Friday, July 30, 2010

Hot Pug in the City

Get your pugs, get your hot pugs here...

Okay, so the guy at the dog park wasn't yelling it out but we were offered a pug. And, I'm actually thinking about it. Considering another boxer in the house would be too many boxers and not enough house, a pug might be the ideal answer. It's cute and it doesn't take up a lot of real estate. Did I mention that pugs are cute?

So, The Man and I are considering going to see them. Yes, yes we are. I can't guarantee we WON'T walk out with one.

I should qualify that the pugs are not hot. They are legit and come from the pairing of a black and a fawn pug. I'm not sure if they're free but it sure seems like it, since the pug guy has 8 pugs and a small house. Hot pugs in the city, indeed.

Now to think of a name...


I’ve been thinking of upgrading my car for a little while, now I’m starting to have a one-on-one friendship with my mechanic and my car seems to love it there a little too much.

So, I took to the internetz to figure out the best ride for my buck. I think I found it, if this one guy’s review of it stands true.

Introducing… the Hyundai Veracruz Limited 4dr SUV (3.8L 6cyl 6A). This is what Dude in Hawaii says about it. I call him Dude because I don’t know his name but also because I would call every guy in Hawaii “Dude” with different connotations for each scenario.

“DOOODE! You just cut me off! No I won’t hang ten. I’d like to hang your testicles from the rearview mirror of my new Hyundai Vera Cruz.”

“Dooode, you rock.”

“Look at the pecs on that dude.”

But I digress.

Like I said, I’d been keeping an eye out for a potential replacement car for a while. The Toyota Matrix, another Hyundai Accent or did I want to go bigger now that I’m carrying precious cargo (Boyo the Boxer, of course). The review that cinched the Hyundai Vera Cruz for me:

Handles really good but a bit lag when @ green light, helps save gas i guess. Got it @ 110 miles, My wife and I first new car, course i favor it more because she liked it and the safety for our kids, I'm pretty tall so i wish seats go back further for leg room. Matt came with the SUV. Heated seat not needed in Hawaii but the a/c is very cold so we might as well use it. lol. Factory speakers inadequate so i upgraded.

Smooth ride, sunroof, breaking, looks good in the sun, looks good at night, handles great on turns, still smells like a new car, love the safety seats for kids, love the 3rd row, you can plug ipods, tv, etc in the front, middle and rear of the suv, i still think it's a chick's car, but i love it.

It better be a chick’s car if Matt comes with it! And, Dude, can you give Matt my phone number? Thanks.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Earthworm Jim and Nick the Nicker

I’m vying for medal status with two posts in one day but since I’ve been so lax over the last couple of months I thought I’d kill two birds while getting stoned (if anyone can reference where that saying comes from, there’s a dope trailer filled with kitties waiting for you).

I would say that was writer’s block. It would be correct but since it extended to all aspects of life I would say it was a full-on, full body and mind block. Now, my mind is racing with a million ideas but I’ll save you and only tell you one today. I’ve had it in my head to write a book based on a few characters I met while on holiday in England. These names are not made up but I could hardly pass up claiming them for a character in one of my soon-to-be-unveiled (and written) stories.

I’ll be honest in that I have not written a real-life book. I worked as editor on an amazing book written by an amazing friend and I always marveled at how inspired she was and the twists and turns her wicked, wicked mind would take. I won’t dare mention the romance novel I wrote at 15, which were full of throbbing manhoods. Yes, I even used the term more than once in the pages of my naïve freshman, never-to-see-the-light-of-day novel.

So what would possess me now? Well, my imagination is just as fresh as it was when I was chasing dancing penises around in my wild, pre-pubescent dreams. And, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but was nervous to try. But more importantly, how could I pass up a story that involves such characters as Earthworm Jim and Nick the Nicker.

People, I did not create these names. They were created long before I came into contact with these individuals. Earthworm Jim looked like his name. With a smattering of dust and a layer of dirt and a large, bulbous nose, so when I did my usual “Cheers Big Ears, Same Goes Big Nose” toast over a pint of Cheddar Valley cider I had to stifle a laugh as he turned to me and said with a grin: “Are you making fun of my nose?” I did feel contrite as I actually had not noticed it but then couldn’t hold back my laughter as I looked over his veiny, round and red nose. He looked like he’d been thrown into a vat of tomato juice, which he’d snorted up until it was all gone. Either that, or he hadn’t met a brick of cocaine he didn’t like.

The next night I met Nick the Nicker, who got his name from nicking copper wiring from job sites. He was a little rough around the edges, like life had dragged him around by the fingernails for a few dozen years. But, under the gruff mannerisms and the fact that he took cider intravenously, he was a kind man who would have your back at every turn.

Now I need a brainstorming session to figure out the plot, the lesson learned (since it is going to be a children’s book) and the situations in which they find themselves.

Maybe I'm not an evolutionist...

I had a rather disturbing conversation on Thursday that has left me thinking and seething all weekend. It’s not about anything drastic like a potential war, famine or earthquake although each of those are disturbing in their own right. No, what had me up in arms and laying awake at night is something entirely different: the end of language as we know it.

I deal in words, trading, borrowing and generally being enticed by the shiniest specimens. In other words, I covet them and cringe whenever I hear or read them being misused, so can you imagine my panic when a friend of mine told me what she sees as the next progression in our living language: the general acceptance and actual inclusion into the dictionary of “your” as the full “you are.” The apostrophe would be gone, forgotten and never to be used again to separate the two words, and I felt my heart break.

We’ve already seen the start of it. After arguing with The Man about whether irregardless is a word (it kills me to even type it out), we searched the word on an online dictionary and lo and behold it was there. The Man insists that if it’s in the dictionary then it’s right. I’m not so quick to come to that conclusion. If irregardless has a spot reserved in the dictionary whose to say “your” will not mean the possessive you and you are? You see why I couldn’t sleep? All of those rules that were drilled into us will be gone and all because of sheer laziness. Does it really take that long to add in an apostrophe and an e? We had already made a concession to join the two words back in the day so what is next?

My friend made the argument that English is an evolving language and that other words we use now are nothing like their former form. Today evolved from to day to to-day and then finally today. I’m not as up in arms over the evolution of today because there was never a change in meaning. The next step may be to combine the ever-problematic “there, they’re and their.”

Then, my friends, I will officially wear black in official mourning. Why should we change something in our language just because some people can’t get their shit together? Instead of changing the dictionary, why don’t we go back to the basics and teach spelling, grammar, punctuation and the actual meaning of words rather than laying down and dying.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Raspberries vs. the Scribe

I am the domestic goddess and it's all due to a batch of raspberry jam.

No one can describe me as Holly Homemaker. While I am proud of the home that I've created, there are certain chores I dread. I prefer cleaning the kitchens and the bathrooms to dusting and vacuuming, more because of the sneezing fits I seem to have than out of dusting laziness. I am afraid of dust bunnies and have been known to heave when I find more than one in my house. Maybe it's my imagination, but I can picture a little dust bunny family living under my entertainment unit. Mama, Papa and little baby bunnies floating around, hopping under couches, coffee tables and chairs. Tonight, however, my domestic goddess title is intact and I have raspberries to thank for that.

The Man and I went raspberry picking on Sunday. It brought back a slew of memories, of me and my brother helping ourselves to one helping and then another of the raspberries that grew wild at my grandmother's house in Markdale, Ontario. We would often sneak out onto the side porch to trace the initals, names and dates carved into the brick of the Victorian house years owned by my family before we ventured around the corner and dared to approach the raspberry bushes. This past Sunday morning, we ventured a few miles from our suburban home to Downey's Farm where we were taken by tractor out to the raspberry fields. At first it was a contest, to see who could pick faster, who would get the sweetest, darkest fruit. But then it became deliberate and therapeutic, an amazing hour of meticulously finding and picking the best berries. It was quiet with not too many people with the same idea, hoping we could stave off the rain. me with my Tim Horton's coffee in hand and a basket in the other stopping off at this bush and that, filling the baskets and finally collecting a huge batch. My next thought: what in the hell were we going to do with all of these raspberries. Oh, and I managed to eat only two during the hour of picking, a feat considering I would never make it back into my grandmother's house with a full bowl.

My first batch of raspberry jam was a comedy in errors. I was impatient and failed to read the instructions on the gelatin package in its entirety. So, I missed a step or five on the no-cook raspberry jam recipe, the most important one being the 10 minutes I was supposed to wait after adding the raspberries, lemon juice and sugar I had to mix. I added the gelatin almost immediately after combining the other ingredients. The result was this sickly sweet mess in which you could feel each granule of sugar in a teaspoon. I think it would have been better suited as an exfoliating sugar wrap except it would be way too sticky.

Tonight I tackled the recipe for the second time, this time opting for the much more complicated cooked jam recipe. Sure, there were more steps and a sterilizing of glass jars and matching lids (and a little burn from me forgetting that the glass jars were just in the oven and more than a little molten). That out of the way, however, and it was down to business, stirring in the raspberries, lemon and sugar for the second time this week.

I've posted the outcome here, complete with personalized labels - Scribe & The Man's Raspberry Jam. Oh, and I've also included the kitchen aftermath since I had to use a slew of pots, mixing bowls, sieves and spoons to create the masterpiece. But the domestic goddess title was worth it, and the sense of pride I felt when all was said and done. I, Scribe, made raspberry jam from scratch. I just hope I can use up all of the raspberries before their best before date. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's third and best patch. I just hope the kitchen is up for the challenge.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hotel Chic

I usually don't get this excited when I get to stay in hotel. Maybe it's because the other hotels and hotel rooms were a step up from the Motel 6, and even then, not a big step. I once even stayed in a motel where you could walk right through the screen door without opening it. What's the sense of having a screen door with no screen or glass. But, next month when The Man and I head to Quebec City we will be sleeping in bling, namely the bling at a unique hotel in Sainte-Foy - ALT Hotel Quebec.

Here's a bit of what we expect to see, if the web site pictures are any indication. No broken screen doors for this girl!

Here's a list of what we get:

  • Down filled duvets
  • Individually designed guest suites with orignal artwork by local artists
  • Beautiful spa-like bathroom with tub, shower, spa mirrors and all ammenities
  • Clean, crisp design
  • Free wireless internet in case I feel like blogging (sorry, I probably won't!)
  • 5 minutes' drive to the wedding venues
  • And all for $129 a night!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Eye spy

Pretty green eyes, just like mine! Well, maybe minus the tires. WTH?

Did you ever play that as a kid? Long car ride, brother in the back pinching you and pretending to fart in your general direction, so to kill the time and take your mind off of of the smell, you started at A and went through the alphabet? Yeah, me too, until I got dyslexic.

I'm not really dyslexic although numbers always seem to transpose themselves under their own power. But, last night took the cannoli. I was driving to meet up with Happy MacGyver (that's right, the creator of the MacGyver sling from the weekend moving fiasco and related hospital visit). Since I had spent almost four hours in the emergency room, I missed seeing the new digs. I wasn't that disappointed, however, since it also meant that I didn't have to move anything else that day.

I had pulled into the correct subdivision, having visited the colony of homes many times over the past few years. Never did I notice the street name. I knew it was just before the Great Canadian Superstore (Loblaws), before Sheridan College but after Shoppers World (really, it's Shoppers Nightmare since it's so ghetto). Mafia St.? Who in the hell would name a street that, I pondered, shaking my head and wondered if Cement Shoes Lane was right around the corner.

I had a nice visit, saw the living space and spent more than a few minutes laughing over the MacGyver story. And as I was pulling out of the complex, I did a double take. Oh, Malta Ave. That makes more sense. But what in the hell possessed me to think that it said Mafia? Mafia - Malta, okay it's similar and can be explained away except that this happens a lot and it usually involves store signs and lewd suggestions. A Chicken Balls sign for a chinese restaurant (yes, it is called Chicken Balls) had me thinking Chilly Balls.

I'm not alone. Happy Buddha McGyver suffers from Pizza Heels Syndrome. Let me explain. I said one night that I had pins and needles in my feet. His translation: Pizza Heels. A watching of an episode of American Idol had him hearing that sweet Crystal was offering cavity tours as opposed to a comedy tour (she was joking and I was choking as Happy MacGyver thought a tour of her orifaces was quite warranted. Gross. Eww. It might not be Street Sign Dyslexia, but it's often quite as humourous.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Birth of Happy MacGyver

MacGyver is alive and well and embodied in my Shiatsu therapist-friend Buddha.

This past weekend, The Man and I headed out in the early hours of Sunday morning to help Buddha move into his new digs. And as is the case with the latest of Buddha's moves, something always goes wrong. The last time was a not-large-enough truck and a landlord who was quick to change the locks, despite the fact that the apartment still contained a couple of large furniture items. This time, it was a crushed thumb and a diabetic reaction to low blood sugar. But it was MacGyver to the rescue.

Buddha sprinted into action to unearth the already-packed first aid kit (lesson learned, the kit is last on the truck). A swath of gauze and a network of tape later and moving hand Rick was on his way to the hospital, a little delirious and in a lot of pain after having crushed his right thumb between a door jam and a solid piece of furniture.

Now, if you know Brampton at all, you know it's not known for the speed in the emergency room. This time it was different. I'm not sure whether it was the fact that Rick was pasty, sweaty and in obvious distress or if they took one look at the MacGyver-inspired bandage, but we were seen to right away. No waiting in line, it was a pass to go and a collection of $200 in Monopoly money.

They even fed Rick, an apple juice and a cheese sandwich, to bring his blood sugar back up to acceptable levels. He'd eaten only an apple that morning AND did not test, which is a big no-no for any diabetic. There was also a chance of infection since diabetics are known not to heal quickly. Risk an infection and risk a loss of a digit, in this case his right thumb.

The good news is that the thumb is not broken. X-rays proved that. And, what usually takes six hours in the emerg took only three-and-a-half hours, which stops Brampton Civic Hospital critics in their tracks.

What was most memorable, however, was the reaction of the emergency room nurse who proclaimed "Who the hell MacGyvered this," thus giving birth to a new nickname. Buddha is Buddha no more. From this day on, he shall be named Happy McGyver. And so it is written.

Happy MacGyver MacGyvered again.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Marjo the Marvelous

This summer is shaping up to be quite exciting. Even though I'm not jetting off to Scotland or anywhere else exotic, my calendar is filled and I'm looking forward to the rest of the summer. Top on my list, a good friends' wedding in Quebec City. I've never been there before, and while I'm looking forward to exploring a new city, what I'm really looking forward to is seeing my two friends walk down the aisle.

Marjorie and Sandy met over 10 years ago at the gym where Marjo and I used to work. She came to Ontario to learn English and took up her post as the early morning receptionist at the gym. She hated to page members because of her accent, she sometimes mixed words up to hilarious results. They were embarrassing to her and funny to us, but she persevered. She's all about perseverance. After spending one summer here, she decided to call us home, put herself through university, chiropractic college and often held down two jobs at once while in school. She's an inspiration. Sandy is just as special and I'm so glad they found each other.

Last night, I attended the first of the wedding festivities - the bridal shower. Only close friends and family were in attendance and I was so thrilled and honoured to be included. Marjo has an eclectic range of friends. She meets them wherever she goes and she's just an easy breathe of fresh air. There are no airs, just a Marjo laugh and smile. And, the fact that the guest list spanned years of friendship - from 3 to 20 years - is a testament to the person that is Marjo.

She's the type of person I aspire to be - full of life and laughter, of self-confidence and a belief that she can be whatever and whoever she wants. Her glass is always half full and never running on empty. The past few years, I've lost that joie de vivre. I don't know where it went, but I know I want it back. I want to walk into a room and feel that love of life and the knowing that I am the person I want to be. Marjo has it and I strive to find it for myself.

Part of that process, that search comes from within, but it certainly helps to surround yourself with inspiring, uplifting people. And, even though Marjo and Sandy will soon move to Ottawa, I look forward to many more moments like the one we experienced tonight. Marjo has found a great network of people throughout her life: Tracy, Maria, Caroline, her Maman and me. I'm very blessed to have her and these beautiful women in my life.

Here's to Marjo and Sandy and their never half-empty glass. I raise a toast to all of you inspiring ladies (and men). Salut!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bow to the Queen

What do the Queen and Santa Claus have in common? Me.


That’s right. There is a direct line of divinity extending from the Queen (‘cause she’s royalty, she’s gotta be first), then to Father Christmas and then finally to yours truly.

Am I royalty? I’d like to think I am, but no. I am an extraordinary soul in an ordinary body living in a crazy-ass world. It happened this past Sunday. I knew I would see the Queen, if not from afar, but I would have a cheery hello and a jaunty wave.

I was at the horse races for the afternoon – the Queen’s Plate – and the track was full of suits, dresses and plumage. Hats. I wore one, the Queen wore one. Even the bathroom attendant wore one, although more utilitarian than fashion plate.

My friend The Girl and I were on our way home, hats flapping in the wind racing into the car through the sunroof. We were taking a detour to Acton to feed and water a friend’s cat when I was distracted by a chin of white. I looked, looked again and then looked a third time. It was Santa and he was riding a 10-speed. He was also wearing shorts and high top sneakers but it was the chin of white and the hat, a helmet, that attracted my second and third looks.

I think it was payback from the powers that be since all of my horses either came in second or last. That's right, I went in with $30 and left with $2 in change. Since I was betting $2 at a time, even if I had won, it would not have amounted to much.

But now that I've seen the Queen AND Santa in one day, I think my luck is a-changin' so I'm heading out to the casino. Either that or a craps game somewhere. I'll wear my lucky hat.