Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Olympics

I love the Olympics. The competition; the sense of pride in your country; the stories of the individual athletes; the pageantry. I teared up when they sang "O Canada" at the opening ceremonies, and it's not my national anthem.

And of course I like Canadians. How can I not? They're nice people...and I'm married to one.

However, the past two weeks have been a little awkward. I'm so used to Allan and I thinking alike and generally being of the same mind on whatever issue that I find myself in shock as we watch the games.

We're not on the same side.

I don't remember this from the last Olympics, and he was here then, too. Perhaps I have selective amnesia, but I really think it stems from where the games are being held this year. Forget the polite reserve; from curling to bobsled to ice dancing to hockey, I think Canadians mean that "Own the Podium" thing. Really. With teeth bared and maple leafs flying--and that's just the spectators.

So it's been a little hard to get into cheering for the Americans without stepping on Canadian toes. I can't gloat over the American men's hockey victory over Canada, and he can't cheer too much as the Canadian women trounce the Americans in bobsled. As much as I love watching the games, it'll be something of a relief when they're over. This slight unease is getting to me.

I'm just glad I'm not married to a German.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Day, part 2!

It snowed last night. Like, really snowed. Some 2 inches of the stuff (by my crude "sticking my finger in the snow" method). The snow was heavy, wet packing snow, the type that's perfect for snowball fights.

This is the view from the apartment as I was letting the dog out this morning:

Snow Day 01 - 2010-02-12

The vehicles on the end are ours. This is the first vehicle I've owned in 9 years that's been covered in snow!

It wasn't until later that I remember: I don't have a snow brush! I had to use a Swiffer wet mop as a squeegee to clear off the car, while having a snowball fight with Logan.

This is the view of a neighbouring apartment through the trees behind our apartment:

Snow Day 03 - 2010-02-12

Neighbours made a little snowman this morning. Sabine checked it out:

Snow Day 04 - 2010-02-12

She was still unsure of this snow stuff, as it made her paws cold (no doubt) but she had a bit more fun this morning than last night as she bounded through it and sniffed everything.

Sabine wasn't the only local who had trouble figuring out how to handle the snow. Here are a couple of local kids with the day off. I must be getting old, as all I could think about for the kid on the right was, "Put a coat on, already!"

Snow Day 08 - 2010-02-12

Took this picture of a cemetery on the way to work. I had forgotten how much snow bleached the colour out of everything.

Snow Day 05 - 2010-02-12

The railroad bridge over the Ouachita River (from the Monroe side):

Snow Day 06 - 2010-02-12

The Endom Bridge, spanning the Ouachita River. They closed the bridge this morning as it's mostly metal and cars don't have any traction on it when it snows. You don't even have a choice of shooting past the barriers when the swivel it (I guess so that if the power goes out it won't impede barge traffic on the river).

Snow Day 07 - 2010-02-12

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow day!

Logan doesn't have school tomorrow. Why? Because it's snowing out.


The observant among you will notice that the cementy parts of the ground aren't actually covered in snow. So why does Logan have a snow day? Because that's what happens in the South. Seriously, it was poring a few days ago to the point where water was pooling up to the axles of the car and the schools stayed open. Snow accumulates on the ground — even if the roads could be best described as "moist" — and it's "Close the schools! The kids aren't safe on the buses!"

I can understand if there was a threat of freezing rain, but no.

And they decided to close tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. today. This is because they let the kids out early today. Because of flurries.

Seriously. It wasn't even accumulating like it is now until about 6:30. So they let the kids out early in anticipation of... snow blindness? Your guess is as good as mine.

But I understand them deciding to close the schools tomorrow early this afternoon. I mean, you can't blame them. How else could they communicate the fact that schools were closed tomorrow? It's possible that kids might actually try to get to school because their parents didn't hear about the closure on the radio. Or TV. Or in an e-mail. Or by phone...

And the daycares are closed tomorrow, too. So one of my peeps has to work from home to watch his child. (I don't mind, but it means I'm unlikely to get to go home early; I was hoping to, as I've already logged 40 hours this week. Maybe we'll luck out and all of our clients will be snowed in, even those in Florida and Texas.)

Anyway, here are a couple more pictures of the snow (as best as I could take with our digital point and shoot).


The best part of the snow is Logan's delight. He's wanted snow for ages. And now he has it! Of course, it didn't take him long to start complaining about it, starting with the way it blows into your face.

I don't think he actually believes me about the existence of "snow brushes", though.

I don't have pictures of it, but a little bird was stuck in the front balcony of our apartment. It was completely disoriented by the snow. I think the falling snow (pretty big flakes of wet packing snow) threw it almost literally for a loop.

Our dog Sabine didn't know what to make of it, either. She was curious about the snow and sniffed it a lot, but she did not like how it made her feet cold. Or at least that's what I suspect was happening. She spent a lot of time sniffing snow and keeping off the snow covered grass. It was quite funny watching her run on it. Wish I had the video camera with me at the time.


If the snow sticks around until tomorrow, I'll take some more pics. Just to prove that yes, about once or twice a decade, it really does snow in northern Louisiana.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Of bagged milk and ketchup chips

I sometimes suspect that Alana thinks I'm pulling her leg when I talk about cross-cultural stuff. For instance, when I talk about "milk in a bag" she looks at me as if to say, "No, Canada boy, you've gone too far this time." Or maybe she's just thinking "How/why would someone sell milk in bags?"

I tried to describe bagged milk, but pictures (and video) do much better than I could. So, here's a video from the Canadian desert vlogger "pincstuff" talking about bagged milk:

A few comments.

First, she doesn't mention the little "knee thump" I learned from my Dad when seating the milk in the jug. This helps drop the milk to the bottom of the jug, causing a tighter seal.

Second, cutting the corner might be "crucial" but after you've done it a few times the actual size becomes second nature. Her video makes it seem like it's a disaster waiting to happen, but it's not all that bad.

Third, we never bothered closing off the milk bags. Maybe we always went through it quickly enough, I don't know.

She also doesn't mention that bagged milk is more space friendly in the fridge (the jug with the milk stays on a top shelf and takes up much less space than a gallon plastic jug here in the U.S., and the rest of the bags can lie, or be stacked, in the bottom of the fridge). Nor does she mention that you can actually freeze milk, though you have to be sure to mix it well when defrosting it.

Bagged milk comes in the usual varieties: skim (I can't remember what they call it here, no fat I think), 1%, 2%, and — I'm not making this up — homo. (Homo stands for "homogenized milk", known as "whole milk" in the U.S.) Oh, and I seem to recall that you can get bags of chocolate milk, too.

While we're at it, this vlogger also has a video about ketchup flavoured and dill pickle flavoured potato chips. I was never a big fan of those, but the very idea that they exist seems to frighten Alana. Here's proof of their existence:

I personally was never a huge fan of the ketchup potato chip. My personal favourite is Ruffles All Dressed potato chips. I also like Lays salt and vinegar, but while I can get those in Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida, except for a weird two month period I haven't seen them here in northeastern Louisiana.

Finally, here's a video from an American band who went up to Vancouver, and while there sampled Canadian chips. You can see what they thought of ketchup chips, though the All Dressed did get a thumbs up.

So there you have it, bagged milk and All Dressed potato chips, the best Canadian inventions since the Robertson screw:

Friday, February 05, 2010

Death by candy

There we have it, folks. A gummy bear bigger than a football--all 12,600 calories of it. Five pounds of gummy goodness.

And I want one.

Nevermind the fact that I'm diabetic, and that it spells instant coma. I want one. The red one. Now.