Wednesday, May 31, 2006

On the third day God created the lands and the seas. Me? I started to smell.

Well here I am, the end of day 3 of my little cleanse. The first morning I weighed in at 186.5 lbs. 48 hours later I weighed 182.5. That’s 4 lbs in two days. Yikes! When I started I said if I went below 180 lbs, I would stop and at this rate I will stop tomorrow.

I have to admit I feel much better. The constant low grade headache is gone and I went to the gym and taught yoga today and am still functioning. On the downside, I have started to smell. From what I have read, this is the cayenne pepper making me sweat and toxins coming out through my skin. Not pretty, but nothing a little cologne doesn’t hide. For the most part.

Not much else to report. 30% of the way there! Snaps for me.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Day 1, Part 2

What have I gotten myself into? I can’t say that I am hungry, my stomach is working away on the little I am giving it, but I am overwhelmed with a sense of lethargy and absent mindedness. I don’t have a headache but feel very light in the head.

Never again will I look at real maple syrup with the same longing I now do. Pancakes, waffles and French toast no longer hold and ‘treat’ appeal for me. Dreams of whipped butter melting on a stack of griddle cakes among waves of syrup are now nightmares.

It amazes me how much I love food. I have already planned my first supper. 6oz filet mignon (bacon wrapped of course) 2 skewers of shrimp with garlic butter for dipping, mashed potatoes and green beans. Plus pumpkin pie (and I mean the entire thing) for dessert. The fork and knife (if I bother with them at all) will likely fall victim along with the plate, napkin and table.

I made the mistake of going to the gym this morning. In speaking with other people and reading about the master cleanse, I heard that the syrup gives you the energy you need and you can carry on as usual. So I did. Chest and biceps. The syrup has done its part but my muscles now want protein. And so do I! Whoa is me.

I Just Drank A Quart Of Salt Water

Every year I decide my liver needs a little break and give up the drink for 30 days. A splendid idea as I have been known to consume an array of cocktails and a bottle of wine or two all by myself over the course of an evening. Last year I actually managed 6 weeks with no hooch and also went vegetarian. Surprisingly, what I missed more was the meat and when I came off my little fast I sat down to a medium rare piece of beef the size of Texas. This years cleanse comes at the end of the birthday season for Taurus and Gemini running up to the pride weekend. I mean if I am going off the wagon I might as well get run over by it too.

I am now on day 8 of this years ride on the wagon and have decided not to eat for 10 days as well. It is called the master cleanse and the first day starts with a salt water flush. An oral enema if you will. 2 teaspoons of salt in a quart of lukewarm water that you down in one go. That nearly made me gag so I am not sure what the next 10 days are going to be like. Within an hour I am supposed to be making several trips to the WC that will clear out the “plaque and debris from the walls” of my digestive track and colon as well as the parasites that have been living there. Nothing yet but it feels like something is happening down there.

The only sustenance I get for 10 days is a cocktail (mmmmmmm, cocktail) of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. I love my food so it will be interesting to see how this goes. On the plus side I will be saving time and money (sidebar – 24 minutes in and flush number one just hit. If you do this, I advise you stick close to a WC!!!). Time – I won’t have to wash dishes, prepare meals or stand in line at grocery stores. Money – I won’t have to grocery shop. Maple syrup can be pricey but one of the gals at my yoga retreats owns a farm where the make organic and I bought a litre for $17. Uh-oh, here comes number two. Excuse me.

Where was I? I will also be helping the environment. Now, or I am assuming at least, I will use less toilet paper and not be wasting all that water to run my porcelain throne.

I will post and update as this little experiment goes along, hoping I make it the entire 10 days. Wish me luck!

Excuse me again.

That's three in less than 43 minutes. Look out maple syrup, here I come!

Friday, May 26, 2006

You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

I have a youthful spirit but and old soul. I am more attracted and connected with the old than with the new. I prefer budget antiques to IKEA, slow, home cooked meals over take out or frozen and my rotary phone over a cell. Knowing this, I am often slow to adopt new technology and when I do, fail to keep up with the never ending changes. My cell phone is mocked by all for not having a color screen, the ability to take pictures or work outside of southern Ontario. It’s a phone, it makes calls and sends text messages. That is all I need it to do.

My reluctance to go modern is also evident in my kitchen. I have an old silver spoon that was my great-grandfather’s stirring spoon. One edge is all worn down, that means my family has, over the years, slowly eaten about a quarter of a silver spoon. I think though, that it makes food taste better.

I also have two tiny wooden handled paring knifes. They are great, or so I think, for everything. From peeling fruits and vegetables to cutting up a Christmas turkey or easter ham. Having worked with them for so long, I know how to maneuver them to get the job done. Whenever I hand someone one of these wonders of the kitchen, I get a look that says “I asked for a knife, not a prison shank”.

Birthdays and Christmas’ have come and gone with offers from people to buy me a new set of knives. “Don’t waste your money” was my typical, staunch response. I don’t know what came over me the other day (actually I know EXACTLY what it was, Underpants Boy’s incessant nagging to get new kitchen knives) but before I knew it, that gorgeous metallic sound you hear pulling a knife from its block had me mesmerized at Williams- Sonoma.

Did I need the block? The bread knife? The meat cleaver? In a very short time my basket was overflowing with knives of ever size and shape. Realizing what my bill would look like, it all went back except for a block that came with four knives and a sharpening stone. I must admit that my culinary aspirations are more easily reached with my new tools and I fawn over them as if they were a baby, one that doesn’t cry and actually serves a purpose. They are never left soaking in the water, are dried right after a wash and carefully put back in their proper place.

I hate to admit it, but I was wrong. On this one at least.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Price Of Vanity

‘Always a bridesmaid and never a bride’ – I wish. Momo eloped, the Italian Stallion went common law and L.S.C. had such a quaint wedding that a large wedding party was out of the question. Granted, I was an usher at my brother’s wedding, where I almost passed out from the heat, but other than that, and for the foreseeable future, I have had, or will have, little to do with weddings. Other than being a guest.

Today was one such occasion and I was determined to make the best of it. One of my co-workers was getting married this weekend and myself, four others, and guests, (aside from solo moi) made up a table. You know, the ‘work table’, the one next to the kitchen and/or toilets, furthest away from the head table and last to be served. At least we were close to the bar and it was open! I needed it after today.

Sidebar - I continue to be dismayed by the lack of excitement formal occasions garner these days. Wearing a suit and tie to a wedding, graduation or funeral is just common sense but the more such events I attend, the fewer and fewer people I see dressed for the occasion. I went to a funeral once for a lady I used to work for and her own grandson was in a track suit! I mean really now. I digress.

This was to be a formal affair so I started the day with a manicure and pedicure. I soaked my feet in the tub and started to push back cuticles with sticks and trim them with cutters. Realizing I forgot the toe nail clippers I stood up to get them. I later awoke in a pool of blood discovering that my head had come in contact with the medicine cabinet door that I left open. Leaving cupboards and drawers open is a bad habit that I hope I am now cured of. The cabinet in question is a 1940’s utilitarian medicine cabinet – square, sharp edges, metal. It was Psycho meets The Talented Mr. Ripley. I was on the bathroom floor (granted the Psycho carnage took place IN the bathtub) with blood pouring from my head like Jude Law after Matt Damon cracked him with the paddle.

I quickly applied a cotton pad soaked with Clinique cleansing solution in an attempt to prevent infection and stop the flow, but alas, it was all in vain. As soon as I pressed the cotton pad to my forehead it was soaked through with blood. Naturally I assumed I could stop it myself and applied ever thicker layers of cotton pads and toilet paper. Feeling rather light headed I decided some stitches might be in order and made my way to Lucy (my car) and headed off to a walk-in clinic. As my sight was somewhat blurred with blood, I managed to take the driver’s side mirror off and narrowly miss caving in the entire side of my precious motor vehicle. I park in an underground lot you see, with concrete pillars all about.

My stylish new haircut left me a few millimeters short of being able to comb over the wound so I had attend the wedding trying to explain to people how I had sustained such an injury. Was it a bar fight, a car accident, or perhaps a mugging? No, I am afraid it is the result of one of the many dangers of a home based pedicure.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hard To Starboard!

It is a movie about a ship that is overturned by a rogue wave and sinks, of course I saw it. Unlike the original ‘The Poseidon Adventure’, ‘Poseidon’ cuts to the chase. 1972 saw as much character development as possible in a movie that involves a ship without enough ballast that flips over.

Shelley Winters and her husband were off to visit family after retirement, Pamela Sue Martin and Eric Shea played the bickering brother and sister, Ernest Borgnine and Stella Stevens were brilliant as the cop and his former hooker wife Linda while Red Buttons played the lonely book store owner who was very conscious of his health. Gene Hackman was the savior of the day, hero Reverend Frank Scott, who had to contend with Caorl Lynley’s basket case Nonnie Parry.

We also learned that greedy ship owners want to get Poseidon to the scrap yard as soon as possible. They refuse to take on ballast to stabilize the ship as this will slow things down. There is a brief lesson on underwater earthquakes and the creation of the killer wave. Robin Shelby has been poking around the ship for days and knows how to get to the bottom and out to freedom.

Fast forward to 2006. New Year’s Eve, ship at sea, big wave, ship upside down, people start to die. The reverend is now the former mayor of New York, the brother and sister are now a single mother and son (who is a whiny little basket case next to Eric Shea) the bookworm is replaced by a gay architect (what is more 2006?) and Shelley Winters is replaced by Mike Vogel in the famous “I used to be on the swim team” scene. Nice try Mike, trying to steal Shelley’s thunder. Sure you look good in a wet t-shirt and jeans, but it is nothing when compared to Lady Winter’s heart attack.

While I admit there are no Oscar winning performances in it, Poseidon is great for what it is – an action movie. I, for one, was glad that we didn’t spend and hour and a half building up characters and love stories (can anyone say Titanic?) but got straight to the goods. And seeing it in IMAX was incredible!

There were some similarities to the original; the grand piano bolted to the floor (ceiling?) with someone safely tucked underneath it while mayhem ensues, the fire on the water and Auld Lang Syne being belted out as disaster strikes. But it is updated too. The cast is ethnic (mind you the two Hispanic characters meet rather gruesome deaths and the interracial couple of the captain and lounger singer die in each others arms. Fag lives though.) Poseidon is a super new luxury liner so there is loads to blow up and, thankfully, the ship actually sinks in the end. There will be no disaster like ‘Beyond The Poseidon Adventure’ (Telly Savalas, what were you thinking?) unless there was a really big air pocket somewhere.

This is one for the big screen. Get into T.S.D. (temporary suspension of disbelief) mode and enjoy. And keep on eye out for the tap dancing penguin on the iceberg at the end.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Spring Has Sprung

Overloaded, overwhelmed, over-stimulated – and I loved it. Not sure if it was the nice turn in the weather, my first outdoor mediation this year or just my senses waking up from a winter of hibernation, but oh my, this weekend was an orgasm for my senses.

My eyes were able to feast on the blooms of the season and luckily continue to do so. My table is now sagging under the weight of apple blossoms and lilac boughs. My generous sister let me clip her lilac tree and my equally understanding Aunt Mildred stood by pointing out “good” branches to trim from her umbrella of a crab-apple tree. My nose is also reeling from sensory overload thanks to the lilac. Even though they are in a separate room, I awoke this morning to the beautiful scent. But I was torn between leaving my spring fresh sheets that were dried on an outdoor line in farm fresh air and going to break fast with the lilac. So many scents to savor and so little time!

Also titillated were my taste buds. They, and me, feel to the ground at the knees of Nigella Lawson and her Pavlova. Talk about simple to make, light on the tummy and ecstasy on the tongue. Make it – it is sure fire hit and easy as 1, 2, 3.

For the chocolate meringue base:
6 egg whites
300g caster sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sieved
1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
50g dark chocolate, finely chopped
For the topping:
500ml double cream
500g raspberries
2-3 tablespoons coarsely grated dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cocoa and vinegar, and the chopped chocolate. Then gently fold everything until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in. Mound on to a baking sheet in a fat circle approximately 23cm in diameter, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150C/gas mark 2 and cook for about one to one and a quarter hours. When it's ready it should look crisp around the edges and on the sides and be dry on top, but when you prod the centre you should feel the promise of squidginess beneath your fingers. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and let the chocolate meringue disc cool completely.When you're ready to serve, invert on to a big, flat-bottomed plate. Whisk the cream till thick but still soft and pile it on top of the meringue, then scatter over the raspberries. Coarsely grate the chocolate so that you get curls rather than rubble, as you don't want the raspberries' luscious colour and form to be obscured, and sprinkle haphazardly over the top, letting some fall, as it will, on the plate's rim.

Welcome out of hibernation everyone! Enjoy the spring! Snaps to spring.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"Marco" "Polo" "Marco" "Polo"

It’s official. Summer is here. I heard the usual dire prediction for Toronto on the radio today; May – July is going to be hot, humid and dry. Here we go again, thought I to myself, the even number houses get to water their lawn on even numbered days and the odd numbers, the odd days of the month. There will be pleas not to wash your car, use your lawnmower or BBQ and even water rations. That last one might be a slight exaggeration. But in a few years who knows?

My mind, as it likes, traveled back in time to when I was a youngster. As we were the poor pool-less family on the street, we made do with a slip and slide, running through the sprinkler (the one we ‘bought’ from the Catto family down the street after my brother decided to play golf with it, and my dad decide to fix) and attacking each other with water pistols (no super soakers for us) and water balloons.

No water rations though! No sir! Then I got to thinking, maybe this whole global warming thing is more cyclical than we are led to believe. You know, 25 years no water, 25 years lots of water. I never heard ‘requests’ over the radio to cut back on your watering or reports on the evening news (I was very advanced and inquisitive for my age) that water levels were “dangerously low”. Why then were my grandparents so tight with the H2O???? Maybe their generation had suffered through a “warming” phase in their day.

We used to go visit and play. By play I mean get dirty (see the Jell-o story) and would need, not want, to be bathed. This was difficult for my parents at the best of times. Even with a tub full of toys and water. Bernice would put the plug in (why let ANY escape down the drain) and let water run for about, oh I don’t know, 30 seconds and shut it off.

“In you get” she’d say smiling. Being the obedient little children we were, oh that’s right, we’re talking two or three at once, we climbed over the edge of the tub and into water that was as deep as a shallow puddle during a drought in July. “Don’t splash around too much”. Lady, are you kidding? The only way I was going to splash anyone was if I spit on them.

We would get soaped and shampooed, then be rinsed with cupfuls of water. Trust me when I say, the tap did run again. You were lucky if you got to go first, cause second, third and fourth sat in the same water. I think the last of us came out dirtier than when we went in.

My siblings and I have tried to determine the source of this odd ritual. Our grandparents were not cheap. After the bath we were allowed to stuff ourselves with pop and ice cream. They took us out for dinner and shopping just about every time we had a weekend with them. Maybe it was payback for the time we clogged the toilet with toilet paper just to see how much would actually go down. I wonder?

(For the record, the photo is from my parents tub of plenty.)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The evidence was in before I was out.

Inspired by KitKat’s series of “unfortunate childhood photos” I decided to have a look at some old pictures to see if I could find any equally hideous shots that would inspire a blog entry. Naturally, as I was the subject of said photos, there were none to be found; just a cute little blond angel gazing into the lens, the borders barely able to contain the halo surrounding my head.

I did however notice a pattern. Several of the shots revealed a rather flamboyant little boy who even I would have pegged as, shall we say, a little light in the loafers. I can now look back and giggle at how obviously all signs pointed to pink but do wish I had recognized it sooner. All in good time though.

I present to you now, in chronological order, the evidence.

Photo 1: That is my brother, sister and I dressed for Halloween one year. I am the one on the left. Goldilocks meets the pilgrims. That’s right, Goldilocks. My brother a soldier and my sister, well, not really sure what she is. Girl in a kitten t-shirt with fashionable (for their day) boots? It seems we were all imprinted by that magical night. My brother has an interest in the history of war, my sister has two cats that she wants to have a ‘family portrait’ done with and I like to dress up as a lady on Halloween.

Photo 2: First day of kindergarten. Look at my wrist! Karen loved the camera and is obviously disinterested in either of her male suitors, but Dave McDonald and I only had eyes for each other apparently. My wrist is limp and I look like I am sucking my teeth saying “wasn’t Mrs. McCurtey’s class fabulous?” but he has a bunny pinned to his jacket! And those stunning trousers! Maybe there was something in the water on Shadylawn?

Photo 3: What young boy didn’t love helping his mother in the kitchen? Even if it was an outdoor camping kitchen. Socks with sandals aside, I am wearing a stylish shirt and cute as a button shorts. And snaps to my mother for her rolled up jeans and cat eye glasses. Not only do I get my keen fashion sense from the woman, but also my love of cooking and selecting ‘paper’ from the “will that be paper or plastic?” question. Look on the bench! What environmentalists my parents are.

Photo 4: Finally, and most damning, the fur coat. My dad was the executor of an estate for a ‘female friend’ of Grandpa Percy. In the attic was this fur coat that I felt was the absolute height of luxury. It was beaver (not the icky kind, the nice kind you can make a coat out of) and weighed a ton. As you can see, I managed to secure that little item for myself and used it at Halloween or whenever else I needed a little glamour pick-me-up. Luckily I outgrew the coat and it is now in a museum in Fergus. Yes dears, it was that old. But look how happy it made me! And the pose. What style, what grace.

So there you have it. Markers along life’s road that headed straight (pun intended) to gay town, right next to Ricky Martinville and only a stones throw from Antonio Sabato Juniorland. I hope you enjoyed sharing these memories, I sure did.