I have found it quite fascinating how movie theatre chains have been stepping up their game to try to enhance the movie experience.
Not only do we have VIP experiences where we can enjoy a yummy meal during a movie, but in certain theatres, even the non-VIPs can watch a movie from comfy recliner seating.
I also appreciate the option of buying tickets ahead of time, and to not have to worry about last-minute availability, back-up plans or getting booted out of my seat by some self-entitled Mr. Bossy Pants who arrives ten minutes after the movie started and insists on disrupting an entire row of people to be seated with his friends.
But for me, the comfy recliner seating alone has been the incentive to return to the theatre more often, to the point of nudging me to get a cozy recliner at home to level the playing field.
That was until a few weeks ago when these wonderful enhancements to the movie theatre experience backfired on me.
On the day in question, the moment I sat in the movie theatre recliner, my sensitive back could feel it right away. The recliner was broken. The seat was leaning to the left.
Anybody who has ever experienced back issues can tell you that sitting in a chair that is leaning just a few degrees the wrong way is a recipe for disaster. Continue reading
It is a little silly the lengths to which I will go to avoid getting stuck in a pre-Christmas crowd.
The reality is that I don’t fear crowds. I just don’t happen to like what happens to certain people trapped in their hot parkas for too long, among dozens of other people trapped in their hot parkas for too long. It creates a bit of a pressure cooker effect that raises blood pressures and potentially spills over into an eruption of strong negative emotions.
When you add to the mix the ticking clock of Christmas approaching and stock flying off the shelf, it’s that wild card of not knowing when you might get caught in the crossfire of people whose attitude would get them a permanent placement (with glittering gold stars) on Santa’s naughty list, and a free gift card for anger management training.
Despite buying my first presents in August, making about a hundred lists and checking them twice, and stocking up on anything and everything that doesn’t go bad to reduce my number of store visits in December, there are still things that need to be bought at the last minute for the sake of freshness. I accept that.
But to minimize my exposure to people whose tempers need tempering requires strategy, problem-solving skills and a strong Internet connection. Not only does it demand shopping at off-peak times, but around here it also means dodging snowstorms, freezing rain and Ottawa Senators game night traffic.
To calculate the logistics of this early morning weekend run, it starts with a chart of the last minute items, the location of where I expect to find them, and Google searches to verify at what time each store opens.
I’ll then rearrange the order chronologically to try to be at each stop shortly after they open, to zip in and out before the crowds begin, and before the parking lots turn into inescapable mazes of vehicles parked in improvised spots. Continue reading
I admit that I am a sucker for some good Christmas tunes.
When it comes to picking favourites, I am pretty easy going. It doesn’t really matter whether I listen to the classics by Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald or Burl Ives, or modern ones like Wham’s “Last Christmas” or Linda Eder’s “The Bells of St Paul”, I am a fan.
In my own traditions, “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band-Aid is usually the first one I play to kick off my holiday preparations, much like it did when it first hit the airwaves in 1984.
I can’t think of a better time to have the holiday tunes playing than when I am decking the halls, trimming the tree, wrapping gifts or enjoying some holiday baking. To me, the music can be the icing on the cake, turning my holiday activities into more idyllic Norman Rockwell-Hallmark movie moments.
Over the years, I have collected a couple of new CDs each year just to hear different jazz or pop interpretations, to switch things up and to keep the holiday tunes fresh.
Ten years ago, when I was learning Swedish, I accumulated some CDs from Sweden’s top pop singers that not only added fresh new voices to the mix, but also introduced me to traditional Swedish songs. Today, I couldn’t imagine my holidays without them.
Overall, I will admit to having a pretty big appetite for holiday tunes… but not all the time. Continue reading
In recent years, to put a fun spin on our team’s holiday parties, we have added an after-dinner activity. A few years ago we went to a karaoke bar. Last year we attended a stand-up comedy show. This year we thought, what could be more natural for a holiday party than throwing axes with your work colleagues?
I admit that I was a little nervous when the idea was first proposed. I am not a champion by any stretch of the imagination in any game that involves aiming a projectile at a target. Frankly I was less nervous about myself and more nervous for everyone else around me.
But my curiosity did indeed reign supreme in terms of what was involved in throwing axes for the sport of it. What drove me to say yes was the thought that at a minimum, it could be a very bloggable once-in-a-lifetime experience.
After our lovely team dinner, it was time to head over to the venue. Along the way, I noticed that the butterflies in my stomach felt more like a fleet of commuter jets, not really knowing what was lay ahead for us.
The moment we walked in, my senses went into overdrive, but in a good way. Between participants cheering at the top of their lungs, the sound of axes hitting (or missing) their targets with a loud thud, and the strong but pleasant aroma of the wooden targets that filled the air, I knew that I had stepped way out of my comfort zone.
For a brief moment, the “what was I thinking when I said yes?” thoughts flew by, but just the same, I remained committed. Continue reading
I remember the thrill of buying my first answering machine, for my first phone, in my first apartment, at my very own phone number.
To me, this was a huge step forward in my new found independence, not only in helping me run my household but in remaining connected with family and friends.
Just to help set the stage, this was the late 1980s. The concept of handheld devices bombarded by emails and text messages was still years away.
For those times I needed to be in two or three places at once, an answering machine was the solution to ensure I didn’t miss any important telephone messages.
But when I was home, the reflex that many of us shared was to run to answer the phone when it rang.
I reluctantly admit that for my borderline extrovert personality, there were times that the introvert in me needed some breathing space. After exerting a lot of extrovert energy in a bustling office, I just needed some time to recharge.
When the phone would ring, I might have reluctantly said to myself, “Maybe I’ll let the machine get it”. I didn’t do it all the time. Self-inflicted guilt would not have let that happen. Continue reading
It is a mystery that repeats itself often enough that an intervention by Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot could be warranted.
Over the years, in an attempt to be more eco-friendly, I must have acquired at least 25 reusable fabric grocery bags. Yet how is it that I often find myself without one, where and when I need one?
When I first jumped on the reusable grocery bag bandwagon, I bought three, thinking that this would be enough for all of my grocery needs. “Never would I buy more than that in one grocery run, for just one person”, I thought to myself.
While that may have been true in theory, it didn’t account for the possibility of having something like a meat product or a dairy product drip.
In that instance, it didn’t feel terribly eco-friendly to wash just one bag in a wash load nor did I want to combine it with a load of good clothes. And hand washing anything that involves bleach scares the crap out of me for fear of creating a bleach stain on whatever I happen to be wearing at the time.
So I decided to wait until the next convenient opportunity for the grocery bag to hitch a laundry ride with the eco-friendly washable dust rags. But that was still a couple of weeks away. I placed the bag under quarantine (in a plastic bag, I’m sorry!) and that was when my three grocery bags became two.
It didn’t take long for two to become one, as history repeated itself, which then raised the urgency level on the grocery bag wash, for fear of not being able to continue doing my good deed for the environment. Continue reading
Filed under Cats, home, Humour
When I first visited this house 18 years ago, I remember saying to my real estate agent that “this thing has got to go”. I was referring to the ugly interior door that separated the entry hall from the rest of the house. And yet, it’s still here and referred to as the “Eyesore Door”.
The thing is that over the years, life got in the way. Between the time and energy required to build a career, to enjoy a social life, and to tend to other priorities like cooking, cleaning, laundry, running, writing this blog and raising a cat, the years escaped on me.
Plus, there was a priority list of other home renovations that needed to get done, because of fixtures running their course or other corners of the house that got on my nerves worse than the door.
Despite being a relentless eyesore, it faded from my radar. But this was the year to finally do something about it.
While the door was probably cute when it made its first appearance, it was made of a soft, honey-coloured wood which was prone to scuffs and scratches. Located in the most high traffic area of the house, it picked up scars from anything and everything that brushed by. The door was also my clear evidence that pets lived here before Ivy and I moved in.
What I couldn’t figure out was how and why this particular door was here, when it didn’t match any other fixture or finish in the house.
Either way, a light sanding would never have sufficed to correct the imperfections covering pretty much every square inch of its surface. Continue reading