Snippets of Conversation on Gold Medal Day.

(I pick up the phone)
“Hello, Liz. This Is JayLo. Are you in with Operation Maple Leaf?”
“What can I do for my country today?”

Honestly, I thought I had nothing slated for today. I am not a hockey girl. I’m not a sports girl. But Jay and Jenny picked me up and we went to Jim’s. He has a high definition TV and an ice machine in his fridge. It’s the best place in the world if you are going to watch a sports game.

***

“He’s not answering.”
“Shit! Puck drop’s in ten!”
“Wait, I left the window open last night. Maybe I can get in.”

(I climb in the window and let Jenny and JayLo in to turn on the TV and get cooking)

***
Jim comes down from the shower.
“Oh. Hey, Jim. We got you some coffee.”
“Hi, Jim. Sorry I broke into your house so three beautiful women could watch the game and cook breakfast for you.”
“Um. That’s ok. Really ok.”

***
First and second periods go by. Lots of “GoGoGoGoGo!” and “OH MY GOD!” and “Hit him! HIT HIM!”

***

Third period.

“We can do this. We just have to bring the Zen. Be the puck, guys, be the puck.”
“Fuck! I cannot handle this. Another goal! MORE! MORE!”
“I’d be more comfortable with a two-goal lead.”
“Oh, come ON, Canada! Everybody knows the winners get steak and a blow job!”
“Wait, really? Are you going to…”
“Not ME! Personally, I mean. But it’s not like they’re not going to be spoilt for choice.”

End of third period.

“OHMYGOD! How can they DO this to me! We hate you! We HAAAATE you!”
“JesusJesusJesus. I can’t take it. I’m going to have a coronary!”
“It’s ok, I have pills.”
“OK, guys, let’s be positive. We’ve done this before.”
“I haven’t.”
“Shush. We need to believe. Give them the positive vibes.”

***
Overtime

“God!”
“Oh God!”
“GoGoGoGo”
“No! NOT THAT WAY!”
“Ooooh!”
“RAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

“Wait, if the winners get steak and blow jobs, what do the silver medalists get?”
“Hmm. McDonalds drive-thru and a hand job?”
“Yeah. Six McNuggets and a hand job. Sorry, USA.”

Random Roundup.

On Thursday I finally got to go down to E’s LiveCity venue. Just in time for an awesome Brazilian band. I almost quit my job to join the band.

On Thursday, I also misheard a student who said, “To span is to stretch across.” I thought he said,”To span is to stretch a frog.” Wait, what? Stop! NO stretching frogs!

I also realized that I have almost no phone numbers memorized. The ones I do have memorized are those of my friends’ parents, from waaay back. Because a few of my friends are staying at their parents’ houses, due to their own homes being in upheaval, it is nice to be able to call them by punching in a sequence of numbers, as opposed to scrolling down my faceplate. It kind of…humanizes it. But phone numbers I have memorized?

Mine
E’s
Arwen’s
Morgan’s mom
Gen’s mom
Halfmoon Bay (which was my home in the summertime, so the second number I ever memorized)
My aunt
The Commissary in Port Hardy (that no longer exists)
Translink
My grade 10 boyfriend’s parents (who may or may not still live there)

That’s it. If I lose my cellphone, I am hooped.

Also, I blew an ipod speaker. I didn’t know I could do that. I haven’t been listening that loudly. Much. I think I can blame John Bonham, though.

Yesterday I had to explain the concept of onion dip to some students. When I thought about it, I realized it is probably classified as a traditional North American dish, which I didn’t think we had, apart from foods that First Nations people ate, before the smallpox and cable TV and reserves and all that.

It seems to me that there are several North American traditional recipes, if you count ‘traditional’ as ‘everybody knows how to make it’. Most of ‘em are post- WWII, and rely heavily on processed foods, though. Think of Ambrosia Salad or some of those Southern creations that all seem to involve Velveeta. Can I even buy Velveeta here? I never tried.

I did try to buy garlic bread at No Frills today, though. No garlic bread. I suppose that means it is a Frill. But chili prawn wonton wrappers are available? A staple? I don’t get it. In my house, garlic bread is a way of life.

Garlic bread, because E will be home from LiveCity for dinner tomorrow. Lasagna and garlic bread and Caesar salad for us for Sunday dinner!

This Just In!

Forgive my time travel back from 1954, but E has just informed me that Olympic Volunteers are issued a ‘Non-Religious Moral Guide’ authored by none other than L Ron Hubbard! Suddenly, the lovefest in the coat tent makes sense! The high-fives and group hugs would certainly be par for the course.

But the poor bus etiquette and general uselessness? L Ron should have devoted a chapter to that. Because these people get free bus passes, outfits and accessories, and this what I see them doing:

Standing around on street corners in groups, perusing maps and disrupting the flow of pedestrian traffic.

Walking around gawking at things. See above, re: pedestrian traffic.

Not moving back as more people get on the bus.

Not vacating seats for the elderly/people with crutches on the bus.

Getting off the front doors of the bus, even when there is a clear way to the back doors.

Not doing a single useful thing since the beginning to February, that I can see. (Dude who scrutinized my boobs in an effort to find the accreditation badge that wasn’t there, you are a double helping of Useless. They are boobs, not plastic laminated pics of my face. Lots of people can tell the difference.)

L Ron, you’re on notice. You’re falling down on your Politeness Brainwashing Obligations.

Furthering His Career.

You modern ladies have it easy. Back here in 1954, not only do I need to wear pearls while vacuuming, I need to impress my husband’s boss. Usually we do this by hosting elaborate dinner parties, featuring prawn cocktail, Beef Wellington, Whiskey Sours (the men) and surreptitious slugs of cooking sherry (me).

Luckily, I have found a short cut that’s even easier than Ambrosia Salad in one of my heirloom jelly molds: Send cookies to work!

E just phoned me to tell me what a hit they were. The boss of the whole site, who actually only acknowledged E three days ago, hugged him today when offered a cookie. This bodes well for future jobs for E. If this Dave person remembers E on crew = possibility of cookies, we are in clover!

I think I’ll send snickerdoodles on Monday.

Hello From 1954!

So I accidentally turned into a ‘50’s housewife. E is working 8AM to at least 11PM seven days a week, so I have been making his lunches. Well, the food that lasts him all day, so 3 sandwiches, 3 pieces of fruit, and a power bar. I am also doing his laundry, as an Olympics Only special, since he doesn’t have time, and I really think he deserves clean underwear and socks.

Did you know there is such a thing as Sandwich Fatigue? There is. It’s what happens when I get in from work to stare at the sliced meats E bought for lunches, and think, “Oh God, salami, there you are again. Ham, I weary of you. Begone, beef.” I cannot even imagine how bored E is of eating them. I might make him Peanut Butter and Ham and see if he notices.

What did women of the nineteen fifties do about Sandwich Fatigue? Valium? Or was that the Sixties?

Anyway, it’s been on my mind for a while that the crew could use some treats. But one of them has gluten allergies, and she can’t just snag any old passing cookie. So I emailed my Swedish friend, Ulli, who is allergic to gluten, and asked for a cookie recipe. She emailed me back a recipe for some cookies called Kolasnittar. Really. Say it out loud. Obv, I have to make these cookies, because of the name. But first, I’m trying a gluten-free chocolate chip mix I found at the health food store for Donna, and the boys can have normal chocolate chip-oatmeal.

Why am I making gluten-free treats for Donna? I tend not to question my whims. But here’s what I think: Donna works long hours amidst burly men and holds her own. I’m stuck in the laundry/vacuuming/oh God, not-the-sandwiches-again 1950s and I’m throwing some love to the Liberated Woman. I’m saying, Thanks for kicking ass and taking names. Give me two weeks, I’ll ditch the apron and pointed bra, and be right there with you again.

From the Trenches: Transit and Traffic.

Ok, I admit it. I cried during the opening ceremonies when Rick Hansen brought the flame into the stadium. And thanks to Rachel for taping the stuff I missed. A pretty good ceremony, minus the glitches. When I can talk to Russell, who was under the stage at the ceremony, I’ll let you all know what happened with that fourth torch-arm fail.

Patriotic pride aside, this city is not equipped for this many people. I know we have all been admonished to cycle or take transit, but there’s a lot of flaws in that. Translink added buses and Skytrains and extended times. However, they seem to have completely overlooked the fact that some of the thousands of people coming from the LiveCity venues downtown after the show’s over at 11PM don’t need Skytrains or Sea Buses. They are trying to get to places within the city itself, and with the exception of the 16 up into Kerrisdale (K-Nec’s doing, Rachel?), and the night buses, none of the local routes get extra buses. People coming, oh, let’s say from Livecity Yaletown to Kits at 11:30PM get two buses blowing by them til one lets them on. Ken Hardie, if your Google bots flag this post, how ‘bout a couple of extra 22s, 7s, and 3s coming through downtown between 11 and midnight? Just to sweeten the pot.

Transit is strapped, but actually driving is presenting its own unique challenges. People from other cities with other rules are now wending their dangerous way through our streets. Turning left from the far right lane? Not OK here. Driving the wrong way down a one-way street? Nope. U-turns at Granville and Davie? Also Not Done. I have become Eagle Eye Liz over here, keeping out of harm’s way.

Those big white buses, though? The ones to carry athletes around? I have to say, those drivers are pretty aware and considerate. I am liking the white buses (with the exception of the guy who almost hit me because he was picking his nose so hard!)

I sort of feel like we’re up on the World Stage, and we totally blanked on our lines.

Criminal Intent.

Last night I broke into a house to rescue a cat.

OK, it wasn’t that dramatic.

The landlord is away and his daughter was supposed to come over and take care of the cat. But she got locked out. She and I (both slightly tipsy and with no break-in skillz whatsoever) jimmied and poked and tried to pick the door, to no avail. The cat was meowing piteously at us. We were getting frustrated. We were going to have to do something drastic, up there on the third floor fire escape at midnight.

So I wrapped my jacket around my fist and punched in the glass pane closest to the knob. You always read about that in books. Top tip: It works! Thank you, reading, for giving me new skills!

I vacuumed up the glass while Shaena got the cat some food. Then we giggled for a while, because, really, neither of us expected to become criminals on a Saturday night!

German Engineering (but not Precision).

Yesterday I was reamed out for my inability to bend space and time.

Here’s what Tanya wanted: The Volkswagen Golf from 20th and Commercial cleaned inside and out, and delivered to the alley under the Co-op at Granville and Pender at 8AM.

Here’s what happened: At 8:26 AM I get a call from one of the office staff, asking if I could go get the car, wash it, and bring it to 555 West Cordova. No time limit specified, or that I’m already (to Tanya’s mind) 26 minutes late.

At 10:06, the office staff person calls me again. I explain that I just drove by 555 Cordova and it was a construction zone, not a parking lot yet. I’d get the car there by noon. She says ok, and then says, I can put the car ‘in the alley’. There’s an alley behind 555 Cordova? Maybe she means alongside the train yard?

At 12:18 PM, I get an hysterical phone call from Tanya, who rants on for 5 minutes about how I’m late and was supposed to be in the alley under the Co-op at 8AM, and I was supposed to call her cell and… Well. A lot of improbable things. I explain the info I have received (including not having her phone number, a timeline, or the correct place to put the car) and that I will be on it ASAP. I’m in the car. She keeps talking. I explain that I’m not allowed to talk and drive, and can get there faster the sooner I hang up.

I hang up and book to Tremblay, and then downtown, sliding into the alley and punching Tanya’s number. She looks mad when she gets to the alley, but seems mollified that I’ve dusted and polished and vacuumed and washed.

Then I get a call from my boss, full of profuse apology.

“It’s ok,” I said. “We can’t bend space and time. Much.”

“We also can’t act on instructions we haven’t received,” he answered. Turns out HE didn’t get the email asking for the car til 9AM.

Sometimes, a situation just isn’t going to go right, no matter what.

I’m a Grammar Pedant.

And it may well cost me my job.

The boss sent out an email about the new website, asking for teacher pictures and introductions. Having a look around the site, I noticed several glaring grammar errors and some careless typos. Well, if you’re trying to convince the world that your reading system produces the best readers in the world, why the hell would you have a website with so many English language mistakes?

I thought a lot about it. I’m coming up against cultural stuff like nobody’s business here. The company is overwhelmingly Korean, which means it’s very top-down. You’re not allowed to question authority. I don’t know if you’re even allowed to make suggestions. But I sent the boss a tentative email suggesting that if we wanted to showcase how well we teach kids to read, we might want to address the grammar and usage issues. I didn’t mention the typos.

I just got an email back informing me that the website was designed by the Head Office in New York, and that he would notify them of my observations. I certainly hope he will. I told him to please email them my contact information, should they wish to ask me anything.

I sincerely hope I haven’t offended anyone just by being a white lady with opinions. But the fact is, right now, that website is an embarrassment to the company. I have students who don’t make those grammar errors.

Also, I hope he doesn’t can me for being mouthy.

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