Saturday, December 30, 2006
One of our most annoying neighbours and we do indeed have quite a few, is Katya (name has been changed but eastern European origin remains the same), the cat lady. Katya, who has close to a dozen unfixed felines living in her house, is wrongly convinced that no one on the street looks after their animals so she invites them all into her house and feeds them junky dollar store cat food which they throw up upon returning home.
In the winter if I ever call my cat in and he doesn't come, I know he's holed up at Katya's even though I have asked her repeatedly not to let him in because then he's never there when I want to bring him in, and he ends up outside for hours on end in the cold.
Several years ago Fonzie (He came mature and pre-named) disappeared for a few days and we papered the neighbourhood with lost cat posters, receiving all manner of calls from really crazy cat people, but just when we'd given up hope he miraculously returned. A few months later he disappeared again and after two days we spotted him yowling in the window of Katya's upstairs duplex apartment, the one where her weirdo brother usually lives but often leaves for weeks on end. Since then we've been pretty much convinced that Fonzie's only extended disappearance ever had something to do with Katya.
Recently Katya has become very concerned about Bridget, our six-month-old Scottish terrier. She has convinced herself Bridget doesn't get enough exercise. No matter that I've told her repeatedly that Bridget goes to the park on a walk that takes 60-90 minutes daily, in Katya's mind, we are running a one-puppy puppy mill here not to mention a cat abuse centre.
Meanwhile, Katya's cats drive our neighbours with gardens to despair and her senile mother, who lives with her, roams the streets completely lost at least once a year. This fall, I was woken up at two in the morning by banshee like screaming on the street and it was Katya's babushka clad mother crying at the top of her lungs, "They're trying to kill me. Don't take me home." Within minutes, the cops and an ambulance had arrived to take her off to the hospital for the night.
Usually when the cops show up it's for the crazy family across the street, Mama Stella, her son Paul, daughter Emilia and granddaughter Stephanie (all names changed). Stella has a drinking problem that varies in seriousness from year to year. During her bad years, she screams abuse at the various neighbours she's feuding with. During her good years, she serves as a sort of one-woman neighbourhood watch.
She pretty much ignores us but has it in for my downstairs neighbour. When she and her boyfriend split up, Stella watched in fascination as the moving truck pulled up and took away his things. For weeks after, every time my neighbour went out, Stella would scream for all to hear, "Your husband. He leave you. Why he leave you?"
To Katya and Stella, it's an Alice in Wonderland world where the normal people can't do anything right and the crazies rule the roost.
Happy New Year.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
I have a question for you, dear readers. Have any of you ever met anyone who was offended by an Xmas tree? Or are those who take offense at festively decorated firs just a figment of the imagination of Judge Marion Cohen?
My experience with these kinds of conflicts is that they are invariably initated by someone like Judge Cohen, who doesn't actually take offense herself even though she is Jewish, but, for some reason, assumes others will, unlike her, be too sensitive to deal with an Xmas tree sighting.
So please, those of you discomfited by Xmas trees, speak up. But let me make one thing clear, this is not to be transformed into a forum for those who agree that removing the Christmas tree from the court house was protecting our constitutional right to freedom of religion. No, you can go somewhere else and make your legalistically debatable point.
The only people I want to hear from -- and I genuinely do want to hear from them -- are the Xmas tree-oppressed, pure and simple. So, take this chance to have your hitherto silent voices heard.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Let us state for the record that there is no human right to ski jump. And if indeed there exists any connection at all between ski jumping and human rights, it must surely be the right NOT to ski jump. In a sensible world, not just women but men too would be discouraged from participating in this pointless and dangerous sport from the pre-seatbelt era.
Knowing that I was unlikely to be the first person to offer a 21st century perspective on what should by now be an obsolete event, it was something of a surpise to find that googling "ski jumping dumbest sport" brought up as the number one result an entry entitled "Ski jumping: the perfect Olympic sport." Never one to shy away from contrary opinions however, I clicked on the article in question and discovered all was not what it seemed.
Ski jumping... combines the Winter Olympics' most distinct qualities: the looming shadow of crippling physical trauma, highly specialized and otherwise useless equipment, and subtleties that are virtually invisible to the naked eye and incomprehensible to the layman.Turns out that the headline was ironic and the author was, after all, a man after my own heart. So why on earth in an era when there's a growing awareness of the drawbacks of ski jumping is Canada's minister of sport, Peter Van Loan, saying he is "very disappointed" by the IOC decision and joining a multiparty expression of support for female Canadian ski jumpers who want to compete at Vancouver.
I can assure Mr. Van Loan that the country does not want women's ski jumping and wants to pay for it even less. What's more while he is "commend(ing) these ski jumpers for taking the incredible effort to change the minds of the IOC" the number one Olympic athlete, famous for competing in a bizarre sport, on most of our minds right now is none other than Myriam Bedard, currently wanted by Interpol for kidnapping her daughter. Although newspaper reports hint that Bedard's latest boyfriend is behind her increasingly wacky antics, it's hard not to wonder if she was really completely sane back when she won those two gold medals in biathlon, a combo of cross country skiing and shooting, and a crazy sport if ever there was one.It is to be hoped that Interpol has warned foreign police that Ms. Bedard is a markswoman of some skill and, as such, probably a lot more dangerous than an irate ski jumper, even one who thinks her human rights are being violated.
At the watercooler: Feel free to express extreme opinions on this topic as the probability that you know a dedicated ski-jumping practitioner or fan are virtually nil. Your candour will be much appreciated.
Call to action: Fill out our form letter to your MPs, alerting them that you do not want them wasting their time and your tax dollars on ski jumping. It is not now nor ever has been an issue of concern to Canadian voters. If the women ski jumpers don't like it, they can go jump off a cliff.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Latest update: Employees at Whole Foods appear to be monitoring RTK's market moving fruitcake discussion as they prepare for the pre-Xmas rush.
Update: A Turkish reader writes in to let us know Dr. Oetker makes a delicious light fruit cake.
I am a bit of a scrooge when it comes to Xmas. Much as I love seeing people and the food, I HATE/DETEST/ABHOR the whole present thing, and the older I get the more I hate it.
Earlier this week I cracked and yelled at my sweet daughter, who has been doing all our Xmas shopping and wrapping single-handedly albeit with Mummy's debit card in that hand. She was very worried about what to get my step-brother and his wife and I, frankly, couldn't have cared less.
I also know that my step-brother feels the same way I do about the Xmas gifts family fiasco and tried unsuccessfully to get everyone to stop or, at the very least, downsize a few years ago.
"Why are you bugging me to get a gift I don't want to get for someone who doesn't want it anyway?" I screamed Joan Crawford style. "Why don't we just all stop this craziness? Buying useless gifts, wrapping them, transporting them one way, unwrapping them, transporting them the other way, figuring out where to put them and, years later, selling them in a garage sale. I hate it. I hate it. Make it stop."
100% Fruitcake from here on
Of course, mere seconds after this frightful outburst, I felt so guilty I govellingly apologized. And today I ate fruitcake to get me more in the Xmas mood.
Yes, you heard that right. I like fruitcake, hate gifts but love that object of seasonal derision. And I know there are others like me, because our fanciest neighbourhood patisserie does a mean fruitcake and those snobby French pastry chefs not only know their cakes, but they know their clientele. The rap agains fruitcake, in most cases, stems from it not being very kid friendly. But honestly, kids don't like martinis either so if you're discriminating against fruitcake, based on childhood memories, I beg you to give it another whirl, as an adult. You will never tell another fruitcake joke again. And, it actually goes pretty well with a martini with lemon.
Fruitcake for all! Peace on earth, etc.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Why, you ask?
Well, it’s mainly a language thing. The third person has proved itself cumbersome from time to time so Tearfree’s moving on.
From now on, it’s all about me.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
One is a lifelong friend who has had self-created problems for 15 years. Fooled around on her husband with his brother AND his best friend, refused to get a job so she had some finacial independence, had three kids, yells and screams constantly at all three kids and her husband, basically mistreating all of them because she's unhappy and unfulfilled in her own life. I have tried to stand by her and have only gently tried to steer her in the right direction for years by encouraging her to get therapy. But now she's convinced herself that she's bi-polar, even though her shrinks don't agree (so she quits them and finds a new one each time they disagree with her), and she continues to treat everyone in her life like dirt, but claims she can't help it because she has no control over her emotions.
In short, I don't believe her self-diagnosis. I think she's unhappy and miserable and consequently has rage issues and has found a convenient crutch that absolves her from taking any personal responsibility for her behaviour. I finally told her how I feel a couple of weeks ago after another incident in which she terrorized and frightened her children by "running away from home" like a spoiled eight-year-old because she was in a rage when they made a mess. She took it, but apparently is now furious at me and is about to let me have it. And I don't care. I am at the point where I want the friendship to end.
Another close friend is on her FOURTH married man. The other three ended badly. This one, of course, to hear her tell it, will not. This one WILL leave his wife, and no one better suggest differently. She is also drinking heavily and doing stupid, reckless things that could end her career if her employer found out. I too am at the point where I want the friendship to end because I have seen her through every single one of these heartbreaks and each time, she learns nothing, and just becomes more and more bitter about the men who disappoint her instead of asking herself why she chooses men who are bound to disappoint her.
A wise man once said the definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes over and over again but expecting a different outcome.
Is it wrong to dump friends? I just don't know. I have given them everything I can, but I honestly wouldn't expect anyone to listen to me anymore or to be there for me either if I continued to make the same self-destructive mistakes over and over again but expected a different outcome.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
"I didn't like it at all," she said. "But I wrote a positive review because you said it was harder to write a positive review than a negative one."
"Let me get this straight," said Tearfree. "You didn't like it. But you wrote a positive review anyway?"
"Yes, I thought it would improve my chance for a better mark."
Can't wait to read that review!!!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
This happened to me just the other night. Except that I was the waiter's object of desire. Me!!! The woman who fears she has unsightly facial hair that everyone is too polite to mention!! Who wishes she had time to join a gym! Whose life is devoted to her kids and her house and her job. Who is pretty certain her husband doesn't love her anymore and wants to leave!! Little old me!!!
We were out for dinner at our favourite neighbourhood bistro. I had been there two weeks earlier and had the same waiter, but honestly don't recall anything memorable about that evening. I didn't flirt. I barely noticed the man, but do remember he was a good and attentive waiter.
Last night I arrive at the restaurant before my husband and his face lights up with joy upon seeing me, as if we were dear old friends who hadn't seen one another in too long. He brings me a delicious light Lillet cocktail on the house. He then proceeds to spend the next two hours flirting with me, complimenting me, double-checking to make sure I have everything I need, asking how my dishes are, and barely paying any attention to my husband, who sat there increasingly fuming all night. "This guy is aggressively flirting with you,'' he sniped. "I've never seen anything like it." Naturally, he was as rude as possible to the waiter, although that's a bad habit of his anyway.
Now as mentioned, I am going through some very tough times and fully expect my husband to tell me at any moment that he's moving out. I have been living with something akin to a guillotine hanging over my head for months, just waiting for my husband to lower it. I am sad, weepy, scared, terrified, sick at heart, etc. So to have this young, handsome waiter act as though he's completely smitten with me was really nice for the ego. Whoever sent him from above, I thank you. Dad? Dave? Daryl?
If I end up getting dumped, I'll be spending a lot more time at my neighbourhood bistro.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Did Mr. Wicherts have information that the judges in France and Canada, who had found Ms. Gettliffe to be in the wrong, did not have? Did he have personal knowledge of the events in question? How did he come to know Ms. Gettliffe just couldn't be guilty? And why did he feel so driven by the case as to write to the Globe and Mail and call for the prisoner's release.
Also, what is he thinking today given that the latest judge has called the case "one of the most tragic" she has dealt with in many years on the bench and accused Ms. Gettliffe of "effectively brainwashing" the children during their five years in France. The judge wrote:
"Mr. Grant has been painted as a cult-crazed, violent, obsessive figure. . . . Yet Ms. Gettliffe never took any steps to disavow statements [about him] that she knew were absolute lies.
"And she did nothing to shield [the couple's two children] from the harmful effects of these untruths."
Any comment, Mr. Wicherts?
Monday, December 04, 2006
Friday, December 01, 2006
A new element has been added to my pleasure. I'm not one to fall for people on TV -- but I have fallen hard for David Adjey, the blond, vaguely bad-boy chef on Restaurant Makeover. I find him to be the Nigella Lawson of the Food Network male chefs. He makes Jamie Oliver seem like a lisping schoolboy. Tall, blond, piercing blue eyes, a real passion for cooking and eating and tasting that usually, in my experience, suggests some passions in other areas of life, very funny, self-deprecating, charming ... and like all the men who women go nuts for, there is something definitely naughty about him. Remember the Hugh Grant character in Bridget Jones? Adjey's sort of got something along those lines.
In short, I am hot for the man. Check him out, ladies, if you haven't noticed him already. Please dear God don't tell me he's gay.