Rambling Lumberjacks (Or, Hi my name is Jean, this is my brother Jean, and this is my other brother Jean)
This post doesn’t make much sense (that is to say, it makes even less sense than usual) unless you also read yesterday’s post. But if you don’t want to do that, the executive summary:
- I’m going to London.
- I’m taking a bunch of geocaching hitchhikers with me.
(Are you sure you don’t
want to read yesterday’s post?)
But it’s not enough to take OTHER people’s hitchhikers – oh no. I need some of my own.
So I went and ordered 8 travel bugs.
(No really, go read yesterday’s post.
It’s got a glossary and everything.)
And then, you know, I have to attach the bugs to something. I wanted something that evoked the adventurous spirit with a bit of Canadiana, so I created custom keychains on Zazzle, using a screen capture from the Log Driver’s Waltz.
Then I decided they all need personalities! Backstories! GOALS!
The Tabernouche Brothers
The Tabernouche brothers grew up in the back woods of the Outaouais, watching the logs float by on the Ottawa river, before heading for the lumber camps. They are racing from London back to Ottawa the long way: EAST! Destination: a cache named “Voyageur Route” (also known as GC1E7TY), right on the banks of the river where deadheads (partially submerged logs), leftovers of the logging era, are a navigation hazard to this day.
First one home gets a dish of maman’s poutine!
Jean-Francois. The oldest brother. Tall, handsome, and responsible. The log driver that all the ladies want to dance with.
Jean-Louis. The closest thing the tight-knit Tabernouche clan has to a black sheep: a heavy drinker (even by lumberjack standards), prolific gambler, consummate sulker.
Jean-Claude. The quiet child. Wherever he is in the woods, there you will also find books.
Jean-Guy. The baby of the family. Sweet and round faced — like a cherub, as his maman will tell you. And as maman’s favourite, he learned early that he could get away with just about anything.
The Reconnaissance Party
These three have been enlisted for a very important mission: to explore the British Isles, then make their way back to a cache within the city of London – somewhere within reach of a Tube station – by spring of 2015. That’s when Meena, Moo, and I will pick them up and base our trip on visiting some of the places the boys have discovered:
Sven. Solid, dependable – that’s why Sven was selected as leader of this expedition. The broad-shouldered Swede commands respect in the logging camps, but really he’s a softie, and spends his evenings stretched out on his Ektorp sofa, writing home to his sweetheart, Inga.
Pierre. Pierre is a romantic – the lumber camps were SO not his scene. He’s happy to be on this mission, and hopes to seek out the castles and towers that hearken back to the days of chivalry.
Jacques. What can we say about Jacques? He’s just a nice guy with a great Franglais accent. He’s also a bookworm (he and Jean-Claude used to swap paperbacks in the bush), and has a particular interest in places with a literary significance.
And finally, Gabriel. Poor Gabriel. Haven’t figured out what he’s doing yet. I’m open to ideas…
Three sleeps until London! Unless you count Saturday night on the plane (which I don’t).
Have I rambled-on here about geocaching before? Here’s one (really old) post about it (dates back to the days when I called myself ramblingstroller and was going to write the BEST guide to Ottawa with kids EVAH). But in case you don’t want to go and read that post (it’s ok, I understand), here’s a quick glossary. You will probably need this for, I don’t know, my next seventeen posts:
- cache: A hiding spot, usually with some sort of container, that you can find with the help of geocaching.com.
- swag: stuff in the cache
- travel bug: a tag, with a unique number on it that is registered at geocaching.com.
- hitchhiker: a piece of swag with a travel-bug attached that hitchhikes from cache to cache, courtesy of friendly cachers. Thanks to the tag, you can track it’s progress on geocaching.com.
- geocoin: a small, coin-like item, also with a unique number (like a travel bug) but you don’t attach it to anything
- trackable: anything with a unique number (like geocoins or hitchhikers with travel bugs) that you can track from cache to cache on geocaching.com.
Clear as mud? Don’t worry, I’ll post about this again, hopefully with pictures. And if you want to know more, don’t hesitate to check out geocaching.com.
Anyhow, I did a bit of caching while I was on mat leave, but just recently picked it up again. With London looming, I’ve been really focussed on picking up trackables – items that “hitchhike” from cache to cache. The idea is, when you find one, you log it on the web site, and then you take it to another cache. The owner (and anyone else) can watch it move from place to place. Some trackables have a goal – like visiting every provincial capital in Canada. Sometimes they’re just out to see the world.
If you think this sounds like fun, then you might understand how I’ve been absurdly excited about going hiking in the woods at lunch and coming back to the office with swag – everything from stuffed animals to an orange plastic funnel. I’ve discovered walking trails near home and work that I didn’t know existed, and discovered new places in & around London that I can’t wait to visit. And finally, I have a swag-bag full of hitchhikers that are coming to London:
- Ying-ying wants to visit Olympic venues
- TRUCKS wants to see trucks and truck stops
- Traveltratten wants to visit caches that start with a T
- The Incredible Journey just wants to “meet Incredible cachers and visit Incredible caches”.
- Seasons of Maine – I don’t really know what this one wants to do.
- Chain Male – this is the one I’m most excited about. I got positively giddy when I discovered it online: it started south of Manotick, but wants to “visit places frequented by knights of all types.” Woot!
But I think this may be getting to be a bit of a… problem. I mean – how many people get excited at the opportunity of “helping” a stuffed dinosaur cross the ocean? And the other day, I ran out of the office at three o’clock in the afternoon because a new cache had appeared nearby (and being FTF – first to find – comes with bragging rights). I got back to the office 45 minutes later – scratched, soaked and mosquito-bitten – all to be SECOND-to-find. Gah.
And the whole trackable thing has kinda gone to my head. I don’t want to just help others’ hitchhikers travel the globe, I want some of my own. So I went online, and ordered some tags. Ten, actually. And I’ve decided that they all need names. Personalities. Backstories! GOALS!
Because, you know, I really needed more on my to-do list before catching a plane in 3 days.
does heathrow airport have wifi?
Ask (Google) and ye shall receive. Yep, Heathrow has WiFi. The reason I was asking is I’m heading for London next weekend, and I need to ping my AirBnB host when I arrive so that he can meet me at the tube and take me to my flat.
(How much of that sentence was about being able to casually drop “tube” and “flat” into the conversation? Most of it. When I’m done this post I’m going to pop ’round the pub to catch some footie on the telly.)
So, like anyhow: I’m going on vacation. And realizing I won’t have cell service (my phone is locked, no local sim cards for me) made me think “well, it is supposed to be a vacation. Maybe I should let myself disconnect. I did, once upon a time, do trips like this without the benefit of instant messaging.”
And I ran with that idea for a while. I busily went about caching maps and guidebooks on the phone for offline use (just because I’m disconnected doesn’t mean I don’t want to trade six maps and thirteen guidebooks for 4.5 ounces of silicon).
But I don’t NEED to be connected 24-7.
But I do need to connect with my host when I land. So I checked to see if Heathrow has WiFi, so I could save myself the $14.67 Rogers will charge me when I send 42 characters from London to London.
And Heathrow has WiFi. The service is called Boingo, and it actually seems to cover all of London.
So I COULD be connected. 24-7.
So I hemmed and hawed for a little bit, because, you know, this is a vacation, and wouldn’t it do me some good to disconnect for a bit?
And then I thought – I’m going to LONDON, not a YURT in the FREAKING HIMALAYAS.
Sometimes I take myself too seriously.
So I got Boingo. Next comes Fongo. And Bingo – you evil people who sucked me in to Words with Friends (yes ALLISON, I am talking to YOU) can rest assured that I’ll continue to drop in every once in a while.
From my seat on the tube.
After trying for months, it all happened so fast. Yesterday I signed the papers, then someone else cancelled (maybe this should have been a warning), and next thing you know, my Wednesday morning looks like this:
Know why I never post pictures of myself on the internet? Because they’re never very flattering. And I know it looks like a bottomless condom, but it felt more like one of those cones you put on a dog to keep it from licking itself.
Some questions that came up, as I sat in the chair:
- What was I thinking?
- What is that buzzing sound?
- I feel dizzy – is it just me, or does that stuff smell like the epoxy my dad used to use to hold model airplanes together?
- Is that tool leaning on my lip supposed to get that hot?
- Are we done yet?
- Is it always that hard to get the wires on?
- Did you actually pierce my gums? Or only puncture them?
- Will my lips regain their original shape after you take this thing out?
- Why, after sixteen different consults and work-ups, did the word “blister” only come up after the glue had set?
- Do you end every procedure with “yeah, you’re definitely going to need some Advil”?
- Dude, seriously, what is that buzzing sound?
I made it out alive, but I don’t have answers, just more questions:
- Will I be eating with a napkin pressed against my mouth for the next 9 months?
- What on earth am I going to do with the brand new 3kg bag of cashews in my pantry?
- Is there a standard formula I can apply in my food journal to account for the stuff that never actually makes it to my esophagus?
- Is it some kind of cruel orthodontic joke that at a time when you LEAST want to show your teeth when you smile, there’s something prying them apart the moment you so much as smirk?
- WHAT WAS I THINKING????
PS Please please PLEASE any advice from anyone
who knows anything about wearing braces
would be MUCH APPRECIATED!!!
Today started on a bad note (actually it was more like the Seussian Slu-Slumkers orchestra warming up). But two favourite bloggers posted today, and when you get to start your day with Finola and Allison, things definitely start to look up.
Not to say there aren’t still a few bumps. First, my heart fell through my stomach reading Finola’s story – the phone call from Niamh’s school asking where she is, when Finola knows for a fact that she *sent* her to school. I’d barely clicked send on my comment there when MY phone rang – from Meena’s school. Fortunately they were calling for something found rather than lost: namely, my car keys. Were in Meena’s backpack. Which explains a lot, and also gives some idea of what my day was like before that.
Then I read Allison’s post. And I should explain something here: I have a habit of replying to Allison’s posts with an entire post in the comments. Actually, not a reply so much as using her stories as an opportunity to talk about myself, and I decided that maybe this time, I’d blarg all over my own damn blog.
Why am I apologizing for this post? It’s like, “sorry about this one folks, but Allison wrote something and now I have to write this.”
Or maybe I’m not apologizing, maybe I’m blaming Allison.
Maybe I should quit blogging about blogging and start, you know, blogging.
Let’s try this again:
Morning was a zoo: lost lunches, lost keys, lost tempers. Children who refused to get their hair brushed, but howled at the thought of going to school with bed head. Laundry started but not finished, missing workout clothes, breakfast left in the microwave.
And, um, I forget what I was going to write about after that. Maybe I should stick to commenting on other people’s blogs.
I did something wild and crazy today. I started a tumblr. You can see it here:
Actually, you don’t have to if you don’t want to, because I’m going to paste in my first post. Here it is:
Welcome to ramblng notebk. It’s like Rambling Notebook, but without, you know, grammar and editing and stuff. Think of it as Rambling Notebook’s younger, more relaxed, and infinitely cooler cousin.
Or something. I don’t know. I don’t know what this is going to turn into. All I know is the hefty responsibility of producing coherent blog posts has become so cumbersome that I need somewhere to just… blart.
So there you are.
When I take myself too seriously, I stop writing. I thought tumblr might be a way around that.
Then I realized – GASP – nobody can comment on my posts. We CAN’T have THAT. I am a total comment junkie. If nobody comments on a post, I assume that it sucks and that, by extension, I suck.
(My therapist would probably have a thing or two to say about that.)
(“Probably” my ass, she has already had PLENTY to say about that.)
So, like, anyhow, I’m thinking what I need to do is just relax and blart. Right here. Right now.
So I am. So I did.
So I am totally not editing this post for tense.
Only on a boat…
…will you ever snap a pic I’d be willing to post on the internet. Read more…
Cut down a bit of your belly fat EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR using these 4 stunningly clever tips:
4) Don’t have babies. Yeah, they’re cute and all. They may even give your life meaning. But what they won’t give you is a tiny belly. Priorities, people!
3) Don’t eat anything yummy. Ever. Yumminess is a conspiracy between your taste buds and your tummy: The reason things are yummy is so that your tummy can trick you into eating them, and then NEVER LET THEM GO.
2) On Mondays through Thursdays, eat nothing but bananas picked by the light of a Caribbean moon. This is very important: it doesn’t work on Fridays, and certainly never on a Sunday. For moon-picked bananas, please see our sponsors.
And the number one trick to a tiny belly?
“Ninety-nine bottles of POP on the wall, ninety nine bottles of POP! Take one down, pass it around…” Read more…
I have to apologize: life is pretty good.
Which is odd, I know, but I suspect that tragedy makes for much more interesting reading, I certainly feel more passionate when I’m ranting. Although I suppose that doesn’t make the reading any more enjoyable.
So yeah, life is good. I’m getting stuff done:
It doesn’t look like much, but just 24 hours ago, the only way anyone was getting at the mini-muffin tin was by triggering a (semi-)controlled avalanche of assorted cookware – a frightening prospect from that height, let me tell you.
And the BEST PART? After watching me with my drill and hack-saw, the girls pulled out their tools and spent the next 45 minutes “fixing” my step-ladder. Meena assured me that they were “real builders”, and proceeded to deliver both over-time and over-budget. It was great.
And I’m relaxing, too. Me time, instead of being spent staring blankly at a computer screen (or a wall), has been spent playing the guitar. I’ve got some nice proto-callouses happening (this is a good thing), and can now play a somewhat passable “Good Riddance (I Hope You Had The Time Of Your Life)”.
Note: this is only because it turns out it’s REALLY EASY. But man is it cool hearing it coming from your own guitar.
And I know I have mentioned this already, but this whole 2000-calories-a-day thing ROCKS. Holy smokes. I’m, like, never hungry. Actually, that’s not true: I get hungry, and then I EAT. And at the end of the day, I’m NOT HUNGRY ANYMORE. My dinners have become minuscule and not because I’m exercising self control (you can’t exercise a muscle you don’t have), I just don’t need much. And we can bake cookies and banana bread, and I don’t devour it because I just don’t need to. And did I mention the Swiss Chalet fudge cake that’s been in the fridge since FRIDAY? Any time I notice it, I’m just not hungry. Since when did THAT matter???
So things are great, right? Yeah, totally. But here comes the whine: I wanted to get off the Cipralex, but now I don’t want to rock the boat. Things are ok – why mess with it? But can I only ever be happy if I’m medicated? Because I’m never really happy on meds, I just kinda amble along, without any real lows or highs. They also can get in the way of therapy, because the stuff you need to talk about doesn’t seem worth talking about anymore.
And that brings us back to the whole “getting passionate” thing. Sure, I’m trundling along, but I don’t feel capable of getting passionate about anything. And that’s just not like me.
I just can’t decide if I want to be me or not.