Sunday, June 28, 2009

Boeuf of the Week

Well as you may have noticed, this isn't exactly a 'weekly' blog feature despite it's title. Quite simply because, I don't really have a weekly boeuf. Oh sure, there is always some little annoying thing that will happen but this space is more for things that get under my skin...more of a 'repeat offenders' kind of offence or a venting space for things just plain nutso!
My boeuf this week is something that we all deal with on a fairly regular basis when we're out shopping. It's featured as my current thorn as I always notice that as soon as summer hits, the amount of incidents that occur greatly increase. I'm not sure if it gets worse due to people being in a more relaxed state of mind, or perhaps it's the heat getting to them, but I find it definitely happens more frequently.
I'm speaking of those people who somehow seem to be completely oblivious to other people in their surroundings. You know, the ones who shop and take up a whole aisle - they leave their buggy right in the centre (on an angle of course) while they go off to decide what flavour of chips they want to buy...hmmm, salt & vinegar, rippled, all dressed!!
Clearly the confusion of what additive to choose, leaves them not able to see the line of people trying to get around their buggy, or to hear the same people muttering voodoo chants as they finally make their way past.
Another favourite of the people that I file under 'The Ignoramus Group', is when bumping into a neighbour or friend while shopping, they insist on blocking off the entire area where the meeting occurs, somehow this area now becomes their own. Unless you're interested in getting caught up with the fascinating tales of Aunt Mabels 'foot issues', or Uncle Bob's 'plumbing issues' or hearing what EVERYONES kids are now doing, I would suggest you just take a detour!! This group will still be there when you're on your way out. We also have families, who decide that they all have to walk in one big, spread out horizontal line. They sometimes will all hold hands, which always puts me in the mind of Red Rover - The Mall Addition. I swear one day, I'll see someone taking on their smug challenge and go bustin' right through their happy family unit!!
Red Rover, Red Rover, man with the angry eyes is going to plow you over!
Lastly in this group of people suffering from 'holiday head' are the one's who ask dumb questions, and I mean really dumb questions. Only days ago a customer was standing in front of the gum section where I needed to merchandise my product. She was taking up half of the space, so I did what I could on the other side and waited for her to shift so that I could continue with my gum guru duties. I waited and waited and then waited some more. Frankly I'm often baffled at the amount of time it takes some people to choose gum. So I continue to shuffle the remaining products in my buggy, trying to appear polite by not rushing her - when in fact I'm swearing under my breath. She turns to me with this gem of a question. 'What is the best gum to take on holiday?' My first thought is 'WHAT?'!! She's been there a full ten minutes and that's the reason why?!
I wanted to say, 'well mam, depends where you're going....Mr. Spearmint loves Europe and can take you to the most divine selection of eateries, while Ms. Winterfresh (despite her name) simply adores the tropics, but if it's a fun, no strings attached kind of get away you're after, go for Mr. Bubblemint...he knows how to show a girl a good time!!
I decide against sharing those thoughts with her and ask. 'well what flavour do you like?'. She replies, something minty. Now this is where my extraordinary skills as a gum guru come into play...I say, 'ok, how's about peppermint?' She looks at me as if I'm bathed in light and my words have been sent from God, takes the gum that I recommend and thanks me for my help?.
These are just a few of the challenges that I have to face at work - it's a tough job, but I guess someone has to do it! I sometimes wonder how I manage to stay so sane. ;-)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Design Intervention

The kind of thing that I love....

This photo was taken in my mum's hospital room, in the ICU ward - obviously not the most pleasant ward to be spending time in. Although, at least in this case she had a corner window room with a bit of a view. However, the outside view wasn't the one that gave her the most pleasure, it was the view of this cute little bird.

As soon as I walked into her room, I exclaimed in my usual childlike manner, 'oh look at that wee bird, he's so lovely!!' By using a Sharpie, someone had transformed an ugly rip in the drywall and turned the mess into this adorable little nature scene. Much more uplifting for the patients I'd say!! I hope they don't paint over him though, I'm sure he brings a smile to the everyone who sees him.
So very tweet!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Flavah of the Month

On the menu board this month is Ben Parker. This chappie came to me by way of a song on a CD that UK friends Chris and Erica made for me a couple of years ago. The song was one from when he was in the dynamic duo, Ben & Jason - they managed to be dynamic despite the lack of masks and capes. When I was in the UK last year the same peeps added some tunes on my iPod for me and Ben Parker was one of those guessed it kids, he played the role of Ben, in Ben & Jason!! They added 2 of his songs, 'Survive the Rain' and 'Angels & Demons', both of these songs have for months, become part of my morning routine. Even when I shower, I take my iPod and portable speaker system with me...and well, it is there that Ben sings to me. He continues to sing to me throughout the rest of my morning, and he often makes me leave for work much later than I had originally intended to - lucky for me, my start time is very flexible, which is good as I often continue to listen to him via his Myspace or YouTube.
He's so much more than your average bear, his beautiful voice combined with some pretty fantastic song writing really takes me away - obviously not in the direction of work though!!
You must do yourself a favour and check him out, I get more hooked with each listen. 'One Of Us Must Change' (this tune reminds me of Queen a little - the song is amazing!), 'It's Not What You Are', and 'This Message' are some of my current faves, but again, they're all pretty fab. His latest offering, Dream Painted Gold is so much more than your typical pop song, which is why I love his music so much, not a bit of useless fluff to be found anywhere....oh, how it makes my heart sing to listen to well written music. He never takes the typical 'rinse and repeat route'...hallelujah!!
Don't forget to check out his former Ben & Jason work too...more great music for ya....actually their song, 'I'll Always Want You' is also part of my morning musical tour, this song is quietly me, that will make sense to you when you have a listen, it is one superb offering, has a bit of a Rufus Wainwright feel to it, with a dash of Fiona Apple.
So there you have it, slowly you'll be able to put together my whole day in musical terms, mornings with Ben, work cruising with Chris.....maybe next month I'll feature who I listen to while I eat...I know, edge of your seat kind of suspense!!!
So give your ears the pleasure of listening to the super talented Ben Parker.
Ben can be found at and of course, you can see him in action (sans cape) via YouTube.

Before I wrap it up, I just need to bang the Chris Keys (last months' Flavah) drum one more time. In the time since I wrote about him, my copy of his EP Hitman has been delivered. As you may know my listening habits can be classified as 'Rainman' like - I usually have about max. 6 cd's in my regular rotation at a time. I play them over and over, so I get to know them pretty thoroughly. I've been playing Chris's EP almost everyday, and I must say it makes a lovely addition to my commute, great cruising music.
Aside from the songs I mentioned in the original blog, Open Seas and Reliving are another two stand-outs. Most played tune at the moment is Fix It, it's an especially beautiful tune with rich guitar. I've played that particular song so many times, that I even felt qualified to give Chris my suggestion for a little instrument addition - hey who doesn't love a shot of harmonica?? What can I say, I'm an avid listener! So that's my reminder for you to check him out and of course Ben too!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Curtain Call

Snippets of my life in theatre format because...
All the world's indeed a stage
And we are merely players
Performers and portrayers
Each another's audience
Outside the gilded cage - Rush via Shakespeare

The setting - Discount store selling a variety of items - some useless, others perhaps useful.

Act One -

Lady (to be played by me)- enters shop upon her husbands suggestion, wanders somewhat aimlessly only half taking in the odd mixture of items as her main focus is controlling her 2 crazy boys. Ponders the fact that despite the lack of customers, there seems to be no lack of staff.

Bearded staff dude with somewhat 'surprised look' eyes spots lady and makes his way through a maze of garden furniture and accessories, weaving in and out of chairs, past tall metal crane sculptures, under over-sized outdoor clock on stand (why?) and finally reaches lady.

Beard guy : 'hi', 'is there anything I can help you with today?'

Lady : (although wanting to say- yeah you could help me get my kids to listen) replies: 'no thanks, I'm cool - just havin' a wander.'

Beard guy - exits stage, left then right, then under the clock again, and another sharp left - careful to avoid being impaled by the crane.

Act Two -

Lady suggests to husband that they wander separately each taking one child to avoid the constant attempt for 2 hot, tired children to give each other the stink eye.
Husband (to be played by Tony) agrees and takes the red-headed one.
They go their separate ways.

Act Three - (the mime portion of the play combined with some interpretive dance??)

The setting -
Lady and brown eyed boy continue to wander aimlessly through shop. Lady continues to wonder, what kind of people shop here - feeling a bit like Alice in Wonderland after she fell down the rabbit hole.
The PA is playing 'Get into the Groove' by Madonna. Lady is getting bored and searches for husband and the red-headed son. As she approaches each aisle she looks down hoping to spot them.
Before she can look down the next aisle a portly man in sweat pants and a t.shirt that is clearly far too small for him, steps out in front of lady - he stares directly at her with no expression on his face, stands there, and does a few bizarre shimmy dance moves to the lyrics - 'Get up on your feet, yeah, Step to the beat, Boy what will it be' and then just turns and goes back down his aisle in a fashion that reminds the lady of a koo-koo clock figure stepping out for it's few seconds of glory and then hiding away again. High emphasis on the word KOO-KOO!!
Lady merely stares blankly in return and continues on her quest to leave the store.

Act Four -
Now back in the safety of their vehicle, although curious why the dancing man chose her to give his free show even more curious as to why this kind of bizarre occurrence happens on a fairly regular basis to her....hmmmm....could it be my perfume??

More plays to ability to attract the world's strangest people is second to none!! And perhaps I'll even do a little classic theatre and relive some of my old favorites.

P.S. Rush's Limelight is still a wicked tune, back to YouTube for another listen.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Nerves of Steel

This seems to be a prerequisite for travelling in BC - nerves of steel! On our way up to Whistler recently to have a nice relaxing little break, we were constantly reminded not to let our guard down. Looks like there is no time to enjoy feeling safer on the much improved Sea To Sky Highway, there are still too many reminders of pending doom. Every twist and turn gives you some new potential hazard to worry about, you have signs warning you of rocks falling, and we did have a nasty rock slide only last year on that stretch. Then each park stop comes with the gentle reminder, 'You are in bear country', followed by a list of what to do if you encounter one of these locals - top of the list, don't panic...yes, I'm sure everyone feels quite calm when standing close to a bear. Then of course, you've got your fire hazard postings listed everywhere telling you what level of danger we are currently experiencing. When we were in Pemberton, we did see a few puffs of smoke coming off one of the mountains, but no one seemed too worried about it....the current level was 'moderate', I think they start to pay attention once it reads 'high', or once the flames are shooting 20 feet in the air.
We also get a few variations in our warnings, depending on the weather.
Apparently, Jon Bon Jovi named his album, Slippery When Wet after he had travelled on the highway from Whistler, where there are many signs bearing the term "Slippery When Wet", and had taken a liking to the phrase. Not only does the rain bring us slippery roads it also brings us our famous mudslides know the ones that result in you being re-routed on some road that you've never heard of, that adds an additional 5 hours to your journey!
Then of course in the winter you get to take your chances with the seemingly increasing number of avalanches.
Yes, our province really is a beautiful place to just chill.
The photo above was taken on Saturday when we took the kids to Othello Tunnels, a nice little family outing providing the tunnels don't cave in or you don't lose your footing and plunge into the raging Coquihalla River below.
Only yesterday, I was looking at the Sun Peaks Resort website as we are thinking of heading up there for a couple of days. I'm checking out the activities and see canoeing, yes, that's what I'll do, I'll go on one of the canoe tours. The picture of this looks so relaxing, and besides, it's not like the Ogopogo lives in that lake, so obviously nothing to worry about. I shall paddle my way to Nirvana.
Then as I read about the tours, I come across this: The lakes are also home to moose, bear, and even cougars all of which are frequently spotted. Oh how nice, lining the shoreline will be a gang of animals wearing napkins tied around their necks (assuming they have good table manners) waiting to enjoy me as their picnic - the moose will play the part of maitre d' in this scenario.
Although, thinking about bears and picnics, it does remind me of that song. My mum would sing Teddy Bear's Picnic to me when I was sick as child. It always evoked nice visuals for me...the cute furry bears, with their basket full of cheese, bread, fresh strawberries and a flask of tea (not sure if they drink wine), all placed neatly on the gingham cloth that they've laid out. Somehow though, I'm not sure that's how it would play out in real life. Note to self, these animals, although adorable are WILD!! Besides, I've already had one close encounter of the cougar kind and that was plenty close enough for me!!

The funny thing though, is if you've grown up in BC these warnings are just part of the normal signage that we've become accustomed to seeing. I don't know that it stops any of us from going where we want to go, for us it's just part of the package.
It does make me wonder though, how this prevailing doom is viewed by people visiting us from other countries - maybe that's part of our 'wild west' appeal.
I've travelled to the UK several times and don't ever remember seeing any signs warning me of pending doom. I suppose they could post signs saying 'you are in sheep country'....this may delay your journey while you wait for them to cross the road....I have experienced that before. Or perhaps they could start labelling the sticks of rock that they sell at the seaside with, 'warning, tooth dislodging may occur during the consumption of this product' - that would be good to know before hand. Nope, I think the worst thing I had to worry about was 'minding the gap'...which seeing as I'm small, is a warning I do heed, I certainly don't want to fall onto the railway tracks - not good! No wonder I enjoy my time in the UK so much, it's a place that I can truly relax, far from the pending doom of holidays in my neck of the woods. The closest thing to danger was maybe when I walked some of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. My boyfriend at the time and I, walked about a 12 mile portion of the 186 mile beautiful cliff top path. The sheer drops weren't too much of a worry but we did cross a section that had signs reading, 'WARNING: SHOOTING RANGE' - 'please call such and such phone number to ensure safe passage', or you can take a detour that re-routes you into the village then meets up on the path further along. Hmm, what to do....remember this was before the days o'cell phones so we'd first have to find a phone to make that call - big time waster in my book, and I really wanted to continue along the actual trail. My boyfriend turns to me and says, 'what should we do?'. I ponder for a split second and say, I think we should make a run for it, just run straight on through and if we hear any shots being fired....just start to ZIG-ZAG!!! Seemed like the obvious choice to me, after all, it's not like bears were doing the shooting!! So that day, the man from Southampton had a little taste of what it was like to relax 'Canadian style'! Personally, I found the whole experience quite refreshing!

Green With Envy??

Ok, this is my son Owen trying his best to look fierce. He is posing in the cut-out of Rambo that is next to the visitor centre in Hope - where the movie Rambo: First Blood was filmed. All good you say, nothing says fun like letting my 4 year pretend that he's toting a machine gun. Oddly enough, what bothers me isn't that so much, it's the fact that Rambo's skin is green?! I can only speculate that he either just got off of a river rafting excursion on the Coquihalla River and is feeling a little sick, or perhaps he is a little envious of the Incredible Hulk?? Either way, if it wasn't for the fact that his skin is green, I could've easily fooled people into thinking that Owen had really bulked up in preparation for the Mr. Mini Universe clearly with the skin not matching...there is no 'Hope' in fooling anyone!! Doh!!!

Just Because....

...I loved the colours in this sunset.
I took this photo tonight, after noticing a bright orange light shining through my window. Unfortunately, some of the colouration is due to the forest fires currently burning in BC. The colours reminded me of a Cezanne painting though, so that's good...our forests burning out of control...not so good!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I, Said the Fly, With My Little Eye...

Ok, I just had this flashback of a song that my nan sang to me as a kid. The uplifting tune was called, 'Who Killed Cock Robin' (full rhyme available on Wiki).
*Spoiler Alert* - the Sparrow is guilty!
It is best sung with a slow sorrow-filled voice...super for small children!! It's a lovely rhyme about the bird community coming together to bury one of their own - with the aid of some of the other local animals.
It's a sad atmospheric tune, and my nan really knew how to deliver this song well. Not sure if anyone I know even knows of this catchy little number, maybe people with a British background...oh, how the Brits love to sing songs of mayhem to their kids!!
Anyways, despite the morbid content, it brings back good memories for me...for the Robin - not so much!