Monday, July 31, 2006

Sheena's Travel Tips - #3

When selecting a vacation destination, avoid locations whose visitor's bureau leads with "a census-designated place". According to the infallible and holy editors of 'Wikipedia', a CDP, as it were is

A census-designated place (CDP) is an area identified by the United States Census Bureau for statistical reporting. CDPs are communities that lack separate municipal government, but which otherwise resemble incorporated places, such as cities or villages. CDPs are delineated to provide data for settled concentrations of population that are identifiable by name but are not legally incorporated under the laws of the state in which they are located. They are often informally called "unincorporated towns."

The boundaries of such places may be defined in cooperation with local or tribal officials, but are not fixed, and do not affect the status of local government or incorporation. CDP boundaries may change from one census to the next to reflect changes in settlement patterns. Further, as statistical entities, the boundaries of the CDP may not precisely correspond with local understanding of the area with the same name
Alien abduction, head wound, a wrinkle in time. Sheena is unsure. But waking up in Hebron, Kentucky was not something she ever planned to do when she was a little girl stressing out over math homework.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The REAL Reason Canada has Lost Its Role as World Peace Keeper

Canadian racing stars Paul Tracy and Alex Tagliani duke it out after Tag nails Paul following Tracy's burn out coming out of the run-off area in today's San Jose Grand Prix.

Sit Down Boys, This Ain't Hockey You Know.

Or World Cup soccer, for that matter.

From the Peg to My Heart

Raced back downtown from an obligatory event in Streetsville to catch the last few minutes of The Weakerthans at the Harbourfront Centre.

(psssttt... note to "Lewk" the webmaster for the official band site, it's friggin annoying, so I didn't link to it in an effort to not irritate my readers any more than absolutely necessary)

But the real event started at 11pm: The 9th Annual Winnipeg Social. Sheena had attended one a couple of years back when it was held at the 360 aka the Ukrainian Legion on Queen. The first one had more of an authentic feel to it given the venue, but last night's party was more fun.

Hosted by "DJ Old Dutch", the tunes and the beers flowed nicely until it was time for the live entertainment. (No, to my Winnipeg readers: No Club, No Standard, No Lab Lite. Had to alternate between Keith's and Kokanee. Also note: plenty of Old Dutch on the tables, but no kielbasa and no cheese cut into perfect 1" cubes. So authenticity was a little lacking, I agree).

A survivalist themed mystery band took the stage and delivered a kick ass set ranging from the Guess Who, to Neil Young, solo Burton, HARLEQUIN!, and what blew the minds of El Chaperone and myself: The Stretch Marks . How could I have forgotten the way "Woof Woof, It's a Dog's World", shaped my teenage punk flirtations. Whatever happened to Joe Puke and the Chunky Bits, anyways?

The set was performed against a very funny and moving video montage that was eerily reminiscent of Winnipeg Babysitter (SheenaVision passim). Snippets from Survivor Man, Early '80s Crimestoppers ads. Nick Hill and his Kern-Hill Furniture Co-op ads were lightyears ahead of Mel Lastman's rants. And who didn't secretly wish Hunky Bill was their Gido.

Is it really worth the trip to Steinbach? Is it true that, you got it? Park Pontiac? Does Domo still Jump to the Pump, for You? Were they ever able to top that ad campaign of a free Kielbasa in a Glass with every fill up? Will NHL hockey ever return to the frozen floodplain?

These questions, and more... to be answered Next Week, when Sheena Goes Home for A Visit.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

God's State of the Union Address, as delivered to Springfield-Shelbyville Joint Chamber of Commerce

God: Mr. Speaker, Vice-Goddess Sheena, members having Congress, The Supremes, distinguished guests, and fellow deities, Thor, Zeus and Kwa-Kwakalanooksiwae. Oh yeah, and Joanne.

Well, boys ... I haven't a thing to say.

Played a great game down here on earth the last few thousand years...all of you. Great game.

Had some good years, some bad years. Figured you guys were smart enough to figure out the play book.

I guess we just can't expect to win ‘em all. Lots of trouble brewing down here, and nobody seems to see how good you guys got it, especially compared to those socially awkward self-replicating ribozymes over on Io. Fuck they're needy.

(God pauses and says quietly.)

I'm going to tell you something I've kept to myself for years...

None of you ever knew George Gipp.

It was long before your time. Around the time that my buddy Cro Magnon was the big man on campus. You wouldn't remember.

But you know what a tradition he is the Milky Way...

(There is gentle, faraway look in his eyes as he recalls the boy's words.)

And the last thing he said to me -- "God," he said - "sometime, when the Earth is up against it -- and all the bombing and thieving and disrespect for a fellow life and resource squandering is catching up to the boys -- tell them to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper...

(God's eyes become misty and his voice is unsteady as he finishes.)

I don't know where I'll be then, God", he said - "but I'll know about it - and I'll be happy."

Friday, July 28, 2006


Here's a challenge for you!

Go to this site or this other site and type in "bureaucrat". Check out the results.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I Shoulda Zidaned the Chef, Now that I Think About It...

Sheena is crabby and irritable this week. I know, I know... whattdya mean "this" week.

On Monday night I ate the shittiest awfulest pizza in the world in Toronto's Little Italy. For the last 3 days I've been pondering whether to write about it. I will. But I will not use its names.

We started with a very nice Italian bread with pour-your-own olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Oiled it up, but skipped the vinegar per usual. How come it's oil and vinegar and piss and vinegar? Dammit. I knew that yellow liquid tasted weird.

The Caprese Salad was great, no complaints with that one.

Then the Pizzas showed up. Mine was supposed to be a white pizza with prosciutto. The others were variations of pepperoni or sausage with veggies. Standard stuff. Mine was almost inedible as is. The thin crust (which normally je love) was like a big but tasteless pappadum that shattered when you tried to cut it. Ended up just picking off the ham with my fingers and that was that. The others just looked wet and kind of raw. The green peppers were marginally cooked, just enough to sweat all over the cheese and crust so as to make it soggy and cold.

Wasn't physically possible to take any of mine home, so idiotically asked to pack up the other leftovers. Took it for lunch the next day. When I opened it, I saw that the waiter had put the slices front-to-front, crust side up, so that the still somewhat warm cheese and toppings reached out to each other like a Vulcan Mind meld. Rolled it up into a big ball and ate it cold at my desk.

For breakfast.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Highway to Hull

Ok, when a good friend and former almost neighbour said "Hey! WTF, Come up for the annual Bluegrass Nosepicker's Fest and Money-Grubbing Cash Grab Extravaganza", Sheena found it profoundly difficult to say, "Oh Sorry, Washing Your Hair".

Not that I don't lurve my bald friends, but they are more demanding than expected.

Challenge #1: Swallowing pride, gall and bile to actually instruct L'Express du Pony to turn onto "Autoroute Cinquante"... No.. no.. it's not the highway of bad beer. It's worser. It's the unfinished road to Hull. The neverending cash cow of asphalt pourers and blind surveyors this side of the Beauce.

Note to tourists: Despite the signage found from Ottawa to Buckingham.. said Hiway will never ever ever actually get you to Montreal without crossing into Ontario. Unless you have bear traps, a canoe or snow-shoes.

"Grr..", Sheena said. "Are we on the guest list".
"No", HeyfuckoffICanGetFifteenBucksAHeadForThisLineUpGuy informed me.
"Grr"... "OK, YOU drive". Sheena informed her Chauffeur du Soir, being the decision making forward looking strategist that she is.

Evening was an absolute delight. Bluegrass banjo/string/nose-picking to please the most jaded palate. Crowd evenly split between intense enthusiasts and yappy drunks who were just happy to be out of the house.

Challenge #2: Looking beyond Cousin Jeff. Sheena turned in amazement and barfitude to her compadres and said "OMG.. lookit the old guy pawing the teenage chick". Jailbait, as she was more commonly known, was storing a pack of smokes down her low-rise jean butt-crack and semi-pretending to be indignant at the Gino Vanelli/Michael Bolton cross breed grind-dancing with her to the dulcet strains of Aerosmith.

"Piss off Dad, you're crushin' my smokes", Sheena yelled, in her defence. Gawd. Nobody has a sense of humour anymore.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Sparrow? Swallow? Spit? Your Choice, Really.

Dinner last night at The Sparrow on Ossington. Sheena has a bizarre mental block about this place, because she always wants to call it The Swallow. In fact, googling a picture of it this morning, she was perplexed and confused when no hit came up because again, she typed the wrong word.

It's an odd location, nestled in a block chock full of auto parts shops, Vietnamese Karaoke and bleak concrete multi-family dwellings. I've wanted to love this place since I found out that 1) It's owned by the same people who brought Sweaty Betty's into the world and 2) It's a BYOW place with FREE CORKAGE on Thursday nights.

The wine list was a joy to behold. Though I wondered why if they had the Stratus White, they didn't bother with the even stunninglier Red. (Sheena was compelled to race home and pet her stashed bottles later that evening).

The bathrooms were reminiscent of a recurring childhood nightmare. Cold dark concrete steps down into a church basement where elders nattered on in unfamiliar languages.

Sheena had the flank steak, and the companion asked for the Pickerel. Out of Pickerel. So he had the Phyllo Wrapped Chicken. Both mains came out with beautiful spring seasonal baby veggies. Including BEETS! Yay Beets! and Yay that the dining companion doesn't like them so more sweet pink delights for Sheena. Baby carrots the size of a first-graders little finger. But not as dirty.

Unfortunately, the meats came out pretty dry. Flank steak IS a known tougher cut, but Sheena likes to marinate hers overnight in lime and ginger and soya sauce for fajitas or stirfry. Not so this one. The wrapped chicken was kind of disappointing. I had to lend El Chaperone my steak knife for him to make further progress.

But, cocktail and wine list will likely compel a second visit. That and the background music that put a smile on Sheena's face.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


The autopsy of disgraced Enron executive Ken Lay finally released.

Surely somewhere in heaven, Elvis is smiling.

She found that Lay had fallen off a commode and was lying unresponsive on the floor. He had vomited and had brief seizures. She called 911, and Lay was taken by ambulance to the Aspen Valley Hospital. He was pronounced dead there at 3:11 a.m.
Though we can surely chalk THIS up to "Too Much Information":
manner before passing through the intact diaphragm and connecting with the stomach. The stomach contains approximately 500 milliliters of turbid, light brown liquid with fragments of tomatoes, sliced meat (bacon) and pasty yellow-white material consistent with cheese. In addition to the food, there are 3 partially dissolved capsule halves and one intact partially dissolved pink capsule.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Summer Blogging

Thanks to: Colin McKay at CanuckFlack for a great laugh this afternoon.

If It's Monday, It Must Be Hicksville...

If it is possible to fall asleep standing up in a crowded room with a contented smile on one's face, last night's headliner at the Horseshoe, American iconoclast Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks would be the show.

Sheena didn't know much about Dan Hicks until the last year, but his sweet and silly and sarcastic sound is a great pick for late night couch potatoing. After the initial shock of the unnaturally youthful looking Lickettes, the predominantly over-45 crowd settled in and swayed to the oldies like "Piano has been Drinking", "Canned Music", "I Scare Myself" and all the favourites.

Note to my readers: Be very careful when standing too close to the stage when seeing an American Legend because the spotlights will bounce off the room full of bald pates like a frickin Floyd laser light show and someone could lose an eye.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Six Time's the Charm

Sheena, my readers have often asked, how can I live the life of a glamour queen such as yourself, but on my limited budget? Today, ladies and gents, is your lucky day. I can share a little secret that only costs $10 US.

For just a couple of greenback fins, you too can find yourself covered in a snot rocket launched from 10 feet away. Enjoy the soothing cooling hydration of having your PBR draft elbowed all over your chest. Feel energized by the bounce and stretch needed to dodge flying empties. Experience the spa-quality system cleansing by eating the undated Slim Jims from behind the cash register.

Yes, it's a Shack*Shaker kind of night. Sheena's sixth time becoming part of the side-show stupidity patented by the likes of JD Wilkes, David Lee, Mark Robertson and the drummer who changes every day in a way eerily reminiscent of Spinal Tap.

I confess that seeing these southern gents in action has somewhat spoiled me for other live acts. "Sheena come see this band, they really rock out", "Well, maybe... so like does the lead singer stop a ceiling fan with his tongue?". "No". "Well, then why bother, eh?".

Youtube videos available here if you don't believe me.

Of their three released albums, Sheena probably likes the first - Cockadoodledon't - and the third - Pandelirium - the best. While she does not "dislike" the second - Believe - she feels strongly that being waken at 3am one morning to the screaming blaring sounds of the freight train which opens the main track "Agony Wagon" has somehow damaged the album for her moving forward.

They play in the shittiest scariest bars in predominantly blue collar cities. I've been able to partake in their charms twice in Buffalo (The Mohawk), Tallahassee, Chicago (Abbey Pub where I delighted and traumatized my Calgary and Atlantan friends, respectively), Austin (where they opened for Alannah Myles ex, Robert Plant) and now Pittsburgh.



Last night as Sheena strolled down the 3100 block of Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh, PA, a few blocks over from the infamous nightclub district known as The Strip, she wondered out loud why the policeman was standing at the place across the street at Art's Tavern. It had crossed our minds to go in for a bite to eat, but we got an odd vibe and stayed away. Probably a good thing.

So we just walked around, soaking in the atmosphere, until 9pm when the doors opened at our venue, The 31st Street Pub.

The show was a hoot. As the crowd spilled out onto the street at 2am, Sheena started dialing for a taxi. Busy signal repeatedly... Nothing coming down the street, so WE DECIDED TO WALK.

Down dark streets. Abandoned buildings. Construction zones. Dark parking lots, towards the 'main' Strip hoping to find taxis or a hotel where we could wait in the lobby while we tried calling again. Crowds of people wearing solid primary colours. I could say with a high degree of certainty that I was the only half-Ukrainian around. The walking companion recognized Sheena's profound discomfort and could see the flashbacks to The Incident in Glock Vegas being screened on her corneas and ran to flag down the lone taxi two blocks away. The equally shell-shocked commerce students from upstate understood our predicament and let us share the lift.

It struck Sheena that her mother would be mortified if she knew where her daughter was at that very moment.

Hence today's topic: The DTM. As Sheena's life started replaying through her mind, the swarms of youths got larger and noisier, so she began to organize the evening's story in order to effectively communicate the events to her sister. Each factual snippet and action was being mentally divided into that items that could be shared freely, and those which needed to be prefaced by the phrase.. "Don't Tell Mom....".

Our DTM rule has evolved to cover some pretty distinct categories over the years. What REALLY happened to that coffee table. Who actually broke up with whom. The number of sambuca shots consumed before Christmas brunch. The real reason the roommate was laughing during that funeral service. Why that city councillor left the house at sunrise.

And now we can safely add: Where Sheena Was on Saturday Night.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Girls I Know

Last night visited two girls in my neighbourhood: Betty and Julie. These chicks have nothing in common but postal code.

Betty's a little hard around the edges. At Ossington & Queen W, she tolerates an eclectic crowd with edge. The staff and patrons typically blend well into the wall covered by framed vintage tattoo designs.

Despite her bad girl exterior, Betty cares about her friends. She has instituted a very firm TWO ABSINTHE LIMIT rule in order to protect the heads and knees and sanity of her visitors.

Sheena was sipping a St. Peter's Organic Ale. Lovely flavour and beautiful green bottle that matches the ring with the unidentified stone bought in Austin last year. Quaffing Companion started with Guinness and then switched to 50. Sheena rolled her eyes at that selection, because when I grew up I was taught that you had to BE 50 to DRINK 50.

When Sheena is not in a beer mood at Betty's, she will often sip a Cave Spring Rosé, a regular menu item and one of the top 3 VQA Rosés, IMHO.

The Quaffing Companion pointed to the Absinthe on the wall. Betty stocks 2 types. He had never tried it before. So the bartender kindly let us give it a sniff, and poured a dribble in a shot glass to taste. It was god-awful. One was reminiscent of Jagermeister, the other more like a sambuca. Sheena decided she could never be Degas subject.

And then we heard the story of the Two-Absinthe Limit. We crowded around the solid wood bar as the tattooed pierced bar maid relayed the story. I felt like we were at a campfire and the bogeyman was in the bushes. Our eyes got big and I grabbed the QC's hand to remain calm. They broke the rule but once. There was some big burly European who insisted he was a regular consumer of the green goddess and that their rule was shite. He could take it. After much cajoling, they finally relented. And he ended up at the bottom of the stairs later the night. Shivers went up my spine. Kind of like when the teenagers finally face the claw-handed hitchhiker.

Julie is a whole different atmosphere. We strolled over to the funky little piece of Cuba in the middle of the Victorian duplexes and laundromats. Patio was full, but managed to grab a table for two in the window.

Tried the "walkalita" - Guava Juice and Vodka with lime. Very yummy and cooling. Quaffing Companion stuck to Cristal, the Communist beer, in order to do his part to support the Revolutione that night.

Lots of variety on the menu. Started with the homemade lightly battered calamari. I had beef, with side of black beans & rice. QC had the spicy pork & beef hash, with the prettiest ever fruit salad on the side. No coffee, no dessert, though it all looked good.

Early night. Because Saturday is Road Trip Day.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Wallpaper* Recommends: PBR King Cans and Pickled Eggs

Wallpaper* Magazine and Fodor's can't be wrong. Apparently the hippest place around is the Communist's Daughter on Dundas W. near Ossington.

Stopped in last night for a drink. Hole in the wall, seemed friendly enough. Chalkboard menu of sandwiches and snacks up on the wall. Pickled eggs $1 each.

Hmmm... what to drink... obligatory local microbrew? Mill St? Creemores?

Whoa, there mama... Sheena sees what she wants. Her companion spies the same chalky Summer specials list. When the bartender stops by the table, we proudly ask for the $3 offering. "PBR!", we exclaim. "Pardon me?", the bartender asks... We're a little confused. Maybe the sign hasn't been changed since the summer of '78 and no one has noticed until now. "PBR!", pointing to the wall. "Oh, Pabst. Sure". He had never heard it called PBR before. We shook our heads, fearing the worst.

On the upside, while bringing our second round and clearing away the empty cans, he did very kindly ask if we wanted to "crush 'em" before he bussed them away. We sincerely appreciated the reminder. Closed our fists around the empties and heard that distinctive tinkle of folding aluminum immediately before the crack-hiss of the next cold one.

We tipped well. And will return, I am certain of it.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Unexpected Leg Room

Caught this little tidbit in the Toronto Star today.

The Grand Prix formerly known as the Molson Indy clearly had attendance issues on Sunday afternoon. As a 10-12 time Thunder Alley veteran, Sheena can personally attest to the BBQ pit lineups, waiting list for the beer gardens and porta-potty toilet paper outages in years past. Not so in 2006.

There were very real gaps in the stands even 10 minutes before race start yesterday. The chickenality of not announcing attendance figures despite the very real competition of the World Cup finale smacks of PR coverup. You can only use the line "Oh.. well...he's in the bathroom right now" so many times, Mr. Race Organizers...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Nose-to-Tail Contact At Its Finest: Bring Some Rollover Protection and Support Your Favourite Multi-Entry Team

It's Indy Day in Toronto. Well, no... actually it is now known as the Toronto Grand Prix and it's not IndyCars or CART, it's Champ Car. Branding issues depress Sheena, but buff drivers in Nomex underwear can always bring a smile to my face. Yesterday's angst-filled agitation over not having my usual Thunder Alley Beer Garden Queens with me flitted away when the Angel with an Atlantic Series fixation insisted Sheena set a 7am wakeup call to join him at Turn 3.

"Turn 3", she repeated... "Turn 3 is the nerd corner". "Yes... yes it is", he confirmed. Sheena has only EVER been a Thunder Alley girl. Hanging out with spotters who actually bring graph paper and fill out the running order with every lap and never quaff an overpriced King Can or enter wing-eating contests or heckle Miss Indy sluts or stuff a 5 dollar sausage in their mouth all day long worried me tremendously.

But it was actually OK.

After an initial hour of pouting and foot stamping over lack of facilities and rip-off vendor accessibility, Sheena convince the AWAASF to leave the towel spread out and come for a beer because the nerds respect personal space and nobody would touch our spot. Sheena was right. And a new tradition has perhaps been born...

Mayhem on Lap 1 - Atlantic Race:

Nelson Phillippe and Orial Servia walk away from a horrific wreck that I couldn't look at until I knew they were both alive:


Strolled up Toronto's St. Clair W. Saturday night to check out the Corsa Italia street fiesta. Wandered from block to block, listening to the music, watching the rides, walking dejectedly away from sit-down restaurants with a 60 minute wait list for food...

And then we stumbled across Claudio. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Reese from 'Malcolm in the Middle', we stood transfixed by his crazy accordion energy. Old guys in dirty trucker caps dancing by themselves, grammas hanging onto each other and swirling in the madness, little kids bopping to classic Italian folk pop. He had the crowd by the short and curlies and he knew it.

CDs for sale, poster with his nice-boy grin (and website address...) to the side. Ipod cranked with his backup mix. 3 different instruments on hand, rotated to ensure he had just the right sound. Click here for a sample of his music...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

In Which Sheena Returns to Her Beer Garden Queen Roots

Sitting in the kitchen. Coffee in hand. Reading the paper. Surfin' the net. A low hum wafts through the screen door on a warm sunny Saturday morning. The hum turns into a high pitched whine. Like a flock of giant mosquitos searching for the increasingly pulsating vein of excitement rising in Sheena's quivering arms. Goosebumps rise out of her taut tanned skin.

It's Qualifying Day and I'm not there. Where are my Beer Garden Queen sisters? Where are the Canadian Girls Kick Ass t-shirts? Where's the plastic gin-to-go for the streetcar ride down to the CNE? Where the hell are my mardi gras beads?

Surely a sign of getting old. For a decade the Saturday before the Toronto Molson Indy was the highlight of Sheena's social calendar. Up at 7, raspberry SourPuss shooters by 8. (BEFORE brushing teeth, of course...ewww...). Plastic containers full of ice tea and lemonade spiked and iced for the day. Do an obligatory hour of practice laps spectating, scam a few driver autographs in the paddock afterwards and then decamp for a 7 hour Beer Garden marathon on Thunder Alley.

Over the years, our little tribe of bad-mannered women have danced in the rain to any number of bad CanConClassic Rock bands, built condos out of empty beer cups, eaten unidentified greasy meat products, convinced bank managers to expose their private parts and taken enough incriminating photos to max out all of our RRSPs.

And this year Sheena sits alone. In the kitchen. Anguished by the taunts of the turbo engines only blocks away. Sober at 10 am. And missing her fellow Queens terribly right now.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Stupid Bar Tricks - Part 2

#3. The Tequila Eyeball. Must be seen to be appreciated. No pictures so that Sheena's younger readers are not tempted to try this at home.

Pour a shot of tequila. Clench it with eye socket and whip your head back. Let the tequila slowly roll down the cheek and consume with awaiting open mouth. Visine chaser recommended.

#4. Vodka Nose Candy. Pour a shot of vodka into a short rocks glass. Two short straws. (A multi-player game if desired). On the count of 3, shove straw up nose and inhale, sending the triple distilled 80 proof into sinus passages, swallow as one would a big giant loogie.

Note that Sheena herself did not have the gonads to try any of these bar tricks, but sincerely appreciates the efforts of those who did.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Stupid Bar Tricks - Part One

Out in Islington, a yuppie suburb in London last Friday night. It has only been in the last 24 hours that Sheena has worked up the nerve to look at "those" pictures.

#1. Text-To-Screen at the Walkabout.
Aussie themed bar chain. Stupid distraction is to text a rude message to the number listed on the big screen TVs. Intended as a way to let the hot bird in the pink stirrup pants know that you want to take her home. Actual usage is to secretly broadcast to the world that your office mate is a minger who still lives at home.

#2. Save the world by bringing your favourite super-hero out for a pint or two.

Err... But not much more than two...

Part 2 coming soon.

Fred's Not Here

In the thick of the France victory laps enjoyed by the local Citroen community, Sheena took her out-of-town guest to one of her favourite good-old-reliable-standby spots on King W. Never has failed me yet. This was the place that first introduced me to the D'arenberg Cabernet Sauvignon blend "The Galvo Garage".

Last night was the uber-garlicky caesar salad followed by the Duck Confit with Celeraic Mash. Washed down with the surprisingly nice and buttery Mike Weir Chardonnay.

The American guest was all a-twitter over the street side commotion post-World Cup and asked if we dared sit patioside to be part of the action. Explained it was the French flag that was on the car. Got a great table. It was noisy and lovely and nobody got shot.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Free Socks

Sheena was born sans the chaussettes chromosone. Childhood was particularly difficult, walking around with heels facing up. Always seeming to lose them pulling off the winter boots. Adults around me were always trying to help, putting them on for me, only to see them half off and flopping down the hallway just steps later.

So as Sheena entered her adult years, she went to great lengths to cover up this affliction to the best of her ability. Eschewing socks and going barefoot in shoes. Selecting nylons or tights wherever fashion edicts would allow. Dealing with blisters more often than her immediate peer group competitors because she was often breaking in new shoes bareback.

Never buying socks. Ever.

So when the customer services minger leaned over the head of my seatmate in Row 22 and whispered "Passenger Sheena... excuse me, Passenger Sheena..." and offered to "move" me, my worries of the day evaporated.

After a rushed and unexpected reallocation to the 1pm flight instead of the 3pm flight, Sheena became cranky and agitated because the rushed personally-escorted fastracking through passport control and security meant there was no time for lunch, for buying reading material, or for digging something warm out of my bag.

Long haul Executive Class on Air Canada passengers get Free Socks. Colours suck. But it buys Sheena another few weeks of peace of mind not having to cruise the hosiery aisles. And that let me sleep.

Well, that and the free bubbly upon ass-in-seat-planting, and the 2 glasses Shiraz with the tenderloin.. and the port with the hot chocolate chip cookies, I guess...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Saturday Morning Grocery Run

On July 1, 2006, Sheena shook the hand of Mohamed Al Fayed. I think it's the richest hand shaken to date. Wondered what other hands had shaken that hand, and where it's been. Probably should have brought some Purell with me.

We had walked into Harrods around 2:30 pm, and he was mugging behind the Pizza Counter, putting on a bit of a show with the pizza makers. Guess he's had many years of practicing manipulating dough. He then came out into the crowd, with a security detail that would make most world leaders envious.

Shook babies, kissed hands, smiled and waved to all. Later on, one of my shopping companions chatted with a cashier, who asked if we'd seen the "Big Boss" go by. Apparently a Saturday tradition. He jets in from Switzerland.

Staff appear to be shocked and awed by him. Like to be busy serving customers when he comes by so they don't have to look him in the eye. They pray that he doesn't remember their face and look for a reason to keep their head down when he does his walkabout.

The Food Mall is in Sheena's Top Five List of Happy Places. I implore any and all readers who have the chance to visit London, please please go. Fruits, vegetables, cheeses, cuts of meat that you will never see anywhere else. Need a dozen pheasant eggs? Done! Want to hand cut your dried ham directly off the leg? No problem! Prefer your Dom Perignon in a Karl Lagerfeld designed bottle? We're the grocery store for you!

The sight of a big dark slab of Argentinian beef made the heart go pitter-patter. One display case was done up World Cup themed, with cuts of beef from all participating nations.

In visits previous, Sheena has brought back hand dipped chocolate figs, wild boar pates, foie gras with truffles, assorted teas and candies. This weeks souvenir is an old-style hot chocolate mix made with real chocolate flakes.

Forgot about the Dodi and Diana Memorial exhibit. Creepy and weird. Really needs to be moved. It impedes entrance to the Wine Shop.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Things Sheena Will Not Put In Her Mouth

Spotted Dick.
A raisiny, custardy muffin type contraption. Sheena dared her lunch companion to order it. He did. He asked why I wanted him to order it. I said 'because I want to take a picture of it". He said, "You want to take a picture of my spotted dick? which one?". I said, "whatever ends up on the table".

'Nuff Said.