The Trip

April 16, 2014

I’m not talking about the kind of trip where you drink a tincture and come away with a new sense of purpose and understanding.

Wait.

On the kind of trip I’m talking about, you do occasionally drink tea and have a good old catch up with a loved one, where you might hit on some interesting topics, which may in turn give you new insight into a situation.

But I’m definitely not talking about the kind of trip where you go up into the clouds and see your ancestors.

Okay, wait.

On the kind of trip I’m talking about, you do get on a plane and you do go up in the clouds (as planes travel at approx.. 10,000 feet), and you are likely to see relatives, and some of them might be elderly.

But I’m definitely not talking about the kind of trip where you feel crazy for 8-12 hours.

Okay, wait. Now it’s getting weird.

On the kind of trip I’m taking about, you do occasionally attend a large gathering that may last the better part of a day, and you may drink a lot of soda and eat a lot of Red Vines, and because you already have hyperglycemia, you go slightly berserk.

Okay, yeah.

So the type of trip I’m talking about is actually very similar to the kind taken by Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters.

A visit “home” can definitely feel like a drug-fueled trip (not that I would know – however I have done extensive research on Wikipedia, etc.).

There is a lot of talking, and crying, and hugging, and sleeping wherever, and saying, “I love you man”, and also (occasionally) taking drugs (like Tylenol) because sleeping on their sofa bed has left you with a crick in your neck.

But, it’s all worth it.

…The trip home. Not a drug-fueled trip, obviously. A drug-fueled trip can have devastating effects on your physical and mental health.

But then again, so can a trip home.

The Handful

April 9, 2014

My poor parents…

They had no idea what they were getting themselves into when they decided to procreate for the second time.

Their first child (my sister, Michelle) was a calm, quiet child (I’m assuming this, as she is currently a fairly calm, quiet adult, and she looks very calm and quiet in old photos).

They probably wanted a second child to give Michelle a sister and (possibly) to give themselves another opportunity to eat birthday cake during the year. Because while cake generally tastes very good at any time of year, there is something about birthday cake that I can’t put my finger on. It might be the candle wax melting into the icing?

I digress.

I’ll bet my parents thought that both of their offspring would be calm, quiet and well-behaved children.

Let’s just say… it was not so.

I was a challenge. I was feisty, lively, scrappy. I would say inappropriate things at inappropriate moments. I regularly challenged boundaries and authority. I was not calm, or quiet (and definitely not well-behaved).

Some people blame parents for their children’s behavior. I don’t think Stan and Linda are to blame. (My mom possibly consumed too much Red #40 dye while I was in the womb, but we’ll never know for sure).

They are lovely people that tried their best. I was just a handful.

*

Case in point:

A few months ago my mom was going through their attic and came across a folder of my old drawings, notes, and schoolwork. She found a particularly intriguing letter from my childhood that I have transcribed (verbatim), for your convenience…

Bye!

Dear Mom and Dad, 

I’m tired of getting blamed, spanked, kicked, pinched, scratched at bitten. (all from Michelle) 

So i’ve decided I running away! I’ve taken everything I want! 

Bye! Love Kim xoxo

Tell Grandma and Grandpa Bye! 

Here’s an idea where i’ll be!

(For their convenience, I thoughtfully included a detailed map of my location – near a shrub, between the Watt’s and Hesketh’s.)

If you find this letter Aug 19-21

23 i’ll be leaving that spot!

I don’t remember if I actually followed through on my plans, but I do remember living with my parents until I went to college – so I guess everything turned out okay in the end – for me, not for my parents – they had to suffer through it until I turned 18.

God bless them!

The letter

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Kim, aged 7

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The Full English

April 2, 2014

April 6th is this Sunday!

You might be thinking, “It is helpful to know that April 6th is this Sunday, but it doesn’t require an exclamation point.”

And to that I would say, “Yes, it does!!!!!!!!!!”

Because… April 6th is International Breakfast Day… a day devoted to celebrating the Full English Breakfast!

Just to clarify… It’s not the partial, inadequate, incomplete or ¾ English. It’s the Full English, and in case you are sheltered as a child and don’t know about other cultures and civilizations… The Full English is the name of a breakfast meal in England consisting of eggs, bacon, sausages, half a tomato, a flat mushroom, hash browns, baked beans, and occasionally, black pudding.

Note: The Full English should not be confused with the term Full Monty, which means to strip off every item of clothing.

If someone offers you the “Full Monty”, you should think very carefully about what you’re getting yourself into…

If someone offers you the “Full English”, you should also think very carefully about what you’re getting yourself into…

Eggs. At least two. Fried hard, in lard.

Bacon. Two or more strips. Anemic. Pale. Wobbly.

Sausage. Made of the bits of all the animals people don’t like, then encased in intestines.

Half a tomato. Cooked until quaggy. Why?

A flat mushroom. Of the earth (tastes like earth).

Hash browns. Okay, sure. (It’s potatoes. How can you go wrong?)

Baked beans. From a can.

Black pudding. Pork blood and oatmeal. Who was the first person to eat this?

The Full English is considered an iconic national dish of England, and dates back to the early 1800s, according to the England Breakfast Society. The breakfast table was an opportunity to display the wealth of the estate for the residents and guests (the Full Monty also displays something, but not wealth).

So, this Sunday (April 6th), go get your eggs, bacon, sausage, half a tomato, flat mushroom, hash browns, baked beans and black pudding ON!

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The Show

March 26, 2014

I am very, very excited that the TV series 24 will be returning to the little screen (your television screen) this spring. The show, which covered a 24-hour period over 24-episodes, stars Keifer Sutherland as Counter Terrorist Agent Jack Bauer. It has been off the air since 2010.

That is literally all I know about the show. I never watched it.

So, by now you’re probably thinking… “Wait! You said you were very, very excited that the TV series 24 is returning, and now you’re saying you never watched it. I don’t understand.”

And to you I would say… “There are things in this world which you will never fully understand… (life, death, jeggings). But this is not one of those.” And then I would tell you to Hold Your Horse, and allow me the opportunity to explain.

I’m not at all excited that 24 is returning to television… (I couldn’t care less about 24 – I don’t care, and I could not care any less.)

Personally, I don’t enjoy TV shows that make me feel anxious, keep me on the edge of my seat, or star Keifer Sutherland. I prefer TV shows that make me feel merry, enable me to recline, and that star anyone but Keifer Sutherland.

The reason I’m excited about the return of this particular TV series, is that it means a TV show can return after a very long hiatus.

I’m not talking about a re-make or spin-off…  I’m talking about the same characters, played by the same actors, returning to TV… like nothing ever happened!

It happened for Arrested Development. The show was cancelled in 2006 and was resurrected last year on Netflix. Now it’s happening with 24…

Now, if my calculations are correct (1+1=2), it could mean that other TV shows will be brought back from the dead, and that is very, very exciting indeed!

My nominations: Seinfeld, The Cosby Show, Friends, 30 Rock, Freaks and Geeks…

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Kind of like 9-11 or the assassination of J.F.K., I remember where I was when I first heard about the Norwegian wedding cake.

The year was 2006. I was riding the number 10 (Granville) bus. The date was June 28, the time… 9pm. I was heading home from a visit with my sister and family, and was looking out the window at the streetlights and traffic (because in those days, we didn’t have fancy gadgets to disconnect us from this cruel, cruel world), when my cell phone rang. Yes, I had a cell phone… it was a retro Samsung S300 flip phone and it only made phone calls (and I never learned how to program it so I still had to remember everyone’s phone number).

I digress (as usual).

Back to the Norwegian wedding cake!

I heard my phone ring. It was a really loud shrill tone (because the S300 only came with one ringtone) and everyone on the bus looked really annoyed, because cell phone presence on a bus was still considered rude at that time… The year was 2004.

It was my mother, but I didn’t know until I answered it (because the S300 did not feature call display). My mom had been calling me quite regularly because our wedding (the second best day ever) was fast approaching, and she wanted to “help”.

I love my mom, and I know she means well… but we had it under control.  The venue, band, and caterer were booked, rings purchased, flowers ordered, tables, chairs, crockery and cutlery rented, and my sister was making the wedding cake.

“I ordered you a Norwegian wedding cake,” she said.

I thought that I misheard. Obviously my mom had not just said that she ordered me a Norwegian wedding cake. My sister (who is a Master Baker) was making our wedding cake.  She had already purchased special pans and a jar of lemon curd. She had it under control. Besides, a Norwegian wedding cake (also known as a kransekake) is the traditional ring cake for Norwegian weddings, made of almonds, sugar and egg whites and decorated with small Norwegian flags. I’m sure it’s delicious, but I’m not Norwegian. Not even a little bit.

Obviously the man playing bongos on the bus (this was Vancouver) was affecting my ability to hear clearly. “Ixnay on the ongobays,” I said, in Pig Latin. He stopped, because he was polite (this was Vancouver). I asked my mom to repeat herself. So she did.

“I ordered you a Norwegian wedding cake,” she said, like it was nothing.

“You did what now?”

“I ordered you a Norwegian wedding cake,” she said. “For your wedding.”

Bongo Boy started up again. I gave him the look. He stopped his bongo-ing. I continued. “But we’re not Norwegian, “ I reminded her.

“It doesn’t matter. They’re delicious.” My mom sounded very pleased with herself.

“I don’t want a Norwegian wedding cake.” I said firmly, into my S300.

“Well, I’ve ordered it. You’re getting one.”

“I don’t want one.” I said, more firmly this time.

“I’ve already ordered it. You’re getting one.” She refrained.

This continued, back and forth, for a few minutes, until something in me finally… snapped.

In my defense, I was already close to the edge. I was feeling rather overwhelmed with life, and plans, and the wedding. I can’t be held responsible for the things I said that day.

It went something like this: “Mom! Listen up and listen good! You are not bringing a Norwegian wedding cake to my wedding! You hear me? If I see a Norwegian wedding cake, so help me…! I will throw that piece of *%$#@ Norwegian wedding cake across the room!”

And then I hung up on my dear mom. Or, rather closed my phone gently because if I closed it too firmly/quickly/abruptly the battery pack fell off and I had to power back up to restart the phone, and that took 20 minutes.

Epilogue: My mom did not bring a Norwegian wedding cake to my wedding (which is actually a shame because they do look delicious).

Norwegian style wedding cake with flags

The Wedding

March 12, 2014

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write about the wedding. It was the second best day of my life after Roald Dahl Day.

The wedding was a very happy occasion attended by ten of our favorite people (twelve people attended, however two of those are not considered “favorites” – I’ll let you guess who’s who).

When we were planning the wedding, we both felt that we wanted it to be a small, intimate affair… in a world-class international airport.

Yes, that’s right… we got married at Vancouver’s YVR airport.

I know what you’re thinking… we’re both pilots. You’re wrong. We’re not pilots (although I would have made a great pilot because I’m focused, self-disciplined and I look great in Ray-Bans). We just really like the airport.

When the husband and I were first dating, we would hang out near the airport and watch the planes land and take off (when we weren’t busy kissing and canoodling). It was one of our favorite things to do (aside from kissing and canoodling).

The airport seemed like the obvious choice.

So, after contacting the multi-faith chapel in the International terminal, and meeting with the Chaplain, and asking the Fairmont Hotel to use their lobby for 30 minutes… we were all set.

We had our wedding photos taken around the terminal before the ceremony – classic poses like me arriving on the baggage carousel, me answering the security phone, the husband “checking in” for his flight, the husband getting a “pat-down” by security.

We gathered in the Fairmont Hotel lobby on the 2nd floor. A small crowd of travelers and airport staff gathered in a nearby corridor to watch the proceedings.

This was not your typical, average, archetypical, everyday, “normal” wedding.

For instance, my father did not walk me down the aisle.

I know what you’re thinking… fathers should be allowed to walk their daughters down the aisle! It’s a tradition that goes back to betrothals and arranged marriages, and it’s an important rite of passage for both fathers and daughters!!!

Easy now! You’re passionate about established practices, aren’t you?

I just meant that my father didn’t walk. I didn’t either. We were transported on a conveyor device… My father did not walk me down an aisle, he escorted me up an escalator.

At the top of the escalator, my dad walked me over to my then-fiancé (now husband) and we started in with the ceremony.

My Gramps (a retired Minister who is still very tight with the Almighty big G), performed the ceremony, which was (apparently) very stirring. I don’t remember anything after the escalator. My mind was somewhere else (Cuba).

When I came back from Cuba (it’s a metaphor), we all headed to the Fairmont Hotel for lunch. As I dug into my endive salad, I remember feeling kind of sick and happy and dizzy all at the same time (and I don’t think it was the wine coolers I chugged pre-ceremony). I think it was the realization that I was now a married woman… and somebody’s wife (my husband’s, specifically).

Eight years later, I look back fondly on that day… the Second Best Day ever!

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The Song

March 5, 2014

I love remembering.

I love how a story or a smell or a photo or a song can take you right back to a time and place.

Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street was on the radio today. For those of you unfamiliar with Baker Street, it is a cheesy 70s ballad featuring a saxophone riff between each verse, and lyrics such as: “He’s got this dream about buyin’ some land / He’s gonna give up the booze and the one night stands / And then he’ll settle down, in some quiet little town / And forget about everything.”

Most couples have a special song that is an expression of their romantic feelings for one another. They might play their song at their wedding, or when they want to “get jiggy wit it”.  The song might even be “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”.

Baker Street is “our song”.

You might be wondering how Baker Street, a song about buying land, alcoholism, and sexual promiscuity could be “our song”.

September, 2011. Rhodes, Greece. Aegean Sea. The aroma of ripe peaches, sea water and romance was in the air…

Every morning we would trek up to the restaurant for breakfast, hand-in-hand, and every morning we would sip orange juice and prosecco, feed each other fresh fruit, kiss, cuddle, touch each other’s knees, etc. (we were the people you hate), and every morning the restaurant would have the very worst “classic rock” playing in the background.

I remember the saxophone intro. (It is so cheesy.)

I asked the husband what song it was (because the husband has an uncanny ability to recollect useless information. It is one of the reasons I married him).

Shockingly, he did not know. He took out his phone to google: “cheesy saxophone solo”.

Baker Street was the first result.

We both started playing air saxophone solos. We both started laughing. We both agreed this was the best vacation ever. We also both agreed that downloading music and movies without permission is morally equivalent to theft. I digress (as usual).

Weirdly/strangely/oddly, when we got home from vacation we started to hear Baker Street everywhere… all the time. Banks. Grocery stores. On the radio. While holding for the cable company. A fellow commuter’s ringtone. We would look at each other, laugh and remember: Rhodes. Sea air. Hand-holding. Making people jealous. That’s us. That’s Baker Street. 

The Jet-lag

February 26, 2014

I love jet lag.

You might be asking yourself, Why does Kim love jet lag?

Or, you might be asking yourself a bigger, more important question, like… WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?

I can’t help you with the meaning of life. I mean, I suspect it’s something about love and kindness and making the world a better place, and the love you take being equal to the love you make, but I can’t say for sure.

As for the first question:

I love knowing that I have at least two days of watching TV ahead (for transatlantic flights). This is exciting for me, because I don’t allow myself to watch TV during the day. I “work” from home (I don’t know why I put work in quotations – I’m not trying to minimize my efforts. I work very hard and I want everyone to know it), and I have found that TV is like meth, or like Lays Potato Chips… once you start, it’s hard to stop.

I love feeling sleepy, and being allowed to feel sleepy. This is exciting for me, because I don’t allow myself naps. Again, I “work” from home and napping takes away from the working. Naps are also like meth and Lays Potato Chips™.

I love having zero expectations. This is exciting for me, because I place very high expectations on myself. I love knowing that my brain is not working at 100%, so I should just sit back, relax, watch some TV and eat some Lays Potato Chips, while waiting for my circadian rhythm to adjust.

I love doing laundry. Is there nothing better in this world than folding laundry while watching a Golden Girls marathon on the Hallmark Channel? Answer: No.

I love slowly unpacking the souvenirs collected on the journey. I have learned the hard way that it is better to unpack your leaning tower (of Pisa) statuette slowly.

I love being able to take sleeping pills, without it being a “thing”.

I love feeling disoriented and fatigued. I love not having to do meth to get that “disoriented” and “fatigued” feeling.

Now to book another trip!

jet-lag-is-coming

The Restroom

February 19, 2014

We’ve all been there. Queued, or “lined-up” in a bathroom, waiting patiently to use the facilities. (And, as we know, the lines are always longer in the ladies room, but that doesn’t stop us from mentioning it to everyone single person in line… every. single. time.)

A woman comes out of a stall, looks in the mirror, examines her pores, pouts her lips, applies lip gloss, flicks her hair over her shoulder, and then exits the bathroom.

And you’re like… WHAT.

She has just been in a shared, public restroom doing her “thing”, where many other people have done their “thang”… which could include many different situations and circumstances.

When one “uses” (or “abuses”) a bathroom (let alone a shared, public restroom), one touches what other people have touched (door knobs, dryer buttons, faucet taps, soap dispensers, toilet seats, flushers, latches, and – possibly – their genitals…). Germs are passed around, bacteria are shared, infections are spread.

It’s like one big germ/love fest! But, why not go and get a communicable disease the fun way (making out)? (Picking up a disease in a bathroom is so 1987.)

Why don’t people wash their hands? WHY?

Are people just lazy?

How hard is it to get your hands wet, use soap, work up a lather, and then rinse?

Answer: NOT VERY.

I wish that there were signs over the bathroom doors that would light up and announce to the world (or, at least, people in the immediate vicinity): “Didn’t wash hands!” Because I want those non-hand-washing disgusting perverts to know, and to feel… shame.

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The Bullies

February 12, 2014

So I was bullied.

You might be thinking to yourself that being bullied in middle school or high school (or both) is a rite of passage and happens to everyone. You might have also been bullied, or have been a bully… and you might be of the opinion that whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. I agree with all of these statements.

But, no. This was just a few months ago.

I signed up for a comedy writing class at a popular comedy school in Los Angeles, to learn more (not less) about comedy and writing.

The first class went well. Everyone was shy, and on their best behavior. We all said our names with a sweet smile, and sipped our drinks softly.

Our teacher was a dude. He was in his early 20s, and claimed to know something about comedy. He drank a lot of soda and burped at least 50 times every single class. He would be in the middle of a sentence… “I want you to establish the who, what, (insert big gross BURP here) and where.” Then he’d move on, like it was no big thing.

The second class was less good, because it soon became clear who the Heathers* were.

Let’s call them Karen and Angela (because those are their real names and I’m definitely not trying to protect them). Karen and Angela were both in their mid to late 30s. They knew each other. They sat together. They shared snacks and drinks with each other. They knew why the other one was late (“flat tire”). They also passed notes, whispered and laughed out loud throughout the class, which I found incredibly distracting and (also) rude.

Each class would begin with the dude talking about comedy writing for several minutes, then we would take turns reading our comedy sketches aloud and give each other “constructive criticism”.

While my sketch was being read aloud by other members of the class, I looked over at the Karen and Angela. Karen jotted something in her notebook, and then drew an arrow pointing directly at me. She then nudged Angela, who read it, laughed, and followed the arrow with her eyes… directly to me.

I stopped paying attention to my sketch being read aloud, and started wondering what on earth these two ladies (I use that term loosely) had to say about me? What had Karen written, and why had Angela laughed? Why were these ladies (or: sea cows) targeting me?

Some possibilities:

1. They are talking/pointing/laughing at something just behind me (the wall????)?

2. They are jealous of my comedic and writing abilities.

3. They are mad because I am way cuter than either of them.

4. They have never been loved by another human.

5. I have something on my face.

After checking my face in the mirror on the break, I resolved that the next time those b****es drew an arrow in my direction, I was going to call them out.

I mean, come on! I’m over it. I’m over being self-conscious. I’m over feeling intimidated by other women. I am over. IT.

For the remaining six classes, Karen and Angela continued to be terrible. They took turns writing notes, drawing arrows (seriously), and laughing out loud at different people in the class. They were overly critical (read: mean) about people’s sketches and had a bad attitude when they received constructive criticism from others. The dude teaching the class didn’t seem to notice, or care (unless he ran out of Coke Zero).

Strangely… I started to feel sorry for Karen and Angela.

Obviously, Karen and Angela are very sad, lonely people. They have probably never been loved by another human. They probably pick on people to make themselves feel better about their sad, lonely lives. They probably look in the mirror and cry (because to be honest, neither of them are very attractive).

I realized that Karen and Angela didn’t deserve contempt, they deserved pity. (They also deserved a good spanking, but I digress.)

If you are a Karen or Angela, please STOP being a Karen or Angela.

If you know a Karen or Angela (obviously not just people with the names “Karen” or “Angela”, but people with the aforementioned traits), don’t let them get to you! Remember that they are sad, lonely people with sad, lonely lives and they deserve your pity.

Try giving them a hug, or spanking (or both).

*If you don’t know the term, Heathers… OMG, what? Heathers is a 1980s classic movie starring Winona Ryder about a clique of mean girls all named Heather.

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