Sunday, January 31, 2010

There she is....Miss America sort of...

Helloooo? Am I the only one out there who still watches Beauty Contests? Last night was the Miss America Pageant for all 10 of you out there who care. First of all why would TLC be broadcasting the Miss America Pageant? What happened to prime time A list channels carrying an important event such as this? Is it a sign of the times that pageants will become a thing of the past and are not worthy of ABC, CBS or NBC? I have such wonderful memories of beauty pageants. Oh, I never participated in one but the connection goes way way back to the day I was born. I kid you not. My mom had me when she was in her late thirties. I was considered a "miracle" baby. It was a miracle that she had me because she had an established life in Canada with my fifty year old dad, my eighteen year old brother and my fourteen year old sister.  Although I am pro-choice I want to take this opportunity to thank her for being Pro-Life when the rabbit died (they didn't have those little pee pee sticks back then okay). I like to think of my conception and birth as a "gift" rather than a boo boo. When I was born - At the original Mount Sinai Hospital - the nurses would carry me to my mom singing the theme song from the most famous pageant in the world. "Therrrrre she isssssss........Miss Ahhhhmerica". Now I can't figure out why they chose this as my theme song for the following two reasons: 1. I'm a Canadian and 2. I was kind of notsocute as a newborn. My brother, who began a hobby in photography was quick to practice on his new little baby sister. Each and every picture he snapped of me in my first few moments on earth I looked like a grasshopper or more the likeness of a reflection of yourself when you look into the side of a kettle. If you own a kettle, go over to it right now and see what you look like? Pretty scary eh? Here's a bit of pageant trivia for you.

In the 1960s, 85 million viewers tuned in to watch MISS A. Last year, the talent contest attracted a meager 10 million. Sadly, the show has become that washed-up cocktail lounge singer with too much makeup, a drink in one hand, a mike in the other but she insists on clinging to the spotlight until the janitor starts sweeping up. After spending what seemed like endless hours watching the swimsuit, talent and evening gown competitions for the first time since I was a young girl, I had reached a turning point in my life. I could no longer endure the pain.... What was once a tradition to witness the Winner crowned, walk the long runway in her fabulous tiara, tears streaming down her face, mouthing "thank you, thank you, thank you" to the judges that were probably paid off to pick her and then mauled by the other losing contestants while the credits are rolling - I switched the channel. My mother will be very upset with my choice last night. When I was still living at home before my first marriage (husband one - HO) I used to lay my head on her shoulder - watch the show for 2 hours, win the title, get my tiara/ sash and walk up sleepily to my yellow painted room carrying my imaginary three dozen red roses in my arms ....those were the good old days and by the way I won everytime.

Although I once had hopes of at least competing (in my dreams) in a pageant there were always issues to contend with. One of which was that I have no talent. It's not that I didn't try. I convinced my parents to buy me a few items to encourage a possible audition for the show. My first talent apparatus was a hula hoop. I would stand in our backyard next to the rose bushes for an entire afternoon - hula-ing. Do you know how exhausting it is to be a promising hula hooper?

You have to position it around your waist and gyrate your hips while the hoop circles your body without it falling to your ankles and teetering into the rose thorns. When I discovered that Hula Hooping was not considered a viable talent for a beauty pageant I moved on to another talent. Mom bought me a Baton.
Baton twirling was an amazing talent and was something that was recognized by the pageant people. And so, I stood in the same spot as I hula-hooped and tried to twirl. After twirling for almost a week, getting hit in the eye with the rubber end of the baton and dropping it more than catching it the time came to move onto another plan. Singing was not an option. Everyone who knows me can attest to the fact that the only way I'm an acceptable singer is if I sing SO-LOW (so low you can't hear me). My last hope was tap dancing. I cannot tell you how much I loved TAPPERS. I was so mesmerized by tap shoes I just had to have a pair. I bugged my mother for months on end to sign me up for lessons but most of all for the tap shoes. Imagine having a pair of shoes that make noise while you walk let alone dance? This is where my parents drew the line and squashed my hopes of being the next Miss America (who lives in Canada and wouldn't win anyways). I know my mother will be reading this and still wondering what the hell I am talking about. She insists that I never asked for tap shoes but I remember whining about this for at least two weeks and practicing the art of tap dancing in front of the T.V. so that my dad couldn't see the program he was watching. I never got the tap shoes and I am still not over it. I had to face facts. I had no talent, my hair was frizzy and my only hope of being in anything on stage was dim. I decided to expand my horizons and try out for theatre instead. Some of you already know this so I am sorry to repeat myself but I did get a role in the musical Oliver. Short stint on broadway. I had one line. ONE LINE!

When the curtain rose, I stood there in full street urchin garb waiting for my cue. I had practiced the line in the mirror for months. "Please Sir, I want some more". That was the line. I tried looking for my parents in the audience but was blinded by the stage lights. Once the cue came from the teacher at stage right - I opened my mouth and nothing came out. I FORGOT THE LINE !!!!!!!!!!  and that was the end of my acting career.

Embarrassed and disappointed that I would never be a star or a pageant winner, I made a last attempt to be on stage. I signed up for a home economics class. In the sewing portion of the course I convinced my parents to purchase me a sewing machine (as an investment).  If I wasn't going to be a contestant in the Miss Anything pageant I was going to sew my way up on stage. And sew I did. I sewed and sewed and sewed. I sewed SO many clothes that I had an entire Summer collection. I outsewed all the other Grade 6 bitches because their parents didn't buy them a machine and they had to wait their turn using the one in the classroom to finish their assignments. There was a method to my madness. I entered my clothing line in the Junior High Fashion Show. ONLY those who could accomplish the unthinkable were chosen. In order to qualify you had to have at least one entry completion with a standard zipper. I was IN ! When the faculty saw that I made over ten items they were impressed. The head of the Home Ec. Department insisted that I distribute my A+ originals to my classmates to wear in the show. UH I don't think so. If those babes thought they would be strutting the catwalk in my creations they were dead wrong. I was going to take the lead role: Designer, Creator, Seamstress and Runway Model with stage presence. The day of the fashion show I came equipped with all my homemade couture originals. I wore each one and walked the walk. The stand out piece from the collection was the red and white gingham number. It had the ZIPPER. If you think hula hooping was hard try sewing in a zipper. All the other pieces either had string or elastic to hold it together. As I rushed back and forth to the dressing area changing into all my dresses it dawned on me....I finally made it onstage, not in a swimsuit, not in an evening gown and not by singing, twirling, or hula-ing - I made it onstage due to a stinkin zipper but I still REALLY wanted a TIARA!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Soup and Sandwich with a side of Home Depot

Last weekend we saw the movie "It's Complicated" remember? I won't spoil the plot for you but in one scene Merryl Streep makes a French dish that she learned to cook in Paris......Croque Monsieur (pronounced CROAK MONSYEEUR ...for those of you that don't know FRANCEY language). Although I sat through the entire movie stuffing myself with a massive amount of popcorn I couldn't help but have a craving for the famous Croque style sandwich. It's typically made with Ham, Gruyere Cheese, Butter and a Bechamel sauce and then toasted to perfection. Looked even more delectable on the big screen. I just had to have it this week! I am always stuck for dinner ideas and as you know I have been conducting my own "test kitchen" lately. I decided tonight was the night to try "croque monsieur" on my favorite victims, Steve, FO, MO and YO. So during my lunch hour I researched who could possibly make the best croque and came up with Julia Child, Emeril, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Sara Moulton and finally my favorite Ina Garten A.K.A. the Barefoot Contessa. I went with Ina's recipe because A) She cooks with lots of fat and B) she cooks with lots of fat. Her creation was also the easiest to follow and to be honest you can't screw up this meal unless you change the recipe - so here you go:

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Simple yes? First I asked Steve to buy ingredients - A bread, some ham and some cheese...oh and for me some turkey because I don't eat ham on a Friday night (Thursday maybe but definitely not Friday). He takes the shopping list and goes to Longo's, purchases the ingredients and then informs me that the sandwiches cost over $40 to make. What!!? You see..the issue was the cheese. Apparently gruyere is more expensive than beluga caviar but you can't substitute the gruyere for an imposter just doesn't work that way in France and this was French cooking at it's best even though it was just a stupid sandwich. I am so excited to make this meal I can hardly wait to get started. On my way home I receive the proverbeal phone call from YO. This is the call that I get almost every night. "Mom? What's for dinner?" asks YO. "We are having something good", I answer. YO never takes that response in stride. He continues to badger me until I release the menu information. "Tonight we are having French Food", I say. He is not amused. "French?.. that's gross", he states. My standard line is this.... "It's what we are having or you could always have Kraft Dinner". He will usually settle for the meal of the day but not without a grunt and if I witness this in person there is an eyeroll (not to be confused with an eggroll) that goes with the scenario as well. As I have told you in the past - if I put Sushi or Chinese food on the table every night he would be very happy. He does realize the need to expand his culinary horizons and eventually succumbs to my test kitchen creations. Back to the sandwich. If you read the recipe above you will notice that this recipe is based on three steps: A preparation of Bechamel Sauce, the assembly of the sandwich and a grilling/baking/broiling process. Mistake number one: Telling Steve that I need to make a sauce for the sandwich. He crosses that process off the list with the claim that "the boys won't like it" plus he's not into soggy bread. This deletion elimates 7 main ingredients off the list. What's left is this....your meat, your bread and your cheese. Basically without the bechamel step you have the Croque without the Monsieur. Translation? - a $40 grilled cheese sandwich. We assembly line 5 of them - grilled them - put them in the oven - served them with potatoes and Salad and came to the conclusion that the only thing that was French about this meal were the pomme frites otherwise known as the McCain FRENCH FRIES. I don't know if I have ever told you this but I am convinced that whatever I consume for dinner or before bed dictates the severity of two occurences: 1. I have really weird dreams and 2. I tend to snore more than I usually do. Based on last night, after downing Monsieur $40 Grilled Cheese Sandwich and a Cherry Hamantashen I had a vivid dream that I was on a cruise ship with BORAT. He and I were dancing and I actually found him attractive (sorry least this time I wasn't in the Congo being chased down by odd birds and engaged to George Clooney)

After a very non-traditional Friday night dinner it's time to tidy up and get ready to go out to my least favorite place on earth.....HOME DEPOT (HD). Steve has been renovating different portions of the house for what seems like the past 6 years and he waits until the last possible day in January to purchase the balance of products to qualify for the Home Renovation Tax Credit that we can take advantage of this year. Let's talk about that for a second. Steve is a great renovator. He practically lives in HD. He can tear down walls, do plumbing, electricity, carpentry - you name it, he can do it. The only problem takes years before the PROJECT is completed. Yes, that's what I said ....days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months and before you can blink an eye it's been a year since the "project" began. There are no deadlines with his PROJECTS. Maybe a few near death experiences because of me standing near him with a hammer... but NO solid deadlines. Never ask your husband to start a project in the Spring. As the ground thaws and the possibility of sunshine and warmer days are near THE PROJECT becomes a REJECT and there are a mulitude of excuses that come with the changing weather patterns. Remember two summers ago? All that rain? I'm sorry. My fault. I used to pray for it everyday so the kid's bathroom would get finished - it only took Steve one year to do - I cried as much as it rained that Summer. Studies have shown that the highest divorce rate months are June, July and August or what is otherwise known as Golf season. On a brighter note for non-golfers it's the most popular time to get married - our wedding anniversary is in December - I wonder why.
ON one of the coldest nights of the year we are off to HD. I'm getting ready at our front door. Pull on my boots, apply a little lip gloss, fluff my hair and I'm psyched for the smell of lumber and plastic piping. I'm looking forward to getting our stuff and getting the heck out of there. There are certain aisles that I try to avoid at this store. I want nothing to do with Ball Cocks, Nuts, Knobs, Hardwood, Hoses and Strippers. I tend to be more focused on the pretty aisles - lighting - vanities - mirrors and I'm okay with window fashions. I never have a good time at this store.... perhaps it's from my past traumatic experiences there.....I think I am still recovering from last year when Steve locked me inside a shower stall and left. I am happy to say I didn't get locked in anything during this shopping trip although Steve was tempted. At one point he tried to hide from me but I found him on the floor next to the taps.

We had a successful night and made our way to the cash register - self checkout aisle. Who has used the self-checkout? What's with the lady inside the register telling you to "please place the item in the bag" when you have a giant item such as a Refrigerator or a piece of LUMBER? Are you going to place that in a bag? I don't think so. I also can't understand why the microscopic invisible cashier lady asks you to remove the last item as it is of "unknown nature". Why is it UNKNOWN? I know what it is so I start shouting at the screen - "the last item is a light switch! "Why don't you show your face and see for yourself !!!!"

The lady continues to natter at me....."Please place the item in the bag" "Please remove the item from your bag" "Please check the item you have placed on the scanner" "Please wait for assistance" "Please continue your transaction" "Please select your payment type" "Please remove your items" "Please don't remove your items until you have paid" "Please swipe your card or insert cash" "Please swipe your card again as the card reader didn't read your card" "Please wait for assistance again because you are a NAR" "Please key in your 4 digit password" "Please wait for assistance" "Please select CASH back or press NO THANKS" "Please take your items and have a nice day" and PLEASE DON'T EVER SHOP HERE AGAIN unless you go to a LIVE person wearing an orange apron who can help you with your purchase. THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING in HD !

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Olympic Contender - Freestyle Division

Great news folks! I just got word that I have officially qualified for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver! I am looking forward to representing Canada in the sport of Freestyle Falling. Yes, you heard me. It's a fairly new sport in the Olympics but people have been doing it for years. Falling is an intricate sport that takes little or no concentration. I have been training since I began to walk at the age of 10 months. To be honest I believe my parents thought I was always gifted in this field but never pushed me hard enough. In order to qualify for the Olympics you must complete a series of difficult falls and master the art of surviving them. I am proud to say that the bulk of my teammates are expert fallers as well. I am the youngest on the team. The majority of the athletes in this sport are well into their 80's and have the advantage of new hips. So I bet you are wondering how it is that I managed to get myself a spot on the team? Well, it's like this...over the years I have had some really good falls. I fall off things. I fall under things. I fall out of things. I fall with no underlying circumstances. I fall wearing flats. I fall wearing heels. I fall from bare feet. I fall UP the stairs. I fall DOWN the stairs. I fall wearing wheels and sometimes riding wheels. Here's a list of my most famous falls. Unfortunately none have been video recorded otherwise you could see for yourself that I am a superior faller.

FALL number 1 - A classic fall that stemmed from wearing new rubber beach shoes with a kitten heel. I was rounding the corner on my front porch and caught the kitten heel in one of the many cracks that we have on the interlocking - Result of fall? Minor fracture to my "swear finger".

FALL number 2 - Also a classic. When rollerblading with Steve my first time out I fell backwards and into his big strong arms without hitting my head on the ground. It was actually accomplished quite elegantly - do they have synchronized rollerblading as a sport?

FALL number 3 - Bought two pairs of Faux Uggs. Do you know what those are? They are the cute but kinda ugly suede boots that all the teeny boppers wear in the Winter. I felt it necessary to purchase two pairs because they were on sale - buy one get the other half price. Basically you get what you pay for...and that is... when you buy FUGGS they are not equipped with treads on the bottom. They should come with a fineprint caution sticker that says "falls may occur when wearing FUGGS don't be a cheap ass and buy the real thing". So I wore a pair to work the first day back after I recovered from the plague. I parked my car and placed both feet out on the ground - then proceeded to slide into the parking lot while the balance of my upper body remained in the car. Are you picturing this? Feet, legs and ass in the lot - upper torso in the car gripping the steering wheel....Today's Menu: a semi-slip and fall with a slide of FUGGS.

FALL number 4 - Last night - the ultimate fall occured. This was the fall that clinched the place on the O-Team. I was in the middle of taking a message off my voicemail at home and was standing near my bed. YO and Steve were in the room. YO asked me to help him with an assignment for school. I was in the middle of multi-tasking (listening to YO, listening to messages) when from nowhere an act of G-d occured. I slipped off my feet, hit the end of my bed, did a triple axel in the air, bounced off the bed and landed on the cat's basket and then onto the floor. YO and Steve rushed to my side to see if I was conscious. I was a bit dazed but that was nothing unusal, however I did suffer a minor injury and was experiencing an uncontrolable urge to laugh. The laughing mimicked crying because there were tears rolling down my face. I fooled YO and Steve into thinking it was crying but for some reason they started laughing too. I think this was the point where I realized that I was still alive, nothing was broken, my child and husband were not very compassionate relatives and most importantly I had made it to the Olympics in the FF category (freestyle falling). As YO and Steve stood over me still laughing at my expense... I discovered I banged my wrist good and hard on the kitty basket and it was starting to swell and bruise. I was quickly transferred to the trauma unit in the kitchen where Dr. Stevens assessed the severity of the injury. The ER team (which was just him and some Glad Sandwich Ziplocs) made me a tourniquet from a bag of ice, and old dish towel and a gold elastic band with a red bow that came with the proscuitto (remember the buy one get one free deal at Longo's?) Emergency response time? - too long due to the laughing.

After I was released from the trauma unit, Dr. Stevens proceeded to make HIMSELF a tea to relax while I went upstairs where YO remained at the scene of the accident (still laughing). He was so kind to create a complete reinactment of the fall. He actually executed the fall better then I did with an instant SLOW MOTION replay. My thoughts turned to YO possibly qualifying for the Freestyle Falling team but he's finally in University now so we are not letting him miss that for the Olympics. With the tourniquet tied tightly I was still able to go down to the laundry room to finish hanging up some wet clothes from the washing machine with one hand. That's when Dr. Stevens came into the room to see if I was making a good recovery and also reinact the whole scene of the fall once again. He showed me each move gracefully and as he turned to do the triple axel he accidently spinned out of control and landed on the large garbage receptacle crashing to the ground hitting one of his many injuries that has prevented him from also going to the Olympics in twenty ten. I picked him up with my remaining functioning arm and then released the proscuitto red ribbon banded dishrag tourniquet to see if I was healed yet. Not sure what I am made out of but only elite athletes such as I must bounce back so quickly because my wrist was looking prettaaay prettaay good. I'm so excited that the ice worked so well - I am leaving for B.C. next week to get a head start on my next fall.

WISH ME LUCK CUZ...I'm bringin home the gold baby !

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's Complicated but then again so is my husband

Saturday Night Fever without the fever. Steve and I did not have any remaining after effects from the colds and viruses we have battled over the past 3 weeks so we were feeling energetic! At around 2 o'clock, Merryl Streep called and asked why we haven't seen her latest film so we thought it was best to check it out before the Oscars were handed out. (Okay so maybe Merryl didn't call...but Steve Streep asked if I wanted to see a movie and I said yes). He had two movie passes burning a hole in his pocket and was anxious to use them. Let me tell you how he came about acquiring these passes. He WON them in a bet. Yes, in a bet.... At the gym.... Betting on someone's age. If you are at the gym and you see Steve and this other guy checking you out that's what they are doing.....guessing your age. Like the good old days at the Ex. Remember? It's obvious that these two have nothing better to do at the they play the "guess how old he/she is game". As a result of these stupid games we got two free movie passes and Steve has to buy his "guessing partner" a round of Jerk Chicken at a Jamaican restaurant in Misssissauga. I think it's a fair deal.

Due to our advancing age we no longer attend the late show so we make our way over to the theatre at 5:50 p.m. (for a 6:30 p.m. performance) to ensure that we get good seats. Even though this movie has been playing for over a month now it's better to get there early so that we can establish our "movie time routine". This is how it goes:

1. We get there in 7 minutes so now it's 5:57 p.m.
2. We park (corner spot prefered to avoid door dents)
3. Proceed to the ticket gate
4. Hand the attendant our free coupies
5. Proceed to the escalator/stairs (I take the stairs for a bonus glutes workout while "Competitive Steve" takes the escalator in order to race to the top so that he can win)
6. Proceed to Theatre 3

7. Find an aisle seat
8. Suck your body and legs in at least 5 times while other theatre goers squeeze past you because you are in an aisle seat.
9. Wait for the previews to start
10. Send Steve for Popcorn

Here's where the fun begins. Steve is now gone for approximately 5 minutes. He returns with a Large Popcorn, Large Drink and two straws. Please note the the large popcorn is refillable which means that we are prepared to eat two large popcorns without hesitation during the first half of the movie. This is all timed systematically so the next step is to guarantee that we are never without a kernel during the viewing process. Steve then releases a plastic grocery bag from his pocket, carefully deposits the fresh popcorn into the bag and disappears. He has 10 minutes to make his way out to the concession stand and return in time for the Feature Film to begin. He executes his timing perfectly and returns with the refilled bag just as the movie starts to roll. On occasion he will bring electrical tape to the movie with him. Why? Because he needs to make an extension ladder straw for our giant-sized refreshment. Once he constructs the extension for the two straws you can rest easy in your seat without barely moving to sip on your drink. The straw is long enough for a slight lean forward to obtain the pop - I'm not kidding here. Do you want to come with us one night and see? I didn't think so. Back to the popcorn. I am holding the plastic GROSSery bag when he returns. Even though I have already dipped into the bag while Steve was absent with no qualms I am not too keen on continuing this course of action. So I give Steve the old "I don't like eating from plastic bit" and he grabs it and throws me the nice HOTTER popcorn in the lovely paper bag. Much better. Now that we are at the start of the "eating popcorn" stage I can relax and enjoy the show yes? NO. Steve starts shovelling the light and airy snack swiftly into his face while simultaneously leaning slightly forward to suck back on OUR pop while I eat one kernel at a time sipping small amounts of liquid to coat my popcorn and make it soluable. Steve's method of shovelling, slurping and eating rapidly results in the following side effects:
A) you choke on your drink - coughing loudly and uncontrollably as you try to clear the tickle in your throat
B) you inevitably lose most of your popcorn into your crotch and down the neck of your sweater and;
C) you squeek

Oh I know the majority of you don't squeek but Steve does. Flash back to a few years ago. Steve has an "issue" with his two front teeth and goes to his "makeshift" dentist to have a bit of work done. Although this is not a physical and visible issue at present the results of the repair still remains an issue. Especially with me. Are you following along here? Stay with me... You see ...whenever a food product is ingested by my husband it ultimately gets trapped in the small space between his two front teeth. Most normal people would simply take a piece of floss or a toothpick to remove this trapped product but not Steve. He has devised a way to remove it by simply sucking it out with forced air from inside his head. Not only does this miracously remove the wedged product it also is a surefire way to drive me absolutely insane. Insane to the point where I formulate methods in my mind of improving the circumstances. I could remove his two front teeth while he sleeps? I could mix some leftover grout we have from our last construction project and fill THAT space? I could sew a voodoo doll the likeness of his dentist and poke it on a daily basis? I could try to focus on the positives of Steve's noises and document them in case I need them in the future when I need to show that I am clinically able to gain admittance to the loonie bin?  Apparantly there is nothing that can be done to improve this anomoly.... I have asked Steve where his so-called dentist lives numerous times and he will not divulge that information.....I believe he is hiding....from me.  And so...I live my life with the squeeking, the poofing and all the other musical interludes that Steve provides for my listening pleasure.....I am currently developing a face aid to help. See if you like it and let me know...

oh and just to let you know.... scored a hat trick with the popcorn.....3 bags.......2 in the theatre and 1 to take home...what? That's the point of it being REFILLABLE. ....IT'S COMPLICATED but it works.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Yo....we bought you a Screaming Banshee Baby and some General Tao Chicken !

Someone should have warned us. At the beginning of this past week our mission was to find a place to go to celebrate the young one's birthday. Yes, YO turned 19 this week. Old enough to drink but still too young to gamble in Vegas. When I asked YO what he wanted to do for his birthday he was indecisive. First let me tell you that this kid should be crowned the King of SushiLand. I have never seen anyone eat more sushi than YO at a single seating. He will only go "all you can eat" and definitely gives the owners of the restaurant a nervous tick. They actually lose money on him when he walks through the door. But as he says "they are all his boys" and they love when he comes to their establishment to clear out their california rolls. It's been claimed that certain Sushi chefs have developed carpel tunnel syndrome because of YO.  Anyways, he rules out Sushi because he had already had his FILL this week. I make a multitude of suggestions and we unanimously agree to make a reservation at YENCHING PALACE in the "upscale" Bayview Village Mall. This place has been around for eons. They are pretty consistent with their food and recently renovated the premises to include "my" leather dining room chairs. Along with the chairs, a coat of paint and maybe a couple of new fixtures came a price increase on their menu. What used to be $9.95 for a dish is now $15.95 a dish. Well? You gotta pay for the chairs some way!

Our reservation was set for 7 p.m. We arrive starving as usual and are seated next to a large group of people to our right. We can see that for a Wednesday night the restaurant is pretty much at capacity. At the rear of the restaurant is another large table of approximately 10 people. One of whom was a baby (not sure how old he was but I would say one year to still apt to disturb age). The second we sat down we couldn't help but notice that the baby was NOT HAPPY. He was continually screaching at the top of his little lungs. This screaming was met with uncomfortable stares from other patrons in the restaurant. YO mentioned that this was unacceptable. Especially since this was HIS birthday celebration and we really were looking forward to peacefully chowing down on 6 to 8 dishes of oriental cuisine plus appetizers and maybe dessert. At first I thought that the "mother" was going to bounce the baby right out of the restaurant where they belonged but after enduring several minutes of "banshee like" shrills it was evident that HE was going nowhere and WE were stuck listening to the wailing. I know Steve doesn't put up with this type of crap so I could see him wavering in his seat. We advised him to sit still. He tried. He started tapping chopsticks to divert the noise that was ricocheting off the walls. After 10 minutes of the "banshee serenade" Steve let his undiagnosed turrets syndrome loose. All we could hear was this.. SHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! At that point the whole restaurant fell into a moment of silence.....with the exception of Banshee Baby. He was still going at it and his mother just didn't seem to give a hoot. She simply bounced him around while everyone at their table continued eating or in our case not eating because we had just ordered and we were sorry we did.

Here's the question of the day? What would you have done in this situation? I have polled a few people and their answers have been as follows:
1. Buy a bow and arrow and hope that you were paying attention in Summer camp archery class.
2. Come to a restaurant prepared to wear Air traffic controller ear plugs
3. Pull the fire alarm
4. Wear a t-shirt that says "I'm on the tail end of H1N1 but I don't think I'm contagious anymore"
5. Rent a baby and bring it to the restaurant to have a "banshee screaming" competition
6. Order take-out and take it out
Do what we did....
Step 1: Asked the Manager to kindly request that the so called "parent" of the said "banshee" remove herself from the establishment to calm her child down so that we and the rest of the crowd could eat without listening to the "call of the wild".
Step 2: Once the Manager requests the exit of the said "banshee" gently guide the mother/banshee to the nearest exit safely by pointing her in the right direction ( that's what I did) - I made a thumbs out sign towards the door - okay, maybe not too discreet but I was starting to lose my hearing by then.
Step 3: When the said "mother of the said "banshee" refused to vacate the premises -  Steve slooowly pushed his chair out from beneath him and made his way over the offending table to ask if " they would mind taking the "SCREAMING BANSHEE" to the outer edges of the restaurant so that everyone in the place can enjoy their meals".

Okay, here's where it got ugly. The grandfather of Banshee Baby pulled his chair out, got up and told Steve to F off. Yes, folks. I am not kidding. Not only did he tell him to F off in front of the entire restaurant but the table he was "hosting" was filled with other children as well. And the "Grandpa of the Year Award" goes to...

Steve then calmly once again asked if there was anyway they could take Mr. Screaming Mimi outside for a few minutes? Here's were it got uglier. The father of Banshee Baby stood up along with another LARGE burly looking fellow and basically threatened Steve. You have to know Steve to realize that he handled himself in a very cool and collected way. Not once did he start shouting at these Cretans. You also have to know that NO ONE F's with Steve. He is accustomed to defending himself from his past when he was known to his classmates as MadDog Steven. With a handle like that would you start with him? I wouldn't. So MadDog simply asked these three men that were hovering near him another question. "What are you doing to do now? Fight me"? "Cuz if you do...go ahead..hit me first and when your face comes up from the ground you are going out of here in cuffs" he informed.  Just to give you a view from our table (FO, MO and YO) threw a couple of words of wisdom into the mix but basically reminded me of the "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" monkeys. They were waiting for the first punch to be thrown before any fancy "Bruce Lee" moves were made.

After the yelling subsided (keep in mind that Steve is still calm, he was not the yeller but the Yellee). Steve simply informed this group that they are Trailer Trash Hillbillies who should keep out of public places and then he sat down because the dumplings were getting cold on the table.

I bet you are wondering what the BANSHEE was doing during this whole episode? HE WASN'T CRYING ANYMORE but as you can see in the photo that was taken by Paparazzi Steve, Banshee Boy was trying to dislocate his mother's head.

Confuscious say " when anger arises, think of the consequences....especially if your Chinese food is getting cold" and the moral of this story is.....when you dine with Banshees you get free fried bananas, a bit of a headache and 10% off the bill.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dental tips, Chapped Lips and Hamburger Coats with Stinkaladas

OOPS ! My apologies for not writing a blog since the weekend....I had some valid reasons...let's see if you can accept them.

1. I do work for a living

2. I usually blog when I am home sick (but I will try to do it when I'm well)

3. I was at the dentist

4. I was trying out new recipes on unsuspecting victims who I have given birth to

5. My lips are really chapped

So let’s talk about the dentist first. Just to give you some background in case you didn't know.... my first job was in the field of dentistry. I then turned to a career in the world of municipal government. Basically, I have gone from sucking spit to taking shit in my lifetime. So listen....who out there LUVS going to the dentist? Who likes getting their teeth poked and prodded with a small stick? Who likes having grains of sand from polish stuck in their teeth?  Who likes the sound of nails scraping down a blackboard? Who likes having those cardboard xrays placed in their mouths? WHO likes having jackhammers drill into their enamel !! Not me! I am more than likely one of the few people on earth that didn’t have cavities until my late years. SO LUCKY! I think I now have 2 fillings the size of a sesame seed. A Ripleys Believe it or Not moment wouldn’t you say? So on Monday I went for my 6 month check-up.  I decided to forgo my usual flouride trays that are normally reserved for a 3 year old and do the "big girl" version of swishing and spitting for 2 minutes. Our hygenist WHO we love was so proud of me. She even mentioned that I'm finally behaving like a grown up person! Let me just say that these were TWO of the longest minutes of my life. I think the clock is broken in that office. I began feeling really PUKE ISH...….and I was starting to miss the pediatric flouride tray experience. I love having the sensation of the foam drip out of  the corners of my mouth like a rabid dog. Next time. So after rinsing and spitting and gagging on bitewing x-rays the diagnosis by Dr. B was that I had a “sticky tooth”. What’s a “sticky tooth” you ask? Well…it’s a tooth  that is neither here nor there with a cavity. Coles Notes Version: The sharp stick was getting stuck in the sticky tooth. I had a tiny cavity that required a tiny filling. In my mind...tiny filling translates to tiny discomfort. I chose to have my tooth drilled and filled on the spot as I am an on the spot type of person. Off I went into the next room - the room with the big needles and drills....I ask the doc if it's okay to do the filling without freezing. Yes, along with being on the spot I am also a "without freezing and without sedation" type of gal too. Ask Steve "the Competitor". Thanks to me he now has to attempt his next colonoscopy without sedation. Ah how I love competition. Yes folks. Try that procedure without sedation. It's not that bad actually. Imagine the garden hose you have outside being gently guided up your bum and way way way up just to have a "looksee". Wild Water Kingdom kind of fun ! So back to the filling. The doc asks if it's alright to place a rubber dam on my tooth. Being a virtual "cavity virgin" I say "Ya! Go for it"!

Have you ever had a rubber dam on your tooth? It is exactly the same as having a POOL COVER placed on your face. As I am still feeling the remnants of the plague my breathing passages are not exactly wide open.  At that point I am being suffocated by the dam "dam" so I start doing lamaze breathing exercises and designing wedding gowns. What? I can do both to relax ya know. Again the longest few minutes of my life....but I emerge drilled, filled, almost killed and less than thrilled....

The plus side of not having freezing is - I COULD eat right away. You know how I don't like missing meals so this is crucial for me. I was also eager to make up for the "forgettable" dinner I made on Sunday night. Being stuck at home for 2 weeks I managed to grab a few recipes off the FOODNETWORK to try on the boys. One of the creations was courtesy of Guy Fieri. He's the dude with the flashy blonde spiked hair that goes to all the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Steve and I watch that show with the hopes of one day eating ourselves into oblivion doing a cross country trip to all these places....or maybe not. So tonight we are making "coated stuffed burgers". Sound good? Well here's the story before you ask for the recipe. First of all burgers should not wear coats and secondly, burgers should not be stuffed unless you are prepared to cook them for at least 4 hours. Needless to say ....I kept checking on the children at hourly intervals to see if they were showing any signs of stomach distress. I was not going to give up on the Food Network just because of failed hamburgers but I am considering dying my hair Platinum Blonde, spiking it and wearing a bowling shirt while cooking. Perhaps the secret to making his recipes is "you have to play the part before you start" kind of deal? 

Next concoction was courtesy of everyone's favorite Foodnetwork squealer.....Rachel Ray! I still have a bit of a scratchy voice so I am prepped to take on the pseudo role of being as irritating as her. She can make fabulous meals in only thirty minutes! How can that be? Oh...yes...let me tell you. When you have a show on the food channel and you have the luxury of all these little sous chefs running around washing, slicing, dicing, chopping and cutting before they say "Lights! Camera! Action!".... that is how you make a meal in 30 minutes.... with commercials. Rachel is a con artist. Those meals are not 30 minutes. The Chicken Stinkaladas that I made took 2 hours to prepare and serve. I think Rachel should seriously consider changing the name of her show to - Rachel Ray - Sham? Wow ! Oh and who puts cinnamon in Enchiladas? Yuck OH.

I want to share a secret remedy with all of you. Lately I have been experiencing the worst case of chapped lips in Winter history. I have tried everything from Chapstick to Burts Bees. Yesterday I discovered a magical solution. Let's go back to my colonoscopy shall we? The Tushie Doctor (as I refer to him) gave me a prescription for a petroluem based ointment for .....let's just say "a slight irritation I have in Australia (down under)". I'm finding it quite bothersome to apply this crap and I accidently on purpose forget to do this on a daily basis. Since I haven't "double dipped" into the jar of ointment I figured "what the heck". Let's try it on my lips! Well guess what? I have the smoothest lips this side of the Mississippi. Don't believe me? You can bet your sweet ass I do!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Todays Menu: Discontinued Sauce, Pricey Bagels & Mitten Clips

Last night I decided that I am not stepping foot in my kitchen. I was feeling well enough to do a little restaurant rendevous with my sweetie so off we went. Let me tell you what it's like to go to a restaurant with "Steve Studious". Do you know anyone who studies menus before ordering? Well I do. I live with a Menu Studier, he studies menus at each and every restaurant we go to - last night was no different but I will take you back in time to a scene from last year. Here's how I peruse a menu. If there happens to be a line-up at the front door for a table and the menu is posted on the wall I read it and pick out my meal BEFORE I am seated at the table. If there is no line I walk into the restaurant. Sit down. Place the napkin my lap. Pick up the menu. Look at the menu. Choose my meal. ORDER the meal. How hard is that? Well for those of you who have to menu ‘study” or know "menu studiers" here is the question. Why? Why can’t you just pick something and order already? I start getting anxious when the restaurant has a large menu with more then 5 items listed. Steve needs to go to places that just serve "Soup of the Day" and a "Blue Plate Special. Two items max on the menu. So here's a brief excerpt from our meal at a nice Italian joint we went to for his birthday - October 2009.

Menu sighted. Menu picked up. Head moves up and down. Up and down. Up and down. Keep in mind MY MEAL IS CHOSEN already. Steve is still not sure. Should I get the Chilean Sea Bass, Rack of Lamb or Risotto? “Why don’t you have the Risotto honey, it sounds good”, I say patiently. I am at a point where I say I'm patient but I am really not. My temptation is to take the menu and swat him over the head with it but I try, really try to keep quiet. He is still looking. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. Or if G-D forbid the menu is by the page like a booklet, he flips. Flip to the front. Flip to the back..... and flips to the front again. By this point the server has already come over to ask if madam and monsieur are ready to order. “Just give us another two minutes please”, says Steve. Another two minutes? To do what? Write the exam? Steve senses my shifting of moods and takes a deep breath to make the final verdict but will not divulge that decision to me until the server appears for a second attempt to take our order. “What can I get for you this evening madam”, she asks. “I’ll have the chicken appetizer with the chicken entrĂ©e with a glass of cranberry and soda please”, I answer. “And for you Sir” she asks? “I can’t decide between the fish, the lamb and the Risotto, what would you suggest”? Steve asks. The server seems uncomfortable with the question. Why? Because those three dishes are from three different planets. Fish is for people who want something light. Lamb is for people who want something heavy and Risotto is for ….well….Risotto is for people that couldn’t care less about their cholesterol. After discussing all three menu choices, the server suggests the Lamb. To which Steve answers “why don’t you just surprise me”. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Why would you go to a restaurant and want to be surprised? You have no reason to. That is WHY THEY HAVE A MENU! No surprises!

Believe it or not this morning was another attempted "gym" day. I woke up. Gym bag poised and once again rolled over and said "night night". I'm still not feeling energetic enough for a workout so instead I set out to get some grocery shopping done. There is a specific goal in mind today and that is to locate a few jars of L & L Grilling Sauce. My mom called me yesterday in a panic that they are sold out of this item EVERYWHERE. This is only sauce that she makes her "famous" chinese chicken with. We are going to her place for YO's 19th birthday this week and we have to ensure that all the "usual" dishes are present for this celebration. As I walk into store number one, I'm looking on the shelf and the woman behind the counter shouts at me "NO!". I look at her and say "excuse me? no what"? "NO, we are sold out", she says. I then say "how do you know what I am looking for without me even asking"? She then says " I know". "So what am I looking for", I ask?. She looks me straight in the eye and says "YOU are looking for L & L sauce and we are sold out", she says. I can't believe it. There is a shortage of sauce and now I am going to run around looking for it with a pit in my stomach. I just know that there is going to be trouble. Sure enough, the next store I go to HAS NO sauce in the usual spot on the shelf. Another conspiracy. A few months ago there was a Farfel conspiracy and now this. As soon as people hear that there is going to be a shortage or a discontinuation of a product they stockpile. If you have recently stockpiled this sauce and would like to sell it on the blackmarket let me know. My people are willing to pay your people......I will meet you in the old railway stockyards downtown at 3 a.m. to make the deal.

So after an unsuccessful attempt at searching for the sauce I go on my next adventure..... to buy some bagels for the boys. This should be easy. As I enter Bagel World I ask for two twister bagels and two regular bagels. The young lady places them in the bag and charges me $140. This is not the first time that this has happened at this place. The funny thing is she doesn't think there is a mistake. "That's $140 please", she says with a duh look on her face. " A $140 for 4 bagels eh", I say totally straight faced. "Do you think you may have made an error on the cash register", I ask patiently. "Uh...Oh...Uh ya, Ha Ha Ha" she says (still looking like a duh). When she makes the correction the bill now comes to $2.75. Quite a difference in price for 4 bagels!

As I am leaving the store I reach into my pocket to pull out my mittens. No mittens. I have this feeling that pair number three are gone. Missing Mittens. I go through this on a yearly seasonal basis. I get into my car and turn on the heat. I take my mittens off and place them on my lap ....I then exit my car and my mittens drop off into the parking lot. I am thinking of getting mitten clips like the ones I used to put on the kids jackets when they were little. What I may do this week is post signs throughout the city as well.

"LOST MITTENS. Have you seen them? Generous Reward if returned dry and in a pair"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Pilate Kid.....and get me to the gym on time...tomorrow!

It's been exactly 2 weeks since my body has seen the gym. It was with good intentions that I planned to go today for a "light" workout. I even packed my gymbag last night and placed it near my bedroom table where I could see it. I envisioned getting up, donning my lulu's and going......however that didn't happen. I went to bed at midnight and woke up at 10 a.m. with thoughts of doing nothing but rolling to my other side. I came up with another IN HOME WORKOUT.... I could finally unpack my Pilate Bands that I purchased after my last headcold episode last Summer. I bought this nifty little package of three bands that guarantee a good workout without having to get dressed and go anywhere.....a DO IT YOURSELF STRETCH and TONE class in your pajamas? Perfect! The package has been sitting around collecting dust for the past 5 months. It was time to UNLEASH these babies and get going. I opened the package and unwrapped the first colored band. There are 3 bands. A light, a medium and a heavy. Pink, Blue and Purple. They match the medication I have been taking all week. I read the instructions. There is a lady on the package who is using these bands in different contorted positions. Looks pretty standard in comparison to the "muscle mix" classes I have been taking so I take the band, wrap it around my hands, place the band on the floor, step on the band and pull the band slowly upwards. I am using the PURPLE band for extra strength because I'm convinced that I AM the Incredible "Pilates" Hulk.  The band isn't moving upwards and it is impossible to stretch. I now move to the blue band (medium strength) ...follow along here please....

Blue band, wrapped around my hands, place band on the floor, step on the band and PULL.....the band is once again not moving and I'm starting to sweat from pulling!!! Is this supposed to be the workout? PULLING AND SWEATING?  I take a look again at the lady on the box. I think it may be an incorrect attire issue here. I'm going to try putting on a "gym outfit" to make this more legit. I get out of my pajamas and put on a tank top and capris. Much Better!  I now look similar to the lady on the box. Not exactly but close enough.

I'm standing with feet apart, positioned and I doesn't feel good...and it's still too tight. I go to the last colored band in the should be easier. Feet apart, band positioned and lift....okay this is getting dumb now....and I suddenly have company to witness this kitty is in the room with me wondering what the hell I'm doing. Large kitty is outside doing her own excerise class. She sitting on her butt touching her toes while trying to lick her behind. Perhaps I should follow her lead?

I don't want to give up on the Pilate-ish workout. Out of frustration I change positions with hopes that tying the bands in different ways will make the workout more sensible. I am now on the floor with the instructions, the lady on the box and band tied around both legs. I am completely intertwined with the pink (light band) around my ankles. Okay so now what? Take your feet and stretch them upwards for 12 repititions. Stretch them upwards? I'm stretching but something isn't right here. I am in the middle of the floor tied up.... with rubber bands, I can't go anywhere and I develop a latex allergy which is making me itch! I make a conscious decision to end my "IN HOME WORKOUT".  I untied the bands. Roll them up in the box with the lady on it. I then place them next to my YOGA mat which hasn't been used since last year when I when I was expelled from Hot Yoga School for laughing during the Savasana (Corpse Pose) routine. What? I thought it was really funny being the only LIVE person in a room full of corpses.....I had to laugh wouldn't you?