Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Greatest Insult You Will Ever Hear

I hate swearing. Not only is it vulgar and rude, but it shows an alarming lack of creativity in vocabulary skills and insult slinging. Older books are always filled with much better insults.

Who didn't go around taking bites out of their thumb in people's faces after they read Romeo and Juliet in grade school? Who didn't want to burst out laughing when Caliban exclaimed, "You Banbury Cheese!" in The Tempest? Shakespeare is a master of insulting with style.

Right now, I'm in the middle of reading R.D. Blackmore's Lorna Doone. The story itself is engaging but sometimes when the narrator, John Ridd, goes into a two page explanation of his cows, I zone out. This pleasant line however brought me right back into the story when John is describing digging his sheep out of a snowdrift while his farmhands complain about the cold. I actually laughed out loud:

"Go, if you choose, all of you. I will work it out by myself, you pie-crusts!"

One day, I would dearly like to insult with this calibre. If only I had a flaky person in my life who needed calling out.

Any other brilliant insults out there?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Miracle Cure

A month ago, in the midst of Janine's wedding I got horrbily and disgustingly sick. I was at home and not sleeping. Instead I was coughing, aching, puking, croaking, and being all round completely miserable. This had been going on for a week when I was staying home on Friday and in the past five days, the luxury of being able to just curl up on the couch and get cozy had long since lost it's appeal.

Early that same morning, I had called my sister Katey to see if she had any remedies (her children, after all, had lovingly passed on the germs to me) and her best suggestion was to do something I enjoyed that was deliciously lazy, like watch all of Pride and Prejudice in one day. Normally that does sound like quite an appealing option; especially when one does not have to feel guilty about spending all day in front of the TV - but I was feeling too wretched to look Mr. Darcy in the eye and feel properly swept off my feet.

Lucky for me, living with roommates when you are sick has certain advantages. Number one: you have four people's movie collections to peruse when there is little else to do with your day, and consequently have less chance of getting bored.

I do not know what prompted the decision (my head was too fuzzy to really analyze) but I ended up watching The Day After Tomorrow. In terms of a quality movie, it is not one, but I strangely enjoyed myself, and here is why:

When you have the chills, feel disgusting, and haven't had a proper meal in days due to lack of appetite; when you are sleep deprived, can't get rest, and sound like a seven-foot man who has been smoking cigarettes since childhood, there are few things that make you feel better. You may have an entire basket full of rememdies, you may be chock full of vitmain C, and have taken dozens of hot baths, but mentally and emotionally, you are not well. You are sick of being sick, and do not see a light at the end of the tunnel. Are you ever going to feel well again?

When you are watching New York be flooded up past Lady Liberty's neck, and everyone is freezing and fighting for survival, plus Western civilization has been lost, suddenly, your lot doesn't seem as bad. The idea in front of you is the definition of hokey, but watching the world end in a dramatic fashion reminds one that this too shall pass.

I have now found my new go-to genre for when I am sick. Disaster movies are the only cure I need.

That, and vitamin C.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We'll Do Whatever You Want to Do

When my dad plans a daddy daughter date, he is very thorough, and he has one philosophy he follows absolutely:

"Whatever you want to do."

On our last ski day together every run we went on was one I chose and he followed, I called the shots for picking lunch, stopping for dinner, and whether or not we would take the ski out. Whenever any decision came up, I chose, no matter how minor.

It should have come as no surprise then that when my Dad and I went to Los Angeles at the beginning of the month, I got to choose everything from the second I got off the plane. Did I want to be named on the rental car so I could drive around? Where did I want to go for dinner? It was only 8:30; what did I want to do right now?

Not only did Dad let me choose it all, he had compiled a very thorough list of all my options for the next day. He had details on many sights I could see, he had suggestions of places my sister and mom had shopped when they had been there, he showed me how to get around in case I just wanted to drive to the ocean and relax, he even had called my newly married cousin and asked if she knew of any YSA activities going on. All these options sounded appealing, and I was touched that he had given my entertainment so much thought, but I still wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do.

The next morning, Dad woke me up with a smug grin on his face. He had found the answer. That afternoon, while he was at his course, I should go to an art gallery.

An art gallery! Why didn't we begin with that? Why hadn't I just looked up "art museums in L.A." when I was planning this trip? That is the best place for me to find hours of amusement.

The museum Dad had discovered was the Getty Museum and Villa; two collections of art made available by the trust fund of J. Paul Getty. After researching their website, I decided to go to the villa in the afternoon as they are only open till five, and suggested Dad and I swing by the museum that evening.

It was the best part of my trip. The Getty Villa is a replica of a villa from ancient Greece filled with Greek, Roman and Etruscan sculptures, mosaics, and pottery. Not to mention the beautiful gardens, balconies and amphitheatre surrounding it. I spent a blissful afternoon lost in Ancient Greek mythology until I looked at the time and saw I was already late to pick up Dad.

That evening, we went out for fish and chips and had two things on our agenda; visit cousins and maybe stop by the Getty Museum. It was already getting to be on the late side, and I was having second thoughts about visiting the gallery. Had I not soaked up enough culture for the day? Would we even get there in time to enjoy anything? Wouldn't it be better to visit our family? I hadn't looked into many of the details of the museum online, was there really anything worth the trip? While I was hmming and hawing, Dad; the same dad who lets me choose anything and everything - made a final decision:

"You need to see the Getty, Elena."

Dad had never been there himself, but knowing me better than I know myself, he made a decision. We got to the Getty with a little over an hour to enjoy it. As soon as I saw the signs explaining the exhibits, I knew I had made the right decision.

"Rembandt, Turner, Monet?! Pisarro and Van Gogh?!?!? Oh why hadn't we come here the second my plane landed and just camped out on the patio?

Sadly we never made it to visit the Puentes and Ferreros. Instead, we ran from building to building and soaked up every work of art we could. Hitting the exhibits we cared about the most, we enjoyed lots of my favourite artists. It was like being a little kid at Christmas. I think I actually giggled with excitement more than once. This artwork actually gave me goosebumps:

Dad is a great person to go to museums with. Not only is he happy to spend hours staring at paintings, he does the come-look-at-this!-isn't-it'awesome as much as me. We stayed until the museum staff kicked us out, promising to return again sometime to spend a full day in the Getty. Or a weekend.

Needless to say, I am so glad Dad insisted we go. Thanks, Daddy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How Single Girls Really Spend Their Saturday Nights

Last week, I logged on to Facebook to find an event invite from my good friend Leah. The gathering had been titled, "The Imaginary Event." What exactly we were supposed to do at a party that only existed in our minds I don't know, but through discussion, those attending agreed that there was something we had to do at an imaginary party:
Build a fort.

As soon as this idea was presented, I started counting down to Saturday. As a kid, Neen, Peter and I spent an extraordinary amount of time building forts and camping out in our basement; each fort getting more elaborate as we honed our skills. When we built one with a tunnel entrance, entertainment centre and two stories, we knew there was no where to go but down, and so we retired from our fort building days. That was about ten years ago.

The fort builders were myself, Leah, Colleen, and Lindsay. We set up camp in Leah's living room with bedsheets, rearranged furniture, and whatever else we could find to keep our masterpiece together. We then spent the evening eating Indian takeout, and watching Bollywood (singing/dancing along included).

We discovered that hair clips are the best way to hold a fort together.
Who needs fancy rope and poles when you have a baseball cap and a banister?

We're already making plans for the next fort.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Trip to the Dentist in Sun n' Surf Land

This past weekend, I whimsically traipsed off to California to visit the dentist. And when I say whimsically I mean my dad called me a few days before and told me he'd bought me a ticket as there was an orthodontic specialist he wanted to see while he was at a course down there. Luckily, this idea had been tossed around before so I had an up-to-date passport and time booked off work, so this last minute trip could happen.

California has never been very high on my list of places I wanted to go. In fact, I always thought that I could never go there and be perfectly happy, but then I went to California. Now I see what all the fuss is about.

It's beautiful! Saturday while Dad was at his course, I had the chance to drive around a bit. After -30 temperatures in Calgary, it was heaven to drive with the windows rolled down, and step outside without a jacket. Plus seeing how green everything is, and driving down the winding roads through "mountains" just a few seconds off the freeway was incredible. As I looked around I wondered to myself over and over why I live in Alberta. Here are some highlights of the trip:

-Seeing the Los Angeles temple.
-Eating fish and chips right by the ocean at Neptune's Net. Nothing tastes better than fish that was swimming just that morning.
-Finding my way around in the rental car, getting lost, and driving along the ocean.
-Fresh waffles for breakfast with chocolate chips. This is something that can only be eaten on holiday.
-Going for blood orange frozen yogurt at Pinkberry. FYI - we are going there in New York.
-Going to the Getty Museum and Villa. Typically me, when I am in California for 36 hours I spend most of my time in art galleries. But more on that later.
-Seeing palm trees. I don't know why, but they always thrill me. And I am reminded of little Peter grabbing every coconut he could find on the ground in Florida, even when he had to get out of the car in the middle of traffic to do so.
-Driving down Decker Canyon Road. The sign at the turn off says, "Not recommended for Cars with Trailers," as it is like driving on a roller coaster track.
- Laughing at some of the Pleasantville-esque neighbourhoods near Thousand Oak, like Westlake. I do not understand the point of paying millions of dollars to live on a man made lake and then putter around said lake in a boat no faster than a paddle boat to visit your neighbours.
- The dental appointment. Unbeknownst to me, my appointment was not only with Dr. Hang, but with every dentist at the course as I was part of the lesson. Let me tell you, you have not lived until you have twenty dentists examining your teeth at once. Especially when one is holding a video camera over your mouth.
-Mostly hanging out with Daddy. He put so much effort into thinking of what I could do while he was in his course, was happy to look at art as long as I was, and the whole time we got to hang out together, let me choose whatever I wanted to do. Thanks, Dad.

I was sad to leave, but when our plane landed I looked out the window at the snow covered fields and just thought to myself; "Oh yeah. That's why I live in Alberta."