Wednesday, June 30, 2010
When I was a kid, we seemed to have relatives visit from overseas almost every summer, and every one of them wanted to go see Niagara Falls. And why not? If I was that close to Victoria Falls or the Grand Canyon, I'd want to go see it too. I'm pretty sure my father does not enjoy Niagara Falls, because my memories of those trips involve getting up at 4 in the morning, hammering down the highway at Mach 1 to "beat the traffic", and actually standing and looking for the falls for about 5 minutes before piling into the car and heading back home. I swear we did the entire 5 hour round trip all before lunch, once.
My brother and I would spend the endless search for a parking spot looking for out-of-province licence plates. There would be cars from all over North America in those lots, and the person who saw the plate from farthest away, "won". This lead to incredibly heated exchanges about who saw the licence plate from New Hampshire or Texas first, and then, because of my brother's vast intellectual superiority and general knowledge of geography, he would convince me that New Hampshire was farther away than Texas, and I "lost" every time.
We took the kids to Niagara Falls a few years ago, and for the first time ever, went on the Maid of the Mist. Just to tell you, the Maid of the Mist is a fabulous; a huge bang for the buck. You have no idea how high those falls really are until you sail right up to the bottom of them. And despite the blue plastic burka they give you to keep you dry, you get totally soaked and end up looking like a particularly well-dressed homeless person for the rest of the day. (I went into the bathroom when we got off the boat, to see if I looked as bad as I thought, and while I cleaned mascara off my collar bone, decided I looked worse.) And the Maid of the Mist is only about 15 dollars for a half hour ride....totally worth it.
Not far from Niagara Falls is one of the loveliest little towns in Ontario, Niagara-On-The-Lake, which is at the end of the Niagara river, where it empties into Lake Ontario. It's as genteel and pretty and blushing as Niagara Falls is loud and brash and swaggering. The trip to Niagara-On-The-Lake is really beautiful, all along the Niagara Gorge. At one point, the river takes an almost 90° turn, which results in a pretty remarkable whirlpool. You can take a cable car trip over the gorge from one side to the other, which you would never get me on in a gazillion years. "Sure, I'd love to be suspended 700 feet in the air over a churning vortex of surging water, possibly plunging to my death in the blink of an eye! Then I'm going to taunt a hungry wolf while wearing a bacon suit!". The cable car is mysteriously called "the Spanish Cable Car", although I have never seen any evidence of flamenco dancers or Serrano ham on it.
I adore Niagara Falls, I really do. Someday I should bring my dad and let him see it in the daylight.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Trying on bathing suits in the kind and gentle environment of my very own bedroom is a gazillion times nicer than working up a lather of sweat and self-loathing in a florescent-lit changing room. (Why does the room get SO HOT when I try on bathing suits? It's like I develop my own weather system right there in withe me.)
I like the bathing suits well enough, as much as I can like any bathing suit. There's really only so much you can ask of a few meters of spandex and elastic, they are not going to change my Humpty Dumpty shape. I'm an egg-on-legs, no matter what I put on me.
So, thank you for all that suggested the mail-order strategy; I will never endure the Dementor-quality fitting rooms at Wal-Mart again.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
We had "customer appreciation" day at the salon on Saturday; we had a Tiki Bar set up, and gave out drinks and snacks to the clients all day. (The Tiki Bar is a vaguely tropical themed hutch, sporting coconuts and parrots and a grass skirt. They make fruity drinks and are killer to hire for a party.) At the end of the day, the guy who runs the Tiki bar, who's a friend of ours, asked if I wanted to take home the rest of the fruit, so he didn't have to load it all up and take it home himself. Of course, I said yes, and found myself leaving work with 3 dozen bananas and all the pineapples I could carry. Now I have 3 dozen bananas in my kitchen.
Getting rid of bananas isn't a problem, because all the Loudshoes like their bananas at differnent stages. Although bananas take a few days to go bad, their window of "acceptability" is fleeting. I reckon that a banana is only "good" for about 20 minutes of it's entire life. Thing 1 likes her bananas on the under-ripe side; one spot of brown and it's game over. Thing 2 likes her bananas to actually be crunchy....they are so green and crisp it's hard to believe she doesn't double over with stomach cramps. It's hard to sit near her when she eats a banana. Because of the noise. She won't eat a banana if it has no green on it anymore. I'll eat bananas when they have spots, but are not squishy. The Mister will eat banans when they are so soft you could probably eat them with a straw.
But 3 dozen bananas is a LOT of bananas. I will freeze them when they are good and ripe. (Which is just about the time that the fruit flies will colonize the kitchen entirely, and run me out of town.) The bananas can join the other couple of dozen bananas in the freezer from the last time Don told me I could take home the leftover fruit from the Tiki Bar. (I can only make so much banana bread.)
A few months ago, when the Mister's aunt went into the hospital after her stroke, she told me to clean out her fridge and take whatever would go bad home with me. I ended up with a couple of bags of milk, 2 dozen eggs and 3 bags of apples and TEN POUNDS of onions. (She lives alone, what the hell??) Since nobody else in the house eats eggs much, it was all up to me. (I've developed a small but intense addiction to poached eggs on grainy bread with a nest of alfalfa sprouts. Thanks, Big Liver Girl!) I've had eggs every day for breakfast, and decided that Eggs Benedict made a fine dinner, too. I'm still working on the onions. The apples went in the composter, I can only do so much.
We worked our way through a flat of strawberries when they came into season, and we happily look forward to our "All Blueberry, All The Time" diet that will come in late July. Too many raspberries is the happiest problem ever, and there's hardly even such a thing as "too many peaches".
I can't freeze the onions, but at least they are good for more than 20 minutes.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Both Thing 1 and Thing 2 wanted to get new bathing suits, and it was their idea to try Wal-Mart first. As they browsed around and picked up stuff to try on, like a FOOL I took a look at the "grandma" bathing suit section and found a few items that might be acceptable for me. (There are two parts to the bathing suit department at any store, the "young" section and the "grandma" section. The "young section" is strictly for looks, not practicality. The bathing suits there are made of 14 square centimeters of fabric and the wearer needs to stand up at all times, preferably perfectly still. The "grandma" section has bathing suits made of huge swathes of black fabric, and can double as barbeque covers. The wearer can rope steers, pole vault and wrestle alligators without revealing one extra inch of doughy white flesh to the world. )
I tried on the suits, which is a task only for the stout of heart and strong of character at the best of times, and not to be undertaken after a rather large dinner of a crispy chicken Caesar salad wrap, fries and two diet Cokes. (The garlic in the Caesar salad wrap made me thirsty!) Or in a Wal-mart.
I will spare you the gruesome details, but holy schnickies, the lighting in those fitting rooms would make you swear off ever leaving the house again, if only as a public service. How did I not notice that I have varicose veins and barnacles?
I put all of my "grandma" selections back on the rack, and decided to try again another day, at another store. Preferably one that sells three-piece bathing suits, and lights their fitting rooms with candles.
Monday, June 14, 2010
This was about a week after my friend had given her daughter the speech about how she was going to have to go out and, you know, actually look for a job; no one was going to come knocking on her door and just offer her one.
She's delighed her daughter has a job for the summer, but would rather she had obtained it in a manner that did not prove her mother wrong.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
You really thought you could manage both, didn't you? You probably thought you were doing a perfectly passable job of manoevering your shopping cart and choosing items from the shelf and chatting away to your friend/sister/mother/husband. But let speak for the rest of the customers at No-Frills and state clearly and without reservation: YOU WERE NOT. YOU WERE A FREAKING TRAIN WRECK THAT MOVED ALL OVER THE STORE.
No one could escape you; no matter where we fled, there you were. Produce aisle? You were blocking the seedless green grapes that were on sale. Cereal aisle? You were perpendicular. Freezer department? No one could open a door without getting around you first. I nearly lost my shit altogether when I tried to get around you for the umpteenth time and you veered into the middle of the aisle and then stopped dead. Seriously, I nearly rammed right into you to teach you a lesson; you should count your lucky stars that you have any Achilles tendons left intact.
I kind of feel sorry for the person on the other end of the phone (although, really, that person had a choice to hang up or not, we had to put up with you no matter what.) Your conversation, while entirely audible to all and sundry, was less than scintillating. What the person you were talking to was going to do with the running commentary on your shopping trip is anybody's guess...."They are out of Nutrigrain bars again" will likely not count as one of the major high's of anyone's day.
Please take this in the nicest way possible: "Multitasking: It's not for everyone". Drive the cart, shop for your groceries, talk on the phone, just not all at once. Don't make me sever your Achille's tendons.
Monday, June 7, 2010
We live in a part of Canada that is lovely, but very flat; mountains hold a particular thrall for us. This shot is looking back towards the condos with the ski hills in the background, taken when we were walking to dinner. Who wouldn't fall in love with this place?
We went on a hike another day, went out and had drinks at a very swanky bar, were fed well, did some shopping and hung out by the pool. And we talked and laughed and had some sangria and thoroughly enjoyed the holiday from our every day lives. And of course, had spectacular company. Thank you, Sharks, and thank you, Quebec....you never disappoint.