it doesn’t seem to be in his nature to listen – he takes the required siting position but his front paws stomp as if he were a bad-tempered horse.
Right now, he’s lost the remnants of his patience and he’s just started to jump all over me, without caring that I still do need to write today. I don’t really understand what he wants because it’s been only half an hour since we went out and before that he’s had his dinner. I suppose he got bored as I couldn’t pay enough attention to him today.
I started extremely enthusiastic early in the morning after a fast walk – or better said run, with my dog outside in a freezing morning air. I don’t usually wear gloves – most specifically because no gloves resist more than a day or two. I lose them all the time. At least I am consequent in my habits.
However, it was so cold this morning that I decided to wear a pair of gloves. That simply shocked my dog. In his mind, gloves are just for playing – I can see a glove here and there all the time. I don’t know where he finds them.
However, considering gloves as toys, he tried to snatch them out of my hands, which is not a very pleasant thing. Not always he’s aware that his teeth should stay away of my skin. No worries, though, he didn’t even touch my fingers, but the first meters of our walk were extremely awkward with him jumping up to reach the gloves and steal them.
One thing bothers me though: it’s beyond my understanding why he freezes while walking outside but he never freezes when he runs in the yard.
Probably the pavement is colder than the snow in the yard, I don’t know, however, during the last few days, every walk ends with me snatching up the dog and running with him into the house to warm him up. Thank God, he’s on the small side. Had it been a big dog, I’d be in crutches by now.
However, to understand how dire the circumstances are, I have to tell you I haven’t even dared to go to the kitchen and take something to eat. Not because I couldn’t eat while working, but I don’t want to see the sorry state my kitchen must be in right now, as my daughter was the only one who took care of the food part. She brought me some and it is enough.
Tomorrow evening, when I finish with everything – hopefully, I will have to go and see what’s going on there. I imagine it would be necessary to dedicate a few hours of hard work in the kitchen as well.
Meanwhile, besides taking the mutt out, I don’t get out of my bedroom – I have everything I need in here: en-suite shower, a corner for my desk, the balcony to take air… All in all, it is not such a bad deal.
What troubles me is the fact that I’ve become painfully aware that the time has passed. A few years back, I could work even 72 hours without a break and sleep 12 hours afterwards and feel completely invigorated, ready to start a new work marathon.
Now, I’ve actually been working for about 14 hours, with three breaks to walk the dog, and I feel like a cloth very well wrung and the bed beacons to me with audacity.
That’s the bad side of having the office in one alcove of the bedroom. You can see the bed and it is so inviting sometimes that it makes you feel more tired than before your eyes stole to it.
Anyway, my mind is already mush and nothing special happened today as I was cooped here for hours and hours, and I would be really mean continuing to ramble around and bore you to death.
There’s another day tomorrow. I have another chance to annoy you. I think I’ll take it and say good bye right now.
January 12 2016
This morning I opened my balcony door to a fluff of snow. There were already a few centimeters and it was still snowing. I was on the phone with my mother at the time and she asked me if I was thinking of cleaning the snow away. Luckily, she couldn’t see my grimace but she heard the definite “no” I uttered, thinking that the snow will go away by itself.
I could have lied, she couldn’t check being an ocean and a continent away but she might have talked with my daughter and she never lies, even if it means to contradict me. However, I was right: half of that snow was gone by evening. Now, it might get back with the storm raging outside.
I love watching the snowfall but only if I am in a doorway or better at a window, enjoying the show from the warmth of my house.
I don’t like to travel through snow, though, especially because I know that snow is enemy number one for Toronto Transit (the city transport company). Whenever it snows, there is a reason for slower speeds for the train or signal failure and for missing buses and longer waiting times at bus stops.
I lived in Quebec City for a while and winter there is serious – or at least, it used to be when I was there. I could always count on very lower temperatures in winter and therefore I would wear two pair of pants all winter, and the winds were very harsh.
There was so much snow that by February, the roads were lined with little hills of snow. However, no matter how bad it snowed, the roads were promptly cleared – even the smallest streets or lanes. There was no negative impact on transport and if the schedule said that the bus would come at 7:06, I knew I’d better be at the stop by then or I’d miss my bus. They were as prompt as Swiss clocks.
Another lovely thing in Quebec City was predictability. It was winter, and that meant the temperature was always hovering between minus 15 and minus 20, and adding the wind factor, would go down ten more degrees. My body adjusted well and I didn’t have even a mild cough or a case of sniffing.
Now, when I came to Toronto – ironically, in the middle of winter, it seemed a strange winter. In Bucharest, there was more snow than here, and my coat seemed too heavy for the paltry negative temperatures, which occasionally appeared, because the temperature was mostly over zero, and my boots seemed real overkill. At the beginning of March, I could go out only in a business suit without fearing getting a chill.
For quite a few years, six in fact, I wore boots in winter maybe two or three days per season and I forgot my heavy coat in the closet. A simple jacket sufficed.
The temperature has always played havoc with my immunity system. It would change a few times a day and differences were notable, not a degree or two. The first two years, I, very well known for not having sporting a cold in years, got sick every single month, even in summer. It was extremely frustrating and I would threaten to move back to Quebec City at least once a week.
Suddenly, last year, temperatures rivaled the ones in Quebec City and there were people grumbling saying that Yukon was boasting much milder temperatures and were thinking to move house there.
I was in a rush to buy serious boots, my shoes had already been ruined being surprised by snow on my way home from work one afternoon – and I loved those shoes dearly: it was no hardship to wear them at all and that on long distances.
At the time, I had had made a habit on going to work on foot and return on foot, about six kilometers and a half one way, and I didn’t feel the slightest discomfort.
Of course, the change in weather, the extremely low temperatures – you had the feeling that your skin would fall off your face the moment you stepped out, made me forget about my new healthy lifestyle and got back to the tribulations of the public transport. As result, I was one of the people that would leave for work in morning, not very sure that we’d get there in due time but I also put on some pounds, and none of the two made me happy.
Another thing to consider is that Toronto always had a real trouble in cleaning the streets. If the main arteries are cleaned quite often, the smaller streets are not in such luck.
I remember when I came here at the beginning, people from other provinces would make fun every time it snowed more than one centimeter, asking if the city had already called the army to clean the streets. I cannot say that I have ever witnessed that, but I can say that I was a bit disappointed to see that even one or two centimeters of snow would cause trouble in traffic, after I had seen how efficiently they dealt with everything in Quebec City.
However, puffy fresh snow is always a real treat for Rex. He’d be able to run around in the snow for hours, as if all the neurons in his brain had gone AWOL.
Up to now, he had to run only on a leash because I would not trust him without. I tried a few days, when he was younger, and he got very close at being run over by cars, so, after three such incidents, we stopped (I was sure his luck would run out) and he went out only on a short leash.
This is the first year he’d been enjoying a yard for himself.
The interesting thing was that he considered that the yard was not long enough, and he would prolong his run with the length of the living room, bringing lots of snow inside by the time I noticed what he’d been doing.
My living room was boasting patches of snow everywhere, on the floorboards and on the carpet and it seemed he also included the sofa in his running because there were wet patches and the imprint of his paws all over it. Considering the fact that my sofa is light beige, imagine how beautiful it looks now.
I was thinking of changing it soon, however, now I think I’d wait till winter is over. It is not like I’d have hordes of visitors around, what with the schedule I keep and with Rex that doesn’t let anyone get close to me: the required distance is at least one meter – more distressing is the fact that he is very fond of this requirement even for family when they come to visit.
Right now it seems that a storm has broken out and the wind is trying to gain entrance in my house.
I loved my door to the balcony when I moved in, now I loathe it. I always worry that the door would give in and I would freeze over the night. And the cracking and squeaking seem to drive Rex crazy and it is a lot of noise going on. If I do manage to string comprehensible sentences in this post, it means I do have huge concentration power, but I truly doubt it.
Tomorrow I will start a new stage in one of my projects. I founded a literary magazine together with four other people who volunteered to help me choose the right works to be published. Our magazine got registered by National Collections and Archives Canada last week and on Friday, the first issue will appear. But for that, the next two days I have to work on format and editing. I know it is a lot of work, especially for a beginner, but I can’t wait. In the past, I managed a newspaper, but I didn’t deal directly with the formatting part. So, this is a new challenge. If you’re curious to see the result, look onto www.scarletleafreview.com on Friday. The first issue should be there on 15th.
Anyway, I will be back tomorrow and let you know if I managed to do something or I simply pulled my hair out.
January 11 2016
I realized that with every single day I have become more and more Canadian. Weather has become my main concern and topic of conversation, especially during the cold season.
This morning, breathe froze in my throat the moment I went out with Rex. It was like an icy fist that struck me powerfully in my chest.
We managed to walk maybe 200 meters only and after that, I had to take him up in my arms and run home with him: he’d frozen. He remained with one little paw in the air and couldn’t move anymore. His eyes were looking at me with so much distress that I knew I had to be as fast as possible to get him back inside so that he could warm up.
I wasn’t very happy about going out again to get to work as I had to bundle up and I felt like a robot, moving with difficulty, weighted down by all the heavy clothes and the bag with the laptop.
Every step seemed a punishment and when I realized I was effectively puffing I straightened my back horrified that I got to that point.
Thankfully, the trip to work wasn’t too awful. The bus came on time and it wasn’t very full. I even managed to find a seat – the trip is long and with the added weight it is a real problem to travel standing, holding a bar.
It’s true that I had to ask a lady to move her stroller a little to the side, as she occupied three seats, blocking them with her stroller.
However, I had a seat and I had only to put up with the stroller coming over my legs every time the bus braked. The lady in questions hadn’t bothered to block the wheels and didn’t care too much that the wheels would dirty my dress pants.
I didn’t complain though: I understood she was put off by my request to use one of the seats she had already procured for her personal use.
I was lucky enough with the subway. If line two wasn’t working at all – it seemed that there was a signal problem - my line was running just fine. Everybody around me sighed relieved when they heard that the signal problem was for line two.
Whenever a signal problem occurs, the wait is long, sometimes over one hour. It is longer than when we have suspicion of fire in a station or tunnel or an emergency on the train.
It was a funny moment when they announced us that due to track conditions, for safety, the train would have a lower speed than normal for a while, but instead it started getting more velocity.
I think they had their announcements mixed up. Besides that, they also forgot the communication speakers on and we had the chance to hear the bawdy discussion between two of the employees: one of them seemed to have had a very interesting night before and confided everything to the other one like it was a secret.
Well, the cat was out of the bag. An entire train was privy to his confessions. At the beginning of the conversation, for a few moments, I could see confusion on the faces of my fellow travelers and afterwards amusement hit us.
I spied a guy with a huge white scarf around his neck having a cup of coffee. He was amazing: not even a drop fell on his scarf. I cannot drink coffee having half of my face and the neck covered. That the coffee would go on the scarf, it is a certainty. Maybe, I am just too clumsy, who knows.
Monday morning, people have a specific look. You could see long faces all around, tiredness, like they’d partied all night. On Tuesday, the faces seem to become perkier and on Wednesday, they are back to normal. Now, on Friday, you could see two types of faces: long ones, tired, like they are just a hair from collapsing, or, the opposite, happy faces, advertising the weekend, which for most would start later in the afternoon.
It is interesting to look around, although not everybody does it. Most of people just try to keep to themselves, avoiding eye contact. The frantic reading of the advertising material on the train’s walls is one of the ways not to look at anyone directly.
Now, talking about advertising, it is beyond my understanding why all posters show huge smiles, and when I say huge, I mean huge mouths with huge teeth, held in forced smiles that never reach the eye of the poster’s subject. I understand such advertising for toothpaste or a dental office. However, I don’t understand it for other things.
It seems that shallowness reached most of the corners of our life. Showing big and straight white teeth is more important than the message carried by a poster.
I prefer to see a real smile or none at all. I can see when someone smiles only because it became the norm but they actually have no wish of smiling at me. It feels creepy. Or maybe it is just me and everyone else is comfortable with these false smiles.
Anyway, today, I have to cut it short as I have a little emergency in the house. I will come tomorrow with a vengeance.
So, see you tomorrow.
January 10 2016
January 10 was not a funny day at all.
It started with heavy rains – it seemed like the flood was coming. I tried to get out on my balcony with my coffee and the rain drops were so large that splashed in my coffee and the coffee spilled over my hand. Luckily, it had already cooled down by then as I couldn’t drink it immediately after I had made it. Sometimes bad things happen with a purpose and actually help you more than you could imagine.
Heavy rain meant no real walk for Rex too and he didn’t take it too kindly. He was antsy all morning and insisted in going out several times only to run back inside.
When he finally couldn’t wait anymore, we went in the yard – he did; I stayed nicely sheltered in the doorway. Now, finding himself in the yard, he tried to outrun the rain and, because of the mud, he skid to the other side of the yard in one long slide and finished his ride with his little head right in the fence.
Imagine, he was not very happy about that either and expressed his deep dissatisfaction by barking at the offending fence for a few minutes. I let him be – I didn’t feel like going out in the rain to intervene in his conversation and I know very well that yelling never helped. Besides that, he had the right of it – he was the injured party after all.
The afternoon was something else, though. Suddenly, the temperature dropped dramatically and a snow storm started.
I wouldn’t have minded the snow but the winds were so high that I was sure that the door from my balcony would give in in the end. Even now, there’s a strong wind and sometimes the gushes are so strong that it feels like the house would be taken away. It is a wood house, as most in this country. I lived through storms like that back home but with the brick houses, the feeling is not the same.
I only hope that the door will withstand everything tonight, and I won’t find myself frozen in the middle of the night, especially as I am not a handy person and I wouldn’t know how to fix it even if I’d turn into an iceman (or should I say ice-woman?).
The tragedy is that my mutt considers that the wind is his number one enemy tonight, followed by the stars, which he could see when he went out on the terrace, and then by the planes that are still taking off from Pearson airport in spite of the harsh natural elements. At least his list is very well organized, although it changes almost every day. Hadn't been for the incessant barking, everything would be funny.
The morning rain turned into ice in the evening and going out, before they cleaned the paths, was a real adventure, and not one without danger, either. I am completely blue on one part of my body (I won’t mention here which) however the bruise is extensive and it makes it difficult to sit in front of the computer.
Now, the problem is that in everything I do – my day job, my side projects and so on, I have to seat down in front of my laptop and that makes it less funny.
I feel like taking a week-vacation from everything (and fly to Cuba – that would be a hoot!) but unfortunately, that's not a possibility in my agenda: too many things to do and all of them with a specific deadline. This will prove to be a lesson in tenacity, I think.
Right now, I am stuck with winter, and I have to confess that I felt rugged only after ten minutes in the wind. You know, that makes me think of my age.
I remember, in the past, once, I had to walk 12 km through a snow storm and I made it just fine. Hadn’t been for the howling of the wolves that sounded quite near, I wouldn’t have complained too much.
Now, without wolves, and only after 10 minutes, I am like a wrung cloth. I don’t think it is fair. As long as the spirit is young, the body should keep up. It feels like a betrayal: to feel like dancing the marathon and be in crutches (well, that’s an exaggeration – I am springy enough, not for an entire marathon, I am sure, but I am up for half of it).
Truly, this has been a day that brought back many memories. I was stuck in my personal bubble with interactions only through email – some of them quite pleasant, but not all of them – and I had time to think back: to my last trip to ski – I broke my ankle before even managing to put my skis on, to the days spent digging through the snow to make tunnels and build an igloo (it happened only once, but it was one of the funniest winters I have ever lived – I think that the fact that school was postponed for a week counted as well).
Now, I don’t like the harshness of the weather – my bones are in full protest right now, the dog hates the wind and the cat oscillates between being fascinated and being scared. Only my daughter hopes that it would get worse: thus she won’t have to go to school tomorrow. I have to go to work, even if she apparently thinks that I could choose and stay at home.
Let’s skip over. The weather is depressive enough and I don’t feel like getting into philosophical matters and discussing things like: where have I gone wrong?
I will not dwell on anything wrong. Life is good, as it is, and trials are there to make one stronger. I, for one, am good enough at taking everything in stride and making the best of all.
Today, it was a day of work (boring work, moreover) and tribulations. I know I have had the bad luck to fall because of the ice, but it was not as bad as some of the falls I had last year.
Once, after I had just bought a coffee from Tim Hortons, I was hurrying to cross the street to get to my office, and the traffic lights were about to change. I didn’t even make it to the crossing markings. A patch of ice sneaked on me and I went down, the coffee went up and ahead and landed right on the front coat of a well-dressed man. Luckily, he was also a well-educated man. He didn’t yell, swear or unlashed at me but he even helped me up. Of course, that didn’t make me feel less guilty for his pretty coat – even if coffee doesn’t stain (or does it? – I really don’t know).
What I know is that tomorrow something new will come up and I won’t be stuck in not having subjects for my blog and I will stop boring the brave ones that are still reading it.
So, I am waiting for the day to come and I do hope I’ll manage to get to work without falling down – I will have to carry the company’s laptop with me and I wouldn’t be too happy if something happened to it.
Fingers crossed! All of you! Then surely everything will be all right.
It seems that again there is a technical problem with the site and the post for January 10 appears after the one for January 9. I apologize for the inconvenience and I hope to find the answer to the question "WHY?" tomorrow.
January 9 2016
After a long night of rain, by ten in the morning, the sky cleared enough that allowed us to take a longer walk in the woods. Saturdays and Sundays are days when we take advantage of the hours that must not be scheduled as rigorously as during the week.
Walking in the woods is always an adventure both for Rex and for me. He is excited of everything that moves around – even if it is only a leaf blown by the wind, and as I know him very well, I can’t allow him to run berserk all over the place as he likes. Every single walk represents an exercise of endurance and patience.
Unfortunately, we have only part of the woods for us to wander as he stubbornly refuses to crosses the bridge to the other side. It is not a whim, as I thought at the beginning, but a full blown phobia. Nothing can make him put one paw on the bridge: no cajoling, no treats and no threats. That’s a lost battle. Anyway, this side is all right as well. It seems tempting to see the other as well but one must do with what they are given.
What I like best about Canada is that I can see lots of wildlife. There are squirrels of all possible colors: grey and reddish and black, the black ones being the meanest of the lot. Today, though, I saw one that was black and had half of the tail grey and the other half reddish. It was quite a sight! I also saw chipmunks. At night I had a chance to see a skunk and raccoons greet you from almost every garbage can during the night.
Today, I saw a possum. Initially, it appeared to be a cat frozen on the trunk of a tree, however, it seemed impossible. To see a cat frozen in that position, the temperature should have been well under minus 30 degrees and right now the weather reminds of the late fall days.
Anyway, human nature pushes us to go and look whenever a disaster strikes or an accident happens, even if we’re skittish about that. That’s why, I think, I had to take a closer look. When I got closer, I saw it was a possum playing dead. Vertically on a tree! Funny idea, don’t you think? As soon as we moved away, I could see it moving its paws slowly and then its head. It was just fine, doing what the possums know best: protecting themselves by playing dead.
I am pretty sure that was the culminant point of my day as for me this Saturday was an administrative day, meaning mostly housework – which I hate deeply but unfortunately it is a necessity because one needs clean clothes and I, specifically, can’t stand certain insects, which means I need to have a spotless kitchen first of all. Besides laundry and cleaning, I didn’t do much, and for sure I didn’t take the Christmas tree out. It can stay for at least another week. It doesn’t bother me and covers part of the French doors to the yard so I don’t have to pull the curtains anymore. All in all a definite advantage, I’d say.
The other part of my administrative work was to write agreements, and not one or two but tens of them! And I haven’t finished yet! Thinking that I have to continue tomorrow makes me cover my head with a blanket and stay there for at least a month!
I have to confess I had a 5 hour break, though. I went to a meeting dedicating to understanding dogs behavior and I took my daughter with me. An hour and a half – that was the meeting, turned into a five hour shopping trip for trifles.
I should have known, though. It is impossible to go downtown with my daughter without getting into a shop. At least now, we have enough spices and hot chocolate and honey to last us for a while. I’d like to see her live with only those next week! We haven’t bought anything that could be cooked, at least to compliment the spices we bought.
The good thing is that the meeting with the dog behaviorist helped me a lot and everything is crystal clear right now in my mind now. Rex’s behavior is explained: he is actually a mutant. None of the usual dog’s behaviors apply to him. You can’t even imagine how much peace of mind this revelation brought to me. Now, I can say without doubt that not my lacking in training is the problem but the fact that I have a dog that cannot be labeled under any category.
I always loved uniqueness. The more unique someone is, the more I like it. It was a given that this was the perfect dog for me. He fits right there in my chaotic life and with the crazy cat and my stubborn daughter. This is the perfect household, I think. Everybody must come first and I look from somewhere from the line.
Anyway, it was a very boring day for me and I don’t think it is necessary to annoy you as well. I am sure you can find better things to do with your time right now. Tomorrow, I am sure it will be better.
January 8, 2016
A new day, new goals, new expectations!
Well, it’s been a new day for sure. I have also established goals throughout the day but, one by one, they have been pushed away, for later in the day, and now it’s over eleven pm and I have only a few lines to show for myself.
Anyway, goals change along the way as well as the expectations. If you’re flexible, at least you can keep a good morale, a good mood and you get upset less.
I am sure you know well how my first hours of the morning evolved, if you read previous posts, and evidently, I don’t want to annoy anyone repeating myself. My mornings are predictable like clockwork. Deviations from the preset actions are few and nothing is more annoying than rehearsing the same things all the time.
Now, in spite of waking up earlier than usual, I still managed to be late in my preparations to go to work, so I had to leave with my hair still wet from the shower - not something new for me, either, as I have a hate relationship with the hairdryer.
In summer, it is quite pleasant to feel the breeze through the strands of hair and that also helps to have a free dry-blow. The final result is almost the same as the one for which you have to pay at least $30 plus tip in a beauty salon.
In winter, though, it is not the same. The cold wind leading to a much lower temperature than expected doesn’t make the trip to work very pleasant; especially when you wait for a bus that should come every 6 or 7 minutes, and that actually comes after you waited about 20 minutes in the wind.
Anyway, it was not so bad today. At least, my hair didn’t freeze. I remember that last year, when we had constantly very low temperatures (in my opinion the lowest possible, but I have been living in Toronto for only eight years), once, leaving with my hair wet as usual, in about minus twenty degrees, I got to the bus stop and there was a guy.
Honestly, that had been the first time in my life when I saw someone so shocked that their eyes were bulging out of their sockets and their mouth effectively dropped.
He was staring at me with so much horror that for a moment I thought I forgot to put all my clothes on. Checking discreetly that I did have the pants on, I realized that he was actually looking at my hair.
I thought the wind simply disheveled it and decided to pat it in place. When I reached up, I found icicles. I tried to flatten one, and it simply broke. That made me think it wouldn’t be a good idea to continue with my ministrations, not if I wanted to have some hair left.
I took out my tablet to check my new hairdo in the screen and I must say that the result was both shockingly horrifying and interesting. I think I saw once something similar at a fashion show in Milan. The difference was that my hairdo was really sculpted in ice while that one was created with gels and other chemicals. I congratulated myself for the natural look and deep down I hoped my hair would get back to normal before getting to work and it did.
I think experiences enrich life, and I always welcome new experiences, as long as the results are not devastating. Having an icy hairdo is not a tragedy but something that teaches you valuable lessons: never go out with a wet hair in the dead of winter. Now, it is too bad that I seldom learn from such valuable teachings.
The subway trip made me think again that a train actually is like a small world in itself. You can see all type of people, all type of behaviors and you can hear conversations from mundane to shocking. Most people try to read or sleep, everybody tries to avoid the others. People usually try to watch the others from the corner of the eye. And now and then, you see one person or a couple trying to take selfies. I still haven’t got the meaning of a selfie on the subway but as I saw that people take selfies in other strange places, like a washroom, I stopped thinking too much of that.
I saw a video today with a subway train in Japan. People were organized in lines, waiting patiently for the passengers to get off the train, everybody waiting for their turn. I felt the yellow taste of envy. Here, the moment the doors open, everybody tries to get in. There are some polite people that try to wait for the others to come out first, but they are the ones left behind.
Anyway, today the subway train wasn’t so packed and people were calmer, maybe because of the hour. It was nearing to lunch time and not so many people travel at that hour or at least not so many as between eight and nine when you have the feeling you turned into a sardine stuffed in a can to salter in your own juices.
Now, I understand people may be hungry and they need to eat. It might not be pleasant for the ones around but I can live with it.
I remember once I saw a young lady that first took a seat. Afterwards, she took a container with vegetables out of her backpack, then she took out a bottle of dressing and poured dressing over the vegetables, with very measured gestures. After she finished with the dressing, she took out another container with some pieces of cheese. She spread the cheese all over the vegetables, always with very careful gestures. Closing that container and returning it in her backpack, she took out a little bag with peanuts and threw a few over the other ingredients. She almost counted the peanuts. Always, calmly, she replaced the peanut bag in her backpack to take out some raisins. She was more generous with the raisins than she’d been with the peanuts. After she finished adding all the ingredients, she closed the container and started shaking it, for better results, I think, and only then she started eating her salad. It was an interesting process, I didn’t mind. Actually, it was mesmerizing, you couldn't take your eyes off her. However, the moaning following each mouthful, that I did mind.
Now, I saw people eating from bagels, apples, and Chinese food to sandwiches. What I haven’t seen up to now was someone eating soup while standing up, in the middle of the corridor.
The occasion appeared today and unfortunately, I had to watch closely this time because the guy was right in front of me and every time the train was turning a bit, I would hold my breath afraid I’d see that soup all over me.
However, I shouldn’t have worried. I think that guy had a lot of experience: he was a pro and not even a drop of soup fell from his spoon. I, for one, if I try to carry a cup of coffee, it is impossible not to have some all over me.
The return trip was not relaxed either. Too many people got off work the same time and the trains were quite packed. Now, I have to confess that I hate crowds and normally I prefer to wait that two or three trains pass by before getting on a train.
Today though, I encouraged myself that I had only a few stations to get to my destination and bravely I embarked onto the first one.
It was better than I expected but I couldn’t fail to notice that some people really think they are the center of the universe and no one else matters.
There was a guy who had three bags. Each bag had its place of honor on a seat. He took a fourth one. Meanwhile, two senior people were standing in front of him, barely holding the bars.
Sometimes, the legendary Canadian politeness seems to fail and sometimes you have to reckon the fact that people come in all sizes, all cultures, and all mentalities and to enjoy the human race and its variety as it is.
When I started this blog, I promised myself I would never get into serious matters.
There are lots of problems out there; there are lots of issues that need addressing and there are also lots of people addressing them. I do not want to become one of them.
I want to offer a few moments of shallowness and relaxation: to me and to you, the ones that take the time to read my posts. I, after writing this post and you, after reading it, can go to attend to more pressing matters. We can return to our daily tribulations and concerns. But for a few minutes a day, those could cease to exist. That’s my goal.
Now, I made this long introduction, because I didn’t want you to think that I’d laugh at serious matters. I simply don’t want to address them in my posts.
All big cities in the world, I think, have their homeless people, children of the street, the poor and the hungry. There are hundreds and thousands of people that missing a paycheck would join the huge number of people milling the streets without a roof over their head.
I am sure each of us helps, if we can, and I do not want to go into this. I wanted to say that I saw many messages written on carton sign, but the one I saw today, amused me due to its honesty. The guy, a man somewhere around thirty, simply stated on his carton sign: “I need money to buy weed”. Amazingly, he did get money and quite enough. Probably the honesty or the amusement made people to check their pockets.
I mentioned him because it was out of ordinary and the only one encounter during my trip home that made me smile.
And my smile became bigger when I got home and Rex welcomed me with an enthusiasm that overcame everything he’d done before. The sounds he could make were new and varied and the pitch of his voice reached new heights. Thank God, I bought him a toy on the way home! That shut him up for an hour and now he is content and calm. Hopefully, he’ll remain like this for the rest of the night. I really need to write a few pages. I can’t procrastinate every single day.
So, see you again tomorrow.
I apologize, due to some technical difficulties, it seems that the last post appears in double. Just skip over the second and go directly to the one from the 5th, if you haven't read it yet.
Born sometime in the past century, living in the 21st century.
Sometimes I have good ideas... (what do you think?)
Sometimes fascinating guests!
(that for sure!)
Sometimes I have to share some of my frustrations,..
(not too tempting, huh!)
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