Escape to the Believably Unbelievable

I went to the movies today.  I cashed in one arm and half a leg to go and see The Avengers.  Yes, I did.  (Only half a leg as I cashed in points, or sold a relative, or something, in order to obtain a free ticket.  Next family reunion I will figure out who is missing.)  Was it worth it?  You betcha!

Just to be clear, I only go to see movies on the big screen when there is stuff being blown up and there’s lots of action.  Chick flicks I prefer to rent.  Same with comedies.  For some reason, I just love action movies on the huge screen.  Even better, this one was done in 3D!  Everything was flying right at me!  I was there in the movie!  No gun in hand or anything, but call me a casual bystander in the scenario.

This is a good year for movies.  This year is full of action movies.  The Avengers was a great start.  SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    (Poor New York…can’t imagine the tax increases due to restructuring after those evil things rip apart the city).  Then Dark Knight Rises comes out soon too. ( Hmmmm, there goes Gotham City.)  Now that brings me to Snow White and the Huntsman.  (I figure a whole forest gets burnt down and a castle might crumble.)  The trailers are fantastic!  Super Evil Queen!  Great acting!  And the Thor actor becomes a Hunter.  How cool is that?  (Can’t imagine the workout that man has to do in order to get biceps that big.)

I am not a regular movie goer.  I do believe there are certain movies that should be seen on the big screen to get the full effect.  Not only do you get surrounded by the activities on-screen, but the people are almost life-size (and especially in 3D).  You are now THERE!  You are in the movie!  You are part of it!  I must admit that with so much computer technology the impossible happens, but isn’t that what movies are supposed to be about?  It’s an escape.

In case I haven’t mentioned this earlier, I was a history student.  So, here is a bit of a history lesson for you.  During the Great Depression and during both World Wars, people went to the movies.  People went to the theatre.  People were entertained through radio programs.  It was all about escaping the reality around them for just a little while.

I escaped into another world today.  The acting was fantastic.  If I can believe the character’s persona then I am hooked.  That is good acting.  There are many good actors/actresses and I do appreciate being entertained properly. 

The Avengers also had what I appreciate most in storylines.  I LOVE humour.  The sarcasm, the surprising comments that make you chuckle.  The funny actions that probably make the actors want to pee with laughter after they hear “CUT”. 

Today, I just decided to share my joy of seeing a fantastic movie.  Fantastic…as in fantasy….suspend belief and just sit back and enjoy. 

Thank you to The Debater and The Artist for telling me to drop my other boring, drab duties and just escape for awhile into the film world.  I had a remarkably fun time and can’t wait for Wiseguy to see this movie!

Yup, ready to go to bed soon….just signing off this loan payment for my popcorn.

Is That Left or Right?

I am navigationally challenged.  Yes, truly a surprise isn’t it?  I definitely do not consider myself a “woman driver”.  Sometimes I will go faster than the allowable speed limit.  I have rolled at stop signs.  Such a rebel right?  Wiseguy tells me all the time that I am a woman driver.  Today I thought I would share with you what I think would apply to this stereotype and then we shall vote on whether or not I qualify.  Here goes.

  1. When someone gives you directions while you are driving and they tell you to go south at the off ramp, you ask, “is that left or right?”
  2. A person, of the male persuasion, draws a map for you showing you streets and directions.  You take said map, bring it to a female who, in turn, updates your map with the most necessary words and diagrams.  This includes:  you pass the mall then you go left.  Two lights then right at the gas station.  Past the library and it’s the little white house on the corner with the red car in the driveway.  (a.k.a. Chick Map)
  3. You don’t remember what side your gas tank is on because your husband / boyfriend / friend always fills up the tank for you
  4. You are stuck trying to get out of the mall because of heavy traffic.  You edge in slowly, block traffic and give your most beautiful “sorry, woman driver please let me in” smile
  5. You turn your signal light on waaaaaaaaaaay before you are actually turning off anywhere
  6.  When the brake lights of the car in front of you turn on, you automatically slam on the brakes. 
  7. You end up stalling highway traffic to let someone, driving very slowly, merge in front of you. 
  8. Change a tire?  Never.  Cry for help
  9. You hear an unfamiliar grinding noise.  You turn the radio up to tune out the noise.
  10. Your house is immaculately clean.  Your car will get clean on the outside when it rains.  The grit on the inside will hopefully get blown away when you open the car door.

If you answered YES to some (or most) of these, then welcome to the Woman Driver’s League  (a.k.a the Injustice League). 

We women love to declare that we are great drivers.  Studies have shown that women have fewer accidents, ergo, we are safer drivers.  I shared this information with Wiseguy.  His comment was simple:   “You’re right.  Studies show you have fewer accidents.  Incidentally, it’s your dysfunctional driving that is the cause of them.”  I think he’s absolutely wrong.  He must be.  (Rule of marriage is that I’m always right.  If he is right…well, there are never any witnesses.)

Ok, so maybe, in a wee bitty little way, he could be ….he could be…nope…I ain’t gonna say it, but maybe there is an ounce of truth in this concept.  If people would learn to speed up to merge then I wouldn’t have to be nice and slow down.  Right?  Yup, that’s their fault.  And holding up traffic to let someone out of the mall, that is a kindness as well, and we really be kind to our fellow-man.  Right? 

For now, I’ll just agree to disagree with him on this one.  Feel free to share your thoughts on this topic. 

Me, I have some urgent business to attend to.  Must find a female who knows landmarks for this weekend’s getaway.  Stupid maps   : (

Pet Project

My childhood fears were numerous.  I honestly don’t know how I managed to have so many phobias, but, boy oh boy, I drove my mother nuts with all the things that scared me.

Besides the usual arachnophobia, I feared grasshoppers (yes, they jumped at me and I was sure they were trying to poke my eyes out).  I was also beyond terrified of dogs.  From the big local Doberman on the street corner to the wee little Pomeranian.  I would hear a tinkle of the dog tags and I would almost pee myself with fear.  I crossed many a street due to roaming dogs.  These were the thoughts in my head, “I am terrified of dogs.  I will cross the street if I see any dogs.  Dogs are scary.  Dogs bite.  Dogs will rip me limb from limb.”  Pretty dramatic thoughts right?  Back in those days, I was kind of lucky in that many people did not have dogs.  None of my relatives had dogs either so I was pretty safe.

As I got older, it suddenly seemed, everyone had dogs.  My father-in-law (FIL) had beagles.  I tried to pet them to get over my fear, but as soon as they decided to jump on me to greet me I freaked out and ran.  So much for that plan.  We visited my sister-in-law and there were two dogs there.  As soon as I saw them, I froze.  Same thing would happen anywhere we went to visit.  I would ask Wiseguy to check with people we were visiting, to see if they had a dog.  He would forget to ask because, well, it was stupid to be afraid of dogs!

Now….move 10 years into the future.  Here I am watching tv with my TWO dogs.  Yes, I am the owner of these vicious mutts….Waldo (where’s Waldo?  haha) and Lucy (or Lucifer as we affectionately call her).  They are shi-poos.  I know, sooooo scary.  How did this come about?  After the kids moved out, and Wiseguy started working nights, I started telling him that I wanted a dog.  He looked at me like I was on crack or something.  Why would a woman, obsessively fearful of dogs, want a dog?  I explained, I didn’t want a dog, I wanted a puppy.  Cute, small, fluffy.  Nice logic right?

The story of dog ownership continues like this…The Princess called me happily one day to tell me that she got a job!  Yes, she was so excited!   “It’s at the pet store!”  The Princess LOVES animals.  Pet store?  ZING!  Hellooo karma!  Wiseguy and I went to visit her after she had been there for about a week.  She loved her job!  Suddenly, Wiseguy noticed this calm, little, caramel-coloured puppy with a tuft of hair in his little face.  He was just sitting there, staring at us.  He was a little teddy bear.  After two hours of me holding little puppy (while wandering around the store) we walked out with Waldo puppy and a bunch of other stuff to make our new puppy happy in our home.

Training and learning how to properly take care of a dog was a challenge for me, a not-ever pet owner.  Now, I am so happy to have two dogs in my life.  I am so grateful for their excitement whenever I get home.  My pups (dogs) jump on me (one is 20 lbs and the other is only 10 lbs).  They give me slurpy lick-kisses.  They cuddle with me.  They really are a joy for me.  They make FIL and Wiseguy happy too.  The amount of love and loyalty they show is just unfathomable.  Even little Kennie is excited to play with the “ogs”.  Kennie is very articulate about that.  She calls to them as any good trainer would:  Addo!  Ushi!

I now totally and completely understand why people love their dogs.  If anyone sees my dogs and get afraid, I understand.  I just hope that one day they will conquer their fear.  It’s worth it.  “Waldo…Lucy come!  Love you puppies!”

Waldo (sitting pretty)

Lucy(fer)

Beware, contagious

Have you ever noticed the impact of a yawn on people around you?  All it takes is one person to start yawning and then it becomes like a giant wave.  It goes around full circle, everyone yawning one by one.  Even if you try to stifle it, you get that funny bug-eyed look while you try to clench your jaws shut.  Better to just let it go I say!

That’s how I feel about smiles.  Smiles are very interesting.  I learned that smiling actually uses less muscles than frowning.  Interesting right?  Smiles are also contagious.

I am a smiler.  Have been for a long, long time.  I love to smile.  I feel better when I smile.  Even if I am having a bad day, finding something that will make me smile just lifts my spirits.  When I go shopping, I smile at the cashiers.  When I am at family functions, I smile.  When I am at work, I smile.

I have been told that my teeth are really white.  People want to know if I use whiteners or something else to keep them so pearly white.  I tell them, “No.  I just smile a lot.”  Crazy theory, but I like it!

Smile!  Pass it along!

Mommy Mom Mama Ma

Mother’s Day.  I’m a little late, but just thought I’d share my thoughts and feelings about this day.

Remember, in grade school, when the teacher would have arts and crafts supplies so that we could create wonderful gifts for our mom’s for Mother’s Day?  Macaroni art?  Tissue paper flowers?  Not to mention all the handmade cards (most of the time, the misspelled words were left alone to make it authentic).  Those were the cherished gifts for Mom.

As we children grew up, we couldn’t wait to get money and go BUY a real fancy gift for Mom with a real preprinted card to go with it.  So proud we were of our purchases.  Something had changed.  The happy gleam in her eyes of past gifts just didn’t seem to be there.  We tried different store-bought gifts every year.  We couldn’t figure out what we were doing wrong.  Time passed.  We gave up on the gifts.  We gave up on the cards.  I still call her on Mother’s Day and I can hear the joy in her voice.  No gift required.  

Then I became a stepmom to three wonderful children.  I received the homemade gifts and, believe me, nothing could make me feel more warm inside than that.  The homemade cards, including the wonderfully misspelled words, were the most beautiful things I had ever received.  I remember the dollar store plastic flowers that were given to me.  They were so excited with their purchase that they had to explain to me that, “we got you these because they will last forever!”  Yup, after 16 years, I still have those plastic pink flowers.  The kids don’t remember giving them to me, but that’s ok.  I will always remember the joy and pride they had when they were presented to me.

Even now, with everyone’s busy schedules, the kids find time to call or email or text.   They find some time to come and hang out.  I love all the hugs.  I am enamoured with the fragrant flowers.  I love the preprinted cards with the personalized essay of love inside them.  The older I get, the more the waterworks turn on, but that’s ok.  They are tears of love.

It’s really nice now as well because The Artist and The Baker call me mom.  Truly special for me, as I never had children of my own but married into the family plan.  I love the kids.  I love being with them.  I love seeing them.  I love seeing how well their lives are progressing and how they are excited about all their future plans.

I am proud of all of them.   I worry about each of them.  I love them all.  I think about them everyday.  I truly believe that being a Mom is a privilege.  It’s earned with lots of love, kindness, and especially hugs. 

Thanks for letting me be Mom on Mother’s Day (and every other day).

Pizza Presto

I LOVE pizza!  Always have and always will.  To me, there is something just so tasty and comforting about pizza.  If you get the right sauce combination, you know, not too spicy, but fragrant enough with the right herbs, you have built the best base to start your layering of a fabulous pizza masterpiece. 

I have purchased frozen store pizzas to mangia.  Then I switched to making my own homemade dough (via bread maker).  I found it was much tastier.  On quickie dinner nights,  I have purchased a slab pizza, from the local bakery.  It is a baked slab with just pizza sauce.  I add my choice of delicious toppings and..voila!  Dinner in 30 minutes. (I love chopping and slicing everything by hand.  Makes me feel like a real professional chef!)

My Vegetarian Mushroom Red Pepper and Green Onion Pizza pre-oven time.  Look at all those colours!

Then there was the day that I was craving pizza and had no dough.  I also had no desire to wait for homemade dough, and absolutely no desire to go to store to buy some dough.  What to do?

 Necessity is the mother of invention. I foraged through my fridge and found Greek pita bread.  (They are different from regular pitas in that you can’t stuff them.)  I noticed that they are the thickness of a thin crust pizza and really, all I needed was a vessel that would carry my pizza toppings.

So it began.  I  pulled out a pita, put on pizza sauce, layered some shredded mozzarella on top, topped that with chopped onions, then some mushrooms, and finally tomato slices.  I decided to forgo the pepperoni that day.  That adventure could be saved for another day.  Instead of turning the oven on, I put that into the toaster over on 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Molto bene!  Fantastic!  Personal pizza ready in 20 minutes.  Mmmmmm!

This discovery has also assisted me in many ways since.  Since they are really “personal size”, I could top each one with whatever the kids liked to have on it.  Some preferred more meat, some preferred more veggies.  In the end, there was something for everyone.

This has become my go-to hot appetizer as well.  I cut each pita into 8 wedges and ta-da!  Little mini pizza hors d’oeuvre.  Very pretty too.

Vary the recipe as well.  Use Bononcini or goat cheese instead of mozzarella.  Use an olive oil, with garlic infusion, instead of pizza sauce. 

Pizza really is a versatile dish.  Easy to make, easy to eat, and just makes your taste buds feel sooooo happy.

Hmmmm, I’m kind of craving some pizza right now.  Mmmmmm.  How about you?

My Vegetarian Mushroom Red Pepper and Green Onion Pizza AFTER baking!

 

I’ll give you less than two minutes

The older I get, the more I appreciate a good commercial.  It’s true.  If I am going to be sitting and waiting for my show to return, I want to be entertained.  If that commercial can make me laugh, even better.  The average length of a commercial is one minute.  The maximum time for an ad is 1 minute and 30 seconds.  That is just enough time for you advertisers to assault my visual and aural senses and keep me entertained.  Right now I must say that my top three are as follows:

The Old Spice commercial with Isaiah Mustafa – “Look at me, now look at your man”

Ikea winter clearance commercial – “Start the Car…woooooo”

How about Malibu Rum?  There are a few of them, but this was the first one I saw. 

Depending on your age group, you might recall any number of oldies but goodies.  Remember the Leon’s “miracle” commercials?  Lady standing in front of washer “you put it in dry, it comes out wet.”  Then she points to the drier, “you put it in wet, it comes out dry.  It’s a miracle”.  See, I thought that was very creative.  In the olden days there was one commercial that all of us knew word for word.  It was for Calgon water softener powder.  Actually, I still know all the words.  Oldie but a goodie right?

For people who LOVE good commercials (guilty as charged) there is a celebratory time of year when advertising agencies go for the gusto to create the primo commercial that shall go down in ad history.  This time of year is fondly referred to as “Superbowl”.  Yes, I love Superbowl!  I anxiously await for the game to stop so that I can watch all the great commercials.  My winner from the Superbowl last year, was from Best Buy (careful….F-bomb dropped in this one).  It features Ozzy Osbourne and Justin Bieber.  It’s just over one minute long, but just hilarious (well, for me anyway).

There is one other commercial that I would like to share.  It’s short.  It has no spoken words.  The actions say it all.  Let’s just say that sometimes you need to know when to SHARE (or how to negotiate).