Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I don't know about where you live, but people are constantly raving about Ultimate 'round these parts. I like a good Ultimate every so often myself, preferably with a cheesequake Blizzard to wash it down, but it's quickly apparent that this is not the Ultimate of which they speak.

Actually, the first several times I heard "ultimate" used as a noun, I thought the offenders were just a little gramatically addled and I let it slide. Who am I to judge, right? After a while, though, I realized there was something more going on, so I started asking questions. The conversation invariably took on a Who's On First? sort of bent:

"What is Ultimate, anyway?"
"Oh my gawd, it's just the best! It's so much fun! I just love it!"

Then they'd go all starry-eyed and gaze grinning off into space, and that would be it for my explanation. I surmised Ultimate was some form of recreational drug that I was too old to have dabbled in.

But there remained a nagging sense that, no - these people were all pretty Church of Latter-Day Health Freak, and mostly my age or younger, so I pressed on and eventually gleaned that Ultimate is shorthand for Ultimate Frisbee, which is a sport. Enlightenment! A little online sleuthing rounded out my search for the details, which go something like this: if you could take the top seventeen or so most dreaded activities for an overweight, undercoordinated person who could never quite get the hang of any team sport, ever, and cross-breed them all together into one great, jocky hydra, Ultimate would be that beast.

*shudder* Terrifying, isn't it? And just in time for Halloween!

But let's not dwell on what kind of nutballs get all twitterpated over extreme sports. Let's talk about how inadequate it makes me feel that people can actually enjoy that kind of crap when I've managed to slob my fat ass to my local Curves once in the past six months.

And it was closed early for a staff meeting.

So I went home.

And ate a bag of cookies.

Oh my gawd, I'm pathetic.

But if I've learned anything from my mother it's how to rationalize shoe purchases, which is a skill that lends itself surprisingly well to many aspects of life if you only try hard enough. So to all you wonderful moms out there who are already paddling like hell without adding supreme athleticism to your To-Accomplish list, come take a ride on Rationalization Rail with me and let's talk ourselves out of this Ultimate morale slump, shall we?

The following is pretty standard fare, but feel free to customize it to suit your rationalization needs:

Okay, so I'm not athletic, or maybe I used to be long ago and far away but just can't find the time for it anymore, but that doesn't make me an underachiever. My house is reasonably clean. My kids, spouse, family, employers, neighbours, dentist, doctor and bank are all reasonably happy. I've managed to maintain a reasonably good relationship with my breasts, despite our increasingly long-distance link. I've perfected the pie crust. I could probably make the Guinness Book for most times singing the ABC's in one year. I could take gold in every Olympic diapering event from Pile of Limp Spaghetti to Angry Greased Pig, while singing the ABC's, and not break a sweat. In short, I've got a lot on my plate, and I don't just mean burgers, and I don't need any other obligations - real or imagined - so just piss off already with the Ultimate.

A toast to you, O Herculean Homemakers! Keep up the stellar work.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Alllll Aboard!

Sometimes, you just have an extremely large pillow to take in to work. Is that really so hard to understand?

Judging by the overt gawking I was subjected to on the C-Train carrying the pillow home from work two days prior... yes. Completely incomprehensible. Didn't come close to the time I rode the train with a soil auger, but that's a different blog entirely.

Funny, when you're carrying something oddball, all eyes are on you. When you're nine months pregnant and would like to sit down, four dozen people become so deeply engrossed in Crowchild Trail that you're practically invisible.

But I'm not here to harp. I'm here to confess that I just couldn't muster up the fortitude to suffer another transit ride with the gigantic pillow - I asked a coworker to come pick me up in the morning on his way in to work.

*ring ring*
"Is this your address, that you just emailed me?"
"So how do I get to your house?"
"Just follow the directions in my email."
"I think I'll Google Map it."
"Sweet, see you tomorrow then, 'bye."
"No, don't hang up!"
"I just want to do it with you on the phone right now."

*wait for it... waaait for it...*

"Oh, shit. You're going to write about that, aren't you?"

And get this, folks - this conversation occurred on none other than a Wednesday! Having read (and I'm ashamed to admit, subsequently seen) The DaVinci Code, I'm now an expert at deciphering cryptic messages. And this one came through loud and clear to my highly-attuned senses:

Another Casual Hump Day convert!

Keep up the excellent work, minions, your recruiting efforts are clearly paying off. We're coming ever-closer to attaining that critical mass of willing participants!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wonder Woman

I prefer mittens to gloves. Sure, it's easier to dial 911 or pick your nose if you're wearing gloves, but with mittens you can really work on perfecting your chameleon walk. Helps to pass the time at the bus stop in the mornings.

For instance, Thursday morning I had to wait until 6:30 for the 6:00 bus - by way of explanation the driver muttered something about the bus not starting. I just rolled my eyes independently of one another and muttered back how glad I am to see my daily $5 contribution to Calgary Transit being put to good use, like vehicle maintenance.

Here in balmy Calgary the entire transit system keels over dead every time the thermometer strikes zero. And by "balmy" I mean "eight months of crappy," so I find it best to have a dedicated bus stop pastime. Now that it's winter again I'm getting so good at the chameleon that one actually came on to me the other day.

Or maybe it was just some guy with mittens. Tough to tell.

Anyways, you should know I suffer from a rare genetic condition known as Crazy Hair. Crazy Hair generally manifests itself in the mornings, so I often arrive at the bus stop with damp hair from trying to wash the Crazy out before I head to work. Thursday was a Crazy Hair day, and during my marathon wait for the bus I ended up with such a chill that I decided to leave my scarf on at work. Admittedly it was more Arctic Expedition than Downtown Office, and didn't really coordinate with my outfit, but if Lady Gaga can get away with a Kermit cape I figured surely I could rock a mismatched scarf until I warmed up.

The first person I saw said, "Ooooh, covering up a hickey?"

The second person I saw said, "Ooooh, covering up a hickey?"

By around the tenth person I decided to roll with it:

"Sure, why not. Having kids does wonders for the sex life."

Guess they couldn't read my poker face, because there was a long pause before an incredulous, "Really?"

Yes. Really. I wonders where it wents.

With next week's wintry forecast, I should have plenty of time to ponder that at the bus stop.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mind Your P's and Moo's

I don't remember being taught about manners, exactly. I recall catching serious hell for throwing my pea soup on the walls and blaming it on my little brother, who was a) three and b) asleep at the time, so I knew for a fact that one was not to throw food no matter how much one disliked it.

On the other hand, my grandma's name was Mabel, so when she told me that rhyme about elbows off the table I thought it was just a story from her life.

So maybe my parents really did try to teach me, but I didn't register the lessons unless they were accompanied by a beating. Who knows where the blame lies, but the end result is that I'm still gleaning nifty tidbits to this day - Proper placement of cutlery when setting a table (age 16). Elbows off the table, for real? (age 18) If on a date, either all or none of the people involved may consume garlic (age 21). Napkin on lap (age 25). The fork was not intended for use as a shovel (age 30).

If you've ever been shocked by a revelation in etiquette (as I have), or been dumped due to lousy forking technique (which I can assure you I have not), you'll know the feeling: "How does everyone know about this stuff but me? And why didn't someone mention it before?" Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to the decorum challenged, so if you really want to discern the correct placement of the tin of chunky soup in relation to the spork you can look it up.

I do have to say that during the course of my research on this topic, I noted some obvious gaps in the literature. Because I'm all about public service announcements, I'd like to propose a few items that, IMHO, should really form part of our collective codes of conduct:

- Photogenic is Swahili for you look worse in real life. Do everyone's self-esteem a favour and set the bar high - delete or destroy any photographs that are not eminently flattering to your subjects.

- Bring your own barf bags on the helicopter, so as not to deplete the pilot's supply.

- Wiping up your own pee splatters does not constitute "cleaning the bathroom".

- If you've been getting the milk free for seven years, you should at least take the cow on a nice vacation once in a while.

- If you're going to complain about your significant other in a public forum such as a blog, you should at least do so anonymously and/or under the guise of public service announcements.

- Cows really like the spa.