Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's a Canadian Summer

Canadians love talking about weather.  We talk about it all year long.  We love to call our friends in foreign countries to regale them with tales of 40 below winters and snow as high as a third grader.  We complain when it's cold, when it's hot, when it's wet - we are never happy with our weather but we sure are proud of it.

Currently, the Pacific North West is going through a heat wave, of tropical standards.  It's melting our rain boots and umbrellas.  I have to keep dunking the boys into a bath of cold water because my air conditioning decided to break down at a choice time.

It was so freaking hot last weekend that I took off again for the Caribou region to sit in Green Lake.  It was amazing there - we just kept jumping in the lake again and again - which made me think of the summer things special to Canadians.  So lucky readers, you get another list:

1.  That 'summer' smell only available to us Canucks (and possibly some Americans) - the one that only happens in the dead of summer.  It's the smell of heat, pine, and soil that sits in the still air and you can usually only smell it when lounging in a lake (or perhaps walking through a forest).  I made everyone stop at one point and 'smell summer'.  Luckily I have indulgent friends who obliged me and took a whiff.

2. Lake swimming.  I have made it abundantly clear that I love to swim in lakes.  Oceans are okay, pools are refreshing, but nothing beats a lake warmed by the summer sun and jumping in repeatedly from the dock (by the way - another favorite thing is the feel of the warm wood under my feet).

3.  Roadtrips.  I love summer drives.  The Sea to Sky Highway is up there, as is the stretch from the valley past Hope, the Rockies around Revelstoke and Golden.  It could go on and on.  It's driving in a car listening to country music turned up, the sun beating down, and the fact your surroundings are lush and green.  It's also stopping off at Tim's for double doubles or iced lattes, munching on ketchup chips, and letting that Canadian road wind ahead with the feeling of summer lasting forever.  Fruit stands, families in RV's, and roadside stops to the 'Enchanted Forest'.  

4.  Fruit stands.  Buying bags of peaches and nectarines that are so ripe the juices run down your arms (so you have to jump in the lake), cherries that are so fresh they are black, and popping blackberries, raspberries and gooseberries.

5.  Lying back with friends and watching for shooting stars.  Age hasn't taken away my sense of wonder.  I still make wishes on shooting stars - and I don't want to be told they are satellites.

6.  Hunting for wild strawberries on the side of the road

7.  Sipping beer (this summer is bud light lime)/coffee with baileys/hot chocolate and roasting marshmallows around the fire.  I like it best when the boys talk about conspiracy theories and aliens because I get that scared feeling I used to get watching ET.

8.  Sunsets.  Preferably over a body of water.  The best?  At Long Beach, BC where I am once again reminded that I live in the most beautiful country in the world.

9.  Skinny dipping in a lake (Okanagan Lake is on my mind) under a full moon with a few best friends and then spending the rest of the night sipping wine overlooking the orchards and vineyards of that lovely region.

10.  Having amazing friends to share all these things with.  Oh, and they may laugh at my cheesy reflections but deep down they love Canadian summers as much as I do

We're a nation that's in the deep freeze for most of the year - we gotta enjoy this season while we can . . . 

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Dog Days of Summer

I now know that parents with screaming children should  not be glared at.  No!  They are highly embarrassed by the actions of their children.  They can not be judged!  How do I know?

I have two dogs.  

I am embarrassed by them on a daily basis.  

Here it goes:

1.  Get into full elevator, tell Mop to 'sit'.  Congratulate self on good master skills as the elevator says 'awwww, what a good dog'.  Mr. Mop then proceeds to lick himself (loudly) in front of eight people.  
2.  When having a heart-to-heart at sidewalk cafe, dogs decide to pick fight with each other sending Brooklyn into high-pitched squealing with teeth bared as passersby stare on and moment of intimacy between friends is lost.
3.  Take dogs to home of non-dog people, leave them in room while out believing they will behave only to come home to a ripped up carpet with chunks of it all over the bed.  Mop poops carpet the next day.
4.  Brooklyn decides to stop for a big poop at the entrance of Tiffany as hoity toity Japanese girls scream in disgust as they exit store with new jewellery.
5.  Child sees little Brooklyn and asks if she can pet him.  Seeing as he is terrified of children he cries and hides behind my legs.  Mother looks at me with contempt.
6.  Get off plane in Salt Lake City and decide to let dogs out of crate on way to connecting plane.  Mr. Mop poops in front of two Mormons in the middle of Gate 12.  Take dogs outside.  Bring them back, go through security AGAIN (where their water is taken away and Brooklyn runs away when the stupid guard takes his collar off) and then Brooklyn poops as we head back to Gate 12.  
7.  Mr. Mop attacks puppy English Bulldog at park.  Owner shoots darts at me.  As I take him away, I hear another dog-owner say 'he was the first dog to attack my dog too'.  Assholes.
8.  Mop and Brooklyn gang-hump a dachshund.
9.  Mr. Mop finds a tampon (unused thankfully) and chews it, only to spit it out in front of my contractor who is putting in my laminate.
10.  Brooklyn drags out a pair of dirty undies to chew on while friends over for dinner.  Proceeds to run in circles and bark when I try to take them away.  

The Ice Cream Continued

Silly dog

Smart Dog?

You Scream, I Scream, Mop Gets Covered in Ice Cream

Obviously one of the best things about summer is the food that goes with it:
cherries, blueberries, blackberries, ice cream

I love ice cream.  I mean, who wouldn't?  Actually, the Engineer's sister doesn't like ice cream.  I yell at her every time I find that fact out because each time I am shocked.

For those Lower Mainlanders, I urge you to head down to the beach resorty town of White Rock for a meander along the sea with an ice cream cone in hand.  Why?  Because they have the BEST freaking ice cream there!!

It's called "White Mountain" and they serve homemade ice cream.  In homemade waffle cones.  This equals awesomeness.  

My flavors of choice?  Chocolate Rainforest (chocolate ice cream with pieces of honey-covered cashews, caramel and fudge) and Midnight Mint (chocolate ice cream with perfect flakes of chocolate covered mint).  Clearly I like chocolate.  

Due to the fact that it was a crazy hot day, I had to lick that sucker down fast to stop it from melting down my arm.  I couldn't, however, stop the drips coming out of the bottom of my cone.  Drips that landed on the sidewalk and delighted Mr. Mop to no end.  Being the smarter of the two, he quickly figured out that if he stood directly below me he could eat my drips.  He also got many drips on his white head (bad thing about having a dog with white fur is that everything shows).  In fact, his head was quite covered in chocolate after the ordeal.

Brooklyn didn't attempt to get the ice cream.  He just stood wagging his tail and blinking.

But maybe Brooklyn is the smarter of the two . . .  he did wait until we got to the comfort of our air conditioned home to lick all the ice cream off of Mr. Mop's head.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Last Wedding

I think it's possible that I just attended the last wedding of an really close friend.  Okay, maybe I have a few more of those.  But I am fairly certain it's the last time I will attend a wedding in which I am a worker.

That's right, my bridesmaid days are over.  But I wasn't even a bridesmaid this time.  I was the EMCEE.  Which, FYI, is a much harder job that being a bridesmaid.

I was an emcee for my cousin's wedding.  I was only okay at it, I took advice from my mum (no offense mum) and wasn't my usual bubbly self.  I attempted to be smart and emotional, a la Oprah Winfrey.

This time, I knew the couple well.  As in so well, I was the one who got them together.  The Engineer was the best man and best friend of the groom, and I am a very close friend of the bride.  Therefore I got to be much more myself.  And if I do say so, myself is pretty funny.

So here's the biggest difference between being a bridesmaid and an emcee:  the emcee's job STARTS basically when the bridesmaid job finishes.  Or rather, the emcees job starts when the drinking begins.  I was also so nervous all day long, that I only ate a bit of roast beef and an appetizer my friend shoved in my mouth while I spent the two hours between reception and ceremony trying to figure out the projector.  

Granted, I got out of the most boring of all tasks - the picture taking.  I truly dislike the pictures.  Ironic seeing as I love being photographed.  But I really do abhor the posing and smiling, especially when it is 30 degrees outside.  Even the bride at the wedding felt like she left her own party to take thousands of photos.  There is no simple solution to this problem if you want wedding photos.  Comments welcome . . .

Anyways, I was so nervous.  I had empty stomach.  And completely sober.  But that stage actress in my awoke like the beast it is when I got started.  I forgot how great it is performing for a live audience who gives you energy and gets your adrenalin pumping. Oh, and by audience of course I mean guests at a wedding.

There are no real funny stories coming out of the wedding.  Nothing zany.  It was nice, it was fun and as soon as my job was over I was double fisting Growers Cider which could explain the horrific hangover the next morning.  

I did try to set up any single man at the wedding with my girlfriends - seeing as we were at the wedding of my last matchmaking attempt.  In fact, I believe I told one guy he would have NHL babies because her eggs were of NHL breed.  Oh, and I may have performed Spice Girls on the stage.  

The other thing about the last wedding?  I have officially become that girl.  The girl in the long-term relationship who tells the Engineer to get a move on.  The girl who sits at a table where people ask when her time will come. The girl who when the bride says (into the microphone) the 'three of us wondered who would be first, and I guess it's me' is one of those three, and the LAST.  That's right.  I've become desperado.  

More painful than being a bridesmaid for a ninth time . . . .

You Can Take the Girl Out of the Country . . . .

But you can't take the country out of the girl.

Isn't that how the saying goes?

Clearly it's true in my case.  Not that I was ever that country, I grew up on a farm and I still failed pretty miserably at the rustic ways.  Peeing outdoors?  All over my jeans.  Cleaning out the grain bins for harvest?  Had an asthma attack sending me to emergency thus never having to do that painful chore again.  Cow whisperer?  Flew a kite that got away and tangled in a bulls horns.  

But there is a deep down part of me that is all farm and country.  My pride perhaps.  I take great pride in being from Alberta and at least knowing where my bread comes from.  I only buy Canadian grown meat to support men like my father and those around us.  I am also pretty good at driving  a tractor.  If you think driving in circles is good.

Last weekend, I hightailed it to my friend's amazing cabin on Green Lake, which is near 100 Mile House, BC.  It was AMAZING. I love love love being at the cabin.  I half grew up at a cabin with my best friend near Lake of the Woods, ON, and have since been obsessed with someday owning my own piece of cottage heaven.  I love lake swimming.  So much so, that once passing Ruby Lake, I yelled for the Engineer to stop the car so that I could race down the hill and jump into the summer-warm waters of the clear lake.  I must admit that I was a bit of a wimp this weekend.  It was windy.  And the sun was hiding.  So I enjoyed the water from the boat.  Ha!

Anyways, across the lake is a ranch called The Flying U.  I have heard about this place for years, and have even written a teleplay about it.  So of course, I practically freaked out when we got in the truck and headed for saloon heaven.

This is where my country comes in.  Halfway between the karaoke choruses of Shania Twain and Madonna, I decided to go on a bit of an adventure.  It started with me looking for the bathroom and ended with me climbing the fence of the corral in the pitch dark (wearing a dress and flip flops) and sneaking to the barn.  The farm dog came bounding after me, but I used my super dog whisperer skills and he rolled on his back.  I then went to the barn to find in padlocked so went to each of the windows.  I talked to the horses.  TALKED TO THE HORSES.  Okay, by this point I hope you realize I was three sheets to the wind.

Next, I maneuvered my way onto the  . . .  okay, this is how non-farm girl I am, I can't remember the name.  And it's too late to call my dad.  The thingy that the cows go up to get into the truck that eventually leads them to their death.  Which again, in the dark and in flip flops is tricky.  And then I got all emotional.  The smell of the dried cow patties, the wood, the barn and dirt took me back to my childhood and my grandmother.  So there I am looking at the stars, standing on a cow pattie and lamenting to my grandmother how much I miss her when I hear a round of 'Sarah!' 'Sarah!'. 

Oh right, my friends.

So I jumped down, hurtled my way over the fence and ran to them.  Telling them my great adventure of 'breaking into the barn'.  I think that's when they knew it was time for me to go home . . . . 

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Day Player

My good friend, Helenna Santos, just premiered her pilot episode of her new web series:  The Day Player.

I highly encourage you to visit her site.  The show is hilarious - especially for those in the acting trade.  Or even for those who aren't but want to see what life is like for those of us who choose this oh-so-rewarding life.  It's about a struggling actress who waitresses to supplement her income between her small roles. Which, to those who don't act, are called 'Day Players' because we only go to set for one day.

Lucky for me, my waitress days are behind me.  Not because I don't need to make an income but because I was a terrible, nay, horrible waitress.  I'll be honest.  I don't really like people.  I certainly don't like them enough to patch a grin on my face and serve them diet cokes and cheeseburgers.

I stared off quite good and friendly, and then something happened.  Something inside me started to die.  Something made me want to stab stupid people who can't order bread.

In once instance, the lady couldn't decide between brown bread or white bread.  While she thought about this decision that clearly was life or death, I started to sing the 'Final Jeopardy' theme song.  I didn't get a tip from her.

Another time, a lady asked me to 'turn down the frogs'. She was sitting on the patio above a pond in late spring.  The frogs were making tadpoles.  The ribbits were real.  She didn't believe me.  I told her she was a stupid cow.  

Once, someone was so grateful we had chicken soup that she declared 'oh thank god.  Thank GOD you have it'.  I looked at her and informed her that 50 000 people had just died in Asia's Tsunami but thank god we have chicken. Okay, I lied.  This story was actually from a retail store.  She was so freaking grateful that we still had a t-shirt.  But it didn't fit in with my waitress theme.

I broke dishes constantly, I spilled trays of food, but mostly I was simply rude to people.  Often to old people.  They don't tip anyways, and all they eat is a cup of soup.  And for that they click their fingers all the time. Plus they always want decaf coffee and a hot water with lemon.  So annoyingly high maintenance for so little.  And they are almost always grumpy first.

The worst customers?  Middle-aged women.  I am sorry to say this, but women of that age bracket are B*&#tches.  I rarely use that term but for this description there is no other word for it.  We don't know if it was seeing a pretty, younger girl that made them crabby as hell.  Or if they were menopausal.  Or if they were always that way.  Most of the women who came to our restaurant (at a golf club) looked as though they were permanently smelling poop or had something stuck up their rear end.  They always drank Sauvignon Blanc as well.  It's like the middle-aged woman drink of choice.  Sorry to my middle-aged readers! Not all of you are like this!  Only the one's who frequent the golf club restaurants!!

I got to give it to Ms. Santos.  She sure does capture the mindset of the customer and what the waitress wishes she could do to her.  And she always does it with a smile.

Blonde: To be or not to be dumb

I am an emcee this weekend for a wedding (which by the by, is WAY harder than being a bridesmaid!  I am already nervous, I have to pick out my own dress, and my job starts when the wine is served) and the bride gave me a book called 'The Wedding MC'.

In it, it says in order to have people like you and in order to poke fun at people in the wedding party, one must poke fun at oneself first.

So seeing as I spend much time criticizing others in this blog, perhaps it's time to shed light on some of my bigger dumb blonde follies:

1.  We had to take 'Theatre History' in University but it was stupidly scheduled at 10 am in our fourth and final year.  Okay, fine.  The normal world gets up for 9-5, but actors are not normal.  Especially those who are in shows in the evenings.  I was busy being Blanche DuBois every night until at least 11pm.  So not only was I not getting home until at least midnight, but I had to unwind from a three-hour performance which included a southern accent, bottle breaking, and being raped then going crazy.  Needless to say, I had trouble falling asleep.

So I often skipped the 10am theatre history class.

Luckily, my good friend T-dot was taking notes for me.  

I had all these notes regarding a famous playwright by the name of Goethe.  When I returned to class after the closing night, our teacher put a big 'GOETHE' on the blackboard.  But he kept talking about GERTA.  I was confused.  And not so subtly or quietly, I asked, in front of an ENTIRE classroom.  Who is Go - eh - the?  

The teacher was not impressed.  T-dot still goes on about it.

2.  I still have to make an 'L' shape with my hand when I am told to turn left.

3.  My friends and I just started a dog walking business.  I placed an ad on Craiglist. It reads:

Three lovely ladies will take care of your furry friend's needs.

Yup.  That's right.  Imagine our calls so far.

Do you like me more now that I have made fun of myself?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Doggie Treats

One would think I have two St. Bernard's or Golden Retrievers with the crazy things my dogs will eat.

Going on a walk is more like going on a 'what garbage can we eat today' adventure. It's disgusting.

In Brooklyn, people seem to think it's okay to drop their fried chicken bones on the street.  I can't tell you the amount of times I have had to wrestle a greasy chicken bone out of either of the boys' mouths.  No easy feat I tell you.  Mr. Mop may be 15 pounds but his jaw is like solid steel. 

They will eat anything.  Once Mop found a tea bag on the ground.  I looked down to see the 'Red Rose' label hanging out of his mouth. I told him to 'drop it' which he did, and then he proceeded to cough and spit tea leaves everywhere.  

Brooklyn once found a used condom.  Do people have no decency?

One day we were walking in Stanley Park when both my boys tore away to a large pile of horse poop.  I immediately ran after them yelling 'don't eat the poo! don't eat the poo!' while my friend little K and her dog laughed at us.  Brooklyn looked up at me, wagging his tail, with a lump of green horse dung hanging out of his mouth.  I washed their mouths out in the ocean and then gave them about 10 greenie toothbrushes each.

Yesterday, we were visiting my cousin's house.  Here is what Brooklyn found and tried to eat:
- a twist tie
- a butterfly key chain (one of the wings is still missing, I suspect I will see it resurface tomorrow)
- a box of matches
- ear drops (good thing he found them though)
- a slipper
- my flip flop (which he took out of the house and onto the lawn - all six of us spent about 10 minutes looking for my shoe)
- at least five sticks and a handful of leaves 

Mr. Mop loves to eat mussel shells as we walk on the seawall.  Crunch crunch crunch.  He also has an affinity to Starbucks.  If you put your Starbucks beverage down he will either attempt to drink it or pee on it (as he did to Little K's the other day). 

And yet neither of them like carrots.  You will eat horse poop and used condoms, but not carrots.  Weirdos.

The Bride's Last Stand

Another one bites the dust.  Getting married I mean.  And what does one do before one gets married?  Goes out for a night on the town, that's what.

Planning a stagette is quite an arduous process - I am fairly certain I sucked at the beginning.  My first wedding didn't have one (I don't think), and the second one was planned by the other bridesmaids (who did an amazing job), but by the third and fourth I think I got the hang of it.

To plan an amazing bachelorette party I like to think of themes that would incorporate what the bride loves or stands for.  One bride is a huge 80's fan who lived in Japan - so we made her wear a horrible 80's prom dress, served her sushi and took her to a karaoke bar.  Another wanted something quiet and subdued, so we planned a sleepover where we watched only Clive Owen movies (her alternate husband).  Then I copied that idea for another bride and had a pizza party with a Hello Kitty theme complete with a game of truth or dare. I even planned one in Cuba with a trip to a pirate bar that had stalagmites (the bride is a geologist).  

Anyways, planning a last party for your best friend is a delicate art of planning little details to surprise the bride all the while appeasing a group of women who can be a tad on the . . .  demanding side.  Everyone has an opinion.  Everyone wants to pay less or pay more.  Everyone should just shut up.

This weekend, the theme was 'Old Hollywood Glamour' at the horse races.  The maid-of-honor did an AMAZING job of making each girl a lovely fascinator (think Brits at the Royal Ascot or Carrie on her wedding day).  The MOH even got us a fortune teller to simulate the card reader in Portugal who told the bride she would find her groom in exactly a year (and she did!).

A group of girls dressed to the nines with birds on their heads surrounded by stags (clearly this is supposed to be a guy thing) equaled trouble.  The sad part is, I think my days of trouble are behind me.

I won't lie - I had quite a few years of debauchery and tomfoolery.  But from this weekend, I suspect that perhaps those days are long gone.  These are the signs:

#1 - The taste of alcohol makes me ill (this was a sign to my mother that she was pregnant with me.  But seeing as I am practically as celibate as Mother Theresa and I am not really expecting the second coming of Christ anytime soon, we can eliminate that as a possibility)

#2 - Wearing high heels all day made my feet hurt so bad I had to take my shoes off like a grandma - in the club.  I sterilized them with Mr. Clean later.  Also, I had to take an Advil for my sore hip and knee joints.  Sore hip and knee joints!  Clear sign I am not the girl who used to dance until the ugly lights were turned on!

#3 - When men approached me I got all nervous and stupid.  When they would try to be cool with a line like, 'Having fun tonight sexy?" I would smile and say, "Super thanks!" and walk away.  I think I used to just glare and roll my eyes.  Now I'm polite?

#4 - Dancing.  When I realize that I am simply bouncing my knees and shifting my shoulders  a la my mother dancing, I know I have become to old for the bar.  

#5 - When a girl wearing a crown congratulates the bride and then tells us it's her NINETEENTH birthday, it's time to go.  I actually said to her, 'You mean, you were born in 1990?????"  She giggled and said yes.  I nearly threw up.   I remember that year.  I remember the New Year's into that decade!  I was born two decades away from this kid! GAH!  When the freak did that happen?

Don't read into this and conclude that I am a tired old hag.  I'm only 29.  But I am a 29 year-old who at the end of the night made more sighs and gasps getting into my bed than Blanche Devereaux did in the entire series of Golden Girls.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Proposal

I think my favorite part of weddings is the proposal. Albeit, I am never at the actual proposal, but it's may favorite story.  Way funner than how the bride found her white shoes.  Or had them dyed.  Ick.

A friend from university got engaged this week, so of course I had to get her story.  It's pretty funny and it led me to think of many others in the same vein.

Her now fiance took her up to Whistler for their four-year anniversary.  At night, he asked her to go for a walk (so so so many proposals start this way) and she said she would rather just eat some chicken and go to bed (and so so so many proposals also start this way).  In fact, of all the men I know who asked their now-wives to 'go for a walk' got some sort of argument from the girls not to go for a walk.

One couldn't understand why he wanted to go for a walk now and was being pretty bitchy (her words) so insisted they take the garbage out first.    One was walking in a forest and losing her patience with her blundering fiance.  He stopped to 'tie his shoe' - ie. get on one knee - but she told him to catch up and kept going.  Apparently he just stayed there until she yelled at him, turned around, and then realized she was the idiot.  And another thought her fiance was a freak for wanting to go out into the sub-zero temperatures of the Canadian Rockies and almost didn't go.  Luckily she did.

Note to self:  if the Engineer ever asks me to go for a walk, GO!

Anyways, the fiance convinced my friend, M, to go for a starlit stroll.  She agreed on the condition they could stop at 7-11 and get candy first.  Fine.  They got candy.

He then insisted they sit on a bench to look at the stars.  She claimed it was wet and that Dancing with the Stars was on.  But she sat.  And proceeded to eat her fuzzy peaches and Swedish berries.

Her fiance kept starting a conversation, 'remember when we first met?'.  But M wasn't paying attention, she was sucking on a sour candy.  He started again.  This time she made fun of how he walked up to her and then brought up their first fight.  The fiance was getting a bit impatient and told her to 'shut up' and let him finish.

That's when she realized something was up.  She immediately freaked out and asked him if he was proposing.  M then patted him down for a ring, but didn't find anything.  He insisted he wasn't.  Relieved, she got up to leave, turned around, and there he was on one knee with the ring he was hiding.

Obviously she burst into tears and said yes.  Then she finished her bag of candy.

Congratulations M & T!!!