Thursday, March 30, 2006

Yet More from the Annals of the Huh?! Diaries

Inexplicably, a balding man in his early 50's holding a Charleston Chew in one hand and a broken umbrella in the other, turned to me on the bus and said; "I can remember quite a few mild experiences with nuns during my childhood."

Taken aback by his brazen disregard for my personal space I responded sarcastically, "My understanding of nuns is that it is not actually possible to have a mild experience with a nun."

Unphased by my caustic tone of voice he remarked, "Good point. Come to think of it some of the most powerful people I interact with professionally are nuns." He paused, took a breath, and continued, "There is one nun in particular that I would not want to come up against in a game of kickball."

I nodded agreement as if I knew what he meant.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Superstar...sort of...

TW made her on-screen debut in a three second walk-on role on the L-Word two weeks ago. It has taken me so long to write about the experience because I have been supremely busy fielding endless phone calls from directors, producers, and casting agents.

The casting agent from "America’s Most Wanted" even called. She wanted to know if TW might be free to play a mother, denied custody of her two children, who recently decided to kidnap the kids. The casting agent informed me that the mother and children are still missing.

However, when I told the casting agent that TW lived in Canada she removed her offer from the table. When I asked why, she explained that "America’s Most Wanted" does not do “Canadian” since it would be antithetical to the name of the show. She informed me that we might check with the casting agent of “Canada’s Most Wanted.” I am currently doing so.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Imagine you are on Jeopardy!

A plea to all Mini Proportions readers:

For the purposes of a side writing project I am currently working on, I am collecting interesting and irreverent factoids about regular people. As a result, I ask that you please take a moment and respond to this question:

Question: How would Alex Trebeck introduce you if you were a contestant on Jeopardy?

For instance – if Alex were to introduce me he might say, “So, I understand you are currently working as a haus frau. I also understand that when you met your girlfriend you did not know how to cook. Your girlfriend even claims that you did not have salt, spices, or food in your cupboards. I must ask, how do you think you rate as a haus frau now?”

Factoids can be humorous, witty, sad, poignant, boring, etc. etc.

Little g

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Geography Rant

In an effort to leave the dishes, laundry, and other haus frauly duties of the household behind, I often look in the local alternative weekly for seminars and readings of middling interest. This tactic has met with mixed results.

Recently, while attending a particularly long and drawn out seminar on the topic of “Hair through the Ages,” I could feel myself falling asleep. First my eyelids drooped; then my head lurched forward onto my chest; and then my mouth opened slightly. Each time this happened – four times within the first hour – I would be jolted out of my sleepy haze when the presenter posed a question to the audience.

So, in an effort to mimic intense interest in the topic I picked up my notebook and surreptitiously tried to list all fifty states by memory. I began by listing all the states I ever lived in – eight in total. Then I tried to list the remaining states by region starting with New England, then moving through the Atlantic Region, the Midwest, the heartland states – where beef is king, to the West Coast, and then back to the south. At the end of my cursory tour of the United States I still only identified 32 states.

Over the course of the next 45 minutes I racked my brain trying to identify the remaining eighteen states. First, I recounted every cross country trip I ever took – five in total – to make sure each of those states made the list. This tactic elicited ten more states – including Montana, Nebraska, and Delaware. Then I tried to remember which states the three most recent presidential and vice-presidential candidates hailed from. This produced three more states – including Tennessee and South Carolina. Then with five states to remember I started to go through the alphabet trying to list every state that began with A, B, C, and so on. After going through the alphabet twice I remembered four more states – including Nevada and Utah.

However, the last and final state still eluded me. In an effort to clear my head I ducked out of the room when the speaker began discussing the "social and political impact of hair in the 1850’s.” I ventured down the hall and to the bathroom. As I sat in the stall contemplating how long I could remain in the bathroom before someone began to worry about me the last, and final state came to me. I immediately jumped off the toilet seat with my pants still at my ankles and yelped, “New Jersey!”

After regaining my composure I exited the stall and washed my hands. As I stood at the sink I overheard a woman three sinks down from me telling her young daughter of six, “I think she might have Tourette’s Syndrome. Don’t be alarmed if she begins to yell out other state names.” After this remark the woman and her daughter quickly glanced in my direction and waited to see if I might say something else. I obliged. “Maryland, South Dakota, California, Idaho.” While in my mid-geography rant I observed the mother grab her daughter by the shoulder and scurry her to the exit.

Instead of returning to the lecture I decided to spend another thirty minutes in the bathroom since that is where I seem to do my best thinking.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

How much is a facial?

As I walked home with my pre-made Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough I noticed a storefront sign espousing “Body Kare” for the low, low price of $40. I immediately stopped short because even though I walked down this block at three times a week I never, until that moment, noticed this merchant. I tried to look inside the store to assess what kind of “Body Kare” one gets for $40 because I was in the market for some primping and pampering. However, I could not see anything because the blinds, on each of the three large picture windows, were drawn even though it was an unseasonably sunny and beautiful day.

As I was about to walk away I noticed a gentleman in his 60’s approach the entrance to “Body Kare.” He strode confidently to the door, pressed the buzzer – which I had not previously noticed, – and waited for the door to open. When the door finally opened I tried to peak inside but all I could see was a slight Asian woman wearing overdone bright blue eye shadow and purplish red rouge on her eyes and face. She opened the door just wide enough for him to enter, quickly ushered him in, and then quickly closed the door.

Upon observing this brief interaction I walked down the street muttering, “I think I might need to find my “Body Kare” elsewhere.” Alas.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I can do that!

While briskly walking down a city street rife with litter and other detritus I bisected two men on the sidewalk, one a meter reader and the other an average, average Joe, involved in a bitter argument. As I moved past them, I noticed the meter reader place a ticket on a BMW parked at an expired meter. Then I overheard this portion of the argument:

Average, Average Joe: I know you have a job to do but come on.

Meter Reader: If he is paying you to watch the meter than do your job and watch the meter.

Average, Average Joe: I am watching the meter but you are still ticketing his car.

Meter Reader: There is no time left on the meter so he gets a ticket like everyone else. You should have put more money in the meter to avoid this problem – isn’t that your job?

Average, Average Joe: I don’t have any money for the meter that is why I’m watching it – so I can get paid.

Meter Reader: Maybe you should use your “meter watching” salary to pay for his parking ticket.

Average, Average Joe: Are you serious?

Meter Reader: Word of advice man, don’t go out and get business cards just yet. You are not so good at this job.

Average, Average Joe: I bet I could do your job. Are you hiring?

Meter Reader: Uh, no.

I am seriously considering giving up this haus frau gig and becoming a professional “meter watcher.” I am confident that I could come up against Average, Average Joe and beat him in a meter watching show down. Actually, I think I could watch four meters at a time without breaking a sweat. Dare to dream, dare to dream.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

"I gotta have my bran!"

TW and I went to Costco this weekend. Our intention in going was to buy one of the many Picasso's on sale for the low, low price of $139,000. However, after hearing the recent flap about how the Picasso's at Costco might be forged we opted to buy Raisin Bran instead – because we had a coupon that brought the price down from $6.99 to $4.99.

When we arrived home with the industrial size Raisin Bran, which weighed close to 5 pounds, we realized that the Bran could serve not only as a tasty breakfast treat but also as a weight room alternative. So yesterday, after I had my two scoops, I took the box in hand and walked down the street to the nearby park. As I walked, first I held the box in my right hand lifting my arm up and down and then held the box in my left hand and continued this pattern throughout my 30 minute stroll.

As I walked with the purple Raisin Bran box I received strange looks from small children in strollers, gaggles of old women, hipsters with faux hawks, and even dogs – all sorts of dogs. I, however, continued onward with my workout bolstered by the fact that I learned on the Food Channel that walking with weights in hand contribute to an increased level of metabolism. In my mind, the burning of calories outweighed the guffaws of the jealous on lookers.

When I returned home TW asked me for the Raisin Bran because she wanted to bulk up on her fiber for the day. I offered her the box but asked that she only take one scoop because I wanted to maintain the integrity of the five-pound box. She nodded assent.

However, later in the day I picked up the box and discovered that the weight decreased from five to four pounds. When I confronted TW about this matter she explained that she could not resist the draw of the raisins. She suggested, “Next time we buy a box of Raisin Bran let’s plan to shellac it so that it is not sitting on the counter as a tasty temptation too delicious to pass up.” This time I nodded assent and poured myself a box of bran.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Why must yoga mats be so rubbery?

I just learned about an all-female, nude, yoga class in Vancouver seeking to recruit participants through a posting on Craig's List. I was tempted to reply to the posting and request more information about the class but TW reminded me that my sensitive skin could likely not handle the chafing of the rubber yoga mat against my bare bottom. Then she continued, "Need I remind you of the rubber body suit incident three Halloweens ago." Ah yes – she is so wise.

I guess I will forgo this opportunity and wait for an all-female, nude, ceramics class since there are no rubber yoga mats to stand in my way.

Bring it on I say. Bring IT on.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Breakin' 3?

Yesterday, as TW and I were meandering through the city blocks of Vancouver’s downtown corridor we stopped short when we noticed a large semi-circular group of 75 to 100 people gawking at an unseen entertainer. As we edged nearer and nearer to the crowd we were able to make out the lyrics to “When doves Cry” blaring from large stereo speakers. At that moment I convinced TW that we had to make our way to the front of the crowd because I had to know what was going on within that semi-circle. She seemed skeptical but I said, “How can we pass up an opportunity to listen to Prince?” She nodded assent.

I then used my 5’ 2” frame to my advantage as I blazed a trail through the throngs of people. TW, on the other hand, with her 5’ 6” stature could not follow my spry moves. Instead, a family of three – a pregnant woman, her husband and their three year old on his father’s shoulders – let me through the crowd but closed ranks when they saw TW coming. In response to their blockade I reached my hand through the couple, standing shoulder to shoulder, grabbed TW by the sleeve and pulled her through the crowd. When she finally made it to the front of the crowd her normally tidy hair stood straight up on her head in a style reminiscent of a “new wave” faux hawk.

Once we settled into our positions at the front of the crowd we observed two twenty something, red-faced, barefoot women, standing on yoga mats and badly mimicking dance moves from Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. The woman on the left tried a move reminiscent of the “Knee Drop.” Specifically, she tried to kick herself down onto one knee but she did not succeed. Instead, she landed on both her hands and her knees. In an effort to play off her misstep she tried to move into a modified “worm.” However, this move looked less like a worm and more like a woman lying on the ground flailing her arms and legs in the arm like a drowning swimmer.

After this series of failed moves, the woman on the right sensed the crowd’s interest waning. So in an effort to rile up the crowd she raised her hands in the air and shouted at the gathered multitudes to enter the circle and show their own moves. Smartly, no one budged.

As I awaited the next moves I looked behind the two dancers and noticed for the first time costumed store employees standing in the floor to ceiling store windows. The sign on the first window read, “The Garden of Eden.” Within that window stood a sizable bare chested man – close to 6’ 3” – wearing just a loincloth and a boa constrictor around his neck. He stood frozen in place alongside a woman similarly dressed but without the snake adornment.

In the other window, labeled, “Dare to be Naughty,” stood another poorly dressed young female break-dancer. She tried to break dance to the music but her moves were sorely curtailed by her lack of skill and the inability to move in the 2 foot by 2-foot window.

After 10 minutes of being “entertained,” TW tugged on my shirt and asked that we leave. She explained, “This 80’s flashback is making me want to put on my jelly shoes, pick up my long forgotten Rubik’s Cube, and ask the next door neighbors if they want to play hacky-sack for a spell.” Oh, how naughty.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

She thinks I'm rad!

As I age I find that I am not only becoming curmudgeonly but I am also becoming cheap. As a result of this new cheap behavior, I am now in the habit of only going to a hairdresser when someone gives me a discount coupon for a first-time visit.

Recently, I went to a “salon & boutique” because I was given a $20 off coupon to see the stylist named on the coupon. When I arrived at the “salon & boutique” I felt that I, at 34, was way too old to be in such an ultra-hip hair palace – a place where lace underwear, chic handbags, and size zero pants were sold - but I needed a haircut so I remained.

When the stylist greeted me at the door, I soon learned that she - a heavily tatooed, skater, snowboarder, and surfer – just returned from traveling for a month to Australia and New Zealand trying to catch that illusive “killer wave.” At that moment I knew I was even further out of my element than I first realized. Since I do not surf, skate, or snowboard we had very little common ground but in an effort to make conversation she asked me about myself. When asked to talk about myself, I tried to think of the coolest and most hip thing I could tell her but all that came out of my mouth was, “I am a haus frau. I moved here with my partner and now I make her lunches, do the laundry, and wash the dishes.” Although she seemed mildly interested in my haus frauly duties it was hard to tell if she, herself, was really interested or if she was feigning interest out of professional obligation. Regardless, I continued to bather on nervously throughout the hour-long cut.

At the conclusion of the haircut she handed me five $20 off coupons and explained that I should give them out to first time visitors to the “boutique & salon.” I took them obediently. When I got home TW gushed about my cute hair and expressed an interest in going to see this new stylist. So I dutifully gave her one of the $20 off coupons with the caveat that I made a fool of myself and that she might not want to announce her affiliation to me if she wanted to retain some street cred. TW agreed.

However, when TW arrived at the salon she instinctively told the stylist of her relation to me. To TW’s surprise the stylist immediately remembered me and remarked, "Oh, yeah. She's your house bitch, right? That’s really rad."

When TW told me about this exchange I laughed like giddy schoolgirl. I love being a house bitch. I am so totally going back to see her for a haircut, that is of course after I have used all my other half off coupons for the myriad of other stylists in the city.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Just Bras...

Yesterday while I was researching the contentious position of lady’s undergarments in post-colonial but the pre-industrial Canary Islands I read a statistic that shocked me. A nameless statistician claimed that 80% of women do not wear the correct size bra. In response to this news, I decided to tromp down to a lingerie store to uncover the rest of the story.

As I headed into the first lingerie store I spotted, I held my pen and paper tightly in hand so that I could record the responses to my provocative questions. I immediately went up to the woman at the counter and launched in to my first question, “How many of the women who come into the store each day come in looking for just bras?” She looked at me surprised both by my tenor of question and by my question itself. She pointed at the store’s inventory located behind me and remarked, “The store is called ‘Just Bras.’ Since all we sell are bras everyone who comes into the store is looking for juts a bra.” I responded sheepishly, “Oh, right. That makes sense.”

A little more self-conscious but still resolute I continued onward with my original line of questioning. “Of all those women who come in for ‘just a bra’ how many ask to be fitted by a bra specialist?” She replied to my question with a look bordering on disgust, “None. Cherise gets to them before they think to ask for assistance.” She then continued, “I think you should talk to Cherise directly. She can answer all of your questions.” I asked her where I might find the famed Cherise and she pointed me toward the dressing room.

As I approached I could see a towering woman standing 6 feet tall in flats. Slightly intimidated I walked up to her with my questions in hand. However, before I could utter a single word she looked at my chest and waved her hand back and forth with the flourish of a drama student. She remarked in my direction, “Oh no, that will NOT do. Come here sweetie, we need to fix you up.” I looked in front and behind me expecting to see a 14 year old that might answer to the name “Sweetie” but to my chagrin I was the only customer who stood within shouting distance of Cherise’s barb.

I immediately regained my composure and responded in my best Robert De Niro voice, “Are you talking to me?” She did not see the irony in my remark or in my paltry imitation and she responded to my questions very sincerely, “Yes. You really need some help. That bra will not do. Your boobs are way to low. Come with me.”

Within seconds Cherise shuffled me into a change room and asked me to remove my shirt. As I disrobed she returned with a tape measure and placed the tape measure over, under, and around my breasts. Once she finished this banal ritual she left the room. I remained stock-still waiting for her return because I was unsure how she might react if I tried to put my shirt back on.

When Cherise returned she handed me one purple and two hot pink bras. She must have seen me look at the bras suspiciously because she said, “Don’t worry, you can pick out your own colors these are just to assess if we have the right size.” As I held the first bra aloft I remarked, “If you caught the right wind you could really set sail with this thing.” She did not laugh. She then told me to put on the first bra. She remained in the change room but did have the courtesy to turn her back to me. She said, “I am turning my back to give you a little privacy.” I gritted my teeth and thanked her for her consideration.

Once I successfully put the first bra on I informed Cherise that she could turn around. As soon as she turned to look at me she stood in front of me, behind me, and to the side of me appraising the fit of the bra. Her facial expression indicated a certain level of bemusement at the manner in which I put the bra on. Without warning or explanation she reached out her sizable hands and pulled at the excess skin on my arms, back, chest, and stomach. As she poked and propped she repeated the mantra, “This is booby. This is booby. This is booby.” I was so flummoxed by her deft hand maneuvers that it was well after the fact that I realized she had been to a place that only a few pre-TW people had been and I did not even think to introduce myself to her.

Once the bra was fitted to Cherise’s liking she told me to look in the mirror. Since she seemed to be waiting expectantly for my reaction all I could think to say was, “Geez Batman, I didn’t know I had so much booby.” Again, she remained unmoved.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hmmm, free samples - delicious

TW and I decided to grab a quick breakfast the other day but since our local breakfast nook burnt to the ground we needed to find a new locale in close proximity to our house.

We stopped first at a Dutch style breakfast restaurant called, Le Holland (name changed to protect the “innocent”). After quickly glancing at the menu we ruled this place out because every item on the menu used either “Le” or “Holland” in their name. Since neither of us wanted “Le Pancakes” or “Le Holland Toast” or “Le Fruit Bowl” we moved on to another Le locale. Next, we walked to a neighborhood coffee shop but could not find a seat so we continued to trudge onward.

Our faith in finding a suitable locale for our food cravings waned after we walked, and walked, and walked block after block after block for a total of 35 minutes. My hunger pangs became so great during this trek that I began seeing visions of sugarplums dancing in my head and I am Jewish so I don’t even know what a sugarplum looks like.

Then, as if by sheer luck, we hit the jackpot, or so we thought. We saw a plastic, air filled bagel blown up to be 100x the size of an actual bagel. This bagel, hung from the awning of a nameless restaurant, beckoned us to enter.

As soon as we walked into the restaurant and saw the stark white bagels on the counter sitting amongst free samples of sushi we should have turned and run out the door but we did not. Instead we let our extreme hunger override our wisdom. Out of sheer instinct we each reached for a piece of the sushi. The sushi was warm to the touch, which is never a good thing when you are talking about raw fish, but we could not put it back on the plate because the chef stood behind the counter waiting for our reaction to the taste of his food. I took a deep breath, gulped, put the sushi in my mouth, and chewed.

As soon as I got the sushi down my throat and was able to open my mouth I turned to TW and said, “That wasn’t so bad.” She looked at me skeptically and said, “Well, since I am from an underdeveloped country I am used to eating food that is suspect but I am a little concerned about your constitution.” I explained, “I come from hearty New England stock – I will not let rancid sushi get me down.” Within minutes my bravado waned and I searched for a bathroom.

The remainder of the day I alternated between the couch, the floor, and the toilet. The entire day, all 24 hours, I could be heard grousing about my mistake. “I will never eat again.” “Food sucks.” “Sushi is a bad, bad, bad idea.” “Free, shmee…oy, I will never eat another free sample.”

When the toxins finally passed through my system TW asked me if I wanted to go out for dinner. Since I am a weak person and could not swear off food for more than a few hours, I agreed. She then asked where we should go and I responded, “Hmmm. I am kind of in the mood for a spicy tuna roll.”

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Great Apartment Caper of '06

Yesterday as I threw two large bags of food trash in the dumpster behind my apartment I realized with sudden clarity that I locked myself out of the building. Within seconds I came to the dire conclusion that not only did I lock myself out of the building but I also left the keys, my apartment keys, dangling in the mailbox emblazoned with my apartment number, for anyone passing by the building to see. At that revelatory moment I ran.

I ran with the grace of a winded 34 year old panicked that she will never see the inside of her home again. I ran so hard that I knocked over an old women walking her dog in the alley, I ran into a homeless man picking up returnable bottles left out for him by the various recycle bins, I ran into a child on a tricycle. I ran through the alley, took a sharp left onto the sidewalk, then another sharp left onto another sidewalk, and then within seconds there I stood in front of my building staring through the glass door at the keys dangling from the mailbox three feet off the ground.

Once I knew that the keys were within site I immediately went into problem solving mode. The first idea that popped into my head, call someone. I immediately nixed that idea when I remembered that I do not own a cell phone.

I then decided that I should just run to TW’s office and pray that I can find her and borrow her keys. I nixed that idea too, however, because of the obvious flaw in the plan - while I innocently run to and fro some nefarious person manages to get into the building, find my dangling keys, proceeds to my apartment, and steals my couch. Oh, we love that couch too much to risk it.

Since I did not want to leave the keys unattended I decided that my best bet would be to buzz another apartment dweller and beg and plead them to let me into the building. As I was about to pick an apartment at random I realized that I did not have anyway to actually prove that I lived in the building. I did not have any ID with my current address nor did I have any mail in hand, which was even more irksome since I was trying to get the mail when I locked myself out. I decided that I could show them my fitness center card because it is the closest thing I have to proving I actually live somewhere in the city. Although on second thought I realized that all it would demonstrate is that I like to be physically fit.

As I shrugged my shoulders in defeat, a light bulb went off in my head, I could describe the interior of the apartment to whoever let me into the building. I could then take said person up to my apartment thereby demonstrating that I actually do live inside the building and I am not some immoral person looking to engineer an elaborate heist.

I steeled my nerves, eyed the buzzers closely, and chose a button near the top of the list since the person inside the apartment likely lived on the first floor and would not have too far to go if said tenant decided come look me over. I buzzed.

Within seconds, a woman’s voice came over the intercom. She said, “Hello.” I responded, “I live in” and was immediately cut me off by a loud buzzing noise. The door latch magically opened, I bolted to my mailbox, grabbed my keys, and held them tightly to my chest. With my keys safely in hand I said to nobody in particular, “That was anticlimactic.”

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