Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Whale Tail" or Warning

It ticks me off. I feel like such a sap, obeying traffic rules, making all my stops. I royally hate feeling like a sap!

The vast majority of people barely stop at all, or blatantly roll right through stop signs! Several times, as a pedestrian, I end up yelling at cars that roll through stop signs as I’m walking across the road!

At least if the cops were enforcing the rules, I’d feel like obeying them, pays-off. Seeing cops parked at intersections waiting to catch the idiots who ignore stop signs would be instant reward; positive reinforcement and motivation to keep being a “goody two shoes”.

For the last several months, there’s been construction on the highway near my home. The signs warn ominously of “doubled fines in construction zones”. The speed limit through the construction zone is posted at 70 kilometres an hour. I go 80. I feel like a grinding-the-gears granny as people routinely fly past me! I curse them for ignoring the speed limit and I curse myself for sappily obeying it. It’s not a pleasant drive.

Why bother obeying the rules, I grumble, if no one is going to enforce them? Sure, I don’t want to hit a worker, or smash into a dump truck as it unexpectedly pulls into or out of a construction area. Most times I drive through there, I see no one working. I drive through there at midnight, or on weekends. I haven’t seen one patrol car monitoring traffic there and I’m constantly grappling with the temptation to go faster.

Last night, after midnight, coming home from work, I once again slowed down to 80 when I hit the construction zone. Sap mobile in the house. The car behind me slowed down as well. We puttered along for a couple of kilometres and then the car behind me pulled out and passed me. It was a Surete du Quebec cruiser!

As the police car continued past, I cheered myself for being a sap and would like to believe that if I’d sped up, I would have received a slobberingly juicy ticket, complete with doubled fines! I’m hoping last night’s incident will deter me from the temptation to speed through the construction zone which, the signs say, will be in place until August 2012.

I know myself. I'm a sad excuse for self-control and by the weekend, I will have dismissed last night’s encounter as a “whale tail”, a fluke!

Drat. I see a long, curse-crammed year of driving ahead.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Snapback is Back

A few weeks ago, Tristan mentioned “snapback hats” and then tried to explain what they were. I listened intently but, typically, failed to grasp the concept. I choose to blame his explanation as much as my inability to clearly visualize the object of his description.

Today, wandering through a busy mall, snapbacks came up again. This time, he pointed to one as it sauntered past on top of someone’s head. “Those are snapbacks?”, I exclaimed, incredulous, “I’ve got a closet full!”

When I was in CEGEP, my father took me to buy a pair of Puma running shoes. They were blue suede with the red puma design sweeping along the side. A couple of years ago, out of the blue, Pumas were all the rage! Susan got a pair. Tristan got a pair and I, well, I still had the pair I got decades ago.

Heh heh; I believe "shrewd" is the word you're lookin for.

It’s like I always say, “Hang on to your gross, out-of-fashion stuff because sooner or later, it’s coming back around!” I actually don’t say that and am always amazed when I see my forgotten junk appear as part of everyone else’s fashion statement. It happened with my plaid shirts, my lumber jackets and now, snapback hats.

I eagerly await the day my blue cotton Miami Vice blazer bursts back onto store racks! Susan calls it my "real estate agent jacket" and wretches and heaves whenever I put it on, but in a decade or two, I'll show her! The day will come and, believe me, I will savor the last laugh.

I carefully laid a selection of my snapbacks on the ping pong table. I propped up the ones that had been flattened and straightened out the fronts that had been wrinkled.

Beauties, huh? Are you seeing the history in this assortment? I know, but it’s not that simple.

I discovered there are certain criteria that must be met; the hot, hip snapback hats of today should have a team logo on the front, possess a certain vintage flavor and a beak that is straight, not curled and bent. Being a long-time beak bender and curler, that, unfortunately, ruled-out a lot of my dustier gems. After looking through them and patiently listening to my explanations about why this or that hat was a collectible and sentimentally attached to me, Tristan selected one for possible wear.

Boom! How exciting; my fashion slop has reached the top! My snapback beak is at the peak! My forgotten hat is just all that!

So, you see, it’s like I always say, “Patience isn’t a virtue, it’s a fashion gift”. I couldn’t be prouder.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Curse the Clock

Caroline Ouellette is a three-time Olympic gold medallist and five-time world champion! As accomplishments go, those alone are difficult to comprehend! That she's currently playing hockey in an arena that bears her name is a testament to the enormity of her contribution to Canadian sport! Caroline was in our studio yesterday, along with 2010 hockey Olympian and her newly-drafted teammate, Catherine Ward. They were there to talk about the Montreal Stars of the Canadian Women's Hockey League.

I may have met Catherine before, when she was a member of the McGill Martlets hockey team. Doing live segments for the morning show a few years ago, McGill womens' hockey coach Peter Smith was always willing to organize an early morning visit and scrimmage for our show. Catherine thinks she may have been part of one of those "crack of dawn" sessions!
Sitting with Caroline (left) and Catherine in-studio,  moments before taping begins.

The interview was very interesting. I didn't get to the question during the interview because I, as usual, ran out of time, but both players admitted one day having a womens' professional hockey league that pays players would be a dream come true. They're certainly doing what they can now to make that reality possible in the future. Even more important is their roles as inspirations. The more girls who get involved in sports and who remain active throughout their lives as a result of that involvement, the better! Caroline graduated from Quebec's  police academy a few years ago and is exploring coaching, while Catherine, after doing her undergraduate degree at McGill, completed her MBA at Boston University last year. Through all their projects, they never stop playing and never stop winning!

On the same show, I interviewed singer and former Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila, who was in-studio as spokesperson for the fourth annual Pedigree Adoption Drive. Eva's been going across the country, trying to get Canadians to consider shelter dogs for adoption, as well as donate to shelters and volunteer at them.

Eva is getting ready to begin recording a new French album and we learned, off-air, she's a "foodie" and her boyfriend is executive chef at Gordon Ramsay's Montreal restaurant, the former Laurier BBQ! She was energetic, well-spoken and very nice; I wish her all the success in the world! I'm still curious as to how she got the nickname "Eva le dragon", but as usual, I ran out of time!

I curse the clock.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why I'm Waddling

At 8:31 this morning, I climbed onto my bicycle in the backyard. At 9:31, I got off my bicycle in the sand at Oka Beach.

I walked a bit, sat a bit and thought a bit. I worked at Parc Paul SauvĂ© beach for five summers as a lifeguard. In that time, I grew a lot physically, socially and politically. I met great people and collected interesting and sometimes intense, experiences. We worked, trained and partied together. Two summers in a row, we swam across Lac des Deux Montagnes. I remember being pretty wobbly when I got out of the water on the other side!

With the sun shining brightly and a fall chill in the air, it's a fine day for a bike ride. It's been a nice and welcome long weekend. Susan made a huge and delicious Thanksgiving turkey dinner last night. I
know I have much to be thankful for; not only that Susan and Tristan are part of my life, but that they're healthy; that we're all healthy!

As I pedalled into the park limits, I noticed this sign. Evidently, the creation of the powerful salamander lobby has paid off!

I had recently pedalled to the park limits a number of times, but it had been a while since I'd pedalled the extra kilometres into the park and to the shore. There are new sections of the bike path that cut right through the dense forest. In many places, the path is blanketed by a dense coat of fallen pine needles.

There were geese on the water and others constantly flying in for the convention.

The only sound I could hear, during lulls in the honking, was falling leaves lightly tapping the sand around me.

It took me an hour to ride back home, which is surprising considering the awful yearning I had developed for padded bike shorts! I own a couple of pairs, I just hadn't considered wearing them. They were sorely missed.

My next assignment of the day involves a trip to the store. Tristan wanted me to buy a new driving video game that's coming out today. I refused and then, thinking it was a pretty safe bet, I agreed to pay for the game if he convinced Susan to finish a race on the game demo. She adamantly refuses to play video games except, as it turns out, when there's the opportunity to stiff me, humiliate me, crush me, have me eat crow, or take me to the cleaners; then, by all means, hand her the controller, there are exceptions to be made!

I'm still thankful, as off I waddle.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Loss of Jobs

My son sent me a text last night that read, “So sad about Steve Jobs. Terrible :( ”. 

That my 16 year old son knew who the man was, heard about his death as he sat in his driver’s ed class and texted me those heavy-hearted words, more than anything else, poignantly drove home the importance of his contributions to our lives.

Steve Jobs certainly impacted the life of my son; with his iPods, iMac and iPhone4, Tristan is a veritable technophile.

I tend to resist and, at times, resent propaganda and glitzy purveyors of glitzier products. I revel in being unconnected.

While I never ran out to buy an Apple product, the one gadget I feel most personally connected to, is my iPod. It contains 5,548 of my hand-picked songs and still has 103 gigabytes of memory left to fill! It lifts my train commutes from ordinary to wonderful. All at once, it's kept me out of trouble (An Apple A Day -September 12, 2010) and turned me into a self-confessed podaholic (Somebody Stop Me - August 25, 2010) !

Many a day, I grab my iPod, put on my headphones, flop onto the counch or sit on the deck outside and fly away.

The death of Steve Jobs came across the wire last night as I prepared the late-night newscast. It was sad news.

Later, watching people discuss his contributions, his visionary approach to technology and his marketing genius, I now more fully appreciate the extent to which his inventions have blanketed our globe.

He made technology loveable.

He was, as one commentator put it, our generation’s Leonardo.