Moving Thoughts

December 16th, 2012

The big move is tomorrow. I am stumbling around boxes, seem to be covered in assorted mystery bruises and every room looks like a tornado has swept through it. I am wondering how my things manage to unpack themselves and replace themselves in drawers so that it looks like I have not packed at all.

As crunch time approaches and my eyes are bulging further out of my head, a few thoughts:

  • Maybe my weeks of playing online Sudoku in the hopes of becoming an internet champion wasn’t the best use of my time.
  • Ditto on re-reading every card sent to me by my bestie in high school . A nostalgic revisit of my youth should have been saved for a time when I didn’t need to pack.
  • I wonder if it is possible to overdose on Rescue Remedy and if I do overdose will I be so mellow that  I won’t care.
  • I wish I had interrogated the owner of the neighbourhood dog who freaks out if you are holding a cup of coffee. I have never had a chance to hear the full story.
  • I should have eaten more almond croissants from the amazing patisserie down the street when I had the chance. I don’t know why I have become a croissant slacker.
  • I am craving vegetables which is a sure indicator that I have become a toxic wasteland of fast food.
  • Maybe I didn’t need to spend all that time searching for Nutella recipes so that I wouldn’t need to pack the half empty Nutella jar.
  • I am starting to suspect that my last client who saw my (unpacked) boxes and said “don’t worry, the box fairies will come and pack for you overnight while you are sleeping,” may have been lying.

Monkey on the Loose

December 10th, 2012

Yesterday a tiny monkey in a shearling coat was discovered wandering outside an Ikea store in Toronto. In the past I have spent many frustrating Sundays at this same location, trapped behind a shuffling family who have decided to make a trip to Ikea an all day bonding excursion. If only I could have glanced out of the showroom windows and seen a nattily dressed monkey, I know the Ikea experience would have been a joy rather than an exercise in patience and fortitude.

Apparently this dapper monkey had managed to escape from his crate, let himself out of the car and was wandering around the parking lot. Initially I suspected that perhaps the monkey was in fact an employee, hired to assemble the furniture. That would explain why an Allen key is always included in the box complete with illegible instructions and way too many screws. The Allen key would fit perfectly in a diminutive monkey paw.

I would like to imagine that this daring monkey was on the lookout for my own monkey that I purchased at Ikea years ago. Ordinarily I am not a stuffed animal kind of girl. I pity the girls whose boyfriends win them giant stuffed animals at amusement parks. I am grateful that I never had boyfriends who would buy me teddy bears holding shiny hearts for Valentine’s Day. This stuffed monkey was different though. It was alone, tossed on top of a bin and there was something in his expression, sunken chest and pot belly that struck me. He looked like an old man dressed as a monkey. I knew I needed to have him. When I finally reached the cashier I plunked my new friend down with trembling hands, unable to conceal my excitement at bringing this magical creature home.

“I can’t sell you this monkey,” the cashier said.

I was shocked. “What do you mean you can’t sell the monkey?” I spluttered, my voice taking on a whiny pitch. “Why put the monkey out if it’s not for sale? What kind of reasoning is that?”

“It’s the display monkey. It’s for display, not for sale.”

“Well, why would you put a monkey on display if there are no monkey’s for sale?” I reasoned, trying desperately to stay calm.

I could hear a loud sigh behind me. Everyone is exasperated at Ikea and by the time they get near the front of the line and can taste freedom, any delays are excruciating. I glanced quickly behind me at the sea of angry faces with dead eyes and felt myself start to perspire. I am not one to cause a scene. I avoid confrontation at all costs. I’ve been known to apologize to mannequins when I bump into them. I am more of a deer in the headlights than a fierce tigress. That day, however, something in me snapped. I leaned forward and narrowed my eyes. “Look. I am not leaving without the monkey.”

I could now hear a chorus of sighs that were becoming louder and more aggressive as the cashier called his manager. The monkey was staring up at me in solidarity.

“Don’t worry buddy,” I tried to tell him telepathically.“We’re going home together and we’ll never be apart, you’ll see.”

It was an agonizing wait as the line came to a stand still and the crowd behind me realized that they were boxed in by patrons with loaded skids of furniture and would be unable to find another line. I stared straight ahead with tight lips and steely resolve. At last I saw a young man jogging towards us, a stuffed monkey in his hand. The cashier snatched it and made motions to ring it in.

“Wait a minute,” I said, “I don’t want that monkey, I want my monkey.”

“It’s the same monkey.” The kid said, unable to hide his exasperation.

“No it’s not,” I protested. “I chose this monkey and this is the one I am going home with,” poking my finger in my monkey’s sunken chest.

After years of being meek and not standing up for myself, I was now willing to have a death match showdown in a suburban Ikea. I was not going to back down, even if I was going to get pulled apart limb by limb by the growing line of people shifting angrily behind me.

The cashier and I settled in for a stand off until I heard a man behind me yell, “Just give her the damn monkey!”

The cashier nodded almost imperceptibly and I relaxed my jaw. He rang up my monkey and I snatched it up and clutched it to my chest, victorious and empowered. We never know when we will face a challenge that shows us what we are made of. That afternoon I learned that I could make my voice heard and take a stand, put myself in danger to fight for what I believed in.

This was no ordinary monkey. It was a symbol of something larger and more profound.

Double Layer Jeans

November 29th, 2012

I am constantly getting emails for all kinds of coupon deals and I never have the heart to unsubscribe. They give me the illusion of popularity when I see that I have fifteen new messages in my inbox. Never mind that they are usually for discount dinners and cheap laser hair removal. I love a deal and have often succumbed to these temptations although they have at times led me to sketchy massage establishments and mani pedi places that look like toenail fungi labs.

Today’s discounted offering was for Double Layer Jeans built to keep a girl warm yet stylish for a mere $29. The biting cold is setting in, the house has zero insulation and it feels like I am living in a meat packing plant. The Double Layer Jeans promise to “accentuate the shape of my legs” while keeping me warm and cozy. I have my suspicions. How do these denim purveyors know that I want to accentuate my legs that at best resemble two generous loaves of challah bread.

These days, I am struggling to pull up my single layer jeans, breaking a sweat despite the frigid temperatures in my drafty bedroom. I am finding my own method for dealing with the cold. I am self medicating with a lot of carbs. There’s a winter double layer for you.

Snacking Fox

November 6th, 2012

I have been missing in action from this blog.  As my sister recently pointed out, I am a terrible multitasker. Lately I have been busy deciding whether to have another midlife crisis, packing, and preparing to move that checking in on the blog has taken a back seat.

However, I have not been too busy to enjoy multiple viewings of this delightful snacking fox. If I can find a new career feeding marshmallows to cute woodland creatures I know that everything will be okay.

Gwyneth Paltrow is a Fraud

October 11th, 2012

In an attempt to improve my achy joints I decided try to go wheat free for a month. Trying to improve one’s bad joints is a noble pursuit to be sure, but a girl still needs to eat. Specifically, a girl still needs brownies.

In desperate need of a chocolate fix I decided to try Gwyneth Paltrow’s spelt brownie recipe. A friend gave me her cookbook last year, qualifying the gift by saying, “I know you find her annoying and she is a smug bitch but I have to admit that her recipes are really good.” Not one to turn away a cookbook, even one penned by a smug celebrity, I kept the book and have enjoyed some of her offerings. Regarding her brownies Gwyneth claims that, “These are about as healthy as brownies can get, with no flavor sacrifice.”

I have to disagree. Flavour was sacrificed. I noticed. Maybe someone who hasn’t eaten a brownie in a really, really long time (and I suspect Ms Paltrow may be one of those) may not notice, the same way I sometimes panic mid-bite into a veggie burger because I worry that I was given a beef burger instead. I’ll thrust it at The Sweetie, asking him to test it. He’ll take one bite, do a fake cough and say,”That is definitely veggie, it’s just been so long that you have forgotten what a real burger actually tastes like.”

Having enjoyed a batch of regular brownies a mere week ago, I know what a flavourful brownie tastes like and the concoction I made last night was sorely disappointing. They weren’t terrible, I’ll give them that, The Sweetie even commented, “They aren’t bad, kind of similar to yours but with a lot of sawdust thrown in.” But let’s be real. If you bake with spelt flour, agave nectar and maple syrup instead of eggs, sugar and butter, flavour will be sacrificed. There is no need to fib.

Maybe I shouldn’t be taking cooking advice from a celebrity, even an Oscar winner who hangs out with renowned chef Mario Batali and splits her time between London and New York, as she is quick to point out on the dust cover. Maybe I should be a little more suspicious of someone who can look this intense sniffing a box of cherry tomatoes.

I enjoy tomatoes as much as the next person but you won’t catch me looking this soulful around a pint of produce. Maybe I just don’t feel as much. It could be that all the white flour and non-organic produce I have been eating has clouded my emotions. I guess the point of this no wheat experiment should focus more on healthy choices and less on finding brownie alternatives. In the meantime, however, as I am missing loaves of bread and steaming bowls of pasta, I would appreciate it if people kept the lies to a minimum.

Saving Thanksgiving

October 5th, 2012

It is common knowledge in my family that I ruined Thanksgiving when I became a vegetarian. It was pointless to make a turkey if I wasn’t partaking. I do admit that I have the heartiest appetite in my clan, eliminating any fear of having leftovers for weeks on end, yet canceling the feast on my account is a tad extreme. I suspect it is meant to make me acutely aware that I am responsible for sullying the holiday for everyone.

“Why don’t I make a squash galette?” I’ll suggest in the hopes that I can somehow salvage the day. “It’s festive and autumnal.”

“Spare us,” My dad will mutter, his eyes raised to the heavens.

“How about a hearty bean stew? That’s filling. It’ll be like we stuffed ourselves on turkey we’ll be so full.”

“I hate beans.” My mom will sniff.

I wouldn’t dare risk dinner-table suicide by suggesting a Tofurkey.

It looked like another Thanksgiving would be destroyed until I discovered that Baskin Robbins has an ice cream turkey cake, complete with a sweet glaze, just like a beloved holiday ham.

Is there anything more festive than an ice cream cake? Cart out an ice cream cake and everyone knows the party has started. About to have a dispute with your extended family? Save it! It’s time to carve the ice cream cake! Someone is in a snit? Put it aside, dinner is melting! Raised eyebrows because someone has enjoyed a little too much wine? Turn those frowns upside down and fight over who gets the sugar cone leg instead. The holiday is saved.

Thank God I am not a vegan.