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Posts from — June 2006

World Cup of Coffee

World Cup fever has taken over the asylum. It’s everywhere. Me, I’m rooting for England – but only because I used to live there and fancy myself a bit of a Brit. I like Italy too – for obvious reasons (have you seen the Italian football team?! Stunners, the lot of ’em.) I also support Brazil. I kinda feel like they’re the real winners, so why not jump on the bandwagon early?

OK. Truth be told, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about any of it. Yep, that’s me – TOTAL non-sports fan – (except Leafer hockey. I’m a glutton for punishment.) But soccer/football? Uh, no thanks. Sure the little flags waving out of everyone’s window are sweet. That kind of patriotism is somewhat palatable. But to sit around and watch a game that really only gets going at the very end? Pass.

A few weeks ago I was the recipient of a Tassimo coffee machine. It’s actually less a machine than, well, a way of life. I have a friend who thinks she’s Oprah:when she falls in love with something, she gives it away on her show. Only she doesn’t have show. Nor does she have the resources for massive giveaways. Instead, she simply credits Ms O for the magnanimous gesture concept, chooses a (small) (very small) handful of fans and bestows the mystery gift on them. And I was one of the lucky ones.
What the f&ck does that have to do with football, you ask?

“Tassimo” – how Italiano. Made by Braun – German, right? Suchard hot choc – Francais, n’est ce pas? Coffees by Nabob and Maxwell House – the down home conglomerates serving up South American blends. The tea – English of course (well, probably more Indian but y’know what I mean. It’s tea. It tastes English.) Put ’em all together….The results? A World Cup…of coffee. Geddit?

I know it’s a stretch, but so what?

I was a skeptic at first. Sure, I feigned delight when I opened the box, but secretly I found the whole thing too car dealership-ish for my liking. In fact last time I had my oil changed I think I used a Tassimo – I just didn’t know it yet. The machine has these little discs with bar codes. It reads the codes and presto – perfect cuppa, every time. There’s also something of the office coffee pot about it. And yet, a flip of the switch and you’re done.
My man fell for it from the start. It was techy, it was easy, it was tasty. Sold! I, however, had to be convinced. I became a tourist, trying out every single disc in every single combo – name your Starbuckian term – I tried making it on my Tassimo. Before I knew it, I was a barista, and I was hooked. My house had become java central. Y’know how every house has its own particular small? Ours became roasted coffee beans.
I’ve since calmed down. And I’ve narrowed down the discs worth driving for (cappucino, espresso, and cafe crema). And I’m not as jittery or shaky as those early heady days… Just happily caffienated.
The Tassimo express is leaving the station. So hop on board ‘cuz if you think those discs are selling like hotcakes (‘n coffee) now, wait ’til Oprah hears about it….

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

I cannot be convinced. i am a purest and I know you LOVE my latees!

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June 28, 2006   No Comments

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Oops I Did It Again

I feel like a terrible mother. In recent days I have caused my child pain. Not you-don’t-get-to-watch-Dora pain. Nor was it too-much-hummous-you’re-paying-later pain. I caused my child pure, preventable pain. And I feel terrible.
The first strike was on Saturday. I went to securely fasten my 10-month old into his stroller and his shirt had ridden up and…..I caught his skin in the buckle. (insert collective cringe here) He went silent, then looked at me and burst into tears. It even left a mark. It kind of looked like a hickey, which isn’t something you want to see on your baby’s tummy.
The next strike was worse. Different day but, alas, same baby. He was on his change table (yup, this is going that way). I had my hand on his stomach – probably on the spot I had disfigured the day before. I bent over to toss out a diaper and I picked up my hand for one split second. And in that one split second, my babe was airborne. I watched him tumble. Down down down. I tried to grab him but only managed to scoop him up the second he landed. Too little, too late. Once again, we shared the moment of silence followed by crazy waterworks.
Luckily his memory isn’t as good as mine and he’s over it. But I of course am mortified. Not only because I caused my child pain, but because these little nasties happened on my watch!!!
It was the same with my first. Fall over and slam head into wooden box (on my watch)? Check. Roll right off the bed (on my watch)? Check. Fall down the babyproofed stairs (on my watch)? Check. The irony is not lost on my husband. Obviously my man would sooner cut off one of his limbs than hurt his children, but he’s somewhat amused by the fact that all these accidents happen – yep, on my watch.
I have gates and latches and locks. I’m peanut-free. I hover – in a good way. I’m not completely insane about the whole thing – babyproofing, feeding or whatever safety issue turns your crank. I’m definitely cautious, careful and common-sensical. Or so I thought. But it seems my own clutzy tendencies don’t end with ass-over-tit tumbles, wipe-outs on sidewalks or bloody falls up stairs. (Yeah bloody. In every sense of the word) . I’m passing this shit on to my kids.
If my man was the one who accidentally screwed up – and left marks no less – he’d rue the day. The guilt may only last a few minutes but he’d be tortured for weeks. Possibly longer. Yep, I’d never let him forget it. My child would probably grow up knowing the one about his dad buckling his belly. But luckily, I think my guy’s memory is even shorter than my kids’. Chalk it up to having a lot on his plate. Or maybe just having a life.
I console myself with the fact that I can only do my best. And that one day we’ll look back and laugh. And of course that no one would even know about these…slips…had I not opened my big yap. Britney – I feel your pain sister. At least my fuck ups happen off camera.
So far.

4 comments:

Anonymous said…

too much, I was thinking you were Britney and then you put it in your blog.

5:35 PM

smithcutler said…

welcome to the world of “normal person”
especially for busy people…. even bloggers!
you are brave to talk and write about it!! ask your readers to share their mishaps with you….. not many will admit …..or maybe they won’t remember them! we all keep moving.

7:40 AM

Anonymous said…

I know exactly what you mean. Mine rolled off the bed when he was about 7 months. It was like it happened in slow motion. He was fine after a 3 minute cry. Took me a few hours to get over it (I still shake my head at the memory of it). Luckily my husband wasn’t there to witness my negligence. One bonus (if there can be a bonus to letting your kid fall), is that the same slip ups don’t happen twice. Different slips yes, but you can bet I never left him alone on the bed again just because he really didn’t move. Murphy’s Law: Your child will have their first full roll over the minute you leave them unattended on a raised surface. Thanks for sharing.

4:50 PM

Anonymous said…

Loved the Brit shout out. Nice ending.

-Litha (I know I clicked anonymous but the use of my alias sort of honors that, right?)

June 27, 2006   No Comments

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My Favourite Waste of Time

Y’know when you have a million-and-one things to do in the morning? For the domestic gods and goddesses among us it’s the whole feed-and-dress-kids, feed-and-dress-self routine. For those of us who still have their own lives it could be a mere feed-dress-get out the door, or hit-the-gym or just S, S and S (shit, shave, shower?!). Whatever the combo, we all know that mornings are precious. And yet, in my case, I somehow find time I really do not have to sit down and read the paper. But wait, it gets worse. I even make time to do the crossword. And sudoku. Gasp! Forsooth! Oh dear!

I know!!!

Truth be told, I don’t really read the whole paper and do all the puzzles every morning. Sometimes I’ll wait ’til it’s afternoon. Or nighttime. Or sometimes I’ll even skip all the newsy bits in favour of the puzzles. Which are often found a little too close to the obits, which I then feel compelled to read. Reminders of our own mortality. But then I assuage any puzzler’s-guilt I may have by considering it mental calisthenics. Doing crosswords and other puzzles can help delay the onslaught of Alhzeimer’s and/or dementia. Or so they say. Whatev. I just like doing them. Or trying to.

So this week I was really wacky. Not only did I waste a good chunk of morning time doing the crossword. I snuck away and spent an afternoon watching Wordplay. It’s the latest must-see, non-political/non-national geographic/non-Michael Moore documentary. It’s good, clean, feel-good fun. And why the hell not?!

I loved Wordplay. Loved it! Granted, as you know I also love crosswords, but I think even if you don’t, you’d like the flick. Spellers and dummies alike loved Spellbound. And tone-deaf grownups with two left feet appreciated Mad Hot B-room. So there you go. The friend I went with confessed the only crosswords she even tried were the ones in People Magazine. She doesn’t like to start something she can’t finish. So a fairweather crossword fan. But she loved Wordplay too.
The movie follows a slew of crossword makers and their fans. Some famous (it’s Jon Stewart!), some infamous (it’s Bill Clinton!) and some not-so-regular joes (it’s Trip from Ft. Lauderdale!) take us on a journey culminating at the National Crossword competition, officiated by the one, the only (drumroll puh-lease) Will Shortz!
I can hear you already: Will Shortz? Who’s Will Shortz??

Well, duh, he’s only the Superman of the crossword set. A real Clark Kent, he works at the NY Times as its crossword (and sudoku) editor. Mild mannered and seemingly meek, give the guy a pencil – no, make it a pen – and look out. In fact, you don’t have to give him any writing utensil – he’s the guy who writes/solves/finds/does the puzzles. He’s Geek Chic personafied. And I think I may have developed a bit of a crush on him. What? He’s so damn clever, it’s hard not to.
Here’s the thing with this flick – they’re all so smart it’s crazy. Crazy good. Crazy entertaining. Crazy, scary, smart. Smarter than the smartest guy you know kind of smart. But don’t let that turn you off, ‘cuz these smarty pants (unlike the ones you actually do know) are not the least bit pretentious. Sure you’ve got the familiar names (it’s the Indigo Girls!) and faces (it’s that famous baseball player, whose name escapes me because I am soooo not a sports fan! But he’s a big star athlete. And he’s smart too!). And yet, it’s the behind the scenes at the Big Competition that rock the house down. In a very civilized, very nerdy way of course.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry. You’ll want to rush out and do the crossword. And you won’t be able to. But you won’t care because in failing to complete an end-of-week NY Times crossword, you’ll love the movie even more. ‘Cuz it’s Revenge of the Nerds. But for real. And revenge was never so sweet. And so watchable.
Next stop on the feel-good doc parade: Sudoku…..yeah….

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

Sounds like this movie is closer to fine.

June 23, 2006   No Comments

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The Real 411

Hello? Um, yes, I’d like the phone number for….insert any name of your choice… And then ask yourself the last time you uttered these words.
Does anybody use 411 anymore? Y’know, directory inquiries? The one they charge a whole dollar for and yet get wrong half the time because you’ve said one name and they’ve heard another? I don’t. I’m not a cheapskate but when it comes to those little charges I become ever so thrifty. It bugs me giving the phone companies even a dollar more than I absolutely have to. What? It adds up!
Sometimes this backfires. I recently switched phone companies. It was my way of saying “up yours” to Bell Canada. Sadly, I soon learned that their competitor’s call answer service totally sucked. I returned to Bell after a measly 3 weeks, tail between my legs. And they charged me 50 bucks! I said “up yours”. They said “right back atcha”. Sheesh.
Still, that’s just my local phone company. As in, for local calls. When it comes to the big bucks, the long distance calls, I’m off the board for a hundred. Several hundred if I stuck with Bell. Nope, for the long distance VIP calls, I use CIBC Guaranteed Proof. Anyone with a CIBC Aerogold Visa can get it (sorry non-Canucks). They compare and contrast the prices of Bell, Sprint and Rogers, find the cheapest option and then minus 10% before charging it to your credit card and sending you a statement. Sure there are waaaaay cheaper long distance options around, but I can’t be bothered typing in extra phone numbers, using PIN’s etc. See? Sometimes I cheap out, sometimes I don’t.
But with 411? Total tight-ass.
Miser central here goes for the old fashioned phone book or the on-line directory. Trouble is, the on-line directory only works sometimes. It’s true! Last night I had a friend over who tried finding a listing on Canada411.com. It was a no-show on my computer. And yet when she let her fingers do the walking over her own home keyboard – voila! Like magic, her listing appeared. I don’t get it. But computers are weird and have tendencies to be possessed, so what do I know about that….
One thing I do know, is that when you turn 65 you become an official Senior Citizen. Old, but entitled. Aside from discounts at children’s attractions (what the hell??), movies, and public transit, you get free 411. That’s right, if you make it to 65, you get free Directory Inquiry. Now there’s a perk if I’ve ever heard one.
But guess what? We don’t have to wait ’til we’re 65 anymore!! Anyone and their uncle can now access 411 for free! Yup, gratis. All you need to do is dial 1-800-FREE 411. I swear! I just tried it. It works anywhere in North America (sorry Euros). The nice computer lady asks you for city and state, but don’t be put off, Canadians. It’s kinda funny – when I said Canada, the computer voice asked me if I meant Indiana. And soon I was redirected to a real genius of an operator who was trying to find a listing for Quebec City instead of in Quebec City….

OK, so if you’re after an operator who’s a clever sort, you may be disappointed. But if it’s free 411 you’re after, here’s the golden ticket: 1 800 FREE 411.

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

Yo– Mary J. Blige, thanks for the tip!

June 21, 2006   No Comments

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Soup’s On

Summertime, and the livin’ is…soupy….

That’s right. Hot ‘n bothered? Nothin’ like a steamy bowl of soup to cool you down. I’m serious, by the way. When I was travelling in Southeast Asia a million years ago it was crazy hot. And where were the locals? Not running for shade, but sipping soup. I tried to too. My bowl of pho soon became sweat soup. Not a pretty sight. Or taste. I’m a salt person but that was too much, even for a diehard like me. But I remembered the hot meal/hot weather thing and decided to try it again for the very first time.
We-e-e-e-ll. Not exactly. More like I was out food shopping and ab rav (that’s absolutely ravenous for those not in the know). I’m telling you – starving! And you know the old adage? Not the one about soup but the one about not shopping hungry? Well I’m glad I ignored it today because I discovered the most spectacular soup I have ever tasted. Ever.
I know soup. I make soup. And I rarely buy soup because I’m one of those who tends to sneer at store bought soup, convinced I can make bigger and better soup by myself. There is one exception: Covent Garden Soup Company in the UK. Now that’s fab f&ckin’ soup. But here? Tried ’em all. The best part about them is you end up with a mason jar for your own soups.
Besides, let’s face it, whether you eat soup in summer or not, making it in the summertime is a whole different kettle of fish soup. It’s just gross. And I don’t care how good your air con is. Smelling like soup? Gross in winter. Uber gross in summer. Hot ‘n soupy on the outside AND on the inside? Uh, no thanks.
But back to my discovery! It’s the Soup Man soup! Y’know… the soup nazi. The guy immortalized on Seinfeld? THAT soup. It’s incredible. It’s (ahem) super! I went for Al’s Garden Vegetable and I doubt I’ll ever make my own soup again. Why bother? With soup this good who needs homemade? Not me. On the bag it says it’s “world renown”. Maybe it is. Maybe I’m the last to try it. Doubtful, but maybe. It’s also billed as “what New Yorkers line up for”. They’ve always been a little ahead of we Canadians. And I’m telling you, judging from the veggie one, it’s worth the wait.
Only now you don’t have to. ‘Cuz it’s here. And it’s cheaper here in the Great White North than it is there (or at least on line) (Mind you, it’s worth every penny. But still, it’s nice to know). See? I was so crazy for this soup I even went on to the Soup Man’s website (www.originalsoupman.com) It’s kinda funny – funny-strange, not funny ha ha. This guy’s got a cultish following – or so he’d like us to believe. But cheesiness aside (the website, not the soup – tho’ I’m sure there are cheesy ones too) go and check out this soup. (hee hee…grocery humour…)
Once you’ve got it in your hot little hands, waste no time in getting it home. And don’t share it. This bag ain’t big enough for the both of us. Microwave users, be warned: don’t trust the bag. Despite the cooking instructions, you cannot stand it up and go for broke. And yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you’re not supposed to nuke in plastic. Gimme a break, I hadn’t eaten all day. But just when I thought it was safe to eat, I opened the door and saw the bag, lying on it’s side. And get this – the soup is so chock-a-block barely anything spilled out. OK, a couple of bits managed to escape and I was left spooning bits of veg from the mic into my mouth—I mean, bowl. So? I couldn’t let a drop go to waste.

Run, don’t walk and pick up some soup. I fear I’m not the only one who’s on to this liquid gem. The freezer was half empty. No, not half full. I’m not so positive when it comes to limited grocery shleves. It was half-empty. And by tomorrow it could be completely bare. Cuz I’m goin’ back to get me some soup!!!

Bon appetite!

3 comments:

Anonymous said…

I can’t believe you bought that soup! I keep seeing it and am ever so attracted to the display (logo, photo, etc) – but then it’s soup in a bag. It raunched me out. Of course I never stuck around long enough to figure out why they were showing the No soup for you episode. It’s all so chrystal clear. Thanks maven – I trust your soup taste. And I still think we could make it better – or at least my mom. Challenge?

7:45 PM

Mother of all Mavens said…

No one – or their mother – does it better. I’m telling you. This soup rocks the hooooose. Embrace the bag and give ‘er a whirl!

8:12 PM

Anonymous said…

The New Yorkers DO line up for it, but be warned– if you buy the bag and then decide you gotta get it from the source (i.e. – take a soup run to NYC) summer soupin’ = no soup for you. The Soupman is closed for the summer months! Nice racket. Apparently, nice packet, too.

June 19, 2006   No Comments

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Jean Genius

VIVA LA REVOLUCIONE!

The jeans revolution, that is. Yeah yeah, I know it’s been going on for aaaaages, but still. It’s quite extraordinary the lengths (lengths!) people (like, ahem, me) will go to find a good pair of jeans.
Ebay? All the way. Sample sales – um, only if you’re a certain (sample) size. Vintage? Uh, OK. But the glut of Levi’s back in the day? Prison. Uh-huh. From the prisoners’ butts to your own. I doubt many inmates are sporting Citizens of Humanity…
Gone are the days of the Levi question – red tab, white tab, button, or zip. (red tab, button fly for me). New or used? A non-issue. It’s always new baby, new. But they need to look used. And no, not in a dirty denim sort of way. I never bought into that whole dirty denim. They just looked too….too…what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, I know – DIRTY! Blech.
I know jeans were never passe compose, but they weren’t as dress-up-dress-down-wear-’em-to-work as they are now. Were they? I don’t think so. But I’ve been wrong before and (gasp!) I just might be again. I was definitely wrong when I said I would never pay over $100 for jeans. HA HA HA HA HA.
Gap? Whatev. I was a gap girl for years. Modern boot cut? Loved’ ’em. As I said, I never believed in paying for jeans. But then something happened. My sister-in-law convinced me to try on her 7’s, and I never looked back. My husband agreed – goodbye Gap, it was time for the grown up, low slungers that all the cool kids were wearing. I hit the streets a skeptic and came home a changed woman.
I blame it on Adriano Goldschmied. You know, AG? The Angel and The Legend especially. I tried on the Angels and walked out 3 pairs richer (and several hundred dollars poorer). For jeans! JEANS! I didn’t get it then and I still don’t get it now. And yet it makes the $10,000 question (“does my ass look big in these?”) so much easier – and cheaper than 10 grand – to answer…
But here is a legitimate question: what’s with the oh so long legs? I don’t get the ultra low rise – really, I don’t get them. It just wouldn’t be a pretty sight. A bikini wax? For jeans? Why? WHY? But despite any unsightly overhang one (er, not me, one) might experience with low risers, there are always the long shirts to hide it. Double them up and you’re a bean pole. But lady long legs? They’re just a pain. I’m no shrimp, yet every time I get a new pair of jean genies I have to get them shortened. And as any girl worth her – well, worth her jeans – knows, when you buy something, you kinda wanna wear it ASAP. No? Yes! Especially jeans. You buy new ones and suddenly the oldies aren’t such goodies. But you have to hold off and shorten ’em. Original hem to boot (boot!)
I take solace in the fact that, for the most part, the denim thief, I mean merchant, willl shorten ’em free of charge. As they should – at these prices… People, look around at all the lovelies shakin’ their thangs in their jeans. Take a good look. Because y’all should know that tapered, high wasted jeans are on the (ahem) rise. God help us all….
But for now, enjoy your jeans. After all you’ve spent on them, you have tooo. Even if it’s hot – no, sweltering. And even if you’re not really going anyplace. As the saleschicky said, “Dress up, dress down”. And get ’em straight (straight!): Chip & Pepper? Not a band. Paper Denim? Not stationary. James Jeans? Not an actor. My latest find are Paige jeans. AWESOME. And no, they aren’t over $200 like some other “new and improved” jeans you can find. Who buys those? Don’t answer – I’m sure I’ll be slinking aorund in ’em soon enough.

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

Alternate titles to your latest posting:
“I Dream of Jean-ie”,
“Beyond the Rainbow” (points if you get the reference), and my fave
“Jean Smart”
(who by the way, ROCKED on “24”. Hello, Emmy–are you listening?)

June 16, 2006   No Comments

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Women be Shoppin’, Women be Shoppin’, Women be Shoppin’

Live from New York, it’s Mother of all Mavens!
Except I’m not really live from New York at all. I’m live, post-New York and I gotta say, I heart New York. F&ck the spas….Looking to rejuvenate? Then pack your bags – and check ’em, why not?! – and head to the Big Apple. That’s what I did – sans babes or my man. No offence boys, but it was A-W-E-S-O-M-E. The sights, the sounds, the smells….THE SHOPPING.
Bear in mind I haven’t been alone in 3 years. And I haven’t been on a successful shopping spree in longer. ‘member? Pregnant, post-pregnant, almost-there. Pregnant, post-pregnant, etc. Not a great look, no matter how you slice it. Back in the almost-there phase, alone, with a pal, in NYC, how could I resist?
Answer: I couldn’t.
So after lounging (alone!) and coffee (alone! in bed!) I hit the streets, Visas blazin’.
Ladies, and those who love ’em, take note: Olive and Bette’s. That’s all you need to know. I was sent there by a fashionista friend and boy-yoy-yoing was she on the beam with this one. Unreal. All pink and girly on the outside, hip and not too-too-trendy on the inside. Talk about girls gone wild. This place was the bomb.
I walked in wearing one outfit, walked out in another. And then shopped at a different Olive & Bette’s in yet another O & B combo. Talk about wearing the concert-T to the concert!! But I did, proudly. It was one of those places where you try to hold off but just can’t. I think that could be the number one rule when it comes to shopping (and dating, kind of): if you love it, buy it. Sounds obvo, I know. But bird in hand, folks, bird in hand.
And guess what? There are four of these lovely boutiques across the city – something for everyone, everywhere! I only hit two: West Village and Soho. And here’s the scoop (aside from being better than Scoop, another clothing emporium par excellence): Bleeker was better.
I met a lovely lady named Amy who quickly became my new best friend. She had me trying – and buying – everything. And she got me, really got me! Knew her butt-skimmin’ skirts from her cling-ons. The look-like-you’ve-had-your-boobs-done tops from the where’d-they-go’s. We played dress-up girlfriends for about an hour before I was utterly spent – literally.
Or not. Because I couldn’t resist checking out the Soho shop (concert-T to the concert, remember?). Now these chicitas saw me comin’ a mile away. How could they not when I was dressed to the nines in my new duds from their sister shop? They circled my pal and I, hurling so many compliments it made us want to, well, hurl. Sure, they introduced my ass to a lovely new pair of jeans (Paige, since you asked) but after entering the changeroom with piles of stuff and emerging with only the jeans and a cardy, all these new best friends dropped us. But fast. We could barely find someone to take our money. That ain’t right!
Soho staff aside, it’s a mighty fine find. So remember, when next you find yourself in New York: ditch your men, hit the streets, and run, don’t walk to Olive & Bette’s.
And then cut your Visa cards into millions of itty bitty pieces because this place’ll break the bank. But at least you’ll look good. Damn good.

4 comments:

Anonymous said…

okay that was the shopping– but the FOOD– hello? Where’s the food? No trip to NYC is complete without a sampling from the delights to be found (insert turista exclamation) “only in New York!” And I know you MOAM– you sampled some tasty vittles. Fess up!

5:25 PM

Anonymous said…

Your “fashionista friend” thanks you for the shout out and assumes you found your way back to Sullivan St. — O&B bags unharmed.

I miss you already!

12:06 PM

Anonymous said…

Concert t to the concert! You are a maven!

4:33 PM

Anonymous said…

you feel very very alive and in somewhat of control ….or not

June 13, 2006   No Comments

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Other Fish in the Sea

Toronto. Like it or loathe it, one thing’s for sure: we Torontonians love a good patio. Maybe it’s ‘cuz of the winter. Our summer’s are short, blah blah blah…Who really cares? At the end of the day, if you build it, we might come. But if you tack on a patio, we’ll be there with bells on.

Once upon a time, there was a charming restaurant called Adriatico. Nice food. Pretty dining room. KICK ASS PATIO. Really. It was stunning. Stunning in a who-even-cares-if-the-food’s-good kind of way. It was that great. Made you feel like you were far, far away. This is another weird thing about patios in Toronto: the more they make you feel like you’re anyplace but Toronto, the better. But I digress…

The kind folks at Adriatico upped and left. Heavy sigh…Adriatico, R.I.P. And now, it’s been replaced by Lure. Another restaurant. Another fish place even. But, sadly, just another patio. Another mediocre patio.

My man and I went to Lure last week for our anniversary. It was funny because I wanted to go there but forgot the name, and then didn’t want to tell him as he’d already made reservations somewhere. Turned out they were for that very same restaurant: Lure. It was fate! Kismet! We were so in sync… we were so in love…we were so on the same page. We were so….about to be disappointed. You see, we’d been to Adriatico (R.I.P.) and loved it. Aside from being a stunning spot, and having awesome food, we could pretend we were still on our honeymoon. For real -that patio looked like just like a place we stayed at on our honeymoon. So we were excited. Look out Lure, here we come!

And then we got there. And, despite being loved up and all, we hit the patio and saw that the honeymoon really was over.

The place was in need of… something: a cleaning, a paint job, a sponge-down… Anything. And we both noticed it, not just anal ‘ol me. Since it was customer-challenged (aka almost empty) we got to pick any seat we wanted. The first was, we were told, too dusty. The next had personal space issues. Finally, we headed to the back. Where once there were stunning wicker couches with fluffy white cushions and plants, there now lay a dusty rattan mat, the same furniture, only older and cushionless, and empty terra cotta pots. Were they going for the dingy look? If so, it was working.

The waiter arrived. He, like the patio, was a bit dim. But we ordered: seared tuna for me and fritto misto for him. We also chose the ‘chef’s choice’ starter platter, joking how the chef would probably choose all veggies for the meze plate. Joke was on us, because he did. It arrived and amid the various veg concoctions was a single shrimp split in two, a spoonful of crabmeat, a lone scallop and, to quote the waiter, “thing-a-ma-bobs”. I swear, he said “thing-a-ma-bobs”! Who says that? And who says that instead of saying, oh, artichokes? Yeah, artichokes. It was bad enough the guy had to read the specials off his paper (he couldn’t remember grilled whole fish? Or seared tuna? COME ON!), but then he couldn’t even identify what we were having. It was a good thing that whatever it was we were eating proved to be tasty. Unidentifiable, to be sure, but tasty.

Did I mention we couldn’t see? The fairy lights of Adriatico (R.I.P.) must’ve burnt out last summer. And I suppose the new management figured they’d replace them with fog lights. At least they seemed like fog lights – or some other kind of bright yellow spotlights. They’d come on for a few minutes, and then turn off. Maybe they were motion sensor lights. Too bad they didn’t have ‘em at the back where someone was emptying glass bottles into recycling bins. I kid you not. Surely it couldn’t have been the restaurant. Or maybe it was. Who knows? We couldn’t see anything. Honestly, we ate blind. I don’t know about you, but I always find it a bit weird when I can’t see what I’m eating. As my brother-in-law says, “we eat with our eyes”. Yeah? Not at Lure we don’t .

Determined to celebrate, we tried to find each other over the tiny candles and gaze…But instead we discussed what a bizarre place Lure was. We agreed: great food, but service and ambience were lack-lack-lacking. Aaaaw, we both felt the same way! So in sync… so in love… so ready to get the hell out of there. If Lure’s patio was like being away, we were ready to come home. R.I.P. Adriatico, R.I.P.

2 comments:

Anonymous said…

Happy Anniversary, MOAM. The stars in your eyes should’ve been the patio lanterns, instead of the patio lanterns being the… Nothing like a good Canadian rock anthem to kick off the summer– and the quest for the perfect patio. C’mon commenters– post your suggestions here!

3:29 PM

Anonymous said…

You are such an awesome closer! Your ends take the cake sister. By the way – food reveiws – your calling!

June 5, 2006   No Comments

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Sponsorship Scandal

I’m just a girl who can’t say no.

Got your attention, didn’t I? Well get your pervy minds outta the gutter. We’re not going there. Not today anyway.

No, today I’m talking about thons. That’s right, thons. No, not tuna in French (thon), but ‘a-thons’. You know the ones: walk-a-thons, bike-a-thons, spin-a-thons. As much as all the charities bombard us with gift of giving guilt around Christmas time, I always succumb to the old fashioned sponsorship request. Biking for breast cancer? I’ll give. Dance-off for diabetes? Sign me up. Golfing for gout? Here’s a twenty.
I’ve been known to toss many a charity-by-mail request. Sometimes unopened. That’s because I know that if read about the starvation in Sudan or the plight of puppies I’ll immediately get out my Visa. No cause is too small – I always get suckered in. But if I can resist opening these letters, I can assuage my guilt for not giving. So sometimes, I admit it, I dump ‘em.
Phone requests? Never. In this, the age of call display, I don’t answer unless I know who it is. Usually. If I see the name of an organization, no matter how noble the cause it’s pretty much a given that I won’t pick up. Again, the guilt factor. It’s easy to hang up on a telemarketer with a quick “sorry-no-time-thanks-bye”. But when someone asks you directly to give to leukemia? How can you say no without sounding like a selfish ass? You can’t.
I hate having to call up and – gasp – speak to someone. It makes me feel like my donation, while big for me, is a paltry drop in the bucket. And it’s not the kind soul on the other end of the phone’s fault either. It’s my own guilt talking. My personal preference is the email request. Always personal, but not too personal. And it’s convenient too. Just click and pay. No talking.
Actually, I did have one friend who sent me an email request that I deleted (the email, grammar police, not the friend). And I still feel badly about it. OK, not so bad that I’ve retrieved the email and sent something. I didn’t. ‘Cuz while obviously important to my friend, this cause was, for me, simply too small a fish in a vast ocean of deserving causes. But I feel kinda guilty. And of course every time I see that friend I wonder if they’re on to me. Or if they think I’m a miser. Or a tightwad. Maybe now they’ll bust me and start. But I hope not.
That one blip aside, chez moi if you’re a friend, and you ask, you’ll get lucky. How could it be any other way? Forget about the guilt of not giving, I can’t leave a friend high ‘n dry. Fact is, no matter how broke you are, someone else has got it worse. Waaaaay worse.
Excuse me while I hop off my high horse here.
I’m not saying you’ve got to drop a hunny every time someone asks. Let’s face it, that gets expensive. And while your friends are getting fit and having a grand ole time, you’re going broke. And that’s no fun at all. But a little something, no matter how tiny, does go a long way. Yeah, I know you’re not supposed to judge what someone gives. I’m not. I’m judging what they don’t give.
Whoa Trigger…looks like I’m still riding that horse.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m hardly the most generous of souls. I’m neither the gal who’s volunteering nor the hard-core crusader. My spare change, and anything I can scrounge, is usually spent on clothing – for me or my kiddies (after all, charity begins at home). But I still try to do my part – in a lazy, sit-back-and-sponsor kinda way. Yep, that’s me, saving the world one tiny tax-deductible donation at a time.
If you’re one of my regular readers – or shall I say, one of my regular, local, readers – you’ve probably been hit up by me in recent days. Possibly even twice. Hey – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. And yes, you’re absolutely correct if, as you read, you’re thinking “hey wait, this is more of a guilt trip than a guilty pleasure”. But before you close me down and go back to work or whatever it is you’re really supposed to be doing, give yourself a little pat on the back. You’ve just completed a guilt-a-thon!
Congratulations! Now open your wallet….

June 1, 2006   No Comments

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