Wednesday, December 8, 2010

See what we learned?

Grooveshark!

Social media class

Anelia was my grandmother. She never had the opportunity to learn to read or write. I think she'd have liked having a blog named for her.

PS: But, but, but I also think she'd really understand that it's a bit unrealistic to maintain two blogs and twitter, right? Right!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happiness is...

Popcorn.


Charlie working on my new banner...


... and this note to Santa's reindeer (Charlie's never been a Santa fan. The reindeer are okay though.)


Charlie's own original Monopoly board - he's working on it right now. You even get a fine for not bringing your books back to the library in time.



I was feeling quite sorry for myself a few hours ago - (I'm missing the company holiday party). But because life really is a funny old thing - like one of those puzzles with sliding pieces - I'm feeling quite happy and content at home tonight with my sweet little lad.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A good man is gone - we as a society need to do better

All day Tuesday, phones were ringing in the homes of a great group of my friends. From household to household, the bad news spread that one of us was gone. Our friend Bruce had died. On purpose.

I wasn't superclose to Bruce, but the fellow I knew was a total sweetheart, a great "studio guy", excellent in times of stress, a music lover, a cat lover, a dry wit, and everybody liked him a whole lot. Everybody.

We're all trying to figure out why Bruce chose to end his life. But I don't know what he, personally, was going through. All I know is that it had to be pretty bad.

I found out some of his thoughts when I spent several hours later that night reading his blog, Canuck Attitude. This post, in particular, was so full of pain, sadness, rage and disappointment it made me weep for him and every person who's gone through anything like what he describes.

Here's just a bit:
There was a time when I couldn't see myself living beyond sixteen because I couldn't believe that a life so full of hurt, actually it wasn't just the hurt, it was the hatred that was directed toward me that made me feel that maybe being born wasn't such a great thing after all.

Imagine that, eh. You're you. And you're making your way through your childhood and youth, learning that a significant proportion of the world hates you. You've done nothing to deserve it. Nothing!

He also says,
As much as I'm impressed and heartened by Dan Savage's It Gets Better Project and the incredible response it has generated, I can't shake the feeling that all we are doing is patting kids on the head and sending them back to the dungeons while telling them to be patient. I'm sorry, but that's still a kind of tacit approval of bullying.

In memory of Bruce, I'm taking the pledge from the It Gets Better folks - which really means we have to do more as a society than just say it'll get better: "Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I'll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I'll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other bullied teens by letting them know that 'It Gets Better.'"

No Surrender
Bruce designed this flag, put it on his blog, and encouraged people to copy it. In his words, "This flag has no meaning beyond declaring self-purpose about one’s individuality. It’s a testament to the fact that no matter what, we all have to get up every morning and live in and share this place no matter who we are."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lucy-girl


Last week, my friend who's loved and adored my kitty-cats for several years called to tell me that sweet Lucy is being put to sleep. I haven't yet heard the final word, but I've been thinking about her so much and have to say she's just been the sweetest, friendliest, funniest, purriest, lovingest cat the world has ever seen. Bye-bye, my pink-nosed princess. You sure have given us all a lot of joy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Home sick watching the snow, reading letters, with a side of good ol' MTM

Monday morning I woke up very surprised to find I was sick. And here I be on Wednesday afternoon, still sick with a feverless version of what Charlie endured last week. I've been able to do at least 3/4 of a day's work from home, which has made me happy to produce more than just phlegm (what a wonderfully descriptive word, eh?).

I've also amused myself by sleeping and reading a big thick filefolder filled with letters received almost two decades ago, from a dear friend, written about her adventures living overseas.

The other cool thing I'm doing while I eat lunch (will dill havarti and keilbasa cure the common cold or just increase my BMI?) is watching the first season of the old Mary Tyler Moore Show. What great writing! What wonderful characters - they're still just fabulous. I still LOOOVVVEE Rhoda, and Mary is absolutely adorable and funny. The very first strains of the music made me weep with joy. During my multitudinous single years living alone, the very idea of this show cheered me up. And Mary's apartment? OMG! Sweet perfection.

One of my most favourite blogs in the entire world (wide web), Hooked On Houses, one time featured Mary's apartment in Minneapolis - do click and enjoy.

Photo is taken from Hooked On Houses.

AND, oh no, that's not all - click for photos from Julia's magical blog featuring inside The Actual House.



The opening from the first season:

In later seasons the lyrics changed from "You might just make it on your own" to "You're gonna"! Lovely, no?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

More life in a science lab

On Thursday, Charlie was so sick with his fever and cough, we were frightened. When I came home from work on Friday, Charlie was right at the door waiting for me. Here's what he and M3I were up to.

Okay, that didn't work, and I have no idea why. I just tried to upload a cute video of:

Charlie turning the crank on his dumptruck to dump a soccer ball which then rolls down a plank to hit another soccer ball which releases a stick which is holding in place a big blue baseball bat attached to the ceiling, and then the baseball bat hits a little plastic ball which is sitting on Charlie's intergalactic ooze, and then the ball falls onto a tambourine making a distinct tambourine sound!

video

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Meta, meta, meta physical?

We all know I'm in my late 40s. But I've rarely in my life felt old (at least not recently - at my horrible job two years ago, I felt like a granny with cobwebs all over me). Today in a meeting my blood ran cold - there were 7 elements I had to write for a new project, rush-rush, of course, but one item was to come up with a meta description for a website.

So I asked the all-young (I realize now) folks around the meeting table, "what's a meta description?" (Btw, I know what meta tags are, so there.)

Ogod, the looks I got were what gave me the deadly chill. Apparently everyone knows what a wretched meta description is, except those who are obviously over 40. The project lead, to her cheerful youthful credit, merely explained.

Made me realize my blog doesn't have one.

Hey, one actually shows up, despite my not knowing what I was doing when I put it there: Nicht alles, was zählt, kann gezählt werden, und nicht alles, was zählt, kann gezählt werden.

Kewl!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Catch it cuz it may never happen again


1. Mainstream women's fashion mag
2. Celebrity cover girl
3. Gorgeous outfit, cool jewels
Here's where it gets interesting:
4. Short hair!!! Rully short.
5. No cleavage!!!
6. She's not even showing legs!!!
7. And, wot's this then, brown eyes? Not blue? (Okay, I admit I might be getting carried away with this one.)
What the hell is the world coming to?

Bravo Marie Claire and Emma Watson - thank you for not caving and doing the udj.
(And to answer your coverline question, am I too sensitive? The answer: never. Consider the reverse.)

These are the people in your neighbourhood

I had such a lovely walk to the subway this morning. It was chilly outside but super sunny, and my journey unfolded like a long opening one-shot scene in a movie trying to present a picture of a busy, happy neighbourhood. Workers finishing up a wheelchair/stroller ramp in front of a nearby apartment building, a man on a ladder painting the window trip above the bank, some road workers drinking coffee beside a cement truck, laughing and joking, a woman sweeping the entrance to her store, old ladies, little kids, nannies and the smell of winter, not quite here yet.

Sometimes I'm 100% city mouse!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Appallingly hostile, sexist, award-winning claptrap

I just read the screenplay for the late-90s movie, American Beauty.

We're supposed to hate the cold, bitchy wife, and feel sorry for the poor meek husband, who's lusting after his daughter's friend, a brazen hussy.

Riiight. The rich white dude is just sooo powerless, victim of the system, his boss, his wife, and wah-wah, his daughter thinks he's a loser.

And we're supposed to get into his hatred and hostility towards them, and see the teenybopper as temptress, with rich white dude again powerless in her presence.

Ahd while it's supposedly so understandable that he's digging the underage hussy, we're supposed to hate his wife for cheating on him. I mean, boo-hoo, he's having a mid-life crisis. How come the woman never gets to have a mid-life crisis?

Sorry, but it's hard for me not to see this as an arty excuse to hate women and dig jailbait, guilt-free.

Oooh, but wait, dude's actually a grrrreat guy, as he heroically doesn't deflower the girl, redeemed as he bleeds at the end of his life, loving his wife, and thinking tender thoughts about his daughter.

I call bullshit. Yes, it made me mad.

How bout this for something less "ordinary" (ordinary = bad, apparently):
Take the Kevin Spacey character and the videocam boy (Wes Bentley) in the script and make them female. Now take the Annette Bening character and the Mena Suvari character and make them male. And, try the Thora Birch character as a teenage boy, and Chris Cooper as a woman. More interesting, no? A different power structure as well. Tho the homosexual homophobe being "bad" is still tripe.

Just don't make another women-hating movie and try to tell me it's special.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just another day at the science lab

This morning, Charlie and M3I did a rather photogenic experiment - creating layers of liquids.

They poured five different liquids into a cleaned-out old peanut butter jar: water, cooking oil, corn syrup, rubbing alcohol, and glycerine. Once the liquids settled into their glorious layers, Charlie dropped in a little cork, a penny, a little piece of paper, and an eraser.

Check it out!

It's an experiment from a kit called Soakin' Science.

Life in this lab of ours is fun. I'm never sure what they'll be doing next. Last night, I came home and they'd rigged up a Rube Goldberg-type device that sent a magnetic dart sailing into Charlie's white board.

We've also got a tornado in a two-pop-bottle contraption, which M3I built a long while back. We've got a little hammer and safety goggles set up outside for Charlie to break open interesting rocks and search for fossils. And if I were to check out my computer's history, I'd likely find pages for NOAA Hurricane Center and, on Youtube, "The Universe" (followed by the Barenaked Ladies singing the theme to the Big Bang Theory).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quite the set of in-laws

D'ya ever just thank your lucky stars that you have the husband you do, the parents you do and the in-laws you do? Today, I'm extra thankful that I'm not a member of, nor am I marrying into, the Royal Family.

Prince Charles' reaction to his son's engagement: He's thrilled, and then he says, "They've been practising long enough."

Er, what? Practicing? Practicing what?

Then he says, "It makes me feel very old."

You know, Chuck, it's not really about you.

Next?

Camilla, who I've actually kinda liked, says, "It's wicked." She's at Wicked, the play.

Moving on.

The Queen, Prince William's gramma, says, "It is brilliant news. It has taken them a very long time."

And that's a bad thing? A good thing?

Come on royal folks, y'all can surely do better than that. Especially since you've apparently had so very long to prepare your remarks.

And now, this from Kate Middleton's father, just a *gulp* commoner (he read this, btw):

'Carole and I are absolutely delighted by today's announcement and thrilled at the prospect of a wedding some time next year.'

'As you know Catherine and Prince William have been going out together for quite a number of years which has been great for us because we have got to know William very well. We all think he is wonderful and we are extremely fond of him.'

'They make a lovely couple, they are great fun to be with, and we've had a lot of laughs together.'

There! Lovely. Charming. Well done.


[image from here.]

All he wants for Christmas

My sweet and beautiful boy lost tooth #6 tonight - the 2nd of the two big front teeth. He pretty much conquered the lisp after a couple of days with the first gap. I almost cannot stand how cute he looks.

Now this has to ease up for a bit or the tooth fairy's going to need to moonlight for Santa.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Seeing red ... then pink and orange.


Tell me, if you were already feeling cross and out of sorts (due to a wretched-cursed-passionately unwelcome and unexpected recurrence of the hormonal fun-fair), would this stupid "kill crow's feet" ad not make you even madder? It sure did me.

Even the violence of it offends. "Kill" indeed.

As people grow older they get lines around the eyes, okay? And if you can't handle it, then how the hell do you expect to handle the rest of your goddamn life?

My hairdresser, Cathy, and I were chatting about botox and poor Courteney Cox and Nicole Kidman and their sad ilk. I'd heard they didn't like the vertical lines some of us get between the eyebrows because they "make you look angry". Wise Cathy said, "What if I AM angry?"

That ad made those lines show up good.

Also this: my Aunt passed away late Thursday night. She's had a rotten end, and I'm going to miss her.

It all added up to being out of sorts. So I went for a walk.

Along this path.


For two hours.




The walk, the air, the exercise and the surprise of seeing these brilliant pink and orange berries in mid-November made me feel human again. I went home refreshed. And apologized to my family.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Statistics, financial statements, random percentages

Statistics, financial statements, random percentages used to make a point. All these things are important in my job, but sometimes all that stuff leaves me very cold. Like what about emotion? I just came across this quotation, which apparently Albert Einstein had posted in his office, way back. The quote's often attributed to him, but we don't know he said it - we do know he liked it!

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

It's true! And I'm keeping it.

Red is also the colour of bloodshed

I've been feeling very disturbed lately over how Remembrance Day seems to be turning into a long, drawn-out, politicized "Season". Our country (not just the States) is becoming more hysterical and divided right down to its citizen-level rhetoric (especially via the horrible Twitter), the election of the divisive, braying Rob Ford, and our determinedly divisive Prime Minister, the wretched Stephen Harper, who thinks that one's commenting on our role in Afghanistan is dishonouring the troops - when it's not about the troops.

The idea of wearing a white poppy for peace has resurfaced. I'm big on peace. Back in the 30s, in the wake of WWI and just before WWII, a wonderful UK women's group called the Cooperative Women's Guild advocated peace with the white poppy - they also lobbied for maternity benefits and infant welfare facilities.

Sometimes I feel like I should be wearing a white poppy, sometimes, I think red - as in hey, might as well. I put a pink one on my facebook and twitter pages.

And this morning, I got this map in my email. For each person from this city killed in WWII, a poppy appears on the map. So while red works because the poppies that grew in the cemetaries of France were red, it's also the colour of bloodshed. I'm painfully reminded by this map.


I checked our neighbourhood. It was mostly farmland back during the first world wars, but there was one man, John Smith, who lived very, very near our place. I looked him up on Google and found a website that displays photos of each gravestone. He's buried in England, he was a sergeant, and he was 29. Son of John Alfred and Laura Emma Smith. The homepage of the site has a small photo of someone's headstone, which made me cry, as it reads as if it's from his mom, who's missing him, "Oh for a glimpse of the grave where you're laid only to lay a flower at your head. Mother".



It's clear today is about the dead of war.

On this day of remembrance, I'm wearing a red poppy in honour of all of the fallen and their families and friends.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gwyn and Gwynnie

I'm subscribing to GOOP. I get a bunch of fancy HTML enewsletters to look over -- I work on eNLs a lot and it's just a good idea to check out the good ones. GOOP, in case you didn't know is Gwyneth Paltrow's other business, a bloggy sort of website with a newsletter and vids.



This, which I actually first saw awhile ago - before I'd even checked out GOOP - had me in convulsions. It's all about the voice. It's done by Abby Elliott; you can find other funny stuff on funnyordie.com.

An itsy bitsy weird little bit of fun

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Twitter can be damn nasty

Last night I felt considerable despair about humanity in North America. The cause? Twitter.

Not wanting to be left behind by all the young and social-media savvy new staff members we've recently hired, I opened up my very own twitter account. I was given the opportunity to run my "tweets" on our company's home page and I wanted to be on it.

Naturally, I'm "following" a number of feminist thingies (posters, tweeters, peeps, dunno what we're all called in twitterville). Someone started up a hashtag called #Ihadanabortion, hoping to inspire women to come out of the shaming tent and collectively reduce the stigma and admit their past procedure.

The nastiness that filled my twitter page was horrible and violent and extreme. No, I'm not going to quote any of it.

If I was ever in a situation where I needed and wanted an abortion, I sure as hell want it to be my decision, and not that of the haters on twitter. Who the hell are you to decide what's best for me, especially with something so important?

You know, pro-choice isn't about advocating that every pregnant women should have one. It's about being able to get it legally, early, and safely.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Always on the cutting edge

What happens when you blog in a great big rush at work? You come home, reread what you wrote, and see that it makes no sense. So I've given today's posting a little edit.

Apparently, I'm trendy because I don't shower every day. I'm hip and now and I'm trending. So you can't say it's laziness, or the Cipralex making me extra shivery in the morning, or the Frances McDormand thing (in that movie) about not wanting to wash cuz of menopause, it's because I'm on the cutting edge. The fact is, I always have been.

I was a singleton when it was trendy (and before it was trendy). I became an "older mom" at the same time as fellow oldies Helen Hunt and Courtney Cox.

And now, by not showering every day, I've joined the trendy unwashed. Think of all the shampoo that's not going down the drain. Check out this bit from the weekend NY Times.

PS: I DO wash. I just don't shower all the time like I used to, eh.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lola's favourite shoes are also red - and fabulous. And shiny.


I just love little Lola!

She totally gets me - and she loves her red shoes.




PS: Thanks to KRJ for telling me about this sweet little cartoon. I've got to get some buckley shoes!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Young women: do not marry Charlie Sheen

I was reading in the paper today that Charlie Sheen and his third wife are both filing for divorce. Is it not fantastic (not fantastic as in "great", obv) that any young woman out there woulda been ignorant of this fellow's slimey, sticky, icky history?

The day after the very first time I met M3I, I googled him. Smart, right? He was a cute, intriguing guy and had just an unusual enough name that I was able to do a satisfactory reference check.

This is a plea to any young woman (or women, I'm afraid) who, in the future, is the recipient of a marriage proposal from Charlie Sheen, to do a simple google search. Among the hits, you'll quickly find such gems as,

"In 1990, Sheen accidentally shot his then-fiancee, Kelly Preston, in the arm, after which she ended the relationship." "Charged with misdemeanor battery against his ex-girlfriend Brittany Ashland." "Arrested for allegedly assaulting a woman at his home in Agoura, CA. The woman claims she was pushed to the floor and knocked out." "Was arrested on domestic violence charges, including for second-degree assault, menacing and criminal mischief."

Okay? Not a catch. Stop marrying this guy.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo


Once upon a time there was a borderline anxious peri-menopausal forty-something copywriter mom who entertained the idea of participating in NaNoWriMo. It would begin on All Saints' Day.

She thought about it long and hard. Hmmm. She reckoned it'd really be something to accomplish that 50K words and boy, wouldn't it get those creative juices flowing! Plus, November was a long month, right?

Well, no. Just 30 days. But still.

Plus, she could dig out that old never-finished novel and rework it from her new middle-aged perspective! Her poor young protagonist, Rebecca, had been waiting in a drawer for about a decade for the borderline anxious peri-menopausal forty-something copywriter mom to pick her up again.

There was one small item to be dealt with though, before making the final commitment to NaNoWriMo. The matter of Time (with a capital T).

She'd already vowed to start swimming again - gotta keep the lung capacity up now that cycling's on ice for the year, and gotta keep those slightly questionable cholesterol levels down. She hadn't been able to swing that one quite yet. The swimming, that is.

So, the NaNoWriMo quest. When something like this comes along to fill up a big timeslot that was not available, the arithmetic of it would have to be fixed. Something had to go. But what?

Spending time with her young, adorable, inquisitive, energetic son, which was currently limited to after work and before bedtime?

No way.

Spending time with her lovely husband, precious time grabbed only after son was asleep?

No bloody way.

Do the writing during lunch?

Er, most of lunchtime was spent at her desk working already. Or doing errands.

Getting up early?

Oh, that old saw. That's swimming time, silly!

Hmmm. What could go? What could possibly be given up? What could go in order to make room in her already crowded schedule?

Ahem.

*Idea* [insert lightbulb image]

Of course.

NaNoWriMo. Just say "no".

The End

[328 words]

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ghosties...



and goulies



and long-leggedy beasties



and things that go bump in the night

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Instant printing


In my search for my old red shoes last night, I unearthed from the back of Charlie's closet (my personal storage area back when his room was my office) ye olde typewriter. It's an Underwood Standard Portable. Clearly only used by writers with incredibly strong arms; it weighs a tonne.

Charlie clickey-clacked away at this beautiful beast for close to an hour last night (dressed as a bumblebee), and he's at it again. "It actually splotches the ink right on the paper!"

I still remember the incredible din of all the typewriters being used at the office back in the late '80s. One pre-computer place I worked had polished marble floors and several-story-high ceilings. The noise of the electric typewriters was brain rattling.

Another office I worked at, all the editors had white (manual) Olympias. Because I was admin, I got a big, black, humming, IBM Selectric - what a wonderful machine! And every couple of months, a typewriter maintenance guy would come around to service the machine; he'd clean it, check it out, and do some virtuoso typing, all while whistling "Makin' Whoopie".

At home, on one's own, the sound is one of productivity and creativity. The ding gives you assurance you're making progress. Sweeping the carriage return would make you feel cool and grown up. The thing never crashed. You wouldn't lose your work. I'm still waiting for them to come back. Sadly, today, the typewriter's image is the only thing that actually gets used anymore. Just an old icon. But what a beaut.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Red shoe diaries


I love the drama of this time of year; the swirling leaves, the spooky tree silhouettes at twilight. The season also makes me think of witches. Which makes me think of the most famous witch of all's sister: the Wicked Witch of the East. And her fabulous witchie feet: the only part of her we ever really got to know.

What a statement she made, with those red shoes and stripey legs! Personally, I felt sorry for her - creeped out too. What a way to go.

Today, in my peri-peri years, I actually wear a version of Wicked Witch of the East feet practically every day. I have two pairs of these wonderful shoes, both pairs exactly the same. And lots of stripey socks, obv.



My love of wearing red shoes goes back to roughly 37 years ago, when I had a pair of perfect red shoes that I wore with great joy until the soles wore down and my toes touched the sidewalk.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Taking the subway. Wish I was on my bike.


Dear Rob Ford,

Since you claim to like subways so much, could you earmark some cash to get the brakes fixed on the trains? Please? Before you slash the city budget into the stone age? And before my hearing is destroyed and my nerves shot? Cuz gawd, they're loud. The brakes, not my nerves.

Regards,
O.W.W.
PS: I am "following" the Twitter group (are they called groups?) called "Dear Rob Ford". It'd be funnier if we didn't feel the need to express ourselves. We're afraid.



I'm mourning cycling right now (yes, Rob Ford, lots of people in the city like cycling. On the roads. In the city). I've reinjured both of my hands to the point where it hurts to twist a doorknob or pick up a two-litre carton of milk. My bike's ergonomic beauty makeover worked very well all summer, but then I tried a new route that had a long, steep downhill through a park, which meant I had to lean on my poor hands whilst squeezing the brakes for too long. The accupuncture I've had a few times from my physio seems to help, but I need more and it's just getting too expensive.

Anyway.

Not riding means I'm spending a lot of time on the subway. I've done away with taking the bus to the subway because one thing that happens when you spend delightful months and months of years and years riding through the city is you get used to not waiting for stuff like the bus and then the subway. The walking is lovely though - I love this time of year! It's so very Hallowe'enish and the leaves smell so good.

Sure be nice to ride though.

Back to Rob Ford. I see that a lot of people who don't like him are calling him "fat", etc. I think it's stupid and mean - but not only that, it's bloody pointless. Watch, he'll go do W8 Watchers (and really, what a great program, I admit). He's still going to be the same person with the same policies. Okay? That fat-hating B.S. is not going to help anybody. It just makes you look like a jerk.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My little dude's weird in edgewise


Charlie's been busy with his new whiteboard. Inventing very long words.

He makes me proud.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Spooky Bouquet

Every year, once leaves start leaving branches bare, Charlie and I go out (usually on an drizzly day) and gather the Spooky Bouquet for the dining room table. There was some great material growing out on the trail we have nearby - and it looked beautifully otherworldly on the wet Saturday afternoon past. (Added bonus of the drizzle: nobody outside to give us guff about cutting branches off the local weeds.)

Voilà. Jolie laide, n'est-ce pas?



Ooo, mysterious photograph found 100 years after the Winter Solstice of 2012 (me playing around with effects, eh).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Way scarier than Halloween


Has up become down? Is good now evil? Sane become crazed? Aaaurgh! They're predicting - already, just 18 godforsaken minutes after the polls closed - that the wretched R0B F0rd has won. Has 50-odd percent of the citizens in this city lost their minds? Gah! This is the candidate the National Post said we needed - and I quote, "Policy-wise, Toronto very much needs a proverbial bull in the china shop". What kind of clap-trap is that?

Aaaaarugh!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Have mercy on the copywriters for they know not what they're doing

Every morning on my way to work, I have to look at a giant face with giant greasy red lips and a blindfold. It's the new "Bisha" (ooh, how exotic! Tho, note, the real "Bisha" is a guy, not a blindfolded greasy-lipped model) condo tower. I find the huge eyeless head with the lips just plain gross, if not borderline offensive. It's so big I wouldn't be able to avoid looking at it (it's so big) unless I also was blindfolded.

Also nearby is the "Charlie" condo building. Its tagline? "Condos that love you." Tell me, does that not sound like the copyrighters have had all their ideas rejected and then at 1 a.m. in desperation they pitch "Condos that love you" and the wretched client loves it? It's a tagline that says they've given up. It's a tagline that says the client says, "we'll know it when we see it," which means they haven't a hot clue what they want.

In the paper this weekend, I found an add for the "Mercer". Look at this nonsense. Three tall, tall models (I say models because it's obvious) crossing King Street (I assume) a la the Beatles crossing Abbey Road. Of course, there were four Beatles, but whatever, what's a little detail when there's another condo to promote?

Here's the copy for the Mercer:
"Whether it's a mass movement, or an irreversible trend, the 'now crowd'--whom some have dubbed Generation Me--are heading downtown where 'what's going on' is always cool and chillin'. Be 'In The Now.' WHICH PUTS ME WHERE I WANT TO BE."

Where to start? What's with all the quotation marks? And, really, I'm pretty sure "Generation Me" was the yuppy folks when they were moving out of smoking pot and following the Grateful Dead and just starting to snort coke and go to Studio 54. I don't even need to comment on the "now crowd" or "cool and chillin'". Icky poo poo.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

He just wanted to go outside

Roughly 10 years ago, my mom gave me her old Christmas cactus. I loved the thing - it was ridiculously gorgeous when it'd bloom, and smelled nice the rest of the time, looking weird.

I kept it safe inside on top of my living room shelves, never letting it get too dry, or wet, or cold. Obviously, it didn't bloom for about 9 of those years. I got fed up looking at its sad extended cactussy branches and banished it to the balcony outside with the rest of the plants in containers. Since early spring, it's withstood scorching 36-degree heat, furious high-rise balcony winds, peri-freezing temps, and torential rain.

I brought it back inside two weeks ago. Check it out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ugly and beautiful

On my walk home tonight (just from the subway - no need to get excited) I was thinking about beauty and ugliness. And I made two lists.

Stuff that's most rotten: the photos the Toronto Star thought should be published this week, a co-worker who behaved like a total hypocrite, someone else who made fun of my lunch cuz it was just a heated up frozen Smart Ones (which, FYI, was really good: lasagna florentine)

Stuff that's most beautiful: Charlie (apparently a girl at school thinks so too - and told him!), the weather, the smell of the leaves in the air, the delicious Chablis I got to try at work today (tasted of olives, pepper, dill: delicious), the fact that it looks like a used book store (OMG!!!) is opening nearby and inspired a really nice conversation with a woman who was also trying to peer in the store's window, the fact that Charlie and M3I are discussing the Universe right now, and, I have to say, my hair's looking rather gorgeous at the moment as well.

Okay, there's even more: look at the moon! It just came out, and it's shining on the clouds. Very spooky looking! And beautiful, in fact.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How useful is buying a whole bunch of pink?

All the breast cancer awareness stuff that's for sale this month is freaking me out and making me sad. Buying pink things in stores to "raise awareness" is a crock. Never mind that I already feel plenty aware of the existence of that dreaded disease. Due to familial and friendial health conditions, I'm also aware of diabetes, hemocromatosis, strokes, Huntington's Disease (a tragically underfunded disease that also lacks broad "awareness"), advanced dementia, hypertension, thyroid (hypoactive and hyperactive), kidney disease, depression, panic attacks, paranoia, obesity, pineal gland tumours, and that's just off the top.

My advice? Pick a cause that's dear to your heart -- it doesn't even have to be a disease! (for example, the Toronto Star Fresh Air Fund sends kids to camp) and then as often as you can afford, give a bunch of money to it. And don't waste your money on pink crapola.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I have feelings, dammit

I have feelings about - and opinions on - oh-so-very-many things, but I just haven't felt like blogging lately - at least past the point I get off my bike. I blog a lot (in my head, natch) while I ride to and from work.

Which leads me to my hands - they're in really good shape, thanks to my bicycle's beauty ergonomic makeover, courtesy of Bicycles@StClair - an awesome bike shop.

Okay, here's a quick burst of some of the opinions I've been witholding:

> Justin Bieber - lordy I hope this kid makes it through all this okay. Death threats when someone disses him? The web is a weird and sometimes not so wonderful thing.

> Rob Ford - I think we in this city need to take a good look and figure out why this guy is so popular - that'd be a lot more productive than making fun of him. I agree he's an easy target, but there's a good chance he's gonna win, folks.

> Joe Pantalone - Why the heck isn't he a lot more popular? He's adorable, he's never once embarrassed himself, he's an awesome lefty, and he'd be the new Tiny Perfect Mayor successor to David Crombie!

> Bike lanes - the more the merrier. War on the car? Don't make me laugh. When the 401 is crowded with 26 lanes of bicycles? Then we'll talk about the war on the car.

> The Segway inventor fellow's untimely death - I'm ashamed at my emotional reaction to this.

> Tina Fey - I'm disappointed and upset by 30 Rock's season opener rape joke. Doing bits like this is easy and cheap and disappointing and upsetting. Rape victims don't need any extra triggers.

> Tina Fey - I do love her, and I'm chuffed that both she and I know that an egg is 2 points on W8 Watchers. But, T.F., please mind my comment above. Thx.

> Michaëlle Jean - I love her and wish Ratface had extended her term.

> Tony Blair being alluded to as on the left by CBC radio a few minutes ago - I'd agree that he's ever-so-slightly to the left of George W. Bush and (the ever popular) Attila the Hun.

> President's Choice Blue Menu Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Kettle Cooked Potato Chips - Yum-O-Rama!

> My son, newly missing his front upper tooth (that's tooth #5 gone!) - he is a shoe-in for cutest child in the history of the universe!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fashion terms that set my teeth on edge

I'm a magazine reader from way back; I'll pretty much read anything that's in front of me, including fashion rags. Obviously, this trend has extended to blogs. For a spell there, I was reading too much (farming too much as well). While I've broken the obsessive habit (by reading books again), I like to dip in in a controlled way now and again. I can't read too much fashion though, because it soon starts to sound just too ludicrous.

I've been making mental notes on the fashion items and terms that grate on my nerves; now here are some written ones:

- "Ts" instead of T-shirts

- Various fashion folks claiming that they wear a "trench" (rather than trench coat, but wait, that's not my whole gripe), they wear a "trench" as a dress or jacket, now get this: to work! I'm sorry, but if I wore a trench coat as a dress in the office, I'd be hooted out, or mocked mercilessly and asked repeatedly if I'd started a new career as a flasher. I also think it's pretty rich to describe a trench coat as "sexy" (how I detest the ubiquity of that word.)

- I'm also just sick to death of photos of high heels every-every-everywhere. The shoes that are so "hot" right now are Ugly.

- "Boyfriend shirts", "boyfriend jeans", "boyfriend sweaters". Jayzuz! Why can't we just call a plaid shirt a plaid shirt? Or a V-neck sweater that isn't skin tight just a V-neck sweater?

- Skinny jeans - cuz they look so bad. And not in a good way.

Ok. I'm done. For now.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Trees

On the weekend, while we were walking along the Rideau River (CHECK), Charlie wanted to know, "seriously", he said, "does a tree feel it over here (touching the tree's bark), when you squeeze this leaf over here?" We told him we didn't think so. He wasn't satisfied.

In other Charlie news, he and M3I found an unexploded firework in the playing field near the school yesterday. The only proper thing to do was to wait until way after bedtime when it was good and dark and light the thing. It turned out to be a screamer with a big bang. Scared the bejezuz out of the nearby dogs, and me, and delighted the boy to no end.

In totally non-Charlie news, Michael Bryant's charges were dropped! Holy smokes! I was wondering what had happened to that case. Good ol' Navigator earned its pennies well, keeping the story way, way out of the media until it popped up again with a rather pleasing result for Mr. Bryant. Sounds like it was a fair judgement and a terrifying incident, but I still don't properly know what to think. I still don't like the explanation of Bryant accelerating forward and hitting Shepard. His car stalled, then lurched forward that far? Hmmm. One staggeringly sad note in the story, that should be a story in and of itself: As a child, Shepard had been "seized by child welfare and placed with his brother David in a staggering 30 foster homes before being adopted". What the hell is wrong with the child welfare system? How is anybody supposed to thrive in such a messed up existence?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Joan Rivers said it best

Thursday mornings our local paper has a section on home improvement. Today's lead story is all about building a "man cave", called "A king and his MAN CAVE".

The photo caption: "A Calgary businessman, who travels to Toronto one week a month, turned a 680-square-foot condo... into the perfect Man Cave. The conversion costs him $150,000."

$150,000!

The article goes on: "Anyone remember tree houses, forts, the He Man Woman Haters Club from The Little Rascals...?"

And suggests: "Perhaps it's an offshoot of the clubhouse concept of childhood." Ya think?

Then the piece goes on and one to suggest the Man Cave satifies men's apparent need to escape. Actually, wait a sec, what do they need to escape from exactly? (And isn't that what the bathroom is for?)

Forts, Little Rascals, Women Haters Club. Are they trying to escape from actually being a MAN?

Oh, grow up!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A perty good day

I do believe that I am actually feeling better. All afternoon the absence of that rattling and tightness in my lungs was a wonder to behold. Combined with the fact that once my can-you-just-look-at-this-asap-ridden morning was over, I had several hours of good old-fashioned manuscript editing that was pert'near uninterrupted.

And during lunch, my friend and I got out for a walk on this beautiful day, and we both even got a couple of errands done.

Then, on the way home, there was a totally awesome musician in the Spadina subway station walkway playing a gorgeous, langorous version of Danny Boy - on the erhu! He made Danny Boy sound like it was written especially for the erhu.

Top it all off, my wee lad is feeling rather better after a super-nasty bout of the virus formerly know as the stomach flu.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I'll just finish my nursery barn and then I'll stop

I am one blue watering can short of a yard. And that is a problem.

Yesterday, I had to finish building the nursery barn - I just needed 4 more nails, dammit - and then I was going to stop. A good idea, since I was building it in bloody Farm Vi11e. And not even on my own "farm", it's on my dad's. Which I started so I could send myself gifts for things like nursery barns and yards.

I didn't stop. I opened up a "farm" on M3I's facebook account. And then, because I needed piles of fertilizer and blue watering cans, I created "pets" on both my dad's and M3I's accounts.

Lord love me, but I'm addicted to these cursed games. I'm pretty good about it at work, just harvesting and planting at lunchtime. But for someone (me, in this case; my blog, so whenever I refer to "someone" it's pretty much always me) who has ongoing hand and wrist problems, the amount of what-should-be-free time is way too much wasted sitting in front of the computer clicking away with the mouse.


I'd be better off watching Dora or the infernal Backyardigans on tv. At least my hands would be at rest. My physioT says one of the most dangerous things you can do to your body is work at a desk. That combined with my cycling injury and naturally stiff wrists means I should not spend even one extra minute using the mouse. Even Charlie has almost completely lost interest in these dumb, yet oddly satisfying, compulsion-inducing games.

I feel like I have my overeating under control now, and it feels good.

Next up: the farms.

(PS: Isn't the one with all the lavender pretty?)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Brain is rattling

Still struggling with this wretched lung cough. I had two migraine auras today, and now I'm up late because I've got the heebee jeebees, likely from taking Ventolin right before bed.

Plus, truth be told, I'm effing hungry. However, I have some WW points left, and presumably I'm supposed to use them all, so I'm going to get some freaking bloody cereal.

My interior whine was tripped up momentarily when I went on Facebook and saw that my friend in Australia also has a cough, and she just cracked a rib. I'm thinking a single cracked rib beats a migraine aura/heebee jeebees combo platter (see, I am hungry).

I'm also very, very worn out from the coughing. And since I'm in truth be told mode, I'm also irked and tired of the incredible big effort cough/pee in pants combo.

I figure this is a sample of what getting old is going to be like.

And on that happy note, I go get some cereal.

PS: both items in my combo have foundations!

Heebee Jeebee Foundation

Migraine Aura Foundation

(I wonder, can I "fan" them on Facebook?)

(PPS: I don't really want to "fan" them. But the fact of the two foundations puts me in a better mood. Seems so ridiculous somehow.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Highs and lows

For earth day, I'm using Charlie's old receiving blankets as handkerchiefs - instead of klennex, something I do every time I get an obnoxious cold, which seems to be often. Again, it's accompanied with a very rotten cough. I've only had it for two days, and I stayed home from work today, tho I worked (which was hard cuz I'm so knackered.)

That's the low.

On the high side, what a beautiful day out there! Have I mentioned how much I love spring? Sheesh, it's beautiful and gentle. Charlie just watered the herbs and flowers on the balcony - he's developing some good gardening skills.

On the LOW side - hee hee - I LOST FOUR POUNDS! First week of W8watchers, during which they say you're likely to lose more than the recommended 2 lbs per week.

And I can definitely feel it. My bra's a bit looser and my eyelids are definitely skinnier. And my baby toes are definitely slim!

I'm happy about this. I even had enough points last night to have some chocolate chip cookies.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A bit of a test

I'm alone at home right now, which doesn't happen too often. I should be alone for, oh, close to an hour and a half.

The problem? I started W8Watchers on Friday morning. There's lots of snacks here in this abode.

The reason(s) I started W8Watchers is that I'm at the weight I was almomst exactly six years ago when I was 9 months pregnant. I gained 26 lbs during that pregnancy. By the time Charlie was 1, I was back to my regular weight. Now six years later, with the help of a slowing metabolism and a great big appetite inspired by two years of Cipralex, I'm right back at that same weight.

For the past few weeks I've been trying to exercise - for strength and agility and to make up for the fact that I can't ride my bike these days. However, my feet get sore, and it's simply just a lot harder than it used to be. Add to that the fact that I can't really wear the same kind of clothes that I used to - it's hard to adjust. I saw some photos a friend took of me at Easter, and from the side in a group shot, I wondered who that woman was. It was jarring to realize a moment later that it was me.

So I joined up for the big WW - online. No meetings, thank the lord. It's cool - you basically just set your goal, and keep track of what you eat. I quickly found out that if I don't want to be chewing on the furniture I have to eat what the WW folks call "filling" foods, which means, from what I can gather, with enough fibre to make you feel full.

The other rude awakening was that I'm about 10 lbs above a healthy weight for my height and age. I've never before been above a healthy weight - most of my adult life I've been in the lower middle. So suddenly it's more meaningful. I want to live to be a 100. I don't even care if I keep all my marbles or not, as long as I can appreciate a sunny day and feast my eyes on my son, I'll be happy.

So, here I go. It's 5:43 pm on Day 3. I've got lots of points left for dinner, but if I snack on any non-"filling" foods, it'll blow my dinner out of the water.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hello there

I thought I'd come back, so here I be, geeking out.

Over the weekend, M3I and I were watching Don Juan de Marco, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but the King of Cartoons! The wonderful fellow's name is Gilbert Lewis. He appeared on Pee-Wee's Playhouse as the King for awhile, then they unceremoniously - quite unfitting for a king, I might add - ditched him and got another guy. Actually another black actor, William Marshall.

It was sorta like the two Darrens and the two Beckys.

I've always been very good with faces and voices - in real life too, not just on tv or in movies. I can pretty much spot any actor elsewhere once they've appeared on Deep Space Nine or Pee-Wee's Playhouse. For example, I once identified John Paragon's appearing on Cheers just by his voice.

It's a gift. Don't be jealous.

Now get this: William Marshall, the second King of Cartoons appeared in Star Trek TOS. Isn't life just a big crazy old circle? And, John Paragon (surely we all know he was Jambi & Pterri in PWPH) appeared in an ep of DS9. Sadly I don't remember him, though I must've seen the ep.

(Speaking of The Two Darrens - is that a great name for a rock group, or what? Also, my great name for my future punk rock group: Meconium! I know. It's a gift.)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

"Think"

David Frum calls the U.S. healthcare initiative a "disaster".

No, not because it doesn't do enough or go far enough.

He calls it a "disaster" because it's a plan to actually provide healthcare to people.

Which he doesn't think is a good idea.

He does think providing things that blow people up is okay though.

Oops, he got fired from his "think tank".

No, not because it's mean to "think" the government shouldn't provide healthcare to people.

See, the people in his "think tank" also "think" the government shouldn't provide healthcare. (They "think" that if you're bleeding, you should always pay for your own bloody tourniquet. They also "think" that providing things that blow people up is okay.)

He got fired because he "thinks" the republicans let the government pass the healthcare initiative.

Huh? Wait a sec. If I remember correctly, the president of the U.S. is a democrat. I'm pretty sure democrats are supposed to "think" the government should provide healthcare. Maybe that's why it passed.

Not exactly a "disaster".

Monday, March 22, 2010

Up and down the Malahat

I'm still recovering from the magnificent vacation I recently took, vising family and friends out west. In addition to reconnecting, eating delicious food, and watching my son enjoy his extended family (and watching them enjoying him), I bravely drove up and down the Malahat - several times. I'm a scaredy cat driver, which should come as no surprise to anyone finding this blog through a search of the word "anxiety".

But my early driver anxiety was added to when I was 16, after I saw a head-on collision happen about 200 metres in front of me, on a curve in the road. I still get nervous going around curves when there's an oncoming car. Both drivers were killed; one of them was a girl who sat beside me in the sr concert band.

However, that was 30 years ago. And lots of progress has been made by, well, me!

Here's the drive - this isn't my video - I drove in a car, not on a motorcycle. And obviously, I wouldn't be fiddling with a camera while I drove this route anyway. You'll also note that the Malahat drive is absolutely beautiful. Charlie noticed waterfalls coming down the rock walls on several occasions. And despite the scary drive, it doesn't come close to the terror I experience on the 401.

At 1:59, you'll see the entrance to Goldstream Park - lovely park and wonderful visitor's centre - we go there every trip we take out west. The drive gets a bit scary, and stunningly gorgeous at 4:00 approaching an exposed curve (and you're usually passing a slow giant truck), and at 5:53 where there's no guardrail because there's a driveway - sorta feels like you might skid off into the air. And at 8:13, you'll see the turnoff for Spectacle Lake park - another wonderful place on this earth that I LOVE. At 9:07, see one of the lookouts for a great panorama. There's actually another great lookout a bit farther along the route.



And here's the drive, much faster, but lower rez. You can see the entrance to another panoramic lookout at 4:08.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sorry I missed this

... from last night's Oscar telecast. Watch Tina Fey and Robert Downey Junior presenting for best original screenplay. Tina Fey is a writer, which makes it work. Of course, the other thing that make this work so well is that their "bit" is well written AND well performed, and OMG it looks like they rehearsed it! What a novel concept!

Then they show the script appear in each nominated screenplay's scene on film. Wonderful.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

10-minute live blogging at the Oscars

Things I'm liking about this year's Academy Awards show at 10:42pm - presenters are now saying, "And the winner is..." instead of the recent years', "And the Oscar goes to..." The person who wins wins.

I'm liking the fact that the presenters are saying their whole bit each time, rather than nominees' names being pre-recorded. These folks are all actors, they all have to learn lines, it's good to see that they've learned them for this.

I liked Neil Patrick Harris - lovely performance with a sense of occasion - something this show has often lacked in the past. All these people get dressed up, planning for months, paying zillions for their frocks, and then, typically, a yahoo host yucks it up like they're doing standup on a university campus. Come on, you're Hollywood, put on a damn show! I didn't like Steve Martin any of the times he's hosted before, and I don't like him tonight for the same reason - he's not nice, and sometimes his humour is just plain old grumpy and mean. Years ago, when he was introducing Penelope Cruz, I was completely offended. Before she came on stage, he listed select titles of a few of her films - i.e. "Blow" and "Woman on Top" and then said something along the lines of, now doesn't that paint a picture in your mind. Not funny. What was even worse is that nobody even mentioned it the next day - I felt that in the feminism heyday of the 70s, his horribly offensive comments would've been news.

Also, didn't like Martin and Baldwin's opening "comedy" bit - why the roast? Why talk about Meryl Streep the entire time? They look grumpy - Martin in particular - that they don't have Oscars. We don't care about you - give us a show!

Anyway, maybe they should've let Alec Baldwin do it on his own - he's got great comedy chops on SNL and 30 Rock. Better yet, get a Broadway guy who knows something about putting on a live show in front of a live audience - like Hugh Jackman did last year - or like Neil Patrick Harris was doing tonight until - zip - he was gone.

I love the set - glamour, class, and I like the sparkles, of course. And all the circles - just like the Olympic rings. And the rack of old fashioned lamps that goes up and down, like that too.

I also really like Sandra Bullock's sparkly shiny dress - magpie heaven - she's not pretending this isn't a great big fancy-dress party - it is!

Also, the in memoriam segment - lovely to have a live human as a focal point, and James Taylor was sweet.

Okay, now better check out the dance number going on behind me (computer is in the dining room; tv in LR). Ballet nice. Long number tho.

Oh, and I liked Tina Fey's little red carpet interview with BenMo - she was nice to him and gave him her full attention, she was funny, and said (cuz she knew he's Cdn), hey great job at the Olympics you guys. Actually I love her. Revere her.

Wait, did they just cut off The Cove winners because the guy held up a sign about dolphins? Something awkward just happened there.

Tyler Perry, the guy presenting best film editing - is great! Funny, speaking big - I like that. It's the Oscars - be excited! Yeah! Get him to host next year. I remember years ago, every time they'd get Audrey Hepburn to present, I would think, now that's how to present an award - like this is the most special day of the winner's life.

Ah Martin and Baldwin come out again. Martin insults Baldwin again. Baldwin doesn't respond. I know for a fact he's thinking "this hosting gig isn't fun, I want to go home".

And now, I'm gonna turn this computer off and watch what's going on for the rest of the show - why is Michelle Pfeiffer, Colin X, Tim Robbins, etc. coming out? Gnight. I'm going to find out.

*cough* *cough* ahem


er, look. I'm in a little interview. Right here. Neat, eh? You can even click on the little thumbs up rating thingie at the top of their page.

That's all. They also asked me to reco three of my favourite bloggers (at least two of you know who you are :o)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ba-dum-BUM

I love working with good friends just so darn much. Some days, like today, squirrelling away at the office is a pleasure. There was tons of work to be done, but someone brought in Timbits, and there was also chocolate, a few laughs, and a nice cold glass of white wine at the end of the day.

Also sometimes when you work with good friends, you don't have to travel home by yourself. Which means that when the guy just two rows ahead of you on the streetcar gets up for his stop and exposes his ENTIRE BUM to those of us behind (no pun intended, REALLY) him, you can point it out and comment to your very good friend instead of just cringing in disbelief on your own. Makes it less gross somehow.

I seriously thought that you were supposed to make sure your underpants stayed up somehow, even if your jeans are hangin' low.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A really cool voice

I've been reading a book, and in the way that one little thing leads to another, I was lead to a singer, who I'd never heard before, but now I have, and her voice is just so very nice.

The singer is Dawn Langstroth, and the song is Tonight You Belong to Me. Enjoy.



Now, without g00gling, guess the title and author of the book that led me to this singer.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My two cents on the Olympic coverage

Gross me out. I just did some channel surfing to find me some non-hockey Olympics to watch, and all those horrible tabloid shows are honing in on the skater chickie whose mom died a few days ago. Stay the hell away from her, you freaking vultures. Does she really need the tabloids circling her at this point? What's going on here?

You know what, it's tears p0rn. I actually hate the "normalization" of that word, and apologize for using it. But that's what it is. The media during these Olympics is fetishing tears, and they're on the hunt for them no matter what. Watch the medal presentations where they zoom in on each gold-medal winner's eyeball, hoping they at least for chrissakes well up.

Ick.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Toot and Puddle, meet Fleishers

Last night, I was sitting on the couch reading a book while Charlie watched TV. He was watching a show called Toot and Puddle. Gross, I know. Anyway T&P are cartoon pigs that go places and laugh a lot.

The book I was reading was Cleaving: a story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession, that describes (among other things) learning the art of butchery. The very page I was on as I looked up at Toot and Puddle had a pencil drawing of two pig's heads. The chapter describes what's done with them to make headcheese. I find Toot and Puddle irritating. Now, do the math.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Enough whining about the TTC

I'm still not well, however, I did attempt to get to work, after sleeping in to try to get some energy back. At 11, I got up, got dressed, got outside and got on the bus, which came promptly. By the time we got to the subway station I knew I needed to go back home to bed.

So I called my boss, and got on the bus going home. The bus driver, a big guy with a crinkly smile and a long, blond ponytail, said a friendly good morning to me - which reminded me that the other driver had also done so - as do most drivers every single morning.

Which reminded me that the TTC staff I've encountered every day over the 20-odd years I've lived in this city - with very few exceptions - have been friendly, courteous, polite and ready to joke about the weather (cold enough for ya? hot enough for ya?) or answer questions.

The friendly driver today also gave directions to two young fellows travelling with a Lonely Planet guide to Canada (whoa! that's pretty general, eh guys), and when I got off the bus at my stop, he said, "have a good day, darlin'". I seriously like being called "darlin'", especially when I'm feeling like hell and am going back to bed.

There's so much in the news these days about the TTC's failings, and I agree it's way dirtier than it was back in the 80s. But when it's so underfunded, you gotta cut somewhere.

And the improvements must be acknowledged - like elevators in many of the stations - let me tell you, it sure was nice having those elevators back when Charlie was in a stroller. And accessible buses also are much easier to get in and out of, again especially when you have a stroller. And, we forget about this in the winter, but the air conditioning on not just the subway, but on most of the buses is pure ambrosia on a humid summer day.

So there. Three cheers for the TTC. I'm going to try to get me one of these buttons.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Farmville 13 Mystery Box

Over the past week or so, Charlie's been working away at a tune on the piano. He does this with tunes he hears and likes, but with this one, M3I and I couldn't place where we'd heard it, or if we'd heard it.

So I asked Charlie what the tune was, and the reply was something like "Farmville 13 Mystery Box". I was like, huh? So he brought me over to the computer and we found it on ewetoob. Take a listen and a look-see.



It's Hey There, Delilah by the Plain White Ts, and it's lovely, isn't it? Catchy too. Also sounds very sweet when played on the piano by Charlie boy, who's expanding our listening horizons every single day.

PS: It's come to my attention that not everybody knows about the cool mystery boxes you can "gift" on Farmville. Or even what Farmville is. Farmville's a game on Facebook - Charlie and I do a lot of farming. And, if you value your spare time, you'll be happiest if I tell you no more about it. Stay away; and consider yourself warned.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A sweet memory about two men on a plane

Out of the blue today I had a memory about two men who sat in front of me on an airplane years ago.

The flight was to Vancouver from Beijing, and had 44 babies included on the passenger roster, which was mostly filled with the new parents of the babies, with a small number of business men. All of us on the plane knew this, since the priority call for "passengers with small children" left only a small group of men (all laughing at what lay ahead) to wait for the final call.

I was on the flight with a dear friend and we indeed had a beautiful baby stretched out on our laps (a story for another day).

The man directly in front on me was on his own (no spouse or helper travelling with him) with his tiny mite - she was cute as a button, until takeoff when she started crying at top volume, as did many of the babies. Once the plane reached altitude and the seatbelt light went off, the new dad was starting to look very uncomfortable and apologetic. Beside him was an older Chinese man wearing a business suit. The older man spoke no English; the young new father no Mandarin.

Roughly an hour later, when "our" baby was asleep on our laps and we could smell the food beginning to be served, the baby on the lap of the man in front of me continued her crying, with the giant O of her crying mouth taking up her entire little face.

Eventually, someone from the dad's travelling group came by with an antihistamine for the baby - he didn't have any and it was clear the baby needed something, most likely for her ears (and his... and ours).

At last, the baby fell asleep over her dad's shoulder. Then his meal was served, the attendant putting it on the tray in front of him - and seeing his predicament, she cut it up for him so he could use one hand. The older man beside him got his meal too, and started to eat.

It was soon clear to us that the dad couldn't eat; the way the baby was slung on his shoulder made it impossible for him to even reach his fork. And no way was he going to move her now that she was asleep. Poor guy, we thought.

The older gentleman picked up the young dad's fork and very nicely fed him.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Be smart. Get the flu shot.

If you haven't already done so, and if it's available to you, I beg you, for the love of Pete, get the G.D. flu shot.

Because I've got it and it's nasty, and it's probably not even H1N1. Maybe it was a terrible cold that turned into the flu, I dunno. But I can't get warm, and then finally when I do get warm, I'm pouring with sweat, and nope it ain't menopause this time around. I'm extremely fatigued but I can't even sleep right now because every time I lie down, all the horrid "flu"-id drains into my lowest nostril and then runs like a tap. I turn over, it all drains over to the lower side again. And if you don't like the sound of that, then get the flu shot.

In addition, I'm having trouble clearing my lungs, which means breathing - and if none of this speaks to you, get this: I've now been sick since Jan. 20.

Which means this horrid bug has taken up a lot of my personal and professional time. This is my seventh sick day this year. My husband is sick too, as was my son (he's still coughing, but seems to have bounced back otherwise).

Last fall there were numerous impassioned - and very polarized - debates in our office kitchen about whether or not to get the shot.

I say get it.

To get the shot, call your doctor's office or nearest walk-in clinic, and go get that precious jab.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Innocence!

So now I'm sick as a bear. I finally got to see a doctor, via a walk-in clinic at the Ph@rma Plus nearby. There were only three people ahead of me, and the doctor was nice and even gave me a bunch of sympathy, saying "Whoa, that throat looks really sore". She tested me for strep, which came out negative. But she said my lower right lung sounded back. So I'm on antibiotics, I bought some acidopholus, and I got her to write me a note for work.

Why didn't I go to my regular GP? Every time I called her office (she shares space with a bunch of other medical folk), the line was either busy or the voicemail said they were closed (sadly, the voicemail doesn't take messages). I know she's quite distressed about the admin sitation there, and well she should be.

In other news:
On Monday, I saw an ad for a new (I think it's new) radio station, based in Hamilton, called Vinyl 95.3 - which is right up my alley. Actually what attract my eyes to the ad was the font - check it out:



So I'm streaming it live right now, playing Innocence by Harlequin! I actually saw them at a high school dance in Gravenhurst - I even had a date (right, Kim?). Hearing that tune just makes me giddy.



OMG, they even take requests!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The expression "sick as a dog" is weird, i'n't it?

We are a miserable lot here lately. The three of us - most recently Charlie - are sick with the most horrible, nasty cold I can ever remember. About an hour ago, his ear joined in the misery, along with his red eye, juicy cough and stuffed up nose. I put a drop of olive oil in his ear - a friend of mine, who's a veteran of ear infections says this helps to relieve the pressure. I sure as hell hope so. Anyway, after I put the stuff in Charlie's ear, I held him and he fell asleep in my arms within a few minutes. He's sleeping in his room now, with the humidifier going full blast.

As for us, well, M3I is still coughing and fatigued, and I'm still coughing as much as before, with this wretched thing now going on since the night of the 20th.

We're not without good news, though: my father in law is home. He's got an IV running antibiotics, but he's home.

And, though Charlie's sick as a chihuahua, he's still very cheerful, active and wants to play games and race - and he took his medicine - some rotten-tasting chewable acetaminophen. I've tried them and they're horrible, and they make him shudder. I'm sure when I was a kid medicine tasted way better. My folks used to give us Benylin, which had to at least have had sugar in it, way back. Plus, I dunno, codeine? Alcohol maybe? I have no idea, but it used to taste good and feel warm and make us go to sleep.

Since the Canadian Pediatric Society has said a big fat No to giving kids under 5 anything for coughing - and I swear Charlie coughed about 15 times a minute yesterday - I gave him what I use (being a year-round allergy sufferer) - I gave him some Trident gum. And each time he chewed some, it stopped or slowed down the coughing for at least 10 minutes or so; it works for me.

One reason the CPS doesn't want kids to get cough suppressants is that coughing is useful; its purpose is to clear mucous (ah, now there's a word!). But jeez, when the coughing gets painful and he's exhausted and keeps getting woken up by the coughing, it's so stressful and worrying.

Charlie's coughing again.