Archive for the 'Rants' Category

A Rant Awakens Me

I realize I have been gone from the blog in a very long time.  And I realize that I had resolved to do better at that.  I had actually written a long post about how desperate I am for “me time”.  It took me three weeks to write it.  And in the end I decided it was far more whiny than I want to be, so abandoned the post.

And also I’ve been sick for four hundred years.  Give or take a day or two.

But the other day I was awakened from my blog stupor by a rant-worthy homework assignment of Dolittle’s.  The assignment – a social studies project – covered collecting a wide variety of information on culture in response to about 9-10 questions.  Things like how things have changed on the Island in 20 years, finding news articles related to culture, etc.  And it also included finding out the jobs your family members have held for as far back as you could go.

While I applaud an assignment which hones researching skills on a multitude of levels (on-line searching, personal interviews, etc.), and provides a creative forum for the presentation of findings, I am boggled at how tracing geneology is a fair question in a world where it is just as likely that you are someone with a non-traditional or largely non-existent family, as it is to be someone with a fairly solid and traditional family tree.  What if I am a child who does not know their father?  What if I have a family that has been broken so many times that the family tree is mere kindling?  What if I have no relative I can go to that can relate the work history of generations?  Would it be acceptable for a child to hand in something that said, “I am Little Johnny, and my family tree starts here.  I will accomplish great things one day”?  And how will Little Johnny’s presentation compare to those of his peers?

As clarification, we are not in the Little Johnny boat.  Dolittle was able to collect information on her family work history back to her great grandparents, learned some fascinating little tidbits of family history, and got to see pictures of two ancestors that share her name.  All in all the assignment was great for her, and I’m glad she got to do it.  But somewhere in my heart I still feel for Little Johnny, and how it must feel to be assigned something which would not only be personally impossible, but be compared with peers on at least some level.

I remain baffled by the thinking behind the project…  Why would the assignment not have been “research 6 of these 10 things” (or something like that)?  Wouldn’t that have fostered 21st-century learning just as well without putting anyone’s self esteem at issue?

So, I am sending virtual hugs to all the Little Johnnys of the world.  Because I really do believe your family tree can begin with you.  And if you believe you can accomplish great things, then I believe you can too.


I think they must see my van coming

Last night’s family class at taekwondo started at 6pm.  As it was already near 5pm, and there was still changing that had to be done, I decided that it might ease the time crunch by getting supper for the girls and I via drive thru.

Apparently “fast food” isn’t always all that fast.

First I waited in line to order, went to window #1 and paid, and went to window #2 and sat.  Finally the clerk at the window says “it will just be one minute. Just pull up behind those cars and we’ll take it out to you.”

“Those cars”… another line of cars.  So, I pull up behind the end car and all the vehicles politely skootch up a bit to make room.  One by one the orders get taken up to the windows and we pull ahead for the next guy.

When I finally get to the head of the wait line, a girl with vibrant blue eye shadow approaches my window.  “What exactly did you order?” she asks.  Beautiful.

I reiterate to the eye shadow (because really, that’s all I’m seeing) what it is I had ordered.  “Oh. Yeah.  That’s coming.”

I turned in my seat to face the eye shadow.  “This is taking a really long time. And when I pulled up here I was told ‘one minute’.  It’s a lot longer than a minute.”  I didn’t bother to mention I could have actually made dinner at home in the time it has taken so far.

“We’re having trouble with our…. (long pause) …thing” she explained.

“Ah.  The thing.”  I nodded knowingly, pretending that was a fully satisfactory explanation.

“Trees Andrew Flies” (I was positive that’s what she said).  “For your trouble.”

I really had no idea what the eye shadow was saying to me now.  Was the visual of the brilliant blue eye shadow affecting my other senses? “Trees Andrew Flies?”  I asked.

“Yes.  Trees Andrew Flies.”

“Okaaaaaay” I tentatively replied.  And the eye shadow went on her merry way arriving a few more minutes later with a bag of food.  I was not sure I wanted to open it, what with the reference to flies with my ‘fast’ food.  What if it was some retribution for requesting prompt service when they were toiling away with a broken thing?!

For your reference, in the event you should ever be asked “Trees Andrew Flies” has nothing to do with houseflies.  “Trees Andrew Flies” apparently translates to “two applies pies” … or maybe “free apples pies” because for the life of me I can’t figure out why three people would be happy about two pies.  …That’s just more trouble in the making.

Yet Another Grocery Rant

It seems a fair amount of my rants concern grocery shopping and this is no exception. 

I’ve discussed my aggravation with shoppers who stop in the middle of the aisle (neither left nor right).  I’ve mentioned carts with bad wheels.  I’ve probably even noted the challenges of shopping with young kids.  But do you know who deserves the most wrath in the whole grocery shopping experience????  It’s Little Miss Can’t Count, that’s who.

Now, I’m not talking about the person who tries to sneek in 12 items in the express line.  Been there.  Done that.  No big deal.  I’m talking about the woman with the major jumbo cart, filled to the brim, with probably 150 items, in the express lane.  The 10 items or less lane.  The bag your own items thank you very much lane. 

Don’t bother to look surprised when you hand the clerk your reusable bags and she tells you that you bag your own in Express.  Don’t pretend to just notice the express lane signage at that very moment.  Don’t turn to me, next in line, and give me a pithy “I’m sorry.”  Ya’ know why?  Because I just saw you give the clerk your frequent shopper card!  A frequent shopper card suggests that maybe you’ve been in this particular store before and know exactly which lines are for 10 items or less.  And even if your usual store is another store in this chain, every single one of these stores has the first two aisles as Express.  And what’s more, given that you can afford to buy 150 items at a time I’m guessing you probably have the education to count beyond ten.  So, please know that while I’m waiting for you to have your 150 items rung in, and then waiting for you to get the heck out of my way while you bag your 150 items, I am not thinking kind thoughts about you. 

Do you know what I’d wish they’d have done?  I wish they had only rang in ten items at a time and made you go to the back of the line 15 times.  Perhaps that would not only reinforce your counting skills but help you remember for the next time which line up is Express.  Yes… I really think that would have been in your best interest.  And I’m nice like that.

Paper Plates and Motherhood

Recently, while watching television, a commercial for paper plates came on. Smiling, happy actresses mothers positively glowed with enthusiasm about how much happier their lives were now that they had made the good parenting decision of spending more time with their families instead of doing dishes (hence their wise investment in paper plates).

Am I supposed to feel bad for hand washing dishes instead of spending time with my kids? Less wonderful a mother? And if I am, are these negative feelings supposed to inspire me toward your product? Seriously? Someone in an ad agency got paid good money to come up with that concept and expected it to be believable?

These actresses mothers had two child actors kids at most. They weren’t likely to be doing all the dishes in a big orphanage or anything. And looked to be in “homes” that most likely had dishwashers. And/or husbands. And why couldn’t the kids do the dishes with her? (Or him?)

Show me a mama who uses those paper plates to make silly hats and masks while the dirty dinner dishes wait in the sink till the kids sleep or do their homework…

Show me a mama who uses those paper plates to take some leftovers to a neighbour…

Show me how those plates might hold up in the freezer…

But do not show me how I an inferior to an actress and expect me to purchase your product.

I’d write more but I have laundry to do… or was I supposed to purchase disposable clothing for my family as well?

Dear Webkinz World Creators

I have, for some time, felt quite comfortable with my children visiting your site. It is a safe place with its cuddly inhabitants and pre-selected menu of available messages. I have not worried that they would find internet dangers there. I have, however, noticed a couple of things that have me pondering what on earth you may have been thinking when you included these within this safe, comfortable, kid-friendly zone.

First, let’s talk about the “Wishing Well”…


“Wishing Well” is apparently a warm, fuzzy name for “Slot Machine.” ‘Nuf said.

Now, let’s talk about Arte. See the tip can?


I’ve just found out that apparently Arte gives better service with a healthy stream of tips and purchases. As true to life as that might be, tips generally come after a service. “Tips” in Webkinz World is apparently a warm, fuzzy name for “Bribes.”

So I guess I’m wondering if this is your way of marketing to grownups? Kind of like the darker humour that is in kids’ movies that they never seem to get? I’m also wondering if I signup for Webkinz World and tell you I’m an adult can my Webkinz and I have strawberry daiquiris when I play the Wishing Well?

“Adult Beverage” in Sock World is a warm, fuzzy name for “Adult Beverage.” It’s less confusing that way.

Parking rant

There are several parking lots at Job1. Because of the building I work in, I can either pay a little bit extra to park in “yellow” or pay the regular rate and park further away in “red.” I chose to pay for “yellow.” At this point in time (for at least another week) students do not have the option to park in “yellow.”

Now the first couple of days of the new school year, I’d get to work only to find there was no room in “yellow.” It was full of cars with red tags. As “yellow” can park in “red” but not vice versa, I would park in “red” and walk the extra steps. Finally, they started putting notes on the “red” cars parked in “yellow” to tell them they seem to have missed the little colour rule.

Gradually, as the “reds” started catching on, more spaces became available in “yellow.” Still, despite the fact that you knew word was getting out, half the lot had “red” passes hanging from the window. Some even dared park with last year’s pass, or worse… no pass at all. Walking through to lot would make me clench my teeth as I couldn’t help but count the number of colour-blind parkers I passed.

Finally tickets started being issued. Now the lot still has some “reds” but the numbers have drastically declined. But I really have to wonder about the “reds” that come into the “yellow” lot day after day. Even if they aren’t ticketed themselves, they can’t miss that “reds” are ticketed. Is it the perception of invincibility? Is it endless wealth? Is it that they just don’t care?

I have to admit that I wish a ticket upon every incorrectly or wrongly tagged car I see in my lot. They irk me. I wish I had a ticket book myself to write them up one. Or two. Better yet, I wish I had a tow truck.

I know that in a week or two the students will be offered some places in the “yellow” lot and they can “upgrade” their pass. At that time, administration will probably oversell the lot (with the logic that not all will be there at the same time), and I will have to walk from the “red” lot in the mornings again despite my “yellow” pass.

And I’m ok with the “yellow” lot being full of “yellow.” But heaven help me if, on my way from the “red” lot I stroll through the “yellow” and pass one of those little red window tags in a spot that should be mine…

Because it’s gonna’ be a colourful reaction. I’m just saying.

Betty, Betty, Betty

My girls don’t like sandwiches (other than pb&j) and go to a peanut-free school, so last year I would get up early and bake muffins for lunches several times per week. Now they hate muffins.

So, in the interest of jazzing up the lunch bags, I bought a box of Bisquick. I have fond memories of some quick fixings made with Bisquick in college. Unfortunately, I haven’t bought it since then, and no longer have these recipies I was apparently so taken with.

So I went to the Betty Crocker website and began searching. What do you know! They have a Bisquick e-newsletter! Sounds perfect…. except that they didn’t have an option to click any provinces… only states. How could this be? How would it be possible that I could actually buy the product and not have access to recipes? As there had to be some mistake, I wisked dear Betty off an email explaining my dilemma.

Betty wrote back. “While anyone in the world can access this web site, the site is intended for use by residents of the United States of America only.” Apparently because Candians are ineligible for the programs and promotions (which I am not interested in) and because some recipies feature items and General Mills products that are not available in Canada, this seemed like a good idea to them. She offered me links to three websites that had nothing to do with Bisquick. For some reason I think she thought that would be “helpful”.

I have written her back:

While I thank you for your reply, the information was not at all “helpful.” I do not want information on connecting with my family (got it covered), cheerios, or whole grain oats. What I want is the e-newsletter on Bisquick recipies.

I am very disappointed that your company chooses to discriminate against providing this information to Canadians. It is completely absurd that this should be an issue when the internet is a media that spans the globe. The practice of supplying this electronic information only to Americans when Bisquick – and a plethora of other Betty Crocker products — is available in my country does little to foster product loyalty… in fact, it does the opposite.

So, the Bisquick sits unopened in my cupboard, my impression of Betty as a friendly sharing homemaker is tarnished, and I am spreading the word (via internet, ironically) that Betty has this anti-Canadian sharing policy.

If anyone has any tried and true lunch favourites they care to share with this busy mom of selective eaters, depite the fact that I live in Canada, I’d love to hear from you.

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