Tuesday night my parents headed out to the theatre for a dose of Christopher Plummer, two of my BFFs, who I talked to via Skype were off to Bloor cinema for a movie and probably some delicious Thai food, or sushi or something considered equally exotic to where I live now, like say, McDonalds. And I assume that everyone else I know was also doing something infinitely more interesting than what I had planned.
I was settling in for a night of watching The Tudors, one of two shows I can stand on the two channels I get with my rabbit ears (if it's not raining, or windy and I'm not doing laundry.)
However, the downstairs food fairies had other plans for me. Remember back when my evenings used to consist of drinks and dancing? Me neither. Although technically there was SOME drinking involved, last night dancing was replaced with helping to make buckets and buckets of sauerkraut using an antique cabbage shredder and a homemade "pounder" to "Smuck" the cabbage together with salt. (Yes those are technical terms).
So I pretended I was on the amazing race and smucked like a million dollars depended on it, while Food fairy J told me about the giant sauerkraut parties the locals used to have. Families would bring their cabbages and spend the entire day chopping, pounding and salting together to put up enough sauerkraut for the winter.
Sometimes I think the food fairies are like those three godmothers in Sleeping Beauty, except, instead of sewing me magic dresses (which I would appreciate), their job is to educate me about various rural and historical items of interest.
For example, when I recently shouted "Look! A fox!", my city-born eyes sparkling with excitement, Food fairy J, said. "That's a coyote," without even looking at me like I was a moron.
Anyway, maybe my life is not as glamorous as it was, but at least I'm learning my animals. Plus this winter I probably won't get scurvy.
It is 9:30, and I just got home. Normally, of course, 9:30 is well within my self-made, grown-up curfew. However, when the place I'm coming home from is a 2 1/2 hour meeting regarding the fate of local ATVs, which I only got to attend as my reward for finishing a ridiculous day of layout, with zero breaks for food, 9:30 is way, way, way past my bed time.
Naturally I couldn't just keep this to myself and go to bed quietly. I seem to be operating on some kind of adrenaline leftover. So, for your enjoyment, some of the highlights of Monday in the life of a small-town journalist, suddenly thrown into the roll of editor:
After waking up 20 minutes before I had to be at work, I stumbled outside, toast and tea in hand. I balanced my toast on top of my lucky car frog, and drove almost to the end of my street before realizing I should probably have my wipers on. Fortunately, this caused me to take a closer look at the windshield and notice that the food fairies left me an apple. (Aw) A good thing too, as it wound up being what passed for my lunch.
Fast forward through a brain-numbing day of laying out page after page after page of paper until the end of time, and yelling "What do you want from me!" at the phone every time it rang, before picking it up and pretending to be sane and/or competent.
At one point I deleriously walked into one of the offices to pick things up from the printer, only to find that the printer had morphed into a confused coworker who kindly pointed next door.
Top it all off with spending the better part of my evening seated next to a guy named Esau, who really wants to ride around on his ATV, to the chagrin of his neighbours, et voila,
Every so often I get this crazy idea that I am an "outdoor girl." This, despite my vehement protests to the contrary when I was 15 and my parents cruelly dragged me through various wooded areas of British Columbia in my platform shoes (I refused to pack sneakers).
It was in this spirit, as well as the spirit of "we're both strapped for cash," that I suggested my visiting boyfriend and I take not one, but two nature-type walks over this thanksgiving weekend. Outdoors, no less.
The first walk was lovely. The sun was all melted butter and honey over the fall colours of the trail and there was a spectacular view of the lake. We strolled along hand in hand, stopping to chat with birds and chipmunks, examine berries and apples and eat mint smoothies from my purse.
With the success of our first walk fresh in our minds, we happily headed out to another local trail system to see what it had to offer. This one was part of a conservation area. I assumed that conservation meant protecting the local plants and wildlife.
Not so much.
While the plants seemed to be flourishing, the boyfriend and I didn't pause long enough to observe much in the way of wildlife. We did spot one chipmunk and two tiny frogs, who were doing a rotten job of eating the cloud of mosquitos following us. But by the end of our woodland adventure, we were crashing through there so fast that no animal within a hundred yards of us would have stuck around long enough for us to spot it. Which, was probably good for them, as what had us in such a rush to end our leisurely stroll, was the almost constant sound of gunshots uncomfortably nearby.
Apparently the conservation area is not only a popular spot for hikers and horseback riders, but for very enthusiastic hunters. Shooting things. With guns. Go figure.
Next time I feel the need to do something crazy like commune with nature, maybe I'll just head back to my hometown and hang out with the squirrels in the park.
It's official. My acting editor is leaving the paper in two days. While that might not mean anything to most people in the blogosphere, to me, it means approximately double the work, and no extra money to show for it for the month until the real editor returns. It also means, that for about a month, the local rag will probably read something like the above.
Maybe I can spin this into some kind of promotion. "For the next four weeks, I will be cleverly hiding grammatical errors, typos and incorrect names of local public figures, in the paper. Find them all for a free mug! (filled with my tears. And sweat. And dignity.)
My mom called this morning to inform me that today is Canada Youth Voter Day and that I should take advantage of the opportunity to vote early as she knows I am about to get sucked into a vortex of a month acting as my own editor/both of the paper's reporters.
Embarrassingly, I was completely oblivious to this Canada Youth Voter Day. Considering that I do actually try to at the very least, read the headlines every day, as being aware of the news is kind of, like, my job, and that I even watched the entire debate last night, you'd think I would have come across something like that.
This is a little disturbing, because if I didn't know, then other young people who are less inspired to vote than myself almost certainly didn't.
Anyway, it turns out the advance poll is located directly across the street from where I live. After a couple of minutes of being grilled (well, maybe not grilled, more lightly toasted really, they were pretty tame) by the overly-suspicious seniors guarding the polls, I sat down, marked my "x" and was on my way back across the street. Easy as that.
For those of you other young whipersnappers out there who can't see the polling station from your house, find out where it is, take the five minutes out of your day, and get your youthful selves to the polls. We shouldn't allow people who very well may be dead by the time our future arrives, to decide what it's going to look like for us. It's too important to leave it up to someone else.
This is the inside of the bunkie my parents built in the backyard recently. Cute, no?
In the window reflection you can see the back of the house and the bumble-bee infested back porch which may or may not be next on the list of projects.
Through the back window you can also see my 5th birthday present. My dad had thoroughly convinced my four-year old self that the project I was "helping" him work on, was a house to hold his boss's plants. I saw no reason why his boss wouldn't want a pretty little Sarah-sized house on stilts, complete with heart-shaped cutouts. I don't remember much about what I did to actually help the project along. I did have a tool belt and a hat like my dad's but my tools themselves were of the fisher price variety.
I do, however, remember changing into what I thought was a hilariously large pair of shorts and then coming outside and announcing "Now THIS is what I call a pair of shorts!" My mom laughed, which may have prompted me to go around repeating the phrase every time I put them on.
My parents recently found footage of the big reveal. Mom woke my cousin Emily and I up at what looks something like 6a.m. although it's hard for me to say, as I generally try to avoid getting up that early these days. We're all tangle-haired and sleepy-eyed at any rate. I'm carrying my stuffed dog who I alternately called "Fred" or "Cinderella" depending on my mood.
The video shows us barefoot and pj-clad, tiptoeing out onto the back porch -at the time, not bumblebee infested - and stopping short to stare at the "plant holder" which was decorated with pink balloons while my parents yelled "Surprise! What do you think?" I stood there smiling uncertainly until Emily, almost a year younger, but clearly a little quicker on the uptake than me, exclaimed " I think it's a playhouse!" At which point I laughed out loud and flung myself at my dad for a bear hug. It was a very happy birthday.
Because of various health issues, it seems pretty unlikely that I'll be able to safely do the whole pregnancy thing. I've known for a while now, but once in a while, when I come across an especially glowing pregnant woman, it can still get me pretty down.
On the upside though, I'm now more likely than ever to adopt a child. One who is already here, who wasn't born into the kind of charmed childhood I was lucky enough to enjoy and who desperately needs someone who will build them a playhouse or just laugh when they put on a funny pair of shorts.
Anyway, the real point of this story is, I'm sure any day now, my parents are going to lure me home for a visit, tie balloons on that cute little bunkie, wake me up at 6 a.m. and shout "Surprise!"
Growing up, I thought I lived in a small town. It wasn't until my relocation to take my first job as a newspaper reporter that I realized how wrong I was...Two years later, I'm a casualty of print media downsizing and headed back to the big city to seek my fortune (or at least a social life).
1. Cerebration is the act of thinking
2. Sarahbration is the act of ME thinking
3. ...or partying?...with my brain?