Friday, November 28, 2008
I'm annoyed at myself for taking on a major reading commitment at this time of year. It's Christmas, and I'm busy at work and busy at home and there is no way I'm going to be able to hunker down and immerse myself in a book the way I would like. I should know better than to start something that I will only be able to periodically dip into, rather than hurl full steam ahead, as I would prefer. It makes me cranky.
The last time this happened, I swore I wouldn't do it again; the "Outlander" Christmas of 97 was a disaster. I had to constantly tear myself away from those books, to go shopping and decorate and bake and such, and it was torture. My kids very nearly got dental floss and WD-40 under the tree that year. Since then, I have managed to read only magazines, mail-order catalogues and the occasional slim novel that I didn't really care about before Christmas, and save the 800 page tomes for December 27th.
But I'm stupid enough to have started the series, and cannot begin to make myself stop now. Perhaps no one will notice if the laundry doesn't get done or there's no groceries in the house. Of course, I could call in sick to work, and stay at home and read...if I got a couple of uninterrupted days, I'm sure I'd be done and back to normal. Or I could just stock up on dental floss and WD-40.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
That would be the coffee table that we picked up yesterday, I imagine.
So, I guess that means we can go across town again, and get a coffee table to which we are not entitled, and sell it on Ebay or something. Perhaps there is a plague of delinquent furniture absconders roaming the land after all. I don't think we will do it; it's way on the other side of town, and I'd hate to have "Possession of Illegal Coffee Table" added to my digressions.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The Mister called about 3 weeks ago to inquire as to the coffee table's whereabouts, and they said that it would be another while and that they would call when it came it. (This is after having been paid for it 8 weeks earlier.) Finally last week we got the call that it had come in and we could pick it up.
As we drove out to get it today, the Mister remarked that he couldn't find the receipt, but since they clearly had a record of us having it, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Of course, (and you know where this is going) we got all the way out there, and it was a problem. It seems that their computer system was down, and they were unable to find our invoice and that they wouldn't be able to let us have the table. (Because of the huge social problem of random people coming into the store and absconding with coffee tables to which they are not entitled, I suppose. A rampant bane on civilized society.)
So the Mister and I promptly asked for our money back. I believe our words were something to the effect of "you've got both our money and our table. We're not leaving here without at least one.".
And lo and behold, it suddenly became entirely possible to pick up a coffee table without a receipt! A Christmas miracle, it was! We drove around back and packed the coffee table into the van and came home and put it together, and we now have a place to put our coffee.
Oh, and the store? The Brick.
We're not going back.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The doctor and Big Liver Girl (who is a registered physiotherapist, and not just an opinionated friend) both said to wear a brace and try to rest it for a while. Rest, as in not using it....I've heard of this so called "rest", but haven't had much of a chance to explore it's meaning. I have tried mightily to cut down on the foiling, the shampooing, the cooking, the cleaning and the general use of my left hand, but without much success.
The one thing I have had to cut out completely from my life for the time being is knitting and crocheting, and that is the one thing I am missing terribly. Who knew?
I'm not a dedicated knitter, and I'm certainly not very good at it. my mother knits so fast that the needles get warm. Also, she can knit those Aran sweaters without even looking. (The story goes that when the Mister and I were dating, he asked how he could get my mother to knit him one of those sweaters, and I replied that the going price was a ring on my finger, buster. My mom and I laughed about that, and when we got engaged in mid-November, she said that if he really wanted one, she could make it for him for Christmas. And she did.) I'm nowhere in her league. But I do like the idea of making something out of nothing, and it is entirely satisfying to be able to create what you need.
Mostly I tend to do small projects....I hate doing sweaters and such. Scarves and baby blankets are my favorites; no shaping or putting together, just straight lines and you're all done when your done. Hats, mittens and socks are all good too, because they are small, portable and finished before I am sick of them. I once made a sweater that took me so long to knit that I hated the look of it by the time I was finished, and it was out of style, too.
Before the Moratorium on Needlework,
I finished a hat for a friend's baby boy:
and a blanket for my cousin James and his wife Lisa, who's baby is due this spring.
I was in the middle of making a pair of socks, for me. Big, warm, sloppy socks for schlepping around the house in:
But they are going to have to wait for a while....
I've tried knitting with this brace on, and I can do it, but it's awfully slow, and the yarn keeps sticking to the velcro. And I have to hold the yarn completely differently, and it's all very clumsy. Until the thumb is better, I'm going to have to be patient and just stay away from the needles. Maybe I can look into keeping game.
Monday, November 24, 2008
At least Dan and Andrew are more or less aware that they are pathetic slobs, but they seem doggedly resigned to do nothing to fix it. One of them said that a highlight reel of their mistakes would go on for hours, and he'd be right.
If I had forgotten my shoes back at the theater, I'd have probably tried to go back and get them. But not those two! Or maybe I'd have tried to buy shoes during the 12 hour pit stop. Or buy them off one of the hotel staff. But they'd rather shlep around in slippers and then complain about it. They are wearisome. (Besides, buying anything at an airport is going to cost you a morgage payment or an internal organ. Man, I spent about 14 bucks on a muffin and coffee in Calgary, and it wasn't even at Starbucks.)
Okay, I can't ignore the elephant in the room any longer....the marching, the marching!! What the hell was that???? It's walking, for God's sake!! Anyone that knows me at all can tell you that I am probably the most unco-ordinated, unathletic person on God's green earth, but Dan makes me look like Barishnikov. Why would you pick that Detour when you were so wholely unfit for it??? I don't think I've ever seen anyone who was as incapable as anyone as Dan. I especially liked that he was such a spazz at the marching when he was giving Andrew such grief about the foot swaddling. (And to Andrew's credit, he did not berate Dan one bit when he was lurching around like a drunken two-year-old.) The trombone player herniating himself laughing definitely made the whole thing worth it.
And just to say? Tina was right, those uniforms were mighty unflattering, but Dallas managed to look very attractive.
I certainly have to give Nick props for not slapping his sister. She was having a major meltdown in that cab (which was entirely justified, if you ask me, I'd have been bursting into flames myself.) and he was able to stay calm and focused without making her worse. And Note to Self: Do not run the race on your birthday...the gods don't like that, and will punish you accordingly.
Dallas all covered in flour looked like a vampire.
Sassy Bakery Lady should get together with Comical Indian Sewing Machine Guy and get their own sit-com.
Aren't you glad that Terrance and Sarah weren't there to do the flour task? The constant "babe"-ing would have been painful, not to mention that he would have made her do it, told her how she could do it better and then said "I need you to be faster, babe." And then I'd have had to stop watching my favorite show.
Until next week!
Friday, November 21, 2008
Blog topics that I have rejected include (and I believe you will thank me for this)
- what I had to eat today
- what I wanted to eat today
- a dream I had
- Toby's breath, which stinks
- Thing 1's use of her "manly voice"
- Thing 2's somewhat alarming flatulence problem
- how, when I was driving home today, I saw 4 cars all skid through the same intersection
- what I hate about Christmas, pantyhose and the Future Shop
- my husband's increasing habit of driving like an old lady
- how I can't believe that nobody has demanded that car racing be banned on environmental grounds
- Lentils: Nature's Most Boring Food
- how I think Cameron Diaz looks like "The Joker"
- why cooking rice smells like popcorn
- how people who recline their seats on airplanes should be put to death
- how my bra straps keep falling down
You are most welcome.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Ways I can tell that it's winter (other than the punitive temperatures and the inescapable snow) is the following:
- Toby begs to go outside. Then he comes in almost immediately. Then he begs to go outside again through another door, like somehow it's Florida out that one.
- My feet are cold. My feet will be permanently cold now until May, no matter how many socks I put on.
- People perform the "Cold Car Dance", wherein they get in the car, turn the ignition on and wrap their arms around themselves and rock back and forth muttering a word that starts with "f" and is not "fallopian".
- I walk gingerly. Usually, I walk in a full on stride, and sometimes have to tell myself that I should slow down because I probably look ridiculous. But these days, I walk with trepidation, and carefully scan the sidewalk for where I can put down my foot, lest I take a spectacular tumble and look even more ridiculous.
- I don't have to put the garbage outside in the big garbage can, because it will freeze before the raccoons can smell it.
- We put the van in the garage. One year we didn't manage to clean out the garage before the bad weather came, and we got a freezing rain storm that basically incarcerated the van, and it took us hours to chip away at the ice so that we could even open the doors. Now we would rather bring the van into the house than do that again.
- I get lazy. All I want to do is hibernate. The thought of going out of the house after dinner makes me crankier than a nap-deprived three-year old.
- The Clementines are out. They smell like Christmas to me. Also, the grapefruit are excellent right now.
- We go through kleenex like wildfire. Everyone is sniffling, and I'm pretty sure the Loudshoes family is singlehandedly responsible for the destruction of a couple of acres of rain forest.
- It takes everyone ten times as long to get out the door as it does the rest of the year. My family has a blase attitude towards leaving the house on time as it is, but this time of year they absolutely kill me. Not only does "we're leaving now" clearly mean "please, take as much time as you like before leaving the house, in fact, maybe you should start a completely new activity immediately", but in the winter it also means, "and start looking for that coat/other boot/exactly perfect mitten/non-scratchy hat about 10 minutes after your mother had left the building entirely".
Spring is only 4 months away.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Not to toot my own horn, but I do make kick-ass roasted potatoes, and in fact, I'm pretty sure that the Mister has changed his mind about leaving me on more than one occasion because of them. The go well with almost any roasted meat or fish, but they make an excellent dinner all by themselves, too.
First, peel up a couple of Yukon Gold potatoes. (In my house, I count on about two good sized potatoes per person, but your mileage may vary.) Cut them up into cubes, and put them in a saucepan and just cover them with water.
Now, heat your oven to 400°F.
Put a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil and cook the potatoes for about 10 minutes or so. Poke a chunk of potato and bring it out of the water. Now get a knife and run it over one of the edges of the potato; you want it to be soft on the edges, but not all the way through. When the potatoes are starting to soften up, take them off the heat and drain the pot. Now drain it again. Now one more time. Put the pot on the hot element (with the heat off) and let any water evaporate for a minute or two.
While that is happening, take the pan you are going to roast the potatoes in and put in about equal amounts of oil and butter so that when it melts it will cover the bottom of the pan. Now put the pan in the oven until the fat gets good and hot.
Are the potatoes good and dry? Good, now you are going to put the lid on the pot and shake the daylights out of the potatoes. Rattle them around in the pot to really rough up the edges.(This is the secret to good roasted potatoes.)
Now take the spitting hot pan out of the oven and dump the potatoes in it. Flip the potatoes around until they are good and coated with the fat and add some seasonings. I usually just use salt and pepper (because I live with people who take their roast potatoes very seriously), but you can add thyme or rosemary or Italian seasoning or seasoned salt or anything else you desire. (I don't recommend fresh minced garlic, however, because it will burn before the potatoes are done. If you want them garlicky, you could roast whole cloves of garlic with the potatoes, or toss them with garlic salt at the end.)
Fling the whole mess in the 400° oven and let it sit for about a half an hour or so. Then you can stir them, but not before, you want to get a good, brown crust on the bottom. Cook them for about an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how crunchy you want them, and remember, don't burn your mouth.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The trip was to go see a samba drum band at a high school on the other end of town, so not only was it a half hour bus ride of bellowing children, we got to sit through an hour of non-stop drumming, as well. (On the way there, most of the boys entertained themselves by delivering "Nut Crunches" to each other, which involved using their elbows to whallop the genetalia of the boy sitting next to them. You can imagine how quiet that game is. Being the mother of girls, I was unaware of this particular past time, but the other mother on the trip airily assured me that it happens all the time.)
Anyway, the kids had a ball, as the band had them all up jumping and dancing and clapping and stomping. At one point, the band called for everyone to come up and dance in the 4 square feet of floor in front of the stage, and they 200 of them poured down there and had the elementary school equivalent of a mosh pit. I seriously thought the whole event was going to end up on the news. Especially after the conga lines broke out. It was like a frat party, but without the beer and togas. Honestly, you could feel that the whole thing was just inches away from a prison riot.
Finally, the concert ended, and we had to get the kids on the bus and the shreiked and squawked and yelled all during that too. At least they were tired on the way home, and the bus driver put a quick and deadly stop to the attempt by some of the kids to start up a round of "99 Bottles of Beer On the Wall", so it wasn't quite the bedlam as on the way there.
When I got home, it was blissfully, beautifully quiet. Until Toby realized that the Tuna Dispenser was here, and Thing 1 walked in the door and started to tell me about her day, and the phone rang. At least nobody tried to give me a Nut Crunch.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Thing 1 and I were pondering the idea of doing a food challenge when you have restrictions to your diet that may make that challenge impossible, and then we thought that they probably didn't know it was a food challenge before they started out. However, I would have thought that the Fast Forward challenge being held at a restaurant might have tipped them off. Why wouldn't they have bailed immediately when they found out Terrance had to eat meat? It looked like he tried for a while (Starr was finished before they decided to go); they may have been able to catch up some time if they had left earlier. Also, if I had been Sarah? I'd have been pissed if I had eaten all of that nasty stuff and didn't have to.
I thought for sure Tina was going to have green hair for the rest of the race.
I gotta hand it to Tina and Ken, they sucked up their mistakes and handled things much more calmly and rationally than I would have given them credit for way back in Episode 1. (Remember shreiky Tina? "I got us a bigger plane!" Yikes.)
I don't remember a team that is quite as dull and as tedious and all together the opposite of fun as Dan and Andrew. I thought Frat Boys were supposed to be all hip and energetic and boyishly charming. I know 70 year olds who get through the day with more fire than these two.
Drew of the Original Frat Boys (who were a blast!, by the way) from Season 1, said in one of the first episodes that it was important to remember that you were a guest in someone else's country, and that you had to get out of the vehicle and ask nicely for directions, instead of bellowing from the window, like Dan did. "You have to treat people in a friendly, affable manner. You can't treat them like we're in New York!"
What, exactly, were the big cranes for? Surely they could have found more efficient taxis.
Man, every time I see a Fast Forward challenge that includes eating stuff or jumping into a pool or climbing a tower or waving at a surfer, I think that Joyce, who had to shave her head, must be really, really pissed.
I liked when Dan was trying to find some scientific reason for Andrew to be the back of the cow. Like there was some valid, physics-based reason for Andrew to hold the less glamourous position in the cartoon-cow costume.
Dallas having fun with that cow costume was the highlight of the night. His bellowing "MOO!" at everyone along the way made me laugh, although I'd have probably wanted to kill him if I had actually been there.
Until next week!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The Mister and I left work at 4:30 and it was almost full on dark at that point. I hadn't worn boots to work and when I left, I found out that my shoes sucked. Literally, they sucked...I swear they hoovered up water right off the ground. My feet were soaked and icy within about 5 steps from the salon.
I knew I would be in no mood to do the grocery shopping after dinner, so I headed out to do it before dinner, and the two girls came with me. Neither one wore boots, and complained bitterly about their feet getting wet, to which, as you can imagine, I was all sympathy and caring. ("Come on, ya big babies, move it!")
By the time we got out of the grocery store the weather had deteriorated further...it was like Mother Nature decided that "by God, I am going to remind everyone of just who is in charge here". There were great chunks of slush falling from the sky by this point, every one of them an assault on one's flesh. I swear they made a resounding "thwak" when they hit your head and then slid down your neck below your coat collar. As I tried, vainly, to maneover the overloaded grocery cart through the six inches of slop in the parking lot, I had to endure the screeching and moaning of my two offspring, who were surprised at the poor conditions all over again. Thing 1 bitterly remarked that "this weather sucks poo", which was not a bad summary of the situation, actually.
Tomorrow I will find all the mittens and scarves and hats and paraphenalia of the season, and plan on how I can spend the next few months on the couch with the cat.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Click on the Flickr link beside the photos to get the gallery...totally worth a look; he is an extrordinary talent.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
2. I wake up every morning at 6:30 without an alarm clock.
3. Not only are my feet cold from October until May, the back of my arms are, too.
4. I stop and read every historical plaque I come across.
5. I have about 30 lipsticks, and I'm not kidding.
6. If I hadn't gone to hairdressing school, I would have gone to chef school.
7. I once shook Pierre Trudeau's hand.
8. I was on the Reach for the Top team in high school.
9. I hate chocolate and fruit together, but I loathe chocolate and peppermint.
10. I have no middle name, and I was born in Ireland.
11. I cry really easily. Rememberance Day ceremonies, children's Christmas concerts and funeral homes kill me.
12. If I had to choose between superpowers, I would be torn between mind-reading and time-travelling.
13. Since I wore a uniform in high school, I cannot bring myself to wear navy blue pants, especially with a white blouse.
14. Most hated sensation: putting my hands into wet rubber gloves.
15. Snakes, mice and other creepy crawlies don't bother me, but I HATE earwigs and maggots.
16. I'm very punctual. It comes with being a Capricorn.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Dark chocolate covered caramels with sea salt sprinkled on top. I'll admit it, we squealed with delight. I'm a sucker for chocolate and caramel anyway, but I'm even more of a sucker for salty and sweet together. And this is all three.
We've worked out way through most of a box, (The Mister and Thing 2 are not interested in these things at all. In fact, they are slightly horrified at Thing 1's and my devotion.)
And I think we will have to get another box right now.
Thing 1 and I were gleefully anticipating the Divorcees participation in that Roadblock, because we were pretty sure they'd be exasperated and screw things up royally. And we were right!
Did those two ever end up reading a clue correctly?? Honestly, how many times did they have to make that mistake before they stopped doing it? And I wonder if those ex-husbands of theirs paid the dye-flingers in advance to nail Kelly and Christy but good.
Who knew I'd end up rooting for Tina and Ken? Believe me, I'm as surprised as anyone. They were calm and determined and focused and got through that Speed Bump with considerably more aplomb than I would have expected. Plus I got the added bonus of seeing Tina looking like the Wicked Witch of the West through most of the episode. (Just to tell you? Cotton candy blond hair like that, (or as we say in the industry "extremely sensitized hair", will pick up colour and dyes like crrrraaazzzy, and stain something awful. We ususally recommend clients with that kind of hair even be sure to use shampoos that are white or clear, as even that can leave behind a residue. Tina may be green for some time, and not in the 'environmentally friendly way', either.)
I did find myself shouting at Ken when they were handing out the holy water that you might want to remember that this was a temple, a holy place of worship, and you were not selling hot dogs and 5th and Broadway. Have some respect.
Favorite Exchange of the Night: "Who’s my best girl?", "You are!'....."No, I mean, I AM!"
I also liked the chatty, tour-guide pedi-cab driver: "And here is the bank, founded in 1857, and American McDonalds!"
What, exactly, did Terrance want Sarah to do about his coloured spit? God, he's a big, whiney baby.
Dallas's mom is just a gem. I just loved her talking about her son and being so proud of him, not because he's accomplished so much, but because he's turned into a fine human being. Good on yer, mom, you did an excellent job.
Sewing-machine-guy was a hoot. Maybe he has his own sit-com in India.
Does Dan ever say "please" or "thank you" or "maybe I'm wrong"? Because he comes off as the crankiest, most disagreeable racer ever. He seems to think that they should be doing better than coming in eternally second-to-last, and that it's not entirely fair, but that he can't figure out why it's not fair, but he's working on a complaint of some sort.
Crap on a cracker, what the hell was Terrance and Sarah doing at that bird sanctuary??? "I feel like it's in the bird seed", and then she just goes ahead and believes him. These two were made for each other, I swear.
Did the designated greeter not show up, and Phil have to use the maintenance guy in a pinch? I don't think I've ever seen a greeter who had another job too. I loved that Phil made Starr and Nick wait until the lawn watering guy skittered over to the Amazing Bathmat.
Until next week!
Friday, November 7, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I was very gratified to find out that Thing 1 was very excited about the whole thing, until I realized that that was very much about getting to sleep in for an extra hour this morning.
Anyway, she came to the salon, and helped Matt The Junior, and cleaned the floors and got her hair done. She went out on coffee runs, folded towels and ripped foil.
I also made her do a shampoo on our friend Jack, who was a very good sport about it, since he ended up getting his eyebrows and the insides of his ears shampooed as well. (Just to tell you, The First Rule of Shampooing? "Always hold onto the hose". Second Rule? "If you do let go of the hose, turn off the water, rather than chasing the spewing nozzle while it drenches everything within twenty feet".)
Then I made her do a haircut (on a mannequin head, I couldn't find anyone willing to take one for that particular team.) She did an admirable job on the haircut, really. It's not easy to figure out what to do with your hands and how to hold all the equipment and think about the deluge of information you have to remember. ("Hold the scissors in your right hand, ring finger and thumb, but at the end of the thumb, not near the knuckle. And then switch the comb to your left hand when you're cutting. And don't cut past the first knuckle. And hold your elbows straight. And pull the hair straight down. And don't lose the guide. And pretend you are not about to topple over from the stress of it all.")
I don't know if she got a realistic idea of what a hairdresser does all day, after all, she did spend the morning getting her own hair done, but I do think she got an idea that cutting hair is not for sissies.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I know when Christmas is, it's the same date on the calendar every year. There is no need to remind me.
So this year, I will be boycotting Canadian Tire, since they had a Christmas commercial on television on Halloween night, and that should not be allowed.
Monday, November 3, 2008
I'm sorry, did I miss something? Is Ken going to die if he doesn't win this thing? Or did he mean that if they didn't win he and Tina are required to split up? Because I was under the impression, during his crying jag, that something dire was going to happen.
When he was carrying both backpacks, I wondered what she had in there to make it so heavy she couldn't carry it herself, and then I realized it was Ken's balls.
Favorite Line of the Night; "My mom's the worst wing man ever.". I think that could be said about most moms, and if not? Ew.
Also, I liked when Dallas said to the greeter: "You have fire on your head. [Like she might be unaware of that fact]. That is insane." Awesome delivery.
Another Favorite Line of the Night came from someone who didn't even show up on camera, to Sarah: "Kiss?" (I think maybe it was directed at Terrance) and then her matter-of-fact "no kiss".
Also, adding "babe" at the end of every sentence does not make either one of you more likable or endearing.
Those two frat boys are big, whiny babies. They're all spewing rainbows and kittens when they're in first place, but they descend into snivelling snotbags when things don't go their way. And all because of ironing, too.
I liked when Bespecled Frat Boy groused that he was "a terrible folder", too, like it was the most grueling of talents and that he could never hope to achieve the level of competence required of him. Do these two ever hope to attract any female attention in their whole lives? Because them on this race on national television is making sure that never, ever happens. It did not escape notice that Dallas could iron the ass off those two.
And did you see the look of utter loathing that Raggedy-Andy Frat Boy gave the Anonymous Indian Laundry Lady when she said they didn't do a good enough job? That look is going to get him in big trouble some day....Anonymous Indian Laundry Lady is just doing her job and you have no right to give her the stink-eye like that. I like to think that those Laughing Locals were aimed right at him.
I'm sure that I heard Tina speaking Spanish to that taxi driver, which I know is the "International Language of I-Am-Somewhere-Foreign", but that may explain why they kept getting taxi drivers who didn't know where they were going. ("They must mean Barcelona! I will drive there immediately!") Sarah, who seems to be able to learn "fast" in every language necessary, was reduced to "vroom-vroom" in India
Man, Ken is a better man than I, because I'd have smacked Tina really hard during that Roadblock. For the love of God, SHUT. UP. WOMAN.
What has Phil been smoking? "It's hot .... and ... the wind's blowing ... and ... we're in India"? I'll cut him some slack, boy has probably got major jetlag. Even hosts suffer from Killer Fatigue.
Until next week!