Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Speed Limit?

You would think that the word- limit would imply that the stated speed is the MAXIMUM you can go, rather than the minimum.
I generally don't speed. That is not to say that I am a perfect driver, or even that I'm a good driver, but I don't speed. I can't afford to speed. I occurred to me one day as I was going along about 20 over that if I got pulled over, I would be in serious trouble. Not because of demerits or anything, but simply because I would not have sufficient funds to pay off the ghastly sum they charge for tickets these days. So I don't speed; I go exactly the speed limit.
You would be surprised at the cold reaction I receive from other drivers as drive along. Through my rear view mirror, I see driver after driver throw their hands up in despair, or stare as they swerve around me, expecting me to be an old grannie, and not a normal 18 year old.
So what is wrong with driving the speed limit? I may not get places as fast, and other drivers despise me, but in the end I'm the one with more money in my pocket.
Or at least, we would hope.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Calgary's "Unique" Radio Landscape

Living in such a suburban place as Tuscany, one can be expected to drive most places. Not only are the bus connections horrible, but there really isn't anything interesting to do within walking distance. So as I drive to work, or school, or wherever, I get to listen to the radio a lot. Sometimes I listen to my iPod or a CD, but most often I forget my iPod and my car is a snob who only plays store bought CD's. So, most often, Calgary radio is my only alternative to listening to the sound of my engine. I don't really like the radio, but today my dislike of radio is hitting me full force, so I will blog about it.
1. I really don't like radio DJ's. The all have the same whiny, full of themselves voices, and the jokes they tell, or their arguments always sound so staged. It's like cheap theatre, and you can't even make yourself feel better by looking at their colourful outfits.
2. Radio commercials are always ridiculously corny. Most likely this is because there is only so much you can do without visual, but seriously, they're all ridiculous.
3. All radio stations, no matter what type of music they play, has a little peppy recording of their name to powertales music. Every time I hear that singalong chorus going; "Lite 96!" Or "Today's best music.......Vibe! 98! 5!" I can see the jazz hands going and I want to retch.
4. I have this theory that all radio stations are in a conspiracy to all suck at the same time. It always seems that I'm flipping stations, looking for something mildly good, and finding nothing. Or, I'm flipping stations and hearing half a good song, half a good song, etc. So I get angry at myself for missing the whole song. They're either all good or all lame at the same time.
5. The main reason I hate the radio is because all the stations are exactly the same. Once, I was stuck in my car waiting for someone for two hours.(long story, maybe some other time) While I was waiting, listening to the radio, I heard the same song 5 times, on 5 different stations. And when Gwen Stefani was coming to Calgary, quess who was playing on every station? All these stations that claim to be so unique. Why, yes. They were all playing Sweet Escape. Over, and over again. Silliness.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Home Alone 4 (Or Wherever Hollywood Left Off)

As a kid the idea of being home alone was so appealing. A bit scary perhaps, but the unending freedom for however many hours is a luxury. In a big family, there is rarely any time when I am completely alone in the house, so the novelty lasted till this summer.
Last week, my parents had a condo in Kananaskis. My mom and my little brother were there all week, and my dad was going back and forth; coming to work in Calgary and then driving out to Canmore for the night. My older sister and I were on our own most nights, having fun cranking music and baking. The evenings with just the two of us included late nights, and talking endlessly into the early morning.
Then, last Thursday, my sister went to spend the night at another sister's, as she didn't have work the next day, and dad went out to Canmore again; I would be spending the evening alone. As horrible as it sounds, I was thrilled. Being home alone always makes one feel such an extraordinary freedom. You can dance around the kitchen with no sense of self-restraint, you can stay in your bath robe for hours, the possibilities are endless. In my enthusiasm, I ordered a small pizza, (and got the flavour I wanted without arguing with anyone) I gave myself a facial and a pedicure, (without my brother laughing at the peachy goo on my face) I mixed fancy drinks in our best goblets, and I rented a movie and two discs of "How I Met Your Mother." I didn't even have to agree with anyone on what I rented. Then I stayed up till 2 pampering myself in front of the TV. It was AWESOME.
On Friday, Neen went to Canmore, and I stayed cause I had plans with a friend. Those plans fell through. Looking around me, I tried to get enthused about another night alone. The only problem was, I'd done all the exciting things I wanted to the night before. And, my sister had taken the car, so I was trapped in my suburbia neighbourhood. I ate leftovers and went to bed really early.
Saturday I woke up early with a groan. My family was not due back until late afternoon. With nothing better to do, I spent the greater part of the day cleaning my room. I was so relieved when they came home, and that night, Kylie came over because I was in such desperate need of human interaction.
So, here I am a week later. Home alone AGAIN. My entertainment has been reduced to whining on my blog.
Being home alone is all well and good, but one mus take it in small doses. The fun wears off after the first day or so.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Adventure of Reese the Sandwich

Once upon a time there was a sandwich. His name was Reese, because he was made up of creamy peanut butter, and nutella. The children all loved Reese, to the point that everyday at lunch time, the children would beg their nanny if they could eat him. Oh how those children loved that sandwich. With his 60% whole wheat bread, and his overly sweet mixture of peanut butter and nutella. The inside of Reese was the greatest, and the children would sometimes scrape out his insides and eat it alone when the nanny wasn't looking. Or at least, when they thought she wasn't.
Reese loved the children, and he wished that they would eat him everyday. Every afternoon he would wave his nutella-ness temptingly in the nanny's face, willing her to spread him all over 60% whole wheat bread. But the nanny was an adult, and therefore a cruel soul. She believed that poor Reese was unhealthy for the children, and instead of letting the children eat Reese everyday, she would make them eat the mean foods such as Carrot, Spaghetti, and Grilled Cheese. Reese wept as he watched his dear friends suffer through lunch with his arch nemesis, the Carrot. He cringed in horror while the nanny insisted that the boys finish all of Chicken Noodle Soup, but when the nanny made Whole Wheat Pasta, Reese knew that something must be done. It was too much. Reese could not allow his poor friends to suffer in silence. One lone night as he sat in his dark cupboard, he began to formulate a plan.
The next morning, when the nanny opened the cupboards in search of more nasty, healthy foods, the nutella sprung out at her, falling with a thud on the counter. The 60% whole wheat bread was placed strategically on the counter, and the creamy peanut butter was in plain sight. All the nanny had to do was put the three together, and Reese could be with his friends again. To add to his plan, he even had one of his friends ask in their most adorable voice,
"Can we have Reese for lunch today?"
But try as Reese and his friends might, the nanny was a coldhearted adult, and ignoring the ingredients in front of her, she closed the cupboard.
"No, we cannot have Reese for lunch today. We will have Grilled Cheese."
As the children and the nanny ate Grilled Cheese, Reese watched in despair. It was obvious that the nanny was an evil woman, and so long as she was around, Reese would never play with his friends again. Bitterly, he curled up in his cupboard and wept.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Novel a Day Keeps the Fidgets Away

I'm a nanny. I get paid to play. Play, break up fights and force stubborn children to eat their vegetables. Like any job, mine has it's trying moments. I scrub away explosions of fingerpaint, I ward off vicious cats, I deal with tantrums, I monitor computer time, and create an endless list of activities to fill the day, but the truly interesting thing about kids is how easily entertained they can be. Yesterday I took the boys to Bowness Park, and they threw rocks in the river for hours. Give the boys a ball and a bat and they will invent their own version of two-man baseball, which usually involves getting very dirty. I have discovered that in light of these kids creativity and ability to be so easily entertained, there are typically several hours in my work day when I have nothing to do.
After my first day of suppressed boredom, I concluded that it would be best to bring a book to work. I am a self-proclaimed bookworm, and I usually have book going. I would say that I'm a regular reader. This summer, my intake of books has skyrocketed. In the endless hours I spend sitting by the river, with nothing to do but keep a watchful eye on my charges, I am usually going through a book in about a day and a half. For lack of anything better to say, here is a list of just some of the books I've consumed in the past weeks:
Boy; Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl- I first brought this book with the possibility of reading it to the boys, but I think their attention spans are a little short. In the end, I read it myself to kickstart my reading frenzy. For anyone who is interested or cares, I strongly recommend it.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis- For lack of anything better o read at the time, I reread my all-time favourites. C.S. Lewis is a genius. I'll never tire of these books.
The Giver by Lois Lowry- I read this in about half a day. We were at Bowness Park. I first read it in grade 5, and I still cry every time.
NOTE: For anyone who's read it, Jonas does NOT find another community at the end, he definitely dies. (Sorry, Spoilers)
Eragon by Christopher Paolini- I confess, I read this one AFTER I saw the movie, but I definitely like the book better. An impressive book for a 17 year old.
The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella- also, Can You Keep a Secret? and Shopaholic ties the Knot. I read these when it was really hot and I was easily annoyed. They're a good brainless read.
Emma by Jane Austen- Not such a brainless book, but nonetheless enjoyable. Not my favourite Jane Austen though.
World War I in Cartoon- I found this one in the library. It was interesting to read. Cool to see all that history and propaganda.
The Belgariad by David Eddings- This is five books. Another favourite. I first read them in grade 8, and it's amazing how good a book can be when you haven't read it in years. Especially if you were pretty naive and didn't get half of it the first time you read it. Oh, and I also read Guardians of the West by the same author.
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke- my current project. I've never read it before, so it's quite exciting. So far, I like it. It's an interesting idea.
See? Isn't my job just full of intrigue?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Dessert Monarchy

Some of you may be wondering about my username. Why on earth would I name myself the Queen of the Pie Realm? Granted, I have already declared myself to be a lover of pie, but what really makes me the queen? I crowned myself, or at least, me and my friend Kylie. When my unhealthy infatuation with pie reached it's pinnacle, (about grade 11) Kylie and I proclaimed ourselves the queens of our favourite desserts. She is Queen of the Ice Cream Realm, and I am of course, Queen of the Pie Realm.
The monarchy of desserts spread after a debate between my sister I over the merits of cake vs. pie. The argument was unresolved, but the one conclusion we did reach was that Janine, will hereby be known as the Queen of the Cake Realm.
Tonight my friend Becky had myself, Kylie, and Janine over for dessert. She had made the most amazing fudge sauce I had ever tasted, and the plan was that we would eat it with vanilla ice cream and various other sweet delicacies. Upon our arrival however, Becky tempted me with a piece of pumpkin pie. Her aunt had given her two pieces, one for her and one for her husband, and Becky does not like pie, so she offered it to me. Then she led us all to her dessert bar. Our jaws dropped and a spot of drool may have landed on the kitchen floor.
To accompany our ice cream, or pie, Becky had provided us with everything you could ever want to decorate your dessert. The famous fudge sauce, carmel sauce, smarties, rees's pieces (which surprisingly taste quite good on pumpkin pie) cool whip, coconut, pineapples, little crunched up bits of toffee, EVERYTHING.
Quite by accident, I gushed; "Becky, you are the queen of desserts."
I caught Kylie's eye, and we both squealed in excitement. Right then and there we crowned Becky the Empress over all Desserts. So there it stands; the Dessert Monarchy.
NOTE: Please notice that the Dessert Monarchy is entirely made up of women.

Monday, August 6, 2007

So What IS Heritage Day?

Today I received an unexpected day off. When my nanny mom gave me my schedule for the month, she marked off this day, Monday August 6, as a holiday. "A holiday?" I thought to myself. "What holiday can this be?" I racked my brains and could think of no significant national or religious events occurring, so I finally consulted the master of all holidays; my calendar. "Heritage Day?" I thought to myself, when I saw the name emblazoned in the little square. "What on earth is that?" I am told by those who know, (or at least claim to) that Heritage Day is a day to reflect on your personal history, and celebrate where you come from. Now that I hear it, it does sound like a good idea for a holiday, but let me ask you this, does anyone care? I'm guessing most people, like me instantly jumped for joy at the thought of a day off, and then looked around and said, "Wait a minute, what is it for?" So really, the purpose of Heritage Day is to give us a day off. The personal history stuff is just an excuse so we can all sleep in, or go golfing.
I recently reread the book, "The Giver," by Lois Lowry. For those who haven't read it, it's a book abut the future, where everything has gone to "Sameness." There are no different races, no religions, no war, and people are brought up in a strict community where they don't choose their own jobs, their own spouses, or really, anything. It's a good book, I recommend it to everyone, but my point is, at one part of the book there is an announcement given to the community that today is a holiday. There is no reason for the holiday, everyone in the community just gets a day off. No one questions it, no one wonders, "Hey, why don't we have to go to work today?" They just, accept. Actually they do that with everything in the book, but anyways, this spontaneous hloiday in "The Giver," is about the same as Heritage Day; there's no real point then to give us all a break. With that in mind; "Happy Heritage Day to all and to all a good golf game."

Sunday, August 5, 2007

You Learn Something New Everyday

My nanny children are obsessed. Dinosaurs are their livlihood. Everyday, immediately after they wake up, the very first thing they do is run to their toy bins and dig out their endless supply of plastic dinosaurs. When I finally get them dressed in their dinosaur t-shirts, they return immediately to the living room, where they engage in their daily routine of setting up a prehistoric park on the couches and the dining room table. After lunch, when I manage to drag them outside, they don their dinosaur hats and go on a dinosaur safari in the backyard or park. A fine madness, to be sure, dinosaurs are a very interesting subject, but the thing that startles me the most is how much a six and three year old can know about dinosaurs.
Before I began this job, my experience with dinosaurs was limited to a childhood viewing of The Land Before Time, and a few odd adventures in the prehistoric park at the Calgary Zoo- where we are usually more interested in climbing on the rocks and dinosaur statues. My only other encounter into the realm of dinosaurs is the dinosaur part of Fantasia, which I actually find depressing, cause I feel sorry for the Stegosaurus. Yet even with this limited experience, I considered myself to know a fair amount about dinosaurs. I mean, I could identify the type of dinosaur that was placed on my ankle in the form of a stick on tatoo at a Stampede breakfast. And I can spell the word, Pterodactyl. So when my nanny children first asked me if they could give me a "tour" of their dinosaur zoo, I had a rough idea of what I was in for. Or, so I thought.
"This is a Maiasauras, he is a plant eater, the average Maiasasuras was about twice as tall as a grown up." My nanny children prattle on. "How interesting," I think to myself. "I always called that kind of dinosaur - Ducky. I believe I had the jello mould of her."
"This is the raptor section." Announces my nanny child, " We have a Utahraptor, Velociraptor....." "There's more than one kind of raptor?!" I think in astonishment. Then again, the only type I know of are the Toronto variety.
"This is the Brachiosaurus, he eats plants, and his neck is as long as a person." "Land Before Time just called that variety 'long necks,' and I've called them that ever since. You mean there's an actual scientific name for them? Land Before Time LIED to me!"
Aha! A type of dinosaur I know. "This is a Triceratops." I say knowledgeably. (Again, my memories of Land Before Time kick in) To my astonishment, my nanny children burst into peals of laughter. "No, no silly." my nanny children sound as if this is the most ridiculous thing ever said. "This is a Styracosaurus. It has spikes around it's head instead of a circle." It's apparrent that this is the most obvious thing in the world to these two little boys.
They say you learn something new everyday. Most of the time what I learn is obvious, as I am in school. This summer I was expecting to learn such things as the importance of a balanced diet and discpline. Instead, I'm learning the difference between a Parasaurolophus and a Pachycephalosaurus.