Friday, September 29, 2006

The Driving Lesson Story - Part I

Well, after my exciting Learners Permit Story, I promised the follow-up Driving Lesson Story and Driver's License Story. This is part one of the Driving Lessons story.

In today's circles, youngsters enroll in driving school when they are practically bursting out of their diapers, and if not then they learn to drive in high school (I think). Getting your License is an expected thing, a wanted thing, and a needed thing. This was not the case for me. It was not needed per se. I grew up in Montreal, which had one of the best transportation systems, well connected, so it never took very long to get anywhere, and was usually pretty effortless (or at least it was from what I can recall about 20 years ago; it may have depleted since then, or maybe it depleted because I left). No matter.

My Sweetie and I eventually moved to Toronto where, again, I didn't need a Driver's License since we lived very close to the transit system, albeit not comparable to Montreal system, but satisfactory nonetheless. There was always the idea that our first house would not be in the city, that we would end up in the burbs, hence it would become necessary for me to be able to drive. So, I contacted a reputable driving school for lessons. I was a keener to take lessons (note - I was always a keener when it came to school, even through university), and I was ready and very excited.

The first night was an eye opener for me. The room was packed with people. There were kids everywhere. Maybe they were 14 or 15 years old (I was about 30 at the time - an old broad lady to these kids). There were a few people around my age (emphasis on a few). We stood out like sore thumbs. We got through the orientation, were given reading material, and were adjourned until next class.

The following week, after my workday downtown, I made my way uptown, to attend my night school class. The doors never opened early, so after dinner, I waited outside the building, waited for the door to open, and watched. The kids arrived, driven by their parents. This was an affluent part of the city, and the kids arrived in BMW, Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Porsche, Audi, Caddys, you name it; it was a showroom of the types of vehicles these young kiddies would one day probably be driving. My jaw dropped. I love all of these types of cars, and never in a million years would I ever be able to own one of them, and here they were parading in front of me like a carrot on a silver platter. (Note my first car was a Pontiac Phoenix...I'll have to scan a picture of that sucker one day).

So, after wiping the drool from my lip, the classroom door had opened, and we all went inside. The kiddies arrived, after they had obviously eaten at McDonald's. Why obviously? Well, they each had their drink container with them. The drink was finished, but the glasses were filled with ice. All during the class, these kids would chomp away on the ice (mouth open for full effect) - (imagine dental bills for cracked teeth).

Of course the regular kiddy chit chat, and date arrangements continued throughout class time. At times you could not even hear the instructor.

After the chomping ice came the toys. These kids had little wind up toys (probably from the Happy Meal) that they would wind up and send flying across the classroom floor. The toys also made little noises, so the visual toy was accompanied by the zinging zipping effect. The teacher, with the patience of Job, never blinked an eye, never said a word. He just taught the lesson, and ignored all of this.

Now, I have to think that this went on for a number of weeks, since I think it was a 4-week or 6-week course, at the end of which my nerves were totally frayed. I can't even imagine how the instructor managed, but he did. Every week.

Of course, I passed the written part of the course, but there was also the practical driving part, and this has yet to be blogged.

Stay tuned for Part deux.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Healthy Recipe Day - Creamy Cucumber Dip


Before anyone even asks, YES, I still follow the program after all these years. Six years to be exact. I feel that I still need to go and be part of that world, be anchored, be grounded. This is one of the recipes that I copied from the bulletin board at the meeting. It seems strange that something like this can be creamy and also good for you. Imagine all of the wonderful veggies that can be dunked in this dip! Enjoy!

Creamy Cucumber Dip
2 Cups lo fat plain yogurt
1/2 Cup reduced calorie mayonnaise
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cucumbers, seedless, English (apologies to other languages), diced
1/2 Cup red onion diced
6 Tablespoons mint leaves, fresh (as opposed to stale), chopped
6 Tablespoons dill, fresh, chopped

Stir together the yogurt, mayo, salt, cumin, and cayenne until smooth.

Add the cucumbers (I just had a deja vu moment there...really!), onion, mint, and dill (all of this is about 1/2 Cup per serving).

This recipe makes 8 servings.
2 Points per serving.

(Stick around, and I'll explain the program later.)

Now where did I put that damn Weight Watchers scale?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mid-week funny - The Scottish Lad

Friends sent me this, and I thought I would share it here. Enjoy!

A young Scottish lad and lassie were sitting on a low stonewall, holding hands, and just gazing out over the loch.

For several minutes they sat silently, then finally the girl looked at the boy and said, "A penny for your thoughts, Angus."

"Well, uh, I was thinkin' perhaps it's aboot time for a wee kiss."

The girl blushed, then leaned over and kissed him. Then he blushed. Then the two turned once again to gaze out over the loch.

After a while the girl spoke again. "Another penny for your thoughts, Angus."

"Well, uh, I was thinkin' perhaps its aboot time for a wee cuddle."

The girl blushed, then leaned over and cuddled him. Then he blushed. Then the two turned once again to gaze out over the loch.

After a while the girl spoke again. "Another penny for your thoughts, Angus."

"Well, uh, I was thinkin' perhaps its aboot time you let me poot me hand on your leg."

The girl blushed, then took his hand and put it on her leg. Then he blushed. Then the two turned once again to gaze out over the loch.

After a while the girl spoke again. "Another penny for your thoughts, Angus."

The young man knit his brow. "Well, now," he said, "my thoughts are a bit more serious this time."

"Really?" said the girl in a whisper, filled with anticipation.

"Aye," said the lad.

The girl looked away in shyness, began to blush and bit her lip in anticipation of the ultimate request.

Angus blurted out, "Din'na ye think it's aboot time ye paid me the first three pennies?"

The Learners Permit Story

A fellow blogger has been writing about obtaining a learners permit, and it reminded me of when I got mine. This post will surely lead to another couple of posts....the driving lesson story, and the first real time driving story, but for now it is the learners Permit story.

Way way back, when I was 16 or so (maybe a bit older, I can't remember), my parents and I thought it would be a good idea for me to learn to drive. We had a car, my Dad was a good driver, so we decided that he and I would go out each week for a spin. So we visited the local licensing office, and obtained a learners Permit. Usually on a Friday, Dad would drive us to the service road on the Trans Canada highway. We would trade places, me now being the driver, and I would drive along the service road. There were hardly any stop signs, no lights, so it was a great way to get the feel of the car without having to worry about too many other vehicles. This would take about a half hour, with us ending at one of the Avon building, where Dad would have a smoke, and then change places so that he would drive us home.

We never really got into any in-depth stuff - parallel parking, 3-point turns, etc, but we covered the basics.

As it turned out, I never acquired my license in Quebec. Living in the city, I had access to every means of transportation available. So Dad and I continued to do this until I got married. Then I never pursued the actual driver's license.

Little did I know, though, that may years later I would be sitting in a classroom, actually taking a driver's course in preparation for a driver's license. But, that, as I said, is another story.

Monday, September 25, 2006

It's that time of year

After an absolutely beautiful summer, it's now time to start getting the boat ready for haulout. This is not a small endeavor, as it is not a small vessel......36 feet and 16000 pounds. There is planning involved and timing as well.

Now, for people who are not in the know, we need to do many smaller tasks leading up to haulout. We need to offload any freezables and perishables, remove the bedding and clothing, drain the water tanks and winterize them, pump the head and winterize it, top up the fuel, remove the sails and fold them, remove the dinghy and store, remove the dinghy motor and get winterized, remove and store the kayak, and I am sure there are things that I am forgetting, but basically, most of the contents of the boat get removed.

Once all of the tasks are complete, we book a date in order to get on the list to have the marina haul the boat. They have a huge travel lift and literally, the boat gets lifted out of the water.

Once the boat is out of the water, it has to be covered. Another job. The cover is a two piece cover, altered, since it weighed too much as one piece.

None of these jobs take a half hour. Firstly, we are at the end of the dock in a channel slip, so it is a long walk to the car (and we do have a car not a van, which means a few more trips to wherever). And add in the socializing and shmoozing (the fun part).

Oh! And factor in the weather! The ever present weather. In the past, we have done these jobs in the rain, howling winds, snow, heat, you name it. Mixed bag. Also factor in beautiful weather. Nothing is harder than doing any of this during sweltering heat, like the late summers that we used to get.

Bottom line is that we have to be out of the water by the end of October.

Then we start to count down the months til launch!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Crikey, the last time

Steve Irwin's daughter Bindi, delivering eulogy

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'm a collector

I have come to the conclusion that I am a collector. Now I knew that I had a thing for purses and shoes....and watches....and bears....and cat paraphernalia....and that I collected coins and buttons....*maybe I should add this to my profile info*....but I have discovered that I like to collect books. Now I didn't say that I get to read all of them, but I bought three more last night, and I know that I will get around to reading them, but I just don't know when. When I peruse the house, with the amount of books that we have between us, I figure that we could start up a lending library of sorts. It's quite the collection.

The flip side of this is that I don't like to lend. Guess it comes from being an only child. Like, I would never lend ANY of my Diana books, ever. But if there was a book that I read that I enjoyed, but didn't feel a real connection with, then I would probably give it away. I actually have a few on the shelf that are promised to a few people.

So there you have it. I am a collector.

I wonder what it will be next?

Monday, September 18, 2006

On the Rocks

It was heartening to be able to come home, after a really nice weekend on the water, and watch my recorded commercial-free programs. It was also heartening to know that we had done a good deed yesterday, in assisting a boat in need.

We were travelling home, in a narrow channel where, because of the depth, it is important to stay inside of the buoys. We noticed a power boat going on the wrong side of the marker. My Sweetie tried to warn them on the VHF, but it was too late. They were travelling fast and hit hard, taking out the props and making it impossible to continue. We communicated with them, threw them a line and towed them to a rendez-vous with a commercial tow boat to take them to their destination.

My beloved PVR

What would I do without my PVR? I would be sitting and watching commercials while trying to watch regular programming, that's what. I luv my PVR. It captured the Canadian Idol final program, where of course, Eva Avila won!

It also captured the premiere of The Amazing Race 10. Yes, I have watched The Amazing Race 1 through 9, and 10 promises to be equally exciting.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

What would have been 57 years

Now, I know some people will think that it is kind of weird that I do this, but I keep track of dates, and things that happen on those dates. I know, woo woo...Voodoo stuff. But that is part of my makeup, part of what makes me tick. For example, if my Mom and Dad were still here, they would have celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary. So, on September 17th, I remember in silence and think of them. Out of the blue, my late Honorary Sister Pat's husband, who were both very close friends of my Mom's, called tonight, their anniversary night. We had been giving him some space to grieve, to adapt, to settle in, and we had both been thinking about him, and mentioned that we need to call and touch base. I had mentioned to him what today was. He had no idea what today was, but afterward he said 'see...we are still connected'. His family and my family have a special connection, and that is just the way it is.

Friday, September 15, 2006

It's a nothing sort of day

Sometimes I have to work at creating something for an entry. Today is one of those days. The weather is kind of drab looking, not raining, and not cold, just drab. The kind of day where you want to curl up with a hot chocolate and a good book. Maybe my brain is merely taxed at the events of this past week.
  • the September 11th anniversary

  • the shooting at Dawson College

  • the passing of my friend's dog

  • So, instead of posting commentary, I merely type, like now, and hope that something of importance will pop up. Still nothing. Oh wait, a local high school has been evacuated due to a bomb threat. Again, my brain is taxed a more negativity.

    I think I will just go to the gym later today, and jump into some exercise, and sweat. Here's to a better week next week.


    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    The Amazing Sammy

    After almost 17 great years, "Sammy" passed on at 5:50am today, in the arms of his mommy, Jana.

    Those in the Georgian Bay boating community will miss this little guy.

    Unreal and sad

    Courtesy of the Montreal Gazette

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    Dawson College Shooting

    What the hell kind of world are we living in anyway?

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    Ain't love grand?

    So, picture this scenario, if you will. There is this young couple. She is tall, slim, with long blond hair. He is tall, slim, with short blond hair (these details are really neither here nor there; they are merely fluff). The young couple is walking along the street, holding hands, looking like a very cute couple. At some point during their lovey walk, he separates himself from the two of them, and proceeds to cross the street toward a friend, leaving his girlfriend alone on the sidewalk. Just as he is about to link up with his buddie, the girlfriend marches across the street towards the boyfriend, and smacks him across the face! The buddie looks at his friend, quite stunned, and the girlfriend walks off to school on her own.

    Young love these days just ain't what it used to be.

    Monday, September 11, 2006

    Friday, September 08, 2006

    The First Day

    Yesterday, I was reading an article about the first day of school, and how it is such a joyous and happy day for the parents, all smiles at seeing their kiddies going to school. You know, it's funny. When I recall those days as a child, I remember my Mom being rather sad on my first day of school. I don't think she was particularly glad to see me go. In fact, neither was I, although I loved school, but missed being at home. Being an only child, and with my Dad at work early in the morning, it was usually just me and my Mom during the day, keeping each other company, so I think she was kind of lonesome to see me go off.

    I think that there are many parents out there, who while they love their kids dearly, have huge smiles on their faces when the kids go off to school, but I also think there are parents who may not be smiling, and shedding a tear or two while waiting for their little ones to come home.

    Thursday, September 07, 2006

    We Got Passports!!!

    Brand spankin' new passports. First time passports. Real purty passports. Expensive passports. Now we can go anywhere we want, well, anywhere as long as we can get some money to go there. BUT, that does make it easier for us to visit our friends in the BVIs, once they get their sailboat there, and it does make it possible to go to Cuba. And maybe it makes it possible to travel somewhere to celebrate our 25th anniversary next year. Cool, very cool.

    It's quite a special feeling to have these. Not just like any piece of paper. As the fellow at the post office said......'Guard these with your life. These are a very precious and must be taken care of'.

    And that we will do. You can take that one to the bank.

    Wednesday, September 06, 2006

    Meet the New Raft Captains

    Bow (or front) View of the Raft

    So, you might ask, what is a raft captain? Well, to begin, a raft is what you are looking at in the picture above. It is when a gathering of boats tie together, with anchors set fore and aft. There are also circular rafts, which I have seen in pictures, but have never tied up in one. Raft captains (that would be me and My Sweetie) have the responsibility of handling the Labour Day event for the following year - coming up with a theme, gathering emails and preparing information, setting the itinerary for the weekend, inventing water oriented games, monitoring a selected VHF frequency to provide helpful information for traveling and arriving vessels. Oh! And the raft captains also get their boat name engraved on the plaque!

    Let me back up a bit. Back in 1988, 4 boats casually rafted together in a known and popular bay. The following year, they met at the same bay and rafted again. This continued for some years, but as they did so, other boats started to join in the festivities. In 1992 or so, someone created a funky little homemade plaque and engraved the host boat names, and glued a little plastic sailboat to the middle of the plaque. Over the years, the plaque became something more elegant, and now it is a professional plaque to be proudly displayed on the mantle throughout the year, until the following Labour Day weekend, when it is time to handover said plaque - along with the original plaque and a very old bottle of wine (which no one dares open or drinks).

    This year, was an amazing weekend. Twenty vessels turned up for the party, themed around Pirates of the Caribbean. It was a huge success, and will certainly be a hard act to follow.

    Stern (or back) View of the Raft

    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    Eva or Craig

    Okay, Idol fans. It's going to be a tough one. Tough to pick from the final two.. Both have amazing voices, present themselves well on stage, have versatility in their song choices.

    So, who's it going to be? My favorite is Eva. I think. Or maybe it's Craig. Eva. Craig.

    Oh rats. I don't know.

    What I do know is that cutey boy Tyler is no longer riding his horse on the Canadian Idol stage. As a third place finisher, he is riding off into the sunset, into the arms of a potential record deal.