Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gingy goes to Nice

In the movie Amelie, one of the characters kidnaps a garden gnome and takes pictures of him all over the world and mails them back to the owner. I liked that idea, but garden gnomes are too big to carry in my purse. But Gingy isn't, so this is Gingy's trip to Nice.

The first leg of the journey was a train from Ottawa to Toronto to Windsor.  It was a long day.

Here is Gingy the next day, checking his luggage at Detroit International airport:
The trip did not go exactly as planned.  We flew from Detroit to New York's JFK airport.  We were delayed almost an hour leaving JFK, and so here's Gingy killing time with the boys in Charles DeGaulle Airport in Paris, waiting to get on a new flight since the delay meant we missed our connection to Nice.

Finally we arrived in Nice with most of our luggage.  Gingy collapsed on a chair on the balcony of the villa.  He was very jet-lagged and in need of a glass of wine.

Soon he headed for bed. In the movie star bedroom of the villa.

The next day, we went into downtown Nice.  The Port is pretty cool.

We went into the Old Town (Vielle Ville) and stopped for lunch and a drink in the K'fe Cayenne in Place du Palais:

Cafe au lait hit the spot:

Later we stopped for lunch. You kind of have to order Salade Nicoise when you're in Nice.
 After all that food, cafe au lait wasn't going to cut it. It was time for espresso!
Christmas Eve we made a special feast of cheese and crackers and prosciutto and pineapple and salami and shrimp and champagne.  We even tried lumpfish roe that we bought by accident, thinking it was seafood sauce.  It was salty and fishy.  No one had seconds.
We took turns having our pictures taken in the jacuzzi tub in my Dad's bedroom.

Gingy hit the champagne a bit too hard and decided to wear the wire thingy that came on the bottle.

After Christmas dinner, we had Buche Noel for dessert.

Sadly, Gingy got into an altercation with some locals.

Hopefully, his New Year's will be better!
Merry Christmas, everyone!!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I'm not dead yet

Though you might be forgiven for thinking so, seeing as I haven't blogged since early November.  I've been totally bereft of blog ideas a bit busy, what with Christmas coming and our family's upcoming trip to Nice

How busy, you ask?  Well, I have one of those perpetual calendars with the dates on little wooden tiles.  Sort of like these, except nicer.

Three days ago, I finally changed it from 'August' to 'December'. 

Yeah, that busy.

In my own defence, I've also finished a few knitting projects. And shopped for a new car. And worked/commuted/shopped/cooked/drove kids places/etc.  Occasionally, I've slept.

But I need to get back on the horse so that my blogging ability doesn't leave me entirely.  And so, dear reader, here is a bunch of random stuff rattling around in my head.  With pictures.

From the 'NHL lockout' files 

I had the following Facebook exchange with my friend Josie on my timeline:

Josie: Just an FYI, I am no longer referring to Bettman as "that troll" but instead as Gollum.

Alison: I guess that money is 'his precioussssss'. Stupid troll.

Josie: Watch a clip of Gollum and then watch Bettman last week during his press conference after talks broke down. Only difference is a suit and a wig.

And you know, I checked out some pictures, and she's right. So I made this for her:

From the 'You shouldn't have to get wrinkles and pimples at the same time.  It's just not fair.' files

I have a giant pimple on my forehead, right where I would have a lightning-shaped scar if I were Harry Potter.

It seems impervious to all my attempts to get rid of it -- creams, ointments, facial washes, even Avada Kedavra.

I am going to call it "The Zit Who Lived."

From the 'Introducing my children to popular culture/They're getting so much older' files


The past few nights, we’ve been piling onto my bed and watching Roger Moore in ‘Live and Let Die’ on DVD. Along with the Daniel Craig movies, I got a DVD with three of Moore's James Bond movies on it for my birthday.

The kids were interested in watching a James Bond movie, and this one, released in 1973 at the height of the Blaxploitation movie genre, has sparked some interesting conversations about racism, as parts of it are set in Harlem and southern Louisiana. The implied sex scenes are pretty tame, and both girls seem to be enjoying watching, though we keep pausing it so that I can answer questions. We’ve been watching about 45 minutes per night.

Part of the plot of this movie, if you’ve not seen it, is that Jane Seymour plays Solitaire, a clairvoyant who can reliably read the future in Tarot cards. She has this power only so long as she remains a virgin. This fact is discussed quite obliquely, and Rae did not pick up on it. Apparently Leah did. James tricks Solitaire with a Tarot deck stacked with ‘The Lovers’ cards and makes quick work of her powers. Offscreen, of course.

So, last night, we were watching the last 45 minutes of the movie, and Rae was full of questions. Leah was patiently answering them:

Rae:“Why is James throwing the chicken on the ground?”
Leah:“So that the alligators will come out of the pond and make a diversion”

Rae:“What is James doing?”
Leah:“He’s setting the drug lab on fire”

Rae:“Why is James’s boat slowing down?”
Leah:“Because when he was escaping, the guy with the hook shot at him and hit the outboard and it’s leaking gas.”

This went on for a while. And then came the question I was afraid would crop up.

Rae:“Why did being James’s girlfriend make Solitare not able to read the future anymore?”

Leah looked at me and said, “Your turn.”

From the "Things in your kitchen that can hurt you' files
  • The pointy end of the meat thermometer is quite ouchy when encountered unexpectedly in the sudsy dish-water by being jammed under your thumbnail.
  • Bricks of butter are unexpectedly heavy when they are cold and solid and have been dropped on your foot.
  • Picking up the skittish cat when he's having a bite to eat at his dish and holding him like a baby in order to smooch him on the head is potentially dangerous in itself.  Doing so at the same time your daughter drops a metal saucepan loudly onto the tile floor? Cue the band-aids and Neosporin.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies. And photoshop pictures of Daniel Craig for you.

Today is my birthday. 

It's been amazing so far.  I've been taken out to lunch, treated to cake and muffins, and had lots and lots of phone calls, emails, and Facebook and Twitter messages.  I am very lucky to have so many friends.  Especially ones who know me so well.  Friends who know what I like. What I love. And whom I'd jump in a second if I ever got the chance.

(I should probably clarify here that I mean that I am lucky to have friends who know whom I'd like to jump if given the chance, and *not* that I would like to jump my friends, attractive though they all are.)

The kind that would help me move bodies. And they are all very, very funny women.

Julie sent me this:

(I think the package is being hand-delivered, lol)

And JenB, JenS and Josie came up with following.  (Kudos to JenB on the stellar use of Microsoft Paint.)  It's my perfect birthday, and it's too perfect not to share. 


Oh Alison, it's your birthday again. Have you been a good girl this year? Yes, of course you have. In honor of your big day, we got you season tickets to see your guys in action:



We tried to negotiate with the NHL, but they wouldn't listen to Wife Logic. Voodoo didn't work either. We're really sorry. Here's some poutine to make it all better:


And, we have an even better gift planned. Pack your bags, because we're sending you here:


Want to know where you'll be staying?


And who will you be spending time with?


He's clearly in a hurry to see you.

We packed your bags for you and you have a suitcase full of fabulous clothes, shoes, and bikinis. Naturally, everything fits perfectly, is in your favorite colours, and makes you feel terrific.

We didn't schedule a lot for your birthday trip -- just lots of beach time and some tasty snacks.


We think you're going to have a great trip!


Happy birthday Alison!

xo, Jen, Jen, and Josie

Monday, October 22, 2012

Physics Mondays: the Tights Inequality

F1 > muw + ms


F1 is the downward force created by elastic rebound of stretched-to-the-max, so-called 'extra-long' tights,

muw is the coefficient of friction of the surface of underwear, and

msis the coefficient of friction of the...um...skin under the underwear
(I don't think it sounds very scientific to say 'coefficient of friction of my butt'.)

After walking back to the office from my car, I am about 30 seconds away from being part of an America's Funniest Home Videos pants-falling-down montage clip. 

Recent technological advances have made it possible to share photos and music wirelessly. There is a rover collecting rock and soil samples on Mars right this minute. You can buy bacon chocolate. Please tell me why modern science is UNABLE to come up with a pair of tights that don't keep plunging towards the ground with every step I take, as if they are being acted upon by some gravitational anomaly that accompanies me wherever I go.

Maybe we can get Dr. Sheldon Cooper working on this.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

And this is why I am not a photojournalist for Rolling Stone magazine

Well, first of all, because I hardly ever go to concerts.

And second of all, when I did go to a concert, last week, I drove up to the venue in a borrowed minivan full of children.  Actually, two of the children were borrowed as well. 

Not much rocker cred there.

Third of all, I didn't bring my camera, so the only pictures I could take with my Blackberry Curve 8520 that has no flash and about 0.0002 megapixels were....somewhat less than stellar.

So here you have Alan Frew, lead singer of Glass Tiger, doing an amazing acoustic set.  He's not only a great musician, but a really funny guy.  He's the whitish blob on the right of the stage.  The left-hand whitish blob is a guitarist.  Honest.

This is Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, still making audiences scream, rocking Scotiabank Place.  They are somewhere in the light.

Oh, this one's better.  Tom is the middle figure in black with the guitar, who appears to have no head.  I can attest that he does, in fact, have a head. 

I saw it.

Yeah, I know. Don't quit my day job.
It was Rae's first concert. After each song, she would clap and 'wooohoooo' like it was Lady Gaga up there. She was going wild. So I asked her, "Isn't this great?". She looked at me and shrugged and said, "Yeah, it's OK."  It was all about the screaming and clapping. That's my Rae.
Concert admission: free.  Parking: $8. Four Slurpees for the girls: $17. (Now I know why I never go to concerts, other than the whole 'not being a music photojournalist' thing.) Watching the girls listening to great Canadian 80s rock and new wave: priceless.  A week later hearing Rachel singing 'Sinking Like a Sunset' to herself: beyond priceless.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Things Canadians can do on Saturday nights during the NHL lockout

1. Deface pictures of Gary Bettman.
2. Not deface pictures of Donald Fehr.

(And if you think I'm being unfair blaming Bettman and the owners for the lockout, just remember that the owners caused the cancellation of the 2004-05 season to create this system (hard salary cap tied to league revenue) that they now say they can’t do business under. Bitch, please.)

3. Rent Bon Cop, Bad Cop and enjoy the zany, bilingual, hockey-themed, Lethal Weapon homage. 

Especially the scene where the cops kidnap the head of the hockey league, Harry Buttman (Get it? Buttman? Heh.), and stuff him in a hockey bag.

4. Go to the clearance section at Michael's or Wal-mart, buy the loudest yarn you can get, and start crocheting Don Cherry a new suit.

5. Debate the following: Whose mullet was more egregious -- Wayne Gretzky's or Jaromir Jagr's?

6. Drink beer and weep quietly.

Please feel free to suggest other possible Saturday night pursuits in the Comments section. 

Thank you.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Random bitching about the Grey's Anatomy season nine premiere with annotated photos and charts -- because I'm a scientist, dammit

I wish I knew how to quit you, Grey's.

Because, seriously (hah! get it?  'Seriously'?? bwahahahaha), this disrespect for both the characters AND your viewers is getting old. 

Yeah, I'm talking to you, Shonda Rhimes.

I've watched this show for going on nine years.  I've turned a blind eye to confusing timelines, to outrageous medical acts that would never happen (cut LVAD wires, anyone?), characters disappearing with little or no explanation (Erica Hahn????), and the preponderance of disasters (ferry crash/shooter in hospital/giant sinkhole/plane crash/bomb in patient), because I really love the characters.

More than you do, apparently.

The send-off you gave Mark Sloan?  Not. Good. Enough. Seriously. Really.

Oh, it was sad.  And I cried and cried, like you knew I would.  Here he is on his deathbed with his two best friends beside him, Derek and Callie:

Richard, Bailey, Jackson and Ben are waiting somberly outside. 

But who isn't at his bedside?  Who should be at his bedside, if you really cared about the characters?

Well, let me see. Oh, how about....

A. Sloane, Mark's daughter, and her baby?  Remember them? 
B. Julia, Mark's plot-device, eye-surgeon girlfriend?
C. Addison, his ex-flame? 
D. I dunno, maybe his parents???

Maybe I just think way too much about this stuff.


And now onto the next subject.  Geography or meteorology, or both.

(This is what happens when you ask a scientific editor, someone who cares about both consistency AND scientific accuracy, to suspend her disbelief.)

(Yes, it drives people who watch TV with me crazy.)

(No, I don't think I'll stop any time soon.)

During the season premiere, we got to visit Cristina at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota:

Please note that she is wearing a winter coat under her scrubs, with a fur-collared hood (A).  Also present are blowing snowflakes (B). (Well, OK, I drew those in myself, but only because this is a screen capture from a video [the things I do for you people, it's a wonder I'm sane] and you can't see them blowing around in the photo like you can on the video.)  Shorthand: brrrrr, it's winter, it's cold.

During the same time period, we got to visit April at her parents' farm in Ohio:
Please note that she is in shirtsleeves (A) and next to some sort of blooming shrub (B).  Shorthand: mmmm, it's nice and warm and summer-like. (She also has a pig on a leash and appears to be channeling Heidi, but that's another discussion altogether.)

OK, let's look at a map now:

Rochester, Minnesota, is in the extreme southeast of the state of Minnesota, which puts it roughly 500 miles away from Ohio.  And not 500 miles due north from Ohio either.  So I find it very suspect that it's deep winter temps for Cristina and flip-flop weather for April, at the same time

The plane crash was up in the mountains.  Even at that elevation there was no snow -- and the doctors are in light jackets, so it has to be at least late spring or early summer, say May or June, when the crash happens. (Holy Cats! I do think way too much about this stuff!)

At that point in the year, I don't think you still get blizzards in southern MN.  Let's check out what the climate charts say. (Yes, it's official. WAY. TOO. MUCH.)

(Sorry, scientific editors love charts.)

The only thing I can think of is that the writers, who are probably all from L.A., looked at a map and said, "Hey, Minnesota is practically Canada, it probably snows all the time up there and is full of ice and goofy midwestern stereotype people."  Seriously, Truly, it's the only explanation.

And it's STUPID.

Is it stupid enough that I'm going to stop watching? Oh, hell no. I'm hooked. Despite my bitching, Thursday night will find me curled up on the couch as usual in my PJs with wine and good supply of kleenex.

I don't know how to quit Grey's. It's like Brokeback Hospital.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

If you can't be a good example, be a horrible warning. Vol. 1.

I met the nicest man last week. When I drove my car into his car.

I was stopped at a four-way stop, and was trying to read the street sign as I was unfamiliar with the area I was driving through. I stopped and then I drove forward while looking sideways at the street sign and right into the side of the man who was turning left. He was incredibly nice about it considering it was all my fault and to top it off, it was his 60th birthday and he was on his way home to his wife for dinner. Do I know how to make a day special or what? Sigh.

Crap. One minute of inattention at the wheel = lots of headaches. Not actual headaches, we're all fine, but dealing with insurance and worrying that my car will be a write off, not because the accident was bad, both cars were traveling at about 10 km/hr, but because my car is 13 years old, and oh the painful irony of spending $700 in front-end repairs a week before wrecking the front end of the car.  *face palm* 

I'm still waiting to hear from the insurance company and the body shop. In the meantime, I'm tooling around in a sleek silver Malibu rental that Rachel has christened "Renty", as in "Can we go out shopping in Renty?"

So today I am presenting myself as a horrible warning for what happens when you don't pay attention while driving. 

Pay attention, dammit!!

You're welcome.