Friday, December 31, 2010

Yule Blog

Am I too late? Is it 2011 yet? It's still December 31st in my time zone, anyway.

Wow! I have been MIA too long. I can account for only the last two weeks, as we were on holidays in southern California (Disneyland, Universal Studios, Sea World and the San Diego Zoo) for Christmas. The rest of the time? I have no idea. I may have been holed up with my new Kindle.

Well, merry belated Christmas! I hope Santa was good to one and all. I wish you all the very best for 2011.

I hear a glass of champagne with my name on it. And my name is Deinhard. With a Riesling. I'll be back!  ;)

Cheers!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Re-Kindled Blog

I am excited to be blogging to you live from my new Kindle, a birthday present from my lovely family. I just finished my first e-book: Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. The e-ink is pretty amazing. It really does feel like reading a paper book. So between the desktop, laptop, netbook, Blackberry & Kindle I should really have no excuses not to blog.

In other news, my frigging car needs a new timing chain. What fabulous...timing.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Checking in

Oh, hello blog. Are you still here? I thought you might have disowned me for neglect...

I'm quite fine, thank you. I have a few visitors that stop by every now and then to keep me company. I have taken up knitting.

Well I promise to pop in again soon for a longer visit and we can catch up. Take care!

You too! Don't be a stranger! :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mares Eat Oats and Tims Eat Oats


Now I love me a good toasted 12-grain bagel with butter but fibre aside, it's not the healthiest choice in terms of fat and calories. I just tried Tim Hortons' new mixed-berry oatmeal this week and I have to say it was a warm bit of goodness in my tummy. I like oatmeal anyway, so it wasn't a hardship to give up my bagel in lieu of a cholesterol-lowering bowl of porridge. With a fraction of the fat and sodium, it was definitely a better choice and it warmed the cockles of my heart. The only downside is the higher sugar content in the mixed-berry and maple brown sugar toppings; however, you can also get it in plain (which you could learn to like just as much).
Plain Oatmeal160 cal2.5 g fat
Mixed-berry Oatmeal210 cal2.5 g fat
Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal220 cal2.5 g fat

Starbucks has a similar offering; they came out with their Perfect Oatmeal last year, which is also yummy and a similar serving size.


Plain Oatmeal140 cal2.5 g fat
Brown Sugar Oatmeal190cal2.5 g fat
Dried Fruit Oatmeal240 cal2.5 g fat
I don't know if they offer the dried fruit in Canada; I haven't seen it but I only had the oatmeal when it first came out and it had brown sugar.  Again, as much as I love scones, muffins, breakfast sandwiches, cookies...it's a much better choice.

I think I know what I'm having for breakfast tomorrow!  But since it's not a work day I will make it at home.

Appropriately enough, The Oatmeal is one of my favourite sources of humour, satire, and sarcasm. Even if you don't like your oats rolled or steel-cut, I guarantee you will enjoy a helping of this. Go get yourself a bowl!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fledgling Art Lover

I went to a friend's gallery showing this weekend.


I just love his little birds. I can now say I:

- have been to an art showing and
- have been to the Mission Art Centre Gallery.

I can't promise it will class this joint up or anything, but there's hope yet. :)

(The link should read: woodendialogue.com)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Working Mom's Household Tip #4

One way to get your evil child to eat breakfast before school: ask her to hold your toast while you drive. If she is evil, she will eat it. Mission accomplished. Muahahaha...

xoxo
Mom

PS. Oh wait, now I need to stop and get breakfast on the way to work. Damn.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I am Fartacus!

Apparently if you fill your stomach with too many samples at the West Coast Women's Show you will be filled with glorious gasses that will clear a room faster than you can say "floating an air biscuit". The recipe is quite complex, and not for the faint of fart heart.
  • teriyaki tofu
  • tuna 
  • chocolate cookie
  • coffee
  • cranberry juice
  • spicy pickled beans
  • pickled beets
  • pickled carrots
  • rooibos chai tea
  • almond butter crunch
  • another chocolate cookie
  • a virgin cosmopolitan
  • barbecue kettle chips
  • salsa and guacamole with chips
  • two kinds of soya cheese
  • a chocolate dipped strawberry
Then attend the Hall of Flame Calendar Firefighters Fashion Show and mix vigorously as you jump up and down in support of dwindling clothing and cheeky flashes the burn unit at VGH. Pop into a dutch oven for 6 - 8 hours and voilà. If it turns out a little flat, add a slice of pizza and some beer and let it percolate. Serves anyone in a 10-foot radius. Nutritional value: despite the aromas of eggs and broccoli, none.

Thank you West Coast Women's Show. Man, I feel like a woman. (Just kidding, it was a great show and the samples were fabulous.)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Out of (Con)Text

Reading a post over at Wait in the Van made me look back over my texts on my Blackberry. When you don't know the story behind the text, it can be pretty funny!

Him: Poo on the floor of my office this morning.

Me: Oh. Yuck. Why do you think?

Him: Looks like a hair issue.

Me: Hmm. Maybe we should brush the cats.

Him: Bunged up I guess.

Me: Urgh.

(One of the cats pooped on the floor in hubby's home office instead of the litter box in the bathroom.)


Me: Frodo, going to Mordar. Signed, Bilbo

Sis: Hehehe. I know they say it only takes one ring to bind it but in your case I would suggest some sort of epoxy.

Me: Hehe. I think I'm old enough to reread Tolkien. Maybe it will make more sense. May I borrow them?

Sis: Heck yes! Remind me to bring em out.

(Re-tiling a bathroom prompted a joke of "Where do drywalling hobbits live? Mordar!", after which I decided that reading The Lord of the Rings at 10 years of age left greater comprehension to be desired.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Anti-social media

I don't know if social media is made for the anti-socialite. I have so many pet peeves it's not even funny.

1. Sharing one account. Unless you are a conjoined twin actually sharing a face and the same friends, sharing a facebook account is weird. Embrace your individuality and reject the temptation to "be one" with your partner. Your friends will no longer be confused with whom they are conversing.

2. Sharing too much. I may tell my partner/sister/bff about my horrible flatulence and awesome bowel movement, but spreading that $hit all over facebook and twitter is just TMI. Would you tell these things to your ex-boyfriend, high-school frenemy, mother-in-law, neighbour? Because you just did. Remember your audience!

3. Likewise, minute-to-minute updates are not necessary. No one cares if you just ate a bagel unless it was the world's largest bagel and you're getting interviewed on TV by Guinness RIGHT NOW. It is information overload and people will assume you are hard up for attention or have no life. "I am moving my left foot. I am moving my right foot." What do you want? A medal?

4. Bandwagons. Everybody's on one. Join this group and keep facebook free. Join this cause and I will donate a bazillion dollars. If 1,000,000 people join this group John Lennon will rise from the dead and get a facebook account. Holy flurking schnit! Are you people or sheep? Sheople? Baaa...must join group...baaaa! Join join join...like like like.

5. If tweeter twatter tweets a tweet on Twitter...does anybody care? It's like the status update channel: All updates all the time! I mean, how can you follow all that tweeting, twittering, and twatting? It's just too much. Um...that being said, you can follow me on Twitter over there--->. (I'm such a hypocrite, I know!) But I promise not to post a running commentary on my day. Who has time???

6. Applications. There are some fun games, some dumb games, and some downright lame games. Then there are the super-lame-ass applications, like find your stripper name, when will you die, and when will you die as a stripper. What's the point? It's a one-shot wonder that clogs up your profile page. Unless you like to be buried under a layer of useless crap that defines you as a person that likes useless crap and can't throw anything away. If you must know when you will die, install the app, write it in your calendar, then use the handy-dandy remove link and hide your shame. You know what else is useful? The block application link. When I get an invite for anything I don't want, I block the application. To date I have blocked over 100 applications...and counting! I have blocked people that would not cease and desist sending invitations. Frig off!

7. Become a fan! See Sheep, #4.

8. OMG, i 8 a banana! lol. ur funny c u l8r! roflmao. WTF??? How hard is it to spell you and your? To press the shift key for uppercase letters? How can I respect you when you're lolling about with your head lolling to the side and your tongue lolling out of your mouth as drool falls onto your shirt? Lol lol lol. When you make a funny in real life (if you have one), do you say lol? Or do you actually laugh out loud? Think about it. Haha. Made you think! Do you chuckle? Heh heh. Guffaw? Ahahahahahaha! Giggle? Heehee. Isn't that better than lolling and rofflemaowing? Even a simple smile will do. That's right Dad. I'm talking to you.  :)

9. Obscure and awkward connections. Your brother's sister's father's wife's daughter? Oh wait, that's you. Your grade 8 classmate that sat behind you on the bus but never talked to you? Accept! Your estranged great-aunt's stepchildren? Accept accept! Look how popular I am! I have 1,013 friends! This must be how Oprah feels! Ooooh! I must add her as a friend. Having 1,013 connections. Cost: 1 soul. Not knowing 95% of them? Priceless. There's a lot your dignity can buy. For everything else, there's facebook/twitter/myspace/foursquare/linkedin.

What are your social media pet peeves?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Update on Kitty Poop Death Star Litter Box

I was getting a little worried after a few days, as Gordon and Zoey had not yet used the new Litter Robot. To encourage them to use the fresh box, I stopped cleaning the old one (no big challenge for me). I even laid a dry turd inside (a cat turd, not my own) to show them where to do their poopy and put cat treats on the lip of the opening. I know they have looked inside and retrieved their treats because the litter was disturbed and there was a small trail scattered on the steps. But when I cycled the machine, no kitty turds were ejected into the drawer below. :(

On the 6th morning I checked and was greeted by a fresh clump of cat pee! Yippee! I guess the minefield of cat bombs in the other tray was enough to convince them to occupy new territory. Once I cycled the machine they were happy to climb in and do it again. So we dumped the old box and moved the new one in its place. Success!

I am SO happy not to be a harvesting turds from the litter box. All we have to do is dump the lined tray once or twice a week. The bathroom downstairs doesn't smell like eau de cat scat and there is considerably less litter and poo being flung far and wide. Aside from its girth, it is a perfect fit for a family of scoopaphobes. Cat-tested and approved.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

No Gnus is Good Gnus

Former US President Jimmy Carter is hospitalized...for stomach upset. After a flight. During his book tour. Seriously? This is news? So he was president once upon a time. So he had a little diarrhea. So what? Hundreds of people just died in Mexico in a mudslide.* The Commonwealth Games in Delhi are going to shit. Who cares about a little tummy troubles? Jeez. Unbelievable. Wake me up when Obama farts.

*edit: Today's news reports that there are no confirmed deaths but 11 are missing. Still more newsworthy than an old man's digestive upset.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sicks-pack

Oh it's that time of year again. The sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, fever, time-to-pull-out-the-Vicks-vaporizer-again season.  A classmate coughed and sneezed on J-girl yesterday.  This morning: sore throat, runny-stuffy nose.  And as of this afternoon: fever and chills. And a little stomach upset.  Thank goodness tomorrow is a Pro-D day.

So off to Shoppers Drug Mart I go to pick up the Sicks-pack:
  • Tylenol/Advil
  • Fruit cups
  • Gingerale
  • Kleenex
  • Broth
  • Crackers
This is in addition to the BRAT staples: Bananas, Rice, Apples & Toast. And if that doesn't work, some Pepto-Bismol. Yup, I think we're prepared for this pity party.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Eight is Enough

Acting BalancedHeather from Acting Balanced has tagged me to answer 8 questions, which kind of forces me to blog (crack that whip, baby!) so here goes:

1. What was the last book you read?  Would you recommend it? The last book I remember reading was Eat Pray Love. I thought it would be really lame but I actually found her writing style very easy to read and her content so funny. So yes, I would recommend it.

2. How often do you post on your blog?  Do you have a schedule? As sporadically as possible from the looks of it. Ahahaha...a schedule? Are you kidding me?

3. What is your favorite blog topic? Me, of course!

4. What did you have for lunch today? Toasted flax pita, goldfish crackers, 10 chocolate covered almonds from yesterday's box but they were for a good cause! I rationed out half a package for today. I had an off day because the kiddo stayed home from school sick and I went to work late. Usually there would be some kind of fruit or vegetable in there. I did have an applesauce in my purse but I forgot about it as soon as I remembered the almonds.

5. Where do you get your news? CBC and CNN via iGoogle.

6. How do you handle stress? Eating. Lots of eating.

7. What is your all time favorite movie?  Why? The Rock. Two words: Sean Connery.

8. What is one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you? I used to lick the flavour coating off the dog's chew treats and put them back in the box. I was 4! Don't judge! They were very tasty! (I also used to lick the flavour off the chips and put them back in the bag, but the soggy chips were discovered and that stopped pretty quickly.)

Okay, now I'm supposed to make 8 questions and tag 8 lucky bloggers:

Crumbs in the Minivan
Rants n Rascals
Manic Mariah
Lady Mama
Mom vs. the Boys
The Sassy Curmudgeon
Leigh vs. Laundry
Fighting off Frumpy

Your questions are:

1. Which of your blog posts is your favourite and why?

2. What's the most annoying habit you have?

3. Do you exercise regularly?

4. What is your favourite household chore?

5. What's your sleeping style? A snuggler that needs to be touching another body or a mind-your-own-space-if-you-know-what's-good-for-you solitary sleeper?

6. What is your favourite flavour of chips?

7. Would you rather eat pickled pigs' feet or lick peanut butter off a hobo's toe?

8. Can you lick your own elbow and did you actually try or are you just guessing?

Post these questions and your answers on your blog, and find 8 lucky souls to answer 8 of your own (or if you're lazy just recycle mine). Have at 'er!


PS. It is impossible to lick your own elbow. Unless you have really short arms or the tongue of a cow.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's Hip to Be Square, Homies

I'm a pretty hip mom...wait, that sounds square. Umm...Yo yo what up, g? Baby mama's a fly shorty rollin' in mah hooptie with mah homies. Word! Yeah, that's not working either.

My point is that as a mom I'm pretty relaxed with certain things such as clothing and makeup (as long as it's not slutty) and music (as long as it's not too profane).

I like to rock out to the latest Top 40 Pop, Hip Hop & Alternative. Some songs are so damn catchy that I can forgive the trashy appearance of their performers. But if you really listen to the lyrics, is it any wonder kids are growing up so fast and furious? Take Kesha, for example:
Take it Off
Now we lookin' like pimps in my gold Trans Am
Got a water bottle full of whiskey in my handbag
Got my drunk text on, I'll regret it in the mornin'
But tonight I don't give a I don't give a I don't give a
There's a place downtown where the freaks all come around
It's a hole in the wall, it's a dirty free for all
And they turn me on, when they take it off
When they take it off, everybody take it off.
Girl really does like her whiskey (and not even the good stuff):
Tik Tok
Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy
Grab my glasses, I'm out the door, I'm gonna hit this city
Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack
'Cause when I leave for the night, I ain't coming back
And then you've got thinly disguised sexual references, like Kardinal Offishall's
Body Bounce
Ahhh shit here we go again,
I'm lookin' at you but I'm seein' your friends,
Both my hands fit around her waist,
Her asstronauts takin' up my space, yo,
I'm about to launch my rocket,
Take off your clothes and reach in my pocket,
Grab the controller, similar to the Wii,
It's a game and Imma let you beat me
...(blah blah chorus)
I love the way you make that body bounce,
Lovin' how you work it,
Work it, work it
...(somethin' somethin')
Show me a little work,
Imma take them calories off with that shirt,
...(yadda yadda)
So resilient,
I like how on the inside its like a wetsuit, brilliant,
Water resistant up to 9 inches,
Wrap that let me open it up like Christmas,
I'm about the same height as inches
Now, I actually like these songs. Their rhythm and groove is very catchy. But there's something about hearing your 11-year-old and her friends singing about brushing their teeth with whiskey that makes you go, "Say wha?"

Peace out,
D to the G

Friday, September 10, 2010

Miss Kitty, Take a Litter...

Dear Kitties,

We are about to spend an obscene amount of money on a litter box because we don't enjoy scooping your poop. If I thought you could master flushing the toilet I would train you to squat on the seat like a small, furry human. But I don't want to find your hard little turds floating in the bowl. Also, last time I tried to flush some "flushable litter" the toilet backed up.


We have decided on the Litter Robot, aka The Death Star. Do not be afraid, kitties. Khhhh. I am your father. Khhhh. It's hard to breathe in this biohazard suit! Please adjust quickly to the new littersphere so we can all breathe a little easier. Also, please stop flinging your poo out of the litter box. And if you would wipe your feet on the mat instead of jumping out and spraying loose grains of litter across the floor that would also be appreciated.

Signed,
Your Humans
aka The Food Lady & The Man

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why Are We Celebrating Labour Day?

Not that I'm complaining about an extra day off! I asked several people and none of us knew the origins of Labour Day (Americans: ignore the u; it's silent, eh?).

From Wikipedia:
Labour Day or Labor Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.

The eight-hour day. That sounds pretty good. Oh wait. Eight hours of work + 1 hour travel time + 1 hour lunch = 10 hours...should I take that 2 hours from recreation or sleep? I guess the hour spent getting ready in the morning is recreation too. And cooking and laundry. That recreation time is whittling away. I guess that's what weekends are for! Still, it's hard to complain; we actually have it pretty easy.

Did you know that before the 1900s the work day used to be 10 to 16 hours a day, 6 days a week? Of course, the women stayed home to cook, clean and procreate back then, so that would be 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We've come a long way, baby. I guess that eight-hour day only applied to the men, because they wouldn't have cooked, cleaned or cared for the kids back then. Men have evolved significantly since women went to work outside the home. Thank God for that!

So Labour Day really is worth celebrating. And what better way to celebrate than a day without labour? Hope you all had a great Labour Day long weekend and a good first day back to school!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

What's for Dinner...Sometime Back in August

Salmon Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries and Broccoli Slaw



These are not the sweet potatoes I gave my thumb for. These are frozen and from a bag. Don't judge me. I was hungry and in a hurry. It's actually a pretty healthy meal overall.


Salmon Burgers: Found ground salmon in seafood section, no spices, no additives, already formed into patties so I seasoned with salt, pepper and dill. Fried in pan lightly oiled with grapeseed oil and placed on whole-grain bun with butter lettuce, sliced tomato and cucumber, and Renées cucumber dill dressing. This is a most fabulous dressing.  We once marinated a salmon in it and cooked it on a cedar plank over a fire. Delicious!

Broccoli Slaw: Open bag of Mann's Broccoli Cole Slaw. Cheating, I know. But if you saw my post about sharp kitchen implements you would understand. Add a little bit of Kraft Asian Sesame dressing and toss. Crush a small handful of peanuts with a glass because you're too lazy to pull out the mini food processor for a few nuts and garnish. I forgot to sprinkle dried cranberries on top but they add another flavour dimension.

Sweet Potato Fries: Open package of McCain Sweet Potato Superfries and follow directions. I usually buy the Mann's bagged raw sweet potatoes but I was too lazy rushed to get dinner ready. Our concession to eating the processed fries is that we didn't cook the whole package and just had a small portion.

Add a glass of red wine for digestive purposes and voilà! Dinner in 30 minutes. Cheers!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back to School Blogging

School starts on Tuesday (for us; I know some schools start earlier). I don't know if this means more time to blog or less.

On the one hand, J-girl will be back in school and I will still be working so our evenings will be spent doing homework, dinner & bedtime rituals. With the addition of homework and the reduction of TV-watching, it will be status quo as far as blogging, ie. very little. However, she is starting a French program that is much more intense than regular classes. This could either challenge or frustrate her, and by association, me.

On the other hand, she's 11 1/2 and much more capable to tending to herself as far as cooking, cleaning and bathing. She is becoming quite social and spends more time visiting and entertaining friends, and talking on the phone, than before. So I may find myself with more free time. I guess it remains to be seen.

I only have one child. I see parent bloggers out there with multiple munchkins and I've got to wonder how they do it.

How do you manage to raise your kids and still blog? Do you work outside the home? Where do you find the time to blog? Inquiring Goginas want to know!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More Occupations I'm Not Qualified For: Food Demonstrator & Prep Cook

Allow me to introduce you to...
The Mandolin of Death

Bum-bum-buuuuummmmm....

I practically severed the top of my thumb with this baby.  How, you ask?  Well, I egotistically thought I was too good for the safety guard.  Evidently I was wrong, as I jammed my thumb rather than the sweet potato straight down onto the blade, cutting through my thumbnail and thumb.  A couple more millimetres (um...1/8th of an inch?) and I would have been picking it out of the bloody veggies.  I won't gross you out with a picture of my thumb, but I'm sure you can imagine how nasty it was.

So I should probably stay away from demonstrating these things at tradeshows and malls.

Luckily, hubby was able to wash the blood off the razor blade of death and disfigurement, discard the stained tubers, and slice some fresh ones using the proper safety guard so we could still enjoy fried sweet potato slices with dinner.  Ones that were not infused with blood and tears.  Maybe some sweat.  Haha...private joke.  (There's a sushi place near my office that offers "sweat potato" on their menu.  Mmmm...sweat potato....)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ladies & gentlemen of the jury...I present to you: Eggs-hibit A.

An eggstraordinary number of eggs have been recalled in the US due to salmonella bacteria. (I mean really, when you eat food from something's butt, what do you eggspect?)  All puns aside, this is a very serious issue and people have become very ill from eating what is supposed to be a safe and healthy (cholesterol notwithstanding) food.

This is another affliction in a long list of large-scale infections that have infiltrated our food chain in the last few years:

Eggs: salmonella
Lettuce: e.coli
Spinach: e.coli
Peanut butter: salmonella
Apple juice: e.coli
Lunch meat: listeria
Ground beef: e.coli
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein: salmonella

to name a few, and the list goes on and on.... Plus, every month there are many small-scale recalls on specific products for contamination. We're screwing things up royally here.  People are getting sicker and bacteria are getting stronger. It's just a little scary, eh?

I don't know if it's the growing processes, the manufacturing processes, the packaging and storage processes or a little bit of everything.  Are they cutting too many corners trying to stay competitive in the market or are they just lazy?  Do consumers demand too much?  Do companies care too little?  Throw me a frickin' bone here.  On second thought, don't. It's probably contaminated.  Even pet food is not immune.

There's nothing good to eat anymore. In the case of The People vs. Big Food Companies, I find the defendants guilty as charged and sentence them to clean up their food practices.  Court is adjourned.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Occupations I'm Not Qualified For: Mover and Cab Driver

I am laid up with a sore back. And by laid up I mean doing all my regular stuff - working, cooking, cleaning, loafing - but with more moaning and whining. I helped my aunt move last weekend from her apartment to a co-op (income-based rent) so she can finally retire. The stairs from her patio to the sidewalk were very wonky so I ended up carrying boxes and furniture in a very un-ergonomic manner, resulting in a bum back. I'm sure it's broken, but my chiropractor says otherwise.

Let me tell you how navigationally-challenged I am. I loaded the first load of furniture into our little Chevy S-10 pickup and AJ gave me directions to her new place: "Turn right on 4th, go to Cedar and turn right on 3rd. Park in the upper parking lot above the complex." She went to pick up my cousin to help us. Off I went with my precarious cargo, down the hill until I got to Alder. My problem came when I got to Cedar. Straight across the street was a dead-end parking lot above a townhouse complex. I got excited and drove into it, backed 'er up to the curb and started unloading beside the path which was just where she said it would be. Not knowing which unit was hers, I waited in the truck for her to arrive. Sure enough, her little silver car comes down 4th and...wait, where is she going? Why is she turning? Oh shit. She lives on 3rd.

Now she doesn't own a cell phone and I can't leave her stuff on the sidewalk so I play a quick game of truck-box Tetris to get all her furniture back in. Meanwhile, she is driving around the 'hood looking for me, but gives up and drives back to her place to phone my cell. I go one block south where my cousin is waving his arms at me at the mouth of a parking lot above her townhouse just as my cell phone rings. We had a good laugh over it anyway.

Dear Blog

I leave you alone for a few weeks and the whole place falls to shit. You reorganized the furniture but forgot to put the headers back. You painted over the wallpaper and threw out the search bar. I had to re-paper the whole place, move widgets, and find a temporary template. I may need to call in a contractor to fix the damage. Naughty naughty! What will my readers think? Don't look at me like that. Okay, come here and give me hug. But don't try that again.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Chronicles of HST: The Lying, The Bitch, and the Boardroom

HST is the acronym for:

a) Hateful Sales Tax
b) Horrible Sales Tax
c) Hellish Sales Tax
d) Harmonized Sales Tax, in peace and light, like a gift from above, in harmony with the world.

If you answered ANY of the above you would be correct, except for that hippie peace and light crap.  A new Harmonized Sales Tax has been introduced in BC and Ontario on July 1st that rolls our federal and provincial taxes into one harmonized tax (12% and 13% for BC and ON respectively). 

It's not that I'm vehemently opposed to this tax or taxes in general.  If you want to use health services and drive on roads you've got to pay tax, 'cause nothing comes for free.  And I can see the benefits in lower government administration costs and yadda yadda...IN THE LONG RUN.

In the short term, however, it is an administrative nightmare, as I'm sure New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland would attest, as they rolled out this amalgamated tax in 1997.  In theory it sounds easy enough to comply with.  Change the tax rates in your accounting system to reflect the new rates, right?  How hard could that be?

Okay, so we have GST, PST, and HST.  Let's see...we can zero out the PST because we're not charging that in BC anymore. The prairies, territories, PEI and Quebec can stay on GST. Ontario and BC can change to HST.  Oh, BC HST is not the same percent as Ontario and the maritimes. Shoot. I guess we have to create a new tax group for BC; I'll call it BCHST.

Compare tax rates to the list...check check...wait...when did they announce an increase for Nova Scotia?  Everything is so focused on BC and ON, this is the first I've even heard of it. 15%???  Hmm...well, I guess we need a new tax group for NSHST.  Okay, we've got GST, HST, BCHST, NSHST, and USA for our exempt American customers.  Why can't we just have one tax?  Now we go through the list of customers and change the tax codes for the affected provinces.  Oh, and the vendors too. Right. Better to export that list to Excel to make the changes.  Way too many to do manually.  Okay, I think we're ready to roll forward and start invoicing.

WTF??? Aw crap. Stupid system is giving me an error message.  What did I do wrong?  Google Accpac Knowledge Base...no help there.  Delete, change, change, delete, change. Still getting an error message.  Aha! These orders were taken prior to July 1st.  I have to change the tax groups manually for all these orders?  Damn. That sucks. Re-enter, change, change, save.  Okay, moving on.  What? The purchase orders won't post now? Grrr.... Oh, I deleted that tax group and changed the name. Sigh...now to re-enter BCHST for all the BC vendors again.  Hey, a good job for the intern!

Lalalalalala...time to file the GST/HST for June.  Enter, enter, typity, typity...what? What is that line? That wasn't there last month. What does that mean? What are these Recaptured Input Tax Credits? Google, google, google some more.  $#!%  Do I have to do that?  Until 2018???  Are we a large business?

"Annual taxable supplies in excess of $10 million"
"Annual taxable sales of over $10,000,000"
"making taxable supplies worth more than $10 million annually"
"(E/F) × (365 – G)"

WTF??? Somebody translate this!  Google, don't let me down!  Ohhhh...annual revenue of $10 million or more.  Why didn't they say so?  Whew. So as long as we don't have revenue over $10M until 2018 I won't have to separate out a percentage of the HST every month. I never thought I would wish for low sales!

Let's see what the government spin doctors said about this HST:

Lower compliance cost.
  Not if you are a large business and have to hire someone just to make sure your RITCs are in compliance.

Lower cost of doing business. Not so far...as I'm working overtime to solve this!

Create new jobs. Not if you work for the provincial sales tax department for the government. Now that it's eliminated, you might be out of a job. Oh wait, there are some jobs opening up in big businesses to make sure RITCs are in order. I guess that would be a new job.

Savings passed on to consumers.  Ahahahahaha...that one's funny. Oh, you're serious? If a business had a choice to lower their prices or post increased profits, which do you think they would choose? And their suppliers won't be lowering their prices either so where are these savings?

Higher wages. Isn't that a bit presumptuous? Aside from minimum wage, isn't that the choice of the business? The business who is creating new jobs and passing savings on to customers will also have oodles of dough to inflate salaries? Okay...if you say so. I wouldn't turn it down.

Funding for health care. Well I certainly hope so! I have to wonder about the statement "Every dollar raised through the HST will be used to fund health services when the HST comes into effect on July 1, 2010".  Every dollar? The whole dollar? Isn't that a bit of hyperbole? I'm sure there are other programs and infrastructure that will benefit as well. Education, perhaps? Since our school boards have had to make cuts to reduce budget deficits this year?

Oh my God. I totally want to become a government spin doctor. I'm really good at Balderdash* and justifying my shopping habits. *Balderdash is a game where the best bullshitter wins.  Your job is to convince the other players that your definition to the word is correct.  I'm not lying.  Really!

Let's just call it like it is: a tax. Call it value-added if you will, but when you lick off the sugary coating it's still just a tax. Don't try to sell it, convince us, or otherwise cajole us. The government is a business, and the business needs more money. They've downsized departments and increased prices like any other business would. This is the part where the CEO gathers us all in the boardroom and says, "If we want to continue our health benefits, road travel, education and security enforcement, we need to make some changes to our efficiency and our sales policies."  And if you want to keep that job, you will pretty much do what he says because he's the boss.  That's just how it is.

Monday, July 12, 2010

What's in the Fridge? July 12

Lately we've been trying to use up leftovers and bits before buying more food.  We tend to waste a lot of food and it's really not necessary.  Plus it's time-consuming to run to the store after work and takeout gets expensive.  So I try to be creative (and healthy) with what we've got kicking around.

Tonight's dinner:  Couscous Salad, Sautéed Green Beans with Almonds and Barbecued Chicken Breast.

Dump leftover couscous from yesterday's lunch (who made that much???) into a bowl, drizzle with grapeseed oil, lemon juice, and rice vinegar, sprinkle with parsley, basil and dill, throw in diced cucumber end and the good bits from the wilting green onions.

In a pan, sautée green beans (these I bought from road-side farm stand yesterday) in a small bit of grapeseed oil. Season with salt, pepper, and the last crumbs from the sliced almonds bag.

Slice one lonely skinless barbecued chicken breast from Friday's dinner into thin slices.  Arrange artfully on plate.  Lick homemade bbq sauce from fingers.  Serve cold.  The chicken, not the fingers.

Voilà!  Dinner for 4 (and a little leftover for someone's lunch tomorrow).  Sorry, no pictures.  I'll try to remember next time before we chow down.

Time: 20 mins.
Health: 4/5
Taste: 5/5
Kid-friendly: Yes

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Nanny Goats in Panties

It just rolls off your tongue. Nanny goats. Nanny goats. Nanny goats in panties.  Margaret from Nanny Goats in Panties has been so kind as to post my goat pictures from our volunteer trip to S.A.I.N.T.S., Senior Animals in Need Today Society.

Help S.A.I.N.T.S. win a $20,000 grant! You can vote once a day until Aug. 22. Every time you vote you are making a huge difference for these animals.   www.theanimalrescuesite.com

Shelter Name: S.A.I.N.T.S.
Country: Canada      Prov: BC
Click search and VOTE - Repeat Daily!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On the road again...

Just can't wait to...sleep in my own bed tomorrow! We're packed to the gills in my boss's Lincoln Navigator, navigating our way back from an excursion to northern BC. Thank God he let me borrow it; we are 7 people and there is no way I could do the whole drive in one day if we took two cars. It's a 14 hour drive. Plus there is a DVD player for the kids (my daughter, sister and niece). We're on the second showing of Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.

It was our annual Newfie family reunion (anytime we get 20 of us together in one spot it's a reunion) and our Nannie's 80th birthday celebration. Somehow 80% of our family has migrated to northern BC; the other 20% are spread over Newfoundland, Ontario, and BC's lower mainland.

It is so beautiful up here. We have seen several deer, some baby deer, two black bears, some foxes, and as I type this on my Blackberry a moose just wandered across the highway.

I have eaten so much deliciousness on this trip. Good thing I packed the stretchy pants! My sister-in-law made us chicken and dumplings, pancakes and bacon, apple fritters...where there is family, there is food. Or where there is food, you will find our family!

Monday, June 28, 2010

And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire...

The Ring of Fire. 

Johnny Cash had it right when he wrote those lyrics.  Betcha it was right after some hot wings and vodka.  Johnny, ditto on the spicy tuna rolls.  I'm picking up what you're putting down, man, and I feel your pain.  Right here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pet Peeve #238

Attention Costco shoppers: 

If you can't leave your kids at home, please corral, contain or otherwise control them.  You wouldn't send them out to play in traffic so don't let them run wild amid two-hundred-pound shopping cart gridlock.  I can't count on my fingers and toes how many running, spinning, jumping, climbing and unsupervised kids I saw today.  Shame on you lazy parents!

Our Father's Day

Our father, who art in bed
Snuggled under the duvet,
Thy breakfast comes,
The coffee's done,
At home as it is in Starbucks.
Give us this day our daily hugs,
And forgive us our toast crumbs,
As we give you breakfast in bed,
And lead you into relaxation,
And deliver you your presents.
For this is your day,
Twenty-four hours of glory,
We love you forever,
Amen.

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Blogology

Welcome to Blogology 101. Let's start off with some basic terminology, shall we?  Pay attention, there may be a quiz later.

Blog: short for web log. A place to share your thoughts, feelings, rants, photos, stories, travel, reviews or anything else that can be posted to a blog.

Blogger: one who blogs, obviously, or the blog platform owned by Google.

Wordpress
: mortal enemy friendly competitor to Blogger platform.

Blognonymous
: hiding behind a pseudonym or posting as an anonymous guest.

Inblognito
: see blognonymous.

Blogosphere
: the world of blogs.

Blog Roll
: a list of fellow bloggers and links to their blogs, often reciprocated.

Blog Hop
: kind of like bar hopping, without the drunken stumbling and vicious hangover.

Blog Surf
: to randomly peruse blogs; on Blogger, hitting the "next blog" link repeatedly at 2 am.

Comments
: words of validation that feed a blogger's ego.

Blog Whoring
: leaving comments on blogs or group forums with the sole purpose of pimping out your blog; aka marketing.

Blog Awards:  the chain letter of blog love.

Blogs of Note
: the Blogger version of a blog award, aka free PR and increased traffic; the holy grail of a Blogger blogger.

Boogger
: a mis-spelling of Blogger; also Blooger.

See you next class!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's One of THOSE Days...

You know those days. When you wake up late, have a headache for no reason, feeling crappy and not even a hangover on which to place blame.

You scrabble around the closet in mid-darkness, plucking whatever mismatched outfit you first lay hands on from the depths and find some coordinating socks in your drawer.  Throw your hair in a ponytail because it's all stuck up on one side and frizzy, and not even gobs of hair gel can contain the curly flyaways that are now reinforced by Joico. 

After you poke haphazardly at a blemish, you spend extra time having to conceal the redness with foundation and a paint makeup brush, leaving less time to perfect your congenitally-defective half-eyebrows.  Swiping brow powder across them leaves them looking like brown skid marks across your forehead. Tame them into a semblance of brows with a Q-tip and try not to poke your eye out with mascara.  Throw some powder across your half-assed masterpiece, grab your purse and shoes and run out the door.

Drive like a madwoman over the hill and through the woods and arrive at work a half hour late.  You pour a cup of steaming hot coffee into your mug and clutch it in your hands like the holy grail of mornings. Then you sink into your chair behind rolling waves of paperwork, heave a sigh, and get down to business.

It's one of THOSE days...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Baby Talk

Every kid has a special vocabulary borne of twisted consonants and mixed up vowels...

For example, in daughter-speak:
Frimp - Shrimp, as in frimp n cheese pizza.
D-We-D - DVD. Incidentally the first D-We-D we owned was Freck.
Ha-capes and Hadacados - Pancakes and avocadoes, not eaten together of course.  Although that sounds kind of good, actually...

From my brother's mouth:
Feet Keener - Street Cleaner, which passed by our house in Toronto regularly and scared the bejeezus out of him.
Fruck - Truck; most exciting was the Fire Fruck!

My sister's vocab:
She-It - I know what you're thinking. We thought my brother had taught her to say it. Then we realized she was saying "See it".
Babin' suit - Bathing suit.  During one of her regular wardrobe changes she was known to strut out in her babin' suit.

I don't recall too many weird words from my childhood, although I'm sure there are a few.  My aunt always remembers how articulate I was at age 3 when she asked me what I was drawing: "Auntie Le-o-na, I'm trying to con-cen-trate!"  And my other aunt, who was sniffing my neck in the car, "Auntie Janet, you snucked all my perfume!"  And to this day, my mom always wonders what I was dreaming about when I woke up screaming, "Carbitis carbitis!"

These are the things that will follow you around forever.

Monday, June 7, 2010

At What Point Does The Well Run Dry?

We've become so accustomed to hearing about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that it's become an accepted fact that millions of barrels of oil have been spewing into the water and there's nothing we can do about it. It's not like any of us laypeople can fix it, not even with a straw and some bubble gum à la MacGyver. The Big Boys can't even stem the flow. The magnitude of the spill is mind-boggling. It's hard to believe it has taken so long to stop the flow, and even harder to believe the long-term repercussions it will have on the coast, the ripples of which will eventually affect us all.

It just makes me wonder, though, how much oil was in that well? Was it like a pore in the earth's dermal layer that only holds so much oil or was it a straight line to the main fuel tank? Would the tank eventually have hit empty?  Will it now?  How much oil is left in there? Are we running on fumes to the next gas station and someone is going to have to get out and push??? It just makes me wonder.

I hope alternative energy technology has taken this opportunity to grow in leaps and bounds and that we'll become less dependent on petroleum and more reliant on a safer, sustainable resource. One that won't cause this:

Meet Oily, Greasy and Sludge. Collect them all!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

For the Love of Reading!

I love to read.  I devour books like a pig in a truffle pile.  I inhale pages like bacon-scented breakfast air and then sniff around for more.

It's not something J-girl usually enjoys doing but all that changed after the first Twilight movie.  We bought her the set of books and she plugged away at them until she had read the last page of Breaking Dawn.  These are big books for an 11-year-old, and she did me proud.

Since J-girl has not been to school in about 3 weeks, she has been spending a lot more time reading.  She has done a bit of homework here and there that the teacher has sent home, watched a bit of TV, of course, and played on the computer.  She has learned to use Powerpoint, Photoshop and Word, and has written stories and created presentations on topics she loves: animals and vampires.  She has used the internet for inspiration and instruction on drawing, something that used to frustrate her due to her perfectionist tendencies.

The biggest accomplishment, though, has been reading.  She went through the Twilight series, Gifted series, My Sister The Vampire series, and of late has finished the first two books in the Vampire Diaries series.  A tear of pride welled in my eye when I got home from work to find that she had read the entire 492-page book in one day.  That's my girl!

I went out and bought some more books to fuel her reading fire.  The other night we lay in bed with our novels and read in peaceful content.  It was a beautiful thing. *tear*

Maple Leaf Wiener

The Top Dog in the Maple Leaf Foods contest is:

button
Meal Planning Mama

Enjoy your bag o' goodies!  Thanks for your entries and comments.  You guys complete me. ♥




(Comment #2 is not an entry, in case you're wondering about my math!)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I'm Not Crazy, I'm Just a Little Unwell

The child is sick with her random stomach pain sickness extravaganza thing again.  This is the part where we start all over again looking for answers to this resurfacing undiagnosed malady.  And I get a letter from the principal regarding said child's attendance pattern.  And I get a nail in the sidewall of my tire and fork out $300 for some new treads.  And where my eye twitches in a nervous tic as I grind my teeth.  Twitch twitch, grind grijdlfgadgrrr.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Old Ladies and Cat Food

A myth?  Possibly.... But compare the price of a can of tuna and a can of Fancy Feast, factor in the price of rent and utilities and divide by Canada Pension and it's not as far off as you might think. A dollar doesn't stretch too far these days.

June 1st is Hunger Awareness Day.  Are you hungry?  Now imagine your cupboards are as bare and Old Mother Hubbard's.  I bet you that poor dog is looking pretty tasty right about now.

Kraft Canada has teamed up with Food Banks Canada to help take a bite out of hunger.  From June 1 - 11, every dollar donated to the Canadian food banks will be matched, up to $150,000.  That's a lot of KD (and other essential food).  Are you up to the Kraft Hunger Challenge?

Dinah Gogina.  Doing good things since 11:35 pm. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Meat Me In Vancouver

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of attending Maple Leaf Foods' roundtable discussion on food safety.  I was slightly apprehensive about a) meeting other parent bloggers and b) parallel parking.  My fears were unfounded as I got a great drive-in parking spot and the bloggers were a friendly bunch.

Upon entering Quince Cooking School on Burrard, I was greeted by Sumaya Khan from Matchstick and a selection of cold beverages and appies. We got down to business at the long (not round) table as the Heather Locklear-esque Jeanette Jones, Maple Leaf's VP of Communications, laid out the agenda. Our main presentation came from Sharon Beals, Senior VP of Food Safety & Quality Assurance. She was actually hired this past January, after the listeria outbreak had occurred, and probably because of it.  Her interview actually began with, "Sharon, we killed 22 people."  And she still took the job.  How's that for passion in your field?

She got right into the meat of the subject: the listeria outbreak.  Turns out listeria is an environmental pathogen that is brought in from outside and thrives in cold, damp places like a meat processing plant, for example.  Even after they disassembled and disinfected every piece of machinery, the contamination reoccurred.  It was hiding in a small hole in one of the meat cutters, an electrical wire conduit, that was breeding and recontaminating with listeria.  After breaking the seal (and voiding the machine warranty), they were able to eradicate the bacteria and begin the process of reevaluating their food safety procedures.

They changed traffic patterns in the plant, implemented new sterilization procedures, installed boot-washing equipment, required sleeve guards and location-specific coloured lab coats, and performed test after test of every surface to ensure they were leaving pathogens at the door.  More tests, in fact, than were required by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  They conducted vigorous, ongoing training exercises, including hand washing, with the help of a Wii-like device for interactive training.  They even held a conference and invited their competitors to share their food safety knowledge in the hopes that future outbreaks and deaths can be prevented. 

After a Q&A period where I felt the answers were honest and forthright, I asked myself these questions:

  • Did I believe their remorse for the deaths and illnesses that occurred? Yes.
  • Did I believe that their food safety practices have changed? Yes.  It's not something you can sweep under the rug and hide; there will always be a need for accountability.
  • Do I think they are doing everything possible to prevent another recurrence?  Yes.  I was left with the impression that they take food safety very seriously, and they do want to become leaders in food safety.

I know what you're wondering: Did I eat the meat products at dinner?  You bet.  And they were yummy. 

Chef John Placko (Director of Culinary Excellence from MLF) served us a new Maple Leaf frozen product: portobello mushroom and red pepper stuffed chicken.  We were introduced to another new product line, Maple Leaf Naturals lunch meat.  The tasty sundried tomato asiago baked bread we were served as an appy turned out to be Dempster's Oven Fresh bread (from Canada Bread, owned by MLF). Wow.


When we left with the answers we were looking for, we were given two insulated zippered bags.  One contained an assortment of thank-you gifts: the mushroom chicken, natural turkey and ham, bread, a digital meat thermometer, an apron, a USB stick with promo material, and a gas card to cover our travel.

The other bag, I am pleased to say, is to give away right here!  There are four loaves of the Dempsters vacuum-sealed bread (good 'til July and good baked with cheese), a digital meat thermometer, a Maple Leaf apron and coupons for a free Maple Leaf Naturals and $5 off (good only in Canada, sorry my American friends).

So who wants a cool red insulated bag of goodies?  It's easy-peasy.  Just leave a comment below letting me know if you're following my blog-of-awesomeness by Google Friend Connect or Twitter. I'll draw a random name on June 4th. That's all.  I told you it was easy.

EDITED: The contest for the bag is closed but here's a chance to win a 1GB Maple Leaf USB drive. Fill out a short survey and then add your comment below to let me know you've completed it. Ends June 28th.



** I was compensated for my participation and review in the form of products from Maple Leaf Canada.  I did not sell my soul for free carbs and tasty meat but I will work for food.  The opinions expressed above are my own and made of my own free will and by rubbing my two brain cells together. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mousy Dung


Guess who made another visit to my office?  Mouse Tse Tung!  How do I know?  He left his calling card on my desk.  I left him a present too.  I hope he likes parmesan cheese! Oh snap!

If I weren't so afraid they'd get lost outside, I would bring the kittens and introduce him to Meowsie's Tongue.  Mrrrrrowww!


Edit:
Good news! He liked the parmesan cheese. Bad news, the trap didn't spring. Good news! He liked the cheese from my co-worker's sandwich and the trap sprung. Better news! Said co-worker disposed of the body. So far, no more poopy! Yay!

Monday, May 17, 2010

12 Steps to a Nervous Breakdown:

1. Wake up Monday morning
2. Listen to child whine about not wanting to go to school
3. Get to work late
4. Discover mouse poopy and tiny urine footprints on desk
5. Disinfect entire desk, keyboard, mouse, calculator, pens etc.
6. Wash hands
7. Freak out every time you put your fingers near your mouth
8. Wash hands again
9. Burn mouth on hot coffee trying to kill germs in mouth
10. Stare at piles of paperwork waiting to be entered
11. Rest chin in palm
12. Scrub hands and wipe face with shaking, scalded hands

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Table Talk

I've been invited to a roundtable forum for food safety by the folks at Matchstick.ca.

If you've been living under a rock (or perhaps outside of Canada), you might not know that back in 2008 there was a huge listeria contamination at one of the Maple Leaf Foods processing plants in Ontario.  This led to a huge recall, a wave of fear, and many cases of listeriosis among consumers of the tainted lunch meats. 22 people died from listeriosis or complications of the illness.

Maple Leaf, trying to improve their reputation for food safety and regain brand confidence, would like to address the changes made to improve food safety standards and procedures.  In the video below, Michael McCain, President of MLF, outlines these changes.  In a nutshell: sanitation protocols, testing, training, food safety leadership.



Maple Leaf Foods has been in the meat-packing business for over 80 years; they are not new to the game.  (Being a Canadian brand, it's unlikely this product is exported.  If you're in the USA, compare this to the salmonella outbreak in the peanut butter processing plant in Georgia last year in which 9 people died, sparking a major recall.)  

If you had the chance to ask Maple Leaf Foods about the recall, their commitment to responsible food safety practices, or anything else, what would you ask?  I would be happy to pose these questions to the representatives on Wednesday, May 19th and report back.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Step Into My Office

Close the door and turn on the fan.  This is where I do some of my best work.  Don't let the lack of desk fool you.  This cube is alllll business.  No windows for distraction.  Soothing waterfall in hot or cold.  It's a little bit of zen.

Meet my right-hand man, Hans Fuller, who helps me multitask on my Blackberry.  Don't worry, we have a special stainless steel dock for when we get down to dirty work, complete with sterile paper rolls.  Hans keeps me up to date on my emails in this office, but always holds my calls.  Don't mistake him for his cousin, Hans Free, who accompanies me on travel.

I do a lot of international business here. A lot of urgent business from the Asian market. Mostly with Pee Ying (we meet several times a day), but sometimes with Pu Shing too.  We get a lot of repeat business.

At the end of every meeting, Wai Ping always helps.  Then there's Wah Sheng, who is obsessive about cleanliness and is always washing Hans.  Only after these rituals am I allowed to pick up my Blackberry.  They're sticklers for tradition.

Sometimes I get an urgent message from the folks down south (they like everything fried).  A little uncouth, these rednecks just seem to pop in with little notice.  Like Willy May Kitt.  Some say he lacks fibre; I find him a pain in the ass.

The more refined British clients prefer to knock, and if the time is not convenient, they will come back later.  Sir John Pinchworthy is a man of substance and much character.

Then there are the crazy Cajuns, René and Gaspé N. Le Loup (pronounced Run-NAY and Gas-PAIN Le LOO). Very unpredictable to do business with but always a show. 

I try to keep my meetings brief, although I`m the only one to use this office.  The one across the hall is shared among 4 or 5 men, and I`m not sure they have the same personal valet service.  In fact, I think they do most of their work standing around, with very little focus and aim. When they do sit down, the place is kind of a dump.  It`s not the kind of place you`d want to take the floor.  There always seems to be an ass at every meeting I`m in, but at least I don`t have to deal with a bunch of dicks as well.

My home office has an open-door policy, and is a very supportive environment.  Always R&D materials to read through, natural light, WiFi, even wet-naps.  There is no pushing to get things done, no deadlines.  Real towels instead of paper ones.  Sure, you have to share, but with three offices to choose from, you`re almost guaranteed to have a productive meeting day or night.  I know when it`s time to roll up my sleeves and get down to business, Hans is always right there by my side.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Patron Saint of Pants

Let me preface this by saying my mom was a hippie and really believed in the whole reduce, reuse, recycle thing, and that my budget can't always contend with my yen to spend.  To maintain the thrill but not the bill, I frequent certain second-hand shops for clothing to augment my wardrobe.  Think of them as hand-me-downs, but from a stranger.  Plus you'll never be caught deer-in-a-headlight at a family function when someone exclaims, "Isn't that Aunt Martha's old dress and Uncle Bob's high heels?"  As long as it's not knickers and it's washed, I think it's fine and you can spend your savings on chocolate, which also reduces endorphins (and requires bigger pants).  It's the circle of life, my friends.

Anyway, this past weekend my sister-in-law and I spent hours perusing the racks at Value Village (or as we call it, the VV Boutique).  You know those little rolling hand-baskets that you can pull behind you?  Ours were stacked to a precarious 3 feet of clothes to try on.  I quickly poked through the girls pajamas on the way to the change rooms but found nothing of interest until...I found two pairs of abandoned jeans hanging at the end of the rack -- in my size!  One blue, and one a very deep and new-looking black.  I think I heard choirs of angels sing.  Onto the pile they went.


The sign said "Limit 6" but didn't say of what, so I wheeled my one basket in and tried on some clothes. The blue jeans weren't to my liking, so I shimmied into the black ones. And guess what?  They fit like a glove! An ass-glove, that is. In length too, which is damn-near a miracle. I swear they couldn't have been worn more than a couple of times; they were impeccable.  The name said it all: Denver Hayes Curvy.  That's me!  I mean the curvy part. Thank you Fairy Pants Mother!


A few tops, a pair of capris and some sweet Roxy slippers (which, along with some tops, still had the original tags on!) completed my treasured finds.  I wore the pants today and I've got to say they are hands-down the most comfortable jeans ever!  I've sourced them out to Mark's Work Wearhouse of all places, and they happen to be on sale this month.  Methinks I will be picking up another pair!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dinah's Vagina

It's that time of year again...got my letter from my doctor's office reminding me to book an appointment for my pap test (pap smear just sounds so dirty -- I know you smear the sample on the slide, but really, do we need to think about smearing things around?). Like the good procrastinator I am, I finally got around to phoning after a month or so. Our clinic has just started a Well-Women program, where the new female doc from South Africa does all the gyno appointments late into Tuesday nights for anyone who feels more comfortable with a woman. Hey, I'll swing either way, but since she's available and the appointments are in the evening... The earliest I could get in to see her was 6 weeks! Talk about popular!

So my Tuesday night rolls around and I've refrained from eating beans, cabbage, dairy and such, I'm waxed and showered for my big date. I get in the car and immediately my tank is full of gas. WTF??? I release some pressure and for the whole 5-minute trip I am putt-putting along, all the while telling myself, "Don't fart, don't fart". It's true what they say, your brain doesn't hear don't.

I have barely sat in the waiting room and my name is called. Down the hall I'm given a paper gown, which I'm told can go on front or back. I remove my clothes and think I'll leave the front open for the breast exam, but the rustly paper doesn't quite have enough girth to stay closed. So I opt for the opening in the back. Being 5'2", I'm well-acquainted with the step, so I pull it out from the table and back my behind up to the paper-lined table. As I raise my cheeks to sit, the whole table begins to tip and slams down with a metallic bang. Frig. This thing's not weighted down at all. I hope no one comes in to see what the banging is about! Several clangs and bumps later, I'm sitting on the table with my naked butt facing the door because the stirrups are facing away from the door. For obvious reasons... This gown is clearly not made for modesty. I try to tuck my cheeks in without tearing the gown and remind myself not to fart. I do some deep breathing and mental self-talk.

The lovely doctor comes in and introduces herself and immediately I like her. She's a little chubby, has a great accent and cute shoes. When my doctor retires, I want her. Her easy conversation puts me at ease, and her plastic speculum is not cold like the metal ones I'm used to. Also, she doesn't use half a tube of Spectro Gel (I'm not old and dried up, my lubrication systems works fine, thank you). Her exam is very thorough, and I'm not embarrassed to ask any questions. She writes me up for blood work to see if my thyroid, hormone, and blood count levels are normal, because I'm so often fatigued and fat-assed. It always comes back normal, so maybe I'm just lazy and eat too much!

The breast exam reveals a small lump in my left boob, so she refers me to radiology for a scan to make sure it's just a cyst. My mom has lots of cysts in her breasts but my grandma had breast cancer, so better safe than sorry. (Turns out the earliest I can get in is July, which is really not that much of a wait considering things are usually backed up like an old man off his prunes.) I'm not worried because there's nothing to worry about yet. If I get bad news I'll start worrying then.

Anyway, the appointment is over so I gingerly hop off the table with much less effort and a lot less noise.  Back in the car, my butt sighs with relief. I open a window.

Two weeks later, I haven't heard anything back from the pap test so it's "no news is good news". I guess my hoo-hah is happy and healthy. Hooray!  Now to hear what my blood and my boob have to say.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Get Real. Period.

This is a fantastic ad by Kotex. Makes me want to jump and twirl.


Thanks to my soul-sistah for sending me this link.

Working Mom's Household Tip #3

Keep all your take-out menus in a folder with your cookbooks. When you're pressed for time and digging for a last-minute dinner recipe, you can pull out your "How To Make Dinner in 30 Minutes or Less or It's Free Cookbook" and wow your family with an array of international food choices.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I'm Bringing Sexy Back

And by "sexy" I mean "hairy". Yep. Nothing says sexy like, "I have hairy caveman legs" unless you say it in a sexy french accent, "Ah have zee hairy cahvman legssss." See, you think I'm sexy already. And let's not even mention the underarms. I just don't think you're ready for that level of sexiness.

Why so hairy, you ask? Ah, mon cheri. It is the quest for the holy grail of hairlessness. It is a paradox that one must become incredibly hairy in order to have no hair...you follow? Step into my time machine...

Let's warp forward to Thursday. Ooooh la la! Those are some smooooth legs! Don't let the albino whiteness blind you. These legs have not seen the light of day since that week in Mexico, and even then they were red, not brown. How are they so impossibly smooth? Look into the screen as we flashback to Tuesday or Wednesday. Look, I haven't made the appointment yet, okay? This is the future we're looking at. See? That's me lying on the table, half-naked, as the European lady rips strips of wax and hair off my body. Is that not too much sexiness right there? Okay, look away. You can't handle the truth.

Alrighty then, back into the time machine. Hey, are those the lottery numbers for Wednesday? That's not cool, man. Put those back. Some ninety-year-old lady is going to win that. You don't want to mess with the space-time continuum. Seriously, dude. Didn't you watch Back to the Future I, II and III?

Um...are you petting my leg? That's not a small furry animal...okay, just a scratch. Oh yeah, right there. Damn, growing hair is itchy business. Do the other one now. Oh yeahhhhh...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Working Mom's Household Tip #2

Putting away laundry is time-consuming. Think of your laundry room as a really big walk-in closet. Just streak from the bathroom to the laundry room where all your clean clothes are folded on top of the dryer. It's easy to pick out an outfit when you can see all your clothes at once!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tim Tam Slam

There is a package of Tim Tams in my cupboard that is calling my name. I am trying hard not to heed their call, but I fear I cannot hold out much longer.

"What the hell is a Tim Tam?", you might ask. It is a chocolate-coated, chocolate-cream-filled chocolate biscuit from Australia.

Not only are these magically-delicious, but there is an extra special way to eat these to maximize the chocolatey goodness: the Tim Tam Slam. Apparently you must bite off two opposite corners and suck a hot beverage THROUGH the cookie like a chocolate straw and then pop the Tim Tam into your mouth and let it melt. Oh. My. God. I can hear the choirs of angel already.

I can't stand it anymore. I have to try it for myself. If I don't make it back alive, promise me you will feed the cats.