Monday, March 31, 2008

If I can't be somewhere warm....

I'll just have to pretend. Here are some orchids in Doug's new office. I was supposed to take photos of his office space and equipment, but these were too beautiful to pass up. I used another Super Secret Technique to get these photos just right (my SIWC polar fleece vest as black background.)

How April Fools' Day is celebrated in Canada

Yes, that's snow.

Oh, but according to the weather forecaster, the "good news" is, it's going to change to rain this afternoon. Only in Canada could rain be considered good news.

Can you hear a collective "UNCLE!" from where you are?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Okay. Enough now. Please stop the snow.

Yes, there is more snow forecast. But look what I saw today.

Okay, technically it isn't in my garden, but in a pot in my kitchen. I think the black background makes it look like a painting. I got that effect from a Secret Photographic Technique. (I put my son's black suede jacket behind the flowers.)

I know there are some chilly little bulbs in the garden, biding their time. In the meantime, I'm happy with these beauties.

Bonus points if you can spot the Buddy.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Reason #137 to live in London

Because I might be able to convince at least one of my kids to move there with me, and eventually marry a Brit, and then someday my grandchildren will sound like this:

Does anyone else hear a hint of Austin Powers in the "ouch" or is that me?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A few more photos of Easter weekend

When I tell you there was a lot of snow this past weekend....

I'm not exaggerating, folks.

But it wasn't all bad. It was nice and sunny all weekend. Take this view from our bedroom window, for example. See all the sunshine? No? Look carefully at the upper, right-hand corner.

And the view of our front deck.

Remember the photo of Doug digging us IN to the cottage?

This is the after photo from the screened-in porch. Note the extension ladder stuck in the snow:

But that's not to say it isn't beautiful up here in the Great White North.

It's just that we've had enough already.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Romantic Easter Weekend

Two of the kids went to New York City this weekend, and the other is away at university.

So my husband and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to spend a romantic weekend alone at the cottage.

After a hair-raising slide down the icy road into the cottage, and then gunning it up the driveway, we arrived at our front door ready for a drink by the fire and a steak dinner.

But first, we had to get in.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Knight in a White Lab Coat

After the age of eight, I rarely smiled openly. I'd hide my mouth behind my hand, and smile through my fingers.

Decades ago, when our cute paperboy came to the front door, my sister and I raced each other through the kitchen. I slipped, crashing headfirst into the corner of the counter. I remember my mother crying as I spat out blood and broken shards of tooth into the sink. Although not a stranger to dental accidents - I knocked out a front tooth, albeit a baby tooth, three years before when I fell off my bike and zambonied the pavement the day before my kindergarten photo was taken - the pain from this accident was excruciating as each breath and rinse of cold water hit exposed nerves.

We caught our dentist as he was closing. Due to the force of the impact, most of the surrounding teeth would die, he explained. Ten permanent teeth must be pulled - six on the top, and four on the bottom. My parents were leaving for a two-week canoe trip and my mother asked if he could postpone the extractions until their return. Of course, he said, but warned my teeth would most certainly be black by then.

I went to school the next day with a swollen mouth and two metal caps where my front teeth used to be. The teacher gasped when she saw my mouth. The entire class turned and stared. The mortification was almost unbearable. My constitution proved stronger than my dentist's predictions - my teeth did not turn black. Had my parents not taken that trip, I would be ten teeth short of a set.

We quickly switched to a new dentist. This lovely fellow performed Direct Electrical Stimulation - a fancy way of saying he applied electric shocks to my teeth just above the metal caps, increasing the voltage until I writhed and yelped, and he was satisfied that the nerves were still “viable.” After a couple of weeks of this, he removed the caps, and I was left with a ragged, V-shaped hole.

I lived with this battered smile and chronic fear of dentists for the next 15 years.

I compensated by not smiling, or by bringing a hand in front of my mouth. I made few friends at university, because I was too shy to speak in public and they thought I was snotty. Every Christmas my father sang "All I want for Christmas are my two front Teeth." Alas, Santa never came through. After graduating from University, I was working at a low end job, unhappily married to the only boy I had ever dated in high school, when I finally got up the guts to fix my front teeth.

Salvation came in the form of my new dentist. He specialized in patients who were dental phobics. My experiences as a child certainly qualified me. He looked at me and said "I think I can do something for you. Will you trust me?" After much deliberation, I agreed and we set a date. As he worked, I gripped the arms of the dental chair, envisioning two Chiclets, or a Bugs Bunny smile... I will never forget that moment when Dr. K. finished and handed me a mirror. I couldn't believe the transformation. It was beautiful. For the first time in my life, I felt beautiful! I burst into tears, grabbed him by the ears and kissed him, almost knocking him to the floor.

But the real transformation had just begun. You see, from that moment on, I smiled. I smiled at friends. I smiled at strangers. I smiled at the guy collecting tickets in the subway station. And you know what? They all smiled back. I even felt happier. It’s true that just the physical act of smiling can improve mood and your health. Your brain tells you, "I'm smiling, so I must be happy." Not only that, but you are perceived to be more attractive, genuine, sociable, and competent. I challenge each one of you reading this to finish your day smiling at everyone you meet. Watch what happens. I ended my marriage and got a new job. I had the opportunity to mingle with world leaders, visiting celebrities, even meeting and exchanging pleasantries with Princess Diana and Prince Charles. How? Walked up and smiled.

I met my current husband, as handsome a man as I've ever laid eyes on, as I stood on the sidewalk outside my Toronto apartment building. He remembers his first thought was, "Who is this girl with the beautiful smile?" We have now been together for 25 years and have three beautiful and accomplished children. Occasionally, when nervous, I still unconsciously cover my mouth. But now, my husband will smile and gently take my hand, and enfold it in his.

"Don't cover up that beautiful smile," he’ll whisper.

As for what my husband does for a living? Ah, there’s the rub.

He's a dentist.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Awareness Test

My teenage son sent this to me.

How did you do? I failed. Miserably.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Star Trek Meets Monty Python

I don't think there's a way to introduce this. The title pretty much says it all. Although I will say, if you're not a Monty Python fan, you won't understand it.

But then again, if you're not a Monty Python fan, you will never truly understand me.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Once, the movie

If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favour and rent ONCE. It's a lovely movie, very low-key with the feel of a documentary, though it isn't one. It could be called a musical, though it's there's nary a hint of BRIGADOON about it (although I loved that movie too, if I'm being honest.) I think ONCE is best described as an urban fairy tale. You don't even know the main characters' names; they're described simply as Guy and Girl.

The music is charming, the characters endearing, and you'll want to just sit quietly when the film is over and let its gentle influence melt into your bones.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Spring in Montreal

Yeah, yeah, I know Canucks whine about the weather. A lot. However, this is the view from my back door today.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Don't talk back to Darth

Star Wars, encapsulated over a juice cup.

Here's to a great weekend, everyone. Me? I'll be shovelling the next 30cm of snow they're predicting.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

21 Accents

Found this on the blog of the delightfully wicked and always high-larious Maureen Holloway.

And I have to agree with Mo. The woman is bang on except for her Toronto accent. I was born and raised in T.O. and that is nothing like anyone in the city I've ever met, unless they were recently transplanted there from some small town in Ontario or even New Brunswick. Any one from Australia, Ireland, Scotland, France or other country care to comment on the authenticity?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Don't pooh-pooh this story

Perhaps it's an urban legend. Most of the stories that begin with "it didn't happen to me, but it was a friend of a friend" are usually bogus. Still, I couldn't resist something called "a true poo story" because as a journalist, I seek the truth in all things. Okay, I'm not a journalist, I'm just immature and these stories crack me up.

From Celebedge:

Toronto funny woman Renée Percy is officially viral. Her sketch "Sure Lock: A True Poo Story" has already logged 4.7 million views on YouTube and is just 150,000 hits away from becoming the most watched comedy ever to grace YouTube's Canadian channel. Which means that, appropriately, it's currently number two.

The sketch by the Air Farce writer is a mortifying little cautionary tale. "The story is apparently true," Renée tells us. "It didn't happen to me but the producer knows the person it happened to." The clip was pulled for five days before YouTube decreed that "non-sexually graphic dramatized urination or fecal matter is approved." "Hurray for non-sexually graphic poo!" Renee wrote in a statement. I think we can all sort of agree on that.

So, you be the judge. Even if it is total crap (sorry) it's still pretty funny. I promise my next post will be about baking or flowers or puppies or something classy and helpful, like when to use who vs whom.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Plunging to new depths

With apologies to those with more refined tastes.

But, come on. Who among us cannot relate to this story?

In the annals of Most Embarrassing Moments, this one takes the urinal cake. I shall change the names to protect the innocent, but it's 100% true.

Eliza was on her way to do some shopping in downtown Toronto with her two oldest friends, A. and C. She has known these two since childhood, so they're like family. They parked at A.'s office building, and as they walked out of the garage, Eliza realized she needed to heed the call of nature, and it wouldn't be a quick visit either. This sent her into a minor tizzy. You see, Eliza has a phobia about using public toilets. The official name is parcopresis, the ugly twin sister of Bashful Bladder, and defined as "fear of defecation when other people are around or perceived to be around." Seeing as this was a Saturday, Eliza had a solution. She asked to use A.'s office toilet where she could do her business undisturbed.

A. and C. waited for her in the office, while Eliza used the bathroom. Now, even though Eliza had a phobia about going in a public toilet, she had absolutely no qualms about talking about it. Sitting there without a magazine or crossword to occupy her, Eliza, on a silly whim, decided to text A. on her cell phone.

"I'm going poo." Then she hit send.

You know when you're sending an email or message, there's that clarity that comes a split-second after you've pressed send when you realize your brain was actually operating on auto-pilot, and your finger was its halfwit slave? Eliza, with a sickening lurch in her gut, knew she hadn't chosen anyone from her phone list, which meant the text message went to the last person to whom she had spoken.

In Eliza's case, that lucky recipient was her building contractor. He was overseeing Eliza's major home renovation, and was currently number one on her speed dial as there were frequent calls back and forth to confirm details. Mortified, and still stuck on the toilet, she panicked and tried to think of ways to rectify this situation.

Maybe he'll ignore it. Maybe, oh please oh please, maybe he won't get it at all.

Within seconds, there was a reply. "Who is this?"

Now, Eliza could have dropped it right then and there. She could have feigned innocence, or ignorance, or even blamed it on some kid fooling around with her cell phone. But no, not our girl.

She wigged out again, and texted the first thing that came into her head.

"Never mind."

The contractor, if he ever did figure out who it was, never let on. What's the lesson here?

Friends don't let friends poo and text.