Hoser Last evening, after voting and before dinner, glass of red wine in hand, I decided to install an automatic watering system in my garden. I had forgotten until recently that I had all the components to attach and snake soaker hoses through the flower beds in my backyard. With July and August ahead of us, having a system that will regularly get water to the plant's roots will be good for everyone. What surprised me is that it only took about 45 minutes to get it up and running. This is what I did: Installed a double tap with separate flow controls. Attached regular hose to one tap. Attached small non-soaker hose extension to the other (you don't want soaker hose running directly from the tap outlet if it's not close to a plant bed.). Attached soaker hose to hose extension. Wound first 25 foot hose through bed on south side of yard. Kept it in place with stakes. Attached 50 foot hose to end of the first and wound it counter-clockwise through the rest of the garden. Turned on water. Adjusted postioning of hoses. Got very wet. Finished wine. If you're going to try this (and I highly recommend you do if you have any kind of garden to maintain), make sure you purchase some extra washers to keep all the connections tight. Also, you don't have to go with soaker hoses (although they are the best at getting precious water where it needs to go--in the ground), you could embed sprinklers instead. Tomorrow: Install an automatic timer to run it for a short period every night. Later: Perhaps a wicking system for all my flower pots!


What Do They Think They Are? A Monopoly? I just cancelled my service with Videotron. Of course, they asked me why, and I simply stated that I didn't think I'd be using the service much over the summer. They then offered to let me "suspend" my service for $35.00 for the following three months, saving a reconnection fee. When I said I didn't know if I was going to re-connect the service, they passed my up the food chain. The deal then became that I could suspend for six months, and only pay $50.00 to reconnect the service. I decided to cancel the service outright, taking the risk of going to another quasi-monopoly for "free" television signals. Sheesh. Does this seem reasonable to you?


June Monkey This June, Blork and Martine encourage us to confess to the monkeys on our back. I'm pleased to announce that while I am not monkey-free, I did manage to get rid of some monkeys this week: - Applied for new driver's license and medical insurance card after my wallet mysteriously disappeared over a month ago. How's that for procrastination! - Made an appointment to review my sorry RRSP portfolio with a professional. - Put all my bills in a stack so I can easily pay them tomorrow morning. First thing. I promise. - Arranged to have money automatically taken out of my bank account to pay down my line of credit--if I don't see it, I don't spend it. - Resolved to cancel Videotron, because I should watch less and read and write more. I'll do that for July. I swear! Plus, Nip/Tuck is back! - Resolved to put bike in back of car to take it to the bike repair shop so I can ride it this summer. Baby steps....


Cap St-Jacques For those of you seeking a country experience in the city, I highly recommend Cap St-Jacques. My employer treated us to party there yesterday at its Maison Rond Pointe, a facility that you can rent for company or family parties. Situated at the tip of the "cape", it was almost ocean-like--the wind was strong, causing grey-green waves to crash on the rocky shore. It was beautiful to gaze across the Lac des Deux Montagnes and imagine it was one of the bays of Nova Scotia or Maine. A few of us wandered onto the beach a few yards away, and I managed to dig my toes into the sand, getting that much needed connection to a sandy beach--any sandy beach. Take a mid-week trip, before school lets out in earnest, to get one of the cheapest vacations you're likely to find.
The Cottage On a bit of a whim, my friend L and I rented a cottage for a year. We saw it in February, and were charmed by the setting and the cosiness of it. This weekend, we finally got to see it in all its early summer bucolic glory (we finally move in July 1). Imagine a century-olod farmhouse with an acre of meadow in front of it leading to a pristine lake. Imagine the meadow full of indian paintbrush, forget-me-nots, and daisies. Imagine me lying in the middle of the meadow wondering why I hadn't done this sooner.


Mommy just got a brand new digital camera! I desperately wanted a half-decent digital camera--one that had an excellent lens *and* an optical zoom, but was only willing to spend $200.00 CDN. I found one on ebay: a Sony Cypershot DSC P51. I received it this morning and it took all day to charge what I hope are its robust batteries. When they finally finished, it was 11:00 p.m., so I can't regale you with pictures from the garden, but I can give you a glimpse of my little furry guys in their night repose.


Oh, You Kids! My parents found me a set of Cambell Kids dolls at a flea market a few years ago. My mom washed and ironed their outfits and dad made sure they were completely disinfected. During our last crunch at work, my colleagues began using them to star in their own theatre macabre, also known as "Cream of Spanky Soup". Please don't tell my parents. (Yes, that's a naked Ken doll and a Barbie New Beetle in the background.)
I Hate the Grand Prix What wears a white leather suit, gold wrap around sunglasses and has skin like leather? That would be my impression of the crowd hanging out on St-Laurent and Crescent, celebrating in high shallow style fast cars and fast women. Ugh! It's like all of Montreal has turned into the Playboy mansion. While I can appreciate camp style as much as any gal, when icky euro-trash wannabes increase my commute time by 400%, I resent it. Crossing the Plateau and downtown last night at around midnight was pratically impossible. For revenge, I think I'm going to strut around Crescent street in a gold lame halter top and short shorts that do nothing to camouflage my cellulite. Quick, where's my insta-tan spray?


I am Geek! I'm typing this entry on my brand new laptop. A Toshiba widescreen, 3.4 Mhz Intel, 1 GB Ram, NVidia GForce 5700, wireless-ready. I installed a wireless network in my house and now I can surf the net in the garden. Oh, and it has an integrated TV receiver. One last thing: It's blue and matches my eyes. Sweet!


Remembering Benny Chatting with Martine and Kate yesteday at yulblog, we were all reminded of how we needed to see and honour departed loved ones before cerimoniously committing them back to the earth. Benny was sixteen when he died. He came into my lfe, like most of my furry friends, as an abandoned cat. He was brought to me by a young neighbour who had been handed the cat one day in July. Someone in the process of moving decided they didn't want the little fellow anymore, and asked this little girl if she did. Knowing her mother wouldn't let her keep him, she came to me. Benny, was a real charmer. In fact, he managed to get one of my other cats, Edith, pregnant, before I realized that he was old enough to do so. He lived a pretty happy and eventful life--he actually managed to fall down an elevator shaft in a loft I rented in Old Montreal. He had a habit of sleeping on my head and digging his needle-sharp claws into my scalp when it was time for me to put food in his bowl. He'll always be remembered for being "Benny, the lap dancing cat" because he would roam from lap to lap at dinner parties looking for affection (kind of like his mistress). He'll also be remembered for the bad breath he had in later years and for being the life of the party at my mom's 80th birthday celebrations. Benny died in my arms a few weeks after that event, after quickly coming down with something pretty much incurable. Rather than subjecting him to trip after trip at the vet's, I decided that he should be allowed to drift away in the spot he called his--with me in my bed on the fluffy duvet. I finally nodded off and when I awoke in the middle of the night, Benny had, too. Death had been pretty much unknown to me up to that point. When I discovered his little lifeless body beside me, the "ick" factor that accompanied other encounters I'd had with dead things wasn't there. It was just Benny, as soft as ever, but still...oh so very still.
For you radio heads out there Simply brilliant.


What to do when kids visit.... My friend Juliet Waters has just published Fodor's Around Montreal With Kids, a great guide book for parents, godparents, and aunties (like me) who need an alternative to taking visiting munchkins to the Biodome. Practical and also whimsical (she suggests high tea at the Ritz), Juliet traipsed around Montreal and tested many activities on her own son, Ben. You may have caught their picture in The Gazette earlier this week. Anyway, I've given copies to every parent I know, and am keeping one around my house for when I have little visitors. Auntie recommedended.