Thursday, December 21, 2006

All I want for Christmas

This morning on my way to work, I encountered Alice, a homeless woman in her seventies, whose distinguishing characteristics include a rather elaborate fleece hat worn at a jaunty angle, white chin hair, missing top front teeth, and large, saggy breasts that hang down to her oversized belly. With her hands clasped behind her back she paces back and forth on the corner, repetitively muttering to no one in particular “Got a quarter? Got a quarter?”

I always look her in the eye, and say “Not today, Alice.” I am ashamed to admit that this is a rather new phenomenon for me – looking homeless people in the eye, actually talking to them, and sometimes getting to know their names. It has taken me many miles of walking down Jasper Avenue to shrug the discomfort that held me back from doing so.

I don’t think this makes me a better person than anyone else. I just realized one day that if I am going to talk the talk, I better start walking the walk. I also don’t think I am unusual in feeling uncomfortable about leaving my nice home, and walking down the street in my nice clothes after a nice breakfast to be confronted by the human condition every day. Seeing someone on the street asking for money reminds us deep down of how quickly all of those niceties could be lost.

The need to keep challenging myself in this way and to encourage others to do so was drilled home to me this morning, when while waiting for the light to change, Alice and I had our daily exchange. A woman standing beside me turned to me with a shocked look on her face and incredulity in her voice and said, “You know her name?”

Here’s hoping that this Christmas Santa brings us all a little more compassion.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I am usually a discerning chocolate connoisseur (only Callebaut passes these lips), but at Christmas time I will down anything remotely resembling that dark brown, luscious delicacy.

I don’t know what it is. Maybe it is the overwhelming quantity and/or its constant presence. I can’t resist sampling any and all chocolate. My tastes range anywhere from chewy, nutty Turtles (a childhood favorite), to those dark chocolate and minty After Eight squares which always added a “touch of class” to parental holiday cocktail parties of days gone by.

My current favourite is Quality Street imported chocolates and caramels of which I have a giant box on my desk. In the true spirit of the season I refuse to share them. Instead, I have been making myself sick consuming copious handfuls this week before the big day.


None of the above described are good, or classy, or despite their names “quality” chocolates.

It is probably partly due to gluttony; a small attempt to harken back to my childhood; and a crow-like attraction to shiny packaging. Throw in the stress, and hustle and bustle (ado, flurry, rumpus, commotion) of the season and you have a weak attempt to make it through what has typically never been a very satisfying or emotionally healthy time of year for me.

The good news is I eventually do come to my senses. Part of how I help myself is by selflessly helping others.

It has become my annual tradition to buy my sister’s boyfriend a box of his favorite Laura Secord mints, which, sadly, aren’t available where they live. It is one of the man’s few pleasures in life (that and snowmobiling). These “chocolates” come in a large box, are unnaturally bright green, and seriously waxy in texture.
(Here’s the helping part.)
I always throw in a giant slab of Callebaut chocolate, in the hopes that one day he will sample and come to appreciate the difference.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Boob tube

Scenario: me and my pre-schooler son sitting beside each other on the couch.

As we are watching t.v. he leans over to give me a hug unintentionally squishing my unencumbered bosom which has sort of drooped in between us.

He quickly pulls away, looking at me with surprised brown eyes. "Hey, what's that bump?"

"Uh, that's my breast, Honey."

"Mama, you should grow smaller ones so they don't stick out so much."
I think he's onto something there. I could have a whole patch of them in the backyard and they would be removable, reuseable, and variable in size. And I could freeze them or can with them.
Maybe it would even lead to a giant melon contest in the Fall.
Must. Plant. Early.

Someone's going to Hell for this...

From a friend of a friend...

I feel closer to you now

Thank you to the person I saw on the bus who leads such a busy life that they felt compelled to clean their ears with Q-tips while riding to work. I needed to see that.

And thank you too, to the person who felt the need to share her defoliating routine on her morning commute. I realize chin hair may be a problem for you, and you were all prepared with the tweezers and the handheld mirror and all, but please spare your fellow passengers from viewing the plucking.

Leave it at home, people. Or at least for God's sake (and mine) do it in the comfort of your own vehicle. You know, the same way you pick your nose. "I am in my car therefore I am invisible to everyone else on the road."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Great holiday gift idea #2

For the Christian cook in all of us...

Sign of the times

Sign I saw on the bus yesterday:

Know your limits. Know when to say when.

And you are thinking, "Yeah, okay, holiday drinking, whatever."

Uh, no. Actually, it was a sign about over-eating.

It is unfathomable that the Canadian Liver Foundation has to tell people this.

Nearly fell off my double-wide seat when I read that eating too many high-fat foods is as bad for your liver as drinking too much.

Glad you asked

I know this guy who likes to wear his underwear backwards.

Okay, he's 3, and he's my son.

When asked why he does this, the answer is perfectly clear: "So I can see the picture."

Great holiday gift idea #1

Kinda speaks for itself...but if you can't read it, it is a giant pile of boobs with the word 'boobaholic' printed above it.

Tasteful, yet subtle, no?

And exactly what I want to lug around on my morning commute.

Monday, December 11, 2006

To be clear

I live in a mid-sized city in Western Canada. It's Canada, so not much in the way of terrorist activity happens here (other than the acts performed by our provincial government - wah, wah).

Anyway, there is a security guard that sits in the lobby of my office building who always wears FDNY and other similar ball caps. This drives me crazy because I find it hard to believe that this guy whose most important job is to make sure everyone signs in before proceeding up to their office after hours, is a brother in arms with the NY firefighters who rushed into the exploding Twin Towers to save people.

That's like saying because I have taken a first aid course I can now call myself a doctor and perform rectal exams.

It is just wrong.

Wishing doesn't make it so

It seems that every morning (or every night if I am really organized) I chuck an apple in my work bag for an at-the-office snack. Problem is my nutritional virtue doesn't follow me all the way to the big building I hang out in all day. Instead I run downstairs for a coffee or a chocolate bar or something equally bad.

I now have about 12 apples lined up on my desk, all in varying states of decay.

Make it stop

Just because you have my email address, what makes you think I want you to use it?
So, I am part of this parents' support group and gave out my email address to the other folks, thinking I would get emails about the thing that brought us all together (i.e. our kids' health issue).
But what do I get instead? All kinds of emails addressed to
'a I-can-only-assume large undisclosed recipients list' on everything from political gatherings to promotional crap all titled "in case you are interested".

In the case that I am interested, I would be seeking this stuff out on my own (yes, I, too, know how to use the Internet) and certainly not spamming the people I know with it.

Stop it. Just stop it.

Think before speaking

I sent a couple of former colleagues pictures of my kids (‘cause they asked).

Upon viewing a photo of my daughter (who has a health issue), here is what one person said:

She looks like a normal, healthy kid, but I hear she still has a feeding tube? (Uh, guess that means she's a freak, then?).

As opposed to the comment I got back from the other person upon same:

Thanks for the adorable pictures of your babes. Absolutely love your daughter's button nose.

My IT lover

Excerpt from a rant to colleagues:

Big, hairy ”I-am-also-a-designer” IT/web guy with man breasts has been hired. Not only that, he’s sharing my office. Not only that, he’s critiquing the stuff I have had designed. Not only that, he’s telling me how to do my job (“What is this thing…how you say…weebsiite?”).

Let’s see – you have been here two whole days so you must know everything there is to know, Mr.”I-wear-a-memory-stick-around-my-neck-like-a-holy-cross”.

He just sent me this email:

"Trajan™ Font Family
Designer: Carol Twombly , 1989
About Trajan™ Font Family

While designing Trajan, Carol Twombly was influenced by the style of carved letters produced by the Romans during the first century AD. Twombly completed the design, adding numerals and punctuation, as well as a bolder version to allow for text emphasis. Most importantly, her interpretation of the ancient style resulted in a font family whose clarity and beauty come across in modern printed materials. "

Tell me. What does it mean?

Yes, I am well aware the font we are using for our logo is Trajan. Did I really need the added, irrelevant history of the font?

I originally misspoke when I told him the name of the font.

I called it “Trojan”, rather than Trajan.

“You don’t mean, like, the condom? Heh. Heh.”

Stop “accidentally” touching me and stop touching the things on my desk.

I am now going home to kiss a girl.

Fabulous quotes (if you are a carnivore and play for the other team)

From the wickedly wonderful Fran Lebowitz:

"Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat."

"Girls who put out are tramps. Girls who don't are ladies. This is, however, a rather archaic usage of the word. Should one of you boys happen upon a girl who doesn't put out, do not jump to the conclusion that you have found a lady. What you have probably found is a lesbian."

Mean people suck

And then there was the comment I heard as I was walking up Jasper Avenue this morning:

Two white trash women who I am sure spent the weekend spending all their money on crap at Wal-mart: “Geez, get a job, why don’t you?” to some guy who was panhandling.

Okay, not that I give my money to every panhandler I see, but there’s no need to demean them any further than they have already demeaned themselves by asking strangers for money. Just say no, and move on.

Whatever happened to human kindness?