Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Cake Clash

The history of this season’s clash is rich with betrayal and bravery. The testimony of history states the tale of the cake, over the years, is littered with deceit, greed, gluttony and blazing glory.

The conflicts centre around Susan’s delicious whipped cream log cake and the brazen attempts of tyrants to secure larger-than-fair portions.

The log cake in question served as the splendid backdrop to a sumptuous turkey dinner Susan had prepared this Christmas. By the time the meal ended, only a single, precious chunk of log cake remained in the fridge, tucked safely under foil.

Tristan and I had sworn to defend our remaining chunk of Susan’s log cake. Our vow included resisting requests, polite, implied or crude, from friends and all relatives, immediate or extended. The remaining chunk of Susan's log cake would be protected and kept for our palates alone.

Unfortunately, nephew Tyler arrived at our home determined to indulge in the same remaining chunk of Susan's log cake. Though none of the world’s great historians could have predicted its intensity, the clash was inevitable. As reasonable readers, you are sure to derive from this photograph, taken mere moments after his arrival at our home this week, that Tyler’s demeanor typically bears more resemblance to a clown than a warrior. Do not be fooled.

We, sensing threat - and he, sensing cake - grimly assumed our stations. Quickly, with the smell of whipped cream lingering in the air, the line had been drawn.

The battle began in the kitchen as Tyler, fork in hand, charged. For several minutes, the scuffle was punctuated by grunts, groans, giggles and sweat. Tristan and I solidly, almost easily, stood our ground, but in the midst of the battle, Susan, who had inexplicably sworn allegiance to extended kin over we greed-laden members of her nuclear family, escaped with the remaining chunk of log cake. As Tyler’s unsuspecting girlfriend stood in awe, it seems Susan, the lovely but flighty turncoat, had decided nephew Tyler was somehow entitled to the remaining chunk of log cake. Though he hails from her side of the family, Susan's unexpected actions have left me aghast.

Let there be no doubt, Tristan and I fought fiercely, restraining the attacker’s fork hand and grinding our knuckles into his unprotected sternum; still, we are prepared to admit our efforts only caused Tyler to battle more valiantly.

Finally, hunched desperately over the bathroom sink, swarmed and enduring considerable discomfort, he managed, between girly giggles, to stuff forkfuls of the remaining log cake into his mouth.

Though history will report he emerged victorious this round, he knows as well as we, victory will be short-lived and, just as surely as the power of the mighty inspires the admiration of the proletariats, there will be another log cake.

Once again, we stand ready.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Weird Friggin' Weather

Instead of trying to sprain my way up the driveway, I chose the less direct route, cutting across the lawn, causing loud crunches in the ice-covered snow as I stepped. The concrete stoop was a disaster waiting to happen; shimmering ominously in the faint glow of the street light.

The freezing rain had been falling most of the day and night. I had wisely opted to take the train in to work. I knew the walk back home last night would be hairy! I got off the train and took a picture of the coaches speeding past me, the ice-plastered electrified lines overhead, buzzing and flashing bright green in the dark night.

There was no approaching sheet-ice sidewalks or cutting across mirror-like glistening parking lots. I walked home in the middle of the street, following the path where tires had crushed ice into far less treacherous slush. Tree branches looked like spider webs.

Like a reckless mountaineer departing base camp as his support team sleeps, I prepared for the climb to the front door, scoffing at safety cords, spiked boots and hand chisels. Gingerly, making no sudden moves or weight shifts, I placed one foot on the first step and then the other. I did the same for each step, always pausing to see whether my footing was solid enough to attempt another step upward. I finally, carefully, dug the keys out of my pocket and stepped inside at 1:20 this morning.

Before climbing into bed, I promptly left two notes, one on the kitchen counter and a post-it on the front door, warning Susan the front steps were dangerous. She left early this morning and when I got up hours later, I saw that she had spread salt before attempting the descent.

Clever girl.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Insert Foot Here

Your honor, I hereby respectfully enter a plea of "not guilty".

We were watching the Sens-Canucks hockey game last night when a "night shot" of the festively-decorated Parliament buildings appeared on the television screen. Right now, the buildings in Ottawa are decked out in red and green. They caught our eye!

Susan suggested that during the holidays, we go see the buildings; I enthusiastically agreed. Then she mentioned we could take a picture of her and our two dogs on Parliament Hill. I tried to imagine the picture. To me, including Susan, Moose, Spike and the festively-lit Parliament buildings in the same picture seemed a difficult proposition, so I wondered aloud, “Do we have a lens that could fit you, the dogs and the Parliament buildings all at the same time?”

Susan parted the unsuspecting lips of my innocence and inserted a stick of dynamite.

Her face was filled with mock dismay as she demanded to know whether I was saying she was too fat to fit in the picture. Tristan quickly jumped on the bandwagon and ever since I made the remark, I have been steadily sinking into a self-regenerating pit of verbal quicksand.

My situation has become wholly implacable and no matter how I try to explain my statement, I fail to improve things. The truth is - Susan doesn’t want me to improve my situation and she won’t let me improve my situation! She was going on about it last night and is still going on about it today!

Thankfully, as far as I can tell, she’s mostly kidding.

Never in a million years would I say or imply such a loutish thing about my delightfully bratty, blonde, blue-eyed bombshell!

There was absolutely no intent on my part to suggest such a thing, nor was there any intent on my part to profit, humorously, from what, in retrospect, was a lovely set-up. I simply wondered whether we had a wide angle lens that could fit the wide Parliament buildings, while still allowing us to discern Susan and the two dogs. Any picture that includes the entire Parliamentary complex would mean Susan and the two dogs are too small to see.

Not being an expert in photography and concepts such as depth of field, focal length or perspective, any picture where we can recognize Susan and the two dogs, would mean we’re only seeing a small part of the Parliament buildings. To do the decorations justice, the entire building should be included in the picture, which brings me back to my original, reckless question.

While I seek to do justice by the Parliamentary decorations, I now also find myself flimsily seeking justice for myself. Susan would probably argue she’s taking care of it.

I urged her not to go on twisting my words into something I did not intend to say, or suggest and when I threatened to blog about the incident, she merely smirked and offered the title, "Insert foot here"!

As far as my mouth is concerned, I think it's time for another adjustment in shutter speed.