Saturday, January 30, 2010


Between computer woes, a gammy shoulder and a whole lotta busy, I've been unable to post much this week.
And now I will be away for another while; the entire Loudshoes family will be in DisneyWorld for the next few days. And just in time,'s -16°C as I write! Time for Mrs. Loudshoes to get herself on a plane and thaw out!!

See you in a week.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hospital Blues

Last night I took Thing 1 to the mall and had a good hard fall on the ice in the parking lot, and today I have one hell of a sore shoulder. The result is a day off work and a trip to the hospital this morning. (The irony is, I gave up running for the winter because I was afraid that I might slip and fall and have to take some time off work.)The nurse said she figured I would be the first of a parade of such injuries, since it rained and then got cold yesterday.

The hospital was pretty efficient; we have a "sort of emergency" room at one hospital, for people who need attention, but it's not life threatening. I got the Mister to drop me off there on his way to work, because after a fairly painful night, I thought I might have done something serious and we are leaving for Florida in a few days, and the last place I want to spend my holidays is in Orlando General. Not to mention, I spend allllll day with my hands up at shoulder height, anything that interferes with that compromises my paycheque mightily.
After some x-rays and a couple of hours at the hospital, the diagnosis was "you have a sore shoulder", which was fine with me, at least it wasn't a fracture or a torn rotator cuff or Dutch Elm disease.

Hospitals are miserable places, what with being full of sick people and all. But the people watching is truly fascinating...I just wanted so much to be able to ask everyone around me "so, what are you in here for?". (And it does not escape my notice that I would be asking the very same question if we were all in jail.) I did bring a book, but mostly I watched everyone else:
  • Naturally, the vast majority of the patient population is elderly. Getting old is not for sissies, and lots of people do it with more grace and humor than I think I am going to muster.
  • Being significantly overweight makes your life very much harder. And mobility problems as a result of being overweight makes every little action that much harder still. Note to self: lose ten pounds before it is sixty pounds.
  • People who work in hospitals really do care. Every single person I encountered was efficient but friendly, and made sure I was getting what I needed done as soon as they could.
  • Sick people are cranky and impatient. It's just as well I'm not a nurse, can you imagine me dealing with that all day?
  • The number of pregnant women who smoke is surprising, given all the information on the subject.
  • When you have three people in a waiting room with the same first name, hilarity ensues.

My right wing is still sore, but after a nap and some chocolate, I think I'm on the mend. But I'm staying away from that damn mall.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kibbles and Bits

Thing 1 and I were grocery shopping this morning, and while in the produce department, she remarked that she was disappointed that they didn't arrange the broccoli in the usual fashion, upright, like trees. She said she liked it when they did that, as when the sprinkler turned on, it looked like a tiny, little Amazon rainforest. She is my daughter, no?

Thing 2 had a basketball game today after school, and the Mister and I went to see it. Can I once again mention how over-the-moon thrilled I am that my children do not regularly participate in competitive sports? Because if had to sit through too much of that, I would be a puddle on the floor. When Thing 2 got the ball slapped out of her hands or an elbow to the head, it was all I could do not to go out on the court and slap the shit out of the kid that did it. It was a good thing I had the Mister there to remind me how unseemly it would be if I attacked a 12 year-old girl.
The gym they were playing in was tiny, no more than about half the size of our school's gym. While the home team were wiping the floor with our kids, I snotted to the Mister that I bet they're not so tough when they are playing in a real gym. Then I found out that they won the city championships last year, so I guess they are that tough.

Thing 1 and I went over to the mall after dinner to get her some new shoes. (We are going to Florida for a week on Sunday, and apparently Thing 1 had NO weather-appropriate shoes at all, I think all of last summer's shoes vanished into thin air. So a shopping trip was in order.) It rained most of the afternoon here, and then it got soon as I stepped off the sidewalk to go into the mall, I suddenly lost my footing, saw my feet up level with my head and felt that awful feeling you get as you realize you are about to get hurt something awful and there is nothing you can do about it. Boom onto my right hand and hip I that hurt. I managed to walk it off for the most part, but my right shoulder still hurts. Good thing I don't have to use my right arm for work or anything....hey....that might be a problem. As long as I can go to Florida, though!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Things That Need to Be Said

1. Jane, I am positive I did not steal your coat. I was not at the Legion, where yours disappeared from, this one has no spangly, blingy beautiful pin and I'm entirely sure you would never walk around with an appallingly large rip in the lining.
2. Lunch out with Big Liver Girl is one of my very favorite things in the whole world.

3. I is not physically possible for me to care less about Jay Leno or Conan O'Brien.

4. Lady at the grocery store yesterday who complained long and bitterly about the price of fresh cherries in Canada in January: watch the news and see what is happening in Haiti and then hang your head in shame.

5. I really like that my dad gives me a ride to work on Wednesday mornings. Not because I don't have to take the bus, and not because I can leave 20 minutes later, but because it's really nice to spend a few minutes with just him.

6. To be able to comfort a friend who is anxious and worried makes me feel like a superhero.

7. I have great in-laws.

8. My children are turning out to be nice, decent, reasonable, hilarious people, with whom I enjoy spending my time. I had heard that when they turned 14, they would be unrecognizable nightmares that I would cheerfully kill in their sleep. This has not turned out to be the case, and I'm grateful.

9. Thing 1 has decided to move her bedroom from the main floor of our house to the spare room in the basement. While the Mister puts down the new carpet, we have moved the rather large and bulky desk into the hallway temporarily. The only way to do this was to up end the desk, and have it sort of blocking the hall for a day or two. Toby thinks this is the best idea we ever had, and occupied all aspects of the new arrangement with haste. Here he is, on what would be the right-hand end of the desk. He has taken this opportunity of vertical superiority to physically assault everyone who goes by. As this is the only way in or out of the family room, there is ample opportunity for him to ambush every unsuspecting head foolish enough to pass within paw's reach. Here he is, eagerly awaiting his next victim....

It is unrelentlingly hilarious.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Inadvertant Criminal Career

When you live in a place where the temperature routinely gets to a point where it could re-arrange your anatomy without provocation, you end up having an entire wardrobe of winter gear. You have your "holy shit, that's cold" coat, which is totally ugly but entirely up to the job of keeping you warm, your "kind of cold, formal" coat, which is reasonably warm, but makes you look kind of attractive, your "sort of around freezing, casual" coat, which will keep you comfortable if you find yourself outside for less than an hour, and reasonably presentable. And there are all sorts of permutations in between; I guess the average Canadian has about 6 winter coats.
I have all of the above, and then some. One of my favorite coats is my plain, black wool number, that looks fine with jeans and skirts, is not too bulky (i.e does not make me look Michelin man-like at all) and can be worn 80% of the time between November and March.

This morning it was a little milder than it has been for the past month, and so I pulled out my trusty black winter coat (that I hadn't worn in a while) and put it on with my bitchin' silk scarf that elicits compliments wherever I go. When I put it on, I vaguely noticed that there were 3 buttons instead of 4, which felt kind of funny when I did it up, but I figured the bottom one fell off. Hmmm.

When I went to put my receipt from Starbucks into my pocket later this morning, the pockets were all sewn up, and I could't put anything in there. Didn't remember that from before. Hmmmm.

When I went out at lunch time to mail some letters, I picked up the coat from the rack in the staff room, from the Hindenburg of black wool coats that were hung up in the staff room. "Must be mine, because my gloves and scarf are in it, but I don't remember my coat being that long". Hmmm.

Just before I leave, I decide to go to the bathroom, and take off my coat. When I put it back on, my hand catches in the tear in the inner lining near the left arm. I never noticed that before. Hmmm... (You probably see where this is going long before I did...)

Wait a second....I DON'T THINK THIS IS MY BLACK WOOL COAT!!!!! A quick check to the label confirms that this is, indeed, NOT my coat. At all.
Clearly, I have stolen another person's coat. And I have gotten the better end of the deal, because I'm pretty sure this coat is much more expensive than my coat. This one claims it was made in Italy, and I'll bet my coat never saw Europe in it's life.

I have no idea who's coat this is, when I got it, or from when. I've been wracking my brains, but for the life of me, I have no clue whatsoever. My co-workers were splitting a gut laughing at me.

So....who's is it? And where did I get it? And when??? I think I'd like to know when, exactly, I entered a life of crime.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How I Spent My Day, Another Day

The Women's Section of the 1975 Eaton's catalogue was bad enough, but you should get a load of the Men's Department....even worse, if you can believe it. I understand that it is entirely the nature of "style" that it changes drastically from decade to decade, but it's really hard to wrap one's head around the idea that any of this stuff EVER looked cool or hip or attractive or even less than laughable, as if that was that was the height of your ambitions. Also, note the collective fear of showing your ears...clearly a phobia rampant in the 70's....
Exhibit A:

You know why these are "no-iron" shirts? Because they are made out of abominated chemical compounds that melt when heated higher than room temperature.Those synthetic monstrosities just last and last and last. (The Mister had several of these shirts when we got married, and I made him throw them out. But not because they needed ironing!) Don't you love the patterns? The patterns that re-arrange your neurons and make your retinas twitch? Between you and me? The guy on the bottom left is wearing "guyliner".

Ahhh, the Leisure Suit. Nothing says "The 70's" quite like the Leisure Suit. And although they look sort of like very formal polyester pajamas, they look anything but comfortable. In the top picture, the two men look like they are doing a very awkward version of "The Chicken Dance", and the two in the big picture look somewhat happier,but as if they have just been caught doing something they shouldn't have. But what do you expect for $29.95?

Whoa, dude....dial down the pose, please. I know what's in those pants, but I don't want to know what's in those pants, got it?? Love the selection on the right: "Brain Spasm", "Clown School Showdown", and "Brown-tastic Fiesta!""The Toughest Denim We Sell" Really? Do a lot of Hell's Angels buy the denim jacket with the ginormous fuzzy, white collar? Who loves these guys? I do. I very much do. Where every other model in the catalogue looks like he could reasonably shoot for a spot in the "Village People", these two look like real men. Look how proud Earl there up in the left hand corner is. And so he should....apart from winning the Shriner's "Man of the Year" award, he also scored a modelling gig in the Eaton's catalogue.

"So, the other day, the guys and I were standing around in our underwear, like we do, and we got to talking about what would happen if we pulled our waistbands up EVEN HIGHER".

I'm sure the next generation will find our fashion choices equally criminal, but at least we fearlessly showed our ears.

Monday, January 11, 2010

How I Spent My Day

Back in the summer the girls and I went to a small town near here that has the, and I mean, THE, most wonderful junk store in the entire world. I could spend all day in that place; it is spectacular. And for 2 bucks, I got a 1975 Eaton's Catalogue, an impressive purchase, I assure you. (If you are not Canadian, you would not be familiar with the iconic Eaton's Catalogue, which was a fixture for many, many years in every household, like the Sears Catalogue in the States. I'm not sure if out-of-date Sears Catalogues were as favored for use as hockey goalie pads like the Eaton's catalogue was.

I spent hours with this catalogue, it is entirely fascinating.
The womens' fashions are, as expected for the mid-70's, uniformly horrible.
Faith and begorrah! That's a LOT of green. The heading is "Durable Knits", for those of you who like your clothing to withstand, I don't know, a rip-roaring St. Paddy's Day.

Those wobbly heads are not the fault of the catalogue, but merely the result of me learning how my scanner works. Anyway, despite her giddy smile and broken neck, I think the one in the middle is seriously in danger of losing her shit altogether, because she is on her way to a very special occasion wearing only a bedspread.

I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty sure I had the outfit in the middle, and was mighty chuffed about it too. That was a particularly omnipresent colour in the 70's, and a highly unflattering one it was, too. "Yes, let me have something in a dull brown, but put some orange in, a bit of sludgy red, almost like dried blood.....maybe a bit of ear wax gold....perfect! Now, lets make lots of polyester out of it! Make sure it's durable!" The outfit on the right looks very, um...resistant to the human form. Almost like it was made out of cardboard and plaster of paris.

From the "Communist First Ladies Collection". Clearly, Raisa Gorbachev did her shopping out of the 1975 Eaton's Catalogue.

This is as racy as the Eatons' catalogue gets. The one on the left with the peach polyester nighty, has a decidedly "come-hither" look on her face, and the kneeling one either has a very short nighty on or has forgotten her pants. The one besider her must be the fastest one of the bunch, because she isn't even wearing sleeves, the hussy. I can just feel that slinky, slimy nylon.
And JUST when you think the Eaton's catalogue is heading straight down Sodom and Gommorah Boulevard at a hundred miles an hour, you turn the page and realize that all is well...

because this nightwear would firmly quash ANY ideas of sexiness the previous page might have stirred up. Honestly, these are 'The Birth Control You Wear'. Although, the lady second from the right might be wearing the equivilent of Clown Lingerie, I don't know. I do know that the fabric these are made of work up some hellish static electricity, and one would be warned to think long and hard before making contact with another human being. (Not that wearing one of these would bring that occurance about.)

There is much to be thankful for in the 21st century, not the least of which is the re-discovery of natural fibers, and flame-retardant fabric.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Smell You Later.

My friend Erin wrote this on her blog, and it inspired me to consider one's sense of smell. It really is an incredibly powerful trigger, for good and for bad. A particular smell can remind you of a person or a place or a time with such potency that for a tiny second, you are right back there again. And a smell can be comforting or repellent or intriguing right now, so that in a few years from now, you will be smack dab in 2010 all over again.

1. Chanel #5. This was the only perfume my mother ever wore, and she only wore it when she and my dad were going out to some big, fancy occasion. It smells like excitement and anticipation and grown-ups to me. On the other hand, I knew a woman who hated Chanel #5, because it was worn by her father's new wife, the one he left her mother for. To each his own.

2. Campfires. The smell of summer., and vacations and parties.

3. Clementines. The smell of Christmas.

4. Sheets dried on the line. That totally smells like freshness and cleanliness and purity.

5. The Mister's cologne. I figured out that the Mister was trying to woo me was when I realized that he was wearing cologne. He never wears cologne, mostly because his allergies won't tolerate it. So, it was a very big deal that he put it on to impress me. And whenever I smell it, I am reminded of that sticky, rainy summer day when we went to the CNE and ate fries and it dawned on me that he cared what I thought.

6. The top of a baby's head. The most perfect smell in the world. Whenever I smell that, I am taken back to nuzzling that downy little head with my cheek, and holding that impossibly small little body in my arms, and nursing at 3 a.m. and feeling like the only person awake in the whole universe.

7. Food when you are really hungry. I don't care what's being cooked, the smell of something on the go when you are faint with hunger is one of the most powerfully fabulous smells in the whole world. You see how people perk up when they smell dinner being prepared on an airplane? And that's airplane food, people.

8. Bad perfume. I once worked with a woman that I particularly disliked, and she wore "Poison" by Dior, and I now hate that stuff. Smells like rotting lilies and over-ripe fruit and whiny, bitter women and betrayal. To me, anyway.

9. Schools. What is that smell? Whenever I walk into a school, any school, I am hit with a mixture of orange peel and sweat and floor cleaner and wet wool.

10. The smell of the beach. Off mosquito repellent, coconut sunscreen and hot sand.

11. Me. The only perfume I really wore with any regularity was "Dewberry" by The Body Shop. I always got so many compliments on that fruity, sweet was what I imagined purple to smell like. I don't wear it anymore, mostly because I don't wear any perfume anymore; too many people are allergic to scents to wear perfume. But, if anything smells like me, I think that is it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Much Maligned Food That I Love

I'm not the most adventurous eater ever, but I will eat almost anything to be polite. And I will try almost anything, too. A few things that I love that other people can't abide are:

1. Brussels Sprouts. Everyone else in the house can't stand it when I cook them; Thing 2 says they smell like "troll farts", but I LOVE them. If you take off the outer leaves, slice them up thinly and sautee them in a bit of garlic and olive oil, I would happily eat the whole pan's worth without sharing.

2. Olives. Again, no one else in the house eats them, which is a-ok by me. My friend's mother, the teeny-tiny Greek lady, brings me some little, black olives which I'm pretty sure she gets on the Secret Greek Black Market, because I have never seen them sold anywhere, and they are spectacular.

3. Peanut Butter and Lettuce Sandwiches. Don't knock it without trying it....iceburg lettuce lands up on almost every other kind of sandwich you can think of, so why not peanut butter? And just to tell you? Peanut butter and cucumber is pretty good, too.

4. Porridge. On a cold, dark, snowy morning, a bowl of oatmeal is about the most wonderful thing ever. If you can get your hands on some Steel-cut oats, then you might be a convert. I will happily scarf down a bowl of regular rolled oats, but steel cut oats are heavenly. (I put a half a cup into a bowl the night before, cover them with water and let them sit overnight. In the morning, I microwave on high for 3 minutes. Almost instant.) Steel cut oats with a bit of brown sugar and vanilla soy milk will make me a very, very happy woman for the rest of the day.

5. Soy Milk. Is there anything that sounds more joyless than "soy milk"? Maybe "tofu gruel" or "low-carb bread". But I've come to really like soy milk, especially the vanilla kind. It's kind of sweet and has a nutty taste to it. It's really good in Chai tea lattes.

6. Arrowroot Cookies. Possibly the most boring cookie ever created, but dipped in my coffee, they are the perfect blend of starchy and sweet. I have to stop myself at 4.

7. Rhubarb. I know lots of people who hate rhubarb, and even more people who have never tried it... but it is wonderful stuff. You DO have to cook it, and even more importantly, you DO have to add sugar to it (or your head will positively dissolve with the sourness.) but oh, my, it's fabulous.

8. Weird desserts: #1: sliced bananas, drizzled with lime juice and a sprinkle of brown sugar, broiled for a bit to melt the sugar and then topped with a dollop of sour cream. Excellent, but other people look at me like I might have hit my head recently when I eat it. #2: mangos, chunked up, with lime juice and chili powder on top. Fabulous. #3: apples, sliced up, drizzled with carmel sauce and a sprinkle of kosher salt. I love that one.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Where I Begin My New Identity.

The Mister got a GPS a few weeks ago, which he loves. I have no idea why he got a GPS, since nearly all our driving in within the medium-sized city in which I grew up, and he has lived in for 35 years....chances are that if we have to go somewhere, we already know how to get to it. And most of the driving we do here is between work and home, no assistance required. But the Mister loves an electronic gadget, and couldn't pass up the chance to aquire one, no matter how useless I think it is.
He and the girls seem to spend the majority of the time with the GPS confounding the poor thing. They tell it where they want to go, and the device figures out a route, and then the three of them proceed to take every wrong turn and round-about journey possible, gleefully cackling when the nice English lady on the GPS repeatedly begs them to "turn right, then turn left" at ever corner we pass. Honestly, I would be in complete agreement if the nice English lady on the GPS started swearing a blue streak and telling us to go find our own way home if we are so freaking smart.

Anyway, I was driving the Mister home from work yesterday afternoon at around 4:30, with the girls in the car, and the Mister was telling me that you can programme the device to tell it when you want to arrive somewhere, and it will figure out the time you have to leave, and even alert you when it's time to go. I said I have one of those already, it's called my watch and my head and a sense of responsibility. But he and the girls argued that this was so much better, because it was electronic and therefore, much cooler, and ergo, vastly superiour to my primitive methods.
I said "isn't it way easier to just look at a clock and think 'I had better get going', than go to all that trouble?", and I got HEAPS of scorn dumped on me, with much more enthusiasm than the situation warrented, I have to say.

Thing 1 said "that's just the sort of thing Grandpa would say. Wait a minute....that's because YOU ARE GRANDPA!". Well, the two of them ran with that for a minute or two, thinking up all the ways in which I resemble a 74 year old man with bad knees. "See? You're Grandpa!" they would happily exclaim at each example. When I objected, they trimphantly shouted me down with more examples.

After a minute or two of silence, I yawned, and said I thought I might put my pajamas on right when we got home and go straight to bed before dinner. And Thing 1 shot right out with "What did I JUST say???"

She's right. I'm Grandpa.