Category Archives: things I don’t understand

A lovey that isn’t so lovely

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A fuzzy photo of someone else’s Patty the Penguin, because LO’s is currently napping.

Kids become attached to the darnedest things: a ragged blanket, an over-tired teddy bear, a torn sweatshirt, a stuffed Patty the Penguin giveaway from La Senza Girl? 

I was hope-hope-hopeful that LO would skip over the phase where she’d want/need to be in constant contact with a “lovey” (I think parents call them “loveys” because somehow that makes germ-infested items more palatable in our minds).

So much for hoping. About five months after she first saw the years-old stuffed animal used to entertain her during a baby-sitting session with her cousin, LO realized the “awesomeness” that is Mr. Penguin, and she looooooves him.

Pets him. Snuggles him. Bites him. Holds him out for people to kiss. She loves him so much that Momma and Daddy have determined that he* is a VERY sleepy lovey that must stay in her bedroom and catch up on sleep while she goes about her day.

So far she hasn’t complained. But, really, what choice does she have? I think she looks forward to her nap/bedtimes knowing she’ll get to hang with her very best pal.

Her very mangy, very best pal.

Praise the Lord for the handwash cycle on our washing machine!

*Oops. Penguin is a girl? Should’ve read “his” butt tag before we started calling him Mr. Penguin.

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A short letter to traffic mergers

Dear, traffic mergers,

MERGE ALREADY!

Love,

Jill

Chocolates can hold you up at the border, it’s true

Crossing the border? Leave your Kinder Surprises at home. Better yet, eat them before you cross.

Kinder Surprises hold a special place in my heart. You might recall that I found my engagement ring inside of one. Plus, they are chocolate and delicious. And there’s a toy. What’s not to love?

Imagine my surprise, shock and amusement at hearing a Canadian woman was busted at the Canada/U.S. border for having possession of one.

Lind Bird from Manitoba was recently stopped at the U.S. border and selected for a random search of her vehicle. She was warned she could have faced a fine after the customs official found—and seized—her $2 Kinder Surprise egg as illegal contraband, reported CBC News today.

The woman was told that if she were caught with the small chocolate egg across the border, she could be charged a $300 fine.

Why? Because U.S. authorities have banned the candy due to the supposed choking hazard created by the small toy that’s found inside. The sweet treats are legal in Canada.

CBC News reported that the U.S. must take catching illegal Kinder candy seriously, judging by the number of them confiscated at the border in the last year. Officials said they’ve seized more than 25,000 of the treats in 2,000 separate seizures.

25,000. In 2,000 seizures? That’s 12.5 eggs per search. But, that’s beside the point, because the story gets even better (not necessarily sweeter).

The woman reported that the U.S. government has sent her a seven-page letter, asking her to formally authorize destruction of her seized Kinder egg. The letter states that if the woman wishes to contest the seizure, she’ll have to pay $250 for it to be stored as the two sides wrangle over it.

For crying out loud, someone just eat the egg, put the toy together and be done with it!

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One question

Why?

Because it’s kinda like I always say: If it ain’t broke; BREAK IT!

Oh, Starbucks. Has GAP’s marketing department taught you nothing?

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2 hours of my life, gone

If only three 20-minute periods actually took up 60 minutes of my life.

I think I’ve mentioned a time or two that I’m not a fan of watching hockey games. Maybe it’s the skating in circles or the tacky brawls, but something about it leaves me … bored.

Someone who is not bored? Husband.

Currently, he’s on the couch watching the semifinals (Canada vs. USA) of the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships, just itching to yell SCORES! at the opportune moment. And, every four seconds, supplementing the commentary.

Look at all the red (referring to fan apparel)! And the game is even in Buffalo!

Wow, this is good hockey!

Sweetie, did you want to tweet the score so that everyone knows?

Oh, these kids are so young looking!

This is just crazy-intense!

SCORES!

Alas, only 46 minutes plus two intermissions plus penalties plus who knows what else to go.

I’m so not Canadian. Which is unfortunate because the USA is not putting on a good show at the moment.

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Larry, Larry Quite Contrary

I will give you one guess as to what my husband’s newest hobby is. Just one.

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Playing Cornhole

Oh, yes. That's me (on the right). Playing Cornhole. Sigh.

Confession. I played Cornhole this past weekend. That’s right. Cornhole. The game. Shocking, I know.

For those of you located outside of the Midwest, specifically Ohio and Kentucky, you probably have no idea what Cornhole is. Or, you’re thinking, “Tossing bean bags in a hole. Awesome.”

If the latter, you’re thinking sacrilegious thoughts. And, you’re right. But, no way should one ever refer to Cornhole as Bean Bag Toss. No way, indeed. It’s so much more!

[Insert sarcasm here.]

Cornhole has been around forever. Forever and ever. Known as Bean Bag Toss, Bean Toss, Corn Toss or Soft Horseshoes, children people have been playing this game for a long, long time. Wikipedia Some says the Germans were playing it way back in the 14th century. I suspect it’s as old as the hills. Those Kentucky hills that is.

Nowadays, you can’t go anywhere in the Midwest without seeing advertisements for Cornhole Tournaments or Cornhole sets for sale or people playing Cornhole. The game consists of two platforms raised at one end with one hole located toward the far, raised end and 8 corn bags. Hypothetically, the bags might be filled with beans, but for the sake of Cornhole, we’ll say they’re filled with corn. The platforms are placed 30 feet apart and adversaries take turns tossing corn bags at the raised platforms, while standing next to and behind the opposite platform.

Also, there’s scoring. A corn bag in the hole scores 3 points; a corn bag on the platform scores 1 point. First contestant to 21 wins. But, you can’t go over 21 or else you are automatically set back to 15. Those are the rules.

Now, the platforms are typically decorated and tend to be as colourful as their users are unique. You can often tell an owner’s likes/dislikes by taking a quick glance at his/her boards. I noticed a lot of Ohio State, Michigan and Nascar themes while in the NW Ohio area this past weekend. Which should give you a pretty good indication of the area’s cultural flavour.

While visiting my parents, Dad ushered us into the shed to view his latest creation: newly minted Cornhole boards.

“Oh, Dad!” I thought to myself. “You crossed over.” And joined the many, many, many individuals who enjoy kicking back on an evening or weekend afternoon with a brewski in one hand and a corn bag in the other. Except, Dad doesn’t enjoy brewskies. He just likes the game. Plus, as it turns out, he’s kind of a semi-pro.

His board design? John Deere*. Would anything else have been more appropriate? I think not.

Want to know more about Cornhole? The game that’s safer than horseshoes and cooler than Ring Toss? You can visit this site. The American Cornhole Association. Who knew?

Really. WHO knew?

PS. I’m HORRIBLE at Cornhole. Hor. I. Ble. I throw like a girl. The end.

* Good news! Dad’s Cornhole set now has real decals, which were placed after this photo was taken. Good work, Dad!

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You’re standing too close to me

I sometimes wonder if walking around like this would prove my point or make me appear standoffish.

Don’t stand, don’t stand so
Don’t stand so close to me

That refrain from the 1980 song by The Police pops into my head almost every time I stand in a checkout line at a grocery store, a convenience store or any store or line for that matter. And, not because I’m a young schoolgirl crushing on my teacher or vice versa.

It never fails. No matter what line I’m in, the individual behind me always sandwiches himself as close to my body as possible. As in I can feel someone else’s breath on my neck. As if standing that close to me can make the line move more quickly.

Yesterday, I was in a grocery-store line, standing an appropriate 2 feet from the woman in front of me, who was unloading her items onto the conveyor belt. A cart brushed me from behind. I ignored it. Then, it brushed me on my left side, as the woman pushing it moved it closer to the belt. She then stood RIGHT behind me.

I thought about turning around and going all Patrick Swayze on her: “This is my space (motioning my arm’s length), and, this is your space (motioning her arm’s length).” But, I refrained. I unloaded my items onto the belt and placed a divider behind them and stepped back. Before I could step back the entire way, she practically pushed me aside to begin putting her items onto the belt.

While the woman in front of me took 15 minutes to enter, re-enter and re-enter again her debit card pin, I revisited the notion that there is a bit of a divide between my view of acceptable personal space and others’ views of acceptable personal space. A divide that has become much more noticeable since I began living in Canada.

I’ll save you a review of all the psychological studies that have been done on proxemics and personal space and the comparisons made between cultures and simply tell you that Americans are partial to their personal space, while many, many other nations are less partial to theirs. Canadians, in general, are similar to their American neighbours. However, Canada houses far more nationalities than the United States. And, those nationalities hold far more different views of one’s personal space.

I’m OK with that. It’s just a bit of an adjustment on my part. Perhaps next time I’m standing in line and someone breathes on me from behind, I’ll simply turn around and hug him. Or her.

Or, perhaps, I’ll break out in song.

Don’t stand, don’t stand so
Don’t stand so close to me

After all, who doesn’t love The Police?

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Flying flags flaunt favourites

Hooray, team spirit!

World Cup mania is here. And, it’s been here for some time. But, I’m noticing it now more than ever because every other car I pass on the street these days has a flag attached to a window. And, sometimes, two or three flags attached to two or three windows.

Because you can never be too supportive of your favourite team.

People in Canada are rabid crazy for World Cup soccer. I would say “some people” in Canada, but I prefer to over-generalize because Husband says over-generalizations and stereotypes exist because they are true. And, therefore, we should use them more often.

So, yeah. There are loads of flags flying. For those of you stateside, who grew up not giving a hill of beans about soccer, imagine the loyalties to be similar to Ohio State football fans and their paraphernalia. Only, take all that paraphernalia and attach it to your car. Now you get the picture.

Yesterday, Portugal defeated North Korea, 7-0. How did I know Portugal had won without hearing about it on the radio? Or checking online? Or turning on the TV? I passed a car with a small Portuguese flag attached to a window, and a giant flag sailing out of the sunroof. The giant flag was being held down by the passenger, who frantically waved the flag about when parked at a stoplight to show his Portuguese spirit. Good job, Portugal. And, good job, Portuguese fan, because I’m sure that excessive flag waving was quite the workout.

Don’t have a flag for your car, yet? Or (more likely), lost your flag along the QEW or Gardiner Expressway? No worries. You can find someone selling flags out of his/her vehicle at practically every other intersection. True story. Whatever country you support, its flag is available.

Unless the seller doesn’t like your country’s team. Then, you need to drive on to the next flag sale at the next intersection.

20 more days (including today) until the 2010 FIFA World Cup fades to black.

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Taking down King Kong

Poor King Kong. Poor aloe vera plant. Poor Husband.

Once upon a time, Husband owned an aloe vera plant. It wasn’t just any aloe vera plant. It was the King Kong of aloe vera plants. It was giant and green with pokey blades that look like tentacles. And, giant. Mostly giant.

For the record, no aloe vera plant should ever be that size.

Anyway, this plant was given to Husband as a baby (the plant, not Husband) by a sister-in-law long ago. Husband loved the plant, actually using the aloe from its blades (Is it normal to open your boyfriend’s fridge and have a tentacle fall out on you?), and essentially nurturing it into the King Kong monstrosity it came to be.

At least, the monstrosity it was up until three weeks ago, when I decided (with Husband’s permission) to break it up into smaller plants and transplant those starters into new pots. Because, if there’s anything better than one King Kong aloe vera plant, it’s several King Kong aloe vera plants.

So, now it is separated into multiple pots. And dead. Or dying. Well on its way to being dead. Poor split-apart, King Kong aloe vera plant. Poor Husband.

I don’t know where I went wrong. I’m pretty sure I followed all the planting “rules.” Sandy soil that succulent plants like? Check. Plastic bag spread out on ground to catch mess? Check. Extra pots to plant starters into? Check. Plants staked for support? Check. Waiting a day to water them as per the sandy-soil-for-succulent-plants-bag instructions? Check. I did it all.

And now King Kong and his offspring are mostly dead. And every day, Husband comes home from work, walks by our balcony and says, “I think the aloe vera plants are dead.”

Sigh.

I’ve considered quitting gardening. Succulent plants are, like, the most hands-off plants a person can grow. If you kill one of them, you probably ought to give up growing things. But, I’ve opted not to let King Kong’s death affect me. I will plod on. I will redeem myself.

Hopefully without losing a lot of plants in the process.

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