Friday, August 31, 2007
No, the Mother's Guild annoys Tearfree because they are the most inefficient bunch of Bozos around. Their baked goods suck. Cut back on the sugar, ladies. Their knee socks and tights booth is uncompetitive pricewise and frequently runs low on stock even though that's all they sell. And the annual text book sale, that's the worst.
Every June dozens of mothers organize this three day extravaganza which could easily take place on Facebook. First, you stand in line to bring your old books in, and then on another day, you stand in line to buy next year's books. Text books are so overpriced that just a mention of the whole affair sends Tearfree's blood pressure skyrocketing so she's never in a good mood at book "sale" time.
What's worse the mothers are hopeless at enforcing the rules, can't even contemplate when it might be a good idea to make an exception to the rules, and are completely passive and unhelpful when faced with any management challenge.
Foe example last year, a rumour swept the book sale hall that three science workbooks were needed not just the two on the list. The dopey mother in charge of science books for the grade, had gotten wind of the problem hours if not days in advance, but had it even crossd her mind to contact the teacher in question and get an actual answer? No, never.
Well, two days ago Tearfree learned from her daughter that half the class did not have a required math book because it wasn't on the list. "Well, how did the other half even know about it?" Tearfree asked. As it turns out the Mother's Guild members running the book sale got wind of the math book issue and all acquired the cheapest and best used copies for their daughters while neglecting to inform anyone else that the book was a required text.
Bree Van De Camp, where are you when we need you?
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Today I am having the laziest day ever. I am off this week, but have been working from home, running my son to and from various soccer/hockey games, practices and training sessions, going spinning, doing housework, getting groceries, etc etc.
This morning I decided: "To hell with it." My son has gone camping with his father for a few days, and my daughter is hanging out with her pals, so I am doing absolutely nothing.
Well that's not totally true. I am lounging around in a pale-pink negligee with a leave-in conditioner in my hair, watching TV, surfing on my laptop and eating. I started with a bowl of apple crisp muslix, moved onto a poached egg on toast, and just hoovered a Fudgsicle. I am already looking forward to the salmon salad sandwich for lunch and the spaghetti with buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and basil for dinner. I have also eaten about 7,000 peaches, as I always do this time of year. Yes, in addition to being a slug, I am eating like a hog and also throwing my low-carb rules right out the window.
My biggest ambitions for the day? To have a nap and watch Snakes on a Plane.
A day like this can really do a girl good. I may never get out of this negligee.
Long-time readers know that one of the things that made RTK famous was its in-depth coverage of the softwood lumber issue so it's only fair that we now devote coverage to some shocking Saskatchewan Wheatpool News.
Is a national protest in order?
Interestingly enough, Tearfree's dog blog had some Saskatchewan grain and Scottie coverage earlier this week.
Where is the Saskatchewan-based commenter formerly known as Alberta Rancher? We need her insights.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
When I was a sexually active teenaged girl, 18 or so with a steady boyfriend, I used to regularly babysit for a couple I had known for years. It started to become clear there were marital problems when their daughter was about five or so. One night the father drove me home and hit on me. I was appalled and told him to back off. He was mortified and ashamed and confessed to me tearfully that he hadn't had sex since his child was conceived.
I didn't believe it. But since his wife was like an older sister to me, I asked her at a later date if they were having marital problems (without snitching on her husband). She told me the same thing: they hadn't had sex in five years.
I remember as a teenager being utterly astounded that this sort of thing could go on in a young marriage. Old people like my parents, sure. But two good-looking people in their late 20s, early 30s hadn't had sex in FIVE YEARS? It was mind-boggling.
It's now 25 years later and I am close friends with three people who are in marriages where they have not had sex in many, many years. One couple, not once since their daughter was conceived seven years ago, another not since their twins were conceived four years ago, another not in 10 years, and he's been sleeping in the spare bedroom for the entire decade.
My initial reaction to this is still to feel absolutely stunned and confused. How? Is it a marriage? Aren't you just siblings? Don't you want more? Don't you miss it? Is this any way to live? Shouldn't you get out of it? Don't you deserve sexual fulfillment?
The three people I know do in fact miss it terribly and regret that sex and intimacy has, for the most part, vacated their lives. One has been given an ultimatum by his wife: We either start having sex again or the marriage is done. But he has lost absolutely all sexual attraction to her after so many years. The two others have simply resigned themselves to the fact that they are in a sibling-like relationship with their spouse and that's OK because the emotional well-being of the children and maintaining the family unit are more important than a healthy sex life.
And maybe I have it all wrong and that's why my life is in the crapper romantically speaking. My ex and I had sex regularly and lovingly and joyously, right up until the night before he left. So obviously, good and frequent sex can have nothing to do with whether someone's happy in a marriage, although it came as a bit of a shock to me -- I foolishly believed if that part of our marriage was strong and healthy, everything else was fixable. But as someone pointed out to me, sex can be the first thing to arrive in a relationship and the last thing to leave.
Maybe I have placed too much importance on sex. Maybe the secret to a long-lasting marriage is, in fact, ceasing to place so much importance on carnal matters and to instead focus on the friendship, the children, the affection, the respect you have for one another as people. Maybe sex, in fact, ruins a relationship because it brings in all sorts of sexual jealousy issues, insecurities, etc.
I just don't know. Thoughts? Do we need to rethink the institution of marriage, and stop placing so much emphasis on sexual fulfillment?
p.s. And no, I don't believe Bill and Hill have banged for years.
Almost every morning when Tearfree takes her dog to the park she sees a few men in suits on bikes, who are very sexy. And she thought she should blog about it since a while back there was a complain fest about what men shouldn't do.
For more guys on bikes in office attire go to this flickr page. If you're not a flickr member, here's a Parisian commuter. Ooh la la!
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
So last night I got set up and didn't know I was being set up. It so annoyed me that I was actually rude to the person I had been set up with.
Let me explain.
My friend Mitzi has been one of my best friends for years. But we have very different lives. I was married and my husband and my marriage and my kids were my top priority. She has never been married but is a serial monogamist -- she goes from one serious live-in boyfriend to the next at a pace that is often dizzying to me, and her priority in life is generally her fitness regimen followed by the latest boyfriend. In the 20 years I have known her, she has never NOT had a serious boyfriend and she has never NOT worked out six days a week.
It is almost solely due to Mitzi, in fact, that I have become a spinning maniac. Yesterday, in fact, we went for a bike ride and decided to go up a famously difficult downtown Toronto hill -- and I CRUSHED her handily.
Perhaps this is why she pulled a fast one on me last night. We agreed to meet at an Indian restaurant after our day of fitness -- Mitzi, me and her extremely annoying and yappy boyfriend who has ties to the underworld.
But when I arrive at the restaurant, I see one of the annoying boyfriend's seedy pals is there. I had met him once before, he got all hot and bothered by me despite the fact I was in no way interested, and TA-DA -- there he was again, sitting next to an empty chair at the restaurant across from Mitzi and her yappy man.
I sighed heavily and shot Mitzi a withering glare. Because you see, setting me up with her yappy boyfriend's best friend would work out beautifully for Mitzi. She would have someone to mutter under her breath to when her yappy boyfriend was in full know-it-all yap mode. I can see she is rapidly tiring of her yappy thug of a boyfriend, but she likes the money he spends on her and so is trying to think of ways to make it all more bearable. Having me around would achieve that.
It is similar to the way she immediately tried to set me up with a profound alcoholic she got herself entangled with while waiting for the yappy thug to leave his wife. This man is not merely a heavy drinker -- he is NEAR DEATH. In and out of the hospital, etc. As sad as it is, our other friends and I think it is so hilariously Mitzi that she actually attempted to sell me on this guy ("He's actually a really sweet person when he's sober!!") in order to cause the alcoholic to stop loving her and start loving me, thereby getting herself out of a sticky bind, that we now open ridicule her about it. "Oh, Mitz, apparently they've removed the IV for a couple of days and he's out of the hospital for a weekend leave -- maybe he and Jacy could go out clubbing tonight!"
Now I am not a vain person, but I'd like to think I can do better than an unemployed alcoholic now living in a rooming house. And as for the guy last night? I am so far out of this guy's league that it's funny. He is a scrawny little thuggish type guy with a serious wall eye and bad teeth. He is not that bright. He is boring. He is a bit of weirdo, sharing his house with two 24-year-old girls (he's 52). I found him so boring and tedious and beneath me, in fact, that at times I was almost contemptuous of him. I honestly wanted to say: "Do you honestly believe you have a shot at me?" As egotistical as that sounds, if you saw him, you'd get it.
I told Mitzi last night that her choices for me have been insulting. First a profound alcoholic and now a scrawny little loser. I told her when she finds a hot, intelligent, funny man who's not a narcissist and has a legal job and a home of his own and an appreciation of cool music who dresses well and has no history of screwing over women, to let me know. But when that happens, Mitzi will grab that guy for herself and then try to get me to date the yappy thug after she dumps him.
- I really really hope Jacy got her luggage back and would love an update
- We did have a great time and the ending in no way negates that
This is the scene we met when we arrived at customs:
And those were the lucky people, the ones who had actually made it to the floor. The rest of us were kept up on top in lines that stretched for hundreds of metres on both sides, waiting to be allowed downstairs:
According to the airport official I spoke to this is a regular Saturday occurrence and has been particularly bad this summer. The problem was aggravated by the fact that one third to one half of the customs and immigration booths remained unmanned. These two photos -- which, like all the shots, I wasn't supposed to take-- show some of the empty ones:
And this photo shows the view from below when we finally made it into the holding corral:
Relatively speaking we were lucky as the upstairs line quintupled in length in the time we stood in it as more and more planes arrived.
These lines, of course, were an entirely preventable situation given that plane arrivals are known and scheduled months in advance. Having enough staff at the airport to deal with arrival surges is hardly rocket science. And, according to the airport staffer I spoke to, the airport authority has been requesting Canada customs to increase staff on Saturdays for months, but seemingly to no avail.
Elderly people who had just come off long-haul flights and mothers with babies and toddlers had to stand in line for two hours plus. Older kids sacked out on the side.
Once through, the baggage claim area was also a mess and, as has happened to me on other occasions, there were huge slow-moving taxi lines. Well, okay, shit happens, but the thing about this shit was it didn't have to happen if the powers that be had scheduled the customs shifts properly. As for the taxi problem, at the very least, the guys in charge should be able to estimate the wait.
It boggles my mind that a major city can have an airport that's such a disaster as well as a security risk. Bogus refugees and terrorist types must certainly increase their chances of getting into Canada by arriving in Montreal on Saturday. Someone needs to be fired.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Great News! Wonder Product Not Being Discontinued! Don't Believe What Your Ill-Informed Shopper's Drug Mart Employees Say!!
A couple of weeks ago I blogged about one of my favourite wonder products, the Vichy NormaDerm Exfoliating Gel. In response to that post, a commenter informed us that she was told by an employee at her drug mart that Vichy was no longer making the product. This filled my heart with so much panic and dread that I began rationing my use of the scrub, applying it only once a week and a tiny, half-pea-sized amount because I was so fearful I had in my hands my last-ever bottle of the miracle product. Since I have had so many beloved products discontinued over the years -- Quartz by Molyneux, a delightful perfume ... GONE ... and Nina Ricci's Fleur de Fleurs, another fabulous fragrance ... GONE!!!! ... the pessimist in me believed it was true.
I immediately contacted Vichy, and they finally got back to me yesterday:
Dear Ms Jacy,
We wish to thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with us and we are sorry for the delay in responding.
In response to your inquiry, Vichy Normaderm Daily Exfoliating Cleansing Gel is still available in our regular catalogue of products. Should you experience difficulties finding this product, we suggest you ask your local store to order some for you as we have no say in what our clients order and no access to their updated inventory.
Skin Care, Cosmetics & Fragrances/Consumer Care Center
VICHY CANADA Inc.
Get shopping, ladies. And if the cosmetic counter employees tell you it's no longer being manufactured by Vichy, it's a no-good, dirty lie!!!!
I love you, Gisele!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
So many years ago, right around the time I met my husband, there was a friend of a friend who was sort of intrigued by me even though he had a girlfriend. He was very handsome, good dresser, good dancer, great physique, but most importantly he was sweet and gentle and totally without an ego and laughed appreciatively at all my jokes, so I was sort of intrigued by him too. Nothing ever happened between us, but there were certainly a number of meaningful moments, glances, and we once briefly held hands during a scary lightning storm at a cottage. But then I met my husband, fell madly in love and that all went by the wayside.
Now my husband has moved on to his latest paramours and this guy has been back in touch via e-mail as in: "I heard what happened, I hope you're OK." Very short and sweet. We have exchanged very brief e-mails and today he mentioned the lightning storm. And how he's never forgotten how soft my hands were. Schwing!
So, obviously, I must say that now I am intrigued again.
But here is the dilemma. I met this guy through a former friend who I cut off because he was always very controlling, intrusive and insulting towards me (it's his sense of humour, but when you're always the one at the butt of the jokes, it stops being funny after about ... oh I don't know ... FIVE OR TEN YEARS). It went beyond just being mean, but he actually caused trouble for me in my personal life with his relentless meanness, and he dumped a very close friend of mine and did it cruelly and inhumanely. So it was a "friendship" I was happy to be rid of.
But Handsome Guy and Former Friend are best friends. If I even go out on a date with this guy, the nasty former friend will know. And I don't want that guy back in my life at all.
Advice please from the lady-masses.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
She was a pretty girl and well-dressed, like she'd just come from an office job of some sort. She put her cellphone away and wept quietly for the rest of the ride, until she got off at her stop.
The whole time, it took all my strength not to go sit next to the girl and give her a hug. If I was loaded, I'd have given her the $500 immediately, no questions asked. I don't know what happened to her, whether it was her fault or not, but my heart went out to this poor girl as she sat and wept on the streetcar, probably because I myself have frequently wept on the streetcar over the past few months. I wanted to clutch her to my bosom, assure her everything was going to be OK, take care of her problem and send her on her way. Instead I just looked at her with deep sympathy a few times, and she looked back gratefully.
I guess the one nice thing about being put through hell is it sure makes you feel compassion for others in the same boat. Two years ago I might have tried to ignore a weeping girl on the streetcar and told myself she probably messed up somehow and therefore maybe she'd think twice about messing up the next time. No more. Hopefully next time I see a weeping girl in the streetcar, however, I will actually give her a hug instead of just thinking about it.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I think we were lulled into passivity by the beauty of the Cinque Terre where everything is delicious and no one tries to rip you off.
We got suckered into the cone thing because we chose a cone with chocolate dip which goes with a massive portion of ice cream and is decorated with a firecracker. The ice cream all falls off the sides and then people stare at the eater -- in this case a typically self conscious 13-year-old in the streets who was almost reduced to tears by the embarrassment and the cost to her mother. Of course it would have all been avoided if they had just chosen to tell us that that was the 14-Euro cone but no.
Well hell, I could cry over it but I wont (cant find the apostrophes on this computer, which I had to show my passport to get access to due to the terrorism threat. The strange thing is though that the two guys running this store look like terrorists and now they have a bunch of foreigner passport info. Hello Silvi Berlusconi, maybe this isnt such a good idea.
Miss you all. See you soon.
P.S. This internet cafe is a real bargain. Hmmm.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
I have never been a huge weeper. I bawled hard when my pets died or had to be put to sleep. But even when my adored father died a few months after having a terrible stroke, I didn't wail much. He died as I was joking around with my brother in his hospital room while mopping his forehead with a warm washcloth (my father's, not my brother's), and admittedly I bawled pretty hard for hours after that shocking incident. But then the tears dried up, even at his funeral, and not for lack of grief. I just wasn't a weepy woman.
But when my marriage broke up, I bawled many, many times a day for months. I cried at work, at home, in public, at friends' houses, walking past his girlfriend's office, wandering the neighbourhood looking for a stubborn cat ... I wept so much, so often that I wondered how my body could possibly produce any more tears (is it like breast milk -- the more you produce, the more you have?) And so I was feeling really feeling proud of myself lately because I hadn't cried about my marital breakup since July 18. Not once. When I started to feel the tears welling up, I ordered them to go away. They didn't even well up at all in Spain, and not really since I returned. I was really feeling like I was turning a corner.
This weekend, there was a setback -- and right after that uplifting Friday with the compliment from the beautiful stranger! My estranged husband did something that hurt and angered me and I got mad and cried and ranted and cried and ranted and cried and ranted and cried and ranted some more. The weekend has ended, however, with me merely feeling remorseful and ashamed about the ranting, as I always do, and so no more ranting, just crying and crying and crying and crying some more. I haven't left the house all weekend. My children think I have the flu and keep bringing me drinks and cold washcloths. If they know I am crying, they are too polite to say so, and I am adept at hiding it when I hear them coming upstairs to my bedroom/office. I also managed to make spaghetti and meatballs and peach cobbler for dinner without weeping into the bowls and pots and pans.
So now I have to start my no-crying count all over again. I had gone past the one-month mark! And now I have to start it all over again, and try to return to being the kind of woman who doesn't cry very often.
Go away, tears. Piss right off.
Friday, August 17, 2007
I have this really cute, Jackie O. style black dress, very similar to the one above. And every time I wear it, I am inundated with compliments to the point where I wonder why I just don't wear the dress every day of my life.
Today, walking to my office from another office downtown, I got honked at and whistled at a few times. At my age, that does not happen every day. Yet it frequently happens when I wear that dress. But here is the best part. I was walking up the street, almost at my office, and I noticed this beautiful and fashionable black woman coming towards me with a great hairstyle. The whole time I am thinking: "Look how gorgeous and well-dressed she is. I wish I looked like that."
And what happens? She says to me: "Great dress, and you look great in it!" as she's walking by! Stunned, I managed to shout back at her: "Thanks! Great shoes! And I love your hair!"
By this point, we're about a half block away from one another, and she yells back: "Thanks! I love YOUR hair."
At this point, other people walking along the street are laughing at us.
But honestly, this really warmed my heart. Getting a compliment any time is pleasant. But if it's from a close friend or loved one, you often think to yourself: "That was a nice thing to say, but I wonder if she/he is just saying that because he/she loves me and knows I am going through a rough time and is trying to make me feel better." If a male colleague compliments you at work, you might think: "Guy's horny, wants to bang me." If a guy yells something out at you from his car while stopped at a red light, you often think to yourself: "Pervert, possibly rapist." But for a beautiful, stylish female stranger to compliment you as she walks by? That's truly uplifting.
And now I want to be her best friend. So if you're out there, you heart-warming, confidence-building goddess, send me your e-mail address!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
None of us who are serious music fans like to admit that there are some Top 40 hits we couldn't get enough of. And yet I have had many, many guilty pleasure pop songs over the years that I have secretly adored and been too ashamed to speak of. The type of song that I have put on my iPod, and then when someone picks up my iPod and asks in horror: "What the hell is THIS doing on your playlist?????," I lie and say one of my children put it on there. Yes, it's true, I lie and blame my children. Even though there is no way in a thousand years either of my children would even know any Bryan Adams and/or Olivia Newton-John songs.
But anyway. Here are some of mine. And I plead with you to send in some of yours!
1. The Sporty Spice/Bryan Adams duet, Baby When You're Gone. No words can describe just how much I love that song, even still, to this day.
2. And speaking of The Spice Girls, I have always loved The Human Touch. So catchy!
3. (We Have to Believe We Are) Magic by Olivia Newton-John. I wish I could explain this. I just can't.
4. Ribbon in the Sky, one of Stevie Wonder's cheesiest.
5. A few other Bryan Adams hits: The Spanish-sounding one, Have You Ever Ever Really Really Really Really Loved a Woman or whatever it was called, and I'm Coming Back to You. I don't care what anybody says, the man can write a good pop song!!
6. Toxic by Britney Spears. I've had it constantly in my head ever since she went mental, and it is SWEET!
7. Love Will Never Do Without You, by Janet Jackson. The video is also spectacular.
8. This probably doesn't rate as a cheesy pop song, but Rocketman by Elton John. The song still brings me to tears and I heard a phenomenal cover of it the other night at the end of the new HBO show Californication.
9. Umbrella, that ubiquitous Rihanna song that is all over the place. Ella ella ella eh eh eh eh -- annoying, but I love it.
10. And let's save the best for last: Lost in Love by Air Supply. Don't ask me how a girl who was heavily into the Clash at the time secretly wept to this song. I simply don't know. I am ashamed, deeply, truly ashamed by this one. But I'd still turn it up if it came on the radio.
Please, send yours along -- especially you, Beth and Fritzi! I know yours will be good!
Enlisted to help by one of my closest friends, I talked to him every few weeks or so to see how he was holding up since we were both going through something similar. He was despondent, but I was able to make him laugh a few times. Lately, everyone thought he was doing better. My friend was doing everything in his power to help him. He noticed he was losing weight so every week, he bought groceries for him and brought them to his new apartment. He sat with him for hours and let him cry/talk. He paid for him to go away to a posh inn for a weekend. He got him out for drinks some nights. He was even trying to set him up with another recently divorced friend. But the last time my friend went to his apartment with groceries, he discovered the poor guy hanging from a door frame.
I am sick for the guy's kids, but also for my friend, who is beating himself up thinking he didn't do enough and he could have saved him. I have spent hours pointing out to him that the only thing that could have saved him is if what happened to him hadn't happened to him. The wife says she had no idea he was in such bad shape, but I wonder. He had spoken of wanting to kill himself, but it seems no one but my friend worried that he might be serious.
If I have learned anything from all this, it's that you don't ignore someone who says they're feeling suicidal. You don't under-estimate the devastating impact drastic and unwanted life changes can have on someone who's already fragile. And more than anything else, you appreciate the good and selfless people in this world, those who try to save flailing souls instead of turning their backs, whether they succeed or not. I have always known my friend is selfless, a caregiver, a kind soul and a person of integrity and character. I didn't realize just how kind until all this happened.
Sorry to depress. Just a sober post amid more fun stuff to come.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Remember how Seinfeld was so shallow and superficial that he lost interest in a woman when he didn't like the way she ate her peas? I can honestly say that I am so completely uninterested in dating anyone that I don't even have a list of deal-breakers except for one or two because I don't even look at men anymore as potential dating material.
My spinning girlfriends, however -- one happily married, one a single lawyer with a big income and another a serial monogamist living with her latest boyfriend -- have a long list of deal-breakers that surprised and amused me when we discussed them over coffee the other day. I'll start off with my two; the rest are theirs.
1. A goatee. As mentioned, this is mine. I cannot get serious about anyone with a goatee or a jazz patch. It's 2007, for God's sake. Pick up a GQ. The trend has passed.
2. Sandals of any kind, unless they are beautiful Kenneth Cole slides and the feet are neat and tidy and, preferably, tanned.
3. Any man over 35 who is seriously participating in Facebook and playing all the Facebook games, doing the wall graffiti, writing about how he met his "friends," etc. This is my married friend's, who is apparently joined in her disdain for grown-up Facebookers by her husband, one of the most effortlessly cool men I know. Instantaneous, cringe-inducing turn-off, she says.
4. Anyone who even once refers to himself in the third person or is found to be repeatedly Googling himself. This is the lawyer's. Apparently some of her fellow lawyers tend to be major egomaniacs.
5. Anyone who tells us: "Bring me back something from your trip!" Thereby assuring that no matter what shopping you do while away, something in the deep recesses of your brain will be nagging you to remember to bring back a souvenir for some clown you've barely dated. Piss off.
6. Cheapness. You ask us out, you pay for the first date. It's up for negotiation on future dates. And if you're a cheap tipper, it's done. Cheapness of any kind, in fact, is a true lust-buster.
7. Anyone rude and condescending to waiters or others in the service industries. All of us agreed on that one.
8. Anyone with mother issues. I had to make a feeble argument against including this one since I myself have mother issues, but my friends pointed out that if some guy is over 35 and still whining about his Mommy issues, he's trouble with a capital T and someone who routinely hurts women as some sort of sub-conscious attempt to get back at Mommy. Mother-lovers, on the other hand, are said to be the best men walking the planet -- although not Mama's boys.
9. Anyone who plays any type of air instrument or does the index finger-point and/or thumbs' up thing. Fritzi has mentioned feeling utter contempt towards any man participating in any of those activities, as well as those with their keys attached to their belts.
10. Anyone who refers to any of his exes as psycho. Big alarm bell, big turnoff, usually indicating there is a lot, lot more to the story. As my friend married friend pointed out: "That's right, the ex is psycho. And yet they pursued the woman and slept with her for years. Women don't generally just spontaneously go psycho unless some headcase helped push her there."
Please send along your deal-breakers. I hope ours don't sound too shallow, superficial and ... well ... Seinfeldian.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
1. I hate green peppers.
2. My father had a very noticeable port-wine stain on his nose and everyone teased him and called him Rudolph when he was a child. And since I inherited a God-awful nose from some distant relative and was teased mercilessly about it as a child, I always felt my father and I had a special "we hate our noses" kind of connection. I should have taken him up on the offer to pay for a nose job before he died.
3. My first French kiss caused me to run into my childhood home in horror and spit into the toilet. Admittedly, he was a lousy French-kisser.
4. I had a brush with death as a child. I almost drowned in Hawaii when I was 12, to the point where I had lost consciousness and awoke to find a U.S. Marine giving me mouth to mouth. Surfing beaches with 30-foot waves and flimsy swimming pool air mattresses do not go hand in hand, though it was quite a wave I rode until it pounded me into the bottom of the ocean and refused to let me come back up.
5. I outgrew a very horrible allergy to cats, and then developed one towards horses.
6. I have Mennonite blood, and yet I have a real affinity not just for Germans, but also for Italians.
7. Perhaps because of this strange combination, I want desperately to grow old in the country surrounded by animals, flowers, vegetable gardens, someone I love and grandchildren who look just like my babies looked when they were babies and where I will bake pies, make jams and churn out jar upon jar of my own tomato sauce with fresh basil leaves every August.
8. I am terrified of driving, especially on the highway, meaning No. 7 will likely be impossible.
Now I am tagging Fritzi only, because I simply have run out of people to tag because they have already been tagged to answer these very questions. Away you go, Fritz! Tell the severed tongue and/or marble story!
Saturday, August 11, 2007
I have a long and complicated history with raccoons. First off, I think they're impossibly cute. And I admire and respect their intelligence -- here is a wild animal that has learned not only to survive, but to thrive, in an urban setting due mostly to their smarts and their freaky little hands. But that doesn't mean I like them unsnapping the raccoon-proof latch on my green bin and leaving all my garbage on the front sidewalk after helping themselves to whatever they want. Nor do I like them opening a door left slightly ajar and staging a very messy home invasion, as one did to me about a decade ago. And given I routinely turn my outdoor hose onto "jet" and water-gun their waddling asses out of my backyard whenever I get the chance -- and have been known to hurl pitchers of hot water at them when I find them tearing up my garbage -- I certainly don't want to be their friends.
Yet there is a raccoon in the neighbourhood who seems to think we should be hanging out. Twice in three days I have found him in my bedroom. At first, I thought it was a cat I heard up there in my shoe closet. But then I saw a little face peering down at me from the top of the staircase that leads to my bedroom, and it wasn't a feline face. I ran up the stairs, grabbed a curtain rod I used to prop the (screened) window open during the summer, noticed that he'd gingerly unstapled and folded back the screen, yelled at him to get out and actually poked him, hard, with the curtain rod repeatedly. His response was to slowly and reluctantly mosey on back out the way he came, looking up at me as though his feelings were hurt.
I was sound asleep at about 5:30 this morning and I heard him once again, crawling through the same window. The cat sleeping on my stomach leapt up with alarm as he poked his head through and looked at us hopefully. I was literally nose to nose with him, shouting for him to get out while once again poking him with the curtain rod, and again, he stayed put for a moment and looked back at me with a dejected look on his face. Finally he tired of my poking and shrieking, backed out the window and waddled away. I have now latched the window and brought out the fan.
When my daughter was a very little girl, maybe three or so, there was a family of raccoons, including a litter of babies, who were always on our back deck and they freaked her out. "They're evil," she would say, "with their black masks and their black eyes."
I don't think they're evil but they are brazen, ballsy animals, I will grant them that. And I think that after years of watching how good the dogs and cats have it in upscale Toronto neighbourhoods, they might be seriously longing to be domesticated. If I'd wanted to pat this raccoon, I think he would have allowed it. A bowl of food, a tummy rub, and comfortable place to sleep is what I think he's after. Weird.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Last week I wrote about a fabulous product introduced to me by the beautiful Fritzi. This week I am going to introduce you to a favourite in my bathroom that I was happy to introduce recently to Fritzi.
This stuff is AMAZING. I got it as a sample when I bought some Vichy toner a couple of years ago. I was hesitant to use it because it said it was for acne-prone skin and I have never had acne. But I tried it anyway, and honestly, it made my skin smoother and tauter -- without drying it -- than any product I have ever used. It was like an instant facelift. I don't know what's in it, but it's a miracle product, and I have never encountered anything like it and that's saying something from a beauty product junkie who started using Estee Lauder's Swiss Performing Extract when she was 14 (I actually saved up my allowance to buy a bottle once every six months -- laugh if you must, but I did get asked for ID last year and I just turned 43).
I told another friend about it right away who has dry skin. The woman at the counter tried to talk her out of buying it, but, remembering how I raved about its rejuventating qualities, she bought it anyway. And has bought it religiously ever since. It has never dried out her skin, she says, even in the winter -- it simply makes it look like she's had a skin-smoothing facial. It's not terribly expensive, either, compared to Biotherm/Clarins/etc. products that aren't as good -- under $25 and available at Shopper's. Try it!
p.s. The Vichy Calming Cleansing Solution (the aforementioned toner I was talking about) also rocks; I used it instead of soap and water and it's good for removing makeup.
UPDATE: Today Shopper's had it on sale for $15!
Thursday, August 09, 2007
An Italian friend of mine was waxing poetic the other day about a lunch her mother used to make her as a child -- eggs poached in fresh tomato sauce with melted cheese and basil.
Stunned, I looked up from my peanut butter sandwich and said: "Holy shit, that sounds fantastic." I immediately started salivating at the thought of it, tossed my peanut butter sandwich in disgust and did a quick Google search to find recipes.
I combined a bunch of different recipes I found and made it for dinner the other night. And OH MY GOD was it fantastic. My daughter -- a real egg and tomato sauce lover -- almost went nuts but then pleaded with me not to make it too often because she never wanted to get sick of it.
So please, if you are looking for something delicious and fairly low-carb to make for dinner tonight, or a simple brunch dish, give it a try. Here is the recipe I came up with:
About three to four tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
Three cups of fresh tomato sauce (I didn't have any on hand because I haven't made my summer batch yet, but I used Classico tomato and basil)
Six to eight eggs, depending on how many you're feeding
About a cup of shaved high-quality parmesan (some recipes called for other cheeses like buffalo mozzarella and scamorza, but I used what I had on hand)
Fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
Heat the olive oil and then add the tomato sauce in large skillet. Break the eggs into the sauce. Place cheese over top. Put lid on skillet and cook on low to medium heat for about 10 minutes. Check frequently -- if you like your eggs runny, eight minutes might be sufficient.
Spoon the eggs onto the plate and top with some chopped fresh basil leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a crusty Italian bread to sop up the sauce. Some recipes called for toasting Italian bread and serving the eggs and sauce over the bread, which also sounds mind-blowing -- I am trying that next time.
You will thank me if you try this -- you will really, really thank me.
While we're on the subject of Italian food, I wanted to link to this list of great Italian restaurants in Montreal.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
If News That Your Most Ardent Suitor Has a New Girlfriend Fills You With Waves of Relief and Gratitude, Chances Are You Just Weren't That Into Him
Yes, the Hot Yoga date has moved on. And I am so, so thankful.
Alarms bells had started ringing. He kept telling me he respected my feelings about not wanting to get involved in a relationship right now, yet continued to passive-aggressively push me there, even once forcing a kiss on me I wasn't interested in receiving. He got a bit snarky a couple of times when I reminded him I was still too heartbroken and fragile, as though he thought I should be over it in the week since I'd last told him the same thing. He once called me a "drama queen" when I phoned and asked him for the number of an emergency plumber (he's a contractor) as my toilet flooded my bathroom and kitchen while the German Houseboy tried frantically to turn the water off. That one really pissed me off, since I was the calm one having to tell the German Houseboy it would be all right as I jotted down the number. He once gave me unsolicited dietary advice, as in: "You should be careful about how many avocadoes you eat,'' when I told him of my love of avocadoes. Uhhhh .... we aren't even dating, and you're telling me what not to eat? Ding ding ding ding ding!
Alarm bells, alarm bells, alarm bells. I am so glad I followed my shrink's advice and started listening to them. In the past I might have fallen into a relationship with this guy because of his 20-year-old body and ability to distract me from my pain and heartache. I have, in fact, done that before, and it's never gone well. But not this time. This time, I started to get the feeling this guy might be a demanding control freak as a boyfriend, and that after the bloom was off the rose, it would really start to bug me and I'd have to get out of it.
And so I avoided the whole mess!
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
I'm off to France and Italy and may or may not check in along the way.
Brought Fonzie to the vet today for boarding and they asked for an emergency contact number just in case there were any life and death decisions to be made in my absence."This may sound really bad," I said. "But if his time has come his time has come." No thousand dollar vet bills for that guy now that our mice are gone.
"Oh really? Well I did, so piss off."
Lately I am also getting this: "Wow, you look fantastic. A thousand times better than when you were married. He must have been really bad for you/you must have been really unhappy with him." Again, piss off. I mean how bad must I have looked during my marriage? I thought I looked good, I thought he looked good. Yes, I have lost weight since the split, and right now I am tanned and blonde from my Spanish vacation. But we liked to cook and eat and go to restaurants and enjoy the finer things in life, and we were happy, and so what if I was cushy and brunette? He wasn't bad for me. He was good for me! So piss off to you too!
That is all.
Monday, August 06, 2007
So I am very close to my closest married couple friends (my ONLY married couple friends, it seems), and spent part of the weekend with them at their newly reno-ed wonder house.
We decided to go out to dinner with the kids and a couple of their friends, two lovely gay men (not a couple). The one gay man is apparently bi, and in fact once went out with the female half of the married couple, and is extremely attractive, smart and funny. Every time I see him, even when I was married, we always really hit if off and could chat for hours. We have a similar sense of humour and laugh at each other's jokes. He occasionally flirted with me, which totally perplexed me. Is he gay, or not gay? Is he just one of those guys who really loves women and isn't shy about letting them know? What the hell?
Because I was happily married, I just shrugged it off and never thought too much about it, and assumed he was just one of those straight gay men (as opposed to gay straight men) who loved women.
But I am no longer married, and tonight we sat next to one another at dinner, and I kind of got the feeling he was into me. We yammered away and as always were in synch on many fronts. At one point, I brushed against his arm and he remarked on how tanned and soft my skin was (credit once again to Johnson's Baby Oil Gel). He complimented my figure though not in a pervy, lascivious way. He was very attentive and gentlemanly, making sure I got my share of all the grub we ordered and topping up my wine. He gave me an extra long and affectionate hug and kiss when we said good-bye. I think I must be crazy, but he seemed to be giving me signals that he was interested in me.
Of course this got me to thinking about that famous Seinfeld episode where Elaine is so desperate for a boyfriend that she tries to get a gay man to switch teams. It works for awhile, but then she comes to realize that she can't possibly compete against rivals who know the equipment so much better than she does because they OWN the equipment.
And I don't really believe people are bi. They're one or the other. They may appreciate the opposite sex esthetically, but if you want to have sex with your own gender, then you're gay, aren't you? And I am insecure and jealous enough as it is -- imagine not just having to worry about the opposite sex, but EVERYONE?
While I have been told many times that I remind people of Elaine Benes, this is a road I could just not go down. I'd be a complete wreck. However, I wouldn't mind hanging around with him. Every heartbroken woman needs a gay friend, and if he's also hot and flirtatious? So much the better.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
This is a widget that people love or hate because apparently it can screw up other things on the blog big time. Now, in both Firefox and Safari, it looks great and everything's working. But in my Internet Explorer, which is always buggy, it's a disaster.
Please tell Tearfree how everything looks to you and what browser you use.
If necessary, she will remove the widget and wait for a new improved version.
1. On Thursday a lovely woman named Martha at the British Airways call centre told me my bag had in fact made the flight to Canada, was at Pearson and I would be getting a call from the courier company any minute now saying they were on their way to my house with my suitcase. I am still waiting. The tracking website says my bag has still not been located. I think Martha was tired of everyone screaming at her and lied to me just to get me off her back. I bet her name is really Sally. Or Weasel.
2. The German houseboy has gone home. And for some reason I am sad. It was quite magical hearing classical music being played on the piano all the time, having someone gobble up my baking gratefully, and knowing there was a six-foot-five man in the house on those nights when I can hear someone trying to get into my backyard via the back gate.
3. Best summer breakfast ever: plain yogurt, a sliced ripe Niagara peach, a handful of wild blueberries and a dollop of wildflower honey on top of it all. I dream about this breakfast all winter long. And for the month of August, I eat it religiously, sometimes not just for breakfast, but as a snack or dessert too. If you haven't tried it, do it. Granola-lovers might enjoy adding a handful as well. Important: the peach must be fresh, not one of those mealy Chilean ones that has been in the back of an eighteen-wheeler for months.
4. What is love? I saw a good movie last night when one of the characters points out it's not about happily ever afters and soulmates and all that bullshit, it is really about whether someone makes you feel good about yourself. If they do, narcissists that we all are to varying degrees, it's love. When they stop, love does too, or, for the more mature among us, love grows into something more realistic and less self-centred. For me, due to childhood traumas, I have also needed love to make me feel safe and for the person loving me to be trustworthy. If I catch someone lying to me or bending the truth about themselves and their past in the beginning, I am too afraid to truly love them back. My shrink says this is good: I am smart and a good judge of character, so I need to learn to listen to my instincts and not to ignore alarm bells about people, something I have done too often in the past. Things I am pondering as I figure out where my life is going and where it's been. What do all of you think love is?
Friday, August 03, 2007
Oh how they under-sell!
In the week or two since I've been using it -- first Fritzi's, then my own (currently lost in my luggage so I bought another bottle yesterday) -- I have squirted a bit in my bath, rubbed it into my skin when it's still wet after a bath or shower, used it to remove eye makeup, massaged it onto my elbows and feet before bed, smoothed it into my cuticles, and worked a little bit into the roots of my hair after a day at the beach. And even though I remain the only person currently caressing my own skin, I am quite certain it's never been more soft or supple, from head to toe. Actually, that's not true -- my son commented on my soft skin earlier today when I gave him a hug while wearing a sundress.
And it comes in three varieties: lavender, aloe and chamomile. No, I am not on the Johnson's payroll. But I always like to hear about great products, and this is one of them. It's a product that can serve dozens of different purposes and it's cheap, cheap, cheap! I am not alone in my adoration of it -- here's another blogger who's waxed poetic about it as well in the middle of a harsh Canadian winter.
Tune in next Friday for next week's wonder product, and don't hesitate to tip RTK off to some of your favourite finds.
Tearfree blitzed the comments by mistake during her blog clean-up. You can read them here but please come back to add any new comments here.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
What else? Thanks to Jacy, we are a top site for invisible deodorant or so-called invisible deodorant.
And I was supposed to meet Tanya Espanya but something seems to have gone wrong.
So instead, I'm listening to Wilco, trying to educate myself.
And, just one final question in the Jerry Seinfeld mode, what the hell is up with yellow cherries? Tearfree is not impressed. She just finds them sweet and kid of tasteless.
That new basket of Niagara peaches bettter be tastier.
A month or so ago my mother called me up and annoyed me, which is nothing truly unusual. "I hope you're not flying through Heathrow,'' she said in an accusatory tone, and then clucked at me in shame when I confessed that yes, I was. "They lost Regis Philbin's luggage and he never got it back!!! I can't believe you're flying through Heathrow! Why would you have agreed to that?"
I asked her what possible purpose her call was serving other than to stress me out and make me feel bad about my apparently idiotic decision not to challenge British Airways on the lunacy of associating itself with the U.K.'s biggest airport.
If there's anything I hate, it's when my mother's right.
Because Fritzi and I are home from Espanya now, and our luggage is not. It is apparently languishing with 20,000 other pieces of "mishandled baggage" at Heathrow, possibly the most chaotic airport I have ever visited (and it wasn't two years ago when my husband and I were there, so go figure.) British Airways doesn't seem to care, is doing nothing to reassure us that maybe, one day, our luggage will make it across the Atlantic despite assurances initially that it would be put on the first BA flight to Toronto, and openly resent our phone calls asking what is up and how this has happened. They blame it on the busy summer travel season, a manpower shortage at the airport and the fact that you can only have one carry-on bag now at Heathrow, meaning people are having to check many more bags.
There is little comfort in knowing there are thousands of travellers around the world in the same boat as we are.
And while it's wrong to mourn the loss of material goods, I already pine for things I am fairly certain I will never see again.
Three of my favourite pairs of shoes.
All of my jauntiest summer outfits.
Every bathing suit I own, including a bikini that fit me perfectly.
All of my best lingerie, including about six fabulous bras and matching underwear.
A pretty negligee.
My new Vichy deodorant, which is really hard to find in North America and is cheaper in Europe.
My adorable Nike skort, something Nike doesn't make anymore but is so great for spinning
All the great clothes I bought for my kids as presents -- football jerseys, cute tops and bottoms at the Barcelona Mango outlet.
The best 2,000 pairs of tweezers I have ever owned.
All of my best toiletries, including a lovely Calvin Klein perfume.
That great pair of jeans I blogged about a few weeks ago.
I have my health and I am home safe with my children after pining for them while away. So I know I should be grateful. Nonetheless, it is distressing to lose your belongings and know they are sitting somewhere and will likely just be thrown out at one point because it will be cheaper for those incompetent arseholes running British Airways to just write a cheque rather than go to the bother of reuniting paying customers with their luggage.
I will never fly the airline again, and will do everything possible to stick to Gatwick the next time I go to the U.K. Who could imagine there was an airline on the planet that could make Air Canada look good?
What's worse than the actual loss of the luggage is the fact that it put a damper on a wonderful holiday. Fritzi and I had a blast. We were on a vacation high. And from the moment we touched down in Toronto, we have been dealing with the hassle of attempting to locate our luggage and negotiate British Airways red tape instead of basking in the glow of a fun-filled holiday. I have sat on hold for so many hours waiting for some snarky BA call-centre worker to snootily dismiss me that I have come to despise the British Airways theme song, a pretty classical piece called "The Flower Duet" that now makes me want to go postal when I hear it. Those pricks.
Tearfree blitzed the comments by mistake during her blog clean-up. You can read them here but please come back to add any new comments here.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
I was recently tagged by the lovely Beth of the fabulous blog Cup of Coffey to answer five random questions that may reveal disturbing truisms about me. Don't hate me because I love Little House on the Prairie.
So here are Beth's questions, with my answers, and then I will tag five others -- and you ladies likely know already who you are.
1. Who was your Tiger Beat crush?
This is a tough one for me. I didn't really go for teen heartthrobs. I was obsessed with Swedish athletes as a teenager -- namely, Bjorn Borg, the famous tennis legend, and Borje Salming, a sad-faced defenceman on the Toronto Maple Leafs. The only movie star I was insanely hot for was a young Richard Gere, but he really didn't grace the pages of Tiger Beat -- that was all Scott Baio, David Cassidy, Leif Garrett, Peter Brady territory, guys who didn't do much for me. (Strangely, however, I am now into the Scott Baio reality show and suddenly understand the massive chick appeal). My musical crush was Elvis Costello, way back when he was a skinny geek. Again, he didn't often show up in Tiger Beat. And yes, I still find all of those four -- Borg, Salming, Gere and Costello -- extremely cute, even though Salming looks like a Nordic basset hound.
2. You’re the new hot voice out there, and everyone wants to play with you. Who do you pick to play in your backup band?
Stuart Copeland on drums simply because he despises Sting and so do I, and they say the key to any happy relationship is disliking the same people. New Order's Peter Hook on bass because New Order is possibly the best bass band ever and he's the master. Noel Gallagher of Oasis or Johnny Marr of the Smiths on guitar -- I simply can't choose between the two. Zia McCabe, the girl from the Dandy Warhols, on keyboards because she is adorable and fantastic. Jeff Tweedy of Wilco singing backup and doing whatever else he wanted to do, actually. Same goes for Ryan Adams. And Prince.
3. What's your favourite curse word? How often do you use it?
I just can't get enough of the F-word, due mostly to its amazing versatility, and I use it far, far too often.
4. What’s your guilty pleasure TV show, the one you’re almost embarrassed to admit you watch?
Any country's version of America's Next Top Model, the Brady Bunch and Little House on the Prairie re-runs. What I wouldn't give to have my own prairie homestead with a cow to milk every morning, a pie to bake, a clothesline for my linens and a fire burning in the woodstove on a cold winter's morning while Pa and the young 'uns whittle and darn socks .... oh my ....
5. Which is your very favorite bauble?
The pretty two-stone ruby ring my late father gave me for my 16th birthday.
And now I am tagging Tearfree, Tanya, Fritzi (in what will be one of her maiden blog postings), MDG and A. with the same questions.
Tearfree blitzed the comments by mistake during her blog clean-up. You can read here but please come back to add any new comments here.