Thursday, 25 January 2007

Boys are STOOPID - Hollah to CF

Okay - so I wrote a kind of political column this week, my editor even said she might get some nasty emails because of it, but that's okay - at least we'll know people are listening, right?

So, I'll post that column later, but right now, I have to share a story with all of my readers.

Our WTF Girl Cult has a member who has just lost what she thought was the guy she was gonna marry. I've met the guy, he seemed nice enough...but so did Ted Bundy, knowhatImean?

So things start out nice and lovely. CF has fabulous taste in everything and knows she needs a man that will treat her like the princess she deserves to be. She has drawn a line and told her man what she needs, and he bends heaven, hell and all earth in between to get it for her.

He cut ties with his ex, told C that he was off the mortgage, that she was his everything, that life meant nothing without her. Then his mom died.

Mama's boys only scratches the surface with this one, but according to C, he never took the appropriate time to grieve.

And then weird little things started to happen.

He called C psycho. He broke up with her a couple of times. But he slid his slippery way back in with promises of anti-depressants and therapy and really, C, you're my everything - I'll do anything for you.

It's been ten months and everything seems to be going okay. Her royal majesty, C has laid down the law and it is being followed to the letter, as it should.

Then C gets a phone call, from the ex.

Who tells her that the man is, in fact, still her boyfriend.

That the man, in fact, still has his name on the mortgage.

That he's been seeing C and the ex for the entire ten months

That the ex went with him to his mother's funeral.

So I get a call from C, slightly freaked out, a little bit on the downward spiral of crazy, trying to make sense of it all. She goes to her mom's and is consoled there, but man, my heart is with her. The poor girl hasn't even had the sense to call the man and find out if there's any truth to it. She knows. She knows it's true.

And before C can even pick up her head and decide he's scum, he calls her and calls her a psycho, calls her fat, and says he's going to kill her. He blames her for everything that's happened, tells her she's crazy, did I mention the fat part (which, of course, she is NOT, in any way - fat!)?

He has hacked into her email at the office, and the appropriate authorities have been notified of his felonious behaviour (they work for a government office, oh joy!)

C has been smart. The cops have been notified. Neighbors are on watch, C is staying with her folks.

Here's where it gets good.

Today.....wait for it....

HE was CAUGHT stealing C's garbage! Ewwwwwww!

Now, in a stalker-ish way, that's just downright scary. We know that. So C calls the cops after the nosy neighbor calls her - and the cops call him at work and ask what the hell?

Rumour has it he's acting appropriately embarrassed and slightly freaked out that he was caught, and that's all great.

But C? Are you reading, honey? It's time for a restraining order, darlin. This is just too creepy, no matter how pathetic the small (fat) man is.

And yes, he's a goon, a nerd, a freak, a total 3-D loser - but promise you'll keep security on him, and let me know what other delicious details arise so we can make fun of him right here on cyber-space.

And C? You are waaaaay too good for the likes of him, and don't you DARE believe any of that crap he said about you.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Winter Joy or Winter Hum Drum? Depends On Who You Ask

I knew it couldn’t last forever, this mild winter we were experiencing. Now we’re covered in snow, just like we’re meant to be. Wintery white, cold, crisp and sparkly. How lovely.

About six inches of lovely is covering my driveway. This has to be shoveled, the walks need to be cleared and the cars need to be dug out, and Peter's back is sore. Ugh. Winter. I’m so over it.

The burst of cold air hits me when I bring Chip chip out for his morning walk. I don't want to trudge through the snow, so I let him run, leash free. Chances are he wouldn't come back if he didn't have brakfast as enticement. But after he lets the night go in the trees, he runs out to bounce in the snow with the joy of the five-year-old puppy he is. He rolls and jumps, sending explosions of pristine white snow into glittering clouds around him.

I guess that's how you greet winter when you’re happy about it. I shiver and pull my coat closer around my neck.

Then there’s Wick, our eight-month-old kitten. She stops short when the door opens, as if to say ‘Whoa, who changed my world, and what did they paint it with?” I give her a bit of encouragement with my Sorel booted foot.

Wick bounces off the steps and is suddenly steps cat-knee deep in snow. She looks at me. Her look is clearly confused until a random brown leaf scurries across the white landscape, and Wick, true to her form, attacks it with one leap, landing her furry little butt neck deep in snow. She freezes.

This is how you greet winter if you just don’t know what’s going on. Crawl in a hole and wait it out.

I trudge on through, grabbing the newspaper, watching the animals. I’m not sure what Wick is doing, but she has yet to move from her snow-fox hole. Chip is still doing his business back in the bush, if the white puffs of flying snow are any indication.

When I start hollering 'breakfast' into the woods, my breath puffing out in cold clouds, Wick braves her way out of her hole and bounds back towards the door, where her snow-less life waits for her.

I have to call the dog a couple of times and remind him that breakfast is waiting, but all he wants to do is roll in the snow. Weirdo. At last it registers. I can almost see his drool freezing as it hangs from his chin. He heads back toward the house at a dead run. Uh oh.

Wick has almost made it, has only one little jump left to make it, but Chip sees her first.

Let's just say that after the cloud of snow clears, only Wick's ear is visible. When she emerges from the snow, she is not happy. She swipes nastily at the tail-wagging dog. He jumps away from her and bounds into the house, obviously proud of himself for besting the cat (for once).

Wick shakes her fur free of the offending snow and cautiously follows me into the house, looking for her attacker. There is heat and revenge in her eyes. I wisely keep my bare hands away from her. Her tail swipes in greedy, angry arcs as she creeps down the back stairs. She knows she's got time.

Chip can't think of anything but the word 'breakfast'.

Once the dog is fed and greedily munching away, I watch as Wick casually makes her way to Chip’s big bed. I see it in her eyes as she looks at the dog, who is completely oblivious to what's about to happen.

I sense it only two seconds too late. Wick hops in Chip's sacred place, walks right to the middle and promptly squats to do her wet business right where the dog sleeps.

I start to yell at her and tell her ‘bad cat!’, but then it hits me. Even through the laughter bubbling up and tumbling out of me, I realize I have more laundry to do, but more importantly,
Wick has showed Chip what she thinks of him trouncing her in the snow.

And really, who can blame her? Sometimes snow just sucks.

Friday, 12 January 2007

If Abbott and Costello Were Alive Today

Thanks for sending this over, MD!

Abbott and Costello have always been favourites of mine. From the time I was a child, Sunday mornings were filled with movies, Abbott & Costello falling in the middle of the line up. This is from an email that has probably been circling the web for a gazillion tech years or something, but it's still quite amusing.

If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch,"Who's on first?" might have turned out something like this:

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinkingabout buying a computer.
COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.
COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look in the windows?
ABBOTT: Wallpaper.
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
ABBOTT: Software for Windows?
COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What have you got?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?
ABBOTT: Recommend something.
COSTELLO: You recommended something?
COSTELLO: For my office?
COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!
ABBOTT: I recommend Windows with Office.
COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows!
OK, lets just say I'msitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?ABBOTT: Word.
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?
ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue "W".
COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue "w" if you don't start with somestraight answers. OK, forget that. Can I watch movies on the Internet?
ABBOTT: Yes, you want Real One.
COSTELLO: Maybe a real one, maybe a cartoon. What I watch is none of your business. Just tell me what I need!
ABBOTT: Real One.
COSTELLO: If it's a long movie, I also want to see reel 2, 3 and 4. CanIwatch them?ABBOTT: Of course.
COSTELLO: Great! With what?
ABBOTT: Real One.
COSTELLO: OK, I'm at my computer and I want to watch a movie. What do I do?ABBOTT: You click the blue "1".
COSTELLO: I click the blue one what?
ABBOTT: The blue "1".
COSTELLO: Is that different from the blue "w"?
ABBOTT: The blue "1" is Real One and the blue "W" is Word.
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: But there's three words in "office for windows"!
ABBOTT: No, just one. But it's the most popular Word in the world.
ABBOTT: Yes, but to be fair, there aren't many other Words left. It pretty much wiped out all the other Words out there.
COSTELLO: And that word is real one?
ABBOTT: Real One has nothing to do with Word. Real One isn't even a part of Office.
COSTELLO: STOP! Don't start that again. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?
ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.
COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?
ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?
ABBOTT: One copy.
COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?
ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.
COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?
ABBOTT: Why not? They own it.

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?
ABBOTT: Click on "START".......

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Why Won’t Time Stop For Me?

I've decided that it seriously bothers me that I can’t stop time. This bothers me beyond the whole Heroes-superpowerthing. I am annoyed that no matter how many potions I use, no matter how many times someone tells me how young I look for my age, whenever I go back to visit California I age a dozen or so years. And it's all because of all the kids I haven't seen in a couple of years.

It doesn't matter that whenever I think of our great visit home (don't tell Peter I said that) I can bring up any number of cool stories (remember Elli's coffee?). It seems that lately, all I can think of is how much the sting hurt when I got the nasty slap in the face that told me the family tree grows on, as do the branches on the trees of my nearest and dearest, and I have absolutely no say in the matter.

When I met my sixteen-month old nephew Jordan on Christmas Day, it was a special moment (even though he ran away because he didn’t know me). My brother reproduced. Begat. Carried on, threw his dna in the primordial soup. That alone scares years off of me, because I grew up with the man. But knowing there's some good Jennifer DNA in Jordan will make him a little more stable.

So there I was, watching Jeff cuddle his son while smiling in that first-time-besotted-daddy way. Jordan is sucking on his bottle, his little sixteen-month-old fingers holding his bottle, relaxed in the hammock of his daddy's arms. And then it hits me. I'm going to miss so much by living so far away. And time won't stop for me, dang it.

I was gone for only two years and Jordan came to join my brother's family. The adorable Miss Emily joined my sister’s family, and I have missed a full two years of her life. All of my friends’ children have grown, joined sports, and speak in clear sentences now. Gone are most of the sweet, joyful hugs from the boys. Moms aren’t allowed to kiss them either, so I don't feel too bad, but when I once was jumped upon and squealed at and laughed and played with, now it's more of a what's up, Auntie, kind of thing.

I don't know how you mothers deal with it.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, there were a few occasions when I would introduce myself to young adults who then laughed at me and said “don’t you recognize me, Auntie?” Life goes on, I’m getting old, and this really sucks.

Ginnie Marie is now Ginnie. She’s graduated university and now works as a reporter for her local paper. She comes in the door with a rushed presence, clicking off her Bluetooth headset with an “I’ll call you back.” She drops her briefcase and her designer handbag and says “Auntie Joyce! Uncle Peter! I rushed home to see you two before you left!”

And there I was, wondering where the girl that had just graduated from high school was. The one I used to send reassuring emails to as she moved in to the dorms at UC Santa Barbara. I didn’t know the woman in front of me, even though she hugged me with just as much love as I remember when she was tiny. Sigh. Yup, time stops for no one who moves to Canada.

When reviewing all the pictures with my Girl Cult when Peter and I came home to blessedly un-crowded Lanark County, I realized that most of my pictures were of the children I met and re-acquainted myself with. And I aged again. Gone are the pictures of wild parties and hey- look at that one, she's taking her bra off! Most of my pictures are of the kids that will be strangers to me once again when I head back to California.

And I’ll be right back in the shock phase of wondering who these people are that are calling me Auntie.

If you want to see how old you’re getting, look at the pictures of your kids and their friends, then sit down and have a good, long cry. Don’t cry too hard though, we don’t want to add to those laugh lines.

And please, let me know if you’ve figured out how to watch the kids grow up without aging yourself. That’s a trick I’d really like to master.

Thursday, 4 January 2007

Italian Espresso Roasting, California Style

Peter and I just returned from a visit to California. I could write about how fantastic it was to see everyone, how much fun it was to get together, see the friends and family, but this week, I’d like to introduce you to Elli.

Elli is 51. She has an amazing antique furniture collection and a couple of pretty cool dogs. Oh, and Elli roasts her own E-Bay bought coffee beans in her back yard. Seriously. And you won't believe how 'simple 'it is.

Okay, that may not sound like too much excitement, but we were privy to her secrets, and the tools of her trade. Let me remind you of Elli's words - as she took us to her back yard picnic table. “This is a simple process.” Remember this.

First, Ellie shows us a 1950’s caramel corn maker, with an agitator at the bottom to keep things moving. She plugs in a digital thermometer and tells us she’s just going to warm things up a bit. She puts a springform pan around the hot plate (don't forget to remove the bottom of the springform pan first), and covers it all with a pressure-cooking-lid-looking thing and lets it all warm up for a few moments.

Next, Elli drops raw coffee beans (no taste, no smell that I can discern) into the contraption until the agitator starts moving back wards. She pulls out about a dozen beans, because the agitator shows you how many beans to put in by its movement. Huh?

Elli then puts the lid on her home-made roaster and tells us that the beans will go through a series of smells, none of them pleasant. She also tells us that we are waiting to hear the first crack of the beans as they are roasting. Simple? What?

We are all hushed as Elli tells us we are now listening for a crack. As the beans heat, they crack (it sounds like popcorn), but this is only the first crack. And Ellie is right; the beans smell like they are burning. Not a nice aroma at all. In fact, based on the smell, I could give up coffee completely.

Now that the first crack and three or four acrid smells have assaulted our nostrils, Elli says we are waiting for the second crack of the beans, which is, by the way, a very distinctive sound that is quite different from the first crack. Okay, truthfully, I couldn't hear anything different at all, but if Elli says it happened, then I beleive her.

I ask why these husk like things are flying all over. Ellie shows us the (simple) holes she’s drilled into the sides of her springform pan (minus bottom). These are so the bean chaff can fly out. The holes are bigger than the chaff, so it can easily separate itself from the beans as they agitate, smell bad and molt.

I don’t know about you, but I think chaff flying out of any size hole sounds like a bad thing, and about this time, I think I have landed in the Ozarks at a distillery of one of my Hatfield ancestors.

The second crack has come and gone, and now our nostrils are being assailed with an amazing aroma that makes my brain scream ‘give me coffee NOW!’

After the beans have been cooled with a shop-vac colander contraption, the beans are ready. They find their way to the grinder, to the percolator, to my cup. I take a sip and sigh, wondering if I can recreate this contraption at my house in Canada. But let's face it, I'm no MacGyver Elli.

Elli, here’s to you, for one of the best cups of coffee I have ever tasted. But girl, that process is anything but simple.