These things you do to me

Alright nerds, let’s get to it.

(Nerd, being of course, the highest honour I could ever bestow, so please don’t take it as an insult.)

Today I ate the most delicious of lunches – the grilled cheese sandwich and salad combination from Burgoo – only to have it pretty much destroy me for the rest of the afternoon.

(Goodness knows that we humans were not built for that much melted dairy. Thank sweet mother of pearl that my meal did in fact come with a green salad, as a good deal of roughage is more than necessary when eating en entire wheel of Gruyere.)

Anywho, I arrived back home feeling pretty wretched: my pants felt like they were glued to my legs, my sweater was itching the back of my neck, and overall I just felt uncomfortable. Uncomfortable and hot.

(And not in the sense that I am used to, what with my incredible good looks and overall nubile-ness. Nubile-ity?)

Either way, I figured the best thing to do to try and flush the excess cheese from my system was to get back outside and go for a run.

And this, folks, was hard.

Because all I really wanted to do wasjust  take off my pants and lie down on the couch for the remainder of my days.

Yet somehow I did manage to muster up enough energy to schlep myself upstairs, and slither into my running gear.

Once I took off all I could really think about was how much I was already looking forward to the run being over.

Nothing felt like it should – my legs felt heavy and my shirt too tight. Even my sweet new running playlist couldn’t break through my mental melancholy.

I figured I would run 5k and just be done with it. I had completed a very fast 7k yesterday, and an even faster 6k the day before, so today would just be a wash and I could start anew tomorrow.

However,once I got to the turnaround at 4k I decided at the last minute that I would do one more half loop and stop at the ‘work out area’ of the park and do a few resistance supersets (jump squats and chin-ups and the like.)

As soon as I arrived at the monkey bars I chastised myself for not just heading home. I absolutely hate strength training if I’m not giving it 100 per cent, and I had a pretty strong inkling that this time I would just be phoning it in.

However, I did give it a go, starting with the bars (Tough Mudder training!) before moving on to the next exercise. As I finished my first round of push-ups, an elderly gentleman approached and told me in his broken English how impressed he was with my efforts.

I was a little taken aback, what with how focused I was on the actual workout, that I never really formulated a coherent response to his words.

He continued on with his stretching and I continued with my circuit.

After my last set of chin-ups he approached again and asked me (while gesturing at the bar) “10? You 10?”

“8,” I replied breathless.

“8! Wow!” he exclaimed. “Very, very good!”

My heart nearly melted out of my chest.

With those five simple words, this man just completely turned my day around and I felt like my smile would force my face to crack in two.

“Thank you!” I exclaimed.

He smiled back.

As I finished up, he moved on to the balance beam, and I watched him stand for as long as he could on one foot, before switching to the other.

I made sure to wait until he turned around, so at the very least I could wave goodbye before I left.

For the last kilometer home I ran with a renewed gusto. I smiled at everyone I passed – runners, walkers, dogs, kids – everyone was gifted with my goofy, grinning face.

So I would like to thank that man.

For reminding me that we have the capacity to do so much good, even at the most simple and basic level.

And the next time I eat a grilled cheese sandwich I will think of him.

Which might be a little cheesey.

But that’s okay.

Especially if it comes with a salad.

IMG_20140215_103613

Give cheese a chance

So on Monday I wrote about a few things that I have tried to bring into my life, that despite my most valiant efforts, remain firmly entrenched in the lonely city of No Way Jose, and far away from my day-to-day routine.

(Simply put, I cannot like them no matter how hard I try.)

La belle Suisse!

In response to said post, I received a pretty hilarious phone call from my father-in-law, who (being Swiss) was pretty darn unimpressed to read about my general (and enduring) distaste for soft cheeses.

“Argh!” He exclaimed. “I was so disappointed reading your last blog post. I cannot believe you don’t like soft cheese.”

“Don’t give me too much grief!” I responded. “I already know that people are judging me!”

“Well it’s obvious you’re just not eating the right kinds of soft cheeses…” he trailed off. “And that is just going to have to change!”

I sensed there to be plan a foot. (Seriously I could practically hear the cogs and wheels in his head turning at break neck speed – although not said aloud, it was pretty apparent that reading my words had awoken some kind of nationalistic need to bring me over to the dark side, dairy-wise.)

E (or Darth Gruyere as I have come to know him) is a man who really knows, and really loves his cheeses. I’m pretty sure at any given time, you could open his fridge and find at (the very least) four different kinds of cheese (and that’s not even counting those so-called “soy cheeses”) two of which would without a doubt originate in the motherland, or you know – Switzerland.

Add to the mix a good loaf of bread, some landjäger, and some Lindt chocolate for dessert, ship him off to a cabin in the alps, where he could hike and canoe at his leisure, and well, I’m not sure he’d need anything else for the rest of his days.

(On second thought I’m pretty sure he’d want to include the components for a rocking good salad, to the above mentioned foodstuffs. Because as awesome as I imagine a life-long supply of bread, cheese, and meat could be, one would eventually require some roughage – would they not? Plus he makes a darn good vinaigrette. Also, my mother-in-law is pretty much head constable of the vegetable police and wouldn’t like the idea of spending forever sans garden candy.)

Seriously, no she wouldn’t like that one bit.

For reals. If you run into her, ask her about GOMBS – it’ll give you super-immunity and phenomenal badminton skills.

Anywho, on the topic of cheese, last night Mr. M and I had a fabulous fondue, made from raclette, white wine, a touch of brandy, nutmeg and a pinch of salt.

NOMNOMNOM

We dipped fresh French bread and pink lady apples into this sweet, smooth, melted madness – it was decadent and filling in the extreme.

After dinner we watched Canada’s Handyman (or woman, or woman) Challenge and completed New York Times’ crosswords; ate heart cookies and lemon bars; drank tea and enjoyed the fire.

Nymeria chose to contemplate her life, staring intensely into the flickering flames. Either she’s finally figured out a way to take over the world, or she’s solved cold fusion.

Same thing as I do every night Pinky...

I’ll keep you posted.

Between the food, the fire, and our funny, funny conversations I was pretty much knocked off my feet by 9:30. It makes me laugh to think of a Valentine’s when you cannot even keep your eyes open past ten o’clock at night – next year I’ll ask for one of those walk-in bathtubs.

Nothing says romance like sitting in your private, old-lady baignoire waiting for your water to drain so you don’t flood the entire floor.

If the ins and outs of plumbing, or just bathroom apparatuses in general aren’t your bag, here are my four of my favourite movies about “love” (this word can be interpreted in many different ways) that are hilarious, moving, and overall brilliant.

1. Rushmore

“Maybe I’m spending too much of my time starting up clubs and putting on plays. I should probably be trying harder to score chicks.”

2. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

“Dwayne told me. Chuck told me. Even Rachel told me. I heard about it from everybody. You gotta stop talking about it. It’s like “the Sopranos.” It’s *over*. Find a new show.”

3.Four Weddings and Funeral

“A toast before we go into battle. True love. In whatever shape or form it may come. May we all in our dotage be proud to say, “I was adored once too.”

4. Annie Hall

“A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.”

So what about you folks? What movies make you laugh, at love, or otherwise?

Or more importantly, what cheese, amongst other rations would you need to survive a lifetime living in the wilds of the Matterhorn?

Five things I just don’t get

There are some things that just don’t work for me, no matter how hard I try.

I’ve written here before about how I worked (hard, mind you) for the last eight years to bring Radiohead into my life, but to no avail.

Seriously, as much as I love this video of Thom Yorke dancing to Single Ladies, I just cannot for the life of me accept the majesty (or whatever adjective you believe best sums up their brilliance or transcendence) of their music in my life.

 

We are like oil and water.

So without further ado, here are five things I just don’t get.

1.)  Beer. Seriously. For the life of me, I cannot do it and do not understand how anyone could enjoy drinking it.

I miss me a two pound glass of wine every so often.

Like Radiohead, I made a valiant effort to make it a part of my life, particularly during the early years of my undergrad. It seemed like every post-class pub gathering-cum-night out inevitably meant a (seemingly) unlimited supply of amber coloured, frothy, frosty, pitchers of ale – I figured if I was going to survive in these social situations I better learn to enjoy it.

However it seemed as though the more effort I made, the more it did nothing for me, save give me brutal cases of the “urgh-I-can-taste-what-I-ate-for-dinner-last-night-burps” and then make me need to use the loo every twenty minutes or so, after I (begrudgingly) found my way to the bottom of my first glass.

Not cool man. This aversion to malt, barley, and hops (the much less successful Simon and Garfunkle follow-up to Scarborough Fair) made me feel like a giant square (and I got to relive this shame over again, and ten-fold worse at that, when Mr. M and I lived in Jolly Ole England. Bah.)

What I wouldn’t have done to just once have had comrade in arms to turn to me and say, “Hey – anyone want to order the cheapest bottle of wine on the menu and split it me?”

Why yes. Yes good sire, I do.

2.)  Peep toe boots.

SERIOUSLY?

I don’t understand. I don’t understand how this makes any sense, to anyone, ever.

NO.

WHO BUYS THIS CRAP? And why? How do they think it looks good? WHY do they think it looks good?

How do they think it could ever possibly be practical?

This for me is like, that craziest, weirdest, most inane fashion trend ever.

It’s winter. It’s freezing. What the heck are you doing wearing shoes that have holes in them? I almost feel as though the fashion industry is trolling the entire female population of the world to see how far they can actually push the sanity envelope before the shoe (har har, no pun intended) drops, and people start to call shenanigans.

(Or at least, I hope this is the case.)

Plus it just looks FRICKEN bonkers.

Writing this out I feel as though Otto, from A Fish Called Wanda would agree with me:

 

3.)  Cricket.

What. The. Heck.

I don’t actually know if anyone truly understands this sport.

For colonial inspired athletics, I’ll stick to rugby.

I'll take it!

4.)  Soft cheeses.

Brie. Camembert. Blue. Roquefort.  No. No. No. NO.

Swiss raclette - the antithesis of snot cheese.

For many years cheese (of any kind) played zero part in my life. I didn’t eat it on anything (including pizza – for real, I would order pizza sans cheese because I disliked it so much.)

Slowly but surely I came to see the error of my ways (falling in love with a Swiss mister certainly had something to do with my transformation) but to this day I cannot do any soft, rindy cheeses.

They seriously slay me.

They make me feel as though I am eating feet flavoured snot.

And no amount of shaming (I know what you’re thinking! Stop looking at me!) will change that.

Urgh.

5.)  The English Royal Family. I do not for the life of me understand the fascination with royalty, particularly the obsession of those who live outside of the United Kingdom.

Sure, I get why those inside the UK may like them – it’s a way to cling to an antiquated representation of the power their country once had on an the international stage.

Okay, I know that sounds super harsh, and I’m sorry. (But, it’s true.)

But for people who live either in the commonwealth, or (even more baffling) those who don’t (particular in countries that were exploited, subjugated, and brutalized by the Brits) to actively support an institution that symbolizes imperialism, hierarchy, racism, classism, and well, general intolerance – the mind boggles.

If I need to take the queen – I’ll take her as a member of Kids in the Hall:

 

BONUS:

6.)  Gene Wolfe. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure no one else gets him either though.

So folks, I’ll pass the question on to you: What can you not get, no matter how hard you try? Please share (but I’ll take wine if you’re buying.)