Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Come let us have some tea, and continue to talk about happy things"

People-ok, not many, but enough -keep telling me I need to get out there and meet someone. I’m fine with the getting out bit. I don’t want to end up as the crazy lady with all the teapots* and puppies, so I started a new plan last October:
If I’m invited to something and it is free, I have to go. If I’m invited and it doesn’t cost much I either go, or come up with a really good reason to decline. If it costs a lot, but I really want to go and the only reason I’m not is because I’m single then I go, and have fun because I’m somewhere doing something I really want to do.

That takes care of the going out bit. Meeting someone? Not so much. God’s going to have to plunk someone down right in front of me, and just to be sure I don’t walk past said fellow it would help if he was plunked down wearing a giant red ribbon. There is, of course, the possibility that the going-out part will lead to the meeting part. But given the places I seem to end up going to, that seems unlikely.

Take last night for instance. I was invited out to a craft class. Despite being totally non-crafty, I said yes. It’s a good thing the girl doesn’t read the blog, she’d be falling off her chair laughing at the thought of me taking a craft class. I am not glue-gun gifted. As it turned out, I was one in a class of twenty or so crafty, overweight, middle-aged white women - except I wasn’t crafty. I fit the rest of the profile, though! There was one thin woman in the group, and one young (say twenties or so) woman. And the only colour in the room came from the craft projects. Skin-wise we ran the gamut of colour from pasty white to pasty white with a sun burn.

I did have a decent time though and, most importantly, it saved me from my planned evening of housework. And if such a class comes up again, I know the girl would love it so I may end up going again.

*I collect teapots, somewhat unintentionally. How does that happen? Here’s an example:
Christmas 2007 I made the comment that it was odd that I didn’t have a Christmas teapot, given the number of teapots I DO have. In January, a co-worker dropped off a poinsettia teapot from the Monet collection. Then at some point in the summer, I saw the Water Lilyfrom the same collection. Both of these teapots are at work.

Last summer I bought a different co-worker some tea. It was a blend that we had both enjoyed but hadn’t been able to find. The next thing I know, there is a new teapot on my desk as a thank you. Two weeks ago, I came into work on a Monday to find a teapot on my desk with a note saying “this teapot called your name, so I got it for you. Happy Monday!”

Lastly, at a silent auction my girl ended up getting me a tea pot set. A lovely little boxed teapot with four wee cups. And somewhere in their Mayb gave me this lovely tea box. So now I have five teapots on a shelf at work, along with the tea box. Everyone that sees them assumes I’m purposely collecting teapots. Not that they’re completely off the mark – I do buy teapots myself sometimes – but I never started out to purposely collect them!

The title? Chaim Potok.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


That saying “what goes around comes around” doesn’t always happen. For instance, I was a typical – perhaps even worse than typical – veggie-hating child. I was ok with raw veggies, just didn’t like them cooked. Except corn, of course. Not liking creamed corn is like not liking puppies. If you meet someone who hates corn AND puppies, run. Run for your very life.

Sometimes Karma does catch up to one, though. When my girl was six, we got new neighbours. She took it upon herself to meet them. A feat she accomplished by marching over, walking into their house and announcing a) her presence and b) her intention of becoming best friends with them. And guess what? That line of chatter hasn’t stopped, not in the nine intervening years.

Not with them moving away to various locations. Not with anything. If she could phone the dad up – he lives in the Ukraine now – she would. And talk his ear off. Mayb bears the brunt of it, as she is the only one that hasn’t moved far away. Did they move to escape the chatter? Could be, could be.

So this spring we got new neighbours. New neighbours with small children. Three of them, and a fourth on the way. The little girl is five. Here is an actual conversation (it counts as conversation even if I only say one thing, right?) we had one day when I was leaving to pick the boy up from work:

Small Chatterbox:
Hi! What’s your name again?
Did you tell me your name before?
Do you remember my name?
Where are you going?

To pick A. up from work

Small Chatterbox:
Where does he work?
What’s his name again?
Why does he have to work?
Do you always have to get him?
Are you coming back?
Is he coming with you?
What’s your name again?
My name’s XXXX
Does he come outside?
Does he like to play?
Is he old?
Where’s that girl you had? (good question!)
What’s she doing?
Aren’t you taking her?
Does she get to stay alone?
When are you coming back?
Do you have a dad? (to be fair, I think she meant do the kids, but who knows)
I have brothers.
I’m five
How old are your kids?
How old are you?
Ok. Bye!!!
She then skips off, not one of her questions answered. Not because I wouldn’t answer, but because she didn’t even pause to take a breath between them all.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Buttery Tears

I don't know what y'all do when you're close to crying and really don't want to, but I bake. Pastry, generally. Something time consuming and fiddly, and completely distracting.

So tonight I made puff pastry. Roll, chill. Fold, roll, chill. Repeat. Until you have the required layers of cold butter and pastry. The problem with this method is that you end up with pastry. Oodles of buttery yummy pastry. Or, in this case, three dozen hazelnut Palmiers.

Don't get me wrong, I'd happily eat them all. But that would serve no purpose, now, would it? So I wrapped up three containers and delivered pastry hither and thither. Which may be weird, but at least I'm not as big as a bus. Yet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Merci, Mental_Floss

I've been trying for years to explain my preference for across-the-pond humour over south-of-the-border humour. Not to mention my preference for spelling, grammar, world view, nudity and gun laws. Back to the point! Thanks to a bit from Mental_floss, I have the perfect line. The two shows they refer to are A Man about the House and Three's Company, by the by:

Despite the basic similarities between the two shows, the British version relied more on crisp writing and witty dialog than the slapstick and “jiggle” used to attract the American audience.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Row upon row of chairs, and this is the row I get.

Dear Woman Sitting Next to me in this long row of chairs;

There are things people shouldn’t assume. Not all squealing teenagers at a Hannah Montana concert will be girls. Crazy + Cat Lady don’t always go together. Very few people who ask "how are you?" actually want to know how you are. A man’s shoe size means nothing, or clowns would be more popular. Using a blackberry doesn’t mean the text is too small for someone sitting beside you to read. Please pay particular attention to that last one, ok?

You know what else? Don’t assume that I didn’t recognize a) your name, b) the name of your lover, c) the name of your lover’s wife and d) the name of your husband.

You’re right if you’re assuming that I wouldn’t stoop to blackmail. You’d be making a bad assumption if you think that most people would be above it. I don’t think the gentleman on the other side of you would stoop to it either, but the possibility of his having a heart attack reading the salacious details of your messages is, on the other hand, moderately high.

I get that sometimes meetings like this are boring. I myself understand wanting to nip out for a quickie – take note, striped blue tie guy in the back row – but seriously, in the men’s room? During a conference? Do you WANT to be caught?

Speaking of being caught…your insistence to online lover that your teenage son can’t possibly know what you’re doing is seriously misguided. Do you recall being a teenager? I mean, I have a teenager too, but I think even in his most self-involved moments he would notice late night arrivals/early morning departures. When this coincides with your Mr.’s out of town trips the chances that he knows go up to oh, say, 100%. For all you know, he may have his OWN late night arrivals/early morning departures going on. And if he does he either thinks you don’t know or has justly decided that what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

So…put the Blackberry away and start paying attention to the speaker. Or keep your thoughts in your head and off your easy-to-read blackberry. Thanks.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Shift your Gift

I generally like to mosey along when I'm at the office. I work hard, but I don't think I need to run to lunch, or jog to the bathroom or race to the other branch when the need me. However...

I DON'T like standing behind people who have stopped to think about what they're going to do next and have decided to have the conversation about that decision whilst they're standing in the doorway. The doorway I need to get to. Most people, when they see you waiting to get through move aside. Some politely, some with a hint of embarassment ( I do that) and some with a snort of irritation, as though their need to stand in the doorway outweighs your need to pass through it.

This afternoon, though, the two ladies in front of me weren't most people. They didn't move out of the way at all. Yes, they saw me, they just didn't move. So I said - quite politely - "pardon me" and went to move forward. At which point they stopped their discussion and one woman said "yes?" as though she was sitting at the front desk at a hotel waiting to check me in. Clearly, the only reason I would interrupt this important discussion was to ask them something. Something burningly important. Fine - you want a question, I'll give you a question.

"would you mind moving from the doorway that you're blocking? Great. Thanks".

I could have added where in the building they could find a woman's bathroom but decided against it. That's one door you don't want blocked in time of need. And her snooty "yes?" made me decide that she could use having to wander around looking for relief somewhere.

Of course I did.

I decided to take a tea break today, despite the work I need to have finished by the end of the day. I wanted to read a bit more of the current book. The current book that is with me, of course. Because I have one at home that I'm also partway through, and one in the car that is almost done. Anyway, as is my wont, I took the elevator so I could read on the way upstairs. And was joined by a guy, also going to the third floor. I know he was, because I asked. One always asks, if you're standing in front of the buttons, just in case the person wants a different floor.

The doors close, and I continue to read. And then I wonder if this is rude. I also found myself wondering if it was STILL raining outside. Day three of constant rain. So I took my glasses off and closed my book. Looked at the guy, who said "dismal day out there, isn't it?". And because I'm brilliant, I said this bit of insanity:

"I was just checking out your shoulders".

What I MEANT to say was "I was just wondering if your shoulders looked rained on, or if we were lucky enough to have the sun come out for a bit". Naturally, as soon as I said the first part, I realized how it sounded and froze, making it all that much worse. It took me until just before the doors opened to say "looking to see if you looked rained on. Not that I mind the rain. I like the rain. And it's great for farmers. The rain".

Yup, that's me at my eloquent best.