Monday, September 29, 2008

Volleyball panic

The other night I went to an advanced volleyball clinic.

Me + Volleyball = NOT ADVANCED.

But, the only way to get better at something is to attempt to play above your comfort level, right?

Um, right.

In the past, when I have taken these clinics (in an attempt to get better so that when I play with The Hubs' team I do not put myself at risk of being killed by my teammates for being so incredibly bad), the instructors have started by getting us to sit in a circle, say our names, how much volleyball we play, what we want to learn, etc, etc. It was all very easy and fun, if not exactly very volleyball-skill related. Then, we'd do some stretching, running around the gym... a good hour would pass before we even really played volleyball. Which is great when you suck at volleyball as much as I do.

But at this clinic, I knew I was in trouble when, promptly at the start of the clinic, the instructor said he didn't care what our names are, how much we paid for the clinic, if we're late, or anything else that didn't have to do with the actual volleyball. Um, okay.

Then, we began these crazy drills, where he referenced plays and setups and used a bunch of terms I did not at all understand. And everytime someone did something wrong, he stopped us to announce it. Guess how often we had to stop playing to find out who did something wrong? And guess who it was ALWAYS about?

In the equivalent of What Not To Wear, I was What Not to Do. It's really too bad I didn't get a free wardrobe out of it.

In my own defence (aka enter whining, feel-sorry-for-me session here), I have only known anything about volleyball for four years (ack, already four years? I'm not sure how much longer I can use this excuse, but for now...). Before that, I had no idea how many times you could hit a volleyball, how you could hit it, how many people play volleyball or how long a game lasts. I didn't know what a "pass" was, a "set" was, a "free ball" was. Actually, just last week, after hearing people call "Side out!" throughout every game for the past four years, I finally got up the nerve to ask The Hubs what on earth that meant. Mostly, when I heard people saying things I didn't understand, I just tuned it out, you know, by thinking about the latest episode of The Hills, for example.

I am blaming my lack of knowledge entirely on Mrs. Millar, my seventh grade teacher, who also taught us phys. ed. Mrs. Millar was also my mother's first grade teacher, if that gives you any idea how old she was. But clearly, she considered herself the Misty May of the plus-60 set. For the entire year, she refused to remember that my name was Chantel. Instead, she called me Maureen, my mom's name. When it came time for the volleyball week of phys. ed class, she saw me touch the ball once and promptly told me that I was terrible at it, and that I should not play. And so I never did again.

Anyway, I somehow managed to survive the first clinic. Only three more to go. After which point, I'm hoping to look like this:

Hmm... I wonder how Misty gets her nail polish to stay on when she's always in the sand...

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Miami Time

I just got back from Miami...okay not just (it's been a few days), but I'm still on Miami time. So what if there's no time change between Toronto and Miami? I guess I'm on tan time, then.

I went for three new Crest & Oral B products, though they're under embargo until the spring, so I can't tell you about how amazing they are (and how you will actually WANT to spend time in the bathroom) so let's just talk about the trip instead, shall we?

Like the yacht cruise...

...where we toured Millionaire's Row, where you know, the millionaires live.

It was fully like reading US Weekly, only without any pages blowing in the wind.

First stop: P. Diddy's place. 

What do you do when you love a good speed boat? You buy two!

We also saw where Will & Jada vacation...

And Shaq's blue getaway...

And the house they use for MTV reality shows...

And Elizabeth Taylor's place...

And Julio Iglesias's house.

And then... things got a little fuzzy. Which means I have a whole lot of pictures of homes, with no idea...

Who they ...

Belong to...

Back in the city, we drove past Versace's place, which is now a club. With a very excited door man! (Squint, you'll see).

Then, it was off to dinner at the Delano, where I sat in a very big chair...

(Don't you totally want this chair for your own home? I do.) 

Then I ate a very delicious meal that I had every intention of photographing. 

Except, after the appetizer, I forgot. Oops.

Oh well no matter. It would probably just make me hungry. 

And now, back to the real world.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

TV time travel and who buys CDs anymore?

Tonight I watched the series premiere of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Yes, it started last year. I'm behind. Consider it time travel, which is actually quite appropriate for this series. Anyway, there was a Season 1 marathon on Space to catch you up before Season 2 started (so clearly I CAN'T be the only one who missed it the first time around, and anyway, it's a good way not to get addicted to a show that's going to get cancelled after one season, no?). So anyway, we set the PVR to tape all the episodes that aired this weekend and now have like fourteen billion episodes (because of course, if you set your PVR to tape them all, you get like 7 of the same episode). So anyway, maybe everyone already discussed this last year at this time, but is it me or does Sarah Connor (Lena Headey) ...

look a little like Naomi Watts?

And, does Cameron (Summer Glau)...

Look a little like Autumn Reeser?

In other time travel news, I read this article today. Nevermind what the most controversial album covers ARE, my question is this: How does anyone know what the covers are? Does anybody even buy CDs anymore? And if you think NO, like I do, then how on earth does anyone know what the cover of a CD looks like? Oh sure, I know, it's on your iPod when you download the song, but do you ever actually scroll to look at the cover? Am I supposed to be? Am I being a bad fan because I don't?

Okay, on closer perusal of the list, it appears that most if not all of the album covers are from the days BEFORE iTunes. When people bought CDs, tapes and even albums. Is this list even accurate then? Because I bet there's got to be way more controversial covers now, only we don't know it.

Or maybe everyone else does, but I'm just totally out of it? (Which wouldn't be surprising. I mean, I AM watching new shows a year late).

Friday, September 12, 2008

90210, Tori, and trickery

First of all, thanks for ALL the amazing suggestions on where I can pick my own apples! Who knew? That's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to tie it into an apple-picking-pumpkin-picking excursion in October.

In the meantime though, all I could think of was apple butter and how I wanted to make it, so... I went to the Rabba. I know! My coworker who told me I COULD not, under NO circumstances buy my apples at the Rabba because I would be paying triple what I would pay if I went to Food Basics or No Frills is now turning over in his apron. He would be so ashamed of me. But, No Frills doesn't have parking and Food Basics is not exactly in the best hood, and I can just walk to the Rabba and then carry the apples home. And they had a big bin of the new fresh off the tree apples (not shiny, still with leaves on the stems!). I got 10 pounds and only paid $7! That seems pretty cheap to me, and it made a double batch of apple butter. It took me two episodes of Ellen just to peel them all and my fingers were like prunes after, but now, the apple butter is cooking! And I have the cutest little mini Mason jars with pink plaid lids!

So I can make my first batch now, and my second in October when I go to the farm and pick the apples myself.

In other news, I just finished reading sTORI telling. OH my god. It's so good. Like, I cannot stop reading it so good. Tori is so funny, so self-deprecating, that you will love her if you read this book. Trust me. And there's a lot of good 90210 dirt and all the stuff about her marriage, her affair, her remarriage... plus pics. I never really liked her or respected her, but now, even the fact that a few months ago she was caught signing autographs (allegedly) at the airport here in Toronto for $20, I totally get why. She explains it all. She's poor now. Seriously. But if you had her life, you'd understand how it happened. If Drew Barrymore hadn't already called her memoir Little Girl Lost, it would've been the perfect title for Tori's book (though her title is awesome). If you haven't read it, you totally should. Also to note: it's in hardcover and when you take off the dustjacket, the book is HOT PINK. Love it!

Now that I love Tori, I'm disappointed she didn't return to 90210, but again, the book explains it (though not exactly pertaining to the new show), but basically, Tori has spent her life trying to get away from being "Donna Martin" because she's a really funny actress and just wanted to show that off. I don't want to ruin the book if you're going to read it, but given that she was in debt when she met Dean I can get why she'd agree to go back on the show, but the fact that she wasn't getting paid as much as the other girls was unfair. When her dad was the producer, he insisted on not paying her as much but by the end she was one of the stars (especially after Brenda, Dylan and Brandon were gone). So it's not fair they wouldn't pay her as much as Brenda and Kelly.

See how I'm defending her? That's what the book did to me!

In other 90210 news, was it me or did they totally set up last week's preview so that we thought Brenda would be introduced at the school this week? And then she wasn't. Having Jackie Taylor back on was great though, but I'm sad she was a drunk and cokehead again. I loved her when she was clean and she and Kelly got along. But, this means Silver moves in with Kelly, which means maybe Kelly will stay on the show for the whole season? At this rate though, I feel like even if they cut out all the oldies, I'm still going to watch it. It's nothing new (couldn't this just be the new class of The OC, really? except not as witty?), but still.... If only they could get everyone to stop laughing at all the jokes, and get Annie to stop overacting. She's cute, but please, stop trying so hard! I do love how she suddenly got cute clothes.

Finally, did you hear that LC is writing YA books? Exciting! They're loosely based on her life, but will be fiction, and she has a three book deal with HarperCollins so far. Can't wait.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Apple Picking...

On the weekend, The Stepmom asked if I'd used my Crock Pot for anything else other than the one batch (and when I say "batch" I mean 3 jars) of apple butter I made back in oh... March.

I had this great idea that I would make apple butter, only the recipes all called for a crock pot, which I didn't own, so I mentioned it to The Stepmom. Magically, on my  birthday, I got a fabulous crock pot. And I made apple butter. The end. 

"No... I haven't quite used it for anything else yet..." I told her, then felt guilty, but the truth is that I was gearing up for the BIG MONSTROUS APPLE BUTTER EXTRAVAGANZA this fall. If you are reading this and are my friend/relative/coworker, be surprised when you get a jar of apple butter around the holidays from me. 

The thing is, I'm not sure where to get enough apples to make dozens and dozens of jars of apple butter. Surely not at the Rabba in my building? 

This morning at the gym, I went to a class led by a grey-haired lady. She's so cute, and when I show up after not being there for weeks (because I am a lazy, bad gym-goer), she'll say things like "Welcome back!" Then she'll nod, and add "Chantel travels a lot for work." The first time it happened, I thought she had me confused with someone else, because I actually don't travel that much, and certainly not extensively enough to justify why I have three-month lapses from the gym. Then, I realized she was just covering for me so I wouldn't look bad. I love her. Anyway, in class today, as we were doing some sort of side-step-reach-in-the-air move, she shouted out, "Like you're picking apples off a tree!" 

Like I'm WHAT?

Do people even pick apples anymore? Where would you do that?

When I was a young MC, we were driving to my cousin's house one Saturday afternoon. We had a pizza in the back and were stopping to pick up a bushel of apples from a farm near our house. My dad was turning left when a truck slammed into the back of our car. Thankfully, we were all okay, though my mom got whiplash and had to wear a neck brace for months. While my parents sorted out the details of the accident, I had to sit in the farmhouse. The lady in the farmhouse put on The Wizard of Oz for me to watch. I cried the whole time. I cannot watch that movie now, and I get a little squeamish thinking about making a road trip to get apples. Still, even there you couldn't actually pick the apples off the tree. 

Even now, when The Hubs and I go to an apple/pumpkin farm north of Toronto to get our pumpkins at Halloween, you can't pick the apples from the tree. You can pick them out of a barrel, but that's it. And still, that seems pretty authentic. Maybe picking apples off a tree is just something that everyone can envision doing, but which doesn't actually happen in real life unless you are actually a farmer. 

But I guess if the gym instructor were to say "Like you're picking apples off the counter at the Rabba!", we wouldn't get as skinny, would we? And then I couldn't justify eating apple butter on toast every day. 

Monday, September 8, 2008

I am not 21...

This weekend, The Dad, The Stepmom, The Hubs and I headed to Titusville, Pennsylvania for a golf vacation. It was our Christmas present to each other last year, but golfing in September is much more enjoyable than golfing in December, so off we went. I actually thought we were going to Ohio. Ohio, Pennsylvania, Po-tay-to, Po-tot-o, you get the idea.

A week before we left (saving the good news to the very end), The Stepmom says to me: Apparently there are no hairdryers at the hotel.

Say what?

We were a bit concerned. I don't actually use a hairdryer very often, but the idea of there NOT being a hairdryer was worrisome indeed. I mean, do we need a refresher on just how BAD hairdryers can actually get?

Exactly. So if that's what hairdryers can look like, what would a hotel look like that didn't even have hairdryers?

The night before we left, The Stepmom had an update: Apparently, they have hairdryers at the front desk.

What did this mean? What would the rooms actually have if they didn't even have enough hairdryers for each?

I'll tell you: 2 double beds and a TV.

No alarm clock (what? you want to wake up?)
No clock (who cares what time it is)
No mini shampoos and conditioners (you want clean hair?)
No bathrobes.

Okay, I didn't really expect bathrobes.

I thought it was going to be terrible, but it was AWESOME.

It was so 70s that the whole atmosphere would've been ruined had there been any other modern amenities.

It was unlimited golf, which is what everyone was there to do. And unlike some golf courses, that charge you $5 for a beer from the cart girl, there was no cart girl. Instead, there was a BREW-THRU, so that as you were going from Hole #9 to Hole #10 you could drive up to the window in your golf cart and they would give you a mini cooler that held 6 Pennsylvian beers (Yeunglings! Could there be a better name for beers?). And you gave the window guy $9. NINE dollars for SIX beers! It almost made me want to drink a beer, but beer is totally ungirly and so I never drink it.

You know what else the hotel had?

A revolving bar.

So picture this: a huge CRYSTAL chandelier in the middle with a full round bar (ie drinks/glasses/booze on all sides of the bar counter). Then, instead of there being one straight long bar, there was a huge circular bar table around it and about 20 chairs that SWIVEL all the way around in a circle. And then, at 9 pm, the bartender started mixing drinks and the circular bar and the chairs you were sitting on started to move in a clockwise direction!

Is this not the most awesomest thing you've ever heard of?

We were sitting on the patio having some after-dinner drinks when we looked in to the Crystal Lounge and saw that the lights on the chandelier had come on and the DJ was playing Prince and the chairs start moving.

Mesmerized, I raced inside to get on the ride. But when I sat down at the chair closest to the window where The Dad, The Stepmom and The Hubs were sitting outside, watching on, the bartender came up to me and asked me if I had ID.

Me: Um, no. It's in the room. (The hotel was all-inclusive, so why would I have my wallet with me?)

She: Are you 21?

Me: (In slight shock.). I'm 32.

She: (In utter disbelief). I really doubt that. I'm afraid you'll have to leave.

Me: (Totally redfaced with not a comeback to think of). Oh. OK.

I walked back outside as quickly as I could.

The Hubs: What happened?

I told them.

They're still not letting me live it down.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

School's in!

Can you concentrate on anything today? Seriously.

All I can think of is Brenda and Kelly and the whole new class, Tonight... the season premiere of 90210!!!

I know, I have to keep my expectations low. After all, it's not going to be about Kelly and Brenda and Brandon and Dylan. Although... I feel that the producers are trying to keep some similarities... like isn't Dustin Milligan totally channeling Dylan with his Porsche?

And is it me, or doesn't AnnaLynne McCord's dress remind you of the black dress with the white bow that both Kelly and Brenda wear to the Spring Fling?

I can't wait. The clothes, the shoes, the gossip... even The Hubs (who has already endured nearly the entire original series, which I taped in its entirety when it replayed on TVtropolis a few years ago) is excited. Really. Okay maybe I have to remind him he's excited, but whatever.

This weekend was all about back to school. I love fall, as it's a great chance to make a fresh start, revise those resolutions (like um, going to the gym again, which apparently, I haven't been to ALL summer, but whatever, surely a few laps in the pool count for something, don't they?). Anyway, usually, the whole "back to school" idea is in theory, since I don't actually go to school, but just back to the office and my computer (which, speaking of which, has not arrived. Where is my pink computer?!). But this year, school was not just as a theory, as today, I taught my first class! That's right, I'm now officially a teacher. I even ordered a book (because books are useful!) and it came in the mail addressed to Professor Simmons. (Which is actually quite a stretch given I don't any qualifications to be called a professor...). Anyway, I'm teaching a post-grad magazine writing class at one of the colleges in the city. And I survived Day 1. Phew. Did you know that classrooms don't have chalk boards and chalk anymore? It's true. It's all wipeboards. Which is great because chalk on your butt is a really downer. 

Unfortunately for the students, they're stuck with me, not some hot guy like on 90210. But really, I'm helping them. Because honestly, if this....

... was your teacher (okay straight guys aside), how could you possibly concentrate on anything? See? Much better to be stuck with me.

This weekend, I prepped for going back to school by going to see The House Bunny. Which isn't really about going to class, actually, but about living in a sorority, which is at school...

In other school-ish news, what's going on with Gossip Girl? Am I confused? I was reading Entertainment Weekly and I thought the 2-hour debut was last night but was that only in the US?

If you know, please tell me. And now, back to the countdown. SEVEN HOURS!!!!!