Friday, July 29, 2005

Happy Birthday, Molly!

Today is my beautiful little sister's tenth birthday. To believe that she has actually reached the 'double digits' is so incredible.

I was nine and a half when she was born. I was so excited to think about having a little sister or brother. She was supposed to be born on July 16th, but ended up coming late. Those few weeks of July seemed to just crawl as we waited in anticipation.

The night Mom went into the hospital, Uncle Bob and Victoria stayed at our house with Amy and I. The three of us (Amy, Victoria, and I) had a sleepover in Amy's bottom bunk bed, each of us squishing into the single bed.

At four o'clock that morning, she was born. I slept right through it, although the night before it had taken me forever to get to sleep. Was it going to be a boy or a girl. I tried to tell myself that I would be happy with either, but what little girl doesn't want a baby sister?

The next morning, up we rose. Dad came into the house and told us that mom had a baby.

"Well, what is it?"

Dad smiled.
"It's a ...... b...... girl!"

Now that precious little baby is a remarkable 10 year old.

There is no doubt that she is the cutest thing in the entire world,

She is fun,

She has the most incredible imagination,

She is friendly,

She is talented,

She is a fantastic sister,

And she has such a huge heart.

Isn't she beautiful? Happy tenth birthday, Molly. I love you with all my heart! It has been such an interesting ten years up till this point, and cannot wait to watch you grow into a beautiful woman!

Love, your big sister.

"It's a good Nuclear Day"

10:00 came and I found myself standing in the Mechanical Maintenance shop surrounded by quite a few Lepreau employees (some who had already taken all the seats) all staring at a large screen. We watched Energy Minister Bruce Fitch (this would be entirely more enjoyable if I had a picture of him and my dad in high school or something) walk onto the platform and introduce Premier Lord and two guests.

Bernard Lord stood up and took his place at the podium. Both he and Bruce were saying positive things about Point Lepreau, however I did not want to jump to conclusions. Then, the Premier of New Brunswick announced the decision. They had decided to refurbish.

The crowd on the screen went wild. Everyone in the Maintenance shop was pretty silent, but I saw a few cracked smiles.

I think the government made the right decision. In the long run, this will be a much cheaper option than fossil fuels to say the least. I am mostly pleased for the 700 or so workers who make their way to Lepreau every morning for work. It would be a major loss for some of the workers.

After the newscast, the Health Physics department (of which I am a part of) had a "group hug" (meeting), and this is where I saw most people's reactions. Everyone was thrilled, and relieved. Being Friday, there were not a large amount of us at the meeting (about six or seven), but those who took today off were calling in, and asking about the results.

I found out at lunch that other departments had ice cream cake. Definitely more delicious than a group hug!

To Radiate or not to Radiate, That is the Question....

In an hour, Premier Lord will be doing a news briefing, updating the media on the Future of Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station. I'll be heading over to the Maintenance shop where there will be a huge television set up for some of the employees to watch. I think the most interesting part will not be my reaction, as unfortunately I do not think I will be following my WBGT girl career opportunities.

When I tell people my place of summer employment, I always get the question of whether the government will fund us or not. Honestly, I have no sweet clue. I just go on what people around me say. Some of the plant workers believe it would be absolutely stupid to not refurbish, others do not have such a positive outlook. My mother thinks that the government will withhold all funding and let the plant run until 2008 until it dies.

The most frustrating part of the equation is that the government has been holding back on making a decision for so long. That is the main criticism that I have heard about Bernard Lord from New Brunswickers; if he actually comes around to making a decision, it will have been a long time coming, a time which was full of flip-flopping. "Better to make a bad decision, than no decision at all" said one New Brunswicker, who I carpool with. I do not know if I agree. Be as it may, PLGS has been crying for funding for refurbishment and waiting for the government to make up its mind for a while.

We'll see what 10:00 brings.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Say Cheese!

Next time you see me, I'll have a new smile.

In second grade, after we had moved to Riverview, I was at a sleep-over at our church with the Pioneer Club program which First Moncton ran. Most of the time was spent in the church gym. Jillian, Katie, and I were, as little girls do, skipping rope, Jillian and Katie on either end, myself in the middle. Being seven or eight years old, I was not equipped with the mind I have now, and so I did not realize the ludicrousy of not wearing sneakers while jumping rope on a gym floor. Instead, I had my simply my socks on. As anyone knows, I am not very stable on my feet with industrial shoes on, let alone socks that allow easy 'surfing' upon sleek surfaces.

As all little girls know, skipping cannot go on forever, and so we eventually stopped, perhaps to give someone else a turn at the jumping. I stood on the rope. Katie, in a way any seven or eight year old child would find hilarious, pulled the rope out from under me.

KAPLUNK. Flat on my face I fell. I was not badly hurt, I probably had the wind knocked out of me.

I stood up. Should I cry? Did it hurt? Something had to happen, but I think I feel alright.

Someone pointed to the ground and gasped. People rushed towards me. "Laura, are you okay? Oh my goodness!" I had no idea why everyone was looking towards the ground.

I looked to where they were all pointing. There was something wrong with the floor. I looked closer. No, there was something on the floor.

"Laura, your teeth, what happened?" Pieces of my two front teeth were laying on the off white floor. I started crying. I picked them up, hoping that it could be fixed, scared of what my parents would say. I moved my tongue to the front of my mouth and ran it against my teeth. That made me cry harder, because there was a space which should not have been there. I could feel the air moving into and out of my mouth as I breathed, or moved. When something is out of place, it is unavoidably evident, and this is probably what caused me the most pain. Dad must have been in his office or in a meeting, or I called him. I remember sitting in his office, on one of his rose coloured LazyBoys and crying. The time we spent at the church seemed like ages to me, I do not recall what took so long, but eventually we were at the hospital, sitting in the waiting room.

I missed out on the entire night, but I was most heart broken about the dog show. Apparently, trainers came in and dogs did tricks, policemen brought in their dogs to sniff out things. And I was sitting on my Daddy's lap in outpatients, waiting for a nurse to see me. After what seemed like hours, a nurse looked at me and told me there was nothing I could do. I had to see a dentist. It was late at night, and our dentist was on vacation, so Dad got in touch with the on-call dentist and I had an appointment for the next day or soon after.

This was not the only adventure my teeth brought me on. Every once in a while for years they would break on me. I would be eating candy, or Amy and I would be wrestling. Eventually the dentist put pins in the back of my teeth to keep them from falling apart.

I've been told that my smile is one of my best features, and yet in the middle of my smile is the remnants of chipped teeth, getting discoloured and fading as the years go on.

In middle school, I broke them once more, and some friends started calling me Chippy. This was a nickname that I hated, and it would hurt more than anything. In early high school, I was explaining the teeth story,

"Oh, so that's what happened" one of my newer friends exclaimed. "I always thought you just didn't brush your teeth or something.

Because of this, my teeth have always been a confidence issue for me. That and my eyes. The cliche of beauty is always "blonde hair and blue eyes" of which I have neither. Instead, I have what has been affectionately referred to as barf-coloured eyes. Of course, I am essentially over both of these traumatizing events; feel extremely self conscious over my smile and my eyes, however the situation is still tender. The day my friend broke my heart and told me about what 'colour' my eyes were, my youth pastor said to me, "Laura, the man you marry is going to find your eyes beautiful. He will think ________ (left intentionally blank, because I cannot go marrying the first person who says this to me, especially if it is common knowledge in the first place)."

Today I will soon find myself leaving work and on my way back into Quispamsis to go to my dentist appointment. Unlike my boyfriend, I do not have dentophobia, however the experience is never my most pleasant. (My hunky dentist alleviates some of the stress.) Today, they are sautering my two front teeth, and rebuilding them, hopefully matching the colour and clearing up all the bacteria which is forming between the real and the fake teeth, possibly causing cavities. My dentist's wish was for me to get crowns (or something) on the teeth to cover them up. It would look as if I did not have a chip at all, and it would be the end of all my worries with them, however the insurance will not cover it. So I will be forced to endure the removing and rebuilding of my teeth once every few years until I no longer have any more of my own teeth left.

I would be much more inclined to go to the dentist if I could read or write while getting the work done. Instead, I'll be staring up at a Dora the Explorer poster on the ceiling.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

DIMANCHE dans Toronto

Sunday morning, we allowed ourselves to sleep in, so of course, I woke up as early as I could. I mean, on my one long weekend away from work at which I wake up at 5:30 am every morning, I decided to wake up early on the one morning I can sleep in. Brilliant Laura. When I emerged from my room to enter the real world (which was after laying in bed for a while relaxing, and a shower, making my immersion close to noon), everyone was already out in the back, swimming and enjoying the sun. It was a lovely morning. The weather all weekend had been beautiful, but that morning, the sun was out and warmer than it had been all weekend (for some reason, the major Toronto heat wave decided to leave us alone for that one weekend we were visiting). I had my new bathing suit on, and my hair in braids, and the heat of the sun just felt so good walking onto the interlocking brick patio. The boys were swimming in the pool and Bill and Ro were laying on the deck chairs. Dan and I joined them for a while, as I put on some well needed sunscreen (45 SPF, would you believe it?) and had some of Mia's delicious Spring Rolls. Eventually, we got warmer and the kids were getting a little more hyper, and so we decided to jump into the pool. Or rather, Dan jumped - I walked into the pool via the stairs, although the temperature was lovely.

"Everyone attack DJ!" said a voice from somewhere in the pool. Like a flock of seagulls are to a tossed Wendy's take out bag, all five boys ranging from two seven year old red heads to the fourteen year old, who almost equals Dan's size, swarmed towards him, grabbing onto whatever they could.

I stood back and laughed. Every time they needed reinforcement, I would cry "attack DJ!" or would render services by myself latching onto some part of Dan which was otherwise available. Kids were being thrown around the pool, everyone, except possibly Dan, was laughing.

That was until I head Dan say....

"Everyone attack Laura!!!" The twins and Blayne come rushing over as fast as running in water would let them. Luckily for me, the older boys were a little more awkward at latching on as tightly as they had to Dan, so they stood back offering what moral support they could muster. Working with a number of kids for a good part of the summers previous, and having a younger hyper-active sibling of my own, my kid muscles were pumped and ready! The children attached to my arms and back was no match for PYROPHYTAWOO-MAN! (That's right, the super hero of highschools past has been revived once more to battle, none other than the evil-water-dwellers).*

Soon, everyone was tired, and some were bloody, and the kids were ordered out of the pool and told to go inside and get dressed. This allowed Dan and I some quality pool time. As we got out, Dan insisted that he get the very pink towel. This may be because Dan has some sort of affinity to the colour pink, or perhaps that it was bigger than all the rest of the towels (I don't know, I'm leaning towards reason number one), but Jesse was appalled! He could not believe that lack-of-gentlemanliness he was seeing in his older brother! And so, Jesse handed the pink towel to me as I got out. I dried and warmed myself off with it, and handed it to Dan as he was getting out, stating "I was just drying it off for you". For some reason, he preferred a different coloured towel. I think he was just embarrassed that I found out his fondness for fuschia.

As we walked into the house, we saw bodies littered across the couches in the house. Not only were the four younger brothers sleeping in front of the TV, on the floor, or on the couch in the room next to the TV room, but so was Mia. This was such a cute sight, and I kind of wish we had a camera at the time, or at least bothered to take a few pictures.

As I cleaned up and got dressed for the day, Ro did Dan a huge favour and cut his hair, something that desperately needed to be done. Once he was finished, they joked about doing mine. This got me thinking, and I figured I did need a summer chop. Well, Dan did not like this idea. He did not think I would look good with short hair, and he liked my hair long and that was the only way I'd be pretty. This was his stubborn side coming through. So Ro did not cut it overly short, but I got rid of about four inches. It was a lovely cut. Of course, it looked better that day than it ever will again - I cannot style my own hair - but it is nice to have it a little shorter for summer.

With our hair freshly cut, we headed into the car to The Promenade Shopping Center. Seeing as I had not managed to buy much in the way of clothes on our trip to Vaughn Mills Mall the day before, it was nice to get one more shopping excursion before the end of the trip. I am not an avid shopper, nor do I even claim to like the whole experience much. In fact, I tend to avoid shopping at all costs. This trip, however quick it was - as we were trying to make it home in time for supper, was one of the best shopping experiences ever. Instead of having to pick out what may or may not look good on me, or stress about what does or does not fit, I let Dan play dress-up. I chose the outfits, I went into the dressing room and tried them on. A good percentage of the stress of shopping was alleviated through that. All that was left was feeling absolutely disgusting when something did not look good on, but there were few of those scenarios, especially at our first stop - The Gap. I bought about 200 dollars worth of clothes between the Gap and Old Navy (I had a gift certificate), and we left Old Navy just as the store was closing and just on time to make it home before supper.

Supper that night was steak. When Dan's father handed me the plate of barbecued steak, I was taken aback. This piece of steak could have fed my entire family plus fourteen starving Africans. I tried my best to eat as much as a could of it, but no matter how hard I tried, I just could not manage to eat very much. I honestly had the second biggest piece of steak, with Dan having the largest. We sat around on patio furniture out back by the pool as the kids ate inside. It was a lovely supper. As the sky began to get darker, and the kids started to get a little more rambunctious (that is how the trend tends to go), Bill and Ro and Laura went for a walk, and the twins, after their bath, started running around the pool. Clearly this is a 'what not to do' scenario, and so finally, catching both of them and convincing them to go inside, I led them up to their room to try to wind them down. Dan stayed outside, and got a chance to hang out one-on-one with Jesse, who was in the pool at the time, which I think was nice for both of them.

When Dan came inside, he found me, the twins, and Blayne (I think?) reading from a book of fairy tales. This was unlike any reading I was accustomed to. The twins were up and down, sometimes paying attention, sometimes watching the video game that Blayne was playing. Despite the constant buzz around me, I really enjoyed this time to sit and read to them. I fell in love with all five of Dan's brothers while I was visiting, and it was great that I could interact with them on a personal level.

The boys brushed their teeth, and Ro came up to make sure they were in bed. Dan and I went online to get the directions to the place we had to be the next morning. We had a hard time getting the internet to work on the three different computers that we tried, and we finally got into one, without too much stress involved. For some reason, I remember this part of the night quite fondly. Maybe it was because of the atmosphere. The computer was right outside the boys' room, and so the hall lights were out, with exception of a little coloured light casting pretty little blue designs all over the wall. It could have been the silence, after a long day of hanging out with five kids, whispers were a pleasant addition. It could have been talking to Sean, who seemed to be a tad quiet and reserved for most of the weekend. Or maybe, it was the fact that I was sitting on the lap of someone who I love, finally a time when we could sit and relax without a lot of action happening around us.

We just hung out together for the rest of the night, sitting on a couch and talking. Right before the quietness of the night lulled me to sleep, we decided to finally do our midnight swim, a concept we had been talking about for the entire weekend there. So we put our swim suits back on, and shimmied into the chilly pool. With the sun on the other side of the earth, the night was cool, but not cold. The water was not too uncomfortable if moving around, but we only stayed in the water for about five minutes before it became barely bearable.

I wasn't even able to have a quick shower before hopping into bed, I was too exhausted.

*I am the only one who finds this funny, with the exception of possibly Bryn, and even that I doubt. Just let me have my fun! :-D

Monday, July 25, 2005

Chapter TWO - SATURDAY (Part two: Tony and Tina's Wedding)

Our plans for the afternoon were to meet Dan's Mom and Larry to go to a play that evening. The play began at four pm. A requirement was to look good for this event. Although Dan always looks good (ahem), he had not, like me, decided to dress up a little even for shopping. I suppose I am lucky, being of the female persuasion, that I can look good in a summer dress both shopping and at a wedding. Dan didn't think that dress slacks and expensive shoes were a good choice to find himself at the mall in. This was not supposed to be a problem, however, because of the bathing suit and the bubble tea, and the altogether lengthiness at the mall (okay, it was my fault), we did not have time to make the drive through Toronto traffic back to Dan's father's house to get dressed and back to Dan's Mom's residence. So, we just got into the car and drove to his Mom's.

We got there just in time, about four minutes before they had wanted to leave. It is a drive from Dan's mother's house in Thornhill (am I right about that?) to downtown Toronto, and so we had to leave early. Dan borrowed a golf shirt from Larry and we got into the car and headed towards the Big City. This is my first venture into the city of Toronto since arriving, and I was pointed out the CN tower every time we came in view.

"And that's the CN Tower, Laura!"

I must have seen that tower from every angle! What a treat!

The traffic in Toronto was fascinating for me. The weekend we were there, the traffic was not nearly as bad as I am told it can be, but that many different cars with that many different people in them is just wonderful. I am a people watcher and so it is grand to sit in my own car and watch everyone going to wherever for whatever reason.

Driving into the actual city was another incredible experience. Cars were going in every which direction. Packs of people where walking on the sidewalks, waiting for street lights, or walking in front of cars. There were rails on the street for street cars to drive on. Everything was in packs and crowds and flocks. So many cars, so many people. The buildings loomed over me. As were were driving into the city, I could see the skyrises from top to bottom, but as we got closer, they got taller and taller until I could no longer see the tops of them from my seat in the car, or even halfway up. It was then that the realization of how large everything in Toronto was set in. I was in a jungle of engines and cement and strange animals. It was beautiful, though; not dingy or dismal, but a foreign type of exotic, like a giant bouquet of wild flowers, each painted different colours, each with a unique aroma.

Downtown, we parked the car and got out of the car and headed into the Holiday Inn, which had doormen and everything. Up the stairs we walked (or rather, up the elevator we rode). We were on our way to the show Tony and Tina's Wedding, a dinner theatre like nothing I have ever experienced before. Our tickets were there waiting for us, and we arrived just in time, about five minutes early, leaving not too much of a wait time. Right away the actors started piling into this room which we were all standing in. Immediately they began introducing themselves and engaging in conversation with the patrons, continually in character. This was a wonderful charade and a completely different experience than I was used to.

We then wandered into the room where the actual play was taking place. The wedding happened, and then the reception. During the reception, there was lovely food, the actors came and sat down with us and talked with us or amongst themselves in front of us. There was dancing, in which the actors pulled you out of your seat to dance if you were not willing to do it alone. There were dances for couples, there were dances where everyone held hands in a circle, there were conga lines and the macarana, the YMCA and the chicken dance. This was the first time Dan and I had danced in a proper situation, although I must say, we take the prize in parking lot (car park for Matty) dancing. It was fantastic to be in his arms, close to him, as if the entire world was disappearing around us, and for one second it was just he and I.

Sitting at our table was a cute newly wed couple from the states. Dan first guessed that they were newly wed. Apparently they were being really sweet, him pulling out the chair for her and getting her food and all. I talked to her afterwards.

"Yeah, we've been married a little less than a year." She said. "Our wedding was nothing like this, though".

They were cute.

A few of the actors noticed Dan and I.

"If I was your boyfriend, I wouldn't let you out in public in that dress"

"You must be proud to have the prettiest girl in the room. I mean, my girlfriend's close, but don't tell her that she's not number one."

"You two must be so in love."

I had such a fantastic time, I laughed hard, danced hard, and had a great time with Dan, his mom, Larry, and every one of the actors. Dan's mom took pictures like it was nobody's business, and she loved to tell everyone where Dan and I were from.

"This is my son, Daniel. He came all the way from Halifax, Nova Scotia just for the wedding. And this is his girlfriend who is from New Brunswick. They're inter-provincial dating!"

Dan, his mom, and some cute groomsmen

I think Kiki's getting a little close....

Laura and Grandma Nunzio

She tried to set me up with her 21 year old grandson, Johnnie

Larry decided to dance with the pregnant bridesmaid

Dan had to pay twenty dollars to dance with the bride.

No, I did not go up to the front and dance to the YMCA with actors!

After the play, we walked downtown for a while, and headed to the CN tower. Unfortunately, there was at least an hour wait to get up the tower, and so we walked back to the car and drove to The Beaches. There, Brenda and I checked out this funky jewelry store, and I bought a toe ring, while Brenda bought me a bracelet which matched my sundress. Dan and Larry parked the car then came in to the store and browsed with us, but poor Dan had a headache and so spent some of the time outside. We then walked across the street to a restaurant bar and sat outside on the patio and talked and had a drink. The sky was growing pink as the sun started to set, and the Live 8 concert was playing on the TV behind us.

Dan and his Mom looking oh so cute and happy together, at the restaurant

As we drove home that night, in the dark, Dan's head was not feeling much better. By the time we got back to Dan's mom's house though, it was starting to feel better, so he was able to drive back to his dad's. When we got back, I tried to give my parents a call, but only got their machine, and then I think we went straight to bed. I am sure I passed out again after such a long day.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Self Loathing (NOT part of the Toronto story)

I hate it. Why do I constantly put myself through this over and over again? It is like I enjoy this feeling I get? And I push myself through it again, and again. I start off, and it isn't really bad.

"This is normal. Of course this happened" I tell myself.

But then I get so deep, so far in, that I lose the strength to continue swimming. All this information rushes over my head and my heart like water rushing faster and faster over the waterfall, pushing anything in it's way along with the strong current.

And yet, I had a life too. I understand this. In my head, I can talk myself out of this ludicrousy. But the heart stays in this twisted position. It becomes tangled in the web that I am not the only one a part of. I believe you and I believe us. I just hate the promises and the sharing. Send me back to kindergarten. Send me to the place where they teach you to play fair. I have forgotten how to. Instead I sulk in the corner, wishing that I could play with all the blocks at once, wishing that I could be the prettiest girl in the room, hoping that someday, something will become of me.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Chapter Two - SATURDAY (Part One)

This is all starting to blur in my head really fast, so I better get down to finishing this documentation. I wanted to have this done earlier, but got frustrated because I lost it all. Here we go again.

Saturday morning I woke up earlier than I would have liked. My head was sore from the night before because as I was so tired that I flopped myself on the bed. Instead of my head hitting the lovely soft pillow, it bonked on the wooden part of the fouton, giving me a lovely huge bump. This might have had something to do with how fast I managed to fall asleep that night. I fell asleep with ice to my head. By morning, the swelling had gone down a bit, but it was killer and the bump was still rather large. It might be for this reason that I do not remember much about Saturday morning. I think when we woke up, we got right to getting ready to go to the mall, shower, get dressed. We may have sat out by the pool for a little while watching the boys swim before heading out.

We got into the car (the Spyder - I apparently spelled it wrong a few times in Chapter one) and drove down to the mall. I do not remember the name of this mall - but it was the new one with the Bass Pro Shop in it - a store which Brenda, Dan's mother insisted we visit. Bass Pro was a fantastically large outdoor store, which made me want to go camping and be at Wildwood so much. There is a giant aquarium with big fish in it that you can watch. This aquarium is used to do fly fishing lessons with, although this was not going on while we were there.

The rest of the mall was huge as well, and we walked through it looking for clothes or sunglasses for myself. I got neither at this mall. My first expense was at La Senza, one of my favorite place to blow my money. Shopping is not my love, however underwear shopping is right up there with grocery shopping. So, I pulled Dan in with me, holding his hand tightly because he didn't want to be seen in that store unless everyone knew he was being dragged in by me. He got used to it in the end. I got a really great white pair of underwear that I think I managed to throw out by accident on the last day we were in Toronto. It was a shame, since I really needed a pair of white underwear for the new skirt I had bought a few days prior to the trip.

After La Senza, and after trying on a few sunglasses and hats, Dan and I headed to a restaurant in the mall for lunch. It was a fantastic place, a sports bar, but a lovely cool atmosphere to it. The restaurant was attatched to a bowling alley, which was really an interesting addition, but we didn't take the time to lace up some of those hot shoes and send a big colourful balls down a lane. Our lunch was delicious, I had a Caesar salad, and then Dan and I got a bunch of finger foods to share. I wish I could remember what exactly we got. There was Mac and Cheese balls, which was Macaroni and Cheese inside a batter (sounds healthy). I think we got some yummy barbecue chicken wings, and a type of flat bread with spinach and cheese dip. We did not even get close to finishing it. As a drink, I had this fantastic un-blended Pina Colada, which put me in heaven. It was so incredibly good. I tried to sip slowly to savour it, but the taste was out of this world. The drink came with cherries, and I had some fun with the stems afterwards.

Finishing lunch, we walked around the mall some more, a little faster than before. We had little time left, as the late afternoon we had plans we could not be late for. We did stop at Suzy Shier, until I realized that I had left my gift certificate in the car. Our last stop before running out of the store was at the bathing suit store. We had a blast picking out a suit that would fit and look okay on me. I ended up with this burgundy coloured one, which didn't seem to make me look too ginormous. Dan and I split the cost, but by this time, we were running late, so we hurried to the mall exit.

Right before we got back to Bass Pro Shop. Dan stopped.

"If we had more time, I'd take you to get some Bubble Tea. Remember how I told you about that?" I looked over. There was the Bubble Tea shop to my right. To my left, Bass Pro, which would be our exit from the mall. "But this might be the last chance we get to have it," Dan continued. I think he was having some major internal conflict.

I had never experienced bubble tea before. The store was bright and colourful and full of people. We walked in and I had to stand back to look at the menu. I decided on a fresh fruit cold drink.

"I'll have Watermelon please"

"Would you like the Tapioca Bubbles in it?" this was the intimidating part of the drink. But of course I had to try it.

"Yes please."

The handed me my pink blended drink with the floaty black spheres in the bottom of the cup. I look up at Dan.

"Here I go."

I take a sip, holding the straw in the middle of my cup so that I do not get any Tapioca bubbles. Not the first time at least.

"How is it?" Dan asks, eager to find out if I liked it or not.

"The watermelon drink is Fantastic!" I admit.

"What about the bubbles?"

I look ashamed. I take a deep breath, plunge the straw far into the bottom of the drink and slowly, very slowly, watch a black ball rise up my straw. In my mouth this mushy, chewy ball mixes with watermelon drink. This is a new feeling for me. Slowly I chew. I had no expectations of what this might taste like, no idea at all. And I was surprised. The taste of this chewy ball was sweet, but not overly sweet. I came to find out after a few however, that this was a rich sweetness. It was great. I was falling in love all over again with a pink drink filled with black beads and a giant straw. And now that I am home in New Brunswick, I miss it (although apparently Mom told me that there is a shop here in Saint John that sells them. I'll have to find out where this is, or my lust will grow too great.)

We walk out of the mall now, later than we had time for, but extremely happy. I felt like I was a girl in a summertime novel, wearing a cute summer halter dress, my brown hair long and down, held back with a long yellow scarf, and a cute boy's arm around my waist. We get to the perfect summertime-novel-convertible-car, and the wind starts blowing my hair back, one hand is holding this watermelon drink which tastes sweet like summertime-fruit and new like romance, the other hand is holding his.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

My trip with DJ Daniel O'Rourke O. A Novel. - Chapter ONE - FRIDAY

Yup, that's his name.

I cannot believe that Toronto happened. We came and went.

It was fantabulous. That's right - another new word. Just like boughten. Get over it.

So, as I said, on Thursday Amy and I piled into the Jetta and hopped on the road (mental image: car with bunny ears hopping). We drove until Sackville, with a stop in Sussex for a snack for Amy. When we arrived in Sackville I got a supper at le Subway to take on the bus, and a mirror to use for makeup and the like while traveling. Amy and the car got dropped off at Dan and Lisa's house, and I got a ride to the Irving to wait for my bus.

The bus was crowded, and the drive was long, but I sat beside a girl named Margaret and we talked the entire way, until she got dropped off at the airport. This provided me with some nice company to endure the trip with. She had been on the bus from Saint John, which I really pitied her for. Glad I had my car for the first half of the trip.

Dan picked me up at the bus station at twenty to eleven. I was tired by this point having only slept a few hours the night before and had been up since five that morning. I do not remember much more of that night from that point on. I cannot remember if I zonked out or if we stayed up late talking, but either way, it was a nice time, I know that for sure.

The alarm was set to go off at 5:00 am. It did not. Perhaps it was set wrong. You might ask Adam, as it seems that the alarm was unplugged when we got home, so I am assuming it went off SOMETIME. Anyway, our taxi was scheduled to get us at 5:30 I think. I woke up on my own at 5:10, I guess I have gotten somewhat into the groove of waking up early. I went over and gave Dan a kiss on the cheek. He looked over at the clock.

"Crap - the alarm did not go off".

Visions of missing taxis and planes and the expense of getting new tickets, or the disappointment of not going flooded my mind.

"WHAT?!?!" I yelled.

"It's okay, Laura. We just slept in for ten minutes, we still have loads of time."

Well, I had loads of time. Dan was not entirely ready to go. He ended up leaving some things at home. I just had to get dressed, do my hair, and close up my bag. We made a few bowls of Oatmeal, but did not have the time to eat much more than two half-spoonfuls, and I had to do my hair in the taxi. I also had to change my shirt in the taxi. This is one of my super-awesome-Laura-qualities: getting dressed without getting undressed. Yay ME!


We got to the airport and did not have much time to wait around. We weren't rushed, but we weren't there for hours either. Our plane boarded at quarter to seven. Dan got our seats switched so I could have a window. This was so awesome for me, because it has been ages since I had been on a plane and it was as if I was experiencing this all for the first time. It was all so very exciting and grand.

We sat in seats 8A and 8B - and I got to watch Halifax disappear beneath the fluffy clouds, then watch the plane exit the whiteness until all I could see was perfect blue above a landscape of white fluffs. Dad had it right when he said it was as if flying low over the Arctic, as if the clouds were transformed into snow. It is precisely what it looked like. It was stunning.

I fell asleep on Dan's shoulder. I woke up just as the clouds were clearing and I could see something below me - possibly Quebec or somewhere in Ontario. My neck was sore - apparently my head had been falling off his shoulder the entire time. Every time my head fell, he would put it back. I guess I am a persistent sleeper.

I found it extremely interesting to watch the subdivisions below me. When Uncle Bob and Aunt Martha used to live in Ottawa, I found the subdivisions very intriguing then as well; such nice big houses crammed in as little space as possible, and yet they had lovely back yards. Houses looked so much alike.

From the air, this phenomenon was increased immensely. ALL the houses looked the same, so tiny, identical in size and shape. The backyards were laid out next to each other, as if a grid. The lots were one after another, in perfect lines on roads, back to back and side to side. When I first peered down, they seemed so small and so plentiful, I thought they were cars in a lot, rather than houses.

When we approached Toronto, and got closer to the ground, I could see swimming pools of such a magnificent blue colour. You could see where subdivisions were being built. It was such an interesting landscape, so beautiful from a birds eye view.

As we landed, my ears would not fully pop. The pressure in them was insane. Once I finally relieved them, we were landed and getting off the plane. As we went to get our luggage, which were very quickly off the plane, and one of the first to come along the conveyor belt, Dan spotted his Dad waiting for us. This heightened my nervousness a bit, especially since Dan told me about the likelihood of his dad actually coming out to meet us AT the airport was exceedingly low. Ro came too, which Dan said was also unlikely. He thought it was because they were excited to meet me.


Introductions happened and then we got into the SUV on our way back to Dan's Dad's place in Richmond Hill, north of Toronto. We drove up to a beautiful house, lovely and big on the outside. We got inaide and the 'VonTrapp children" met us on the stairs. I impressed all with knowing their names. Jesse, Sean, Blayne, Dean, and Liam. As soon as I got Dean and Liam organized, I had no problem the rest of the weekend telling them apart.

What sweet kids. I fell in love with them. I knew I would, eventually, but I never realized how quickly I would come to love Dan's family.

Jesse is the oldest, fourteen years old, and he seems like the teddy bear of the family. He loves his big brother so much, it is really beautiful to see. Jesse just seems so full of love. He is also such a gentleman. He could teach his big brother a thing or two.

Sean is just such a cutie. At twelve years old, he has that awkward teenager height. He seemed somewhat quiet, but I really hope that I can get close to him. He has a great smile, and I think he will definitely be one of those boys that all the girls have crushes on, but who doesn't realize it. Sean is a good kid.

Blayne is Molly's twin, I am sure of it. Both are nine years old heartbreakers, with energy coming out of the ying yang to boot. Both are such cuties.

Now we get to the twins - seven year old Dean and Liam. The little red-headed Monsters, "Satan" as Sean and Jesse so lovingly called one. What little personalities these two had. So distinct. When they are together the two play off of each other, that is for certain. They like an audience. Seperately however is a whole other ballpark.

Dean gave Liam the spotlight most of the time, He is the kid who is always there, but never right in the action. You'll look over into the corner, and there he is, playing his GameBoy. He was not as affectionate as Liam, but he wanted to play just as much.

Dan told me that Liam has a crush on me. He followed us around and would actually listen to me most of the time, if I really insisted. He was just the life of the party, the attention grabber. One night, while Dean was sitting on the couch nearby, and Dan was getting some drinks together, Liam and I went through years of photo albums. Liam was so excited to see everyone - all his brothers when they were little and especially to show me, and see DJ (Dan) when he was younger. He let me kiss him goodnight on the forehead after I read to him and Dean fairy tales.

Wow, each of them are so special. I cannot wait to get to know them more.


After meeting the boys, and Honey the dog, Mia had Dan and I a lovely breakfast. This was nice, because we were both pretty starved after our bite or two of Oatmeal this morning. She had made us bacon and eggs and toast. It was restaurant quality! After breakfast, and a tour of the lovely house, we went out back and sat out by the pool as the boys tried to get DJ to swim with them. Unfortunately for the boys, we weren't able to.

Dan and I jumped into the Spier convertable, put the top down for giddy lil' me, who really got excited to drive around Toronto in a convertable, and drove to Thornhill (???) to meet Dan's Mom and LARRRRRY.

What a sweet lady Mamma O'Rourke is. She is beautiful and cute - two qualities which CAN go together, and her smile makes her face shine and her eyes light up. She has got a sweet personality! We sat and talked with them for a while, until Dan showed me around his house he grew up in. Although we did not mean to, we fell asleep soon afterwards, and had a lovely nap. I had not been feeling well anyway, so I ended up laying down, which is when the nap hit. Afterwards, we had a late lunch of Quizinos and got back on the road to Dan's Dad's house.

Back at the house, we got dressed up a little and the entire family headed over to the Country Club for dinner. Sean and Blayne came with us in the Spider. Both of them has girlfriends and I heard all about them. When we got to the Club, I sat between Dan and Blayne, Sean sat across from me, Jesse beside him across from Blayne, and Mia on the other side across from Dan. Beside Dan and Mia sat the twins, and Ro and Bill sat at the heads. Dean and Liam had a fantastic time teasing me and Dan about all his ex-girlfriends. They had already started earlier that night, and I played right along.

"DJ, remember your girlfriend _________?"

I look shocked. "Who is _________? Dan, you never told me about her!!!"

The kids (not just Dean and Liam) laugh. "And your other girlfriend _________!!!"

This goes on. I had a chuckle. At supper we started to talk about middle names. "What's your middle name, Laura?"

I laugh. "Guess!" I tell the boys. This is right after the ex-girlfriend teasing.

"L_________" one of them guesses (naming one of Dan's recent ex-girlfriend's name beginning with an 'L'. For those of you who don't know, I am part of a string of brunette L-names).

"Nope." I answer and laugh. "Close though!"

"L_________?" the other guesses another name of an ex that they remembered.


The twins look confused at this point. At seven years old they are having a hard time remembering past a few years. "Jesse would remember" Dan adds.

The boys think..... One shouts out "Louise!"

"Yes!" I say! Dan's dad and step mom laughed at this. That's right, a double L name. Laura Louise (hence the domain name L two).


When we got home that night, I played a few numbers on the piano, Blayne showed Dan how he could play the guitar, then Jesse played a bit on the piano. The twins ran around, and I sat on Dan's lap. The sun was setting, and it was such a beautiful, relaxing night.

It was now that Liam wanted to show me pictures. I didn't mind, so we sat downstairs at the bar and pulled out photo album after photo album of the O'Rourke family, seeing pictures documenting the younger brothers' younger years. This also showed younger Dan - even some younger Dan when he was with Louise! (Gasp!). When Dan went upstairs I told Liam that the only reason I was looking through with him is that I could see pictures of his ex-girlfriends. Liam went and told DJ this - but that's okay. I thought it was funny.

At 10:30 pm, after all the rest of the boys had gone to bed, we finished looking through the pictures and the boys went to sleep.

Then, I promptly fell asleep. It had been a long, but fantastic day!