Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ready, steady...

I'm almost ready for next week, when my big computer project is being implemented.  I'm setting my alarm for 5:30 am on Monday morning.  I've stocked up on food supplies to make sure that I have plenty to grab for lunches and snacks.  It's going to be intense.

Among other things, I bought bottled peach yogurt smoothies.  Mmm, yummy.  Why should you care?  Because...

I haven't consumed dairy products since I was 23.  I had IBS and eliminating dairy really helped.  But since I brought wheat back online it got me to thinking.  I haven't had any regular tummy troubles in many years.  Maybe I could eat dairy now?  So I tried.  And I can.  Just recently I ate cheese for the first time in 16 years.  It's pretty freaking awesome.  (You may assume that I mean "being able to eat dairy products is awesome" or you may assume that I mean "cheese is awesome".  Both statements are true.)

So.  Now I am eating All The Things.  Except spicy things.  You can keep the spicy things.  I'll take the cake, ice cream, and macaroni and cheese.

I took myself out shopping today.  My main goal was to pick up a couple of bras.  Not my favourite activity, but a must-do once a year.  Boys, all imma say is you're lucky you don't have to deal with this.  What a pain up the arse.  I got lucky this year - I went to the store armed with a model number and size that fits me and it's still available!  That's the best possible scenario.  No need for the change room.  Just grab a few off the rack, pay, and run.  Trying on bras is even more frustrating and irritating than trying on jeans, if you can believe that.  Ladies, you know what I mean.

I had to walk through a sock sale to get to the lingerie department.  First I thought "I'm just going to walk straight through and not look right or left because oooh those are cute, hey how 'bout those?"  Then I had to look at every pair of socks in the department, because I'm a little sock-crazy.

I found some neat-o anklets made from recycled pop bottles.  They were being sold in 6-packs, original price $20, down to $9.  I couldn't choose between the pastel rainbow and the brights rainbow, so I got one of each.  Yup, that's a lot of socks.  But my philosophy is one can never have too many.

So anyway, wish me luck for next week!  :-)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Top Hat Café

Let it be known far and wide that the Top Hat Café at Trent Bingo Palace in Toronto serves fries and gravy that are a gateway to hedonistic bliss.  Did I win at Bingo?  No!  Do I care?  No!  The whole evening was worth it for those unbelievable fries.

You can see the Top Hat Café here in all its glamorous glory: sneeze-guard, stacks of styrofoam cups, and the Special of the Day whiteboard.  Don't tell me that's not classy.  Their logo is a top hat.  What could be classier than that?

The purple bingo ladies agree.  You can see them above, enjoying a sandwich.  They are wearing matching purple shirts and all-purple accessories.  Their dabbers are purple.  I don't know if you can make it out, but the lady facing the camera is wearing reading glasses with lavender-tinted lenses.  I thought that was pretty cool.

Contrast this with The Pickle Barrel, a restaurant with several locations in the Toronto area.  When I was a kid there was only one location. It was a homey diner that specialized in smoked meat deli sandwiches and chicken soup with matzoh balls.  Now, after some serious re-branding, they've gone all fancy schmancy.

Don't get me wrong - I like The Pickel Barrel.  I've had some very good meals there.  But tonight I ate at the Yonge and Eglinton location, and my meal was so lacklustre that it almost wasn't worth the effort of chewing and swallowing.

I ordered a burger with fries, gravy, and coleslaw.  The only thing on my plate that had any taste to it at all was the coleslaw.  The burger was completely bland until I spiced it up with a pickle and condiments.  The fries were limp and pulpy.  Even the gravy was lukewarm and lumpy.  Ken ordered chicken wings, and he too was completely unimpressed with his food.  Come on, Pickle Barrel.  Kick it up a notch!

I also have to mention that I saw a grown man behaving like a child today.  I'll let you be the judge of whether or not this was a good thing.  He was with his nine-year-old niece at the playground - I know this because his sister-in-law was sitting next to me on a park bench and we got to chatting.

The man sat himself down on a swing and pumped as hard as he could until he couldn't swing any higher.  Then he started yelling to get his niece's attention.  "JULIE!  JULIE LOOKOUT, I'M COMING TO GET YOU!"  Then (and here I should mention that he looked to be around 50 years old and not super-fit) at the peak of a swing he jumped off.  I missed the jump, but my attention was caught by the dust-cloud he raised when he fell hard on the sandy ground.  Ken and I winced together, but he rolled out of it and was off chasing his niece in a flash, with a huge grin on his face.

I had to laugh.  I mean, the enthusiasm of this guy.  He wasn't too cool for school, that's for darn sure.  He was having way more fun than any of the other adults in the playground.

When Ken I and got up to leave he was on the teeter totter with his niece, yelling "TEETER TOTTER TEETER TOTTER!"  He didn't show any signs of being developmentally delayed, if that's what you're thinking.  He was a fully functioning grown man enjoying himself in a way that pushed the boundaries of social acceptability, but was generally speaking harmless.  I just hope he's not too sore tomorrow.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Eye of the Beholder

In case you hadn't noticed (or in case you don't live in North America - I'm looking at you LL Cool Joe) this summer has been one long heat wave.  I don't do well at temperatures over 30˚ C (that's 86˚ F).  Toronto, existing as it does at the edge of Lake Ontario, does not know of such a thing as "dry heat".  Instead, we have the Humidex, a handy measurement of how quickly you'll begin to feel that you're suffocating once you venture outside.

The heat has changed my morning routine.  I usually like to start my day slowly, but this summer I'm up and at'em as quickly as I can manage.  I interpret the phrase "beat the heat" as one would "beat the clock".  It's a race for me to get out, get stuff done, and get indoors before 11:30 am, when being outside becomes almost unbearable.

I have lowered my fashion standards. I had not bared my legs in public for many years, because I don't like to expose my collection of purple spider veins.  It didn't matter how hot it got.  I was always willing to put on a pair of opaque tights under my shorts.  However, this summer has broken through my vanity.  At this point, if someone wants to judge my veins, or the slight pruning at the tops of my knees, they can go for it.  Screw it.  My motto for this summer is "It's too hot for shame."

My step-dad appears to have adopted the same motto.  I went to my parents' house this morning, and my step-dad was wandering around the house clad only in his Y-fronts.  I will spare you the details, except to say that he has furry shoulders, and he's almost 74 years old. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

I was impressed by the fact that he has absolutely no self-consciousness about being almost naked.  His body language remained exactly the same as when he's fully dressed.  I know that my mom wishes he would be more discreet, but I think it's better to err on the side of self-satisfaction.  Some of the saddest people I know are crippled by shame.  It's refreshing to see someone who's free of it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Busy Doing Nothing

I could say that I've been too busy to post, but that would be a lie.  I suppose you could call it laziness, this urge I have to do nothing, except that it's an active nothing.  I'm not ticking things off my to-do list, but my lack of accomplishment is not due to sitting around.

I've been taking long walks.  My favourite thing to do on a sunny day is to get up early, before the heat hits, and go on an hour-long ramble.  I stop to smell the flowers, and you can see on my Twitter feed that I'm critter-spotting.  I get enthusiastic about chipmunks, garter snakes, irridesent bugs, and lawn-nibbling bunnies.  I wonder what people think when I stand in front of their house for ten minutes staring at their garden.  If they can't see the pretty birdy I'm watching they might think I'm insane, or casing the joint for a robbery.  In any case, no one has chased me away yet.

I have learned some things.  If those things are useless, do they count as accomplishments?

I learned how to play a new game.  It's a kind of role-playing card game called Munchkin.  I've seen kids play games like this in the past, and had no idea what they were up to.  There were six of us playing, and only one person had played before.  At first it was complete chaos.  I had cards in my hand ranging from "Level 8 Ghoulfriends" through to "+2 Obnoxious Halitosis".  I did what the experienced gamer told me too and tried to follow the reasoning behind what was going on.

The neat part was that all this confusion gradually resolved into a fun and logical game.  By the end  it made sense to all of us.

Actually the neatest part was when I won! :-)  I vanquished a Level 2 Ugly Chicken to sweep to victory.   Therefore I maintain: although it might seem that I'm not accomplishing much, I am very busy.