Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Room with a View

Reesie's coping skillsWe are spending our last few days in Canada in Montreal visiting Laurent's parents, family and a few old friends. Its been a confusing few days for Reesie - three homes in one week but he does have a proven way to cope! Maybe I should learn from him - there's been a few times this week when I would have loved to put my head in the sand and make the world go away.

We staying at the Omni Mount Royal - when it opened for the Olympics in 1976 it was Four Seasons and Laurent's father was the manager. The doorman recognized Laurent almost immediately - he really does look like his father. We have a nice room on the 28th floor with a great view of the McGill University ghetto and the Mountain and they accept pets. This was the area Bundnie, Reesie and I lived in, of and on, for five years back in the late '90s.

Towards the Reservoir
Our old apartment buildingI was going to try and post more photos but time is running out - we have to get to the airport with six suitcases, 1 kennel, 2 computers, 2 briefcases and, most important, one dog for the the next chapter in our big move. Only 4 hours left before take-off. Arrivederci!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

On the Move

I’m a little bit late with this post – I started it as we watched the movers manhandle our things into their truck.

Boxes, everywhere boxes Our lives all packed up

July 25 - Yesterday the packers where in and much of what we own was put into boxes for shipment or bubble wrapped for storage. It’s an odd feeling seeing you life being stored away and it also makes you very aware of how much stuff you accumulate over a life time. Correction – how much needless stuff you accumulate over a life time. Ideally much of the stuff could have been sold on E-bay (like the 1836 feathered mahogany armoire) or at the Great Glebe Garage Sale (all those damned vases and knick-knacks.) However time, events and indolence put an end to those sorts of plans.

Last night we moved to our friend Don’s – a bit of a shock for poor Reese who desperately kept trying to get back into the house as we were leaving. Last night was not the most comfortable one – and not because of being in what will be the first of a few strange beds over the next few days. Both of us tossed and turned – things going over in our mind – things done, things left undone. Even Reesie gave the odd bark during the night – very strange for him.

Crew leader taking stock of the shipment
Out the front door
Up the ramp

When I moved to Ottawa everything I owned fit in a passenger van!

Moving the armoire The middle unit of the armoire starts its disastrous journey.

Today is the actually move out – so far one major incident involving the middle unit of the - wouldn't you know it - armoire. Other than that things seem to be going smoothly. Of course the unpacking in Rome will be the proof of how well things actually did.

All the furniture has gone into long-term storage however with books, cds, kitchen things, china, clothing et al we figure the shipment weighs in at around 2200 kilos (4840 lbs) give or take a few kilos. I really should have partied more and read and listen less.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Done Deed - II

It's been a busy few days. After the events of the weekend - our wedding on Saturday, an Open House to say goodbye to friends on Sunday - we got into the serious business of moving on Monday. The past few days have been stressful and every so often Laurent and I have gone back to look at the photos from our wedding - just to stop each other from committing murder!

Sealing the bond. I thought we would share those photos with our friends and family, so just click on the picture above and it will lead you to the album.
Then its back to the move and mayhem and possible murder.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Done Deal*

Well I guess we in for the long term now. On Saturday past, after a 29 year "engagement", Laurent and I were married in a brief ceremony at our friend Joelle's home. I had hoped to get the vow exchange on video but that new camera would not cooperate. Stephanie, my niece, did manage to capture the last few seconds of the ring exchange.

Its been a busy time - Laurent coming home, getting last minute things arranged for the house sale, preparing for the move, the marriage ceremony, a "goodbye" open house yesterday - so it may be a few days before I have a picture album up for all to see.

*Apparently there was a problem with the video but I think I have it fixed now.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

About Bloody TIme!

Roses from Rick and JohnFirst follower: And will the veil of the temple be rent in twain?
Cult Leader: Well the veil of the temple is always dodgy.
The End is Nigh - Beyond the Fringe

Laurent and I will be exchanging our wedding vows at 1545 this afternoon in our friend Joelle's garden. And despite the warnings of various religious groups we hope that the veil of the temple will remain unrent and the family unit as we know it will not dissolve. That is not our intention - our intention is to consecrate our loving relationship of the past 29 years.

We decided that at this point we probably won't find anyone else to put up with us so why not make it legal. To be honest our original thoughts behind this step were based on legal and financial reasons; however as planning progressed the event has taken on a deeper meaning. We realize now that we are making a serious, spiritual commitment in the eyes of God, our family and our friends.

Many of our friends have sent good wishes via e-mail, snail-mail, blog comments and postings, flowers and telephone calls. It has been touching and both of us have found ourselves tearing up at the odd moment. A few have asked questions about the ceremony and a few have made lewd suggestions not appropriate to such a solemn occasion. So I thought I would post answers to some of them.

  • The ceremony will be held in Joelle's garden - thank god its sunny and warm. Her son, our adopted nephew Andrew, suggested a lovely, shaded area surrounded by hedges - a perfect circle.
  • Flowers from Deb and James
  • We are a small group - Joelle, Blake - our oldest friend in Ottawa, our best friends Rick and John - who will be our witnesses, my niece Stephanie and Elaine, the Chaplain, make up the human contingent. The rest of the animal kingdom will be represented by our Reesie and Joelle's Riley, Tugger, the cat and two ferrets.

  • Yes Reese will be there but not as a ring bearer, as evilganome suggested being a daschie he would probably eat the rings.

  • The service is a short Unitarian ceremony Elaine, Laurent and I created and includes much from the Book of Common Prayer. Elaine is the daughter of a former colleague at Air Canada and her father was my Director at Transport Canada - the world is small.

  • Our rings are the puzzle rings we bought in the Khan in Cairo in 1989 and have worn ever since. Laurent's is gold and mine is silver. They cleaned up real nice.

  • Rick is reading the traditional passage from St Paul's letter to the Corinthians however as much as I love the language of the King James version the translation of caritas as charity rather than love has always bothered me so he will be reading a modern translation.

  • Though we are not having flowers as such - no bouquets etc - we are bringing a beautiful arrangement Deb and James sent us from England and exquisite roses given to us by Molly and Dave over to adorn the table for the champagne after.

  • We are having a small wedding cake after the service with champagne sent to us by Deb and James, Maria and Gordon and my colleagues at Transport Canada.

  • There will be a small wedding supper at a local Bistro later this evening.

  • And yes I did see my intended after midnight last night and in his usual spot - pillow on the right side.
Roses from Molly and DavidAt the beginning of the ceremony Laurent and I will be lighting a candle together. That candle is meant to represent our friends, family and colleagues who cannot be with us. To all of you who have sent us wishes in one form or another - you are part of that flame and you are very much with us in our hearts as we exchange our vows and make our commitment.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Le Sense de Ha Ha

Though my sense of humour is decidedly British, I've always enjoyed the very different idea of what makes for the hahas in France - however I will never accept the rather strange Gaelic conception that Jerry Lewis is a comedic genius!

The bright sparks over at C'est so paris! are launching this billboard and newspaper campaign to convince Londoners that Paris is the place to be. They've totally convinced me!

Enjoy Rugby

"The second ad uses offbeat wit and the Rugby World Cup to show the world that Paris is also the capital of humour. The Paris region will be hosting several World Cup matches, including the final at the Stade de France."

The Brits are probably getting a kick out of it but I'm not sure how "humourous" they'd find it in say... Calgary or Peoria!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

BBF - Best Buds Forever

Our friends Bev and Kevin, they're really more than friends - more like family, have always been adventurous. She's currently working with the UN in Kabul - this after several stints in Darfur with CARE over the past three years. And Kev is currently posted in Sri Lanka doing security work involving Tamil Tigers. Even their idea of what constitutes a vacation can be a little out of the ordinary - paddling down the Zambezi for example.

Bev has some wonderful photos on her blog, Travels with Bev, which give a different perspective on life in Afganistan. She sent along this picture that her colleague Douglas Hageman, the Operations Manager for UNDP, took earlier in the week. I've included Douglas' comment that came with the photo.

Best Buds Forever - Kabul - July 2007
"Took this picture yesterday--These two kids were just chumming along seeming without a care in the world.

I think you can find happiness anywhere--but it probably helps to be 5 years old."

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Real Soph

Given the number of times Sophie Tucker sang "Some of These Days" on Ed Sullivan and The Hollywood Palace I'm surprised that there isn't a clip on YouTube. Most of what is there appears to be come from British Pathé during the period when she was the toast of London. Sadly, giving real meaning to Sic Transit Gloria, one of the clip comments refers to Bette Midler playing "some character called Sophie Tucker."

The little known "Only the Right Man Can Do Me Wrong" shows what a great vocalist and entertainer she was. What it does not show is her warm character and giving nature. Bette Midler use to say she was the only woman who could tell you to "kiss my tocass and plant a tree in Israel" in the same breath. And sell trees for the new born State of Israel she did -on some Kibbutz is a tree my Uncle and Aunt paid for between sets at the old Palace Pier in Toronto. They weren't Jewish and they weren't particularly political but I guess when Soph sat there and asked you to plant a tree in Israel... you planted a tree in Israel!

The Virtual Museum of the City of San Fransisco has a page devoted to Miss Tucker and Some of These Days including a great version with Ted Lewis and his Band - the instrumental alone could blow you away. And a 51 second clip of a number called "What'll You Do" which shows exactly why she was called "The Last of the Red Hot Mamas!"

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Said to My Boyfriend Ernie.....

I remember Bette Midler telling Sophie Tucker jokes in one of her first shows - Clams on the Half-Shell. I borrowed them real quick. They became staples on dreary Saturday nights around the ticket counter at Ottawa Airport. No matter how often I told them I knew the gang would explode in raucous laughter.

The all-time favorite on the OIA hit parade (told with appropriate holy roller gestures):

Soph and her boyfriend Ernie were listening to the Reverend Mr. Jones on the radio one night.

"I want you, I want you, if you believe in the healing power of the Reverend Mr. Jones, to put one hand on the part of the body that ails you. And the other hand on the radio and we will pray, we will pray for God's healing power!" hallelujahed the Reverend.

Soph was in a romantic mood so she put one hand on her heart and the other on the radio.

Ernie was a little more pragmatic, he placed one hand on his crotch the other hand on the radio.

Soph looked at him in dismay and said, "Ernie we are praying for healing of the sick, not resurrection of the dead!"

And we can blame tater for starting all this!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Grumpy Old Folks - I

So apparently this young pup of a grad student and some la-di-da physc prof are going around saying that us old folks lose our sense of humour as we get older. And they're basing this on reactions to, of all things, Ferd'nand cartoons!

Ferd'nand cartoons? Hell I didn't find them funny when I was 25 why would I find them funny at 60? And don't these guys read something other than the funny pages? Don't they read about the death and destruction everywhere? Global warming? Corporate corruption? Government irresponsibility? Don't they read Mary Worth? What the hell is there to laugh at?

And when it comes to a joke, hey I can still tell one with the best of them. Did you hear the one about the travelling farmer and the salesman's daughter?

Monday, July 09, 2007

I've Come All Over Queer!*

*Sorry just a bit of inside humour for people who remember Kenneth Williams' of Carry On and Julian & Sandy fame at moments of high emotion - his delivery of that line in that whiny, nasal voice with appropriate hand and wrist gestures always broke me up.

But seriously I was honoured when one of the most intriguing bloggers around nominated me for the "Thinking Blogger Award."

Tater is one of the finest writers in blogdom and as our friend at I Need More Cowbell (who was also nominated) remarked "his writings pull me in to another place or time." I just wish he'd post more often but know damn well that when he does it will knock my socks off.

I not sure how thoughtful or thought-provoking my blog is when I compare it to people like (and this is just a partial list) Lynette, Joe, Eric, Cowbell or Tater himself, but thanks for the recognition Tater. And I really did "come all over queer!"

I know one of the rules is to pass the award on to others you feel are deserving but looking at Eric, Tater, and Cowbells' lists I'm at a loss as who to add. From their lists I've added three or four other fascinating blogs to my daily check list.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Video - Women In Films

Once again Eggman913 has worked his video magic. Some of the images fly by so quickly I found I was thinking: Oh that's.... what's-her-name.... was in..... Of course it may have more to do with my fading memory than video speed.

What's that line from Sunset Boulevard (the movie not the Andrew Lloyd Webber crap?)

We had faces!

They sure as hell did!

ADDENDUM: Did I just miss it or is Bette Davis missing from this montage? (July 7, 2007)
ADDENDOM TO THE ADDENDUM: Red7Eric tells me that Miss Davis is indeed there - in her blond days. (July 9, 2007)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Mom! It's Not Fair!

My blogger buddies BigAssBelleand Red7Eric both got NC17 and I only got a PG - its not fair!

Online Dating

It appears my use of the words: "ass," "gay" and "hell" make me unsuitable for tots to view unless mom and dad approve of that sort of thing.

Maybe I should be running the voice over they put on before Law and Order SVU or Family Guy in the early evening:

Parts of this programme may be unsuitable for younger audiences. Parental Discretion is Advised.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Proudly American-Canadian

Reese, One Proud American
I'm not the only one with dual citizenship around here: Reese was born in Crystal Lake, Illinois. We were living in Chicago at the time and he found us through a kennel in the area - as I mentioned in an earlier post we realize now that it was a puppy mill despite its AKA membership. And he's an American boy through and through - in fact for a mid-west guy he's got one hell of a California attitude. You know: I don't really have to do anything 'cause I'm gorgeous!

He and I want to wish all of our American friends and family (Sophie & Andrew, Yvette, Stephane & Sparkles 2) a great Glorious 4th! We'll be watching the fireworks on PBS.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Bluebells in concrete

Main Entry: te·na·cious
Pronunciation: t&-'nA-sh&s
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin tenac-, tenax tending to hold fast, from tenEre to hold
1a: not easily pulled apart: COHESIVE
b: tending to adhere or cling especially to another substance
2a: persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired
Synonym see STRONG
Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary

Proudly Canadian - a Day Late*

As a Canadian I am often self-deprecating when it comes to my home and native land - there you go, a tongue-in-check, typically Canadian phrase if there every was one. I take much for granted and while grumbling about what's wrong with Canada I often forget what is right.

Last week's cruise on the Ottawa River was a gentle reminder of the beautiful area I live in - one of many beautiful areas in a vast country. Yesterday's Canada Day celebrations were a reminder that we have so much to be proud of.

And as a gay man I was reminded twice this past week that I have many reasons to be thankful I am a Canadian.

I went to Ottawa City Hall on Friday and applied for a license for our upcoming (July 21) marriage. I mentioned to the lady processing our application that Laurent and I had been together for almost 29 years. As she gave me the license she said: Congratulations, I hope the next 29 years are as happy as the last 29.

Member of the Order of CanadaTwice a year - New Year's Day and Canada Day - the Governor General announces a list of Canadians who have been awarded The Order of Canada - the highest civilian award my country can bestow. Amongst the names on this year's Canada Day list is Rev. Brent Hawkes, the senior pastor of MCC Toronto. Brent has been granted the title of Member of the Order for his work as a clergyman and a gay rights activist.

I didn't wear a T-Shirt proclaiming it yesterday, nor did I fly a flag from the second floor veranda but I am proud to be a Canadian.

*And if that ain't typically Canadian, what is? Eh?