Tag Archives: pigeons

The Jolie Tour, Part 2…Eat, Drink and Be Bitchy…

This is the second installment of a series begun yesterday…please read Part One here to get up to speed…[The Jolie says to “Make it snappy!”…she’s hungry].

It’s against the law here not to “go to Tim Hortons for coffee” (you don’t actually have to drink coffee…”going for coffee” is an activity).  Tim Hortons is a Canadian institution started by a hockey player as a “summer job” back in the 1960’s before athletes were paid millions of dollars to play.  Unfortunately, Tim was killed in a car accident in 1974, and didn’t get to see the huge success his little coffee shop is today (at the time of his death, there were 40 franchises).  Today, many Canadian cities have multiple Tims locations …when I lived there a few years ago, Moncton, New Brunswick, had more Tims per capita than any other city!  Every spring, Tims has a popular contest called “Roll Up the Rim to Win” where you look for a prize under the rim of your paper cup…they give away cars, TV’s, and free coffee and donuts (the last two things are all I’ve ever won!).

Since The Jolie’s little tummy was growling, we took her to the Lansdowne Tims location…after telling us what they wanted, Anna and Brianna escaped to the safety of the Shoppers Drug Mart, preferring to shop for shampoo instead of being seen in public with The Jolie and their Action Figure Tourist Guide parents (we’d dropped Hope off on the West Side at her dad’s, and Devin stayed home because there wasn’t room in the car for everybody…what a generous gesture!).  Before going in, we asked The Jolie what she wanted.  “I’ll have an Espresso Macchiato with a quarter inch of milk foam and chocolate sprinkles on the top!” she ordered.

“Whoa, baby,” I said.  “Back up the truck!  This isn’t a fancy L.A. coffee place…the people who work here wear hairnets and sturdy shoes, and usually aren’t third-rate actresses!  They call everybody, ‘Dear’.  You can have coffee or tea or hot chocolate…if you’re good, I’ll get them to put a French Vanilla flavour shot in your coffee!  What do you want to eat?”

The Jolie thought for a minute before answering, “Get me a smoked salmon on rye, sliced very thin with the crusts cut off, and just a couple of capers on top.”  Her face fell when she saw the look on mine.  “Really…they don’t have that either?”

“When you’re in the Maritimes, Dear, ‘Capers’ are people who hail from a part of Nova Scotia called Cape Breton.  They get mad if you try to spread them on a sandwich, or criticize their funny accents.”  I took pity on The Jolie: “How about a nice Chicken Club on a whole wheat baguette?”  I hoped that throwing a French word in there made it sound fancier (I also hoped I wouldn’t have this trouble again).  It worked.

“I suppose that’s all right,” The Jolie pouted.  I dropped her in my purse, and we went in and ordered our food.  I paid with my Tims card (yay…I had more left on it than I thought!), and we carried the plastic tray to the table.  Jim glanced surreptitiously around before I pulled The Jolie out of her hiding place and set her on the table.

The Jolie engages in the great Canadian pastime...coffee at Tims...

In between bites of her sandwich, The Jolie found it amusing to yell “Barista!” repeatedly.  The girls behind the counter kept ducking to escape her wrath (I heard one of them ask another, “Is that Spanish for double-double?”)!  We explained to The Jolie that there is no “table service” at Tims…if she wanted something, she’d have to go up and ask for it!  She passed.

We’d gotten The Jolie a couple of Timbits for dessert.  Timbits are donut holes…Tims makes a fortune selling them for 15 cents each.  The Jolie demanded to know why we were feeding her “leftovers.”  She changed her tune once that Honey Dip hit her lips…

After lunch, we gathered up the girls and continued our tour.  The next stop was the Saint John City Market, which has been in operation in its current location since 1876.  When the Market was built in the late nineteenth century, Saint John was one of the world’s leading shipbuilding centers, and the roof of the Market is modelled after an upside-down ship’s keel.  The kids made themselves scarce again while we took our photos.

The Jolie looks down over the City Market...

The Market is open year-round every day but Sundays.  The day starts at 7:30 a.m. with the ringing of a large bell at one end, and finishes the same way at 6 p.m., except on Saturdays when the Market closes at five.  In addition to fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses and baked goods, the Market is a cornucopia of items ranging from local crafts, giftware and souvenirs to ethnic food from various locales.  There is also entertainment on the weekends, although we got there too late in the afternoon to see it.  The Jolie offered to do “a reading” but they didn’t have a mike stand short enough for her (which is a good thing, because not a lot of people would be interested in hearing an excerpt from her upcoming book, Pezed Off…The Jolie World Tour!).

Dulse from Grand Manan is something a lot of tourists take home with them when they visit New Brunswick:

The Jolie in the dulse bin...

Apparently, The Jolie was confused about what you’re supposed to do with dulse (and also has trouble reading upside down), because before I could stop her, she was doing this:

The Jolie exploring the benefits of dulse...

“What do you mean, you eat it?  I thought it was a beauty treatment!” she sputtered, as I hauled The Jolie out of the bag.  “We pay big bucks for seaweed at my spa in L.A.!”  She spent the next hour removing bits of purple vegetation from her hair…

Be sure to come back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of The Jolie’s visit to Saint John, New Brunswick!

*Disclaimer: This post is entertainment and any resemblance to living people (except Jim and I and our kids) is purely coincidental.  I also didn’t eat the blue pill!

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Of Pigeons, Puppies, and Other Pets Which Go Poop in the Night…

The first pets I remember having were a pair of turtles…I was four, I think.  They were tiny, dark green things with the little red spots on their heads.  I can’t recall what their names were.  They lived in a clear plastic bowl that didn’t smell very good most of the time.  It’s a wonder that my brother and I didn’t die of salmonella poisoning…I don’t ever remember my mom telling us to wash our hands after holding those turtles!

After the turtles went to that “great terrarium in the sky,” we got Toby, a miniature dachschund (weiner dog).  Toby lived in a pen in our basement, and was a very good barker, especially as my brother and I raced around the basement on our tricycles!  After a couple of years, he was diagnosed with distemper, and we had to put him to sleep.  I don’t think my mother missed him much!

Me and Toby...

One night, as the family ate supper, we heard a big thump…a pigeon had flown into one of our windows.  His wing was damaged, and he couldn’t fly.  My dad built him a cage in the basement with scrap wood and chicken wire.  We named our new pet “Hector Birdwell.”  I think he eventually recovered from his injuries, and we released him back into the wild…

In roughly that same time period, we discovered a rabbit nest in our back yard with four tiny bunnies in it…the mother was nowhere to be found.  We brought them into the basement (do you see a pattern here?) and named them Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter.  Unfortunately, none of them survived without their mother.

After we moved to Canada, we had cats…they were all outside cats…my mom didn’t allow cats in the house until we had all moved out!  At our first house, the stone house, we had Tripper.  He was a beautiful striped tomcat with a great personality.  He was my brother’s cat, mostly…he’d ride around on Jeff’s shoulder.  After we moved to Rednersville, we got Nicky (whose full name was “Nicholas Saone Georges Chat”…I was ten, and had just started taking French at school).   Nicky was a honey-coloured tabby with the personality of an angel, unless you were a rodent or a bird (those were captured and the remains left proudly in front of the back door for my horrified mom to find!).  We had Nicky for about ten years…one day, he just didn’t come home… 

My brother and I were in Towers, a local department store, one day, and saw a cage full of white mice.  Begging ensued.  My parents caved, and we each brought home one white mouse.  They didn’t last long, and soon we were back at Towers buying a pair of hamsters, Tops and Harold (named for a wonderful couple who were like grandparents to us).  Since they were male and female, one morning we discovered that there had been six hairless hamster babies born during the night.  Being novice hamster owners, we didn’t know that you’re supposed to take the father out of the cage when there are newborns…it wasn’t long before the babies “disappeared”…who knew that daddy hamsters were cannibals?  The second time Tops and Harold presented us with offspring, we relocated Harold until the babies were big enough not to be devoured by their father.

The eight hamsters lived in a large wooden box covered with a window screen.  One night, we were invited to another family’s home for dinner.  When we came home, some irresponsible child (might have been me…nobody really knows) had left the screen off the top of the box, and we had hamsters all over our house!  After several hours of searching, we’d found most of them, except for Harold (he’d probably had enough of his brood, and found some young hamster hussy to shack up with).  One of the babies had managed to fall through into the basement (they lived on our first floor), injuring his spine.  “Dickie” just dragged his useless back legs around after that.

I was fourteen when we got Pixie, a small black chihuahua/terrier mix, who was pregnant when we brought her home.  Pixie also liked to bark, and would terrorize any boy I brought home.  She must have mated with a much larger dog…the four puppies were huge, and had to be literally pulled from her straining body (she chose to give birth the day my brother and I were being interviewed by a local newspaper reporter about our community newspaper, the Rednersville Review…we kept getting up from our chairs to go over and see how the dog was doing)!  We named them Samantha (Sam), George, Chestnut (Chessie), and Cleo.  Sam and George were black with white on their paws, and the other two were a lovely light brown.  I crocheted each of them little coats to wear.

We gave away the puppies when they were eight weeks old…they all ended up to be bigger than their mother was.  Mom had Pixie long after my brother and I had moved out, and was sad to have her put to sleep after Pixie eventually lost her eyesight and control of her bowels.

My first pet after I moved out was Mandy, a dark striped tabby.  We never had the money to get her fixed, and she got nastier and nastier whenever she was in heat.  When my oldest daughter was about a year old, we decided it would be best to have Mandy put to sleep, as we were worried about her attacking the baby.

Then we got another “Nicky.”  He wasn’t nearly as nice as his namesake…he was also a blond tabby.  He didn’t like people to come into the house, and would howl at them if they came near him!  One time, Nicky accidentally got into our downstairs neighbour’s apartment, where he spent the next nine hours trapped with SEVEN other cats!  Judy was at work, and we had to wait until she got home to rescue Nicky…it took an hour-and-a-half…I ended up just throwing Judy’s comforter over him and scooping him up.  He was traumatized for weeks!

We got Rusty from my oldest daughter’s babysitter.  He was a beautiful, big ginger tabby without a brain in his head.  One night, I was in bed and my ex-husband came in to wake me up.  “Rusty’s in the living room, dead as a doornail,” he said.  “What?” I asked, in a sleepy stupor.  He repeated what he’d said.  I roused myself and followed him into the living room.  There was Rusty, lying on the floor with his head thrown back…to this day, we don’t know what killed him.  Kaylee was seven at the time…she was heartbroken!

We replaced Rusty with Buddy, another dark brown tabby.  Buddy was Nicky’s opposite…a big suck who would soak up any attention anybody gave him.  Nicky sulked for a while, but eventually accepted his new brother.

A few years later, my ex-husband and I split up, and I had to take the cats to the SPCA, as we were leaving the city.  That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done…

Fast forward to the present…we can’t have cats in the house, since Jim and his kids have severe allergies.  Our Schnoodle (miniature schnauzer/miniature poodle), Jake, just turned two (we got him when he was eight weeks old).  He continues to amaze us, and at times, drive us crazy, but we love him anyway (to read more about him, search “Jake” in the Search box at right).

Jake, shortly after we got him in December, 2008...

Anna’s trying to talk me into getting another dog to keep Jake company, but it’s not happening…

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