Saturday, April 29, 2006

Hey you kids, get out of that JELL-O tree!

This week has been a tumultuous roller coaster ride of emotions so I apologise for not blogging. I won’t get into the details because this is “light and flaky” not “heavy and depressing”. Whenever I get this way though, I look to fond memories from the past to make me smile. I present to you now a story of childhood innocence gone awry.

My grandparents lived on a street that dead-ended in a farmer’s orchard. As they lived on the Niagara escarpment there were peach, plum and apple trees along with a small vineyard.

We five angelic children loved our grandparents dearly. We also loved pools (what kid doesn’t?) and mischief. As they had no pool, and we could only entertain ourselves so long with the plastic bowling set provided, we opted for a spot o’ trouble.

Finding ourselves in the orchard late summer, we were presented with a veritable smorgasbord of fruit. We’d rip a bunch of grapes off the vine, eat one or two, throw the rest at each other and move onto the next.

We continued to pillage and plunder until our little bellies were blotted and our clothes nicely stained. Who needs paint balls guns when you have rip grapes and rotting plums? Needing a bit of rest, we each climbed a peach tree, perched on a branch like crows, lazily picked at peaches taking the occasional bite and dropping the rest to the ground below.

All of a sudden, my four cohorts fell from their trees like rotten plums in a high wind and fled for the cover of the vineyard. I had ignored one of life’s cardinal rules when I sat with my back to the farmhouse – never turn your back on your enemy. I sensed something was amiss but it was too little, too late, too slow. It must have been all the fruit pumping through my body that slowed me down. When I looked down I came face-to-face with an angry farmer armed with a big white club. It looked like a chunk of a picket fence that he ripped off as he came out of his house. That is how my mind remembers it. It was likely a pitch fork or rake. But I remember a white piece of 2 X 2 for some reason. Perhaps I am trying to ease the pain of this traumatic memory by projecting The Rock from “Walking Tall” into my mind. He could chase me up a peach tree any day!

I don’t remember much after that. I likely wet myself and hit the farmer in the process. There was a lecture from the farmer and a passionate confession of guilt to our parents and grandparents. Keep in mind that both sides of my family are farm folk, the salt of the earth as it were. Tears or not we found no sympathy. There was a return to the scene of the crime and compensation for the farmer in the form of our allowance.

The ultimate punishment came later that day when five little pigs, who had stuffed themselves silly with fruit, lined up to use the bathroom. Plums = prunes. Need I say more?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Is That A Bottle Of Amaretto In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

Just when I think the neighbourhood I live in is going upscale I get stalked by a man in the liquor store. Being the environmentally friendly thing that I am, I have a canvas bag from the LCBO that I use whenever I shop there. I find their plastic bags too small to re-use as a garbage bag so avoid them whenever I can.

As I shop I fill the bag, take it to the counter remove the bottles and pay. It seems easier than getting a cart or basket. The other day I was making my rounds, one must browse and sample at the LCBO whenever possible, putting my selections in my tote. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed this large man hovering about. He had his wallet out and was counting his money. I thought he was going to ask me for “spare change to help give a hungry man something to eat”. “Liquid lunch” I thought as I played out the entire scenario in my mind, him asking, my being shocked and saying no. He then walked away. So much for pre-judging – bad yogi, bad!

Once loaded, I mean with bottles, not as in “dude I was so loaded the other night….” that is reserved for the privacy of one's own home, I made my way to the cash. As I placed my purchases on the counter and made small talk with the cashier I noticed the same person pacing back and forth in the first aisle. Again, I went into judging mode. At first I thought it was a nervous underage teen working up the gumption to actually try and buy something. I had flashbacks of doing the same with baby duck on lunch break during high school and drinking it under the bridge on the way back to class. We were so cool. But he was clearly a man, no teenager. Then I thought, he must be a shoplifter too nervous to make a break for it.

Without warning he rushed by me with another guy in close pursuit. They cut a woman off from leaving the store and said “okay, we caught you”. I had not noticed the woman before as I was pre-occupied with my stalker. She was skinny, I am talking Karen Carpenter here, with skin tight 1980’s jeans. She balked at first – “wha’ are ya talkn’ bout?” The two men kept saying “we caught you”, “we saw you” and “come on come on, out with it”.

Reluctantly she stuck her two peace fingers down the front of her pants and fished out a bottle of Amaretto. I don’t mean the small 200ml flask size either. It was the 750 ml! The men asked her turned around and one pulled out his handcuffs. “I neva left the sto! You can’t do noffin’ to me!” She screamed. Repeatedly. The “Turn around” and “I neva stol noffin” routine continued until I left. Pity I didn’t stay as it could have turned into a real “who’s on first” thing that may have been quite entertaining.

I hope you’ve all learned a thing or two from this entry. One, crime doesn’t pay. Especially at the LCBO in Mimico. Two, drink from a glass, you don’t know where that bottle has been.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Before any Titanic aficionado attacks me on the date, I stand by the fact that the grand lady of the seas hit the burg on the 14th, but sank on the 15th.

As long as I can remember I have always been fascinated with Titanic. I have built numerous models (one with my own bulk heads and a tiny slit along the side – painstakingly sliced with a razor – and it sinks bow first), own dozens of books (which I quickly realized all say the same thing – Titanic sank) and collected vintage postcards off of eBay.

CJ has long thought I must have been on board Titanic when she went down and that I am a passenger reincarnated. While I wouldn’t go quite that far I do find it interesting that most people have a fascination with a certain period in history. My brother for example soaks his brain with every bit of info he can find on D-Day and the end of WWII. Ancient Egypt holds a special place for some while others can’t get enough of 17th century England. Certain people love science fiction, the idea of space travel and the cosmos (not the cocktail) and then there are those who would love to be strapped into a corset and sent back to the old south to act like Scarlet O’Hara (my hand is in the air for that one too). Of course, no one thinks they were a slave, the ‘average’ citizen or a steerage class passenger. Except for Shirley McLaine who, among other things, claims to have been a sphinx and a peg-legged pirate.

My addiction has led to the discovery that there were two Mitchell’s on board that fateful night. Henry Michael Mitchell, a second class passenger on his way to visit his sister, and Lawrence (my father’s middle name - hmmmmmmmm) Mitchell, a trimmer. They both perished that cold April’s night 94 years ago. It seems that my name sakes suffered as I do so close to luxury without the budget. Although today a little piece of luxury entered my life. As a treat for finishing my exams (let’s hope I pass!) I ordered myself the most, well, luxurious leather chair and it has arrived. My ass has never been so well supported.

Indulgence was the name of the game today. Having given up tea for lent, I thought it only fitting to give myself (and my new chair – name T.B.D.) a proper afternoon tea to celebrate. So it was toasted pork loin sandwiches with apple butter, a selection of fruits, chocolate (of course) and tea biscuits with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Don’t worry I roller bladed for an hour this morning.

The tea was so good I thought I would also have a happy hour and cracked open a bottle of champagne – White Star naturally. Still looking for nice, not tacky, champagne saucers if anyone has any suggestions of where I can look. I am just finishing it now before heading off to Little Lord Fauntleroy’s for what promises to be a spectacular Easter dinner. He and KitKat have been slaving away all day and everything looks and smells fantastic. I had to drop off flowers and chairs; I can’t smell the food from here. He’s close, but not that close.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Everybody say "cheese".

The matriarch of our little family decided it was high time our family had a portrait update. I couldn’t agree more and am shocked I didn’t think of it sooner myself. In our last one I have half a dozen earrings and that George Clooney haircut they called the Caesar. I am also wearing a vest. Sexy.

The matriarch has also decided that two “family” birthdays will suffice for our brood. One is between my brother’s birthday and my birthday, and another in September for the girls. My dad lucks out as his is in December.

Our portrait (I know it is really a picture, but I like the word portrait better. For my 40th, I would LOVE to have an oil painting done. Better start saving) and first birthday saw us all gathered at my parents. Friday night birthday, Saturday morning, picture. I, of course, had several changes of clothing and if you look at different shots, I seem to be the only one that had access to a closet that day. Tie on, tie off, sweater, no sweater, white shirt, blue shirt, etc.

Things were going along fine. As the photographer changed the set-up, I ran to the bathroom for a quick change. The only ‘hitch’ was that the studio was in one of those big-box grocery stores that sell everything from parsnips to riding lawnmowers. We headed upstairs to our paparazzi fate only to be told “it gets a little warm because the studio is over the bakery.” Warm? Girl, 10 minutes into it my thighs felt like brisket and I could have moistened stamps with the sweat on my butt cheeks.

The time in the sauna was worth it though, and we now have a happy family picture. Ain’t we sweet?

Monday, April 10, 2006

This Is Going to Hurt Me More Than It Will Hurt You

Last week saw me cramming madly and studying for my last two exams. Last weekend saw me turn 37. Those are my reasons for not blogging sooner. I have also come to the realization, thanks to some gentle teasing, that I need to join – or start – an anonymous group called “Friend Abuser’s Anonymous.” During the course of my birthday weekend I had several mini interventions to support friend’s initiative.

Cousin Janet regaled our little group with a tale from childhood about how my sister and I held her down on our Klunk-a-Klunk board. And tickled her. Until she wet herself. First of all, she should have known better than to tell us she had she had to pee. Secondly, I always did what my sister told me. And third, her brother’s locked one of our cousins in my uncle’s van until he soiled himself after announcing he had to go use the bathroom. That was just life in our family.

Over pre-dinner drinks Little Lord Fauntleroy reminded everyone of the TINY little bruise I gave him when demonstrating that age old “you better get in line” parenting trick of pinching the back of the arm. You know the one, when you just get a tiny bit of flesh from the meaty part of the triceps muscle and pinch. He asked me to show him, so I did.

Then KitKat had to tell his bruise story. If you need the exaggerated, overblown, unfounded conjecture and details, go read ALL about it on his blog. The TRUTH of the matter is that he attacked me, silly little man (at his age he should know to pick on people his own size) so I pinned him down and gave him the typewriter. Another method of torture from my childhood where one person sits on the other’s chest, pins down their arms with their legs and repeatedly pokes the other person just below the collar bone. And I wonder why my Aunt Karen calls my brother and me “six foot horses.” We still do this to each other.

Then there was the accidental chipping of Mr. Underpants tooth. I admit that it was my hand that hit the bottle that chipped the tooth. For that I apologize repeatedly and sincerely. But it was my birthday and my birthday request – I Said Never Again But Here We Are by Rachel Stevens – that caused my arm to fly up with such unmitigated freedom and carelessness. Alberta Boy started the whole arms in the air thing so really it’s his fault.

But, to all those who have suffered at my hand, I would just like to say, “Hello, my name is Robert and I am a friend abuser.”