When the madding crowds were queued as far as I could see to get out of town see this past Friday, I got out of work early and made a quick, easy commute home – there was no-one on the bus. It’s one of the great things about staying home for a holiday weekend – the city literally empties out, leaving it to those of us “Left Behind” (ok, I promise my last rapture joke!). The roads are quiet, transit is uncrowded and you can get an appointment pretty much anywhere. Even downtown there is a relaxed, laid back vibe and that sense of having the best all to yourself.
I’ve been a big fan of staycationing for a long time now. I’ve spent way too much time in endless, bumper to bumper traffic jams on the highway heading out of town, or, even worse, stuck in hours long line ups at the BC Ferries terminals. Come to think of it, you can add ANY BC Ferry terminal to its own circle of hell (not a rapture joke – Dante’s Inferno) on a holiday weekend. Even traveling on the ferries with a reservation is tedious, without one it’s just madness.
So instead of enduring any of that craziness on Friday night, we got a gang of fellow staycationers together and headed out to the Cloverdale Rodeo! And it was great. I haven’t seen an actual live rodeo in many years, so I was feeling a bit trepidatious about going – animal cruelty is not my thing – but this was entertaining, fun and the animals appeared to me to be very well treated. We saw bareback, saddle bronc, barrel racing and bull riding. The bareback and saddle bronc horses were beautiful: strong, proud and obviously well cared for. After they tossed their riders into the dirt they would prance proudly around the ring before being shepherded back to their trailers. They looked anything but unhappy – unlike the poor ol’ cowboys lying in the dirt in their flack jackets.
And the bulls – those were some huge, mean dudes. They would beat the living daylights out of their riders for a few seconds (you only have to stay on for 8 seconds), toss them to the dirt and then try to skewer anyone and everyone in sight. They would snort and charge around the ring, or just stand there staring down one of the cowboys with an expression that could not have said more clearly “F@# you buddy”. Gotta love THAT attitude.
Check out this video and see who you think is getting the better end of the deal – oh and feel free to check out the cowboys too – we sure did!!! And there was some good ol’ boy partying going on in the Longhorn Saloon – not that I’d know how cowboys party or anything . . .
Saturday morning when I woke up I was sooooo happy to be tucked into my own bed – and no, not because of any cowboy!!! It was pouring rain and cold. I was so thankful to not be in a soaking wet tent, trying to light the camp stove in the rain to make some tea to get warmed up, with the prospect of a long, cold wet day in the campground ahead of me. Instead it was time for a little spa action – appointments are dead easy to get, even last-minute, on a holiday weekend. I spend a lovely relaxing afternoon being pampered – awesome! Ran into a friend at the wine store – where else – and seeing as how we were both toting along bottles of good wine, I decided to have a little impromptu dinner party. We drank way too many good bottles of good wine and laughed way too much while solving all the problems of our own little universes – a fun night.
My doggie is so happy because he’s being getting lots of long hikes with his momma – we have been making good use all weekend of the hiking trails around where I live. Got caught out in a sudden storm while hiking on Sunday morning that was simply incredible for the sheer volume of rain (and hail) that dumped out of the sky in an hour. But you know, nothing that a hot bath and an Americano couldn’t fix – try that in a tent. Don’t get me wrong, I love camping and a do a lot of it, but speaking from years of Girl Guide experience – it sucks to camp in the rain. Sure, you make the most of it, but I don’t think it’s what anyone would choose.
And here it is Monday, I’m sitting enjoying a cup of tea, writing my blog and feeling extremely self satisfied because I not only had a fun, relaxing long weekend, but I also got so much accomplished – I even did the damn Census – though I’m still trying to figure out how they can ask anyone to identify themselves as “White”. Seriously. Anywhere else that would be a gross violation of every form of decency and constitutional rights, but apparently the government – or at least the census people – still get to identify us by the colour of our skins – I was so tempted to tick ALL the boxes – hmmmm civil disobedience.
So to all of you packing up campers and other assorted vehicles and making the trek home this afternoon – good luck. And have fun unpacking all that crap you just HAD to take with you – that should be another week’s worth of work, especially if you have to clean and dry sodden wet camping gear. I’m off to walk the doggie at the Vanier Park dog beach, grab a latte somewhere and enjoy this day. Got a lot of travel coming up in the next month, but just for once I’m all organized. Now THAT never happens – maybe I’m on to something here.
It’s taken me a lot of listening to really get into the latest Blue Rodeo record – The Things We Left Behind – and I’m still finding new gems on the double record set. This is my current favourite – Greg Keelor singing “Gossip”. And although it’s a live bar recording, the sound is good and Greg does a great version – including his uncharacteristically funny intro. Catching him in a chatty mood like that on stage is priceless.