Friday, August 31, 2012

LIIT - Blech.

Have you ever had a Long Island Iced Tea?  Don't.

First of all, if you want to make them at your friends' house, you will end up lugging five bottles and accoutrements down the street, clanking together, like a homeless who just scored on garbage day.

Secondly, they take so much effort and FIVE different types of alcohol.  Combining five similiar intoxicating ingredients hasn't worked since the Spice Girls.


They end up looking like brown, murky swamp water and taste like every bad hangover you've ever had.


I'm sure my mother is now fainting because she thinks I'm an alcoholic.  I'm not Mom!  Barefoot Contessa made them - look how refined she is!  Although, come to think of it, she's pretty WASPy and lives in East Hampton so she's probably pretty sauced a lot of the time.

Change of A Dress

At the Art Crawl last month, I made my friends circle back to this vintage shop so I could try on this amazing antique wedding gown.

Sure, I couldn't zip it all the way up, but look how pretty.....

 
I go crazy for a full skirt.  I'm pretty sure I was born in the wrong decade. 
It was $400 and I'm pretty sure if it had fit, I would have found a way to justify buying it.  Sigh.

At a bridal store yesterday with Naomi for her final wedding dress fitting, I found this bridesmaid dress:


It's like the evening and fancy version of the wrinkled cotton dress I was wearing.  Which is the reason for the dumb face.  It's not just my default.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Library School - Yes, it's a thing

So, in case you don't know, I went to library school.  It all started as a flippant joke comment that ended in a degree on the wall that says I have a Masters of Library & Information Science.

It all seemed pretty harmless at first.  Sure, I love reading.  I love libraries.  I love organization.  Besides becoming a librarian, I wasn't sure what else sad sacks like us should do.  (Actually, as it turns out, lots of things besides being a librarian.)  I looked into it, applied, was accepted and packed up and moved to London to attend the University of Western Ontario.

I don't remember what I was expecting, but I quickly learned that stereotypes sometimes exist for a reason and that I was a clear minority in my graduating class.  True librarians are keen and passionate about what they do.  They live and breathe OPACs, ALA, CLA, ILL, ISSN and of course, the beloved Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC).  If you know what even half of these acronyms stand for, you're well on your way to becoming a librarian.

My first day, I was a deer in headlights.  As much as I love libraries and have been going since I was a small child, this was the extent of my actual library knowledge:

- fines for overdue books are 5 cents
- please be quiet
- I once had a $28 library fine and was grounded - it still stings
- the Hamilton Kenilworth branch is open late Tuesdays and Thursdays

I felt so unprepared and not nearly as enthusiastic as my peers.  I would spend class writing in my journal (yep, I was that girl...that girl who now writes a blog), passing notes and doodles about a classmate we dubbed Deadface and a few evening classes, drinking rum & coke from a student union thermos.

My favourite things about library school were two friends I made who understood the value of incorporating a Christopher Walken SNL clip into a Research Methods presentation and starting up  and hosting a weekly trivia night at the Grad Club.

Gillian and Kathleen were hilarious kindred spirits and I truly don't think I could have survived the non-cool keeners without them.  Don't get me wrong, they're incredibly dedicated and exemplary librarians, but more importantly, they can have a laugh.  This balance was so lacking in many of our library school peers.


And the trivia night was likely my only significant contribution during my time in London - I certainly wasn't nominated for the Spirit of Librarianship Award (yes, there's such a thing) or having lunch with the Reference professor (she never liked me).  But I'm pretty sure the trivia night is still going and that is my one, true legacy.

Everytime I tell people about this degree I am deluged with jokes about the following topics:

- cardigans
- bun placement
- shushing
- Dewey

While I'm quick to point out that yes, to be an actual librarian, you need this degree and that it actually requires a great deal of work and study, I find that I mostly use the degree for the letters after my name.  I quite enjoy being able to say that I have a Masters degree, even though it's fairly obscure to most people. 

I certainly have not retained much of the information I learned in those years, including a government cataloguing internship in Ottawa, so I don't think it's fair to call myself a librarian.  I prefer the term 'lapsed librarian'.

But I can still shush with the best of them.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Oh, brother.

Do you have 10 minutes?

Do you want to make this face several times in the next 10 minutes?


Then read this article in the latest issue of Vanity Fair - "Little Lord Flaunteroys".

Vanity Fair - Little Lord Flaunteroys

It's about the two sons, 16 and 18 years old, of supermodel Stephanie Seymour and billionaire mogul and art collector Peter Brant.  This story of their lives is ridiculous.  But a completely guilty pleasure read.  These dandy boys (VF's word, not mine) are the most annoying of socialite entitled do-nothings who provide the most ludicrous musings.  I think I gave myself whiplash by shaking my head so much.

Sample quote:

“It’s not like we’re Suri Cruise,” Peter said.
“Have you met her?” I asked.
“I haven’t,” said Peter. “I want to, though. She’s one of my idols.”
“She has amazing style,” I said.
Peter said, “She does.
“And it’s all coming from her,” Harry remarked.
“Clearly she’s just an awesome person,” said Peter.
“She’s always got some ’do. I love her hair,” said Harry.
“And she always has some, like, sassy frog slippers,” Peter said.
“And, like, jammies in the restaurant,” Harry said.
“Didn’t she have some ladybug boots?” Peter asked. “I was like, I need those.”
Harry said, “I have them in gray.”

I mean sure, hilarious, if spouted by someone with some sense of self-awareness or someone who was trying to be funny, but I'm not sure they were.

The article is a laughable glimpse into a world I'll never fully understand.  Take the 10 minutes, it's worth it.

All Inclusive Information Included

My wonderful friends, Ryan and Julie:


have decided to throw a joint bachelor/bachelorette week long celebration party in the Domincan Republic to mark their upcoming wedding.

I'm stoked.  We've been all talking about doing a major vacation together for some time and I am really looking forward to it.  Lately my vacation preferences are for new places I've never been, mostly cities, Europe etc., but with 12 people, it is bound to be an amazing time.

Actually I've only been to an all-inclusive two times.  Here, I break it down.

1. 2003 - Reading Week during second year of university
Truth time, this was actually my very first time on a real plane.  The weekend Cessna that Brad Pitt picks me up on for the Hamptons doesn't count.  I went to Cuba with my friend Sarah.  Having to deplane directly onto the tarmac led me to believe this was how all flights ended.  Also the armed guards were a bit concerning.


Sarah and I had never travelled together before and had really only lived in the same city for a short time, but when she and I were waitresses at the Hamilton Golf & Country Club we forged a strong friendship that still remains today.

The all-inclusive experience was incredible to me at the time - all you can eat!?  All you can drink!?  Swim up pool bars!?  Swans made from bath towels on my bed!?


We did all the typical resort stuff as well as a rural tour on horseback of the "real" Cuba.  It was like going back in time.  For some reason, I remember eating a lot of club sandwiches on the trip.  Also, this was a period of time when I answered to McFly, but only from Sarah.  I tried a cigar for the first time and quickly realized that I only like the sweet smell when someone else smokes it.  We went skinny dipping in the ocean and climbed a tree.  Not sure why we climbed that tree.  We worked our way through the extensive bar menu and I had my first pina colada.


It seems like a million years ago now, but it will always remain in my mind as my first major trip and a great time to bond with Sarah.  [Sidebar: literally as I type this, Sarah just emailed me.  Spooky.]

2. 2005 friends' wedding with an ex-boyfriend and all our friends (Friendapalooza)
These days a destination wedding is an inevitable and they're actually genius.  They weed out the people who aren't as close to the couple so you get a super concentrated fun time.  Plus a week away with a big party tacked onto the end - it's the perfect marriage, if you will.  I know, cheesy.  We went to the Bahamas for Anandi and Aldis' wedding.


Like any major couples vacation, it's got the best of everything.  You can hang out with your favourite couple friends and still have your own space.  The girls can go do things like buy straw thatched clutch purses while the guys can go golfing or deep sea fishing, where they surely just pretended to each have caught the marlin that the native captain caught.

The wedding was wonderfully laid back and festive and despite getting majorly screwed over by Sell Off Vacations, it was a fabulous trip.


I tried to pull off a massive straw hat, we sampled the wildly disappointing conch fritters (otherwise known as balls of tasteless dough), I wore an anket (not sure where that came from, but thankfully that phase is over now), played hours of poolside trivia and partied an amount worthy of two people deciding to spend their lives together - read: a lot.


So, in October, I'll be able to add the next all-inclusive vacation tale to the list and since I'm going the majority of my best friends, it should be one for the books.  I mean blog.

Sad & Unbelievable Story

OK, this is easily the craziest story I have heard this week.  A woman who was married June 9 wanted to get one more photograph in her wedding dress so she set up a session with a photographer at a river in Quebec.

She apparently dipped her toe in the calm and fairly shallow water.  The water seeped into her dress making it very heavy.  She then slipped on a rock and was carried away by the river, weighed down by her dress.

The photographer tried to save her but her body was found at the bottom of the river shortly after.

This story sickens me.

I'm not usually a fan of sharing such tragic and horrific stories such a this one, but it is the most unbelievable tale.  What are the chances?  It reminds me of the much less fatal story of how a woman was hit in the head by a foul ball at a Phillies baseball game and then again in the knee as she was being carried out on a stretcher.

You can't make this stuff up.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Melissa Manifesto Vol. I

I've started a text document in my Blackberry so whenever I think of something that I believe strongly in, I've been writing it down.  I don't really know what the purpose is, but I like lists and as I get older, I like thinking of what this list will look like over the years.  I should have made one in my teens and twenties - I'm sure it would have looked very different...mostly about shoes and vodka cranberries.

The Melissa Manifesto - The 30 Decade

Vol. I
I BELIEVE....

- That those loud motorcycle noises some bikes make are in the top three most irritating noises of all time.  Above Fran Drescher.  Above nails on chalkboard.  Above "Layla" by Eric Clapton.

- In hugging people goodbye.  And hello, but especially goodbye.

- In merging into the lane at the last possible moment. Someone will always let you in.  Always.

- Being up front if you're not into someone after a first date.  Or a second date.  Whenever, just say it - it's always better than pretending.

- Straight up dating rejection over the disappearing act.  Tell me, I can take it.

- Holding the wine glass by the stem.

- In handwritten letters and thank you cards.

- That "Anyways" isn't a word, but "Anyway" is.

- In never wearing Crocs.  Or Toms.  I just can't.

- In only using Lol if I'm actually laughing out loud.

- Lists repel anxiety.

- Cloth napkins.

- Having things that you prefer to do alone.

- Singing along to songs. Loudly.

Monday, August 13, 2012

East End Love

Always a fan of adding new routines and rituals to my life, I've implemented a nightly walk around my neighbourhood.  I really love my neighbourhood and sometimes I forget why.  Sure, it has its grit, but it's just enough to make you appreciate the lovelier blocks.  The east end is fully of tall, mature trees, stately homes - each one different from the last, stunning inlaid lead glass windows and doors and some of the most beautiful gardens and facades, which might surprise you.



(Since I was trying not to look like a weird creeper, these pictures don't even begin to do them justice.)

Tonight, I ventured out and took a tour of some of the lesser travelled blocks around mine.  I said hello to 4 people and got 3 in return - not too shabby.  I noticed a lot of trash on the main street and plan to go do some neighbourly trash collecting tomorrow.   Really!  I will. 

As it began to get dark, I got to do one of my favourite things: look in on people's homes.  I've loved doing this since high school and I'm really only interested in the decor and set-up.  I'm not spying on the people - they're rarely doing anything interesting.  But that window of time when it's dark but curtains have not yet been drawn is one of my favourite times of day.  I'm pretty sure I saw a hoarder.  I'll keep an eye on that one.

Walking around I remembered events or experiences that have happened around these streets.  There is the well-manicured lawn with the automatic sprinklers that provided heat relief on a 3am walk home from a friend's party.  There is the corner where I asked the weird cabbie who kept wanting to hold my hand to let me off, lest he find out where I actually live.  There's the mailbox that I'm always reluctant to put my mail in because it's often tipped over and (presumably) filled with soda pop.  There is the spot where I saw the cat with the chip bag on its head. Still hilarious. And then there's my house, my porch, my driveway, my back deck - the scene for so many amazing and wish-I-could-forget moments, although only a few of the latter.  I love living here.  So many friends nearby and so much "you have to look for it, but it's there" beauty in between.

My neighbourhood is beautiful and I enjoy these summer strolls.  East end forevah!  Or at least until I become a diplomat's wife and he makes us move to Ottawa.

The Tooth Hurts

Have you seen a Will Ferrell movie lately?  Tonight I went to see "The Campaign" and perhaps it was because I was sitting only four rows up, but I kept being distracted by his bottom teeth.  Have you ever noticed them? 



 
They're brutal.  I think I kept getting distracted because while I had to endure the childhood rite of passage of full braces, I fear my bottom teeth are running amok since all the wires were removed.  I still have a wire on the back of my top teeth, but for some reason, the wire was removed from the bottom.  Over the years one of the teeth has started to shift and, please, I'm not going to wear the retainer.  Those years of headgear have scarred me too badly to revisit that again.  But if the rest of the teeth start to jump ship too, I may have to consider it.

Ferrell's teeth are as bad as Julia Roberts' forehead vein.  I can't watch her on screen without staring at it.  Or rather, without it staring at ME.


Side note: the movie was only okay.  It got one or two genuine laughs out of me, but save yourself $11.50 and watch the trailer - that's where the gems are.

Additional side note: my Scottish orthodontist used to sing "Power of Love" by Celine Dion while working above my open mouth.  To this day, that song makes me cringe with pain.  I used to distract myself from the wires and pliers that made my mouth bleed by imagining the turned tables when I became an orthodontist.  My application was denied as it was flagged as "highly motivated by aggressive retribution".  Pffft...bureaucracy.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

15 minutes of "fame"

Getting gas is usually a dull chore.  We're not allowed to use our phones to pass the time (is this actually all that dangerous?  Will something explode?  Really?), the catch thing that allows us to let go while pumping is long gone, and everyone is usually either waiting for someone to finish or staring off into space.
On the way to the cottage last weekend, I had to stop in Barrie for gas and it was actually a welcome break from the eye-gouging traffic.  But this was no ordinary gas trip.  The woman at the next pump was talking to some guy, who I quickly discovered had a video camera.  Once I got out of my car, I heard her say, "Sorry, no.  Maybe this nice girl can help you out."  A bit blindsided by Pass The Buck Peggy, I was approached by a CTV cameraman and asked if I would answer some questions about rising gas prices.

I told him that I probably wouldn't have a very interesting response since my general feeling is *shrug* + "Whaddaya gonna do?"  But he said this was fine and I offered to "pretend-pump" gas so he could get some footage.

Then he hoisted the camera onto his shoulder and I weighed the options of removing my sunglasses and keeping them on - ultimately I left them on, since I was a bit nervous and they gave me my apparel armour.  He then stuck out the microphone, which I instinctively grabbed for until he told me that he holds it, I just talk.  Right, ok, go ahead, you can hold it.

We chatted for a few minutes and I relayed my "necessary evil" and "this doesn't really impact my life" message for the camera.  I was moderately nervous, just enough to stumble on the end of a sentence and giggle to myself once I got back in my car. 

My shining moment is at 9:10:

http://www.ctvbarrie.ca/2012/08/friday-august-03-2012-ctv-news-at-6-webcast/

In hindsight, I probably should have said that increasing gas prices really don't affect my life in any real way.  In fact, I was going to glance back at the pump and say, "Ok, so I just got 60 litres and that works out to, what, $1.20?  That's pretty much nothing."  But I was afraid to do on-the-spot math on camera and I'm pretty sure I would have come off sounding like a princess.  In the clip, there is me and this other guy my age on the same page saying that the money doesn't mean a thing, then there is an older woman with kids who is talking about how debilitating it is and how they can't go all the places they want to.  We sound like trust fund babies.  Camera time and sounding like a rich airhead who can't do math on command - I'm practically Paris Hilton.

V.V. Brown

Why is no one talking about V.V. Brown?  I randomly picked her CD up at the library and she's phenomenal.  Like Adele + Estelle + Amy Winehouse + someone else I can't place.  I've been attached to the CD all weekend - returning it late would be worth every nickel the library charges me.
She's from England and it doesn't seem like she's taken off over here yet.  But you heard it here first.

Check out "Shark In The Water" below as well as "Leave" and "Crazy Amazing".  She is.



Cottage - Year 2


The 2nd Annual Little Clam Wham Bam Thank You Jam took place last weekend and it was another colossal success.  One cottage, 13 people, one bathroom (some people don't think an outhouse counts), and 1 irritating fire ban.

Highlights:

- Surely to be an anuual thing - we swam across the lake and back.  Going there wasn't bad, we were pretty gung-ho, but the wind was against us on the way back and somehow 4 inch "waves" really slowed us down.
video


Panting, moments after we arrived back on dry land:

video

- Poor little Dan playing alone on the beach, building a sand hospital with a VIP helipad.  I can't stop laughing at this picture.  And yes, the hat is a remnant from the 1990 Brooks neon collection.


- Literally 6 pounds of bacon were consumed.
- "Body Up" - now my favourite catchphrase and an effective method for conserving water while at the cottage.
- Surely we are a contender for the longest game of Jenga ever:


- We're pretty sure we saw a working girl on the single street corner in Kearney, Ontario.  The cottage john - talk about an untapped market.
- No one got knocked out during hours of attempting wind surfing.  After several close calls, this was a definite success. 

Next year we are planning on incorporating a scavenger hunt.  I've only got a year to make it happen, but I'm sure it will include getting the best rate from the Kearney professional.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Some Summer Jobs

The summer job. Unless you are a trust fund baby, the summer job is an inevitable coming-of-age time in your life that was filled with low pay, no respect and if you're lucky, dozens of other suckers in the same position with whom you may forge great friendships and/or live out epic melodramas.
Here is my summer job rundown:

Newspaper Deliverer

My friend Tracy and I shared this job one summer, although I don’t recall her ever having to perform the embarrassing task of knocking on customers’ doors once a week for payment. My greatest fear was always that someone from my school would answer the door or someone would spy me toting around the duct tape covered blue cart.

Flyer Deliverer

Twice a week, rain or shine, I was out there with the same beaten up cart, ready at a moment’s notice to walk away and pretend I was just out for a stroll if I saw anyone I knew. I had this job in 9th grade, the most important time period for trying to convince people you aren’t a weirdo. Flyers didn’t help.

Concession Stand Worker

I actually loved this job – it was at a concession stand near the band shell at Gage Park. I got to work alone, eat all the Freezies and hot dogs I could and just chill out with a book most of the time. The major challenges of the job were when someone reported a flasher in the bathrooms attached to the stand or that one time my friend brought her ferret to visit and it relieved itself on the counter. What kind of ninth grader has a ferret anyway? She would have fared better with a flyer route.

Buser/Waitress


This was, hands down, my favourite summer job – one that I kept from the age of 16 – 22 all year round. I worked at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ancaster and had some of the most fun of my teen years there. My greatest friendships were formed here and still endure today. Working there with dozens of people my own age was the perfect breeding ground for romances, hijinks, drama and an all-out party while getting paid.

Steel Handler

Working at Stelco for two summers during university was both the best and worst experience of my string of summer jobs. I was extremely fortunate to be selected for employment and the wages were amazing, even by today’s standards. However, in exchange for the most money I’d ever made until recently I had to wear steel-toed boots, coveralls, a hard hat, work 12 hour shifts (nights and days) and handle hot steel. I was not at all qualified for this and I had people placing bets on how long I’d last. Except for some calamitous run-ins with surly steelworkers, it turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to get some reading done and learn the following skills:

- Dodge pudding cups being hurled across the lunch room by insane man-boys

- Remove machinery grease from my face after a phone prank went awry

- Sleep standing up

- Come up with games involving a tape measure to amuse and pass time at 3am

- Breathe through my mouth
Sometimes I miss the days of jobs that I only have to endure until September, but then I remember all the great things about being a grown-up with a career, especially the one I'm currently working on and I go back to sleeping in and working from home in my pyjamas.

Dive Bomb

My parents enrolled me in almost every extracurricular activity they could think of when I was a child:
- skating
- gymnastics
- sewing
- art classes
- horseback riding
- piano
- swimming

Once they recognized that I had no affinity or skill for organized sports, we stuck to things that did not require teammate reliance.  Swimming was a big part of my childhood.  I took lessons up to the Lifesaving levels.  However, after failing Bronze Medallion three times (the prerequisite to taking the lifeguard courses), I finally gave up and accepted that I would never be one of those cool, blonde lifeguards who were always crazy tanned and wore these sunglasses:


These seemed cooler when I was 15 and my dreams were being shattered.

The reason I could never pass Bronze Medallion and why I'm pretty sure I was 'pity passed' in previous levels was because I couldn't dive.  To this day, I still can't dive.  I love swimming and jump at every chance to be in the water, but I always end up with a nose and lung full of water, sputtering up from a belly flop.  I've hated that I can't do this for years, but the older I got the harder it was to try.  Plus, there aren't a lot of deep end pools in which to practice.

But, a big fan of lists and making myself do new things, I created a Summer 2012 To Do List.  It looks like this:

- Watch "All The President's Men"
- Stand in the intersection of Main & Ottawa streets
- Go horseback riding
- Try Priest Burger in Toronto
- Learn how to play dominoes
- Go to Taste of the Danforth
- Learn to dive

I put some of this list on a recent dating profile and received the following email:

"How can you have a car but not know how to drive?  Hyuk, hyuk."  Idiot illiterate.

Anyway, learning to dive has become a priority so at my friend Naomi's birthday party, we spent a beautiful day by a deep end pool and I met the challenge head-on.

video

Even after what seemed like several hours, this was the best dive.  Sigh.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mousings?

Since moving into my 1930s house two and half years ago I feel like I've had more mouse experiences than most home owners.  I grew up in an old house so it's nothing that's foreign, but it's occasionally annoying.
Somehow I've managed to blog about mice on Day One and several times since then.  It's getting a little out of hand.

I think the latest in what will surely become a anthology of mouse tales (possible title: Mouse Musings?  Mousings?) is what happened the other day.  I came home to that unsettling scent that makes you think, "Yep, something has definitely died in here."  Sadly, after this much experience, I knew exactly where to look - the bottom cupboard that inexplicably contains an electrical outlet half hanging out of the wall.  What could someone possibly want to plug in inside a bottom cupboard?

Sure enough, there was the origin of the smell.  A stupid mouse had tried to crawl through the hole that holds the outlet with the exposed wires through which a previous even more stupid mouse had chewed.  Does that sentence make sense?  Well, this picture will help:


The gross part was that his eyes were still open and only his face was peeking through the hole.  It took most of the morning to get the courage up to try and grab it with some tongs, but everytime I got close, the thought of clamping onto those big, wet, eyeballs was too much and I dry heaved.  So I just avoided that part of the house and racked my brain for solutions other than pulling him out.  Moving was a serious contender.

Two days of this was more than enough and I had to admit to myself that it was time to call in the Big Guns.  I hate to be that prissy girl, but there was something so revolting about this task that I called in my surrogate boyfriend.  Tracy.  Friend since elementary school and obviously much tougher than I.   She once got into a fight in fifth grade - a real one, not the kinds that I engaged in where we passed mean notes about each other.  She also got suspended in fifth grade for trying smoking with the cool kids.  In hindsight, fifth grade was her badass coming out party.

Black Jetta instead of a white horse, she arrived to my rescue and although we had to move the stove, the cupboard and I have to buy new tongs, she did the deed.

Surely, this won't be the last mouse story I tell, but perhaps I can play the victor in the next one.


*Shrug*


Every time I drive home over the Skyway I am confronted by this sign.  No, not that one, the other one.  What does this mean?  It seems to be on some sort of truck or trailer or something like that.  Do they mean "bump" and this is some sign maker's personal chuckle?

Just adding it to the list of things I don't really understand.  Up there with how runners in the outside lane aren't running farther, when to use "whom" and how airplanes stay up in the air (I mean, come on!).

Cottage Problems

Bread for 14 people:


Bread box:

Tantoo

This seems like something I would find on Pinterest, a site which I am proud to say I am NOT involved with in any way.  However, I stubbornly said the same thing about Facebook and since I finally caved, I've become quite addicted.
I actually saw this idea in an Adam @ home comic strip from the 80s.  Never funny, but not as bad as Marmaduke.


It came back to me this summer and I should have started it earlier in this heat wave, but even after one day, the effect was not too shabby. 

Behold, the suntan tattoo:



For those who don't want to commit to the skanky lifestyle that often accompanies tattoos, it is a simple and temporary solution.

Barefoot Contessa in my Living Room

How have I missed this all these years?!
I stumbled across a 3 DVD set of the Barefoot Contessa cooking show, one I am sad to say I can never watch due to my lack of cable television.  I am immensely excited!

It will be great to see her make some of these recipes and pick up any special techniques and hear her so wonderfully say, "How easy is that?"

However, on some recipes I need no assistance, I knock it out of the park - how could I possibly improve upon this near perfect vegetable tian that, before cooking, looks almost identical to her cook book?  Boo ya.

Perrier Perfection

I've never really enjoyed sparkling water.  In fact, my first cosmopolitan trip away from home at the tender age of 13 found me in Montreal, surely the chicest and coolest Canadian city in my eyes.  And to blend in with all the chicness, I casually ordered a Perrier.  At the mall, no less.  This was a big deal - and one that I thought cemented my entry into mature adulthood.  However, sitting around with grasshopper legs, massive Brooks sneakers and posing with it as a prop diluted the facade somewhat:


When I actually went ahead and tasted the sparkling water it was the most vile thing I'd ever had.  I had not yet tasted Campari.

To this day, I'm not really a fan - it seems like they forgot to add an ingredient to cut the bitterness.

Nonetheless, I always enjoy a visually stunning and captivating commercial and they are few and far between.  Remember that one a few years ago for Mercedes with this rich woman at a pool?  Maybe it wasn't Mercedes.  Anyway, if I could track that down, I'd be thrilled.

This commercial screened before my YouTube clip of Blessid Union Of Souls' "I Believe".  What?  It's a gem of a song.

Feast your eyes: