Friday, November 30, 2007

it's a quarter to three...

Well not really, but it's getting late, and it's time to NaBloPoMo.

So this isn't really a guest post, but it's coming to you from a guest location, live from Vivian's so give it up!

And I'm remembering that my last year's NaBloPoMo post was lame, and I vowed that if I did this again this year, I'd have just an awesome post.

So what do y'all think? Awesome, right?

Yeah, you know it.

Happy end of NaBloPoMo everyone. I need more wine.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

feed the world

So Charles and I did a little duet today, and this is how it went:

It's Christmastime
There's no need to be afraid
At Christmastime
We let in light and we banish shade
And in our world of plenty
We can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime

etc.

The child is learning this tune for his class Christmas concert, which is awesome. But then he says "so is this like a classic Christmas song?" And I said "um - well - sort of - it's from 1984" And he was all "whoa - so it's old"

Thanks, dude.

In my defense, I did explain to him the whole history of the concept, told him who was involved, who wrote the song, the lyrics and music, why it was such a big deal, and how it launched a bunch of other (albeit less worthy) songs for African relief, told him that I'd find the video for him, but pay no attention to Bono's (and everyone else's) gigantic hair. It kind of scared me, actually, how much I knew about that song. But then, it's launched the holiday season for me for the past 23 years. For me, it's the musical equivalent of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Once I see that show, I'm officially in the holiday spirit. And same goes for the Band Aid tune.

So Charlie Brown was Tuesday night, and Do They Know It's Christmas was today. Consider me officially holidayfied.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

you want to know what about my bread?

I was in the grocery store last week with Charles and we were buying a few things. Cheese, tortilla chips, olives, salsa, sour cream....clearly we were gonna make us some nachos. So we get up to the 8 items or less check-out (because we only had 6, I swear) and the clerk says to us: "Wellllll someone's making nachos for supper, huh? Isn't that a nice treat!" So Charles says "yeah, it's great!" but I'm thinking "Excuse me? What did you just say to me??"

Okay, let me explain, lest you think I just go around looking for trouble.

When I was doing my library diploma (or libdip for short) one of the courses involved circulation - not as in the system in your body, of course - but as in library materials. Circulation, in the library world is sacred. Patron privacy is the ultimate priority, and under no circumstances are you to comment on what people are signing out. This is the dog's honest truth, people - this is what was drilled into fledgling library heads lo these many years ago. On no account can you call someone out about what they're signing out from your library. Ever. This golden rule pretty much applies at all libraries, but the librarian teaching my particular course was a public librarian, so she was using public libraries as the model. Basically, if you take anything up to the circ desk and show your card, the items are signed out no questions asked.

One of the examples that was used in my class - and probably many, many library school classes worldwide, was the instance of (and I'm probably going to get some of the details wrong, but the gist of it you will understand) the teenager who signed out the book Final Exit. The staff member who checked the book out knew the kid and the kid's family. Later, the kid committed suicide. The very distraught parents were outraged that the staff member didn't tell the parents what their kid had signed out, holding this person responsible, that if they'd said something, maybe it could have been prevented... A very sad story indeed. However, the staff member was under no obligation to say anything, of course. And so it goes.

Anyway, this has always stuck with me througout my library career, and I think it's important. You don't make comments to someone checking out diet books like "Hey, great! You've finally decided to do something about that spare tire!" just like you wouldn't say "Wow, that's a lot of electronics and pyrotechnics books you've got there - gonna make a bomb?"

So I'm always shocked and taken aback when grocery or other clerks make comments on my purchases. The nachos thing was only one in a long series of instances where I just didn't know how to respond. Some times it's more disturbing than others. Like the time the grocery clerk commented "Jeez, you sure do have a lot of vegetables! Are you like a vegetarian or something?" or when two women handled the bread I was buying saying "Yeah, I've always wanted to try this but it's sooooo expensive - so, is it worth it??" I wanted to run. On the other hand, when I bought my winter coat last weekend and the girl said "Man, I love that coat on you, it's awesome! And you know, they're super warm too" I was pleased. Maybe because I'd asked for some help, talked a little about what I was looking for - stuff like that. So her comments were justified and welcomed. But, when I walk up to the check-out lane at the grocer and plunk my items on the belt, I've done it all myself and I guess I just don't need justification for what I'm purchasing. Nor do I need comments.

So I guess what I'm wondering is does this bother anyone else? Are you annoyed or flattered when check-out people comment on your purchases? Does it feel like an invasion of your privacy, or are you willing to share your preferences for expensive breads? Am I alone in the deer in the headlights feeling when this happens because of my "the customer's items are sacred and are known to them and them alone" mantra, or do others share this view? Am I the only crazy in the room?

Know what? Don't answer that last one, k? Thanks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

party time

So have you ever wondered what happened to old photos? Most of us hold on to a metric tonne of snapshots. Have you ever thrown any away? I know I have - usually hurtin' pictures of me. But I'm careful to rip them up, naturally. And in my whole life I've probably only thrown away about a dozen. That's how photogenic my gorgeous self is, y'all.

Anyway, have a look at Square America to see what can happen to old photos if you're not careful. I think The Party is about the craziest shit I've seen in awhile. Someone was documenting this debauchery! People posing half naked and in their skivvies! Men in curlers?!

I always knew I was born in the wrong era.

Monday, November 26, 2007

e-L sometimes forgets

e-L often does not understand why the people at the bus stop aren't rocking out. But then, she remembers that the other people at the bus stop actually can't hear the music on her iPod.

So that explains that.

However, it sometimes seems as though people can hear the music in her ears because they walk to the beat. Have you ever noticed this? It's very cool when you've got some tune cranked up high and some dude is just strutting down the street, almost like he's singing along. Love that.

Ha. Take that NaBloPoMo.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

sunday bloody sunday

Okay not really.

It's Grey Cup Sunday actually so give it up for the CFL! East vs. West in the 95th Grey Cup. Played in Toronto this year, but sadly I didn't get to any of the Grey Cup week festivities. It's always a good party, the lead up to the big game is. This year the shadow of the NFL hangs over the league. Toronto really wants an NFL team, and Buffalo might be looking for a new home. What that could mean for the CFL remains to be seen. I don't know that it would spell complete disaster, but quite frankly, I don't think Toronto could support two professional football teams.

At any rate, beer and chips will be consumed, the TV will be yelled at, referees will be called names and some excellent football will be coming to us live in about 6 hours time. Awesome.

Go Bombers!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

lunch date

We went out today and had a really nice lunch. Lovely conversation, lots of laughs and discussion. We ate sushi, edamame, miso soup, salad and drank green tea. We both managed to use the chopsticks without too much difficulty, which was great. We lingered over green tea and chatted some more. Oh and did I mention? My companion for lunch was Charles.

So when exactly did it happen that I could take my son out for such a sophisticated meal? It was actually his choice, and it was awesome. It's hard to believe a month today he will turn 10. And harder to believe how quickly those years have flown, which scares me, because the next 10 are likely to go even faster.

So here's to many more lunches. Maybe one day the boy will even pick up the tab.

Friday, November 23, 2007

tomorrow!

So tomorrow I'm getting my major-ass friend fix. Oh hells yeah. I got friends coming in from hours away just to party wit us. And it's gonna kick in so many ways.

All right, I'm tired, so I'll just tell you straight up what's going down. Tomorrow there are a bunch of our friends coming over. I'm making more killah chili, we're consuming some beverages and then some McGinty will be taken in. I've never actually seen this band in living action, but I have heard that they do indeed rawk the howse. So I'm stoked. And also, there will be 9 or 10 of my bestest friends in attendance and there will be much laughter, reminiscing, telling of crazy-ass Navy, university and StevieB stories. We will drink beer and laugh some more. We'll dance and sing Farewell to Nova Scotia (I hope!) and laugh even more. And it will be awesome. Then we'll all crash at our house and hit Ray's for breakfast Sunday morning, where more stories will be told, more laughter will happen, more catching up will occur.

So, does it sound like I've already experienced this? I have. With these friends, nights like this are predictable. Yet they are predictably awesome. I am so excited to have these people around me you have no idea. Or maybe you do. And if you do? Then you're just as lucky as I am.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

smiles for thanksgiving

So I don't celebrate Thanksgiving today, but I'm still giving thanks. I've always been a fan of the US version of Thanksgiving, so I hope all of you celebrating are enjoying your Tofurkey. Wait...what? Ok, never mind.

So I'm here to share some more bits of awesomeness:

#1 There's a really cute, 3-storey apartment building that I pass on my way to work, called the Elgin Apartments. (as an aside, do all apartment buildings have names? My town seems to have a disproportionate number of buildings that are named. I love it, but I'm curious as to whether this is a thing for my city or if it's everywhere. So let me know) Anyway, it's an old building and there's some lovely ivy growing on it. So much ivy that it has, in fact, covered over the EL in Elgin. So now, it is the Gin Apartments. Awesome. I think I'd like to live there.

#2 Charles and Max in their jammies, right out of the shower. Nothing could be more adorable. Or smell better.

#3 Hearing the distinctive "pop" of a cork as John opens a bottle of red wine and pours me a glass.

Thursday night bliss.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

talking trash

My city is tossing around the idea of introducing a one bag of garbage per household bylaw. So, every week on garbage pick-up day, put out one bag. One. Un. I'm a fan of this, naturally. I'm all for recycling, composting, green carting, what have you. So I think it's fantastic that this could happen as early as March 2008.

Lots of people, though, aren't nearly as happy as I. They claim they can't possibly reduce down to one bag per week. I've read letters in the paper where large families - with small children in diapers - try hard to divert their waste, but insist they would not be able to stick to the one bag limit. While I do feel for them, I still maintain that it's a possibility that should be given some thought. We're a family of 4. Each week we put out (maybe) one and a half small grocery sized bags of trash. Some weeks we don't put out any. We don't use a bin or a green/black garbage bag, we have no need for that. So, I'm thinking, even a family of say 6 would probably go about a half a large bag or garbage bin. Family of 8? 10? You get the picture. It's doable.

Some opponents of the bylaw, while in favour of the reduction of trash worry that people will put their one bag on the curb - and 3 or 4 others in a ditch someplace. I was all "wha'?? People would do that??" Apparently they would. Or, they'd divvy up their trash amongst their neighbours. This I believe, we've had this happen to us before - all of a sudden there are 6 bags of garbage on my lawn? Huh? Pisses me off. So there would need to be some policing for sure, I'm really not sure city council has thought this through, but I'm happy there's some buzz about it and some debate happening.

The amount of waste we produce can be reduced. I know a lot of people blame manufacturers for packaging that is wasteful, and I totally get that. But so much of what is sent to landfill has to do with our society's addiction to consumption and overconsumption. Especially at this time of year when we're inundated with ads to buy buy buy! It's all a little sickmaking, and when you multiply our own urge to spend and buy by millions of others? It's almost obscene.

This is why I'm encouraging y'all to participate - or not participate? - in Buy Nothing Day. On Friday, November 23rd - the day after US Thanksgiving, and the absolute busiest shopping day of the year in North America - buy nothing. Think you can do it? I'm going to try. If you absolutely have to buy, at least be aware of Buy Nothing Day and be mindful of your purchases. So much of our shopping and buying time is spent zombie-like in malls and shopping centres, so think carefully, know where you're spending your money.

Anyone who decides to take part, please feel free to leave comments as to how you made out!

And yes, I realize I'm talking to maybe two people, but I do like to be optimistic.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Since we're nearing the start of the holiday festive season (yes, I said nearing - I refuse to acknowledge that holiday stuff has been out since before Halloween) thoughts naturally turn to that most festive of all drinks - the martini.

And, at this same time of year, thoughts may also turn to - gadgetry. So, wouldn't it be cool if you could combine the two?

No, I didn't think so either. Still, that didn't stop the good people at Waring Pro.

Behold:
You can find out more about it at Popgadget, should you choose to know more. I think I'll stick with my penguin.

Monday, November 19, 2007

digging deep

Tonight was karate class and it was HARD. I mean it's always hard, but this was one of those classes where you have no time to catch your breath in between anything ever. And yeah, that sentence totally made sense, didn't it? See, this is what I'm talking about.

This weekend - the one that just passed - is a blur. I seemed to have been on the go all day Saturday and Sunday with no time to catch my breath in between anything ever. (hmmm....maybe that sentence can work....)

Most of my weekend was taken up with fun activities - Santa Claus parade! A visit with friends! Shopping in Toronto! Some of the activities were just the usual stuff - laundry. Dishes. Stuff like that. But no matter, I just didn't seem to be able to slow down. Then today it's back at work and go go go there, and then karate class and I am wiped.

Yet here I am. And something our instructor said at the end of the class tonight really resonated with me (yes, I said resonated - I'm smart like that, even when exhausted) and I wanted to share it. He said he purposely made the class tough because he wants us to really work on our mental fitness. So much about martial arts is mental - the ability to push yourself when you're ready to give up; the mindset to tell yourself you can really make it through; the courage to continue to give it your all when you're physically (and mentally) exhausted.

He also likened mental fitness to life in general, which I totally loved. Things you need to get through in life, no matter how stressful or worrisome or awful can actually be overcome if you're in the right mindset. The instructors tell us to "dig deep" - meaning, dig deep within yourself to overcome the pain, the strain, the exhaustion. It's in you to succeed, you just need to believe you can do it.

We recently watched the movie Meet the Robinsons with the kids. I won't go into the whole plot line or anything, but one of the themes throughout was "keep moving forward". Just keep trying. And in one fantastic scene where the main kid invented something of which he was super proud, that ended up malfunctioning, the whole family started cheering, saying "Hooray, you failed!" For them, failure was an opportunity to learn - to keep learning. I thought it was awesome.

So tonight I dug deep. All weekend I dug deep. I know I've got it within myself to fail, but keep trying. Keep moving forward. And you do too.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

e-L is feeling pensive

It's Sunday night, and I always do a bit of mourning on Sunday nights. It's not that I didn't have a good weekend (I did); it's not that I hate the thought of returning to my job tomorrow morning (I don't); it's not that there won't ever be another weekend or anything. I don't know what it is - it's been with me since forever.

So I thought maybe I need to motivate myself, to embrace Sunday night and look to the promise of the new week! Yes! Welcome, Monday we've been waiting for you! How exciting to start a new week, another Monday to Friday work week! Yeah I know. Not working. I did however find myself a cool motivational sign generator, and made myself a sign. Now remember, it's late on Sunday evening so it's not the usual pure genius you're used to from e-L. But maybe it will motivate you to make a sign and embrace the work week too!



Or maybe we really are just working for the weekend...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

e-L is blogging

And blogging for your reading enjoyment, because it's all about you, people. It really is. I understand how you would be bummed should I not show up. I mean yeah, there's NaBloPoMo and all, but honestly, I'm only thinking of y'all.

I only wish that I had something for you. Yeah. So sorry. How many days left? *sigh*

Friday, November 16, 2007

fulfilling my duty

Yes kids, I'm briefly blogging from work. It had to be done, because I'm out of here in 20 minutes and meeting a friend for sushi. Then, I'm off to another get-together because I apparently have a social life, of which I've just become aware. Really. I normally don't have much going on for a Friday night, so to have two engagements? Wow.

I kind of feel like a Cheaty McCheatster, because I accepted both invitations. Do you ever feel like that? I mean it's not like I'm going to be Fred Flintstone where he is supposed to be bowling the big championship game BUT it's his anniversary so he attempts to do both by running back and forth between the bowling alley and the drive-in movie (the drive-in because that's where he and Wilma went on their first date) and he keeps running out for popcorn or drinks and then bowling, and he's totally getting away with it until he slams his thumb in the car door then bowls and gets the ball stuck on his thumb, so he finally has to confess that yes, he was bowling on their anniversary, but it all works out in the end, cos Wilma's like that. Remember that? Well rest assured, I don't roll that way.

I guess I should look at it like the best of both worlds - a nice dinner with one friend, and then some hanging and gabbing with some others. Yes, I think that's how I'll look at it. Huzzah for friends! And a whole hella bunch in one evening. Makes me feel kind of warm and fuzzy inside, really. Yabba Dabba Doo!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

from me to you...

...enjoy.

I'm having a hard time focusing tonight - I'm almost thinking I'm NaBloPoMoed out, people. 15 days and hoo boy, it's getting hard.

Hopefully I'll come up with something profound tomorrow. And if not profound, then profane.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

almost at the half-way point!

And yeah. I got nothing.

So here's what I did this evening:

  • made a shepherd's pie for tomorrow's dinner - just need to pop it in the oven! (wow, who am I? when have I ever said "pop it in the oven"? I think I'm channelling a 1970s era Easy Bake Oven commercial or something)
  • made a big pot of killah chili - for another meal this week or weekend
  • stood in awe of myself for that much food preparation

Every once in awhile I get these sort of attacks of domesticity - last week I even made banana muffins. For reals, dudes. My kids don't know who I am when this happens. It kind of scares them, yet they do enjoy a good muffin, so they say very little, lest this kind baking stranger goes away forever.

Oh and last bullet:

  • went and kicked some serious ass at karate

Ah, that's more like it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

smile inducers for 13/11/07

#1 A huge - seriously huge - flock of geese flying southward on my way home tonight. Big honking V - ha, honking, get it? I crack myself up.

#2 Crazy-ass little kid logic in the UPS pick-up depot:
little kid: daddy, what's Diego plus Lazytown?
dad: um....I don't know...what?
little kid: *rolling eyes" daddy, I already told you it's Transformers. Diego + Lazytown = Transformers!
See? Stuff like that makes me go "shit, wow, it's not just my weirdo kids with crazy-ass logic - whew"

#3 Listening to my boys read in French. They have that certain....I don't know what....and their accents? Incroyable.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Things learned or reemphasized at Great Wolf Lodge this weekend

#1 Bathing suits are the ultimate equalizer. It's true. When you're surrounded by hundreds of other people, all wearing some sort of swimsuit, you eventually become completely unaware that everything around you is wearing nearly- well, nothing. It takes some getting used to (there are a lot of hairy backs in the Niagara area - I'm not judging, just noticing) but after awhile? We're all the same. But um, for the record? e-L does not have a hairy back.

#2 Apparently, in spite of what I've claimed my (almost) entire life, I am actually a waterslide person. I love the water, I spent my entire childhood summers in a lake, I have no problem going off a diving board, I can swim lengths and do handstands and somersaults. But until this weekend, waterslides were not something I could do. After much cajoling by my husband and children though, I braved one of the biggest ones, and now, nothing can stop me. Maybe next summer I'll have to work on roller coasters. *shudder*

#3 Any place is the happiest place on earth (registered trade mark of Disney, yeah yeah, I know) when I'm with my boys. The hotel/waterpark thing is great, of course. But really, it's just about us all being together as a family. I'm a very lucky woman.

So all in all? 8 thumbs us from us. We had a lot of fun.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

in case you need me...

...here's where I'll be until tomorrow. Oh yes I will.

Happy Sunday, see y'all tomorrow!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

for your listening pleasure

One of the things I enjoy about the CBC is that the annual Massey Lectures are always available online. I know I've blogged about Massey before (and wow, was that really two years ago? I bet I have a blogversary coming up some time soon) because they're always so impressive. Well now, select "Lost Massey Lectures" are now available as podcasts here so you can listen to Martin Luther King Jr's 1967 lecture, or Jane Jacobs' lecture from 1979. How awesome is that?

There is also a book of these lectures from Anansi Press (one of my absolute favourite publishing houses. And really, do normal people have favourite publishing houses? or is that strictly a thang with those of us in the library profession? Hmmm...)

So from me to you, 5 podcasts from great thinkers and a fantastic new book. (and I promise to try harder to eliminate the stream of consciousness parentheses for my next post. Really.)

Friday, November 09, 2007

i will remember you

I'm happy it's Friday, yo. And for me, a nice long weekend in honour of Remembrance Day on the 11th. Yeah, you heard me, those of us in health care get that day off. So give it up.

Usually on Remembrance Day I turn on the tv (if I'm home) and watch the service from Ottawa. I think the part that always gets me is the honouring of the Silver Cross Mother. That always makes me cry. It always has, and of course, now that I am a mother, it's a bazillion times worse. It used to be that the woman was extremely elderly - someone who'd lost a child in WWII or maybe Korea. But sadly, lately, it's been much younger mothers - mothers representing those lost in Afghanistan. And I hate that.

If you checked out my Halloween pics, you'll see my eldest son all done up as a sailor. Nice costume, right? Well, actually, that was my uniform - back in the day. In 1985 I joined the Naval Reserves, and that year also just happened to be the 75th anniversary of the Canadian Navy. So there were a lot of celebrations during this anniversary year, and one of the stunts the powers that be came up with, was to bring back the old-skool uniform for the band.

So we all got fitted - and they weren't "new" uniforms, done up like the old style, no no. They were the actual old uniforms. For reals. And they were itchy. And only designed for men. And there were a lot of parts - cap, dickie (shirt), tunic, collar, trousers, putties, lanyard... It was complicated! And this from a girl who is all about the accessories. But anyway...

The first time we put this monkey suit on, we were all "awww come on, hell noooo!" - monkey suit indeed - we all looked like organ grinder monkeys (do people even know about organ grinder monkeys these days? I don't know) - but off we went for the Remembrance Day parade. And it was cold. Fucking cold. And freezing rain. Now, when you wear the regular "new" uniform and it's snowing/raining/sleeting/cold you get to wear your overcoat. Nice and toasty. But, with the old uniform? There was no issued coat. No issued gloves. So you froze. And did I mention we were the band? So not only were we blue with cold, we also had to march and play our horns. Which were freezing up by the second. It was hell on earth.

Except that it wasn't. And I distinctly remember the moment I realized that it wasn't. We were standing at the cenotaph during the two minutes silence, waiting for the fly past, and I was trying to thaw the keys of my clarinet with my breath, and failing, and I was looking around the crowd gathered downtown. And I started checking out all the veterans, just standing there, heads bowed and blowing on their hands to keep them warm. And I remember thinking about what they did. And thinking, my god, some of them were probably exposed to weather like this for days on end in the North Atlantic. Long lonely stretches of freezing rain and wind and being torpedoed and trying to stay alive. And all of a sudden I remember thinking, I can do this fucking parade. It didn't make me any warmer, but that didn't matter. In 15 minutes I'd be marching off, back down to the armouries, and then getting my coat on and hopping into a car and heading back down to the base for lunch and a couple of good stiff drinks. Then I'd go home for a hot shower and a nap (I was a highschool student at the time after all). And get back to my normal life. The veterans who attended the ceremony, were they ever able to get back to their normal lives? What the fuck could be normal after what they'd seen? And the ones who didn't make it home. No "back to normal" for them or their families. Ever.

So seeing Charles decked out in the uniform was awesome - but it also felt a bit like a hit to the gut. Here's this kid who is so proud to be wearing his mum's old uniform - and wearing it very well, I might add. And all I can think is that I don't ever want to see him wearing one of those for real. What I would really like to see is no more war, and no more Silver Cross Mothers - ever. We need to tell our government. It's definitely time to stop.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

breakfast conversation

Here's what went down in our house this morning. Max informs us that he's making a movie. I don't know where this puts his plans to run a candy store that is LLBO licensed, but whatever. Now, he's a big movie maker.

Max: so daddy is the special effects guy and Charles is going to be the star
me: so you're the director?
Max: no, Uncle Michael is the director
me: um ok... So what am I?
Max: you're the villain
me: Woo! So can I be Poison Ivy?
Max: no, you're "Viner"
me: um ok....what's the deal with "Viner"?
Max: she covers everything in vines - she shoots out vines!
me: Cool ok I'm in
Max: and also? She has minions.

Seriously, there is not enough coffee in the world to prepare you for this type of chat before 7:30am. And lest you disagree with me? You'll need to go through my minions.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

more smile-worthy awesomeness

#1 How is it that my iPod seems to know exactly what I want to hear when I have it on shuffle? Whatevers. Leonard Cohen, Blonde Redhead, Lush and Arctic Monkeys on the way to work? That rocks.

#2 I love how Toronto looks like the Emerald City - all distant and misty and mysterious - from the top of the hill on my bus ride to work. My daily Dorothy moment, and it's so great.

#3 Upon seeing that someone at work has the exact same dress as me, being told by my co-worker: "Meh. Looks way better on you." Whether or not that is the case? Matters not. Thanks, Sharon.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

funnhavin

So my earlier post about the faux-Swedish at IKEA (well, I think it's faux - could there be that many names for lamps?) got me thinking about high school. Leap with me, k? It'll make sense shortly.

Back in high school we had this fantastic German teacher - as in she taught German - her actual ethnicity was Italian. I love this city. Anyway. She really taught us to speak German as opposed to just reading it, writing it and dissecting sentences and paragraphs. We used to have to listen to "Ziggy" - a guy from a Toronto radio station who did a German language program on Sundays. Miss M. would record Sunday's program and we'd all listen to it in class on Monday - we had to figure out what the interviews were about, what was happening on the news, and translate the lyrics to songs that were played. It was awesome.

In the 80s there were a few big German hits, remember? Der Kommissar, 99 Luftbaloons - maybe some others? Anyone? Well she'd get us to bring in our 45s (I know) and we'd all try some translation of those too. Very cool.

Every Friday we also had "Kaffe Konditorei" - she'd make coffee and tea and someone would be designated to run to Tim Horton's for donuts, and we'd all have to place our orders in German, then once we had our treats, we set the desks up like cafe tables and chatted in German while listening to Ziggy or some German music. Also awesome.

Miss M. had this great prop that she used regularly to explain any number of verb conjugations, scenarios, whatever. Hugo was a staple in our classroom and there was even an international (well, inter-classroominal) incident where Hugo was kidnapped, with dragging marks and little footprints leading to the art room. That was war, I tell you, but the German students prevailed and Hugo was returned unharmed. Good times.

So the really great thing about Miss M. was that she was pretty slack with the curriculum. I mean we learned, don't get me wrong, but it just wasn't the usual type of learning, and she absolutely loved creativity. We did a lot of talking in that class, which is right up my alley. So much talking, that it became almost second nature to just launch into the usual "how was your weekend?" chat in our new second language. Sometimes though, in our rush to talk about everything, some words weren't always remembered, and that's where we - the students - got creative. You know of course that English and German are a lot alike, right? Here's a list of some of our faves:

to wake up = upgewoken
to disembark - as in from a bus, train, etc. = offgetten
to stroll along, or mosey = mosen i.e. "let's mosey" = "mosen wir"
to drink socially, as in too much and at a party = rumundkokentrinken
to make out (high school, remember??) = ausmaken

Oh there were plenty more, but those stand out. Our Germglish was awesome, and honestly if you threw one of those into a sentence in your best German accent? Totally worked.

So other than making y'all aware of what passed for entertainment in my youth? There's really no point to that story. Now, without further adieu... Gute nacht. Zu beddgoin.

Monday, November 05, 2007

so....cold....

So since all of a sudden freaking winter is here, I thought I'd post some warm thoughts in the form of a few photos I took on a garden tour last June...enjoy. And once I've finished sulking about the fact that yes, it is actually November, I'll be back with a proper blog post.





Sunday, November 04, 2007

IKEA... Swedish for wtf??

So I'm at IKEA today with my mother and my brother. Doesn't that sound like a totally kid thing to do? Home furniture and decor shopping with the family - bo-ring. My brother and I have spent some memorable moments shopping with our mum - or our mum and dad - and inevitably there is always some total crack-up moment or moments where we're both practically on the floor crying laughing.

Our parents used to take us grocery shopping and when we were really little they'd get two carts. I'd go in one and my bro in the other. And for some reason, if we saw each other at the opposite end of the aisle, that alone would set us off. So we'd start to giggle and then within a few minutes we would be full-on belly laughing with tears running down our cheeks and everyone else in the store would be in the same state. Hi-larious. And honestly, there was really nothing to laugh at. Just the sight of one of us at the other end of the aisle. That's it. Pretty stupid when you think about it, but it worked for us.

Other times we'd be in the furniture section of Sears or some other big department store and we'd be turning lights on and off and for some reason that would be hysterical too. Because it was probably accompanied by some urbane and witty remarks like "light goes on, light goes off". And again? That was more than enough to reduce us to giggling fools. And of course, the more people stared, the harder we laughed until we were shrieking and our parents would roll their eyes and take us home.

So you'd think by the time we'd reached 39 and 40 respectively, we'd be over such nonsense, and be able to shop like adults. And probably we could, on our own, but today with our mum, it was like being 8 and 9 all over again:

me: I totally wonder who comes up with the names for these products?
bro: Me too - crazy - a coffee mug called Almhult? Come on.
me: Haha - I've always wanted to use the IKEA product names as the stuff's actual name, wouldn't that be awesome?
bro: *laughing now* yeah - like you have someone over for coffee and you ask them "would you like a cup and saucer or an Almhult?"
me: *giggling* exactly! Or, "hey, it's getting a little dark in here, can you turn on the Malm?"
bro: *full-on hysterics now* that's perfect! "Have a seat in the Poang, won't you?"
me: *uncontrollable laughing now* hahahahahaha!
mum: What are you two laughing at?
us: Nothing *snort*

See? Stupid as all get out. But for us? Total bonding. That's what it's all about.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

happy halloween!

Okay, yeah I'm a little late. But I'm just getting around to uploading the halloween pics tonight. And also, I got nothing else for a blog post. I'm nothing if not honest, but a kickboxing class this morning + karate class this afternoon just done knocked me out.
So enjoy the photos... a ninja and a sailor walk into a bar....






Friday, November 02, 2007

several bits of awesomeness

If you have never read the blog "Three Beautiful Things", I suggest you go there now, or else this post won't make any sense. Okay, maybe it will, but whatever. You should check it out. In 3BT (as the homies call it) the author lists three things each day which give her pleasure. Sometimes they are extravagant or massive in scope, real life-changing events; other times they are everyday little pleasures, like the comfort of wearing warm socks and such. I love it.

I especially love it because most of my life is made up of finding pleasure in the ridiculous or the mundane. It's true, you can ask anyone that knows me. I have been known, in the past to utter the words "this is the BEST DAY EVER" - and really, you can substitute "day" for any number of other words - pizza, dress, pair of shoes, martini, song, episode of some tv show - you get the picture.

Max apparently has inherited this trait. He's even more extreme though, if you can believe it. Max makes sweeping statements such as "this is the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE" - or, again, as with me, substitute anything else for "day" - although maybe not martini - yet. He has also made comments such as "this is the BEST SANDWICH IN THE HISTORY OF SANDWICHES". How awesome is that? Like there's someone taking down an actual history of sandwiches and he's somehow managed to tap in to the formula for the best sandwich EVER.

Whenever he makes one of these little speeches, I always think "wow, I hope he never grows out of this, it's so refreshing to hear such excitement for such a little thing". And then I remember, um, I haven't so far, so I think he's probably going to be that guy his whole life. I can see him at university "this is the BEST keg party in the HISTORY of keg parties!"

Anyway, for some time now I've thought of borrowing the whole 3BT idea, and blogging my moments of beauty. I think when you're a grown-up (like I technically I am) it's easy to get bogged down in all the crap that happens in life, and forget about the good stuff. And even if the "good stuff" just happens to be stepping into a pair of warm socks on a cold day? Well, so be it. Finding pleasure in the mundane, the everyday occurences is brilliant - and it's necessary to keep your sanity. The old saying that no matter how bad you've got it, someone else is going through something much worse rings so true as you get older. It's truly easy to have a bad week and to focus on that bad week - you know the kind: you miss your bus, have to walk in the rain without your umbrella, get behind in a bill payment and have to pay gobs of interest, forget to send in your kid's permission form for a trip - all that stuff. It's little too, but for some reason we manage to focus on those mundane little things, don't we? And all of those things put together makes for a crappy week, no question. But every day, little good things happen too, and for some reason, we never seem to make those our focus. Well Max and I do, but we're strange that way. And even Max and I have a bad week every so often.

So consider this my inaugural 3BT post. I'm not using the exact same title, that wouldn't be fair. And also, I can't promise that they will always be things that give me pleasure (even typing that sounds dirty!) but they will always be things that make me smile and are awesome, quirky or downright thought-provoking. To me, anyway. Plus? They will be trivial. Because that's how I roll.

So I give you today's Bits of Awesomeness According to e-L (BOAATEL - not as catchy as 3BT, sorry):

#1 a memory-evoking fragrance
Earlier this week I was strolling over to buy a coffee when I passed a man in the hallway and caught a distinct whiff of Ralph Lauren's Polo. Now, any of you who were in highschool in the 80s can totally conjure up that fragrance right now, just sitting at your computers, am I right? So as I walked past I smiled and was instantly transported back to the gaudily decorated gym with Stairway to Heaven pumping out of the speakers and my nose pressed up against a guy's collar, practically choking on Polo fumes for about the 10th time in a night. Good times. So thanks, random hallway dude. Thanks for the memories.

#2 a rockstar moment
I'm not much of a dreamer, I honestly don't have too many real sleeping dreams. Well, technically I do of course, but I never seem to remember them. Still, when I dozed off after hitting the snooze button one day this week I had this brief dream encounter with Robert Plant at a concert, and Robert was all "dude I've been waiting for you, how are you?" and I was seriously giving him the cold shoulder all haughty-groupie me, and then we totally went backstage and made out. Which is weird, because Plant is not my go-to rockstar for dream make-out sessions. I attribute this to all the hype about the Led Zeppelin reunion gig in London later this month (and seriously, how awesome is that going to be??) The Plant permeates all, apparently. Even my post-snooze button dreams. Anyway, I had to smile when I woke up. Me and Robert. Nice. Oh, and just so you know? It was totally this Robert Plant - not this Robert Plant. I know. Score.

And did you like how I merged the Zeppelin reference in #1 to the #2 reference? I'm all about the segue.


#3 roasted marshmallow flavoured coffee
Crazy tasty. But I got no Zeppelin connection.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

hells no, i won't nablopomo!

So that's pretty much what I said to Vivian when she asked was I going to NaBloPoMo again this year. Last year I rocked it, posting all 30 days. But then, the blog she has been neglected for some time lately, so I really wasn't sure I could do the whole month - and if I can't do it right? Well I just don't want to do it. But then - THEN! I checked out the website and look how new! How shiny! How social! Obviously NaBloPoMo has hit the big time, and they've got the fancy stuff to prove it.

So, I thought, maybe this is what I need to kick my own blog into high gear once again. Maybe this will be the start of a new blogging e-L - all posty all the time! Maybe grand things will come from me participating in NaBloPoMo again! Or, maybe I just didn't want to be left out. You know, the whole "cool kids are doing it" thing gets me every time.

So I'm signed up as of right this instant. Wanna be friends?
Site Meter