I, The Kite-Killer

Miscellaneous 022As a kid, one of the things I’d look forward to during warmer weather was flying kites with my dad.

I remember he’d bought this one kite, which I think was supposed to be shared between my younger brother and me.

I can picture it in my mind: black, plastic, triangular-shaped – “delta”, I think the design’s called – with two, bloodshot eyes, and a little ragged “tail”.

We’d go to the park nearby and he’d show us how to get it up in the air, providing there was enough of a breeze.

When there was a good wind, man, how high that thing could go! It would dart and swoop. And when it was time to go home, he’d reel it in and off we’d go.

It’s memories like these that sadden me as I say the following:

I now HATE kites. Okay, maybe “hate” is a strong word. But they irritate me.

It’s not as if they’re bigger and more ostentatious these days. Or that they make annoying sounds or give off crazy emissions.

It’s almost as if there are TOO MANY kites. Kite pollution, if you will.

The source of my irritation:

There’s a huge park close to my parents’ house. On warmer, windier days like the ones we’ve had lately, people and their kids are over there flying their kites by the dozens. 

Kites of all colours, shapes and sizes … that seem to hang suspended in the air … that list and dip and dive … that soar to incredible heights …

And then end up dangling into – or over – our backyard.

Grrrr.

Yes, I sound like a miserable, Grinchy neighbour. I should have a heart and think of the children.

I completely agree. But here’s the problem:

‘Cause of the great heights, these kites drift over, and the string gets caught and all knotted around something – the edge of a roof or the top of a tree.

Most of the time, the kites are too high to retrieve, so they’re left twisting in the elements, to “decompose” for the rest of the year.

Sometimes you can reach the string. But it’s so taut, it can cut your fingers as you try to pull it down.

Even if you successfully get the kites down, you can’t even return them to their rightful owners, because the friggin’ things flew over from almost a kilometre away.

Worse still, there’s kite string EVERYWHERE. Which means some animal will probably end up choking on it.

The picture above was taken last Sunday, when the weather conditions were prime for kite-flying. And bingo – not one but TWO kites dangling in our backyard.

So THAT’s what I did when I got my hands on them. And they weren’t the mass-manufactured types, either. Someone’s dad or grandfather probably helped make these.

Do you know how much that SUCKED to toss them out?

Oh, but yes. I, the Kite-Killer, feel pain for these innocent wind-vehicles of joy. But hey. This property ain’t big enough for the three of us.

I suppose there’s no real “solution” to this problem.

So for now, I will have to continue crushing little kids’ summer hobbies with a pair of scissors and the recycling bin, until flying season is over …

And the kites that survive are stored away.

The Art of Brunch

Unlike Friday night, I have to say that today was a breath of fresh air.

I’ve been re-introduced to the Sunday past-time that is brunch.

An old schoolmate moved to town a couple months ago, and last week she sent me an invitation to come out to a new breakfast/brunch club she created, to check out the morning restaurant scene and hang out with the motley crew of people she happened to know from around the city.

I’m not normally one to get up before 10 a.m. on Sundays unless absolutely necessary. But in this case, I made an exception. (Hi? It’s food. When would I EVER turn down food?)

So I rolled myself out of bed, (then sometime later) out of the house into the crisp, bright outdoors, and (after taking a bus and “rapid transit” – only rapid on Sundays) onto the subway for some midday noshing downtown.

I was the first to arrive at the restaurant, so I left and went two doors down to a clothing store to kill a few minutes. Then I returned and went in to grab a spot.

The second brunch participant showed up. Only I wasn’t sure he was one. But I thought he might be, since he was did the exact same thing I did upon my arrival. He didn’t stay long.

A few minutes later a young woman entered, scouring the restaurant in the same way the previous guy did. She exited the restaurant, but stood just outside the front door, talking on her cell phone.

Something in me sensed she was one of the group, so I got up, popped my head out the front door and said, “‘Scuse me. I don’t mean to be weird and random, but are you here for the brunch club?”

“Yes!” she said, asking me if I was a friend. I nodded.

“I got here first, so I grabbed us some seats,” I said. We went inside and so it began.

My friend arrived within 10 minutes, and soon the rest of the group appeared, including the guy who originally showed up after me.

Now, it’s not like i’ve never done brunch before. But unless you know where to find good greasy spoons in suburbia, it’s usually limited to fairly-well-known chain restaurants, where you know there’s going to be a late-morning menu, in addition to lunch. A small group of friends and I used to go to brunch. But we’d go during what would be considered lunchtime, and for some reason it would last three hours.

But downtown brunches are different.

(1) You’re almost guaranteed to find a place to eat that’s not a franchise joint. And that’s the beauty of it.

(2) I also like meeting people who I’ve never met before. It’s the perfect venue. Old classmates aside, our group of seven was great – creative, and very funny. Everyone seemed to feed off each other.

(3) It didn’t last all afternoon. But today was only the inaugural meeting. The brunches to come could be different. And maybe it’ll depend on the size of the group and the venue. But for today, the length of time was perfect.

I can’t say that the wait staff at this place was top-notch, though. Our waitress was actually a bit cold to us. And when my friend mustered up the nerve to ask her if she could take a picture of the group, she was like, “Oh, I’m too busy right now. But I’ll get our dishwasher to come out.”

The dishwasher was way cooler about it. (Can’t win ’em all, right?)

When we all parted ways, the afternoon was still young and I had a bit of a spring in my step, instead of the dread tucked away behind my pancreas that, seems to migrate via osmosis to the pit of my stomach every Sunday afternoon. I was actually in a really good mood. And it was nice not to be at home in my pyjamas in front of the TV, for a change.

Maybe my new membership into the breakfast club won’t just be about food and good company. Maybe it’ll stir the creativity and motivation within me, that I seem to have been sitting on for so long. And maybe it’ll help give me the boost I need before the start of every work week.

Proactivity and pancakes. What a delicious thought.

(Image above courtesy of The food pornographer.)

The Quest for Wellies

April showers bring May flowers.

Or so the saying goes.

This year, I want to add a new accessory to my rainy-day arsenal.

Rain boots.

That’s right. Wellies. Galoshes. Gum boots.

And not plain old black or yellow ones, either. Girly ones with good treads, a little heel and a kick-ass pattern.

Weird that a grown woman wants rain boots? But, no. Because I’ve seen other women my age taking on wet pavements, dirty residual snow and muddy patches while being able to look cute doing it.

And it’s causing me to break the Tenth Commandment.

So to fix this matter and right myself as a person, I’m on a quest to silence the little sinner in me by finding my own pair of cute wellies – not just for style’s sake, but to save the grotty pairs of street shoes I own from ruin by rain.

Last week, I took an informal survey of friends on The Facebook of where I could find said rubber beauties, and have been scouting ’round ever since.

No luck, so far. Sears and the Bay sell them, but for between $50 and $60 a pair.

(Um, NO. They’re for rain, not the next flood.)

Payless doesn’t sell them in Canada. (What? Apparently useful footwear isn’t a big seller?)

Wal-Mart’s selection in patterns is shitty and smelly. Urban Outfitters doesn’t sell them in their stores (only online). Neither does H & M. Nor the Gap. Not even Aldo or Town Shoes. Or Soft Moc.

I even went to Mark’s Work Wearhouse and the Canadian Tire downtown. The former has yellow boots with turtles or blue ones with anchors on them for $40. The latter’s cute baby blue model- complete with useless strap on the outside – only came in size 7s. All eight pairs of them sitting on the shelf.

(I can only imagine who decided to order overstock in size sevens … “Yeah, Herb – can we make sure we get nineteen pairs of size 7 boots? We had a bunch of Stepford Wives in here the other day when we were understocked – and it wasn’t pretty.”) 

Which brings me to where I am now. I am still wellie-less and this close to calling upon the Almighty Target‘s online Web site to deliver me a pair, even though I can’t even try them on to make sure they’re the right size until I get them in the mail.

Why? Because they have 80 pairs of boots, in almost every style imaginable. EIGHTY.

I didn’t even know they had a monopoly on the rain boot market. Or that THAT many American girls and women are running around wearing cute rain boots.

… There I go coveting again. That’s gotta stop.

In the meantime, if anyone’s got any new suggestions for where to shop – that might involve me actually being able to try some rain boots on – I’d appreciate it. Fire away.

Update: I did finally find a pair of rainboots  last November. I had to resign myself to paying more for them than I originally planned. But damn, if they’re not cute.