Thursday, December 31, 2009

Things I Learned This Year

1. It will get better. Nothing stays the same, and no matter how difficult the situation you are dealing with is, it WILL get better eventually. Sometimes "better" isn't what you had in mind, but "better" can mean a lot of things.

2. No matter how many times I try canned salmon, exercising or wearing high heels, I will always hate them.

3. I don't give a rat's ass about Tiger Woods, Jon Gosselin or Brangelina.

4. Not doing things because you are afraid you will fail at them,or that something might go wrong, is a terrible way to live. This year I tried running, fly fishing and golf, and I'm SO glad I did. I changed the way I approached my job, with very satisfying results, and I accepted all invitations that came my way. It's been great.

5. A cat is never going to change his behaviour. He thinks you should change your expectations.

6. I LOVE going south in the winter. I resolve to make much more of an effort to make that happen in the future, because walking on a plane in cold, blustery weather and off a plane into a full-face blast of hot, humid air is about the best feeling in the entire world.

7. My friends and family are kind and wonderful and supportive and interesting and funny. Oh, my God, are they funny. My friends make me laugh so my stomach hurts, and my children can make me wheeze like an old man, and every gathering of my clan is a hoot, and the people I work with are a riot, I value them all immeasurably. (That isn't something new I learned this year, it's something I appreciated even more.)

8. There is a LOT to be said for patience, shutting up, quitting what doesn't make you happy, apologizing sincerely and being content with what you have.

9. There is no such thing as "too much sleep".

10. Saying something nice to every person you come across makes everybody's day better, including yours.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The world is full of unanswered questions:

1. Why does the down comforter migrate to the bottom of the bed inside the comforter cover? One would think maybe the whole shebang would travel slowly off the end of the bed, but no, just the contents does, leaving me with 12 inches of feeble, empty cotton cover to keep my upper half warm.

2. What is the cat doing when he wanders around the house, howling that deep, mournful belly MAOOOOOW? We're all still here, it's not like he's the last living cell in a dead body or anything. He only does it when he's by himself in a room, and when we remind him that we still exist, in the next room, he give a little chirp of surprise. I don't get it...can't he hear us?

3. Why, at a party, does everyone end up in the kitchen? Even in the biggest house, the kitchen is packed while the rest of the house is empty.

4. Why is it that even when I'm falling down tired, I can't make myself go to bed?

5. Why are there always random frozen peas rolling around the bottom of the freezer? Never corn or raspberries. Always peas.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On the Lam

The Mister's family lives in a small city about 40 miles from us, and we see them fairly frequently. We were there for the annual "Christmas Gastro-Intestinal Challenge and Gift Opening Free-for All" last week.

My sister-in-law has the shin-dig at her house every year, for which I am eternally grateful. Not only does her husband cook the turkey, he deals with it hijacking all the room in the fridge for three days beforehand, AND the whole carcass leftovers, too. And they seem to be able to put a magnificent dinner on the table without anyone bursting into tears or swearing a blue streak. We can't do that here.

The city where they live has a garbage disposal system where you pay for tags, and each container of garbage has to have a tag attached to be picked up. The idea is that people will reduce their production of garbage if they have to pay to have it hauled away. In actuality, it means that everyone pays for their garbage to go, but if you have enough money, you don't really care about it.

As Christmas, and specifically, Christmas dinner, generates a metric tonne of garbage per person, per day, my sister-in-law asked if we would mind taking some of their excess garbage home with us, mostly light, non-smelly stuff. No problem, says I, our city's garbage system has a four bag limit, so we could easily take another couple of bags because we didn't host Christmas dinner, and had plenty of room in our allotment.

So we took a few bags, one of which was a big, see-through bag of white packing styrofoam. We had to wait a few days before garbage day, and I noticed that the styrofoam bag escaped frequently from where it was stored in the breezeway, and I had to corrall it from the front lawn more than once.

Yesterday, we got a snow squall off Lake Huron, and it got really, really windy. And when I went to put out the garbage tonight, that bag of styrofoam was just.....gone. Like, gone from our house entirely. I looked in the backyard, the front yard and even up and down the street. No sign of it. Gone.
So, somewhere in our neighbourhood is a renegade bag of fugitive styrofoam. Maybe it went the 40 miles home to my sister-in-law's house.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Weather Outside Is Frightful...

It's snowing. We've had a blessed non-winter winter here, and it's been delightful not to have to deal with the white stuff. But here it is, the end of December, and we are finally getting snow. We are in the midst of a "snow squall", which really is a small, localized storm that comes in off Lake Huron and "plays red feck" (as my dad would say) with our city and nowhere else.

I thought we would never get any snow this year, because the Mister and I bought a brand new snow blower back in September. You see, we used to have some lovely, elderly neighbours who's son-in-law used to come and snow-blow their driveway for them, and as often as not, would come over and do ours too. But the lovely, elderly neighbours moved into a retirement home last summer, so somehow, I doubt that their son-in-law will be coming around any time soon to blow out our driveway. So we bought our own snowblower, which pretty much guaranteed we'd be snowless this year.

Thing 1 and I went to a movie this afternoon, and elected to walk home from the theatre, about a 20 minute walk. (We saw "New Moon ", which I hadn't seen, but Thing 1 had and was happy to see again. The fourteen-year-old girl in me loved it.) It wasn't snowing when we went into the movie, and it was daylight, so we had an interesting walk was dark by then, and blowing and swirling badly enough to make it tough to see where you were going, and curbs and sidewalks were obliterated, so one got a bit of a jolt when the terrain suddenly dropped 6 inches from one step to the next. We looked ridiculous staggering around out there, I'm sure.

Thing 2 had been dying to go snowboarding, which she was able to do this afternoon, too. It's been way too warm for the local ski hill to even make any snow lately, so she was thrilled with the natural stuff. She was annoyed that we would only pay for a two-hour lift ticket, but after falling for the first hour, and spraining her left wrist part way through the second hour, she was happy enough to call it a day.

The only one really disappointed with winter's sudden arrival is Toby. Man, is he pissed. Somehow, he blames me. Every time he scratches at the door to go out, I gamely open the door only to have him recoil at the blast of cold air, and then give me a deeply wounded look, as though I had cruelly hoodwinked him. Then he slinks into the kitchen and demands a treat.

We live in Canada, I suppose winter was bound to show up sooner or later. I could have used later.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Redux

And I've survived another Christmas. Every year at around the 23rd I wonder if I will make it without me bursting every single vein in my head, and somehow, someway, I always manage to. I've come to realize that I enjoy Christmas itself very much, I just don't enjoy the two months before Christmas so well.
But we've had three very nice days, full of family and fun and laughter and entertainment. And food. Man, was there food....I am very much in danger of having what Thing 2 calls a "food seizure", where one is entirely disabled because of eating too much. My mother-in-law considers fewer than four pies to be mean, and if your legs can still hold you after dinner, then you just weren't trying.

I love Christmas Eve, because it has the double-barrelled delight of the air of anticipation and festivity, coupled with the undeniable thrill of being on vacation. It is always very busy at the salon for the weeks leading up to Christmas, and after work on the 24th the staff usually goes out for a few drinks...I enjoy that feeling of being let off the hook more than I can describe. Also, there's nothing more I can do to prepare for Christmas at that point, I just have to let it happen. There's certain liberty in not being able to do any more.

Christmas morning is still a delight, even if Santa is a thing of the past. The girls are still thrilled to open presents, and Toby is unendingly entertained with the plethora of boxes to be explored.
We have Christmas day with my family and Boxing Day with the Mister's. (I tried to introduce the tradition of actual boxing on Boxing Day, and the Mister's nephews were all for it, but somehow, it never took off. ) It used to be that Christmas with two daughters meant a tsunami of tiny pink plastic things that engulfed the house, but that has gotten better as they've gotten older. Now they get clothes and candy, and in much smaller quantities than the Polly Pockets or Barbies of the past.

And now I'm home, and it's all over, and I'm ready to have my life get back to normal.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Shopping and Testosterone.

Christmas is in a few days, and judging by the parking lot at the mall, this has come as a MAJOR surprise to many, many people. It's the 25th of December, same as always, and yet it appears to have caught plenty unaware. Again. I can understand the grocery store being busy, there's some stuff you just can't get more than a couple of days before using. (Bean sprouts and raspberries? I'm looking at you.) But if you are buying a gift, you probably knew for the last 51 weeks that Christmas was coming.

I used to work in a record store, when I was in university. (The fact that it was a "record store" should give you some indication as to how long ago it was.) The store specialized in classical and jazz music, and it was a fabulous job.

We were open until 6:00 pm on Christmas Eve, and every year the most amazing phenomenon would happen: things would be fairly steady until about 1 or 2 pm, and then quiet down, but at 3:00 the place would completely fill up. With men. Desperate, serious, driven men, men who knew that they had left shopping for their wife's present WAY too late, and had to get something suitable in the next hour or face a year's worth of cold, quiet loathing. Again.

And we could sell those guys anything. They would buy whatever we told them was good. It seemed to me that every single one of those men somehow felt that the lateness of their purchase, and the guilt that ensued, could be most easily offset by throwing wads of cash at us...the more expensive the record, the better."See this Beethoven boxed set that sells for $300 that we've been trying to unload since March? She'd love it. In fact, you should get all of Mozart's operas, too."
What with it being Christmas and all, we did try to keep ourselves in check, and not take advantage of the sweaty, middle-aged guy waving his gold American Express card like a white flag. But on the other hand, most of them were begging for it: "Are you sure this is enough? Maybe I should get MORE!"

Occasionally, we would get a man who wanted to get a gift certificate for the woman in his life, and, since this was before computers, we would hand write the date on the top with a little note to ask the recipient to use it within the year. Almost every man asked if we could put the date a few days before, so that the recipient would not know that he bought it on Christmas Eve. Because if there's anything that says "I love you, Merry Christmas", it's a forged document designed to manipulate your life's partner into thinking you are a better person than you are.

At least these guys were out getting a present at all, even if it was at the 11th hour. I'm sure the 7-11 is pretty full after Midnight Mass with some poor slob who forgot to get something for his wife or girlfriend. A record, any record, is better than the Juicy Fruit and air fresheners that she's going to get.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Today's Rant

God, Christmas is time consuming.
It's like having a menial, soul-destroying part-time takes up all my free time and isn't particularly interesting or stimulating, but instead of resulting in more money in my pocket, it removes gobs of it instead.
I've had some horrible part-time jobs in my life, but this one is the worst because I get hired EVERY SINGLE YEAR, and I don't remember EVER applying for the position.
All I can look forward to is the downsizing that will come next week, when I will be laid off.

That is all.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Things I Learned Today

  • Toby thinks that if it is too cold to go out the back door, then maybe the front door will lead to Florida. Worth a shot, anyway.
  • My husband is the only person I know who can collide with a moving vehicle by WALKING into it.
  • Forget the people who shop at Wal-Mart, the Dollar Store is hosting the Weird-Looking-People Convention. Seriously, Dollarama was entirely populated by the aliens from "Men in Black" this afternoon.
  • If you leave a tube of crescent rolls out of the fridge long enough, they sponaneously, and independently, explode.
  • Cresent rolls make a lot of noise when they explode.
  • When the Christmas tree falls over when four people are decorating it, they spend a good few seconds just looking at it on the floor before anyone does anything about it.
  • Even if one is a professional hair colourer, it's not easy to colour one's own hair without making an unholy mess.
  • Making reggae or hip-hop versions of Christmas carols does not render them "cool" or "edgier", it makes them even more unbearable than usual. "The Little Drummer Boy" is horrible enough without "me and m' druuuuum".
  • Coffee makes everything better.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Deck the Malls.

I'm pretty sure that if I'm ever involved in an international incident, or charged with assault causing bodily harm, it will involve Christmas shopping. Or, more specifically, Christmas shoppers.

The girls and I went to the mall on Sunday...I know, I know, a terrible idea for someone as adverse to crowds and noise as I. But the girls don't drive and I do, so to the mall it was. Also, Thing 2 wanted some ideas as to what to get me for Christmas; I certainly had no intention of thwarting that particular plan.

The most egregious Christmas shopping transgressions:
  • Shouldn't the rules of the road apply when walking as well as driving? When you are operating a motor vehicle on a busy street, do you EVER stop in the middle of the road and just stay there? Or spin around and start driving in the complete opposite direction? Because people do that when they are walking in the mall all the time. It makes me want to bash right into them.
  • Multiple Choice Question: The top of the escalator is the worst possible place to A) take out your cell phone and start texting, B) have a chat with eight of your best friends, C) stop and carefully take in your surroundings and have a long, slow thought about where to go next. Answer: ALL OF THE ABOVE!
  • Retail store clerks are paid minimum wage, get one day off at Christmas and hate you. They are not about to perform a Christmas miracle and circumvent store policy and give their manager an opportunity to yell at them because they let you use an expired 10% off coupon. They just want you to go away. As do the rest of us waiting in line.
  • Get off your cell phone when dealing with a cashier. It's abhorrently rude to keep chatting to your friend about "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" when dealing with another human being.
  • See all those people patiently standing in an orderly fashion near the check out? It's called a "line" and you should join the end of it. They are not just abnormally motionless people with admirable serenity.
  • A stroller is not a weapon.

Maybe they should hand this out in a pamplet at the mall. I know I'd appreciate it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Amazing Race 15 Ep. 10

Well, at least the brothers didn't win.
Megan and Cheyne were a bit bland, but they got the job done, and they kept the brothers from winning, so I'm okay with that. AND they won it because they did a good job, not because of a taxi driver or traffic or dumb luck.

I knew as soon as the last task was something that required calm, rational thought, that the Bros and Ericka and Brian would be toast; Dan was sure to freak out about half way through, and Ericka's nerves would get the better of her, and that's exactly what happened.

Once again, Dan and Sam are weasles...."blame your taxi driver"??? WTF?? "It wasn't our fault"??? Did the taxi driver MAKE them come with him and screw over Brian and Ericka? If you are going to be a hard-playing, tough as nails jerk, then at least own it, don't pretend it wasn't you.

Thing 1 and I speculated that the Poker Chippies would have rocked that last task, except then we thougth of the two of them at the bungee thing at "Love", and decided they probably wouldn't have ever gotten to the final task. On the other hand, Flight Time and Big Easy would have got those damn flowers in one, and with style, too.

I finally figured out who Dan reminds me of: Ross, from "Friends". The constant whining and demanding and freaking out is very Geller.

I look forward to visting Monaco, Spain, sometime in the near future.

I also liked that Megan and Cheyne expected that dead Frank Sinatra would be greeting them. On the other hand, Wayne Newton doesn't actually look like he's entirely living.

I really liked the rappelling task; that would be so much fun to do! And I would have my eyes open the whole time. Good thing Mika didn't have to do that one; she'd still be up there.

I can't figure out why Ericka's family has a hard time accepting Brian....he seems like a great guy who loves her and didn't even come close to smacking her, even with the most deserved of provocations. Why isn't his family freaked out that he's married to a spazzy baby?
Thing 1 and I were all tense and stabby for the whole of that episode, could you imagine the two of us actually on the race??? One or both of us would burst into flames, I'm sure.

I'm not sure Megan and Cheyne really are a couple...their chemistry is zero. She said at the finish line ""He's a very good friend. I know I can count on him for the rest of my life." If I said that about the Mister, he'd give me a good long look and ask what was the matter.

Until next season!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Best Books of 2009

In no particular order, the best books I've read this year are:

Dissolution by C.J. Sansom Fiction. A perfect blend of historical fiction and murder mystery, this book kept me interested right to the very end. Sansom certainly does his research in this story about a hunchback lawyer investigating a murder in the middle of Henry VIII's dismantling of the monasteries. I devoured this one.

In A Dry Season by Peter Robinson Fiction. Switching back and forth between England during WWII and the present, this murder mystery was enthralling. I almost couldn't stop readin this.

Twenty Chickens for a Saddle by Robyn Scott Non-Fiction. A memoir about growing up in southern Africa. It reminded me of "Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight but with much more functional parents.

Got You Back by Jane Fallon Fiction Sometimes what you thought you wanted isn't actually what you wanted. Thinking girl's "chick lit", Fallon manages to make the unsympathetic character sympathetic, and the one you were rooting for the one you hate.

The Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff Fiction. A Jewish girl passes herself off as a Gentile to spy on a Nazi official in Poland during the war. Hard to put down, excellent historical fiction.

The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty Fiction. How would you cope if someone you loved did something awful? This book about an accident and the aftermath was enthralling and moving.

The Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove Fiction What if the Confederates got AK-47s from some time travelling South Africans with an agenda? What would happen if the South won the war, and Robert E. Lee had his own ideas about how things would work out? I found this hard to put down.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett I think this was my very favorite book this year. A story about the maids of Jackson, Mississippi and their employers, on the cusp of the civil rights movement, The Help was enthralling and moving and entirely fabulous. I was alternately dying to find out how it ended, and very sorry to see it finish. My book club loved it, too, and I found myself tellng all sorts of people to read it.

Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey Fiction. By the author of A Million Little Pieces, this story of Los Angeles was gritty and compelling and absolutley fascinating. It talked about gangs, and highways, and water and history and all the people who come to L.A. to start a new life.I found myself thinking about it when I wasn't reading it, and it has stayed with me long after I finished it. And excellent book.

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper Fiction. Family and grief and starting over. Tropper manages to make me laugh out loud while making me feel as though these characters are real and worth knowing.

Undress Me In the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman Non-fiction. By the author of Hypocrite In A Pouffy White Dress, this story of travelling and youth and finding yourself out of your depth made me laugh out loud.

A Good Indian Wife by Anne Cherian Fiction Modern Western values set against older, Eastern ideals. In a world where one out of three marriages ends in divorce, is an arranged marriage really such a bad idea? This story of expectations and wills was very gripping.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova Usually a story of Alzheimer's disease is told from the caretaker's point of view, but this one is seen through the victim's eyes. Alice's descent into confusion and forgetfullness was sad and compelling. A great book.

The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes One of my very favorite authors; I would read this woman's grocery list. Keyes books are entirely entertaining.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oh, My Darlin'

Nothing smells like Christmas to me quite like clementines. They show up in the grocery store in early November, right along side the first of the Christmas packaging and displays, so they are inextricably linked in my mind. Clementines are delicious, small, sweet little oranges that somehow manage to perfume a whole room when you start peeling one. I can’t eat just one at a time, I have to have at least two or three at a go.

They are easy to peel, and are supposed to be seedless. It’s so sharply disappointing when you come across a seed, mostly because you weren’t expecting one, but also because there is never only ONE seed. If you find one seed, you KNOW you will be spitting out about 30 more for the rest of the clementine.

They usually come in little wooden boxes, who knows why. It seems like an odd, primitive sort of packaging for this day and age; everything else comes in clamshell plastic or little net bags. The wooden boxes are flimsy little things with sharp edges and splinters, and the recycling guys toss them back on the lawn if you try to put them in the blue box. The only thing the wooden boxes are good for, in my experience, is for fashioning makeshift stables for free wheeling nativity scenes that need some grounding. Otherwise, they are quite useless.

But the clementines themselves are fabulous. Once, when the Mister and I were skiing in Colorado, we saw a display of clementines in the local grocery store that was so expensive, we nearly fainted with shock. Why, exactly, they went for double the price at home, we had no idea….was Morocco (where clementines come from) so much farther from Colorado than it was from southwestern Ontario? More likely, it had to do with discouraging people from buying flashy, foreign citrus fruit, instead of regular, unchallenging Florida oranges. But the Mister and I bought them anyway, dispite the dent in our holiday budget, because clementines are SO good, and also, you could fit two or three into the pockets of your ski jacket without tearing the lining.

I buy a box every week or so, and they usually don’t last until the next shopping day. I think they are the only fruit that is pretty much “acceptable” by my family for the entirety of their stay here…there are no issues with “spots” (bananas), “going soft” (almost any kind of berry) or "too much work" (a complaint frequently leveled at mangos). Clementines are eternally acceptable.
And they really do smell like Christmas. Really.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Amazing Race 15 Ep. 10

I hate that the Globetrotters are out and those two man-children are still in the race.
Honking. Assholes.
I think one of the things that bothers me about those two, particularly Dan, is that they don't own their behaviour; predicting that the Globetrotters would have backstabbed them, then doing exactly that, is being a tool. Can you imagine the tantrum if Big Easy had given him the first letter, then left? I can't imagine these guys behave any better in real life.
Besides, they are not even very good villans; Boston Rob would have told Big Easy he had all the wrong letters and then pretended to cry.

I feel for Big Easy, a combination of flying solo, Killer Fatigue. a late night and debilitating frustration stopped him cold. Had he had Flight Time giving him some encouragement, he might have pulled it out. Because really? how many combinations were there?? It was only 5 letters and one vowel....was it really that hard?? Besides, I'd have flown through that form, no way were they checking to see if you put down the right answers. But I do like that he didn't bitch about Dan or whine about the penalty, he (and Flight Time) just sucked it up.

I love Brian. I love him. He took that shot of absinthe without flinching, and didn't whine one little bit. NOT ONE BIT! DID YOU HEAR THAT, ERICA???

I felt very sorry for the poor guy who had to wait all night for Erica and Brian to deliver that beer. He seemed to be very much the worse for wear, like maybe he had gotten kicked out after the bar closed and slept on the sidewalk.

If there had been a drinking game where you had to take a shot whenever one of the brothers said "shut up!", I don't think I'd be able to type this even today.

Thing 1 and I would have done that cold room no problem. We're Canadian, that's an early summer's day at the beach for us.

I had to love Brian and Erica's expressions when they found out they were team number 3. That was awesome. I wish Megan and Cheyne were as enthusiastic.
But man, that Megan is one tough cookie. Tougher than Cheyne, I think.

I'll be happy with anyone but the brothers winning.

Until next week!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Little Things for Little Minds, Part 2

A few days ago, Thing 2's grade 7 class got a visit from the local police to talk to them about the evils of graffiti.
The police told them about the expenses incurred by the victims of graffiti, the eyesore it creates and the general no-goodniks who perpetuate it. However, for some reason, the officer who came to talk gave them examples of graffiti; hilarious examples, in fact. (One was a stop sign with "Don't" above and "Believing" below.) Rather than discouraging the little darlings, I think he just gave them ideas.
I'm not a proponent of graffiti, having been the recipient at the salon too many times to count. Spray painting other people's property with your name or profanities or lewd drawings seems to be about the worst waste of time and energy I can think of, and pitifully childishly attention-seeking, to boot.
But when I see a bit of creativity that makes me laugh out loud? Well, I kind of like that.
I saw this on the way home from dropping Thing 1 off at her high school, and it made my day:

The only problem is, I have this song stuck in my head now. (This is for my dad, who has NO idea what the hell this has to do with that graffiti: the relevant bit is at 1:55.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fire Away

I got shot today. The flu shot, that is.

Normally, the girls and I get a flu shot every year. The Mister never bothers, largely because he is a man and somehow thinks that positive thinking and testosterone will keep him immune. ("Why would I get a shot, I never get the flu", he says, to which I retort, "you don't get the flu because everyone else gets the flu shot. You are relying on other people's immunity to keep you from getting sick, and frankly, I can't trust other people to put the grocery carts back in the little shed thing correctly, but perhaps you have more faith in your fellow man than I".)

But H1N1 is a nasty virus, and even the Mister decided not to chance it this year. At this clinic, they were giving both the seasonal one and the H1N1, which pleased Thing 2 not at all. She thought it was monumentally unfair that she should have to endure TWO shots at once, like avoiding one virus was all that could be reasonably expected of her. But as the person who would have to do the laundry should she get a virus and puke all over her bed, I insisted.

She scowled and gave me the stink eye for the half hour we waited in line, and no amount of reassurance or sympathy from her sister or great-aunt we brought with us was going to alleviate her grim forbearance.

The Mister took Thing 1 with him to one table, while I took Thing 2, and she sat down with all the enthusiasm Toby displays at the vet's., except she did not meow loud enough to startle small children. I tried to distract her by asking what the worst thing she'd ever eaten was, and who she thought was the had the biggest feet of anyone she knew or whether or not she thought Toby knew what he looked like. And then I promised her a trip to Disney World if she got the shots. (The nurse was amused up to this point, but she looked absolutely astounded at that last one. Then I told her we had already booked the trip a month ago.)
And then it was all over.

Everyone has a two tender arms this evening, and I'm sure there will be a need for ice and Tylenol later. But there will be no flu for the Loudshoes this year, and for that I am grateful.
I won't tell her we will have to do it all again next year.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Amazing Race 15 Ep. 10

I officially hate those brothers. Man, did they get annoying this episode. It's like Dan only had settings for "Whine" and "Bitch" and "Douchebag" the entire night. And Sam wasn't much better.
I can forgive them for stealing the cab; it's not a terribly nice thing to do, but it is a legitimate move in the race. However, I find it really rather pathetic that they didn't take responsibility for it and own it. Not looking Brian and Erica in the eye is really kind of assy. I'll bet the Gaybros didn't expect it to be a non-elimination leg....wouldn't you have wanted to be fly on the wall when Brian and Erica walked in the doorat the EatSleepMingle House?
Also? the Universe takes a very dim view of Taxi Shenanigans, as we have seen from past seasons. Do not piss off the Taxi Fairies, they WILL bite you in your well-deserved bum.

What the hell does Dan WANT???? God, he never shuts up, does he? From "stop narrating everything" to "paddle faster/stop paddling!" he was working my last nerve.

That Detour looked brutal. Thing 1 and I have no upper-body strength whatsoever; we'd still be hanging off those things. But I'm glad for Mika's sake she wasn't up there...between the water and the heights, her head would have exploded for sure.

Since the teams left between midnight and 12:30, and they spent most of the night in the airport and then were on two planes, I'm figuring that Killer Fatigue had a LOT to do with the behaviour this episode. Nobody came off as particularly charming. Except Megan. She seemed to handle herself better than anyone this time around. I thought she was fairly smart to want to work with the Globetrotters; clearly, there were other teams behind them, so coming in last wasn't a huge possibility, and she was right when she said they were spurred on by getting revenge. Also, is there a U-Turn or a Yield this season? Because if I were the team that has won 5 First Place finished out of 10, I'd want to make sure nobody hated me.

Cheyne is an ass, by the way....did you see the way he snatched that pen and paper out of that woman's hand???

Favorite Line of the Night: Sam: "Do they speak Spanish there?", Dan (in a lecturing, big brother voice) "No, Prague is a country." What was that supposed to mean, anyway?
And Brian and Erica: Him: " Who stays composed under pressure?'... my BABY!" Erica: "I can???"

I was hoping Cheyne was going to try to haul down a piano from the top floor of that opera house. Seriously, who thinks a full-grown guitar is a minature mandoline? I had a friend who had a sweet, mentally-challenged dog that would fetch everything but the one thing you threw for him. You threw a stick, dog came back with a rock. Cheyne reminded me of that dog.

How much do I love that singer??? We must have replayed "HAHAHAHAHA! NNNNO!" about twelve times....never gets old! Erica must have been searching for a l-o-o-o-o-ong time for him to have stopped for lunch and to sit a spell. And just to take a quick detour to stop at the corner of "Geeky Stuff Mrs. Loudshoes Knows Avenue" and "Who Cares? Boulevard", that guy singing was NOT the character of Don Giovanni. The part of Don Giovanni is written for a baritone, and that guy was a tenor. (I used to work in a classical record store a long time ago, long enough for it to have been records and not CDs, and that is the sort of thing I knew back then and it hangs around clutterng up my brain now. No wonder I forget important stuff.)

I love the way Phil says "spa".

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Things I Forget All the Time

I just finished a very good book about a woman who is diagnosed with "early on-set Alzhiemer's", (Still Alice, I highly recommend it). Since reading it I find myself worried about every little failure in my memory, and then I remember that I've always forgotten stuff all the time...I keep telling my kids "my head is like a toilet; you can only put so much shit in it at once".
My memory is definitely selective; I can remember ridiculous things, like people's maiden names or where we've seen that actor before, but completely forget to pick up the drycleaning, or where I put the chicken after I came home from grocery shopping. (Hint: follow the smell in a couple of days.) When I regularly found myself looking after other people's children, I lived in fear of forgetting to pick them up from something. (Fortunately, the one time that DID happen, I managed to high-tail it right smart back to the school yard before they freaked out, but not before they noticed I was gone. It took a while before they trusted me again.)

Some things I forget with a tedious regularity are...

  • The Alphabet. When I put things in alphabetical order, I have to mentally run through it Every. Single. Time....."Q, R, S, T !"
  • The Reusable Shopping Bags. Sure, they seem like a good idea, (although, I still have to buy plastic kitchen bags, so exactly HOW are they helping the environment? Does the environment care whether or not I paid for the plastic I'm throwing out or if I got it free with my groceries?) but I forget to put them in the car at all, let alone bring them into the grocery store with me.
  • The Salon's Phone Number. I have worked at that salon for twenty-seven freaking years, and occasionally, my brain completely crashes, and I have to really think about the phone number that has been the exact same number since October of 1982.
  • Stuff in the Oven. I regularly put muffin tins or cookie sheets in the oven temporarily, instead of taking them downstairs to the cabinet where I usually keep them. I habitually forget that I have done so, and preheat the oven to bake something, only to find myself with 4 leppin' hot pans and no where to put them. I had to be forcibly stopped from putting anything plastic anywhere near the stove for the very same reason.
  • Returning Movies. I don't bother even renting movies anymore, because I will forget to return them, until Blockbuster threatens me with a horrendous "restocking" bill, and I probably didn't even get around to watching the movie.
  • Horizontal/Vertical. I have to think twice when pressed to use one term or another.... "Horizon=Horizontal".
  • Some Names. We have a couple of clients at the shop in the Sherry/Cheryl/Sharon vein, and they confound me every single time. I have to make sure I look at my day-sheet and repeat the name several times before I can trust myself to speak. It does not help that their last names are McLean/McLeod/McLaird, I couldn't even BEGIN to team those up.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Amazing Race 15 Ep. 9

Poor Matt and Gary, they really didn't have the mojo that day, did they? Sorry to see them go, I loved them. I hope they have fun decoy-racing the rest of the race. (The last couple of eliminated teams go along and do the race with the teams still in it, so that if anyone sees them out and about, they can't tell anyone who's in the finale. That sounds like all kinds of fun to me.)

I used to like the Gay Brothers, but now I'm tired of them. They seem to think that the Globetrotters should just let them win this. Entitled Whineycakes bugs my ass big time. And by the way, snotting about how the Globetrotters are following you is bullshit...they are going to the same place as you, as is everyone else. That's on "following", that's "racing", do you see how that works? Besides, I can't figure out why the Bros are so fixated on the Globetrotters to win the race, when it appears to me that Megan and Cheyne are by far the stiffer competition.

I sure hope we had the sense to pick Thing 1 to do that Roadblock, because she knew right away to hold the parchment over the candle to get the clue. I'd have been coloring away like a fool.

I can't stand it one more minute: a "candelabrum" is consists of one candlestick, a "candelabra" is plural. And it is NOT a "candle-a-bra", Matt.

I want a Saunabuss! That would kick ass here in Canada...I'm serious, we could drive from Windsor to Quebec City!
Did Gary shut up at all during that event? Because the editing seemed to make him ramble like an idiot for the entire time, and he was the only one talking. (Matt was VERY much "eyes to the front" while sitting next to that Hot Estonian Girl.) Thing 1 speculated that perhaps it was like an elevator, where you are supposed to pretend that no one else is there. I want to know the entire "Minnesota Sauna Song" for future reference.

I absolutely love when Phil tell the winning team they have won some random, unexpected prize, like a sauna, and the team is all "Yay! We WON! What, wait a minute....we won what??? Not a trip? What the hell are we going to do with that?" Apparently Cheyne and Megan live in
southern California, which is not exactly sauna territory, and what if they live in an apartment? I loved the look on her face when she realized they won a sauna.

Okay, what was with the blurring? The blurring of the Gay Brother's junk? What, what were we not supposed to see??? I found the blurring way more distracting than any peeking or floppage that might have occured. Why didn't they weare their "Baywatch" trunks?

I liked the bog-shoes. I maybe could use a pair of those myself.

That macho-man foot race at the end was for second and third places, not first. They all knew that Megan and Cheyne had left way before them, so it was just a pissing contest for all four of them. God. More proof, in my opinion, that testosterone should be a controlled substance.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What Goes Around....

Yesterday morning it was way busy at Starbucks, for some reason the place was packed, the line up was almost out the door and all the tables were full. I stopped in for my morning coffee, and expected that it might take a while, given the crowd. The three, female university students a couple of people ahead of me took afront to this, loudly complaining about the length of time it was taking for the line to move.

When they got up to the counter, none of them bothered to take the cell phones out of their ears to rattle off their orders, (one of my very pettest of peeves) and because of the ambient noise, the music and the cashiers inability to distinguish which remarks were addressed to her and which to the phones or the companions, she had a little trouble getting their orders right. By the time the last one reeled off her "ventinowhipdoublefoamextrahotsoyskinnyvanillalatte", the cashier was a bit flummoxed. She repeated what she thought she heard, and the girl gave a big sigh, rolled her eyes, having been inconvenienced beyond all reason, and babbled her order again. The poor cashier politely said that she couldn't hear her very well, and one of the other ones snotted "what is wrong with you??", and then repeated the order like she was talking to a two-year old and flounced off.

The cashier, to her credit, gave the order to the barista, without adding "and a whole lot of spit!", and went on to the next customer.
While the barista made the drinks, the three young women continued to complain and bitch, "we are NEVER coming to this Starbucks ever again", in that sing-songy way that is fashionable among some young women nowadays. (Which begs the question, why do so many young women and gay men affect the same sort of "accent"? What is with that?)

The barista gave them their drinks and cheerily wished them a good day, and they swarmed the cream and sugar station to get their lids, wherein the one who made such a fuss promptly knocked over her ventinowhipdoublefoamextrahotsoyskinnyvanillalatte all over the floor.

Well played, Universe, well played.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Get Me To the Church

I have two "Wendy" friends, Big Liver Girl and the Reverend Wendy. The Reverend Wendy really is an ordained Anglican minister, and is about as much fun as I think the Anglican church will allow. (Big Liver Girl Wendy is a licenced physiotherapist, so I pretty much have my physical and spiritual needs covered when it comes to my Wendys.) I'm Catholic, and Big Liver Girl is United, so and Anglican service was all new to us.

Big Liver Girl decided that it was time we went to see the Reverend Wendy preach, so we roused ourselves out of the house last Sunday, and drove up the road a bit to see her. She had no idea we were coming, so you should have seen her eyes sproing out of her head when she found us sitting in her church. (I should be so lucky as to get that sort of welcome everywhere.)

The Reverend Wendy's church is a lovely little jewel of a church; a hundred-and something- year-old stone and pine affair in the country, that smells exactly like a church should. It is smallish, with lots of stained glass windows, and it looks pretty much like I expect it looked when it was built.

It was the Rememberance Day ceremony, so we sang "God Save the Queen" and "Oh, Canada", and you could tell people really meant it. Actually, all the hymns were is the only place I'm allowed to sing with the gusto I enjoy, and it pleases me mightily when I have good material.

It has come to my attention in the past that Big Liver Girl and I should NEVER, EVER find ourselves in situations where A) solemnity is important, and B) we should be quiet. We are masters of neither. I don't think we made it past the first reading before she whispered something in my ear that had me weeping with laughter and had the pew rattling off the floor. Seriously, she's a menace.

There was a teenage couple ahead of us that had us utterly enthralled. They must have started dating the night before, because he couldn't keep his hands off her, and she was very happy to let him. Big Liver Girl wondered aloud if they thought, perhaps, they were at a drive-in, rather than church on a Sunday morning. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't be allowed at a Catholic, I remember when it was a big deal to wear jeans to mass, let alone snuggle with your sweetie. And, also? they were drinking coffee. During the service. Those Anglicans are wild, I tell you.

After the ceremony, we went up to the hall, where they had lunch set out! It was fabulous! The Wendys and I sat and talked for while drinking coffee and eating some pretty wonderful carrot cake with cream cheese icing. It was marvelous.

I can't remember the last time I had that much fun at church. Sorry, Irish-Catholic ancestors.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Amazing Race 15 Ep. 8

Thank heavens for Non-Elimination Legs! I was all tense and stabby when I thought Pinky and the Brain were out, but figured they might live to race another day when they did not get the Mercy Philimination right there in that Swedish hayfield. I can't imagine the producers letting them keep at it for hours on end, just to fulfill the "Curse of the Swedish Hell Farm". Man, that Gary is one tough nut. (I kept thinking "why did Matt make his old, wizened father do that task?" and then I found out that Gary is the same age as me.)

Somewhere in Sweden is a sighing farmer with a very messy hay field. Again.

I'm very glad I did not have to see Tiffany do that task. But I think Maria might have had to do it; there has been a rule in the past that each team member can only do so many Roadblocks, and I think Tiffany had done as many as she was allowed. Maria would have putzed around, doing one haybale for a few hours, and then laid down and cried.

Given the choice between Vikings and blowing things up, blowing things up wins hands down. Did you see how excited all the men were at the thought of blowing things up? I'm pretty sure even the all female teams would have opted for the dynamite task, too. (Who wouldn't?) As Thing 1 noted, "all boys care about is exploding stuff...they could spend all day there."

If I had been the Sam out there sweating my ass off, unrolling bale after bale of hay, I would have cheerfullymarched back to the road and stuffed hay in every one of my brother's orifices until he SHUT THE HELL UP!!

How much do I love Brian? He puts up with his harpy of a beauty-queen wife, his mother-in-law hates him AND he manages to shut Dan up with one single, polite, succinct remark: "This is a lot harder than it looks.". Love him.

I think this is the first time I've liked all of the last few teams, and would be happy to see any of them win. But I could do without the brothers.

The funniest part of the night for me was when Pinky and his dad were trying to say the Swedish street names: "turn on Farkenforgen", "right on Finkengarden?", "No, left on Blankenfarken", "what? turn on Hargenblasten?" It reminded me so much of the Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show.

Man, Phil just looked....disgusted when Dan started crying at the Amazing Bathmat. It looked to me like Phil wanted to say "come on, ya big baby, get a grip", and then slap him across the face..."And that? is from your brother."

I read on the internet that Mika and Canaan split up somewhere between the Amazing Bathmat and the end of filming.

Next week: Matt clearly never saw "Beauty and the Beast".

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fish Tales

Our fish finally died.

We've had a I say 'finally' because that thing was defying the laws of biology and nature in an increasingly alarming way. That fish has been hanging on by a thread for months now, swimming upside-down, languishing at the bottom of the bowl for hours on end, floating on the surface of the water and generally doing his level best to give us the idea that he was no longer. Then, when one of us would give the glass a rap to see if he was, in fact, dead, he's rouse himself out of his stupor and swim around as usual for a day or so and then repeat the performance. It was getting tiresome.
We have not had a great record when it comes to keeping fish. The Loudshoes household seems to be a Kryptonite for domesticated fish. This last one managed to survive us for at least a year (nobody is quite sure who bought him, or when), but we did go through a spell there with goldfish where they were practically disposable....I think we went through a couple a week.
When the first one, Goldie, died, the girls were quite small; we didn't even have Toby yet. Goldie's death was traumatic and agonizing....Thing 1 and Thing 2 cried as though their little hearts would break. By the time Sausage, the third one died, they hardly blinked. I got a passing "fish is dead" as one of them headed out to school one day. After that, they didn't even bother naming them, it was too much trouble to remember what it was called; they all ended up being called "the fish".
We eventually wised up and stopped getting 35 cent goldfish, and bought a Siamese Fighting Fish, or "Beta", which was not only prettier, but was also hardier. They tend to thrive on neglect (always abundant around here) and had the added bonus of entertaining us by puffing up and putting on a fierce show of aggression when placed in front of a mirror. (The goldfish were woefully unimpressive after that, how could they compete with the Liberace of the fish world?) The Betas tend to last a bit longer, too. No one could remember who bought this one, or when.
All I know is that it wasn't me, because the last thing I would pay good money for was one more thing I had to look after.
Anyway, it's finally gone, and I think it took us a couple of days to even notice, largely because he had been playing at dying for so long, none of us took him seriously. He probably died just to show us up.
I hope to God nobody around here takes it into their fool head to get another fish. Or else I will start languishing at the bottom of my bowl, and playing dead. I wonder if anyone will notice.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Self-Tanner Blues

Our assistant at work, Summer, is an all around nice girl that works hard and makes me laugh very much. She is 22, and I am 47, and I'm pretty sure she didn't think she would ever be friends with someone the same age as her mother.

Summer was going to a wedding last Saturday after work, and she brought all her stuff with her in the morning to get ready at the salon. Because she wasn't planning on wearing pantyhose, she put some self-tanner on her legs for a few days beforehand.
For those of you who are either hazy on the ins and outs of self-tanner, indeed, self-tanner at all, it is the fake tanning lotion you put on your pasty, fish-belly white skin to make it look as though you have been lolling in the sunshine.for days on end. Applying it is a bit tricky, since you can't always reach where you want to put it on, and it takes a few hours to "develop", so the thoroughness of your job isn't immediately apparent. Also, you can't let yourself touch anything until it dries. And it's kind of smelly. Why do we use that stuff again?

When Summer put her dress on and went to leave, she looked down to find that the tanner had taken on her knees better than the rest of her legs, which meant that her gams looked bitchin', but her knees looked grubby and foul. After a lot of swearing and exclaiming, she took a washcloth to the offending knees and gave them a good scrub.
But then when she went to leave, she looked down, and she'd scrubbed too hard! Her knees were now, and I quote, "two shiny, white glowing knobs in the middle of my legs!". I know it was Halloween and all, but that's not really the sort of look you want to sport at a wedding.

A quick application of bronzer (the powder stuff you put on your face to make it look like you've been lolling in the sun) and things were better.

She said she made sure she held her purse in front of her, and crossed her legs a lot until they got into the dim light of the reception hall.
Well played, Assistant, well played.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Amazing Race 15 Ep. 7

Oh, man, I wanted to smack Tiffany and Maria (mostly Maria) with that mallet myself. Really? It's that difficult to ring the bell? And you, Maria, did it exactly the same way, for what? 35 tries, and made no effort whatsoever to do anything different? I've seen 10 year olds go at "Whack a Mole" with more effect.

Apparently, they took 3 hours to do the Detours, and eventually they had to call in some medical personelle for Tiffany because she was shivering uncontrollably. (That's why she had on a hoodie at the end.) That did look hellishly cold for the beginning of August.

Maria was going to have to do all the rest of the Roadblocks for her team (she had only done the wasabi one) and so methinks they wouldn't have lasted too much farther anyway. When she said at the end "we can only do so much", Thing 1 and I shouted at our tv, "No, TIFFANY can only do so much!!"

I don't care what I had to eat, I wouldn't have gotten in that cold river for anything. Let alone volunteer to do it a second time. I am a cold water wimp, and would do just about anything to avoid getting in it. But I'd still man up if I had to do it. What if Canaan and Mika had made it this far? Can you see her getting in that river? Or eating that herring?

I love those Globetrotters, I just love them. They seem to manage to to everything with a smile on their faces.

Favorite Lines of the Night:"I don't wanna talk about it... but did you see me dance?!"
"These kids aren't used to luxury cars"
"I've already cried. You just didn't see that."
"We're not that kind of gay guys."
"Maybe now is when I tell Matt he's adopted."
I also have to give big props to the Amazing Editors: Flight Time said "we know Brian's name, because Erica keeps yelling "Briaaan, Briaaaan!", and then they immediately cut to Erica screeching "BRIAAAAAAN!"
I feel sort of badly for Erica, I think Killer Fatigue is getting the best of her. Man, that Brian is one easy-going guy. She's very lucky to be running this race with him and not me. He handles her very well, though, and keeps her going. She whines a LOT, but she doesn't quit. If I had had to sit on that bench for 30 minutes, my head would have burst into flames.
At the Pitstart, when Cheyne was wearing that yellow scarf, he reminded me of someone, and for the life of me, I couldn't remember who. Then I remembered: Fred from Scooby-Doo.

Next week: Hay bales!! (For those of you who came late to the party, back in a previous season, one team spent EIGHT hours pushing over hay bales, looking for a clue. I hope that team is the greeter at the next pitstop.)
And blowing up things!!

Until next week!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

No, No, November

Bliss. We turned back the clocks last night and that extra hour this morning was heavenly. We really should do that more than once a year, it's so very enjoyable.
Apart from the extra hour to sleep, I also enjoy the slight discombobulation I experience all day long, when it feels like it is later than it actually is; it's like being pleasantly off-kilter for 24 hours or so.

It was Halloween last night, and Thing 1 decided she was too old to go trick or treating, so she stayed in and handed out candy. Thing 2 was still game, (and claims she will be "until I'm graduating university".) and I went out with a posse of her friends around the neighbourhood. I've been blessed with good weather all the years my children have been old enough to go out, and I always knew that sooner or later, my luck would turn. Last night was it; man, was it cold. It didn't help that it was hella windy, too. My luck DID hold, though, in that it did not rain. Can you imagine trick-or-treating in the rain? Miserable beyond belief, would be my guess. Apart from the fact that costumes and rain don't mix, (in fact, if they don't actually dissolve in the rain, they get so bedraggled and ratty that you can't even recognize who they started out to be.), trudging around in the cold rain, begging for candy, is positively Dickensian.

Thing 2 went out as a "Glow Stick Girl" this year, which meant that her costume consisted of her wearing all black, and having about 60 glow sticks taped to her body. The Mister was in charge of her outfit, and they taped her up right before we left, so that the glow sticks wouldn't loose their mojo too early. (We shouldnt' have worried; those things were still glowing when I threw out the garbage after dinner tonight.) She looked pretty cool, out in the dark, and it was really easy to pick her out of the crowd.

We had a very lazy pajama day today here, which was fine by me. In fact, I spend an enormous amount of my life scheming of ways be able to avoid putting on real clothes and just hang out at home in my pajamas. I'm so delighted when it works out to my advantage.

And so starts November...which comes Christmas.

Friday, October 30, 2009

To Your Health

I'm exhausted, and I'm not even sick.
When did it get to be so much work to be healthy?

I run because exercise is supposed to be enormously beneficial for me; it's good for my heart, it prevents osteoporosis and seems to help stave off breast cancer. I keep my weight under control for my blood pressure and so I don't become diabetic. I eat lots of dark leafy greens and stay away from burgers made with cheese and bacon served on a Krispy Kreme. (For so many reasons.) I drink green tea. I get plenty of sleep. I live a relatively stress-free life. I quit smoking years ago. Really, you'd think I would live to be a hundred and eleventy-two years of age. I never seems to be enough, though; there's always another danger lurking around the corner, and it's going to play havoc with your health.

I really can't imagine any of my ancestors in rural Ireland a hundred years ago worrying about staying fit, or avoiding dairy products or flushing their bodies of toxins. I'm sure they would be bewildered beyond belief at the thought of going ot a gym or counting carbs.
They were probably way more concerned with getting enough to eat and not dying from infection or childbirth or drowning in the rain and mud.

So, now it is the flu I have to think about. I know flus can be dangerous, they can kill an enormous number of people in short order. Also? I hate being sick. It's my number one thing I hate doing in the whole world. (The only thing that getting sick makes acceptable is the wallowing in bed for a day and eating copious amounts of chocolate with impunity.)

I do plan on getting a flu shot, two of them in fact, one for the regular flu and one for the H1N1. But the lines will be long and the wait will be excruciating and I will whine incessantly. (It baffles me that so many people are against getting a flu shot. There's been thousands of years of human existence that would have given anything to avoid illness, and here we have it, and most of us couldn't be bothered. I'm not sure when our society got to the point where they were more afraid of a shot than a particularly deadly strain of flu. )

But get it I will, even if it does mean more work for me. You know what would really make the flu shot appealling??? If I could get one while lolling in bed, eating chocolate!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lotsa Busy

I used to work in a restaurant when I was a teenager, and there was a guy who washed the dishes named Stavro who was straight off the boat from Greece. Stavro was all kinds of fun, and was learning English as quickly as he could. (We were unfailingly helpful in teaching him all sorts of swear words.) In the middle of the Saturday night mayhem, when we were booked to the rafters and ran out of forks, Stavro would gleefully throw his hands in the air and exclaim "LOTSA BUSY, LOTSA BUSY!!" to anyone in the kitchen.
It's been "lotsa busy" here this past week.

Among other things I did last week, was attend an "Amazing Race" type event here in town. My friend Anne was invited me along, knowing I would be game for any and all Amazing Race themed events anytime, anywhere. (Thing 1 and I would sign up for the real Amazing Race in a heartbeat if they would accept Canadians. Which they DO NOT. We've got it all planned out, Thing 1 will do all the bungee jumping and I will eat all the gross stuff.)

We had a riot, just as expected.

Unlike the regular Amazing Race, there was no million dollars at the end for the winner. In fact, I'm not sure the winner got anything at all, except for the bragging rights. And further fact, WE paid THEM to participate. (The proceeds went to a local charity, I don't think the organizers just absconded with the money.)

There were about 116 people participating, in teams of 4 to 12, and it was quite a sight around the city, let me tell you. All the teams were in costumes, of a sort, doing ridiculous things in public and not at all shy about it. Here is our team, having interrupted a street hockey game to get a picture of us playing with the pumpkin we had to haul around all night:
That's me in the middle with the sunflower hat, the orange feather boa and the rainbow argyle socks on. (Our team was the "Tacky Tootsies", and I have no trouble doing tacky. )
At one point we met some very confused German exchange students, who stopped us to ask us what the hell was going on and why were there so many strangely dressed adults who should know better running around on the streets demanding 1972 pennies and hay. (For the scavenger hunt.) I expect that was an interesting phone call back to Berlin that evening....."and zey run around wearing strange clothes for ze poor people!"
On Sunday, I highlighted Thing 1's hair, which takes all day. I wanted to use her and Thing 2 for part of a photo shoot we were doing for the shop on Monday, so I needed to colour her hair for the photos. Photo shoots sound glamorous and exciting, but they are hard work. Luckily, when your children are your models, and you are only taking pictures of their hair, it's a lot easier. (I remember doing the hair and makeup for a magazine layout that involved 8 children under 10 years of age. They all sat around like wax figures until one of the mothers suggested we give them some Coca Cola, and a few minutes later we had to scrape them all off the ceiling. That was a challenging shoot.)
I went to a cocktail party, did a few haircuts in my kitchen, got the groceries and cleaned the house, went to a book club meeting and managed to have a beer with Big Liver Girl.
A busy week, but a good one.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Amazing Race 15 Ep. 6

Oh, thank goodness that torture is finally over...I don't think I could stand one more minute of Mika whining and pouting and panicking over whatever she had to do next. Or Canaan trying to force her.
Canaan, I think trying to throw your hysterical girlfriend down a waterslide makes you a piece of crap, actually.
The Globetrotters were doing their best to win that race, and if a bit of trash talking does the trick, then so be it. Besides, if I had KNOWN I was in last place all day, and come up to the top of that water slide to find a grown woman wearing WATER WINGS for God's sake, and splashing around in the water, then I would have been hard pressed NOT to give her the gears.
(By the way, I read that Mika and Canaan were up there for 45 minutes before the Globetrotters showed up. You can't tell me that she would have gone, trash talk or no trash talk.) Man, did you see Flight Time go when she got out of the way? I doubt he even touched the slide.

I lost all sympathy for her with the "I hate my life" comment. Really? You've got a all-expense paid trip around the world, WITH a chance to win a million dollars at the end of it, and you hate your life??? I'm sure there are plenty of women in Afghanistan and Darfur who share your pain.

I think everyone was suffering from Terminal Frustration Due To Killer Fatigue and Stupefying Heatstroke. Even Phil looked a bit weary on that Amazing Bathmat, although I liked his little hat.

One thing I thought was interesting in this episode was how each pair dealt with their partner's frustration. Megan complained and started to freak out, but Cheynne talked her down really quickly and effectively and she was able to keep her focus. When Erica didn't want to do the water slide, Brian calmly and persuasively convinced her she could, and she did, and when Pinky almost fainted from the heat, his dad told him to take a break and continued on without a fuss. Makes me think that being able to deal with your partner at their worst is the most valuable skill you can bring to the race.

Both Thing 1 and I looked at each other in absolute horror when faced with the possibility of doing math. Neither one of us has the slightest ability to do even the simplest math question, even with a calculator and Einstein whispering in our ears. Trying to do that one would leave both of us in a steaming puddle on the floor.

Favorite Lines of the Night: "I'm gonna keep saying the word 'hot', 'cause it's hot".
"Hookah? We used to call it something different when I was a kid".
"Does a Muslim clock work differently than a regular clock?"
"You win the award for the biggest person to fit in a boat meant for a 5 year old!"

I would be happy if the Globetrotters did the rest of the race in only those bathing suits.

Is Maria ever going to do a Roadblock? Because Tiffany must be almost done her share, and that means that Maria might actually have to do something physical on this race.

Until next week!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Things That Piss Me Off.

It's been a long week, and Mrs. Loudshoes is kind of cranky today. I've been hellishly busy, it's rainy and cold out and I know Christmas is looming. So, don't say I didn't warn you: This post is going to be whiny and negative and stabby.

Things That Piss Me Off: The October Edition.
  1. Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I KNOW about breast cancer, for God's sake!! The pink here, the pink there! Stop already!! Does anyone anywhere on the planet NOT know about breast cancer? (And this is coming from someone who's mother has survived breast cancer.) And what, exactly, is all this attention grabbing supposed to do??? It scares the snot out of people, I know that, and it's NOT the leading cause of death among women, (heart disease is), so WHY with the pink everything??? God! There are other kinds of cancer, too, how come they don't get this sort of over the top flogging??
  2. People who talk in the movie theatre during the movie. You're NOT AT HOME you know. The rest of us can hear you. I don't care what you think of that actress's personal life, or the wardrobe or the inaccuracies of the dialogue. And please, for the love of all that is holy, do not narrate the movie for me...I can see that she's going into that door the same as you, I'm in the same room. And by God, if you spoil the movie for me by telling me what is about to happen, I will not be responsible for my actions.
  3. Stopping in front of the grocery store or the mall, putting on the four-way flashers and then "just running in for a few things" There's a whole freaking parking lot RIGHT THERE beside you...why can't you use that instead of making everyone else drive around you, you selfish twit???
  4. When a stranger tell me to smile. Oh, Lord, this one makes me lose my shit altogether. Seriously my face? is my business. You do not get a vote. Why do I have to put on a performance for you?? Shut. It.
  5. People who take two steps into a store or public venue and then stop dead to take a good look around. We went to a hockey game last week and about 5 people did this right in front of me. Other people want to keep going, you? can move over out of the way to figure out where to go, see how that works? It's all I can do not to slam into them from behind really hard. This is particularly egregious when escalators are involved becausethey keep moving, regardless of how much room is available where they empty out.
  6. The company I use for my cell phone has THE WORST customer service imaginable. Their web site is impossible (I end up going around and around in circles, clicking on things that take me right back to the page I was on, and hiding the one feature I want wa-a-a-ay down in the least obvious place ever) their phone "help" is entirely the opposite, and the storefront operation makes you wait in line for 20 minutes or so and the tells you to call the 1-800 number or go on the internet.
  7. The sound of motorcycles revving. I hate this so much. It is the most obnoxious noise in the universe.

There. I feel better already.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Amazing Race 15 Ep. 5

As awful and heartbreaking as last week's elimination of Justin and Zev was, this week's elimination of Lance and Keri was immensely satisfying. Thank you, Universe, for putting things back to rights.

Those two were out of it from the minute they stepped off that plane in Dubai. Why, exactly, did they head in one direction while everyone else went in the other? Then they seemed to tour the entire United Arab Emirates because of their inability to read a map or make decisions or listen to each other even kind of. They must have had a huge pile of Bad Decision Pancakes for breakfast, or something.

At least Lance went out with more class than I would have thought....he didn't whine or blame her or anything. But sweet baby Jesus, he's a tool. Did he not think that maybe some hapless local Arab might want to USE that water urn at some point? Anonymous Desert Dwelling Arab isn't going anywhere, he might need that. I loved the whole "can I kick the snowman?" "do you want your clue or not" exchange. Even that lady could see he was a tool, and she only spent 10 minutes with him.

I thought Phil was being very cautious at the Amazing Bathmat with Lance and Keri..." tell have...... been eliminated". Like he was afraid Lance might tackle him or something.
Any idea why "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" was playing when the 'Trotters came up to the mat?

Camels are always good. I liked their little crocheted tea cozy muzzles.

Funniest lines of the night: "I'm from New Orleans - I'm used to running from water, not looking for it" and "I have an excuse, I'm an Asian female driver"
And when Keri said she loved Lance "with all (her) haaaaahhhht", I was reminded very much of the Tinman from the Wizard of Oz.
Also: "I don't think there's a recession here."

That sledding looked like fun. Although, I can tell you from bitter, first hand experience, that scooting down a snow covered hill wearing inadequate clothing? Not so much fun. (Snow can be surprisingly, um, abrasive.) Maybe its more fun when you've come in from the surface of the sun. I'd never do a "needle in the haystack" challenge; way too dependant on luck, but I'd have sled down the hill and then done the snowman thing without hesitation.

How many teams asked the ticket agent to go to "the Persian Gulf"? That's sort of like asking for a ticket to Europe. Geography teachers all over the world and lying down and weeping this morning.

How come this Fast Forward only involves ONE person driving around a track really fast, when Joyce and Uchenna BOTH had to shave their heads? (Well, it was a much bigger deal for Joyce than Uchenna, but girl had to freaking shave her head!!) If I was Joyce, I'd still be mad about that. And why was Megan tearing up at the race track? I don't get it...the only way I'd be crying was because I was madder than hell that my partner got to drive that car at 120 miles an hour instead of me.

Why did Mika apply to be on this thing if she's scared of daylight and walking and her own spit? Thing 1 and I are both aware that if we ever get on this show, we have to be prepared to fight lions, jump to our deaths, be buried alive and run from tornadoes. And drive a stick shift.
Mika certainly does not seem to be having any fun.

Next week: water wings!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Buck Up

I've been fighting off a cold for the past few days, and I feel as though it's now a war of attrition, and it's just a matter of time until I give up and let it colonize me.

On Thursday, I started feeling a sort of raw achiness in my chest, and at the first opportunity, I ran out and got some Cold FX, which is supposed to head off the cold at the pass, but I think it merely delayed the virus, and possibly added a few prisoners of war to it's arsenal.

I took the opportunity to spend the rest of the weekend lounging and resting, and drinking so many cups of tea that I sloshed when I walked. I lounged and rested to the point that my kids were going to buy me some moss for my north side for my next birthday. If lounging and resting had been an Olympic sport, I'd be on the Wheeties box. I barely moved for two days, except to get dressed so that I could go over to someone else's house for dinner. I was beginning to feel a bit ashamed of myself.

But still the cold has lingered on, not really blossoming into anything significant, but hovering around my chest and throat and making me cough and spew and be very unattractive.

So, today, I braced myself, and brought out the big guns...I took some Buckley's Cough Syrup. I'm not sure, but I think Buckley's is a purely Canadian product, so there may be some of you who have never heard of it, but believe me, it's famous in this country; mostly because of it's insanely vile taste. It tastes so incredibly bad that there should be songs and fables written about it, but this is Canada, so, not so much.

Buckleys tastes like pine needles marinated in tar and then boiled in kerosene. It is Sadaam Husseins' aftershave. It is like kissing Satan. It is what pure evil tastes like.
The stuff proudly proclaims on the label that it is "sucrose-free and alchohol-free". Good God, why? If ever a substance would be improved by copious amounts of sugar and alchohol, then believe me, this is it. It is truly loathesome.
But, and here's the kicker, it seems to work. One dose of this stuff, and your cough is soothed and your throat feels better and you can forget you are sick for a little while. (That is, when you have picked yourself up off the floor from the little fainting spell you had when you swallowed the stuff. )

I'm hoping that if I take enough Buckley's, I will black out long enough to be rid of my cold. But that amount of Buckleys would definitely not be worth it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Amazing Race 15 Ep. 4

My heart is breaking into little tiny pieces. I feel so badly for Zev and Justin; what a sad way to go. I loved that team. (Apparently his passport was found and turned in to the American embassy that day, so they are not still stuck in Cambodia.)

I have to say though, that I'm getting a little tired of the producers shoving the "people with disabilities can do anything" mantra in my face, because, seriously, I GET IT. (Just for the record, I never really doubted that different people can do anything they ever wanted to, so I'd be very pleased if they got laid up off of my back about that and just got on with it. I draw the line at the blind pilot and the surgeon with Parkinson's, however.)

Is Jackie Kennedy so far back in the public conciousness that nobody recognised her but the Dad? Or that someone thought she was the Queen??? Or Cambodian??? Jeesh.

As much as I find Lance tiresome and irritating, I have to at least admire that he spends no time trying to cover up his assholery. He's right up front with that. I'm hoping he tries to drop-kick the wrong person and ends up in some Third World jail cell.
I wish he had had to put on the monkey tail and dance.

If I had been in that Russian market (and what that market had to do with that particular ethnic group I have no idea) I'd have spent way too much time shopping and not enough time looking for a tiny little Cambodian woman to abduct. I love scarves.
I had to laugh at the one Globetrotter when he found his tiny, little Cambodian woman..."you tried to run away from me...that's cold, man."

What are the chances of a family of four on a motorcycle out for the day deciding to suddenly realize that their noggins need protection and just happen to run into two loud, pushy Americans desperate to sell them some helmets?

Who knew so many people had balance issues? Or, the same as Zev, the body of an 80 year old man? My knees would have given out WAY before I'd have fallen off that log. I think I'd have made Thing 1 do it.

I laughed out loud at "Sean Penn Cambodia!"

Until next week!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Giving Thanks

It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada this weekend. We have our Thanksgiving about 6 weeks before the Americans, and our is on a Monday rather than a Thursday. Canadians don't have Pilgrims, or a big shopping event the day after, either. In typical Canadian fashion, we just eat dinner and that's it.
Traditionally, Thanksgiving is supposed to be a sort of "end of the harvest" event, mostly started by the pioneers to celebrate the fact that the crops are all in and it looks like they might avoid starving to death for one more Canadian winter. Even though I live in a time and place where starving is not a danger, (in fact, quite the opposite.) I'm still very thankful to have plenty.

Things I Am Grateful For and Never Take For Granted:
  • Central heating and central airconditioning. Having control over the temperature of the air I inhabit is an incredible luxury that is fairly recent in human history. Whenever I read about people not having enough coal for a fire, or sweltering in the tropics, or trying to keep a fire from going out because of rain or wind, I am again grateful for modern comforts.
  • Salt has no calories.
  • An afternoon nap.
  • I have the money, the means and the freedom to go out and buy pretty much anything I really want. Conversely, I am free from wanting all that much.
  • The health of myself and my family. We are all ridiculously healthy, with nothing more than the occasionaly cold or achy back to plague us. And if we are sick, we live in a place where health care is available, excellent and affordable.
  • Stability, security and peace. I live in a time and a place where I don't worry about my children being snatched off the street, where my husband isn't out fighting a war and I can walk out my door without being shot at, kidnapped or robbed. I don't have to worry about what I say or what I've said in the past, I can read whatever newspaper I like and go about my day without censure. Those are things that lots of people can only dream of, and I get to live it every day.
  • Laughter. My friends, my family, my co-workers, my clients, they all make me laugh, and there are very few things in life finer than an gut-busting, all-encompassing, bent-over, tears in your eyes, deep from the belly laugh.
  • New sheets on the bed.
  • A hot shower. Especially when you've had to go without for a few days.
  • Reading a good book that is SO good you think about it when you are not reading it, and can't wait to get back to it, and think about it long after you've finished it. The only bad thing about that good a book is that you wish you could read it for the first time all over again.
  • Electricity. Driving away the darkness with a flick of a switch. Cooking a meal with a turn of a knob. Boiling a kettle without starting a fire. Washing a weeks worth of clothes in a few hours instead of a few days. I appreciate electricity all the time.
  • I have choices. I'm lucky enough to live where women can do pretty much as they please. I can marry or divorce, be in charge of my own money, own my own property, vote and choose to pursue whatever line of employment I fancy. I can conduct my life as I wish, and believe me, that? is something I never take for granted. And I especially appreciate that on behalf of my daughters, who will never have to limit their choices in life because they happen to be women.
  • I spend my day at a job where people appreciate my efforts, where I am happy and comfortable and I am lucky enough to get paid well to do it.
  • My friends, who I am lucky enough to have a bounty of. They make me laugh, they give me perspective, they love me and they give me enormous joy. And, in the case of Big Liver Girl, they bring me an apple pie, right out of the blue.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Apple of My Pretty Eye

It's apple season around here, which means it is mandatory to go out to a local orchard and get some apples, whether you want any or not. It's just what you do.
We took the Mister's 83-year-old aunt out to the usual place last Sunday, and although the enthusiasm for picking your own apples was high, we weren't able to do so. We just bought apples out of the bins. Just as well, the weather was horrible, and I did not fancy seeing the Mister's 83-year-old aunt climbing a ladder.

The Mister's favorite dessert of all time is apple pie, which absolutely baffles pie, as far as I'm concerned, is one the most boring desserts ever. (Plain yogurt at room temperature is THE most boring dessert.) I like apple pie okay, but I don't actually seek it out, like the Mister does. He's actually ordered it in a restaurant, when there were other things to choose from.

I did not make the Mister an apple pie, I made him an apple crisp for dessert that night, because apple crisp is way, way easier to make, tastes a lot like apple pie and does not make me loose my shit making pastry. (I can make pastry, only because I have a fool-proof recipe for it, and I don't have very high standards. But it's fiddly and soul-crushing and not something I take on easily.) He was very happy with the apple crisp instead of pie, and since no one else is particularly enamored of the stuff, he had plenty of leftovers all to himself. (Just to tell you, the last time I did make him an apple pie, he ate the entire thing by himself after I had gone to bed, and had such bad heartburn, he thought he might breathe fire. Really, I don't make pies for his own good.)

The apples have come in very handy for eating this week. It's been easy to grab an apple on one's way out the door, and I've been putting them in all sorts of things. A few years ago, I made the life-altering decision that apples are a vegetable, and everything has been considerably easier ever since.

Every apple season I allow myself this one indulgence: eating a big, juicy MacIntosh apple simultaneously with a Crispy Crunch bar...a bite of one, and then a bite of another. Seriously, it is about the only time in the whole year I eat an entire Crispy Crunch bar, and it makes me weak-kneed with delight. (I'm pretty sure you can't get Crispy Crunch bars outside of Canada, which is a pity. I can start an air-lift, if you like.)

Now, maybe I can figure out a way to make an apple pie with a Crispy Crunch bar baked inside! But then there'd be fights over the pie, and I'd have to make pastry, and presently, neither one of us has to share their dessert with anyone. I will leave well enough alone.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Amazing Race 15 Ep. 3.

Man, Vietnam looks hot. Everyone was so sweaty and moist. I'll bet that Pitstop was smelling like roses when everyone was in it.

Loved the water do they operate, exactly? Is there tiny little scuba divers swimming around under there? (Anything is possible in Asia.) I also liked the frantic, panicky musicians at the water puppet was like they thought they might be in danger of being forgotten, and so they got louder and more insistent as the racers came through. I'm sure they helped Lance and Keri's Zen-like demeanor no end. What was with Mika doing the Dance of the Seven Veils to the water puppets?? Did they think they had to seduce the water puppets? (And, oh, the irony.)

Speaking of Lance and Keri, can we talk about the voices? Because, MAN, they both grate. "USE THE HAMMA! USE THE HAMMA!!". I'm going to the grave with that bouncing around in my head. At one point I thought she sounded just like Janice on "Friends", (I kept expecting her to end every sentence with "Chandla Bing!") but then I decided she sounded a lot like Zev.
And he's quite a prize, isn't he? He's not a loveable meathead, he's just a meathead. I find him tiresome...offering to fight Phil? Seriously, I get it, you are a great big he-man with testosterone and a penis and everything that entails. Now cut back on the steroids and shut up.
I really hope they lose their passports next week.

Favorite Line of the Night: From a Globetrotter.."Work it, girl."

When Pinky said he’d taken VCRs apart before out of curiosity, I thought “Of course you did.”

Marci and Ron really didn't have the right mindset for this thing, did they? I think they thought they were in the Amazing Mosey Through Ho Chi Minh City. They seemed nice enough, they just appeared to be on a different show than the one everyone else was on. Also, did you see the look of resigned weariness he gave her when she chirped "See?! My whistle worked!" Like he was deciding if he wanted to spend what is rest of his life with Perky McCheerleader.

What was with Maria toting the balloons and wheeling her own luggage while Tiffany hauled that cement animal and her luggage all the way through that park by herself??? And then she had to do the Roadblock too? That just baffled me.

Poor Marci looked like she had been shot out of a cannon by the last interviews. I'm sure I would fare no better.

Until next week!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Things I Learned Today

  • Coming home from work and finding dinner already on the go, AND freshly baked cupcakes waiting on the counter is about the most wonderful thing in the entire world.
  • I can eat three cupcakes at a go, without pausing, and without shame.
  • Eating three cupcakes in a row will give you heartburn.
  • I really like running in cold weather. It's so much easier than running when it's hot out.
  • Running when it's kind of dark is nice can see inside people's houses. Makes it much more interesting.
  • Two kleenex is not enough when you are running in cold weather. Normally, the entire contents of my sinus cavities is grimly determined to escape through my nose, but I found out when I run in the cold, there's an alarmingly hasty evacuation.
  • I need to buy socks.
  • When there is nothing to talk about, people will talk about the weather.
  • Our new neighbours are very nice, and Chinese.
  • Toby thinks he should not only get a treat when HE comes inside, he thinks he should when I do too.
  • Full fat yogurt is, far and away, vastly superior to fat-free yogurt.
  • I will get exactly the same number of compliments on my hair, regardless of the time or effort put into styling it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Falling Again

Good God, it is freaking cold here!! It's like autumn showed up with a big attitude and said "deal with this, losers!"
Seriously, last week I wore a skirt with flip flops and bare legs to work and this week I'm wearing jeans, a sweater vest and a leather jacket. If I didn't know better, I'd think I was abducted by aliens, and lost a month.
But, I try to put a good spin on things, so I've been thinking of things that I like about fall:
  • No mosquitos. Evenings spent outside are no longer a protracted war of attrition towards the mosquitos. And there are no more nights where one is drifting off to sleep only to be jolted awake by the zzzzzzzzz one of those bastards strafing your ears.
  • Thing 2's allergies have stopped, and she no longer sniffles constantly. God, she is a pity during hayfever season. From the middle of August to the middle of September, that child has a permanently runny nose, watery swollen eyes and the temperment of a rabid dog.
  • No sunscreen. Thing 1 has that translucent, Nicole Kidman skin that burns if she stands to close to a strong lightbulb. Years of sun exposure have toughened up my skin, but I still burn very easily. Neither of us can go out to bring in the recycling bins without slathering on a SPF of 50.
  • Running is easier, now that I don't have to factor in the time to collapse of heat stroke.
  • New jeans. I always buy new jeans in September; a holdover from when I went back to school each year. The smell of new denim always makes me think of fall.
  • Oven dinners. My dinner menu is now not limited to whatever does not heat up the kitchen. Shepherd's pie, cheeseburger calzones, meatloaf, lasagne, and roast chicken top the list. And I can bake now, too.
  • Good stuff on tv. All my favorite shows are back on the air, and I am amused in all sorts of ways.
  • Staying inside without guilt. In the summer, I feel like I should be outside as much as possible, because the nice weather is so short-lived. But sometimes I want to curl up in bed and read, or do stuff that can't be done outside, and it feels like I am shamefully squandering the summer. Cold and rain cure that entirely.
  • Cool nights for sleeping. One of the most delicious feelings ever is to burrow down into your nice, warm, cozy bed while a cool breeze wafts through the bedroom.
  • Apples, pears and squash are in season. We get apples, pears and squash all year round here, but they are particularly nice when they are fresh and local. In fact, apple, pear and squash soup with curry is epic.

If I just keep thinking positively, then I am bound to forget warm sun, beaches, fresh strawberries and days reading in the breezeway. Maybe.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Amazing Race 15 Ep. 1 and 2

SOOOOO much to love!! God, I missed this show!!

Man, that first elimination was harsh. Can you imagine getting on this show, and organizing yur life to be away for a month, and not sleeping for weeks beforehand, only to be out before you left the city??? I would have laid down and wept.Particularly since the next pitstop was non-elimination. Of course, when you say things like "we took the beating for everyone", you've made everyone very happy that they don't have to listen to you for the rest of the race. I have to say, the “yoga in the ‘hood" thing sealed the deal for me...I thought he was an ass.

Can you explain the point of lying about your profession to the rest of the racers? Because I did not get why the Poker Chippies did's not like "Survivor", where people vote you off or not; your income has nothing to do with your arrival at the mat. Also, I'm sure those Harlem Globetrotters don't make minimum wage, and they seemed to be getting along with everyone just fine. Also, maybe if you are going to lie about being semi-famous, you shouldn't cheerfully own up the first second someone recognizes you...when that guy at the airport said "aren't you that poker player", she could have just said "no" and then no one would have known. Except Zev, the Aspberger's guy, who very shrewdly sniffed them out without too much effort.

As much as I'm not crazy about those Poker Chippies, I did like when the one said "I don't mean this in a bad way, but he's kind of a meathead." about Lance the Boston Lawyer. Like there is a good way to mean that.

Duck-herding! I loved the duck-herding! I loved that Zev and Pinky rocked at that task!

Did anyone else feel sorry for the Japanese game show spectators? "I thought I was getting a few yen for watching some lame fake game show, and I ended up being herded all over Tokyo by two screechy Americans'. I wonder if they every found those two who were missing.

I wonder how it's unthinkable to have sex before marriage with someone you care about, but it's okay to threaten to murder her by ripping off her head when she cannot control barnyard animals to your liking.

Favorite Lines of the Night: "Tastes like money!" (I plan on using this whenever I am asked "what's that like?")
"You can throw up later."
And the whole “Andale!” “Different language” exchange was good. (Why do Racers insist on using Spanish whenever they are in a foreign country?)
"They thought Godzilla was walking down the street"

Those wasabi bombs would be brutal. I like wasabi enough, in small doses, but it's the kind of "heat" that cleans my sinuses right out, and starts to burn a hole into my brain. When I do eat wasabi, I have to make sure it does not directly hit the back of my throat, or I end up crying and rocking back and forth in my chair making whimpering noises. That amount of wasabi might blind me.

Until next week!