Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Although I am sure my readers have seriously dwindled by now, I still want to make the announcement that I will be temporarily ending this weblog. T his blog was proudly active for just over two years, but now has come the time to quietly close it.

Perhaps I will be rehashing some sort of blog in the near future, but at this point, I need to end it here and have closure.

Life is phenomenally bright right now, and there is much budding potential for more excitement, learning, and achievement. I am twenty two-years old, and it is mind-boggling to think, even though I have learned exponentially since the age of eighteen, how much more there is out there, how much more there is to learn and experience.

Macht's gut!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Something to relax to

We are packing our bags tonight for a full workweek of doing good ol' roughing it: camping. A few of us have decided to camp at the campground very close to Upper Canada Village, so we will be cycling back and to work, which makes it all quite convenient. We have stocked up on food and other amenities that will carry us through the week. There will be only us, the St. Lawrence river, plenty of books and stories, and a crackling fire.

I am looking forward to this week of relaxing, especially considering that
The Ugly Duckling just ended.

Yes, the play that I have been directing this summer, along with Andrea,
The Ugly Duckling, was performed this past weekend for Dairy Festival, and it went extraordinarily well. Everything just fell into place, which, luckily, has a habit to happen in theatre. It either explodes in your face or everything goes so smoothly; if you follow the laws of theatrics, there is nothing in between.

Here is a snapshot of
The Ugly Duckling by A.A. Milne - incidentally, the same playwright who wrote wordy Winnie the Pooh.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Cat Calamity

I am sitting on the piano bench in mid-practice when our cat lets out this painful wail. I always know by the sound of this wail that she is about to upchuck. My mother is at the computer and asks the cat, "Aww, what is it, Courtney?"

"Mom, she's about to throw up."

Mom decides that the best move would be to pick up the cat and chuck it outside. Of course, she does not realize that the cat is already at the point of no return - once she utters the wail, it is mere seconds before the first retch.

So, she picks up the cat, and I hear a sickening ssplatt of vomit hitting the floor. Yes, mother, the very best thing to do with a on-the-verge-of-throwing-up-cat is to pick it up by its stomach.

Of course, no sooner that the vomit has hit the floor that I am out of the house. I sit on the front steps and quietly wait (after doing my own bit of grossed out wailings) for the vomit to magically disappear and for things to return back to normal.

Mom is now encouraged to buy "hairball control" cat food.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

A snapshot of July

Well, my attempt to revitalize my blog this summer has somewhat flopped. Perhaps I have been writing slightly more this summer, but really only slightly. Ideally, I would like to post one entry a week in order to keep this weblog alive and well.
Between rehearsals for the Dairyfest youth production and my piano lessons and practices, I try to go to work five days a week, as well as do this summer justice.

In Lennoxville, we watched the drama department’s musical and ate pie on the roof; in Toronto, we partied queer and went up the CN Tower; in Sheenboro, we went four-wheeling and did some horseback riding which left me with tender thighs. Other highlights would include Andrea painting a watercolour portrait of me for my birthday (which, incidentally, she found creepy later on, even though I was elated), and the actor playing the Chancellor, a character in The Ugly Duckling, finally understand his part.

Visiting Sheenboro in Quebec was an interesting experience. First of all, it doesn’t even feel like you are in Quebec; French was nowhere to be seen nor heard, and the town and everything in it is covered in shamrocks. They all think they are Irish; or, rather, they all are Irish. The closest town to Sheenboro is Pembroke, where all the Sheenborites do their shopping and “urban” activities. Now, I thought I lived in the boonies, but seeing Sheenboro and where Kyle lived, I could see that this really was the middle of nowhere. It was a gorgeous area though: breathtaking cliffs, dense forests covering the rolling hills, kilometres of sandy beaches along the Ottawa river...

We went riding in his mother’s slick convertible, and he showed us the land that his family owned and where his grandfather used to take him fishing. Later on, we went swimming, and then had a good two hours of horseback riding. Andrea was very wary of getting onto a horse, whereas I was nervous, yet very excited. It had been at least six years since I had ridden a horse. As soon as I hopped on, I suddenly felt very comfortable and in control. Perhaps it is because I am older and maybe even stronger, but riding a horse was so much easier than it had ever been. I had never been able to really control a horse without getting scared before, so this newfound control was very empowering.

I walked, trotted, cantered, and even had an accidental gallop, which admittedly, was a time I did lose control. I went barreling over the hill at top speed, only because the horse was trying to catch up with the other one. Kyle’s sister was watching me from the kitchen window and screeched when she saw the horse take off in a gallop. I, however, recovered quickly from the incident and resumed my cool composure. Yes, cool. Calm. In control. Speaking of being in control, I am often told that this is one of my faults, naturally because I am the eldest sibling, but I think in this case, it was quite useful.

Last Friday evening, Andrea took me out to the Brigadoon for my birthday, which is a long time favourite restaurant of hers. We put on sophisticated looking clothes, had a two-hour rehearsal, then hopped into her van and booted it to the restaurant. Isaac came with us because we were his only ride, but luckily, he has a friend in Oxford Mills, where the Brigadoon is, and he would be visiting his friend, leaving Andrea and I to our romantic meal.

Well, the minute I stepped into the restaurant, I see Martina and Ashley. Oh, what a coincidence, they are also eating here tonight! Oh, and look, there is Matt, and Amanda, and Paula... and Thomas?... What?!

Yes, it took me about that long, perhaps even longer, to figure out that Andrea had arranged a surprise birthday party for me right under my nose. And when I say right under my nose, it is no exaggeration, since the party was planned using my computer. Andrea’s internet is down at the moment, which forced her to use the computer of the only person she was hiding this entire plan from! She was cunning and slipped into my bedroom through the drainage pipe. Oh, and Isaac doesn’t have a friend in Oxford Mills at all: that was just another ploy to add to the intricate web of birthday foolery. Well, I digress.
The party was stupendous; the supper at the Brigadoon was magnifique, the bonfire afterwards, very enjoyable, and then Fimke-made cinnamon buns at breakfast the following morning, divine. My birthday had already extended itself well after the original date, so why not keep the party going?

That afternoon found a bunch of us at the National Arts Centre (NAC), taking the tour of the theatre. Afterwards, we lounged around on the grass by the canal, a few of us lying in the sun, the rest, huddled under the shade of the tree, reading feverishly the first chapter of Harry Potter. After a satisfying supper at Le Marché (now under a different name, which I refuse to remember), we headed to Lebreton Flats, in anticipation of the band, Spirit of the West, accompanied -- here’s the icing on the cake -- by the NAC orchestra. The band members danced and grooved, the main singer made us all swoon, and the drummer even had his own solo, in which he took full advantage of having an orchestra behind him. At one point, the maestro stepped down, fooled around on the piano, which, really, I would call more than simply “fooling around” * he owned that piano, caressing it so ardently, yet so gently that I could barely contain my WOOOOs. The maestro and the bass player jammed together on a jazz piece entitled “Unfinished Business”, in which they promised that they would finish it. The orchestra came in sometime in the middle, which was astounding in itself, but I personally could not keep my eyes off of the piano playing maestro.

The Spirit of the West wrapped up the evening with their hit “Home for a Rest”, and I got up and danced myself to a frenzy, whilst frequently looking up at the drop dead gorgeous (at least twenty five years my senior) lead singer.

The evening ended over a bonfire, singing and playing tunes; highlights included an acoustic version of “Origin of Love” and a carousing round of “Carrot Juice is Murder”, courtesy of Bab and Isaac.

Perhaps the main reason that my blog has been suffering is due to my rather short amount of time spent on the internet. Because I am not forced to sit idly or sometimes rather frustratingly by a computer researching or concocting scholarly sentences, I instead find myself on a bicycle, drinking wine on my porch roof, or playing beach volleyball.

This summer isn’t as exciting or as glamourous as last’s, but I don’t mind; in fact, I am thoroughly enjoying myself.
Again, I find myself exactly where I want to be.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Alluring Sweets

I have been baking a little more than usual these past few weeks, and that is mainly due to the following reason: the majority of the women in my office are on diets, and I get this strange pleasure of offering them my baked goods.

Because my brownies and cinnamon buns are the ultimate forbidden fruit, they enjoy them that much more. No person appreciates desserts as much as someone on a diet. Even if my baked goods were only mediocre (which they certainly are not), they would still droolingly lust after them.

It’s seeing their eyes widen as I waltz in carrying a large chunk of chocolate cheesecake, as I graciously offer them the most seductive and delicious sin of all which excites me the most. I hope they soon learn that deprivation leads to insanity. One day, I fear I will be kidnapped and tied up for my baked goods. Perhaps they will tie me to the phones and force me to answer all the calls, as they ravenously devour my desserts.

Only one woman so far has managed to decline all of my dessert offers. In fact, she has brought in chocolate chip cookies of her own on two separate occasions. The second time, she lamented that she had made too many for her kids, so she promptly stuffed about a dozen cookies in two bags and demanded that my siblings and I eat them. I told her that we could probably handle that.

I think it’s a little silly to deprive yourself so much. If you are trying to cut back on sweets, I say go for it but have a little sugar or chocolate every once in awhile. If you don’t and it’s something that you love, then you’ll just end up binging and stuffing a oblivious yet gorgeous summer student in a dusty closet and tying a phone to her ear.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A balancing act

For some funny reason, I'll often get this odd urge to act or talk or behave in an opposite way of what is around me. When a large group of people are constantly talking about something, are obsessed with it, support it feverishly, wear it, do it, sing about it, well then I get this strong urge to do anything I can to go against it.

Yes, in grade 3 when it suddenly became cool to swear, I made a very strong resolution never to swear. No matter how much flagrant cursing I would witness seeping from my fellow schoolmates' mouths, I would refuse to utter anything considered vulgar. It's not that I was adamantly against swearing because it was bad -- I was adamantly against it because everyone was doing it.

Somewhere along the trek of elementary school, I developed a strong aversion to jeans. I refused to wear jeans, basing it on the fact that everyone else wore jeans, and I swore I would be different. However, I am sure much of my refusing jeans came from my mother never buying them for me when I was a kid. I never grew fond of them nor was I able to enjoy their comfort or their durability simply because I never owned a pair.

Of course, once I was told that jeans were "the most comfortable pants in the world" and that everyone knows that and that I was crazy for not owning any, I then took up my case of being a proud non-jeans wearer. I would not crumble under the incessant peer pressure and would never buy myself a pair!

In about grade 6, my friend gave me a pair of jeans that she had bought but ended up not fitting quite right. She figured, well, Miranda doesn't own a pair, so she might as well have my dud pair. I accepted them and stuffed them at the bottom of my drawer. I figured I could use them for painting or any other messy job. My friend didn't mind.

It turned out that I didn't wear them painting, but I did wear them on a fall hiking trip. Word got out at school that I had worn jeans and that only one friend and my family had seen me in them! So, as a shocker, I wore jeans to school one day, which was a huge ordeal, and all my schoolmates noticed right away.

I still don't wear jeans, and now it's more out of habit than anything else, and I've come to like my jeanless style. I bought my first pair of jeans a year and a half ago because I was required to wear jeans in our choir show. I wore them for the choir show and then a few times after that just for fun, but I still don't make them part of what I regularly wear.

Anyway, enough about the jeans; this entry was supposed to be about me rebelling against something for no reason. Here is another example:

Last summer, the Fifa World Cup 2006 was hosted in Germany, and it just so happened that I was there at the time. I was very excited that the World Cup would be happening in the same European country that I happened to be working in, and on top of that, soccer is my favourite sport. So, there I was in Deutschland, completely surrounded by the Weltmeisterschaft. The hype was fun at first, but I soon grew a little tired of it because it was everywhere all the time. Just because every single German was naturally wanting Germany to win, I decided to root not-so-secretly for Ukraine and Australia. Unfortunately, these were bad choices, as both of these teams were serious underdogs and were soon cut from the World Cup. Since Germany was slaughtering almost all the teams they came up against, I had no choice but to cheer for the country that I was in.

So yes, I wore a black, yellow, and red lei to the soccer game against Italy (incidentally, the one they lost), and I did quietly cheer for Germany. However, for a few days in June (here's the shocker), I took more interest in the Stanley Cup back in North America than the World Cup that was going on in the neighbouring city! Yes, I was actually reading articles online about the hockey games and cheering with Heather, a proud Albertan, for the Edmonton Oilers. I was never a hockey fan whilst at home, but suddenly, here in Deutschland, I wanted to support something that no one around me was following.

That being said, I don't blow off everything that's popular around me. I guess I just feel that I need to balance things out sometimes. Sometimes the scale is so far tipped one way that I feel that at least somebody needs to be standing on the other side.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Our Rachel II

This is how she looked like when she was undergoing large repairs (notice the keys are on the floor!). Now, she is all back together again, and hopefully, all tuned up!

Can't wait to see her next weekend!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Skewed Goals

I love how our gregarious prime minister is going into all of these countries explaining why he shouldn't support Kyoto and dodge the responsibilities basically because the Liberals screwed us all up for. ever.

So he has been in power for a year and a half now, and he still insists on blaming everything on the Grits. I absolutely hate this kind of politics, especially when we are past campaigning. In fact, I just hate this opposition bashing in general. Even when you are looking to collect votes, why do you need to bash and attack the other party, why not just tell everyone of your ideas and say how they are ten times better, more efficient for Canada? Why not say what you can do rather than what supposedly hasn't been done or screwed up by the previous party?

Once you have secured leadership, why on earth do you need to continue this bashing? I understand that you haven't been happy with the way things have been running for the past decade or so, but we know that quite well by now, and now that a year has elapsed, why haven't we seen what you can do for us? Let us see action and less whining and complaining about being screwed over. I hate inaction in every single aspect of life. Those who are all talk and no action should be excommunicated and sent to Antarctica to reside alone in a sooty barrack.

Hah, well it's interesting I say that, considering that I have studied philosophy. Even though philosophy is all talk, thought, and speculation, it can lead to taking action. Of course, it always depend on the kind of person and what kind of philosophy you are pursuing. If you are simply entertaining thoughts and discussing mortality and the rife of good and evil, for instance, then speak to your heart's content. However, if you are saying that you will do something or whining that something needs to be done, then I expect that you get off your lazy arse and start moving.

Speaking of which, I've been told that the word "arse" is more vulgar than "ass", but I don't know on what grounds, and who decided this, anyway?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Work fluff

A friendly man from Pennsylvania phones me up to make four reservations at one of our campgrounds. Each reservation needs to be made separately, so it always takes quite a bit longer when someone needs multiple campsites. His voice sounded pleasant, and I could hear some good music playing. So naturally, I felt a good vibe from this guy, so while I was waiting for a transaction to go through, I asked him what music was playing in the background. He tells me, and we chat for a bit. He says he listens to all of his music from the www.live365.com, as that site offers any and all kinds of music. We chat a little more, I confirm his bookings, and we hang up.
The second I am off the phone, I hear one of the woman say, Oooh, Miranda, what a flirt you are!
She makes her point by rolling the "r" and batting her eyelashes at me.
Another woman,
Well don't you just like to chat up our campers! Asking him what kind of music was playing! Ooh, flirt!

So I get this for another few minutes or so, all the woman teasing me about flirting with this dude, and me just saying, well, I never turn down an opportunity, and then they just laugh some more.

This goes on for a bit until someone says, Well, you know, you aren't nearly as bad as Julie.
Julie groans and wonders why this story of her one slip-of-the-tongue needs to be brought up again.

Apparently, once picking up the phone, Julie boomed out in her usual friendly tone,

Hello, how can I do you?

Yup. Julie takes the cake.

The man from Louisiana

A man with a very thick American accent calls me today:

"Heyllo there. Way-uhl, I want ta know everythin' there is ta know about yer parks. Send me all yeh got. Ya'll there up North are different from the folks down here. Y'all're different. I been told by the folks from up North t'phone all the eight hundert number. They tell me that those kinda people on the phones wanta talk to yuh, and they all be happy to talk to yuh. "

He then gives me his address in Louisiana. His accent is almost unbearably thick. I plug my other ear with my thumb and concentrate hard on what he is saying:

"Now ya see, I'm-a drifter. I'm-a sixty years old, and my clock is tickin', yuh see. I want ter see yer byootiful parks, so just send me ev'rything yuh got. Y'know, I been told that people like you are always so friendly. So you just send me what yer got and God bless yuh! God bless yuh!"

We hang up, and I start telling Carole about this strangely excited American from the South, and she tells me that he has probably already called. Apparently, my co-worker, Terry, also got a call from someone from Louisiana, so it is possible the same man. Later on that day, I ask Terry about it, and sure enough, he called her too, asking her to send him all the information "that yuh got". He probably didn't realize that he was calling the same place.
Like he said himself, he just telephones every 1-800 number he finds because, hey, he is bound to find someone to talk to on the other line, and in a week or so, he'll receive a bunch of stuff from them. For a self-labeled drifter, that's not too shabby.

Friday, May 25, 2007


The following is something I wrote over a year ago, February 2006 to be precise. The ideas are somewhat there, but there is no doubt that they could have been expressed better. Either way, I will leave it in its original, rough state.

What inspires me? What makes me want to live? What is there worth living for.

Sometimes, I think of the outside of the world, everything that lies around it, space, planets, the sun -- the universe. It is nearly impossible to fathom how big the universe is or how you would measure it. I think of all of this, and then I come back to myself, to the specific. From the whole to the specific. It seems to work that way. It's strange; I wonder what all this is...

I am going to die someday, and I wonder how will feel like when I am not "being". I will no longer be a breathing and living thing. I won't exist -- so where will "me" go? It is something to believe in an afterlife: to have faith in heaven, in a God, in resurrection -- it is reassuring. I, myself, do not feel reassured because I do not know what will happen. Realistically, I think I will die like any living thing. The physical part of me will decay and disappear, but what I am really interested in is the "me" of myself. The soul? Perhaps the "me" that I am so attached to will reappear in another living thing, something or other. I don't think I believe in the traditional idea of reincarnation, but it is so difficult for me to imagine that my "me" will just die. How can I stop being "me"? I simply cannot understand what will happen with this intrisic and so alive and emotionally developing part of me.

One thing I do believe in are ghosts.

I believe in ghosts because somehow that makes sense to me. The whole "unfinished" business may be right or wrong, but I believe that spirits exist. The spirit, the soul, or the "me" can still sometimes float around. I don't know why and I don't know how, but I am pretty sure it is done. And that's what we call ghosts.

I think about the certainty of death, and how everything else we do here, on earth, is between the time between we are born and we die. I was listening to Strauss the other day, thoughts coming and going, sometimes being put down on paper, and I looked outside. We have built a world using our hands and heads just from birth to death.

What's the point? What's the point of building or learning or growing or loving? What the heck is our point for living on earth, anyway? Why do we have to prove to ourselves that we have a reason to live for? We don't! We're just here, wanting to love and learn and destroy and build and create and cry and work and play and dance.

The big picture -- people are oftened advised to think of something in the big picture, and then your issue won't seem as bad. Well, they're right. Your issue is the most irrelevant thing ever because what is ultimately the point of being the best human being ever? What is the point of power? Once we're dead, we won't be able to show a trophy around to everyone, telling them what you've done in your life. You're dead; it's over. And power only lasts so long.

But, is it perhaps mortality that drives us to do the things we do? We're here for such a short period of time, so we might as well make the best of it. What is, exactly, the best of it? I don't know. Doing things you enjoy and making it the most enjoyable as possible. Live life to its fullest, I guess.
There is nothing that we are "meant" to do. We just do it. Whatever we do is our human nature. Whatever we don't do, isn't. If we can't do it, then we won't. It's simple. People are afraid that we've deviated from our human nature; they want to go back in time where things were more simple and whole. People do not believe that our current state is our state of human nature. People are scared of what is around them. I understand the fear, but at the same time, it doesn't make sense. What we are doing now is obviously our human nature. If it wasn't, we wouldn't be doing it and we wouldn't be evolving this way. This is our nature. There is no state to go back to.

We've created wars and politics; we've created division and hunger; we've created apartness and nationalism. I suppose this is human nature because if it wasn't, we wouldn't have done all of this, now, would we have?

I just think that peace is better than war and love is better than hate, and I think you would all tend to agree with me, but that is not what we have created. Why didn't we all choose to work together and make a strong human race? Well, just because you can't work with everyone, you know, just like you couldn't possibly work on something with a co-worker or a specific friend of yours...
We are all different. Human beings differ so much from each other, and I suppose that is part of our beauty. Variety, differences, experiences.

If I had a choice to die with people I despised or to die on my own, I would choose dying on my own. I know that I am a smart person, and I know that there were people out there who appreciated me, and I would be glad to have learned and loved so much. I would die peacefully and in contentment, rather than be around people who annoyed and frustrated me. Perhaps that is why we couldn't possibly all work together -- some people decide to go away and do their own thing because they simply want to do something else and do not like the former state. Then they slowly got people who would follow them for one reason or another. And then they built their own society, their own state, their own empire. And so it goes.

So it goes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It ain't funny to mess with the Lord

During the Easter holiday, I came home to Chesterville and decided to go to church with Dad. After the service, the minister talked to me about possibly playing the organ for a few Sundays over the spring and summer. I told him that I'd be interested. Unusual for an organist, I'd only provide some of the music, as we also have a small music group of guitars and singers, who play specific parts of the service. I would be playing around three or four hymns from the book of common praise, and that was fine by me.

Now, I was later on invited by the music co-ordinator to attend the music practise of the small group. The idea was to get acquainted with the members of the group and go over the hymns that we'd be singing that Sunday. So, I played my hymns, they sang along, and then they held their practise. At the end of the practise, the music co-ordinator announced that they'd be having a prayer. This took me mildly by surprise because even though they were playing music for a church service, I thought they were just about the music.

The music co-ordinator said she wanted to have a prayer of thanks. I looked around, and everyone was bowing their heads, so I did the same. It started something like this:

"Thank you Lord for this music that we are able to offer. We are blessed to have such talented musicians with us today."

It went on like that for a bit. She thanked the members of the group, then moved on to me.

"We are blessed to have Miranda sharing her talent of music with us."

I gave a faint smile.

"I would also like to thank the Lord for having Miranda take over the position of music co-ordinator for the summer. She will be giving me a very well-deserved break, and I am very thankful for it."

My face dropped. What?!
She thanked the Lord yet again that I was saving her from having a breakdown, paused for a little, and then finally moved on to thanking something else.

Music co-ordinator?! I racked my brain and wondered if I had said anything about becoming music co-ordinator to the minister, but we didn't even talk about that. But how on earth was I supposed to argue when she was literally thanking the Lord? When the Lord is involved, you don't want to intervene. At least, not in the middle of a prayer.

I had no idea how I was supposed to approach this that coming Sunday. I decided to talk to her after the service about it. Of course, when the morning announcements were being made at the beginning of church, she proudly announced to the whole congregation that Miranda would be taking over her position as music co-ordinator for the summer. I internally let out a wail and promptly kept my eyes fixed on the organ.

Now that God and the people of God were made aware and thankful of my supposed newly acquired position, it made it nearly impossible for me to step down without seeming practically sinful. So, I avoided confrontation, and I went to the minister and told him that I would only be playing the organ and would have nothing to do with the little music group. He seemed completely fine with this and didn't think anything was the matter. Later on, I spoke to the music co-ordinator and told her the same thing, but she still somehow thinks that I am taking over her position. So, to avoid upsetting any divine plan, I pretend I am music co-ordinator, whilst having nothing to do with the group and their little spaghetti suppers.
I sincerely hope this is the last time that someone uses God to rope me into something.

Monday, May 07, 2007


The last few days I have been doing the usual springtime treeplanting. As a proud four-year veteran, I have no problem just destroying the field. I've only planted for three days, and on days two and three, I easily broke the one thousand mark, whilst the stragglers lagged behind.

Yes, those stragglers are none other than three young, fit men! Does it need to be mentioned yet again that I, the self-proclaimed weakling, totally beat out three guys, who are nearing their physical peak, by a long shot? I sure think so.

In other news, I returned from Halifax last weekend, safe and sound, whilst Andrea had a minor molestation case to take care of. In the spirit of a true friend, I refused to let her sit with me, and I continued to hog both seats to myself as I slept.
Andrea and I spent our East coast holiday walking around the city, checking out beaches, eating seafood, visiting friends, going to Lunenburg, and seeing plays. It was a very relaxing and peaceful vacation, giving us time to rest our academic minds, which was just what the doctor ordered.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Our Rachel

Looking over this entire school year, including both semesters, I have realized that I have done a good number of relatively cool things. Perhaps I could even go as far to label these "cool things" as "accomplishments". Acting and directing in both theatre festivals, acting in "Office Hours", getting my wisdom teeth removed, seeing Olya at the Toronto airport, going to Nova Scotia with Andrea, and hosting numerous extremely successful dinner parties have been a few of my small feats this year. As much as I am happy with these said accomplishments, I don't think anything can compare to our piano acquisition.

Yes, my friend Kyle and I have successfully adopted an upright piano. Months ago at a board game night, our friend Rachel told us about a dusty, decrepit, old piano sitting up in a room on right side-stage of the Centennial theatre at Bishop's. She was telling us how one of the older staff members, Johnny, would freak out the students when they were hanging lights by slowly playing the low notes on the piano. Kyle suddenly jumped up and asked excitedly if the piano belonged to someone or if it was in use. Rachel was pretty sure it wasn't and didn't think it really belonged to anyone. Kyle then turned to me and proclamed that we should inherit this piano. We should ask this Johnny guy if we could have it. It was then we agreed to be partners on this piano-getting mission, as both of us are piano players, and the piano would stay in my Lennoxville house until I graduated and he moves in. We decided that we should co-own this piano. Of course, we were getting a little ahead of ourselves, as the piano was still just a pipe-dream.
Later on that evening, as Kyle was putting on his shoes, he said that we should start asking around right away. He immediately gave the responsibility to me, as I had worked a few times with Johnny and I am female, which, apparently, gives me an edge.

I must say, I am usually bad at approaching strangers or even those I don't know that well, but this time I perservered. I knew that Kyle would be disappointed if I wussed out and just having another keen person working on a project with you makes you all the more motivated. One day when I was working the bar at Centennial, I casually asked Johnny about the piano in side-stage. He said that a few years ago, the main drama professor had used a few pianos for some reason and then, when she was done with them, had asked for them to be demolished. Of course, Johnny was shocked that something like this could even be suggested (the destruction of such a beautiful instrument, what?!), so he promptly hid one of the pianos way up by Centennial. Never mind why he chose that very random area, but it is just mind-boggling to think how he got the thing up there in the first place. He freely offered up the piano, saying that it is useless there, just collecting dust. I said I was definitely interested, as long as the piano was salvageable. He was pretty sure that it was but that it was probably a good idea to check it out.

A few days later, I asked a certain Simon, whom I believed to be knowledgeable in the ivory keys area, to check out the piano. Upon seeing it, he believed it to be salvageable; the piano would need to have keys re-weighted, a good tune, and a solid scrub. After weeks of trying to co-ordinate times with Simon, Kyle, and Johnny and failing repeatedly, we finally were able to move the piano. Kyle and I found Johnny, found two other guys to help move the huge thing, and the moving process began. I was utterly amazed that it took under an hour to drag the pian down two flights of stairs, across Centennial theatre, outside, into Johnny's truck, up my porch, and into my living room. Johnny even had time for a cigarette break! Kyle was shocked as to how strong Johnny is; it turns out that he is made of muscle. After the back-breaking work, I paid the guys in beer and thanked them profusely, but it wasn't enough. How on earth can you pay back someone who has moved a piano into your house, everything being completely free of charge? I was elated, and Kyle and I couldn't stop grinning all day.

Almost every day after that, Simon came over and worked on the piano. Kyle and I supplied him with everything he needed (spending a total of $12 on materials). We offered to pay him for his work, but he didn't want our money. We then always offered him food and drink, which he accepted gratefully. One of the last evenings I was in Lennoxville, Kyle and I cooked up a large feast for him, completely with spicy sausages and trifle for dessert!

Since I have left, the piano has undergone tremendous repairs. Every single key works, two of the three pedals work, and the piano is pretty much playable. All it needs is a good tune up, and then voila, we will have a beautiful, working, real-life piano! Simon is even keen to varnish it, as the piano has beautiful woodwork, and varnishing it would make it look terrific. It is funny to get so excited about an instrument.

Kyle and I have named the piano "Rachel", as it was our friend Rachel who first told us about it. Next school year, we plan to have a christening party for "Rachel", and we will make sure to invite all of the piano players we know and like, in addition to our usual crowd. I still am over the moon that Kyle and I are proud parents of Rachel. Also, our trusty piano fixer is staying at the house this summer, so I can be rest assured that she will be in very good hands.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Rolling the dice

No matter how much you whine, moan, and complain about the weather, you're not going to be able to change it. When it comes to voting, some people are of the mentality that if you do not vote, you do not have the right to complain. I suppose we cannot vote to change the weather a certain way, but we also cannot change it by whining. So, some people are of the mentality that if we cannot change the weather (which, granted, is debatable), then we shouldn't be complaining about it.

I disagree. As we all know, complaining about something is very social, as it always involves another person. Complaining about the weather is especially social because it is something that everyone can relate to. Whether it is sunny or hailing, we always have something to say about the weather. It's also something that affects us all, whether it be our mood, driving conditions, or a thwarted beach day. Sure, this is just one more thing that we complain about in this world, but at least everyone else can relate to it, and hey, some unusual things can happen because of unexpected or strange weather.

So, speaking of which, the main topic of conversation around campus these past few days have been the ridiculous weather. Even though we have had intense snowfalls in April before, everyone seems to forget this at the beginning of each Spring and believes that in the Eastern Townships, Spring begins in March. Sure, there are signs of Spring in March, but it is merely a tease before mother nature turns her back on you and dumps another coating of that fluffy white stuff. Year after year, we get sucked in by March's fake Spring, and then subsequently become shocked when it snows in mid-April. I must say, I am equally unimpressed with this chilly weather and hailing snow, but it has led me to believe that it has made students study more. For the past two years, it has been sunny and warm at this time, which has made the majority of students run outside in their flip-flops and throw a frisbee around. Who wants to spend much time outside these days? Those books look so much more appealing than attempting the outdoors.
Andrea says she is encouraging Spring by wearing leg-baring pants, sneakers, and a sweater outside. Unfortunately, it hasn't helped much yet. She is more likely encouraging a cold.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rocker Chicks à la Stones

On Wednesday night, Centennial theatre welcomed all the private high schools in the area to present various music numbers. There was a real variety in the numbers, as some were an orchestra, solo piano-playing, solo singing, boy band groups, and girl band groups.

The most amusing numbers were the ones where the obvious school heart-throb would sing a popular love song with his long-haired buddies. Naturally, all the girls would screech and squeal and yell out "sexy" every now and again in their French accents.

What was surprisingly impressing, in my opinion, was one of the girl groups. About eight of them performed the song "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones. They had their drummer, a pianist, a saxophone player, a shaker, three back-up singers, and their very own McJagger. It was actually very well done. The singer lowered her voice and played up the fact that she was a girl singing like a guy. It was very entertaining, not only because it was amusing to see a bunch of girls pretend to be the Stones but to see a bunch of girls do the Stones well! They were also all decked out in white tank-tops, with the Stones' tongue logo on the front and had their hair all wildly made-up. Real rocker chick style.

Hey, if a bunch of high schoolers from Sherbrooke can successfully perform a Rolling Stones number (I kept wondering where the girl's accent was?), then I figure I should be able to move mountains by now.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Flying Fiasco - Part 1

On Tuesday, March 6th, I flew from Montreal to Toronto to see Olya, my ex-counterpart from Canada World Youth. I hadn't seen her in three years, and I won't be able to see her much, considering that she lives in Ukraine and her being in Canada is extremely rare.

The idea was to meet her at her gate at the Toronto airport (she was arriving from Regina), and we were slated to spend the next couple hours together before she had to leave for Europe. I was to leave at around the same as her back to Montreal. Plans are always precarious when flying is involved, but we were both coming from flights within Canada, so we thought our plan to be relatively fool-proof. Because my plan to visit Olya in Ukraine was thwarted, there was no way on earth that this plan was allowed to fall apart.


The first omen of bad luck happened in the morning at the Montreal airport before I passed through security. I had forgotten to remove my Swiss Army Knife from my purse, so as soon as I got to security, they promptly whisked my beloved knife away from me. It is now gone forever, and if the security guards take my knife home with them, I hope they cut oranges with it, forget to clean it, and then all the blades will rust on them.

I arrived at my gate at the appropriate boarding time. For some reason, they started boarding us late, at the time that the plane was originally slated to leave. Alright, so maybe I'd be 20-30 minutes late. Olya was already going to be landing in Toronto earlier than I, but this would only be a minor setback.

So, I board the plane, and once all the passengers and flight attendants seem ready to go, the plane does not leave the gate. We wait about ten minutes, and then the captain comes crackling through the intercom:

"Uh, this is your captain speaking. As you have probably noticed, we have not yet moved. One of our engines seem to be frozen. We are currently waiting for our repairman. We should be ready to leave shortly."

Ah. So, we wait. Another ten or fifteen minutes has past, and we still haven't moved. The captain comes back on:

"You may have noticed that we still haven't moved. Due to the severely cold weather, we will be starting off our engines manually. We should be ready to leave shortly."

We wait twenty minutes or so, and finally, we creep up to our run-way and take off. In retrospect, perhaps I should have been worried about faulty engines during this cold spell, but, frankly, all I was thinking about was meeting Olya and how late I was going to be.

I arrived at the Toronto airport almost two hours too late. Right away, I ran to an Air Canada gate which didn't look too busy and asked them at which gate a certain flight from Regina came in. The flight attendant looked at me funny, asking me how a flight which came in over two hours ago could be helpful to me. I just asked her to tell me. She told me it was gate 35. I ran to that gate, and it was almost completely empty. They were going to board a flight to Fredericton, I believe, but still not for at least another few hours. Where on earth was she?

I looked wildly around the Toronto Pearson Airport. It was huge and looked terribly confusing. Weren't people always saying that Toronto was a horrible airport? Also, weren't there two other terminals? Olya could be anywhere! I started to panic. I started to run around the airport and soon started figuring things out. There was only a certain place that Olya could be without leaving the security area or without boarding her international flight to Vienna. I went up to where the international flights were boarding but obviously could not get in, considering I wasn't going anywhere. So besides the international flight area, she could only be around the area with the shops. Okay, she really can't be far, and looking as to where her flight was leaving from (I wasn't 100% sure of which number her flight was, but I had a pretty good idea), she wouldn't have left this terminal. So, where could she be? I went up to a booth and asked if they could page her in this area, as well as in the international flights area. I waited in a stupor of panic. I had flown to freakin' Toronto to see her, and I couldn't find her! I felt stupid for not getting a cell phone for this trip, like she had asked. I phoned my mother in a shaky voice, telling her of the disaster at hand. As mothers do so well, she told me not to panic and to wait until Olya is paged and then see what happens. She also told me that if Olya still did not show after being paged, I should go to Austrian Airlines and ask of her there. In the meantime, Mom told me to eat something. Good advice.
As I sat at Tim Horton's, munching slowly (due to my newly lack of wisdom teeth sore mouth) on a chicken salad wrap, I kept on scanning the airport's centre, where all the paths of shops came together. When I finished, I got up slowly and decided to trudge around the airport for a bit, now feeling more disappointed and sad instead of on a panicky edge. I decided to stroll by the international flights TVs, to see if her Vienna flight had changed, and lo and behold, who was staring up at the said TVs? A bunch of tired looking Ukrainians!

Needless to say, we were overjoyed to have finally found each other! It turned out that her flight was extraordinarily late, and they had just arrived in Toronto. I met her group, and after sending off her group, the two of us went to a coffee shop for some much needed talking and reminiscing.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A sad day at the gym

Whilst drying myself off after an enjoyable swim, I overheard two girls on the other side of the lockers chatting. They were talking animately about their summer plans. They were playing with the idea of maybe staying in Lennoxville during the summer. This is always worthy to mention, considering that there is precious little for a student to do here over the summer, as the town has a limited amount of jobs; you must be keen, fast on getting jobs, and you must be bilingual. In either case, the girls were discussing about living together if they were to both stay in town. The girls came around from the lockers to cast a glance into the mirror.
The blond one stated proudly,
"We should live at my house. I live close to the Lion." (For those unfamiliar with Lennoxville surroundings, the Lion is the popular student bar).

"Okay..." the dark haired girl replied, a little unsure, "but maybe we could live at my house. I have a pool."

Case closed, I thought as I did up my buttons.

The blond seemed less sure,
"Umm, but I live really close to the Lion."

"Well yeah, but a pool..." she trailed off.

"Uh, the Lion, like, obvious."

"That's true; you have a point," conceded the dark-haired girl, as she nodded.

They continued chatting, abandonned the mirror, and left.

I stopped tying my boots. Why on earth are girls like this allowed to use the same gym I am, I thought, looking disdainfully down from my high and mighty horse. A stinkin' bar versus a pool during the summer, and the girls choose bar proximity. Not only that, but during the summer, most of the student body leaves, as I mentioned above, so how much fun could a bar be without anyone your age, never mind anyone you know? Imagine, no one to pick up except for the questionable, loud, and skizzy locals.
Had I broken broken the truth to the girls, perhaps they would have chosen the pool. After giving the door that they had just left out of the most scornful look, I tossed my hair over my shoulder and made my way to my weekly Haughty and Supercilious meeting.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Impossible void


I am part existentialist. What a silly thing to say. I can say that I am part feminist, part socialist, part capitalist, part left-winged, part right-winged, part female...
Well, perhaps I cannot say the latter, but I can make vast generalizations about myself, and one way to do so is to say I am only half or "part" something. This makes backing out easy in any argument, as you can always state that you are not completely in agreeance with something or you are not completely for a particular motion or opinion. You are only part. You escape blame because you can always duck out by saying that you aren't responsible. People live with a fear of responsibility. Cowards.

Now, let us continue on the path of cowardice, shall we?

One thing I am adamant in is the void of human nature. I do not believe that human beings have a specific "nature" that they are naturally abiding by. At one time in human history, it was "natural" for women to be non-persons, and it was "natural" for men to enslave others deemed below him. Human nature is constantly in evolution; however, saying that human nature is changing contradicts the very idea of human nature. Thus, I don't believe human nature exists.

In North America, especially, we are forced to acknowledge that our actions continually affect someone else. Whatever we buy, the things we do, all of the actions we take indirectly AND directly affect someone else. As much as buying Nike or something which has a "Made in Taiwan" tag crockedly stitched on, it doesn't only affect people in third world countries, but people in our very own towns, who have to deal with our messes, our schedules, and our errant activities.

So, in some ways, we are doomed to be free. We are doomed to continuously harm or make others pay for our actions. But, honestly, what can you do about it? And, if one were to continuously think such thoughts, then one would surely drop into the wilted and decaying pool of dark depression. Especially if one has a heart. If you do not have a heart, and you are happy to think such thoughts about harming others, then you are not an existentialist, you suffer from an extreme case of neverending Schadenfreude. To cure: buy ice cream and take long baths. If this still doesn't make you a better person, at least you will be fat and always wrinkly and less likely to go out of your way to hurt others.

However, if you are not on the path of psychopathy, nor ever will be, the only answer is not to think about it. It isn't ignorance; it's life. Forget about the larger scheme of things. Go on, indulge in talking about that annoying co-worker, that poor mark, your broken nail...
And while you're at it, take pleasure in that annoying co-worker's failures.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The tasty way to go

Finally, Canada takes a chocolate step forward; we can now buy Special K* Chocolatey Delight Cereal!

Mind you, it's not as good as any of the chocolate Muesli I experienced in Germany, but still, I think it wonderful that I can finally purchase chocolate cereal in my own country.

I see it as a wise lesson taken from Germany and those other heavily chocolated European countries; there is no need to be chocolate wary. I say cover those cookies, crackers, and cereals in chocolate and be not ashamed! In fact, be proud, as chocolate has only ever brought happiness, euphoria, lust, and the occasional stomach ache.

I would like to take this opportunity to say, Hello Chocolate, Goodbye Balsamic Vinegar!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Why is there peace?

The Decline of Violence

'In 16th century Paris, a popular form of entertainment was cat-burning, in which a cat was hoisted on a stage and was slowly lowered into a fire. According to the historian Norman Davies, "the spectators, including kings and queens, shrieked with laughter as the animals, howling with pain, were singed, roasted, and finally carbonized."' http://edge.org/q2007/q07_1.html#pinker


Office Hours was my first play done at Bishop's University where we could actually develop the script and the characters, rather like the usual festivals of New Plays and Theatre Activ, in which you are given the script, given an inordinate short amount of time to learn your lines, and then you are quickly booted on stage with a shaky and stumbling "go!" The set could fall over at anytime, you've only practised lighting the candle twice, if that, and your fellow actor jumped over a third of the script during dress rehearsal. Lights, sound, get on stage and don't screw it up!

Bam, crash, and lights! That's the feeling and energy of Theatre Activ; everyone is running around: painting and building sets, scrambling together props, learning their lines, and making their lighting design. Everything happens in the flash of fifteen days, and then BAM, the festival opens!
Somewhere in there, you actually have to block the play and develop your characters. Somehow, it usually all comes together; costumes are completed, families and friends come, and the performances are generally well received. Sometimes, things don't work out as hoped, but that is precisely why these festivals exist: to experiment, to triumph, to fail. And somehow, somewhere, there is always the time to party.

But I digress. Office Hours', albeit our set and lighting was put together à la Theatre Activ, claim to fame were the extremely strong and well developed performances. We put on four shows, and our very last show on Saturday night completely sold out. We weren't charging for our performance, only asking for donations, so I guess we didn't so much sell out as completely pack the hall. It is worth noting that Office Hours was entirely directed, produced, marketed, and performed by students. Our director personally went around town, asking people to come and see his show. We all did our part; we assembled our own costumes, helped with lighting, contributed props and makeup, and told as many people as we could about the show. It went better than I could have ever hoped for; we were all very happy with the outcome.

The wrench thrown into this wonderfully executed show? Even though community members, shopkeepers, parents, and friends came to see us, not even one drama professor bothered to grace us with their presence. The two top drama professors were personally invited by one of our actors, and they declined, saying that they were busy the nights of the performances. It is a valid excuse, but only insofar as being actually busy is. The problem was that other students had talked to the professors about our show, and the top two professors said Office Hours conflicted with Theatre Activ (which it didn't), and that we shouldn't be doing such a show anyway, as it had nothing to do with Bishop's Drama Department. They, in turn, decided not to support us.

Now, I think this lack of support is absolutely appalling. It seems as though the professors were acting extremely childish. It shouldn't matter whether this had anything to do with the Drama Department or not -- we put on a play, and that is what should matter. If anything, they should be swelling with pride if a student at their university decided to put on a play on his own initiative! Not only that, but isn't their teaching supposed to teach us to do exactly what we did? Aren't they giving us skills to help us out in the real world? Isn't this exactly what we should be doing? Aren't we showing creativity, initiative, and ambition?

At the end of the show, though, it didn't matter anymore. What had mattered was all the people who had decided to support us. Other professors had come, many community members had come, as well as a pile of friends and family. People knew it was a stellar show, and when something is good, people talk about it. I am sure word got to the top two drama professors... but now, the show is over, even Theatre Activ is done for another year, so all we are left with are the pictures and memories.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


I'm not apologizing; I'm not even going to make up some excuses. I haven't written in over a month now, and there is no place nor time to expatiate on my lack of entries. What is important is that I feel guilty and ashamed at myself for not writing.

Words haven't been spewing out with such gentle ease as they normally do; I feel a little constipated in my writing: idea and thought after thought but no smooth ease nor capability, it seems, to write them down. It all seems forced, like a sticky jam jar that won't open or like getting Andrea eating her vegetables. Forced. Constipated. Maybe there is an underlying, tragic loss of unbridled imagination. One shouldn't think such thoughts.

I came back to Bishop's University on the fifth of January, along with Alex and Andrea. I had an intensive rehearsal schedule for Norm Foster's Office Hours, which I am acting in. We spent much time in hot and sticky Bandeen Hall before opening on Tuesday, the 9th. Opening was fantastic, but I dare say that the other two shows after that were even stronger! I realize this is an extremely rare occurrence, as most shows tend to have a less good second run. Perhaps this is true in some cases, but the two scenes that I am in have only been improving with each show, getting more and more laughs. I haven't been in a real comedy like this since I was in grade 9, and man, does it ever feel good to get on stage, perform your shtick, and have people laugh at what you say. Truth be told, I had forgotten how funny this play is. Having an audience adds an incredible amount of energy to the play. Actors feed off of this energy, and it results in an even better show.

Also, even though I have had a rather awkward and embarrassing dream about my two male actors, I can honestly say that I have never felt more comfortable being on stage. I was acting alongside stupendous actors. Every other production I have been in, I have been worried for someone else screwing up their lines or messing up a prop or a movement. This time, we just dove right in and gave it to the audience. We had great fun with it. Nothing could have been better. I never thought that being a Jewish mother fretting over her son's homosexuality could be such a barrel of laughs.