Friday, 27 August 2010

Labrador and Dolphin

Today's mental health moment!! Two of my favourite creatures on earth. A labrador retriever and a dolphin. Excellent!!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Does Klutziness Exponentially Increase During Elul?

I realize that I am not the most fluid of human beings. I definitely have moments that could charitably labeled as awkward and immobile. I have been told in no uncertain terms by my children, that if I ever attempt to cut a bagel again, they both categorically refuse to drive me to the emergency room. I am a klutz, there are no two ways about it. I often will discover bruises on my body that are unexplainable, but are certainly from a collision with an open drawer, a table top or a counter. I have fallen down a stair or two on more occasions then I would care to remember, (once breaking a bone in my foot!) and The Husband has taken to ridiculing my "band-aid of the day" routine. I get it. Some of us are graceful swans and some of us waddling ducks. I fall in with my mallard brethren. But my less than graceful demeanour does seem to accelerate rapidly the closer we get to Rosh Hashana. I feel like I am riding the demolition derby from hell.

I know that I have never been the calmest wave in the ocean. I stress. It is part of me. It is who I am. I know that those near and dear to me will tell me that I am like this every year, and on some basic level they would be correct. There was the pre-Yontif burning of all of the fingers on my right hand in a kitchen accident, seriously calling my guitar-playing into question that year. There was last year's debacle of voicelessness 10 days before the holidays. There have been cuts, bruises, assorted maladies and aches and pains. This year I have experienced stomach issues that have proven more effective than any diet, sleeplessness that a vampire would envy, and a new joy added to the mix-brittle hair and skin. "UNCLE"!!!! I feel like Job being tested. How much more???

Well, I will tell you how much more. Here is a litany of today's woes. I awoke from my one hour of nightly sleep with a raging stomach ache. I spilled an entire container of powdered medium-deep makeup all over the bathroom floor. (A true joy to clean!!) I got two paper cuts from this morning's newspaper. I banged into a parking curb with my car. I spilled an entire jar of honey in my condiments drawer. (A true joy to clean!!) I have dropped the telephone twice, (once into the kitchen sink!) I wasted $50.00 on a guitar capo that is a piece of shit and I stubbed my toes 3 times on the couch. And--it is only 2:30 pm.

I think that there may be a force in the universe telling me that the jig is up and it is time to find another line of work. Either that-or it is my yearly test. Help me to understand. Am I missing something?

***UPDATE: I just dumped an entire large marinated cauliflower on the floor. It is being marinated in a bright yellow turmeric dressing. (A true joy to clean!!!) God-Help me.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

A Golden Moment

It was extraordinarily difficult for me to fathom the idea that The Husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this past June. I realize that when all couples stand up on their wedding days, there is an expectation that it is forever. But reality is what it is, and most of us simply count ourselves lucky to be in the statistical minority of long-lasting unions with one person. Such is the case with my Other Mother and Father. While I found 25 years a ridiculous premise, today they celebrate 50. 50!!!!! 50 years with the same person. 50 years of sharing bathrooms and closets. (Although they discovered long ago that one of the great secrets to their longevity was to share neither!) 50 years of hairstyles and fashion changes-her not him! 50 years of messes, (not if she could help it!) meals, (not if she could help it!) dark chocolate marshmallow, (not if she could help it!) and rye and vodka. (Oh why bother-you know!!)

I am in awe of 50 years. It requires stamina, patience, understanding, yelling, tolerance, mutual understanding, and of course-the big L! (Like! Love is easy, liking is tough.) I have absolutely no idea what, if any these two truly special people have in mind for gifts for one another. The party that is on tap for this evening should prove a wonderful celebration, but as my Other Dad always says to me-presents matter, and please no clothes! So, I offer a small token to them both of gifts that they might have given to each other over this past half of a century. These are items that have been invented since they stood under the chupah. One for each year.

1960-the halogen lamp
1961-valium (thank God!!) and non-dairy creamer for the lactose intolerant
1962-silicone breast implants (like this family needs help)
1963-video disk
1964-permanent press clothing (ok-a bit of clothing)
1965-kevlar (for the gun enthusiast!)
1966-electronic fuel injection cars
1967-handheld calculators
1968-computer mouse
1969-ATM (which apparently the Other Dad still shuns!)

1970-floppy disks
1972-Pong-the first video game
1973-disposable lighter
1974-post-it notes (for the list makers in all of us)
1975-push through drink tab (Diet Coke drinkers rejoice!!)
1976-ink jet printer (is your's compatible to your computer?)
1977-MRI machines (Thank God!!)
1978-Artificial heart
1979-cell phones!! (Don't leave home without it!)

1980-Hepatitis B vaccine (comes in handy for those who travel!)
1981-IBM-PC computer
1982-Human Growth Hormone (for those of us who are vertically challenged!)
1983-Cabbage Patch doll
1984-Apple Mac (we are a Mac family after all!)
1985-Windows for Microsoft (who cares!)
1986-disposable camera
1987-disposable contact lenses
1988-Prozac (Thank God!!)
1989-Hi-Def television

1990-The Web
1991-digital answering machine
1992-the smart pill
1993-pentium processor
1994-HIV Protease inhibitor (I know-not a great gift, but it was a slow year!)
1996-Web TV
1997-gas-powered fuel cell
1998-Viagara (Need I say more??)
1999-Techno Bubbles (??) -click the link-it is kind of cool.

2000-The Segway
2001-Self-cleaning windows (I want those!!)
2002-Braille glove
2003-Hybrid cars
2004-running shoes with built in microprocessor
2006-The Hug Shirt
2007-iPhone (too bad it isn't yet available in Canada!)
2009-retinal implants
2010-the year isn't yet over so you still have time.

I wish you both only happiness, health, travel and joy for the next 50, because I expect you to give us the same treatment on our 50th. Love to you both.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

I Think That I Need to Turn in My Membership Card

Betty Friedan is probably rolling over in her grave. I might just have to forfeit my lifelong, gold-plated membership as a feminist. I still can't believe that I actually did it! What is the cause of such angst? Well, it is because of how we decided to spend part of our evening last night. This hardcore, dyed in the wool, staunch believer in all things feminist had a drink at the (gasp!!) Playboy Club here on the Las Vegas strip! Gloria Steinham, please forgive me and look kindly upon this your child.

It is important to understand that the objectification of women here in Vegas, particularly younger women, is one of the only things that is relentlessly eating away at me during this lovely respite away from reality. I am visibly uncomfortable when I espy women waitresses, dealers, and other hotel employees dressed in little more than an average Victoria's Secret catalogue model, while their male counterparts are fully clothed. I see college aged girls dotting the strip in full "skank" attire all in an effort to reel in the latest big fish for an evening "hook-up" and it unnerves me. So heading into Hugh's lair cut across every value that I hold near and dear. In spite of my reservations, The Husband, The Social Butterfly, his Ms. Sephora, and yours truly headed to the Palms Hotel for an after-show drink.

It turned into a true hoot!! First off, The Social Butterfly used all of his shmoozing abilities with the manager and got the four of us comped in. As we stood in line awaiting the private elevator that would whisk us up to the 55th floor, an imposing looking bouncer scanned the queue looking for underaged stowaways. I am about say something that I still cannot believe-I GOT CARDED!!! I wanted to kiss the kid full on his lips! He must have felt slightly moronic when he saw the year of birth was from before the Kennedy assassination! Still reeling from the stupidity of that situation, the four of us entered into very dark and very elegant club. After procuring drinks, we made our way to the windows to take in the spectacular city scape. The fact that there were actual Playboy Bunnies complete with ears and tails, dealing cards, serving drinks, and posing for pictures didn't escape our focus either.

As we stood there marveling at the absurdity of the situation, a nice looking guy started to hang around our small foursome. I am so oblivious, I believed that he was interested in the young girl to my right. After a short while, he disappeared into the crowd. My 3 drinking buddies all started to laugh and were convinced he was interested in me!! Nonsense, said I. They were adamant. Ms. Sephora said that he kept glancing over at me and giving the eye. I am so stupid and so very married that I can't even pick up on flirting signals anymore. OY! We laughed so hard it hurt.

I have always been a staunch opponent of Playboy and the lifestyle that it advocated. I have never been of the mind that it is just harmless fun because of the message that it sends to both men and women about what is and isn't acceptable treatment. Last night's foray into the lion's den did little to alter that perception, but it did show me a few laughs and it certainly stoked my ego a great deal. I just hope that Gloria will understand.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Random Musings from the Town that Bugsy Built!

Here are some truly mixed up and totally random thoughts from my oh so elegant suite at the Palazzo Hotel on the Las Vegas strip. (All thanks for that bit of decadence goes directly to The Husband.)

• One's concept of money and it's value is truly skewed here. It is not uncommon to spend $7.00 on a small scoop of gelato, complain vociferously about being ripped off, and then head off to the casino where one will drop a minimum $10.00 a hand. I needed to purchase a disposable razor yesterday and that purchase, together with a Diet Coke cost me $17.00!! Outrageous I know, and if I had been more coherent and not been simply signing my name, I would have made a beeline for Walgreen's. Obviously that wasn't the case and when The Husband discovered my error, he became slightly unhinged, but when he then dropped over $100 bucks in less than twenty minutes, his anger quickly subsided.

• The Blue Jays better hope that there are some great prospects in the lower minor leagues, because what I saw on display last night for their triple A affiliate here was sad. The 51s tried gamely against Nashville, buy when your journeyman starting pitcher gives up an 8 spot in the fifth, you know that there are problems. In some fairness, the Jays have sort of raided the team this season and most of their best and brightest are already on the major league roster, but when shortstop Mike McCoy is the best player on the field--OY!! We had a chance to talk to pitching coach Dave LaRoche before the game and asked him who on his staff might be due a September call-up. His answer? A roll of the eyes and a terse "not with the way these guys are throwing!!" That said, I had a blast at the game, and I felt like I was an extra in a sequel to Bull Durham. There is an entire post in attending a minor league game.

• While I am on the subject, what is up with the Jays having their farm club a 4 hour plane ride away? How can the average fan identify with players that they never see and boxscores coming from a timezone three hours away? Not only that, the players are still wearing uniforms from their former Dodger affiliation days. Come on, Rogers! Pony up some cash for these guys and make them feel like Toronto is their home!

• 107 degree heat is hot-humidity or no humidity. This idea of dry heat--Bullshit!! Hot is hot!

• There was a rumour going around the hotel yesterday of a Paris Hilton sighting. My reaction? Who gives a flying f@&$? I was more excited to see the unknown bastards toiling for the Baby Jays.

• I have come to the conclusion that the fashion mantra for women here is "skank". I have never seen so many women, young, middle-aged, and not so young, prostitute themselves in clothing so unbecoming that it is comical. Short skirts that purposely reveal pubic regions, low cut tops with so much silicone hanging out we could build our own line of cooking utensils, and clothing cinched so tightly that these poor souls are left gasping for oxygen. Don't even get me started on the CFM heels!! Their balance is so off that I worry about being smothered under the weight of some surgically altered femme fatale when she inevitably lurches forward onto me. There I'll be-swimming against the tide of a pair of double EEs, struggling to regain my composure. Females of the world unite. Dress for success and comfort instead of man-baiting and one-night hook-ups! Where is the pride, ladies? Haven't we progressed further than this?

More to come. I apologize for any typos. I am working off of my iPhone so mistakes are inevitable.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Dos and Don'ts of Airline Travel

The Husband and I are jetting off today on a quick jaunt to the land of quickie weddings and even quicker divorces, in order to yank my head out its yearly High Holiday preparation stupor. I think that he figured that a last minute trip to Vegas was cheaper than couple's counseling or a month long prescription for Valium for two! Anyway here I am, 30,000 feet over the "fly-over" states on an early-morning to Denver, hoping against hope that we don't miss our extremely tight connection into the glorious heat of a Nevada summer. It has always struck a discordant nerve with me that even after over 100 years of passenger air travel, many amongst us still haven't figured out how not to act like a boor in the air. (I kid you not, but just as I typed those words, the little girl in front of me just sneezed all over the place!!) So, in order to pass the time until we land in the Rockies, or until the massive turbulence makes typing once again impossible, I thought that I would regale you all with Dawn's dos and don'ts of air travel.

Do: Go through the process of acquiring a NEXUS card if you do any cross-boarder traveling between Canada and the United States. I know that I have been droning on about this marvelous little wonder for months now, but it is truly amazing how much time it can shave off of your airport experience. It eliminates much of the inanity and insanity. No more questions from power hungry assholes about how much money I make or what I do for a living. A quick iris scan and it is off to security, which leads me to.....

Don't: Think that you are allowed to take your 3 ounces of toothpaste on board with you in a regular sized 12 ounce tube. We actually waited 15 minutes behind some jack-off this morning who decided that his almost-squeezed out tube of Crest was carry-on worthy.

Do: Attempt to travel with only carry-on bags whenever possible. Airlines are notorious for losing or damaging luggage, and too much time is wasted waiting at the carousels. In these days of airline luggage fees, carrying on one's bag is both cheaper and more convenient. An appropriate and regulation sized roller suitcase can actually hold up to 2 weeks worth of personal items, including shoes. That said......

Don't: Try and bullshit us by trying to bring your regular luggage on board and then annoying all by complaining that it won't fit into the overhead bin. I have seen too many people attempt to bring oversized luggage, 3 suitbags, huge briefcases, and a purse onto a plane and then become indignant when the flight attendants inform them that their luggage will indeed have to be checked. And while we're at it......

Don't: Store your bag in an overhead bin that isn't at your seat. Too many boors think that they are being clever by hogging the spaces closest to the front of the plane to facilitate a quick departure, without realizing that this behavior means that others will have to store their bags far away from their seats, clogging up the aisles for all. Planes are designed to service all passengers. Don't f$&@ that up by being a selfish prick!

Do: Board the aircraft like a mensch and enter into your seat as if you were gaining access into an automobile-that is butt facing the seat.

Don't: Enter your row with your ass in the face of your aisle-mate or with your ass pushing against the back of the seat in front of you. You can set yourself up for your trip just fine without me having to feel or sniff your tuchas up close and personal!!!

Do: Use the armrests as support if you require help in getting in and out of your seat.

Don't: Use the top of the seat on front of you for support if you require help in getting in and out of your seat. I have had my hair pulled so many times I have lost count, not to mention that I might just be sleeping as you yank on me from behind. A bit of common courtesy is in order.

Do: Share the joys of travel with your children. Exposing kids to all that world has to off is a wondrous thing. Just.....

Don't: Share your kids with me. Look--I am incredibly tolerant of children and I do understand better than most, the difficulties in flying with kids, but please have mercy on the rest of us poor souls. DVD players should be plugged into headphones so that I don't have to listen to 3 hours of Barney. Your child should not be allowed to endlessly roam up and down the aisles, foisting their supposed "cuteness" on every unsuspecting shnook just attempting to survive the trip. Please change diapers promptly and privately, and for God's sake-show some backbone and discipline the little monsters when required. I have no problem traveling with kids-it's their parents that I can't stomach!!

That's all for now folks. More to come from Vegas!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

An Open Letter to Twin Son and His Better Half

To my dear friends,

Words cannot adequately express the gratitude that The Husband and I feel for allowing us to share in your little piece of nirvana once again this past weekend. Your hideaway, a mere few hours drive time from the city, has acted as a lifeline for my mental health on more occasions than a houseguest who hopes to get invited back cares to mention in a public forum. The natural beauty of the place never fails to leave me breathless, (and no-it wasn't my asthma kicking up a fight!!) and the lack of schedule or outside intrusions is truly life-affirming. Years ago you both made a conscious decision to prohibit televisions, radios, internet connections and the like from your home away from home, and while it is really difficult for us citified pukes to wean ourselves from the technology to which we have becoming uncompromisingly tethered, the peace and serenity that is felt by not constantly glancing at a watch or worrying about what is happening in the outside world is a template that all should follow several times a year. Then again, it is always amusing to watch 8 idiots wander around the cottage and the dock holding our cellphones aloft and askew, hoping to find that one perfect spot where a half a bar of available service might be bestowed upon us. Give us a break. Rome wasn't built in a day, either.

I have gleaned much from my many trips to the cottage over the years, but I thought that you both might be interested in hearing my top "what have you learned, Dorothy" moments. So, here we go in no particular order.

  • The cottage is cozy but not small. We all have absolutely learned how to make allowances for the tight quarters. For example, The Husband and I are perfectly comfortable in knowing that only one of us can get dressed or undressed in our room at a time, otherwise it is like engaging in a very adult game of Twister, and the end result of that might be that nobody sees us for the duration. (Is that too private?) Packing only necessities is the key to a successful cottage weekend, unless we are discussing food-then all bets are off.
  • Sharing 1 bathroom with 8 middle-aged adults is surprisingly easy. There were no pee-pee dance moments, nor were there any "who used all the hot water" bellows. I have had more issues over the years with 2 teenage boys, two cranky morning showers and a tank that is many times larger. I have come to believe that personal grooming habits enter into an odd space/time continuum at the cottage where nobody really cares if the make-up is properly applied, the hair appropriately coiffed, or if the daily shower happens hours past an expiration date. I am fairly certain that, given my appearance for most of the weekend-hair pulled back, baseball cap, sunglasses-many of my Toronto friends and family would have walked right by me without a second glance and I couldn't have cared less. 
  • Alcohol is a food group and drinking begins rather early and can take many forms. There is no thought of intoxication because, really-who gives a shit??? Chocolate, Doritos, cookies, pretzels, french fries and their companion foods do not possess calories, fat, salt, or sugar and, honestly even if they did, I ask once again-who gives a shit???
  • I must reverse all previous misconceptions about cottage weather. For the first time in 10 years I didn't pack my gloves, my long underwear or my winter coat, and for the first time in 10 years I didn't require them. You both have been feeding me bullshit stories for years about the myth of hot, sunny, and humid cottage weather, but I finally was allowed to enter the magic land where the heat miser resides. I apologize for doubting. 
  • A few other scattered and random cottage epiphanies from the weekend. Privacy is a moving target and I still have not figured out what should and should not be labelled as such. Hip hop music can carry across a quiet lake and can blast at decibel levels louder than any club in the Entertainment District. I became intimate with Drake! Trivial Pursuit is a bloodsport and should only be played in full pads and helmets. Epithets and cuss words fly without thought during the games, so it is truly not for the faint of heart or those who think that f*@# and all of its derivatives have no place in the Queen's English. Apparently Mary Mallon incubated syphilis according to our cutthroat game. Finally, just in case anybody was wondering, women's rest rooms do not come equipped with urinals. (This is a story that requires some explanation, but must be kept under the veil of privacy. Anybody interested-email me offline!!!)
So dear friends I attempt to say thank you, but it seems so small. We had a spectacular time with good friends, good food, good drink and gigantic belly laughs that left me gasping for oxygen and doubled over in pain. If you deem us worthy, we would love to do it again. Arrange the weather accordingly!!

Monday, 2 August 2010