Up into space

It’s been over a month since my last post, as I went away on vacation for two weeks and then have taken a while to readjust to life at home.

The visit to Canada went well. Elizabeth and I spent five days in Toronto, seeing the sights and giving me the opportunity to reconnect with a few of my old friends. Then we took off for the cottage, where we had a week and a half of practically nothing to do other than read and relax out by the water. The worst part had to be the colds that she and I came down with almost immediately after arriving in Toronto; mine managed to stay with me for the entire the vacation, although thankfully it didn’t ruin it.

The weather was excellent for most of it; oppressively hot at times (especially our first few days in Toronto), but for the most part just nice and sunny and warm and great for relaxing outdoors and swimming in the lake. The only day it rained was on our anniversary, when the skies let loose and ruined my plans: I had intended to take Elizabeth horseback riding but instead had to postpone until the following day. We had a good time out at a ranch that was still getting up and running; my horse was mercifully docile and we went on a great little trail-ride tour of the property. It was my first time on a horse since one time I went on a trail ride when I was a kid, and while there were a few awkward moments on the whole it went pretty smoothly. There are a few photos and I will get around to posting them eventually.

The ecology of the cottage is something that keeps changing: when I was a kid ducks were a pretty uncommon sight, and now they’re practically a fixture and act like they own the place. In the same way, frogs used to hang out in our corner of the bay and I’ve not seen any the past few times I’ve been. The past couple of years have seen the introduction of a new tenant, though: turtles. There haven’t been many of them – only two on this vacation, although one we saw sunning itself on a rock was still quite young and small, suggesting the population may be growing. The other one was about the length of my arm and we discovered it attacking a duck, who was quacking manically as it tried to reach the shore from the middle of the bay. We could only tell that it was caught on something, but couldn’t see what until it was near the shore and I could see the turtle gripping the duck’s foot in its mouth, letting itself be dragged towards shore. Not being sure what to do and perhaps being more scared of the turtle than a man in his thirties ought to be, I grabbed a rock and began whacking the turtle with it, just hoping to startle it into letting go of the duck’s foot. Eventually I got the two of them separated, but not without the turtle ripping off a chunk of the duck’s foot as a souvenir. The duck sat in shock on the beach for a while, and I wasn’t sure if I’d done it any favour by intervening, but I left it a few pieces of bread so that it might get some energy back. We were able to identify the hobbled duck the following day as it was sunning itself on a floating dock along with a bunch of other ducks, so while I don’t know if it will ultimately survive or for how long there at least appears to be some hope for it.

Being at the cottage is much nicer now that my parents have high-speed internet there. I actually brought a couple of inexpensive wireless routers I purchased here back to Canada with me to set up for them both in their condo and at the cottage, so that we could get a nice strong signal down at the waterfront. This was a working vacation for me, and I must say it was pretty sweet being able to work on my laptop in a chaise lounge down on the lower deck, with the sun, the waves and the breeze all there keeping me company. In what was more of an experiment than something I actually decided to use more than a couple of times, I found I could actually stream recorded television from my fancy-pants box at home in Redmond all the way to my parents’ cottage in Muskoka. That’s pretty impressive, I think, especially since the cottage Internet is delivered by satellite, so not only is the video streaming over 2,000 miles but is actually being sent up into space before being blasted back down to the little cottage outside of rural Gravenhurst, just so I could watch the Thundercats premiere.

The time spent in Toronto was at my parents’ new condo around Yonge and Finch, which is actually quite nice, although there are a lot of stairs. My parents have always had a good knack for managing their living spaces, and I was surprised to see the vast majority of furniture from my old house had been successfully repurposed and rearranged in the new place. That was a good time, too: we got a package to go see a number of tourist spots, although between the amount of walking in hot weather and our colds we only really got out to three of the five sights. We went to Casa Loma, the Toronto Zoo and the ROM, but left the CN Tower after realizing it was a three hour wait to ascend it, and gave the Science Centre a miss. We also took a jaunt out to Hamilton to see my old university stomping grounds, and we got to hang out with one of my old roommates as well, which was nice.

Sometimes you remember things as being better than they are, but I’m glad to say that my revisiting some Canadian restaurant chains, especially Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s and Pizza Pizza were not a disappointment. God, I miss them out here.

Oh, I also grew a beard over the holiday, for the first time since 2007. It has to come off this week, though, as I’m going in to have my biometrics recorded for my replacement green card, and I don’t really want it trapped for the next ten years in its holographic imagery. I may give it another chance after that appointment, though.

It’s been slow to adjust back to normal life, especially since so much has changed all of a sudden. Elizabeth, in particular, received her license and has opened her massage practice, so her schedule is completely different and still in a transient state. I’ve also begun performing Theatresports at the Intiman, which is crazy in all kinds of ways… for starters, I’m pretty sure the height of the lobby alone exceeds the entire width of the stage we had at the Market Theatre. And we’ve confirmed that the entire Market Theatre could fit into the backstage space we aren’t using at the Intiman.

It’s taken some adjusting to performing there, and it doesn’t help that we’re currently dealing with relatively small audiences in a theatre that seats over 400. It’s fun and exciting, though, and feels just the tiniest bit naughty, like something must have gone horribly wrong for our ragtag ensemble of performers to have the run of one of Seattle’s most impressive and dignified (not to mention award-winning) professional theatres, a kind of inmates-running-the-asylum scenario. (And of course, it is because things went rather badly for the Intiman that we were able to step in and make use of their space. It still feels bizarre, though.)

I’ve also enlisted myself in another improv show that we will be running there in September: Build Your Own Musical, a show that will give me the opportunity to really expand on my musical improv skill, so I am excited for that.

That’s all for now! More updates as I regain further consciousness.


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