Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Actually, I Could Live On This Alone

When I was a kid, one of the constants in our house was Irish Soda Bread, more commonly known as "brown bread". My parents grew up on the stuff, and so my mother made a couple of loaves every week, and it was just.... always around. There's nothing pretty about brown bread, it's coarse and heavy and plain, but it's also filling and hearty and utterly comforting. I love it, and make it myself regularly.
Of course, my oh-so-sophisticated children will have nothing to do with it, preferring the glamor of Wonder Bread and baguettes, and the Mister isn't much of a bread eater. (I marvel, sometimes, that we managed to ever hit it off at all.) So I end up eating all of it by myself, which is a-okay by me; brown bread with marmalade for breakfast, brown bread with cheese for lunch and brown bread with jam for a snack after dinner with a cup of tea is almost a perfect day, if you ask me.
You can't buy brown bread, you have to make it, which makes it all the more enchanting to me. I've seen recipes for it all gussied up, which is entirely the opposite purpose of brown bread. (I once saw a recipe for "Porcini Mushroom and Apricot Soda Bread"....oh, the humanity.) And I also love it because, from pulling out the big bowl to tossing the whole thing in the oven takes about 15 minutes. Of course, you can take longer to put it together, making it an excellent activity for small children, who can bash the tar out of it and it will still bake up just fine.
Mrs. O'Sullivan's Soda Bread:
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups of milk
Preheat the oven to 400°F, and lightly grease a baking sheet, cake pan, pie pan or whatever you want.
Put everything but the milk into a big bowl, and stir with a whisk. (The recipe actually says to sift all the ingredients, but I just give it an enthusiastic couple of turns with the whisk and it seems to work out just fine.)
Add the milk, stir with a wooden spoon and add whatever additional milk necessary to make a slightly sticky but fairly dry dough. It should come together into a ball.
Knead the dough a few times to make it come together a bit, or untill you can form it into a loaf.
I prefer to bake it on a cookie sheet, sort of "free-form", but my mother puts it in a 8x8" pan, because it looks a little neater. Pat out the dough until it makes a circle roughly 8 or so inches across and an inch or two high, on the cookie sheet. Now, this is the important part: with a bread knife, slash a cross into the top of the bread, about a half an inch deep. (It won't look right without that cross, believe me.)
Bake in a 400° oven for 40 minutes, or until it's nice and brown on the top. When the bread is done, it should sound hollow when you thump on the bottom with your knuckles, the preferred testing method of Irish mammies everywhere.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Amazing Race 14, Ep. 7

Another nice team gone....I was enjoying Mel and Mike very much, and had hoped that they would be in the finale. But they didn't have much of a chance of gaining time after that cabbie debacle, and it was their own fault for not questioning the location of the gorilla more.
Another Rule of The Amazing Race: when everyone else is going in one direction and you are going in the complete opposite, ask around a bit more.

I went from liking all the teams, and not particularly wanting any one team to win, to not liking The Tweedles and The Redheads very much, and now I'm down to wanting Tammy and Victor or Margie and Luke to win.
Damn, the Tweedles constant self-congratulations is wearing very thin, don't you think? And, seriously, if you are so unspeakably superiour to everyone else on this race, is it really necessary to mess with their equipment? Why not just let them fail as nature clearly intended? I think that, in addition to the 30 minute penalty, the people who had to pull the rickshaws with the flat tires should be able to give the Tweedles a good ass-kicking, too. The pretty Thai greeter didn't seem to impressed with them, either.

And after her giggly confessional and subsequent foul treatment of the shopkeeper, Jamie is dead to me. I think he was going slower and messing with her because of the shreiking. I know I would. So, she doesn't like foreign languages and dislikes people? What a surprise this Race must have been!
When Jamie said that she would happily live with animals rather than deal with people, I was all "but....animals don't speak English, do they?"

I wonder what the locals must have thought of all that..."Honey, you're not going to believe what happened at work today! I was standing in front of the shop, minding my own business, when about 4 taxis full of screaming Americans descended on us like a flock of locusts, and waved around a picture of that gorilla statue from the zoo, and shreiked and carried on like lunatics, and then they all took off. It was bizarre."

That whole sneezing in the cab scene by Keisha and Jen had me howling with laughter....I must have replayed that about 10 times. The hilarious sound of the sneezing was bad enough, but when Jen snarked "shut up" I really lost it.

If that tiger handler was banging me around the face with a stick, I'd have bitten off his arm, too.

Favorite Exchange of the Night: Mike: Do you speak any Thai? Mel: Yes: Mai Tai..... That was a pun. Mike: (staring straight ahead) I know." My children and I have this exact conversation all the time.

Another addition onto the List Of Things I Really Don't Ever Want To Do: Have an elephant jiggle my butt fat. (Also on the List: Attend any sort of car racing event, swim under ice, be abducted by aliens, see Paris Hilton ever again.)

If I was Margie, I would consider suffering heat exhaustion and dehydration to be totally worth it if I got to swoon in Phil's arms just once.

Until next week!

Friday, March 27, 2009

And The Card Attached Would Say....

It's been another "treadmill week" here at Chez Loudshoes....I feel like I've been running very hard just to keep up. I've worked almost every night until 6:30 or 7, and there has been very little room for error. ("I can only sign your pizza lunch form if you slip it under the bathroom door.")

On Friday morning I don't have to be at work until 9:30, a precious half-hour later than usual. (But the toilet broke at work just before we left last night, so we had to stop off at the hardware store before we went in, resulting in a precious 15 minutes respite, instead of a half hour.) Usually I spend my time wisely on that morning, namely, logging onto Television Without Pity to see what everyone else thought of last night's "The Office", "30 Rock" and "Grey's Anatomy". Good times. But I cannot bypass checking my e-mail quickly, and also sneaking into Facebook to see if anyone wanted to talk to me since I went to bed 8 hours before.

This morning, as I was quickly skimmed through the status updates (because that is very important) I noticed that Big Liver Girl was kvelding that she had "made wickedly good lunches today" for herself and her four children. I was downcast, because I knew that my lunch today was going to consist of an All-Bran Bar, some past-it's-best-before-date yogurt and a banana deemed "too spotty" for consumption by the rest of my family. (Mostly this situation was due to the fact that I was surfing Facebook at 8 in the morning, instead of getting a better lunch together for myself.) I quickly fired off my own status update, specifically "Mrs. Loudshoes wishes Big Liver Girl had made her lunch today". And then I went off to fling some not-actually-ironed clothes on myself and slap on some makeup to make myself fit for meeting the public at work.

The Mister and I took off for the hardware store on our way to work to pick up the bit for the toilet. (Very important....9 staff, 40 clients, one bathroom. You do the math.)

When we got into work, the receptionist and the rest of the staff were all gathered around the front desk, because Big Liver Girl had dropped off a freshly hand-packed lunch for me. I nearly blacked out with delight. The rest of my co-workers were thrilled, jealous and entirely agog. It was marvelous. And it got even better when I opened the lunch....a mortadella sandwich on homemade bread, some cut-up veggies, an apple and a gingerale. Honestly, I couldn't have been more thrilled if it had been bacon-wrapped scallops and fiery pork.

Because a true friend, your best friend, knows the importance of having a lunch to look forward to. Big Liver Girl....thank you. Really.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lightbulb Moment.

I was making Hamburger Helper tonight for dinner, which, don't get me started. I can cook almost anything, and I actually LIKE to cook, and what does my family want, crave and swoon over? Hamburger Helper. I dispair.

(When we were in the States last week, we found a sale at the grocery store: Hamburger Helper on for a dollar a box. And if you got 10 boxes, you got the 11th one for free. I refused to get 10, because as far as I was concerned we were careening dangerously into White Trash territory, and 11 boxes of Hamburger Helper was going to cross the line entirely.)

Anyway, I was looking for a large enough frying pan to make it in, one with a lid, because that's what it calls for, and after bashing around in the cupboard for upwards of 10 minutes to see if someone in the family had bought a 12 inch, non-stick skillet with a lid without telling me, it hit me!.....the big soup pot is 12 inches wide, and had a lid....it's a really a big, TALL skillet!! I was beyond thrilled with myself, I tell you. It was like I had discovered cold fusion right there in my own kitchen.
And then I made the Hamburger Helper. Which, believe me, brought me right back down to earth.

And, Another Hour of My Life, Gone.

This is my new favorite website: TackyWeddings.com. Hard to believe, most of it, but highly entertaining!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

And He's Very Tall.

Today I realized one more Nice Thing About Being Married.

After you have been together for a while as a couple, you develop a automatic plan of action together that eventually requires no thought or discussion, you just do it.

Tonight the Mister and I ate dinner out with the staff, to celebrate some birthdays, and, frankly, because I love that restaurant and hadn't eaten there since Christmas. This particular place has an extensive appetizer menu, and because I have trouble choosing just one, we usually skip the main course and just load up on those. And the Mister goes right along with that.

One of the many reasons I married Himself is that he never orders the same thing as me. Wouldn't dream of it. Because what would be the point? We're going to share, and this way we get to try TWO dishes. So when he asks if I'm ordering the salmon, it's because he really wants the salmon himself, and will only order it if I am not. He knows he'll be getting salmon either way. If I'm not ordering the salmon, he's free to get it, and I'll get something he's eyeing. We do this with only a couple of words exchanged and some strategic planning. ("Okay, if I get the scallop appetizer, then YOU get the salmon main, and I won't be getting all fish and you can have some of my steak.") The other part of the equation is that you cannot order something the other hates without permission. The Mister always had my permission to order the lamb, since I hate it and won't cook it and it's the only way he's ever going to get any, but he has to order a first course that I like. Similarly, I never order anything with black olives or clams in it, because he hates them. And he just does it, no muss, no fuss.

I once had a boyfriend who took me to a fancy-shmancy place and had the exact same thing as me (after I had ordered) and I felt cheated because I was only going to be tasting a small fraction of the menu. So I appreciate that the Mister has embraced this policy as his own.

Also, the Mister and I have a firm "Quid Pro Garlic" Policy: "The eating of aggressive garlic shall be openly and freely disclosed in order that the other party may address the garlic imbalance and eat in a similar manner". So Caesar Salad is usually shared. (There is particularly garlicky Lebanese restaurant we adore that is so egregiously garlicky that we've agreed to only eat there when the other one can too, because there is no way you'd ever be able to achieve that level of garlic any other way.) I value a man who can see the wisdom in never having more garlic than me at one sitting.

There are many other reasons that I like being married to Himself, but as the only married couple at the table, I thanked my lucky stars that I got to have the bacon wrapped scallops AND the fiery pork all at one go.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Amazing Race 14, Ep. 6

Was it just me or was that episode sort of....bland, especiallly for being in India? Other than Lukes tears for the children and Jaime crying because of the poverty of animals, there was none of the emotional tsunamis we Race fans have come to expect in India. It seemed to me that this wasn't a particularly well designed leg...there wasn't much of a chance for anyone to speed ahead or get lost or even lose sight of the pack much. The Flight Attendants never stood a chance.

I was sad to see those two go, actually. I liked their non-whiney, down and dirty attitude to getting things done.

Wow! Sober locals! And I do mean sober. Those camel-wranglers barely cracked a smile the whole time those fools were using their shirts to transport camel feed.

I'm getting a little tired or Jamie's "don't you speak English" freak out in every country. Because surely she had to know that she would be travelling through foreign countries where English isn't routinely spoken when she signed up for this. Maybe I'm just getting tired of Jamie.

Victor and Tammy have grown on me since Romania. I didn't think I'd ever get to like him, but he's proven himself to have learned a bit from his mistakes, and his obvious delight in everything certainly has gone a long way in redeeming himself. And Tammy's megawatt smile helps, too.
But they can lay off the "we're breaking stereotypes" thing....I have no preconcieved notions about attractive, educated, Asian-American lawyers whatsoever, so my expectations are nil.

That Indian greeter was a hoot! I swear I had about 4 boys in my Grade 8 music class do exactly the same thing with the recorders we were learning on. You'd be surprised at how much noise 4 13 year old boys can make with 8 recorders up their noses.

Good on yer, Mel! With all the death-rattle wheezing during the camel task, I thought for sure he'd be India's first victim this race, but he pulled it out and did just fine. Plus, I'm all soft for a guy who feels badly about yelling at a cab driver (Jamie, take note.) and he was all proud of himself because his son was proud of him. That was nice.

That camel kick must have hurt like crazy. Did you see that guy go down like a sack of potatoes?
And the camel was so awesomely casual about it, he barely stopped chewing.

Next week: I would happily endure dehydration and exhaustion if it meant I could faint in Phil's arms. I would hope my partner would make sure I was wearing lip gloss right beforehand.

Friday, March 20, 2009

News Flash

While I was picking up a pizza for tonight's dinner, I overheard the following:

Other Lady Picking Up Pizza: I ordered two large veggie pizzas, without cheese. How come they are the same price as they would be with cheese.

Pizza Guy: Because the way we charge, we base the price on a basic cheese pizza, and then add more for the toppings; we don't charge less just because you don't get one topping.

Other Lady: Well, if you didn't charge for the cheese, you would be encouraging people to eat more healthy. Shouldn't you try to get people to eat better?

Pizza Guy: Lady, this isn't Weight Watchers. I care if people eat more pizza.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ways That I Can Tell That It Is Spring

It's not quite spring here yet; after all, it's still only March, and last year we had one of the worst snowstorms of the whole winter on the first weekend of April. (It was spectacularly horrible.) But it's definitely on it's way....
  • Parking spots have freed up again. In the winter, they have to pile the snow in the lots somewhere, and it usually ends up in a couple of parking spots that are out of commission until it all melts. The more it snows, the less places there are to park. I noticed at the library today that all the spots are usuable now.
  • Kids playing outside. It's March Break this week, and the weather has been very mild, which means road hockey, skipping, hopscotch and some serious sidewalk chalking.
  • Neighbourhood cats. All winter the other cats have stayed away (or home, if they were wise) and Toby has pretty much had the perimeter of the estate secured. Now there are cats wandering into our yard at all hours, and Toby is in a constant state of vigilance, skewering them with a penetrating stare in an effort to show them who's boss.
  • I can go outside as is. The lengthy and exhausting preparations to walk out the door are no more. This evening I went to go get Thing 2 at a friends house, and I just picked up my purse and went. (Mind you, I should have changed into shoes from my slippers, but even that seemed like it was too much effort.)
  • You can go outside and breathe deeply and it doesn't hurt. Also, it smells outside...all good smells, like damp earth and water and rain and outside. In the winter, everything is frozen and all I can smell on my walks is people's clothes driers running.
  • Asparagus, rhubarb and Easter Creme Eggs in the stores.
  • The floor at the salon stays clean. In the winter, we have to mop the floor about 4 or 5 times a day, or else the slush and salt make the place look like emptying waterbeds in there. Kind of slippery, too.
  • I had to buy new sunglasses the other day. It was sunny, and I couldn't find any of the 17 pairs I bought last year.
  • We turned the clocks ahead. Usually this kills me, as losing an hour of sleep is right on up there with me losing an internal organ on the list of "Possible Things I Do Not Want To Lose". But I was in Florida, on holidays, and slept for 12 hours every night and had a nap every day, so I only would have noticed the hour gone if I had been awake for it. (Note To Self: Do that every year.)
  • I have to sign the kids up for camp. Summer camps are organized so that you have to sign up your kids and pay for them by the end of March, or they will be full and you will have two very bored, very pissed off children in August.
  • I hate my clothes. Happens every year to me about this time. I've been wearing the same stuff day in, day out, for six months now and I'm sick of each and every article of clothing. But it's still not time for t-shirts and capris, so I just have to put up with it and will probably break down and buy something pink that will look so lovely but will have to have a cardigan over it.
  • I am not so stabby.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vegetables, Smegetables.

Since this week is March Break, and our kids are off school, (and, apparently, the ONLY family in the entire province that has not gone to the Caribbean for the week. I'm sure you've heard all about it on the news.) we took the kids across the border to do some shopping in Michigan for the day. The Mister and I are off on Mondays, so it worked out fine.

We spent a bit of time at Hollister, which is the Holy Grail of retail for our children, since there isn't one in our city. (Hollister, in case you've never been there, is dark, loud, expensive and they spray all the clothes with their own cologne, which is pleasant enough at first, but eventually strangles your entire sinus cavity with it's overwhelming hipness. It's sort of like quicksand for your nose.) After that we went to Meijer's, which we don't have in Canada, and the Loudshoes family enjoys very much. (Just to tell you, Meijer's is just like Wal-Mart, a department store and grocery store all in one, but with the bright shiny allure of novelty. At least for us.) Now, I've gone on at length before about how thrilling I fine American grocery stores, and my children are similarly enraptured. We spent ages marvelling over what inventive cereal flavors Americans come up with, and in awe of what these people can do to a frozen pizza. It seriously entertained us for hours.
But what really fired us up was this:

Diet Coke Plus, a new (for us, anyway) kind of Diet Coke with vitamins and minerals. Because it's never too late to throw a lifejacket into the Titanic of nutrition.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Amazing Race 14, Ep. 5

What a bunch of cold weather wimps. At first I thought that the thermometer in Novosibirsk said -30°C, which is definitely ass-cracking cold, but then another shot said it was -4°C. Here in Canada, we start pulling out the flip-flops and fire up the BBQ at -4.

My List of Things To Master Before Going on The Race continues to grow, with "be able to run without passing out after 30 seconds" joining "Learn Chinese", "Learn to row a boat" and "Be able to make fire with wet sand and your own urine". (Oh, sorry, that last one was for "Survivor".) I already know how to drive a standard and say "thank you" in Russian, Japanese and Irish.

More drunken locals!! This is decidedly a new theme this season! Pity they didn't come to southwestern Ontario during the May 24th holiday, we could provide plenty for them.

The producers must love me, because PHIL IN HIS SKIVVIES!!! That was just for me, I know.
Christmas is early this year.

I'm glad the flight attendants aren't out, I hadn't realized how much I liked them until I thought they might be gone. They just put their heads down and get the job done; I like that. And the one that ran in her thong? She's some kind of woman, that one. Running in a thong isn't very pleasant, I imagine; Big Liver Girl did it once and said she thought she might have set her bum on fire from all the friction. (Thing 1 and I argued over who would have to do that Roadblock, because everyone knows I have no shame, but she would look much, MUCH better in her underwear than me. Plus, she would probably be able to run without having a heart attack, whereas me? not so much.) The two sisters are kind of whiney, they don't seem to be enjoying this very much.

Little Ballerina had a big booming manly voice, didn't she?

Best Line of the Night: "Any place that has that many consonants in it is not warm."

That third groom/soldier looked like he was about 14. Maybe he should have been marrying Little Manly Ballerina at his fake wedding.

I'm a little confused over Margie and Luke being mad that Victor and Tammy didn't wait for them. Isn't this the team that U-Turned Amanda and Kris last week, causing them to be eliminated? Isn't, you know, going ahead of another team part of the race too?

Those were some really strange looking snow plows. Like, Dr. Seuss snowplows. Those crazy Russians!

Next week: India! As we have seen in the past, India is kriptonite for Racers, at least one team just dissolves like the Wicked Witch of the West in India.

Friday, March 13, 2009

America the Beautiful.

I had a fine time in the States on my holidays.... I love going to the U.S., everything is familiar, but different, they speak the same language (kind of) , the money more or less makes sense and you can get anything there. It's sort of like going through the tv and visiting your favorite show, like Alice in Wonderland.

I especially love American grocery stores. Nobody does junk food like Americans, and even though I have no desire to have Cool Whip in 6 different flavors, I'm all giddy at the possibility that I can. They have an entire aisle of salty snacks and another whole aisle of sweet ones. (When one is on vacation, I cannot stress how delightful this cornicopia of nutrtionally dubious food is.) Plus, American grocery stores have a way better selection of Mexican food than the average Canadian store. (On the flip side, there was a dearth of curries, pampadams and biryanis south of the border.) My dad and I enjoyed all kinds of new, unattainable for us, ice cream flavors when I was away, and we were beyond thrilled at the selection.

I like Americans very much, too. Individually, they are pleasant and friendly people, even if they do baffle me en masse. (They seem to put an enormous priorty on liking their president. Here in Canada, we are pretty sure our politicians are not people we would ever want to hang around with.) I don't think I ever went to pay for something or deal with anyone where they didn't ask me where I was from or how I was enjoying my vacation or where did I get my shoes. It was very nice.

I remember once being in the States where they thought my accent was "just adorable". (Just for the record, I don't have an accent. Everyone else does.) They thought I sounded "like the Queen", because I said "solid" instead of "salid", and "box" instead of "bax", and "sorry" instead of "saw-ry". I had no objection to being called "adorable", and took it as further proof that Americans are fun.

Also, when I was in Florida, everyone in the complex thought I was way younger than I was, which was partially because they were all so nice, but mostly because I was hanging around 70-year-olds. One woman thought I was in my 20s (I'm 47), so that's what cataracts will do to you.But she was very sweet to tell me so, and I'm happy to go anywhere that I can pass for a generation younger than my own.

There are many things I like very much about Canada; the health care, the Crispy Crunches and celcius, but I can really only get one flavour of Cool Whip here. I guess nowhere is perfect.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Down South

I'm back from Florida, the state Most Likely To Give You Melanoma. I had a fabulous time eating and swimming and going for walks and napping. I behaved as though I was 70 years old, and so fit in very nicely.

The States still uses Fahrenheit to measure temperature, where we've been using Celsius since the 70's, and I know no other way to figure out if I'll need a jacket or not. My father, who can flip back and forth between the two systems admirably, came in very handy when it came to translating, since he can figure it out in his head, and is comically unable to answer any question put to him. (If he actually knows the answer, so much the better, but not knowing hardly slows him down at all.) So we had many conversations that went like this: Me: "The weather channel says it's going up to 82 today, what's that in metric?". Him: (loud muttering in Irish as he works it out in his head) "28 degrees Celsius." Me: "Great. It's going to be 63 tonight, what's that?" Him (more muttering under his breath) "17". Me: "Okay, now they say it's going to be 79 tomorrow, what's that?". Him "Warm. It's going to be warm, kind of warm, and very warm for the rest of the week."

There is seriously nothing like that blast of hot, humid, decidedly southern air that hits you once you step off that plane. It was fabulous. It's hard to pack here for what you are going to need there....one of the other weird little rules of life is that it's hard to imagine being any other temperature than the one you are at the moment. That meant that I spent most of the night before I left saying to myself "no, you should pack another t-shirt, not a sweater!", and then packing another sweater before taking it out again. It took me ages to pack, and then I spent most of the time in one pair of shorts and one t-shirt, because nothing gets dirty in Florida. (There was a garage sale at the condo complex my first morning there, so I bought another pair of shorts there for 2 bucks. Which I did NOT declare when I came back over the border.)

The first thing I did when I got to my parents place is get into the pool. Swimming in the middle of winter outside is possibly the most exotic thing a Canadian can do, and I swam at least once every day. I tried to stay out of the sun, though, because I have fish-belly white Irish skin, and my DNA is not designed to ever see daylight. I got it from my father, and the two of us looked like newly plucked chickens sitting around by that pool every day. I had on my 45 SPF sunscreen, which allowed me to sit in the sun for an entire 3 and a half minutes before getting burned, so I came home as white as I left.

When I came home last night, my family were all delighted to see me, and Toby has been following me around like a little orange shadow for the entire day today. Although Thing 2 did remark to me this morning that "it was kind of nice not having you around....we didn't have to put any of our stuff away the whole time."

It's nice to be home.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Amazing Race 14, Ep. 4

Hey everybody ! Its thing one reporting on Sunday nights amazing race ! Sorry i didnt write on monday, i completley forgot. And I have a tonn of homework ! anywaays. since my mom is in freakin florida. I will write :)

Siberia . My first thought. shit. thats cold. Which reminds me. When the stunt men didnt have enough money so they offered their coats to the cab driver. I yelled in my head NO! NO! I hate being cold. Yet i always am. My mom and i watched this "together" while she was in sunny warm florida and i was sitting here surrounded by a cold and wet atmosphere. I cant say it worked well. She was at least a minute ahead of me. so she'd text me "oh em gee" and i'd have no clue what had happened. Dont try it.

ANNNYWAYS. the detour. I was almost comletley torn between the 2. mom and I settled on the window thing. all though we dont know crap about building anything. It looked better than stacking wood ( but honestly. what dosent ? dont answer that) . We decided after seeing team after teams stacks fall, that we had made a wise, wise choice. Those stacks falling (especially mike and mel's) shattered my little heart. I felt so bad for them. Also i felt bad for the barbie doll couple that i liked. They gave up and had to do it anyways. just to be eliminated. HARSH. That couple i actually didnt mind. they werent bickering and crabby. They stole my heart at " I have to find my fanny !"

The roadblock , was all my mothers this round. I bet you she knew what Chekov is. (or whatever) When the asian brother and sister were like "WHO DOSENT KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS ?!" I felt a little offended and stupid. But then i rememberd that it was realted to sports, and i probably didnt care. I felt so bad for the deaf kid doing that. wonder how long that took him.

Ou, - favourite line(s) of the week " we looked like a caravan of idiots" and " it was "4 smart guys and the rest of us " hahaha. :)

I'm going to have to say . It was a less than exciting episode. But better than nothing at all.
until next week !

- pce :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Heading South

I'm off to sun and sand and warm and lazy for a week. My parents have rented a place in Florida for the month, and I'm heading down to see them for a few days. I haven't been away in the winter in about 18 years, since I went to Jamaica with some girl friends and laughed so hard for so long at a bar one night that people came over from the next bar to see what was so funny.

I'm getting picked up by the airport service at 5:15 tomorrow morning, so if I play my cards right, I should just about be waking up when we get into Detroit airport.

See you all in a week!

Statements That Are Always Lies

There are some statements that we are so used to hearing that we don’t hear them anymore. When I hear the following, I turn it around in my head to hear what the person is really saying:

Don't worry, I'm not really crazy." This is usually said by someone who’s actions and demeanour are so the opposite as to render this sentence moot.

"I'm not trying to be difficult." Then maybe you should stop being difficult.

"I'm not a racist." This is usually said after a statement so outrageously racist that the person feels required to backpedal.

"I'm not trying to hurt your feelings." Just because your intention was not to hurt me, you have done so anyway, and I’m pretty sure you knew that. "No offense, but..." falls into the same category.

"I swear I'm telling the truth." Shouldn’t that be obvious by your behaviour?

"I don't like to complain." But you are going to anyway, right?

“I am stepping down to spend more time with my family.” I love this one. Like, any man in a position of power wouldn’t just do whatever he damn well pleased anyway. “Screw this meeting, I’m going to the beach with my kids!” Usually said by a politician who’s stepping down immediately before some embarrassingly lurid information is made public. (Which, ironically, probably wouldn’t have happened if he had been spending some time with his family.)

“We're not lost!” Then why have we been in this car for three days and all the signs are in Russian?

"The dog ate my homework" They maybe you shouldn’t slather your homework in gravy.

“I run a classy establishment" If you have to say it, you don’t. “Classy” is a funny word; once it’s used it negates itself entirely.

“It's not about the money." Oh, man, its ALL about the money.

“ Your call is important to us". The other day I spent 35 minutes on the phone waiting to talk to an actual human being at Rogers Wireless, and they must have told me this about 50 times. I wanted to set them on fire after that. Really, “your call is important to us” means “you are stuck here because we are entirely uninterested in you and couldn’t possibly care less about providing any service whatsovever to you. We understand that you have no alternative but to put your life on hold and swing slowly in the wind while we get our butts in gear and get around to dealing with you. But “your call is important to us” As if.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I am occasionally possessed by dire yearnings for various foodstuffs, that seem to have no rhyme or reason whatsoever. They come out of nowhere, hijack my life for a few days or weeks, and then sink into obscurity with nary a scar to remind one of it’s existence. Sort of like “American Idol”.

Currently, I am mad about pistachios. I innocently picked up a bag of roasted, salted pistachios at the grocery store a few days ago, to supplement Thing 1’s lunch. (Hallellujah, they allow nuts in high school.) Without thought to the frenzy I was launching, I had a couple, and that has been it for the past week. I can’t get enough of those stupid nuts, and not only are they having a detrimental effect on my waistline, I’m going to have to consider another mortgage if this keeps up much longer. Plus, my kidneys are going to go on strike because of all the salt.

My friend Sue The Librarian said that when she was pregnant, she had a wicked pistachio craving, and put herself through the exquisite torture of shelling them all and then eating them one by one. She said she would be all delirious with want by the time she had shelled any significant amount, and could barely see straight by the time she actually consumed them.

When I was pregnant with Thing 1, the Mister put me on a “Fruit Budget”, because I was eating fresh fruit like a mad woman, and thought nothing of scarfing a couple of mangos in the middle of winter at 4 bucks a pop, or sitting down to twelve dollars worth of grapes.

And let me assure you, cravings are not at all limited to pregnant or otherwise hormonally challenged women, far from it. I know plenty of men who find themselves slaves to their appetites, too. The Mister occasionally gets a calling for chips and dill pickle dip that cannot be ignored, and I once had a male friend who admitted to eating hot chocolate powder straight from the can in a particularly desperate search for chocolate.

I give up chocolate for Lent every year, and oddly enough, that isn’t that difficult and doesn’t seem to increase my desire for chocolate one bit. Maybe because I expect the chocolate famine every year, or maybe because there is a specific date when it will end, but I happily nix chocolate for the 40 days without a problem. I do, however, demolish a Lindt bunny in a rather unseemly fashion on Easter Sunday, but I can wait until then.

My cravings aren’t limited to merely snack food, either. Not too long ago, I was watching Top Chef, and one of the contestants made a pan-fried chicken cutlet with a lemony arugula salad on top, and I was beside myself with longing for that dish. Guess what we had for dinner the next night, and it was fabulous. I should never watch cooking shows or read cookbooks, I’m far too easily tempted.

In fact, I’m going to make dinner right now….pistachio crusted chicken with arugula salad. Lucky for my family, I’ve never craved turnips.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Amazing Race 14, Ep. 3

Brad and Victoria seemed very nice, and I'm always happy to see the fit, oldsters do well in this thing, but these two were Philiminated because of their bone-headed decision making, not because they couldn't handle the physical end of the Race.
Apart from the fact that going from Munich to Amsterdam to get to Bucharest is sort of like going from Toronto to Atlanta to get to Montreal, if I were on that race I'd pick a direct flight over a connecting flight no matter what....I can't seem to ever get a connecting flight ever anywhere that I don't end up sleeping in an airport on top of my luggage.
I'm kind of surprised that they had to finish the race when they were so clearly behind everyone else. Usually when that happens Phil finds you and puts you out of your misery. Maybe the producers just liked the idea of Brad and Victoria covering themselves in blood.

The gymnastics task had Thing 1 and I arguing over who would get to do it....we both think we have an "inner Nadia" busting to get out. Those balance beams are narrow, I'm surprised they didn't have more people toppling off that. But they did have trouble on the parallel bars, because those things?? are a bitch. Neither Thing 1 or I have any upper body strength whatsoever, so we'd have been decidedly ungainly on that. We were very puzzled as to why Tammy couldn't do a cartwheel or a sommersault, we thought everyone could do that. Maybe she didn't get outside much as a kid, because her older brother told her not to. Could you see either of the two Frat Boys from last season doing that task? We were in fits just thinking about it.

Speaking of Victor, he seems like a tool, although one of the nicest tools I've ever seen. And a bit of a drama queen, too. "I don't care if I die"? What's with that? I think Victor is more in line for a heart attack than Mel.

Those gypsy families sure had some weird-ass belongings. Does every gypsy family come equipped with a burnt-out car chassis and some plastic goat harnesses? I wonder if the producers have come up with a new strategy for keeping the locals happy and laughing throughout the filming: beer. Last week we had drunken Germans, this week it was drunken Romanians and the first week there were some very easily amused Swiss guys the first week.

Kris, learn from Dallas, and never, ever take off the fanny pack. It's called a "fanny pack" because is stays on your fanny. Get it?

I'm pleasantly surprised that, in this point in the race, I like every team. A first, I think.

Until next week!