Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Social niceties

Do you ever see sights that are so unusual you just want to pull up a lawn chair and watch as the drama unfolds but are prevented from even a lingering stare thanks to the cruel mistress "Politeness?" This morning, while at Noah's Bagels (of course), I could see a woman sit down on the sidewalk table and carefully pull a Beanie Baby dog out of her bag. When Margaret and I left the shop, we walked by the woman, by now in a conversation with her polyester friend. I so wanted to listen in on the conversation, but alas, social convention prevented my eavesdropping. Now I may never know what kinds of secrets some who talks to stuffed animals shares with her toys.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Child development

The American Pediatric Association recommends that children be exposed to enough corporate advertising to allow them to identify the major brands by the time they're 2. This puzzle will go a long way in you child's development. Notice they didn't have to include any Disney logos there...something about all their products were specifically designed to act as CRACK to babies, sucking all their attention and leaving just a husk of a child during the duration of the video. We have some friends with a 1.5 year-old and literally cannot take his eyes from the TV screen if Nemo is on. (Like I'm a good one to talk... only with me it's The Simpsons The Book of Mormon.)

Monday, September 24, 2007


We have a circa 1940's oven and range that has definitely seen better days. I'm sure at the time it was the bee's knees, but an oven capable of only roasting a single Cornish game hen or one crême brulée at a time was getting old. One time we bought a pizza at Costco and had to cut it in half to fit it in the oven. (It's small because it has an interchangable burner that can be used as an indoor grill and all the fat drippings had to be sent somewhere...somewhere being a third of the oven space. Also, the preheat doesn't turn itself off when the oven has heated up. I can't tell you how many times we have pulled things out of the oven completely burnt on top but uncooked in the middle because the broiler burner was on the whole time! If it was only the small oven and bad design of the preheating mode, we would have probably just lived with it, but the thing isn't grounded and so if you happen to be touching the stove and ever so SLIGHTLY brush the sink with even a fingertip you get an execution-level shock. One time Margaret forgot about it and put her hand in the sink full of water and couldn't pull it out without a lot of effort. If only I'd have had a stick, I could have freed her.

Anyway, after EIGHT YEARS of living with that range, we committed to getting a new one...and it didn't come cheap, either, as we don't have space for a ventilation hood so had to get a downdraft model with increases the price to the cost of a commercial oven at Costco. Well, when the installers came, they said it wouldn't fit and just took it back. I was a little incredulous, wondering if the installers were just being lazy, so I did my own research and, lo and behold, it's perfectly capable of being installed. When I called Sears to complain, they were extremely apologetic about it and promised a resolution, but still...there's a Costco pizza waiting to christen our new oven that's not getting any fresher. At least in the meantime, we can amuse ourselves by tricking each other to touch the stove and sink at the same time.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Going car-free

Today there was an article in the newspaper about people who have willingly given up their cars for various reasons like being expensive, bad for the environment, supports terrorism, or the lack of ones that fly as seen on Back to the Future. Well, one of the couples talked about taking the bus to the hospital when the wife was going into labor... yes LABOR! Of all the possible reasons for taking a taxi, topping even being late for your wedding or a 10% off sale at the Apple Store, it would be having a frickin' BABY! Plus, will they just take it home on the bus, too? Those things are CRAWLING with germs. (The buses are pretty filthy, too.) You would have thought people that crunchy would have had a home birth, now that I think of it.

Another couple decided to give up their car when they couldn't replace a tire on their...wait for it...MERCEDES SUV?!? Talk about pushing your credit to the limits. No wonder our financial system is collapsing.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Future superstar comedian

My 6-year-old nephew is perhaps the most hilarious kid I know...and I'm not just saying that because he's related to me and I'm biased. This weekend we all went to the Pendleton Round-Up (a rodeo for all you non-Westerners) and a couple of happenings concreted his position of Funniest Child Alive© status:

1) After stealing a couple of strawberries from the garden of the house we were renting and my brother started to cuss him out, he drawled out, "Relaaaaaaax! They'll just think squirrels ate them."

2) At the rodeo, whenever the rodeo clown looked our direction, he hid, terrified that the clown was going to call him out to the arena. This was even more stressful given that he HATES clowns. When I told him that I hated them, too and that they kind of scare me (I read Steven King's 'It' when I was a little too young), he replied, "Welcome to my world." And the world-weary tone he said it in just added to the delivery.

When my mom told him that a comedian was someone who gets paid to make people laugh, he said, "Sign me up! That's the job for me."

I'll say.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What in the...!

What in the world! Imagine my utter horror and disbelief to find this in my work mailbox today:

(Click on it to enlarge it in case you can't read it.)

I knew I was getting older, after all, I've stopped hiding peas under my plate and don't compulsively text message all my friends as much as I used to. But the frickin' AARP!?! And to add insult to injury, specifically points out that I'm "fully eligible!" What the hell does THAT mean? I guess 36 is the new 50. I wonder if buying that Polydent to attach shark teeth to my car tagged me in their database. It was either that or buying the "Lawrence Welk Plays the Greatest Hits of Britney Spears" off the iTunes music store.

...hold the presses! It was the CRUISE! Argg! I KNEW we should have gone on one of those slutty Carribean cruises! That would have added me to the Promiscuous Living Maxim mailing list. Then I could have gotten condom coupons in the mail instead of ones for Depends.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Good neighborhood

Don't you hate it when you get up on a Saturday morning and decide to break with tradtion and go to McDonald's for a greasy breakfast sandwich instead of a peanut butter bagel and when you come back discover that you've left your front door open. And by open, I don't mean unlocked... I mean literally OPEN! When we came in the house, we shouted, "I hope there isn't anyone in here, because our dog doesn't take kindly to strangers." There wasn't anyone, and since we still had all our Fabergé eggs, we assumed no one had been in the house either. Phew!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Burned... by a fake candle

On our cruise, open flames were a strict no-no (evidently nothing ruins a cruise faster than people escaping an inferno by jumping into iceberg-strewn waters). Well, there still is something to be said for the romantic glow of candles at the dinner table, and the World of Tomorrow© has provided us with a solution (please continue to stand by for that cancer cure... and the flying cars...) The restaurants had what we thought were little tea lights on the tables, but noticed with alarm that the busboys were putting paper or napkins over them when they were clearing for the next guests. Then Margaret noticed that they weren't candles at all but clever little LED lights that merely looked like open flame. Well, when we got back on land, I was looking online for the fake candles and lo and behold, found some that were even COOLER than the tea lights. The online description told about the wonders of this particular candle that you turned off by blowing on it... just like blowing out a real candle. But wait... there's MORE. You turned it on by... wait for it... BLOWING on it. Holy Dumbledore! Every magical novel includes that little trick, and here we could have it in the comfort of our own home, without the whole getting excommunicated for practicing witchcraft process that takes YEARS to resolve.... plus they confiscate your wand, too! Anyway, upon seeing that, I had to had them, so I ordered them and they came yesterday. Well, I pulled them out and they did look cool. In fact they were encased in real wax, furthering the illusion. Then the moment truth came. I blew on the candle to put it out... nothing. I blew a little harder... still nothing. Thinking that maybe the little hole where the sensor was was blocked, I cleaned it out and tried again. Still nothing. I kept increasing the force of blows until I reached Hurricane Katrina level windspeeds, finally managing to "blow out" of the candle just before I passed out from hyperventilating. It required a similar hurricane-force wind to blow the candle on. There went any mystery or magic to impress guests. Hey folks! Check it out. If I inhaled twice my lung capacity and blow with all my might, and hit the sensor JUST RIGHT, look what happens. ...Subtle. I'm going to pack them back up and send them back. Unless any of you out there have emphysema and need a lung exerciser. In that case, I'll sell them to you...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

No pockets? No problem!

A couple weeks back we went to the Adult Soapbox derby here in Portland and saw this guy. I guess it shows how creative beer drinkers can be. If you don't have pockets or a special hat that hold beer, then what better place than in your skin-tight satin shorts to stick your bottle of beer? (And thankfully he stuck it in the back, rather than the front... that would be a little too conspicuous.)

Speaking of beer, I remember one time in Norway, it was fashionable for the missionaries to drink non-alcoholic beer with people investigating the church (but before they'd been told that they would have to give up drinking Devil Water). Well, one of my companions was offered what he thought was non-alcoholic beer, as the label said "Lett Øl" (øl means "beer" in Norwegian). After drinking about half of it, the guy pointed out that "lett" translates to "light" rather than "fake" and that he was really drinking the equivalent of Bud Light. Oops. That'll teach him to slack off in language class!