Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Did I Miss Something In Sunday School?

I know this is a tad inappropriate given the time of year and that I should be grateful that someone was thoughtful enough to give me this Christmas card. But, does anyone remember a lion in the manger? Anyone? I know the Ox and Lamb kept time “pa rum pum pum pum”, but no lion. And is it just me, or do you get the feeling that the feline in the picture is just deciding which to eat first?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Look Mom, No Legs

Last year for my birthday, S.F.V.F (aka PV08 and/or Papi) gave me an Aussie Bum bathing costume. Not so much swimming trunks, but really as a thin band of material that showcases your junk. Aside from AQUA at this years Pride, it has not had many miles put on it ~ until today.

I have been hanging around IronMan, IronGirl & Co. and it seems that I have caught the tri bug myself. Unlike my brother and sister who are natural athletes, I struggled with sports. Don't get me wrong, I tried them all. It's just then when I wasn't instantly good, I gave up. Figure skating wasn't for me as I wasn't allowed the white skates. I was so distracting to others at gymastics the school told my parents if they took me out, they would get a full refund.

But swimming by far was my weakest. My brother and sister both ended up as lifeguards while I didn't like getting my face wet. The rule in the neighbourhood was, if you wanted to swim without parental supervision, you had to get your junior badge. I think it is green level now. It took two rounds of regular lessons, one semi private and finally private to get there, but pass I did!

As you can well imagine, the idea of swimming 4 km even now is frightening for me. But as I have 18 months to get ready, I thought I better start practicing. As I entered the locker room at UTM this evening, I stopped for a moment to soak in the scene. "I really should have tried harder at swimming" I thought. Or maybe volunteered as a towel boy.

I stepped into my 'suit' and out onto the deck. Hands down, my was the lowest cut in the front and highest cut in the back ~ up the butt I mean. Even IronGirl made mentioned of the lack of fabric. As quickly as I could, I slipped into the pool.

On with the lesson. After one lap of being evaluated (a nice way of saying judged) a pair of foam floaties were stuffed between my legs to help keep the lower part of the body up without kicking the legs. I personally would have designed the back piece slightly differently, but the effect was amazing. Even my sister was impressed with my technique. A few pointers here and there and I was off like a dolphin.

Okay, that is a bit of a stretch. But I didn't hate it and I didn't drown. I even managed 6 laps in a row without panic! Only 154 more consecutive laps and I will be ready for Lake Placid 2010!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The 10 lb Canapé

It is a winter WONDERLAND here in old Toronto ~ and I have to say I LOVE it. I am not the biggest fan of driving in snow, but the look of falling snow and seeing the city covered in diamond dust, truly can’t be beat. Unless you count going for a walk in it, having a snowball fight, getting chilled to the bone and then warming up in front of a fire with hot chocolate and bailey’s.

Being obscenely organized this year, I don’t think the spirit of the season hit me as it has in years gone by. Usually there is last minute running around to be done that makes it smack you in the face like a snowball loaded with ice. But this week, the “ho ho ho” has managed to work its way in.

It didn’t start off very well mind you. As I “shopped the shore” trying to support to local businesses, I saw what I assumed was a Norman Rockwell type family walking down the street towards me; husband, wife and three children. One of the girls held the man’s hand while the other dawdled in the snow. “They must be going shopping for gifts” I thought. How nice.

My assumption changed from Rockwell to white trash however as the ‘mother’, who knows of which or how many, started to cross the street pushing a pram and turned to her, umm, well, now I don’t know…boyfriend? Anyway, she yelled “and tell Crystal she’s a bitch”. Isn’t that nice? Maybe for Christmas her daughters will ask Santa to have Crystal fitted with cement shoes.

I was happy to make it to the LCBO, a nice little drink would help erase that ugly scene. Maybe so, but it would be replaced by another horror. As I stood in line, two girls were talking about their Christmas shopping experience. Here is a little taste of what I eavesdropped on:

Girl #1 – “So I f***ing told him, I have been f***ing walking around the f***ing mall all f***ing day and my f***ing feet are f***ing killing me. He can get his f***ing mother his own f***ing gift ‘cuz I ain’t f***ing going back”.

There is no Girl #2 part. At least none that I heard, I moved to another line. New Year’s resolution; I will not drop the f-bomb in 2009.

But as the week wore on, I had two days off and party to get ready for, so things took a decided turn for the better. Buckets of water were frozen (with a can suspended in the middle, then carefully removed with boiling water) for outdoor ice hurricane lamps. Cookies were baked, a menu planned, the liquor store raided, dishes, pots and pans were all laid out and made ready.

Friday, it started with an early morning run to St. Lawrence market. IronMan ‘early’ is 4:00 AM but as the market does not open until 8:00, I managed to convince him of a couple hours extra sleep. Even so, we were there at 7:30. He is lucky they have back bacon sandwiches or it would have been ugly. REAL ugly.

Supplies in hand, we returned home to whip up dips, marinades and chill the booze. The kitchen turned into a bakery Saturday morning with cranberry pie, upside down pear cake, chocolate cupcakes and pecan cake all turning out. There was a brief moment of panic when the butter and sugar didn’t fluff. I feared a bad omen for the entire day but in the end, all worked out.

A 10 lb ham with roasted pears and popping cranberries made its way to the table. Thanks to IronGirl for helping with that and the Pink Girl from the dollhouse for pointing out that the invitations said “cocktails and canapés”. What? Since when is ham not a canapé? There was also lamb with currant and mint jelly accompanied by caramelized onion and potato squares. I love Food and Drink magazine!

It had snowed heavily the day before so the yard was picture perfect. People came, ate, drank and were generally merry. There was unfortunate incident in which Fauntleroy was groped by the LYB. Being a good host, I quickly turned a blind eye and made for the champagne.

Luckily for me, things wrapped up when they did. I had that “if I had had one more, things would have been ugly” feeling when I woke up. Wanting more of the spirit of the season, I fetched CJ and we headed north for the Mitchell family Christmas. We both needed some hair of dog and settled on Caesars before we even got to Fergus.

Not having been to the At the Crossroads Family restaurant before, when the waitress asked if she could bring me anything to drink, I assumed she meant booze. When I asked a tall glass of clam juice relief, she said “we don’t serve that kind of thing here”.

Oh, THAT kind of family restaurant. Crossroads. I get it. You’re open on Sunday, but I can’t drink on it. Whatever, that’s cool. Figures though, the one day I forget to strap on my boot flask.

The roast beef, bbq chicken, home fries and rice pudding seemed to have the same effect however and we rolled out of the restaurant happy. Into another snow storm, but happy.