Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Maybe Switch to Decaf.

Dear Lady On Her Cell Phone In The Line At Tim Horton's This Morning,

Just to tell you, the rest of us can hear you. Oh, boy, can we hear you.

You may have thought that because we couldn't hear the person on the other end of your inane conversation, that your part was inaudible to us all as well. But I can assure you, you were deafening. And we were trapped. It was excruciating.

For future reference, let me list the Things That Complete Strangers Do Not Want To Know About You: , your dream last night, your last workout routine, what you ate yesterday, how fat you feel today based on your last workout routine and what you ate yesterday, how busy you are ,that girl at the party who talked to your boyfriend and her probable acceptance of anonymous sexual partners in the past and in the future, the relative intelligence and speed of the people working behind the counter at Tim Hortons.

This last one was especially audacious, I thought, because of your heady gamble that the people working behind the counter wouldn't serve you a large double-double with milk and a sneeze ASAP.

Mostly, I think you should know that virtual privacy is not real privacy. Everyone can still hear you, even when you think they shouldn't be listening. So, in the future, could you please dial down the bellowing delivery and the honking laughter? That way we wouldn't have had to plan your violent and immediate death while waiting for our morning coffee. I can assure you, it was exhausting adding that to my "to do" list for the day.

Thank you so much for your consideration, even if I didn't have it at 8:30 this morning.

Mrs. Loudshoes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Benefits of Blogging

My friend Carolyn, who has been a long-time Mrs. Loudshoes follower and one-woman PR machine for the blog, e-mailed me last week.
It seems that she read my recent account of the local fly fishing club meeting, and my attendance at it with Big Liver Girl.

Big Liver Girl is much more interested in fly fishing than myself, meaning that she actually goes to casting clinics and forks over real money for equipment. I, on the other hand, as a confirmed dilettante, will happily tag along on any outing, give all activities a go, and will cheerfully keep eveyone else supplied with beer when the going gets tough.

Carolyn's 76 year-old-Italian neighbour came over with some hip waders that she didn't want to store anymore, wondering if Carolyn's sons or husbands, who actually do fish, would know someone who could use them. And because of my blog, they DID! I will be picking up my new equipment this weekend! What luck! (This means that I have aquired a set of golf clubs and hip waders all for free in the past year. Who could have seen that coming??)

So, just in case anyone's interested, we need a new kitchen floor.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Amazing Race 14, Ep. 10

Uber-leg!! I didn't see that coming! Thing 1 was very quick, she noticed that there was no greeter with Phil on the mat right away, and when he told Cara and Jaime that they were the first team to arrive, we knew something was up. The look on their faces when he handed them that clue was worth the price of admission alone!

You know, I always liked having my feet massaged, and would do almost anything to have it done. But now on my list of Things In This Life To Avoid, is having a sadistically grinning Chinese lady drive her knuckles into the bottom of my foot and tell me it's beneficial.
And Cara? I'm willing to bet that it's NOT as bad as having a baby. Unless the foot massage goes on for 8 or 12 hours. I really wish we had seen Jaime get that foot massage. That would have been awesome.
Also, note the difference in "support" from the waiting partner: Jen to Keisha: "you can do it, it's almost over, you're doing so well". Jaime to Cara: "If you give up I will hurt you".

Have these guys had to drive themselves at all during this race? It seems like they take a LOT of taxis. Also missing? Drunken locals. Haven't seen any of them since Russia.

Why didn't Tammy and Victor count out their jumps on the diving board before taking off? Wouldn't that have given them a better chance of hitting the water simultaneously?

I enjoyed Victor imitating the Evil Mutant Talking Toes to his sister. Such a big brother...."TA-A-A-A-A-M-M-M-M-M-M-E-E-E-E-E-!"

Even though I've lost a lot of love for Keisha and Jen these past episodes (the whole "patented dumb look" and "me no speaky the English" at the airport) I had a certain sympathy for them at the pool. Jen's meltdown was as much about the Killer Fatigue as it was about getting in the water, and Keisha's patient coaxing and desire to finish the task was admirable. I know I'd have been having my own meltdown right beside my partner if I'd been her.

And Margie's snark at the sisters getting in line ahead of her at the airport? Lame. It's a race. No the Amazing Pre-School;, you get in line first when you get the opportunity to get in line first.

Favorite Part of the Night: Tammy says, laughing, "put everyone else in the back of the plane", and then Jaime and Cara getting off griping "we were in the very last row!"

I was laughing when Victor was having his leg cramp (Not because of the leg cramp, those babies hurt.) but Tammy's business-like "Could you please black out from that excruciating pain while we drive? Just get in the car and you can faint then."

Sigh....I still miss Mike and Mel.

Next week...Jaime is STILL in China, and *surprise* the population has not learned English over the weekend.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Green and Mean

Yesterday was Earth Day, and Chez Loudshoes celebrated by not taking a plane anywhere.

Actually, we didn't do anything different than usual, but then again, I think we do our bit all the time anyway. We recycle, we compost, we only have one car and it's not a Hummer. We walk to do most of our errands, and the Mister rides his bike to and from work. (I tried riding my bike once, and I arrived as a sweaty, swearing mess, and it took me ages to sort myself out to be fit to do people's hair...I do have my arms up in the air a lot, after all.) I use boxes instead of bags at the grocery store, we hang the laundry out to dry and the Mister has replaced most of the bulbs in the house with the eco-friendly ones. Now if we could only get our kids to turn out the lights when they leave a room, that would be something, too.
I'm certainly doing my bit to conserve the earth for my children. But honestly? I'm not so sure they want it. Judging by the amount of paper, plastic and other recyclables I seem to fish out of the garbage can that my children have dumped because the blue box is all the way outside, they don't seem to be overly concerned about their future.

I have to admit, and I don't usually do this out loud, but I'm a teensy bit fatigued with the environmental efforts. Waitwaitwait...I'm not saying its a useless cause or not worthwhile, but I am saying that I seem to have been doing my bit for a long time now, and it doesn't appear to be helping at all. I can't recall David Suzuki ever once saying "okay, now that? is way better than it was. Thanks". Besides, I find it hard to get worked up over my using paper towels when the Daytona 500 happens every year without protest. There's no doubt that any effort to improve our impact upon the environment is a good thing, but would it would be nice to hear that something, anything is improving.

I am blessed to be able to live in an area of the world where we have plenty of fresh air and water, and no shortage of parks and lakes and meadows and undisturbed green spaces, and for that I am truly grateful. And I'm also grateful that its all pretty cheap and easy to get at. So I will continue to bottle my own water for work and have a vegetarian meal once a week and clean my windows with vinegar. But I reserve the right to take a plane when I travel long head exploding because I've been trapped in a car with my family for twenty hours can't be good for the environment either.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Amazing Race 14, Ep. 9

I was tired of the whole Grade Six Girl Drama at the cluebox way before they got to the Amazing Bathmat. I've got plenty of Grade Six Girl Drama going on at home, I don't need it on my tv.
I don't care who was there first or who said what to whom, both Keisha and Luke came off looking like idiots. Would it kill either one of them to wait the, oh, I don't know, 12 tenths of a second for the other one to get out of the way either time? It seems to me that when people claim to be "competitive", it's really an excuse to behave like an asshole.

Too bad for Jaime that this race takes her to places where there are other people. I'm sure she had no idea whatsoever that this whole adventure would entail cities and popular places and people who don't speak English. I certainly hope she is able to go back to her life as a cave-dwelling hermit after this.
I thought her head might actually burst into flames when the dancing judge told them they didn't do the dance properly. Female Dancing Judge was enjoying her authority way too much, if you ask me.

Apparently, you have to either be female, or able to pass as one, to be a cab driver in Guilin.

I loved the two old people eating lunch at the Pit Stop. What a job that would be..."here, sit down, have some tea and rice, and when sweaty, heaving foreigners come tearing up to the mat, say your bit."

The Stuntbrothers never had a chance, did they? Although that was possibly the worst Speed Bump ever....they didn't even have to style those two old ladies. By the way, how much do you think they got paid to be manhandled by those two? I was shouting the whole time "you don't need to shampoo her eyebrows too!!"

Favorite Line of the Night: "We can understand our cabbie when he tells us he doesn't know where he's going".

Speaking Chinese wasn't much of an advantage for Victor and Tammy, although if the calligraphy task had gone a little differently, it might have. I guess the whole idea of the tast was that you had to copy the names down, and then ask a local to interpret it for you. If you didn't do a good job, you could easily get told to go the wrong way. So Victor and Tammy's skills helped everyone else as well as them.
How uncomfortable did Victor look during the Pit Stop drama?

I guess I'm hoping Victor and Tammy win now. They're the only ones who seem to be having a good time.

Until next week!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Little Things for Little Minds

One of the girls at work recently had a new client booked into her column by the name of "Chris Chan".
Naturally, we were expecting an Asian guy. Imagine our confusion when a decidedly white man appeared, saying he had an appointment at that time with her. His name? "Christian". Not "Chris Chan".
We were very much amused, and he was a pretty good sport about it. Now we call him "Chris Chan, the Asian Caucasian".
And he puts up with us pretty well.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dinner Out

Every now and again, I try to take out each child on her own, either with the Mister or by myself. I know I always liked having a parent all to myself when I was a kid, and it also gives me an excuse to go out and eat. Last weekend I took Thing 1 out for breakfast (Thing 2 has no real interest in breakfast; she's just filling that particular hole every morning because I make her. Himself has a glass of water for breakfast.) So tonight, we took Thing 2 out for Indian food. (Thing 1 is not a very adventurous eater, and would consider an Indian dinner to be a war crime. )
The last time we went out with Thing 2 it was to a Lebanese restaurant that the Mister and I love, but is so very garlicky that I had to get up in the middle of the night to brush my teeth, my breath was so vile.

I love eating out. Love it. I think I could eat out almost all the time, if my bank balance and my waistline would allow it. Both Things agree.

The Mister was working until 6, so Thing 2 and I took the bus down to the salon to meet him there. (My kids don't take the bus ever; they live within walking distance of almost anywhere they want to go, so the opportunity doesn't arise very often.) She was enchanted, although she did ask me how I knew which bus to take, and how did I know it would take me where I wanted to go. I explained to her about bus routes and such, and she seemed to think that it was extrordinary. It was sort of like explaining modern life to a visitor from another planet, or a time traveller or something.

We went on from the shop to the restaurant, where we stuffed ourselves full of naan, and rice, and butter chicken and tandoori chicken and some sort of mixed vegetable and cashew dish that I loved and totally have to remember where it was on the menu, because I can't remember the name. It was magnificent. About half way through the meal, Thing 2 gave a big sigh and said "eating makes me tired". I know just how she felt; around the same time I was thinking that this particular restaurant should have cots so that I could lay down and have a nap before finishing. It was lovely to just sit and talk, without distractions or interruptions. We fairly waddled out of the place when we left.

We picked up Thing 1 from my parents', where she went for dinner (chicken fingers and fries) and we've all just come in the door. I heard Thing 2 rooting around in the fridge just as I'm typing, clearly looking for something sweet to round out the evening. I'm right behind her.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Amazing Race 14, Ep. 8

Wow, the producers sure hate the Stuntbrothers....I've never seen anyone get such harsh penalties two legs in a row. Thing 1 and I were agog.

Apparently that rule about not settling your bill with possessions you brought with you has been around for a while, just nobody's ever tried to circumvent it before. I heard it is there so that racers can't load up on diamond rings and Levis before the race, in case they want to use it later. Certainly the Tweedles were nodding their heads when Phil was admonishing them, so that would indicate that they knew about it. I did like when they were trying to weasel their way out of it, and Phil was having none of it... "we weren't trying to pay the cabbies, they were gifts". ....the look on his face was all "nice try, but no".

I loved the "Party Cabs"...we'd have done that Detour for sure! In fact, Thing 1 and I are seriously considering starting up our own Party Cab company here, it would be our first million! Our only problem is rounding up that many happy, tuneful transvestites; they seem to be thin on the ground in our neck of the woods. How funny was it that the Stuntbrothers never seemed to pick up on the fact that their "pretty girls" were actually men?

Apparently, they are going to China next week. I wonder how many people Jamie will find who speak English there.

Favorite Exchange of the Night: Jaime: "I like to call dogs doogies for some reason." Cara: "I like to call them dogs." *eyeroll*

Rule Number One on the Race: "Read the clue carefully", Rule Number Two: "NEVER put down the Amazing Fanny Pack. Like, NEVER." Rule Number Three: "Never accept a food challenge in Asia".

Usually "journey on by boat" means "you will never set foot on this particular piece of God's green earth ever again. Get your shit together". To me, anyway.

What was all that about "singing karaoke is as easy for us as getting up in the morning", or some other stupid shit that the older Stuntbrother was spouting?? Honestly, I wonder if he ever notices that he's talking out loud most of the time.

That denture detour was one of the most thrillingly weird things they have ever done on this show.

The Thai parrot greeter was one of my favorite greeters ever.

Until next week!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Better Than Good

Good Things That Have Happened This Week:

  • We had today off. Good Friday should be renamed "The Best Of All Fridays", because it is the only Friday we get off in the whole year. It always feels like we are all playing hookey on Good Friday. And the bonus? Nothing whatsoever is open, so we can't go anywhere or do anything.

  • I got to hold a 6-week-old baby yesterday. (It was a client in the shop's baby. The poor mother was valiantly trying to do something for herself after having her body hijacked for the past 10 months, and Tiny Baby Terrorist was having none of it. )When I offered to hold the baby while the mother was in the chair, she replied, with some astonishment "you don't mind??". Wherein Patricia and I had a small but fierce tussle over who got to hold the little scrap of humanity first. I was able to hold that downy little head up to my cheek and settle that impossibly tiny bum into my hand and take a long, deep sniff. It was wonderful.

  • I got my hair cut. Seriously, there is nothing that comes out of a perscription bottle that feels as good as getting your hair done. The Mister cuts my hair, has for years. People think that I am wildly trusting of him to do my hair, but the truth is he is A) extremely good at cutting hair, and B) was cutting way before we became a couple. In fact,one of the reasons we stay married is that I'd hate to lose him as a hairdresser. (And I'm pretty sure that any circumstances in which we split up would mean that letting him near my head with a sharp object would be pretty much out of the question.)
  • I put the winter boots away. Even though we had a bit of snow last Tuesday, I am willing to throw caution to the winds and banish the boots to the furthest reaches of the basement. The closet is cleaner, and I feel like I have won some sort of moral victory over the elements.
  • Thing 1 and I went for a long walk today. And of all the activities that my 14-year-old could have been doing on her day off from school, going for a walk with her mother was the one she chose to partake of.
  • The girls and I dyed Easter eggs this afternoon. I'm so happy that I have children who like to do the things that I like to do. If they played football or liked to collect stamps I guess I'd have to buck up and join in, but I'm delighted that they do not. Now,if I could only get them to like reading more....
  • I had Tuesday afternoon more or less to myself, and I sat down in the middle of the day and watched a movie. In the middle of the day.
  • Lent is over this weekend. I can massacre a Lindor bunny on Sunday. Something to look foward to.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel This book made me laugh out loud both times I read it…the real-life story of a girl growning up in a small town in Indiana. Her childhood is a bit unusual, but not terribly out of the ordinary. This writer’s voice was candid and matter-of-fact and endearing and very, very funny. The follow-up, "She Got Up Off the Couch" wasn't quite as hilarious, but still a fine read.

Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovitch Starting with "One for the Money", this series about a female bounty hunter in New Jersey never fails to entertain. I think there are something like 14 of them now, and each one can be read in a day or two.

A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson I love this guy, I really do. This book, about hiking the Appalachian Trail, had me wheezing with laughter. Understand, I have zero interest in hiking, or really, even leaving my house, so it wasn't necessarily the subject matter I found so highly amusing. He's just really, really funny. I also loved his books about growing up in Iowa, about Australia and Europe and England, and small towns in the States. Nobody entertains me quite as much as Bill Bryson. I would read his grocery list, if he'd let me.

McCarthy’s Bar by Pete McCarthy Any journey that begins with the motto "never pass a bar with your name on it" is probably right up my alley. McCarthy's adventures in the west of Ireland is one of my very favorite books. Not to be read in public, unless guffawing in the midst of strangers doesn't bother you.

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby A really great novel about a middle-aged record store owner who can't quite believe he's ready to grow up. I found myself loving all the references to pop music, as well as the love story and all the geeky male bonding.

Hypocrite in A Pouffy White Dress by Susan Gilman A very funny book about growing up in the 70s and 80s in New York. I enjoyed this book hugely.

Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes One of my very favorite books ever...who knew a bunch of drug addicts in rehab could be so unbelievably funny? When I first read this I found I couldn't read it in bed while the Mister was trying to sleep; my snorting and shaking kept him awake. But it's not lightweight, this book made me cry as well as laugh. I've enjoyed all Keyes' books so much, but I think I love this one best of all.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Future Plans

The Mister and I sat down with our financial advisor yesterday, to review our investments and figure out when we can retire. (Answer: when we are 107) Our financial guy, or, as they say in the biz, our "wealth manager" (heh) has been with us for about 17 years now, and we've been very happy with his least he hasn't been arrested for bilking us out of our life savings, which is something you can't take for granted, I suppose.

I've got some inkling of how stock markets and mutual funds and investments work, but I have to admit, it bores the snot out of me, and it's all I can do to pay attention while he's telling me about my money. I find my mind wandering to the most ridiculous places when I should be paying close attention to what he saying. It is utterly bewildering to me that I cannot tune out inane conversations of teenagers on the bus, or I'm out of my mind with boredom if I find myself in line without a book, but when this guy starts talking about things that pertain directly to my future wellbeing, I seem to find myself wondering why paper bags are never round, and how, exactly, Liza Minelli still has a career. It's ridiculous.

I gathered, after a mammoth effort on my part, that we still have some money socked away, and that if the kids don't want any sort of post-secondary education, we can go on a nice cruise at some point in the future. ("Why go to university? You can drink beer on my lawn for free!")

But just in case, I will be buying lottery tickets all the same. Retirement can't come too early.

Monday, April 6, 2009

My Drug of Choice

One of the constants in my life is that there will always be way too many good books than there is time to read them. After my recent trip to Florida, where I read for 4 days straight, I spent a goodly amount of time trying to figure out how I could retire immediately, so that I could read non-stop for the rest of my life, and still eat and have a roof over my head. All I came up with was divorcing the Mister and finding an already, much richer man to marry instead, or winning the lottery. I'll keep buying tickets, because the first plan is way to energetic for me, plus I'm not sure I will find a rich guy who's willing to hook up with a someone who really doesn't want to talk to him. Besides,I like the Mister.

Anyway, employment notwithstanding, reading is one of my very favorite things of all to do. I'm not sure what people who don't read do with themselves....if you're not reading, what are you doing? Computers and television are fun, I should know, I spend enough time on both of them myself, but you can't just whip out your laptop in line at the passport office to pass the time.

Whether it's on a plane or in a doctor's office or in a line at the bank or during my lunch break, my immediate action is to pull out my book. Because I always have a book on the go. Always. And it's always with of the things I learned from my father is "never leave the house without a book". There are very few times in my life where I've said to myself "man, I should never have brought something to read with me!". And believe me, there have been plenty of times I wish I had some sort of diversion along with me; there was more than a few mind-numbing parties I've attended, and one profoundly boring date I was on, where I wished I had brought along my book.

No matter what trials or tribulations I've encountered in my admittedly blessed life, I've always had reading to take my mind off things, or to remind me that other people in other times had it way, way worse than me...."that husband of mine is really pissing me off, but here's a woman who's husband had her declared insane and committed to an institution so he could steal all her money. Okay then!"

I don't know what I'd do without books. They've taught me and consoled me and entertained me and warned me and enlightened me. I love the idea that I can be inside someone else's head, even someone who's been dead for 200 years. It never ceases to amaze me that someone I've never met can speak to me so vividly and candidly, and sometimes that person isn't even real.

One of my co-workers once said to me "wow, you reading another book? You just read one last week!" Luckily, there will always be another one next week, too.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Colour Me

Every occupation has it's hazards: dentists have problems with their upper backs, waitresses have sore feet and apparenty game keepers have dodgy thumbs. Hairdresser's suffer from stiff shoulders, bunions and lower back problems, and we tend to cut ourselves a LOT. (I always carry band-aids, and a tetnus shot is just part of the routine.) But the real hazard when you are a hairdresser is the relentless and dramatic change in's impossible to be satisfied with whatever you have for very long, there's always something newer and better and brighter and shinier coming at you all the time.
After 2 years of being having boring brown hair (which initially seemed "so natural" and "more classic", but eventually descended into "so mundane" and "lacking originality") I dyed my hair red and then I blow-dried it straight. I like a change now and again, and I'm used to the schizophrenic nature of my hairstyle, but it seems to have caught everyone else off-guard, and one person even said "you should have warned me", like I had sneezed on her or something.
I've had my hair almost every colour on the spectrum, from my natural dark brown, to blonde, to jet black to red. I've had it short, really short, kind of short and shoulder length. It's normally fairly curly, but I've been known to spend inordinate amounts of time straightening it. (When I was in high school, I think I spent more time getting my hair straight than I ever did on my academics. Probably why I ended up a hairdresser.) I went through a time in the '80s when I had a chunk of hair at the front that was an incandescent fuschia colour. (I had people ask if it was natural. Like that colour naturally occurred in nature anywhere, let alone on a human head.)
When I turned 40, I decided that I had spent enough time and energy colouring my hair, and it was time to let nature take it's course and allow the grey to grow out. In an effort to speed things up, I cut it really short, with the result that I had plenty of people ask if "everything was okay". I went back to colouring it, and mused that perhaps 50 was the age to let nature take it's course.
But for now I am a redhead, and happy enough with it. Until I see something I like better.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Liver Runs Through It

I have long maintained a policy of "accept all invitations", as well as "try everything once". Usually these work out in a most pleasing manner: Kalamata olives, skiing and marrying the Mister, for example, have all been overwhelmingly positive. (Disney on Ice, roquefort dressing and the "bullet"water slide at Canada's Wonderland, not so much.) In that spirit, I accepted Big Liver Girl's invitation to attend the local fly-fishing society's monthly meeting last night. Just in case you are wondering, it fell into the "glad I did it" category, not the "please put a bullet in my head before I do that again" category.

Big Liver Girl has a place in Quebec, which I love going to very much. Since she and I and a bunch of other ladies from the hood (and I use the term "ladies" loosely, believe me) will be spending a weekend there in late May. Big Liver Girl got it into her head that she wants to take up fly fishing, and I would be the perfect companion for this sojourn. I'm not sure why she chose me, other than she is familiar with the above policy, and I can't help feel that she is taking callous advantage. Anyway, I was certainly game to give it a whirl.

Now, I've been fishing before, but with a rod and lure, which, apparently, is the appallingly low-rent cousin of fly fishing.....the Taco Bell to fly fishing's Cordon Bleu. I realized I had a LOT to learn. (For example, Big Liver Girl told me the cautionary tale of her own folly, mainly, she had mentioned at the last meeting that she planned to eat her catch, which resulted in a hushed and horrified silence, and then a polite change of subject, like she had farted loudly or something.)

Anyway, the talk at last night's meeting was all about common mistakes that even seasoned fishers make, like: know your hatch and mending your mend and watching the rise. It was all very interesting, until I realized that I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about. But, since I am such a keen student, I found myself trying to remember it all, and then I would snap out of it and realize that it meant absolutely nothing to me.

Big Liver Girl took the plunge (heh) and and became a member, for only $30 for the year. (She got a patch for her jacket, to boot.) I hope Big Liver Girl can learn the basics and then teach me, because I LOVE the idea of the two of us out in the river in Quebec, casting flies and catching trout, and generally creating a River Runs Through It scenario in which we look fabulous. I'm just not sure I can commit to actually learning the ins and outs of it. We tossed around the idea of hiring a guide, who would show us what to do, and would carry the beer, and maybe do the driving so we wouldn't have to. I also like the idea that I finally will have an excuse to wear hip waders without apology.

All in all, I think I will like fly fishing very much.