Wednesday, August 06, 2008
stuffing my face
this is the ham and eggs i ate on sunday morning at brian's u.s.a. diner. love that place. that's 10oz of salty, porcine goodness right there.
a disproportionate number of birthday missives and greetings i received featured the phrase (or variations thereof) "stuffing your face." lol! i guess i'm pretty easy to pin down!
anytown u.s.a. came through again. holy crap that was an epic and fun-filled weekend. things got of to a very auspicious start when my stepdad, big d, was being uncharacteristically nice to me. like, insane nice. like, regular white guy dad nice. big d is a hoot. he's kind of gruff and he has angry eyebrows and he has a tendency to get all ranty and long-winded and socially awkward, but inside (DEEP inside) he's a very unique and kooky softie. he hates being hugged and gets all awkward when you do. big d is the kind of guy who once snapped at killah cam (my youngest bro): "shut up, cam, you're not r-tarded anymore." amongst other gems. he's also the kind of guy who gets mad at the kids if we use the garage door opener to open the garage door because he thinks that it has a limited number of "charges" on it, and will make you get out of the car, go into the house, and open it from the inside. he also deeply misunderstands his cell phone plan, so that when you call his phone, he won't answer, but you have to let it ring three times and hang up and then ring again three times and then he'll call you back. in other words: he's the best. a regular mensch.
so big d - not known for being the most tender-hearted of individuals - and i had been having a stand off about the transportation arrangements. basically, my niece and nephew were being babysat up at my parents' place all week because my outlaw bro and sister had conferences and stuff to do. i was hitching a ride with my parents and the kids to this rest stop on the canadian side of the border, where my outlaw bro would come and pick us up and drive us into the states. the sticking point was how i was going to get up into markham. my preference is to take the subway to don mills and get picked up at fairview mall. big d's preference is that i take public transportation (usually a combination of ttc, york region transit, and the viva) as close as possible to the family estate and then be picked up. it's the difference of about 15 minutes of driving time for big d and my mom, versus about AN HOUR of travelling time on public transit for me.
we had been tussling back and forth via email (my family's primary mode of communication...which all-too-often includes dramatic CAPSLOCK exchanges and liberal sprinklings of exclamation points and question marks used individually and tandem and frequently culminates in my mom getting offended and accusing me [in capslock, natch] of having no tact and being a rude and ungrateful daughter). finally, i consented to the viva plan.
ummm...HOLY CATS, people. big d turned into a TOTAL mushball. on friday i was receiving breathless emails (bordering on the giddy) asking me if i wanted him to pick me up anything to eat (!!!!!): "chinese noodles???? pizza???" and imploring me to call him when i reached a certain point en route so he could leave the house in due time so i wouldn't be wait too long in the hot sun !!!!!!!!! i guess you kind of have to know big d to know how crazy it is...but suffice it to say that i'm taking the viva route from now on.
we got into town and my sis showed up bearing vanilla cheesecake from the cheesecake factory. check one. killah cam and s-dawg showed up in the middle of the night and the dotytron arrived saturday afternoon after spending a soul-crushing two hours waiting at the border to get into america the beautiful.
saturday night we hit the drive in! i've never been to the drive in in canada, but something tells me that small towns in the u.s.a. do it up proper. the drive in (which is called, charmingly, "silver lakes") features an arcade, a pizza parlor, a restaurant serving burgers and stuff called the "corral", an ice cream parlor and mini putt. on saturday nights, they also have something called "chicken barbecue". ummmm...chicken barbecue is THE BEST S**T EVER. bar none. apparently it's this upstate new york thing (possibly a thing from around all the states) that churches put on for fundraising, or like, the local kiwanis dudes (or equivalent) will put on to raise money, or that you have at your wedding or something. the name refers to the preparation and the final configuration. so you get a quarter chicken, that's been marinated in an italian dressing, herby, oily marinade and grilled over charcoal (ours was improbably juicy and tender), you get baked beans, a soft roll, butter, and salt potatoes, which sit in a bucket of butter and are retrieved with a slotted spoon. apparently some chicken barbecue dinners feature pie, but with ours we got a packaged cookie. a slice of pie would have probably resulted in me quitting my job and moving to the states right then and there.
the actual drive in was really picturesque and the thunderstorm just prior resulted in rosy, amber lighting and dramatic cloud formations in the sky. we watched "the dark knight" again. i sat with my sis in her station wagon with the kids in the carseat behind us, watching their portable dvd player. when she gets tired, my niece gets to "camp" and sleep on a pile of sleeping bags and blankets in the trunk. the sky was filled with stars and it was lovely.
having rewatched "the dark knight" again, i'd like to revise my grade. i'm going to give it a solid A (8.3/10).
my niece is hilarious. this is her as patch adams (i think she makes a better one than robin williams). she's decided that she wants to be a doctor and an artist when she grows up, and she likes to do this thing where she'll say, "mom, can i have a glass of fruit punch, por favor.......that's spanish" (she's learning spanish in school). the follow up footnote is really funny.
this is a picture of my nephew doing a john waters impression with a chocolate cake thin moustache. we had wegman's cake. check two. vanilla with lemon filling for me, and chocolate with vanilla pudding (it was supposed to be blackout, with chocolate pudding, but the wegman's peeps messed it up) for the s-dawg.
on sunday we hung out and loafed and ate pizza and played bocce in the backyard. this is a family portrait we took.
monday, the dotytron and i went to play a round of golf. check three. we were TERRIBLE. we capped ourselves at 10 strokes and even still, we sucked it up largetime. i made several breakthroughs though. this year, i explored the world of clubs BEYOND the driver (last year, i tried to driver everything). i also didn't kick up my leg and improved my form. i also made solid contact 1 swing out of every 8 and i'm completely in love with that sound (golf is really a game of sounds). i also tend to hit the ball straight...which is good.
when i went to pay at the club house, the stout, gruff old man who runs the place said, "that'll be $50."
"oh," i said, "i have to rent a set of ladies clubs, too."
"okay then," he says, "that'll be $55" and stretches out his hand, palm up.
now, most people brought up in western society would be able to read the upstretched palm as a nonverbal cue that he's providing a landing pad for the money. not me! i stared at the palm, and then reached out my own right hand and shook it. it was one of those moments where even as you're doing it, you're thinking to yourself, what the HELL am i doing?!? and i could totally feel the dotytron's horror-filled eyes on me but i committed to it and executed what will probably be the most awkward handshake of my life, and definitely of my 29th year on this planet. then the guy was like, "ummm...i'm from the old school, i want you to pay." and i was losing it, giggling to myself. as we exited, the dotytron says, "ummm...i'm thinking he wasn't expecting you to slap him some skin." it was pretty funny. that explains my name (i was "the hand") on our golf score sheet (the dotytron, by process of elimination, was "the heart").
then we followed that up with a trip to stony brook state park. it's a great park. there's a spring fed swimming hole, a huge playground, campsites, and picnic tables with hibachis for people to have cookouts. i love that place and think it's such a gem. swimming in fresh water is the best.
that night, we watched "zodiac" when we got home. which resulted in me being terrified. it was pretty humid all weekend, so the poor dotytron had to contend with a 5'4", 130lb, terror-sweat-soaked weight attached to his side all night, rendering him clammy and uncomfortable. he got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and i almost hyperventilated and had a heart attack. it's weird. the movie isn't that scary...i just kind of lost it. the film is pretty good overall but loses momentum in the last third documenting jake gylenhaal's character's attempts to solve the crime and find the identity of the serial killer. anyway, i scare easy and i found it creepy, the way i tend to find serial killers whose identities are never conclusively uncovered scary. so sue me!
our last day there we filled up my sister's and outlaw bro's wading pool for the kids and played around in it. then my sister and i headed out to this quilt store (i had passed it on the way to stony brook with the dotytron) on a lark. we didn't think anything of it. my sister had wanted me to take me to this quilt store that was 40 minutes away, but i didn't want to drive so far and wanted to capitalize on my time with her and the kids. i stepped in and was immediately welcomed into the guild of small-town american quilters. my sister thought it was like some weird secret society...which it kind of was. the quilts and fabric there were much more of the amish, classic americana style (i favor more contemporary patterns, myself) but it was really homey and welcoming and we turned a corner to find a gaggle of women eating cake at a table and talking away. it was cute! they also had a selection of amish-based mystery and "romance" books there. loved it! i got set up with a self-healing cutting mat, a rotary cutter, and a beginner ruler. sweet!!! now all i need is my sewing machine and i can get started.
phew. so that's the weekend roundup. the dotytron also changed his first diaper ever ("which side is the front?") and proved once again, that he's a natural with kids. i'm a fan of the style of houses in the states. i think that clapboard houses with shutters always look really neat and tidy and cute...much nicer than the brick-heavy style favored in toronto and southern ontario.
tonight i'm going for my birthday dinner with the dotytron. he's taking me to nota bene, which is the new, more "casual" restaurant from david lee of splendido fame. it's supposed to be more rustic cooking with an emphasis on high quality ingredients and a smaller plates style. full review tomorrow!
Posted by karl lagerfeld, esquire at 12:09 pm