Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I feel like this photo post deserves a preface. Perhaps a warning if there are small children in the room. I first learned about them while watching an episode of Degrassi. I thought they were talking about condominiums. You know, cause I lived in a 'condo'. I asked mom and she explained in the clearest possible way. Thanks mom, I appreciated it. So if there are small children in the room, you may want to ask them to gather 'round. This could be a good conversation starter. They do start early these days, you know.
We first noticed a pattern last fall. They started appearing randomly on the street, on the sidewalk, on the front lawn... And at first we thought it was the next door neighbours. They seemed slick, like they might work in 'film'. The brand is usually consistent, although the colour of the wrapper often changes. Where do they come from? Why? Do racoons like to chew them up and spit them out like a wad of gum? Maybe they like the salt...
So many unanswered questions. It's been a while since I've seen any and imagine my delight when I realized I had a camera in my purse as I narrowly avoided stepping on one in the middle of the sidewalk. I'm starting a photo-mentary. I know this isn't one of life's great unsovled, but it is puzzling nonetheless. So behold, Exhibit A:

Sunday, February 26, 2006

they're pregnant (in the caymans too!)

believe it or not: the cayman islands are about to get even more foolish.


b/c the most foolish, rapscallionish person on the planet - aka my dear dear dear friend KW - is having a baby.

Too much!


strangest thing is my brother (pregnant as of yesterday) and KW already share the same birthday, June 14!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

they're pregnant!

I already knew I was going to be an uncle again this year.

Now I'm going to be an uncle X2.

Congratulations C & M!

That brings us up to 5 nieces/nephews. My shopping list this Xmas will be daunting.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

welcome home present

After ten hours of travelling by subway, train, plane, bus and streetcar, M and I have returned.

What should greet me on my bedroom floor, but a hard turd.

Dashchund turd.

What kind of person just shows up at someone's home with their pet, assuming it's OK?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

muffin tops and oyster shooters

Lesson learned: chili for breakfast will land you on the couch that night.

We started the day at Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street - a hearty breakfast of piping hot chili, a chili dog, fries and a milkshake. This kept our minds off of food for the rest of the day (apart from that scoop at Haagen Daz). For dinner we shared the Orca Platter at the Old Ebbitt Grill near the White House. Wish I could tell you what Orca tasted like, but they brought us a dozen clams, dozen oysters, dozen jumbo shrimp, dozen crab claws and a big lobster instead. Ah well -- no complaints from me!

I think I may have ingested this year's quota for cholesterol. Oh please oh please, spare me the fate of the muffin top. But I fear it may be too late.

I will be sleeping on the couch tonight, as a courtesy to M. The gas I've been passing is almost as potent as the cauliflower splats coming from the Doberman.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sunset on the Mall, Presidents' Day

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Tuesday nite triple date - ww4mm - 28 (U Street)

three hot canadian women with goofy and slightly bookish tendencies seeking three socially presentable, well-mannered gentlemen (facial hair optional). must love brunettes. and food. please be 25-40 yrs old. you WILL be ID'd.

our plan is to eat some fried chicken at oohs and ahhs and work it all off on the dance floor at st-ex.

leave your narcissism at home. but don't forget your dancing shoes.

We know, we know... "You get what you pay for..."

The Chinatown Express for DC was scheduled to leave 88 East Broadway at 7:30. We got there at 7, with just enough time to get ourselves some more of those tasty morsels of lamb on stick. But alas, with the kebab vendor within sight, we were herded onto the bus by the crabbiest of surlypants. No meatsticks for us this time :(
Everything happened so quickly, we stowed our bags underneath then packed ourselves onto the bus, our e-tickets in hand.
"No good. No signature!" she barked at me. M got on fine because hers had been initialled when we left DC. Mine wasn't -- but I never thought of asking for one because there was no indication that this was required on the website. I did find it od d that no confirmation number was provided either.
"But this says here I've paid in advance for a round-trip ticket. I need to get back to DC."
"No good. No signature. You pay me $20 or you can't ride."
"I am NOT paying you extra."
"But this no good. No signature. You must sign in."
"How was I supposed to know that this was supposed to be signed? Why would they sign my friend's copy but not mine?"
"I don't know. You give me money now."
"Unbefuckinglievable. I've paid you already." It's hard to stay calm when you're being barked at. I start barking back in my best Mandarin.
The operator and the driver insisted that I pay them $20 and that I would be reimbursed when I got back to DC. The elderly man in the first row assured me in Chinese that they would pay me back, that they were not here to screw me over.
What choice did I have? I handed her the money and got into the seat in front of M.
Dozed off as the bus sped through the Holland Tunnel. A woman two rows back was barking into her cellphone about real estate or something. I was so exhausted, all I could hear was noise, not words. Cellphone Lady finally hung up somewhere in Pennsylvania and stared horking and gagging, close to M's head. Rather than leaning back to do it, she leaned forward into a bag right by M's ear and proceeded to honk and hock away -- it was too dark on the bus to detect any chunkies landing in M's hair.

The bus stopped in Philadelphia and we were all told to get off -- that the bus to DC would be there in ten minutes. We waited for about 40 with a crowd of irritated travellers. "I guess that's what we get for opting for the cheaper way," mutters some dude in front of us.
We were relieved to get back on a bus and back to DC. This one was less full and we were able to stretch out/curl up in our seats, no phlegm-throwers on board. M and I quickly dozed off once again after inhaling our bus station chicken nuggets.

I came to as the lights on the bus come on. We were at a huge gas station just off the freeway, in the middle of buttfuck nowhere, in the outerouteroutskirts of Baltimore (what I gathered from the sign on a building). The bus parked at the station brought me back to our Grade 6 trip to Val-Morin, Quebec. The driver had to fill the tank and made everyone get off. He'd said something about it unsafe for people to be on a bus while the tank was being filled -- this he explained to us at the pump, a cigarette dangling from his lips. Ah, those crazy French-Canadians smokers.
I waited for the bus driver on this bus to order us off the bus. Not a word. A cellphone rang.
Aren't we not supposed to use cellphones at gas stations? Another cellphone went off. I'm totally paranoid, but in a way relieved because a bus explosion at the gas station could only mean a quick and instant death.
The bus driver bolted off to pay, the passengers were anxious to get moving -- I held my breath until we pulled away from the station. I blog today, from the house on U street, with all my digits and limbs still attached to my body.

When we got back to DC, I inhaled deeply, exhaled deeply, preparing myself for the face-off with the barking bus people.
Twenty bucks. Was it worth the aggravation?
It had taken us four hours to get from DC to NYC -- six hours to return.
In the office, there was a couple ahead of us, clearly frustrated. They'd been on the bus with us. The woman behind the counter was barking at the couple. The woman in the couple was yelling back at her -- then threatened to call 911. I was relieved that I wasn't the only disatisfied customer on that bus. Barkie didn't give a shit -- just wanted to watch television.
I never got my money back -- just a face full of yelling and spit. She was yelling at me in Mandarin. I was yelling back in Mandarin. M was yelling at her in English.
Barkie tells me to tell M to back off -- "I know she's saying bad words to me! Tell your friend to shut up and mind her own business!"
"We are both frustrated because you're yelling at us when we're trying to explain the situation to you."
"When did I yell? I'M NOT YELLING AT YOU!" she hollered.
The bus driver came in and Barkie started to tear into him about the couple that had been in front of us. Apparently they were upset because the bus driver never told them to get off in Baltimore (he had simply filled the tank) and so they stayed on the bus. It is easy to assume that a drop-off point would be at a bus-depot like site. They waited and waited, but he never announced the stop. Now they were back in DC -- and were likely going to miss their flight flying out of Baltimore. While Barkie yelled at the bus driver, I translated the scene for M.
Barkie heard me telling M and re-directed her screaming at me. "What are you telling your friend? It's not our fault they didn't get off in Baltimore! I'm GIVING them a free bus ride back to Baltimore at 2am! Isn't that enough?"

"You should have just taken the Greyhound. They've got reduced fares now," we're told as we stumble through the door on U Street at 1 am.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Châteauvixens in the Big Apple

Food breaks every other hour -- the best way to plan your visit in a city that has pretty much everything to eat!

Meat on a stick to start this visit, meat on a stick to end it. Rice pudding, decadent brunches (poached eggs on yogurt in browned butter... pork belly and chick pea stew -- OMG), Ethiopian food, shrink-wrapped pastries, bananas, more s
ugar and even more cream in-between.

Scruffy boys in corduroy on every street corner. Most of them younger than 23. Sigh.

Partied with a crazy girl from Queens. Those Greeks. Gotta love'em. Somebody was a little hungover this morning...

Major shopping damage done today -- but we're both still high from it. We've got another kitty in the house.

Overheard in the lingerie department: "I want something that makes it seem like I'm not trying too hard."

Missed the 5PM bus... and will most likely miss the 6PM -- time for one more gallon of rice pudding perhaps?

That is it for now.

Huggles from Harlem.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Dear Canada...

We're not coming home.

Buffalo is just as depressing as we remembered it -- even though the locals sure are friendly! One lady offered us a ride to the airport for real cheap.
Sure, only $5 plus our skins and teeth, right?

Washington DC is not as sterile as ho-hum Ottawa. Civil servants and transit workers are incredibly helpful. Admission to many museums/galleries is free. Almost everyone has a dimple and/or regional accent. The men in DC are super cute (though our hostess swears they're super gay). They're handsome, well-mannered, sharply-dressed AND they eat well (cottage cheese in their shopping baskets)!

The snack vendor has already promised me a green card if I stay and marry him. Voula will stay on with Biddy as her creative organizational consultant/dog walker and I will be her appointment-setter. The two of us can share the bubble bed in the cozy little house on V Street and eat scuppernongs all year long! Maybe Voula will luck out and meet a hot environmental lobbyist with one of those Bostonian accents she so loves!

Tomorrow morning, we catch the Chinatown Express to New York City -- only $35 US! We've been told the Hasidic Bus is just as cheap, so we'll have to remember to check it out on our next visit. Must-buys: rice pudding, Hebie Nats and panties (though not necessarily in that order).

Smooches from the capital.

Monday, February 13, 2006

our house, through the eyes of jasper

Thanks to everyone who came out to Take a Dump! Pics to follow. The group was a fabulous mix of old-timers, newcomers and of course, Rashmanga and the Châteauvians.

Received a lovely email from an even lovelier individual, which I felt compelled to share with our amazing legion of good-time-lovers:

good afternoon L,

there is a scene common to many woody allen movies that always gives me a warm comfortable feeling. at some point during the movie, at some crazy hour when woody and his love interest du jour, someone realizes that sleep is creeping away from them or someone makes a telephone call to see what the other is up to at the aforementioned ungodly hour, and cut to the next scene where woody and pals are gathered around a large table in some swinging restaurant and they are eating and downing wine and chatting about love, plays, murder mysteries on the brink of unfolding, and anything goes. the table always seems to spin as if it was on a large lazy susan but it's just camera trickery i'm sure.

it took me some time but what i wanted to say was this:

as i stood on your porch looking in for a moment before i rang the doorbell, i could see what kind of home you lived in. it looked warm and inviting and i could see you down the hall in the dining room with your hand on someone's shoulder and a smile on your face. and it felt the same way when i entered. i always feel shy about meeting new people, especially by the loadful, but everything was cool. just genuine, decent, intelligent people gathered to eat and talk and laugh. i had such a relaxed calm night.

and if you could do me a favour, i neglected to say thank you and good night to Monsieur Bonhomme. would you please extend that for me?

happy travels and safe return
bye for now

Truly the sweetest compliment we could ever hope for -- and the best part is that we barely made an effort! Everything's just that much easier when you surround yourself with good people -- and you can never know too many.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Take a Dump(ling)

Mom tells me that in the old days, when new Chinese immigrants wanted to meet other new immigrants for dating/courtship/mate selection, they'd throw dumpling parties. Everyone sitting around the table, kneading dough, scooping meat, chatting about home away and the new home here. I do agree that it's much easier to chitchat when your hands are busy and your mind isn't forced to only focus on conversation.

Is this a theme party? It's a little too late to celebrate the Lunar New Year -- and not as hip as the upcoming slew of Valentine's Week singles parties... Let's make Take a Dump(ling) an IT'S-TOO-COLD-TO-DO-ANYTHING-BUT-EAT event -- and while you're here you can wish M & L "bon voyage" as we head down to Washington DC and NYC next week for a gallery-hopping scrapple-hunting holiday!

Les Deets:
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Prep time: 3PM-ish
Eat time: 6 or 7PM-ish

The plan: to make dumplings, cook them, eat them

Feeling ambitious. Will attempt to make dumpling wrappers, but ready-made will also be purchased as back-up.

Marz will experiment with brown rice flour.

Will make the standard pork and napa/chives filling, as well as a vegeterian one.

You may participate in the filling/folding/pleating, or you can just come and sit and chat and watch. (But really, it's all about the process than it is about the result!)

Bring your own friends. Drop-ins welcome.

We don't have very much room in our freezer to hold uncooked dumplings, so be prepared to bring some home with you ^_^

RSVP by Thursday afternoon so we have a number to work with

Disclaimer: A delicious meal is not guaranteed -- but you know the company will be pretty awesome.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I am so bored.
I am so bored.
I mean, B-O-R-E-D.

Bored, bored, bored, bored.
Bored, bored, bored, bored.

Crappy Sunday, rainy weather bored.
Lazy, lazy, nothing to do bored.
Housemate gone to work, bored.
Housemate out of town, bored.
Milling around the house, bored.
Dunno what to do.