four things and i'll be leaving then

For your Friday reading enjoyment, another installment of FOUR! Fridays. I'm off to the Windy City for the weekend for some shopping, some gallery hopping, some musical theatre and far too much fun and trouble (frouble) with our cousins Kelly and Rick. And so, I will leave you with some disturbing thoughts:

Compulsive organizer. Mentioned before. Cannot be over-emphasized. Have been known to disorganize things in order to re-organize. An illness, really.

I talk too fast and don't finish sentences when I am upset.

I talk too loudly and use big words when I'm angry. I break out the "vocabulary". Not bad words, but multi-syllable, confusing words for those who don't read very much.

I take photographs in stores and then I go home and make what I saw myself. I've been asked to leave anthropologie for bringing out my digital camera. Seriously, did you really think I would pay twenty-seven dollars for a tree ornament?

Cheesecake. All manners and types of it. Baked and unbaked. Several specialties, including the brownie-based swirl and the rum-and-eggnog.

Cinnamon buns. I use the recipe in the Clueless Baker. No need to fear any type of baking if you are armed with a decent cookbook.

Chocolate Chip Cookies. Poor Mrs. Fields. She tries.

Lemon Loaf. So lemony. So sugary. So delicious. I'd share the recipe, but well, then you'd be able to make it, wouldn't you?

The Office. We watch it with the kids. It's a can't miss social-experiment gone mad and a cautionary tale for anyone under the age of eighteen. Don't be like that guy.

The Tudors. Also known around here as "soft porn geek TV". Once you get past the sometimes graphic nature, this is hands-down the best show on television. I mean, seriously. Snoop Dogg loves it. How cool is that? It's like I'm all up in the grill of Henry the Eighth, you dig?

The Gilmore Girls. Not on the air anymore but still devoured in syndication. Dialogue parsed and put to memory.

Heroes. We watch it with the kids, and I must say, it certainly has enough twists and turns. Too bad the writers' strike will keep us from knowing what's going to happen next. At least with The Tudors and GG, you know how it's going to end.

Fame. The version I saw could not have been worse. It was the national tour a couple of years back and seriously - the last thing I'd wanna do is live forever after seeing that monstrosity.

Mamma Mia. Veto and I saw this on our honeymoon. Loved, loved, loved it. What's not to like? The jukebox musical genre is fan-tas-tic.

Rent. I think I may be missing something here, but I for one didn't care for it. Maybe it's because I got hornshwaggled into a date with a weirdo guy who then took me to see it and lo and behold his sister and her husband sat down in the seats next to us... apparently it was a double date and I wasn't told. I'll tell you the rest of the story another time, this isn't the forum.

Wicked the Musical. Saw it with Loopy in the summer of '06. You can't get much better than this one. Popular!

I sprayed scented room spray around my son's bedroom when he was a child and told him it was "ghostie repellant". I peeled the label right off the Watkin's bottle and put Halloween stickers onto it for greater effect.

When cooking for the family, I sprinkle Benefibre into sauces and fillings. I add wheat germ to my famous chocolate cookies and I've started adding ground hemp to spaghetti sauce and meatloaf. I am a fibre nut. They are, too, they just don't know it. Happily, we are all basking in each other's regularity.

This one may make you rethink reading my blog. It is not one of my prouder moments. I was shopping at one of my favourite discount stores and there sat the most beautiful 12 x 10' wool rug. I am talking Restoration Hardware beautiful. And we are all aware how I feel about Restoration Hardware. I fell asleep in one of their stores once. Anyway, the rug was on SALE. A scandalous price. And on HOLD. For some gal named Wanda. What did I do? I did what any red-blooded, dishonest, Restoration Hardware-loving shopaholic would do. I marched myself right up to the customer service desk and boldly announced that "I was Wanda and was here to pickup the rug I had on hold". A chill went up my spine as I handed over my debit card, hoping the cashier in her slackness wouldn't read the name on the front of the card. But the chill turned to thrill when she handed me my receipt, I rolled that bad boy out of the store and managed (somehow) to push it into the back of my little black car. Wearing heels. At that moment I understood the adrenaline rush that shoplifters get.

Lastly, I use a mix to make brownies. You'll notice that I didn't list brownies as one of my fine baked goods. And yes, the brownie base for the cheesecake is a mix too, but the cheese part is from scratch so I'm okay. And also, to add to the shock value, I use a generic brownie mix from Safeway. It's better than Duncan Hines or Little Betty by a mile.

saucy on shuffle

To date, I have 1163 songs on my iPod. I use the shuffle feature all the time. All the time. I like to have a little surprise in my day. As if I don't have enough already.

Here are the first 25 songs that popped up on shuffle today, no editing. No shame.

One Week - The Barenaked Ladies

My Moon My Man - Feist

Gimmeakiss - The Avett Brothers

Help - Howie Day

Fire and Rain - James Taylor

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson

I Would Die For You - Jann Arden

Twelve Years Old - Kim Stockwood

If You Leave Me Can I Come Too? - Mental As Anything

Oh Babe, What Would You Say? - Hurricane Smith

Lady Madonna - The Beatles

Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again - The Fortunes

Crooked Teeth - Death Cab for Cutie

Crash Into Me - Dave Matthews Band

Bohemian Rhapsody - The Flaming Lips

I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You - Hootie and the Blowfish

Monday Monday - The Mamas and Papas

Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty

Walk On - U2

Blackbird - Evan Rachel Wood

You've Got a Friend - Carole King

Drive - Ziggy Marley

Paper Thin Walls - Modest Mouse

New Orleans Is Sinking - The Tragically Hip

Bobcaygeon - The Tragically Hip

Well, that wasn't so bad. Afternoon Delight and Muskrat Love did't pop up to embarass me.

I always have the tunes on while I work. Last night, The Fan and I put up the little tree of collected mercury glass ornaments in the front hall. This is a precarious location, but so be it. This was also one of those horrible "branch a to hole a" tree assemblies. No wonder the tree only cost thirteen dollars after Christmas last year.

Oh, and all the presents stacked under the hallway tree? That's it. Maybe that's why I'm done my shopping so early this year. Nobody's getting anything.

my celebrity crush post

Of course I have more crushes than that, including and in no particular order: Jimmy Fallon, Jack Black, Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon (if they'd lose the pinstripes), Nate Berkus, and maybe sorta Rick Mercer. And I retain the option to add, delete or update this list on a whim. It is, after all, my perogative.

the cost of higher education

This morning, I went to my last art history class of the term. As many of you may remember, I decided to return to university this fall to pursue more useless knowledge and perhaps even more letters behind my last name. It's beginning to look like an alphabet back there and gainful employment eludes me, thus my time being spent fussing over being the recipient of large appliances as gifts.

After class, I decided to be a responsible student and make the effort to actually pay for the class I've been taking. The strike on campus had prevented me from doing this earlier, not only because of the job action removing tellers from the student services centre, I live in fear of crossing the picket line and having an off-campus hot beverage hurled at me by an angry librarian. The following is an account of what happened:

Teller: That will be six hundred dollars.

Saucy: Surely there must be a mistake. I'm only taking one undergraduate class with no lab fees!

Teller: You're paying late. There is a late fee of forty dollars.

Saucy: But the class only costs four hundred dollars. And why is there a late fee? You were on strike and your job action prevented me from paying my class fee in person or on-line. I know, because I tried.

Teller: Well, it's still late. Everyone who didn't pay before the strike action began in September will incur the late fee.

Saucy: But why am I being charged six hundred dollars? Even if I pay the late fee, my total with student fees couldn't possibly be six hundred dollars? My classroom wasn't even heated.

Teller: Well, aside from your late fee, you also have student fees, athletic fees, student union dues, the mandatory bus pass....

Saucy: 'squeeze me? Mandatory what pass?

Teller: Mandatory bus pass. It's for the environment. We charge every student an $80.00 fee which provides them with a bus pass. It's mandatory. Do you know what that means?

Saucy: Of course I know what mandatory means, but I don't need a bus pass. I drive here. I pay twelve dollars in parking every time I come to class.

Teller: Well, if you took the bus, you wouldn't need to pay parking!

Saucy: But the bus didn't even come to campus during your job action because the drivers were sympathetic to your union and wouldn't cross the picket lines by bringing students to the university. Besides, I drive. I am a grownup with a vehicle filled with children that get dropped off at various schools on my way here. Are you telling me that every single student on campus paid for a bus pass, regardless of their transportation affiliation?

Teller: Yes. It's good for the environment.

Saucy: But nobody ever told me I was even entitled to this free bus pass. Where is it?

Teller: You need to get a new student ID and get a special sticker put on it. You can do that downstairs for ten dollars.

Saucy: Ten dollars... on top of the six hundred dollars? And tell me why I am paying six hundred dollars again?

Teller: You have athletic fees on top of your student fees, academic fees, mandatory bus pass and student union dues.

Saucy: But I am a visual art student! What could you possibly mean, athletic fees?

Teller: Funding for the athletic teams - the football and basketball teams, women's field hockey...

Saucy: Are you seriously telling me that there is a mandatory fee to support the sports teams? Am I back in high school? Are the popular kids running this place, too?

Teller: Our football team did win the national championship last year, you know.

Saucy: I heard. Did you know that there was plenty of art and some damned fine writing on campus last year? Is there a mandatory fee to keep the student gallery open? Is there a mandatory fee to provide electric pencil sharpeners for the creative writing students? Is there a mandatory fee to put a dictionary in each and every bathroom cubicle in this place, because from the spelling mistakes I've seen in the graffiti, you could use them?

Teller: Don't get snippy.

Saucy: I'm not snippy. I'm Saucy!

Teller: Are you paying today, or what?

Saucy: Yes, I'm paying today.

Teller: Great. Your bus pass will be good until the end of December.

Saucy: Ummmm... what about next term? Isn't the bus pass good for next term?

Teller: No, the bus passes are city transit passes. They expire at the end of the year. In January, you will need a new bus pass.

Saucy: Not that I intend to use it, but surely this new bus pass that will be issued is just a replacement for the expired one and I will not have to pay for it? Because, as you have pointed out, I've paid my eighty dollars.

Teller: Now you're just being silly. When you register for next term, you will be charged the mandatory bus pass fee and get your new bus pass.

Saucy: But a city bus pass is only eighty dollars a year!

Teller: Yes, but their year runs from January to December, our academic year runs from September to April. There is an overlap.

Saucy: Clearly. (grudgingly hands over her debit card)

Teller: At least you can park in our nice new parkade near the football field! Since you don't take the bus. (the inference here being "and you clearly don't care about the environment")

Saucy: That's where I park. It's very expensive considering that it's off-campus and I have a long walk to get to my building.

Teller: One hundred percent of the profit from the parking fees at the stadium parkade help to fund our football team and other athletic programs!

Saucy: Of course it does.

And now Saucy will demonstrate how to turn regular dollar store stuffed snowman ornaments (above) into wonderful Christmas presents:

Just place your off-campus beverage card onto a piece of felt and run hot glue around it, leaving about a 1/8" gap. Place a contrasting piece of felt onto the hot glue and trim it nice and close to the card. Voila!

Hot glue the cards into the arms of the cute snowmen ornaments and gussy them up with ribbons and buttons in coordinating colours.

Now all of the parcels are ready to be shipped to Veto's family in Alberta. That's it. I'm officially done my Christmas shopping. Are you jealous?

an open letter to my husband

** Editors note: Saucy was shopping at her favourite discount retailer this morning and found the floor model of the gas range shown below on sale for the ghastly-low sum of $600.00. She immediately phoned Veto and told him where the stove was, and that perhaps, since the stove we inherited in our new house is so very common, we might consider replacing it at that price.

Shortly thereafter, the telephone rang. Veto was standing in the showroom in front of said appliance. He made the following offer: he would purchase the range but it would be instead of - that is in lieu of - a Christmas gift. And a birthday gift. Hmmmmmm.

My Darling,

While you have made me a lovely offer, I will have to decline. You are always most sweet and generous with me. I could not ask for a more loving and sweet husband! I blog about you ALL the time. The blog girls are positively green with envy over you.

I do believe that a smart wife would refuse the offer to have an appliance to which she would surely be chained to in order to produce the delightful chicken fingers, lemon pies and pepper steaks that have made me so famous, as a substitute for both a Christmas and birthday gift!

And while I am greatly flattered that the sum of $600.00 divided into two parts equals a very generous birthday and Christmas allocation, I believe that I would undermine my own cause should I accept. Surely I would be better off "spinning the wheel of chance" as it were and let you loose on the mall to find me a pair of mittens or slippers or something. In this regard, I take the chance that one day, the stove we currently own will need to be replaced at any rate... and we will find ourselves at the aforementioned appliance store, and I will then choose the model I would like in order to continue providing the delicious pepper steaks I have already described here.

Then, surely, a wise and Saucy gal like myself will have both the range, and the mittens, or whatever little goodie you decide to put in my stocking.

In closing, I remain ever-smitten with you, and most of the time, with the way that you think. You are so generous that you even took me to San Fransisco for my 40th birthday this year, and that cannot go without mention, should you come off looking less than the very-damned-near-close-to-perfect husband that you are. You also purchased not one, but two, Diptique candles for me on a complete impulse while we were there, such the indulgence of a candle like that is truly the only thing a girl needs to feel special.

So if you would like, you can buy me just one more of those candles for Christmas. It would only cost fifty dollars. And we could buy the stove for the kitchen.

Much lurve and kisses,

a little dessert, anyone?

What if I could whip you up any dessert you desired... what would it be? Perhaps a nice light angel food cake.

Or maybe you prefer strawberry shortcake? I have a very good recipe....

If you'd like some brownies, they are my specialty. I mean, I use the special mix.

But my lemon meringue? I make it from scratch. It's Veto's favourite. Is it yours? Let me know.

Possibly you're one of those people who like vanilla cake frosted with chocolate icing:

Or, like me, you are an all-chocolate-all-the-time person. Chocolate on chocolate, with a side of chocolate, please.

If you'd like to incorporate some veggies into your dessert, I have a good carrot cake recipe. Is carrot cake your favourite? You have to decide soon.

Your last choice is ice cream. Is ice cream your first choice, after all of these options? Choose carefully. You can't change your mind once I've gone to the kitchen to serve up your dessert.

Have you decided? No changing your mind, now. My good friend Pepper tells me that what dessert you choose tells your personality. It worked for my entire family.

If you chose the angel food cake, you are sweet, loving, and cuddly. You love all warm and fuzzy items. You're a little nutty at times. Sometimes you need an ice cream cone at the end of the day. Others perceive you as being childlike and immature at times.

Did you want the strawberry shortcake? If so, you are romantic, warm and loving. You care about other people, can be counted on in a pinch and expect the same in return. You are intuitively keen and can be very emotional...

Do you fancy a brownie? Well brace yourself because you are adventurous, love new ideas, and are a champion of underdogs and a slayer of dragons. When tempers flare up you whip out your sabre. You are always the oddball with a unique sense of humor and direction. You tend to be very loyal.

Pepper reached for the lemon meringe. If you're after this type of pie you are smooth, sexy, and articulate with your hands, you are an excellent after-dinner speaker and a good teacher. But don't try to walk and chew gum at the same time. You can be a bit of a diva at times, but you have many friends.

Are you a lover of vanilla cake with chocolate frosting? Hmmmm. This might mean you are fun-loving, sassy, humorous, but not very grounded. Are you very indecisive and lack motivation? Everyone enjoys being around you, but you are a practical joker. Others should be cautious in making you mad. However, you are a friend for life.

Carrot cake, my friend? My son loves carrot cake. You are a very fun loving person, who likes to laugh. You are fun to be with. People like to hang out with you. You are a very warm hearted person and a little quirky at times. You have many loyal friends.

How about an all-chocolate choice, join me in some chocolate-on-chocolate action and you will be considered sexy; always ready to give and receive. Very creative, adventurous, ambitious, and passionate. You can appear to have a cold exterior but are warm on the inside. Not afraid to take chances. Will not settle for anything average in life. Love to laugh.

Finally.... if you went for the ice cream, we can only assume that you like sports, whether it be baseball, football, basketball, or soccer. If you could, you would like to participate, but you enjoy watching sports. You don't like to give up the remote control. You tend to be self-centered and high maintenance.

Pepper is totally married to ice cream.

weekend movie review

Loopy and I went with The Fan to see Enchanted, starring Amy Adams and the dapper-yet-somewhat-overrated Patrick Dempsey. It was, as promised, thoroughly enchanting.

Maybe it was the difficult week we had in our family, losing our dear Uncle Hugh... but tonight we just needed to sit and be entertained with some fluff. It was delightfully fluffy and sweet with musical numbers and a New York shopping sequence. Ah, the perfect diversion for what ails.

For the reason that it lifted our spirits and made us grin from ear to ear, I hereby give Enchanted my coveted five out of five cupcake review. Sweet.

I've been tagged by MJ to play a game of FOUR! Want to know more useless things about Saucy? Read on, my friends, read on....

I worked for a balloon decorating company for two years. I learned how to make balloon bouquets, archways and animals. One time I stayed up all night long building an elaborate archway at the Ford dealership for the unveiling of the new model Mustang. I didn't realize how much static electricity that built up in that room but when I leaned against one of the cars at the end of the night and let one of the balloons fly out of my hands after I'd tied it shut... I was wearing sock feet because the floors had just been polished for the occasion... it took about a minute and a half for the entire archway to pop-pop-pop! What a noise. What a mess.

I worked with sweet MJ herself at the fudge counter sometimes. Not too problematic given that we both have a sweet tooth and it broadened my horizons beyond chocolate and now my favourite fudge flavour is rum-almond.

I was a morning radio announcer on a local radio station for three years. I was in the mall supervising my cheerleading team who were making an appearance and a local radio personality interviewed me about the charity we were involved with. Apparently he thought it went well because he contacted the football club to get my name and they actually gave me a job every morning reading the weather and all the blah blah blah of local events. I told lots of funny stories about things that happened to me (funny things were always happening to me back then) and I got tickets for every event and concert in town. My then-mother-in-law told me she made it a point to never listen to me because she thought my stories were ridiculous so I told a couple of stories about her cooking, just to keep things interesting.

I was a Christmas mall elf every year for.... you won't believe this... over twenty years. My last year was in 2005, when I officially passed the torch onto the next generation of Jewish mall elves, my son. It was such an easy and fun gig, it was just too hard to let go of. There were people I saw once a year at the mall and no other time. I watched lots of kids and families grow and I worked with some of the sweetest Santas. I loved them all. Plus, a little fun money at holiday time is great.

.... and each one was worse than the last. I'm nearing a state of bliss, but that might require indulging in my favourite foods (see below)....

Like MJ, Atlantic Canada spoiled me for any other vacation as the people are so friendly. We honeymooned at Peggy's Cove, visited Charlottetown (home of Anne of Green Gables) and Halifax. Ben hates seafood but I quite adore it even though it isn't kosher, but he took me to an outdoor lobster restaurant and sat while I ate an entire lobster. I wore a plastic bib and it was utterly romantic.

We take lots of tropical vacations, but my favourite by far is the Costa Rican Rainforest. It was so wonderful with such lush vegitation! It was far too hot for a Canadian girl (35 degrees by day, 30 by night) but we had live monkeys outside our cabana and lizards in our room. Don't fret, it was a five-star resort with 24 hour room service, so Saucy was safe.

The most romantic place I've ever been? Hands down, Quebec City, evah! Veto proposed at the Chateau Frontenac, a grand and glorious old CP Hotel, the closest thing to a castle in North America. By chance, the moment I said "yes", a marching band walked by playing "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" so I suppose that makes it our song. Then Veto announced that we had to find a place to sit down because he thought he might throw up. I wonder how it is that men can get themselves worked up to ask a question to which the only probable answer will be "yes".

Anyway, we decided to go for a romantic dinner that evening to celebrate. Being that the trip was a fairly casual event and I wasn't really expecting "the eagle to land" as it were, I hadn't packed much in the way of evening clothes - but I did have brand-new black yoga pants. And a black tee shirt. And my black pashmina, which I always travel with. We'd been out shopping and I'd bought a pair of fantastic black evening shoes... so I threw it all on and put some fresh flowers in my ponytail and off we went. The streets of Old Quebec are cobblestone and very Parisian... it was a warm summer night and very romantic. But it doesn't sound good when you summarize it: the question, a marching band, "the bear went over the mountain", vomit in the back of the mouth, yoga pants and a very rude cab driver! But it was. Very romantic.

In 2004, we vacationed in New York City at the International Emmy Awards... we were lucky enough to be invited to attend with our friends Monique and Darcy.
Here, Mo and I are up to no good on the red carpet with the Emmy statue... where was security anyway?

And here we are with our friend Carson Kressley. Well, he was our friend until he saw Harry Belafonte and practically kicked us over to get to him. At the after party I danced with cast members of Saturday Night Live and Monique got into a fight with a transvestite.

Brace yourself, they all begin with "CH"... as in...

chicken, prepared absolutely any way at all: fried, baked, broiled, glazed, stuffed, fried, breaded, wings, fingers, legs, fried....

cheese... almost any kind, even growing a fondess for some of the smellier ones... they know my face at the cheese store and I suppose it looks something like this fellow above when I walk through the door...

My chocolate has to be like my men... good quality, smooth and rich! heh heh.

And of all the things we can blame Monique for, including scrapping with transvestites and groping an international symbol of television excellence, she got me hooked on Veuve. It makes all of the moving around I've had to do from state to state much easier.

First stop: nothing exotic, but my arms and back are so sore and achy I think a hot tub would do the trick!

But wait! Surely Saucy can do much better than that! Why not a hot tub in Paris? Don't all hot tubs in the movies that are set in Paris have a view of this:

On a more realistic note, I might just like to go to the family farm in Windsor, Ontario to see Kelly and eat fresh sweet corn gathered around the giant table in the yard. Maybe this summer.

But if I'm really wishing, why don't I wish for something I know will come true right away? In that case, I'm going to wish myself back to Chicago, my favourite city - in one week! See the sidebar for trip details.

You may find this horrific, but I love making plans and taking notes and making "to do" lists. I love crossing things off my to-do list, and if I accomplish something above and beyond the list, I've been known to add it to the list, just to cross it off. I know. I'm nutters.

I love fiddling with my iPod. I love to update it, add new songs, make sure I have all of the album art and info for every single song. I use the rating system and I like to add the lyrics and the songwriters too. I know. I'm nutters.

Oh, for the love of all that is good and right, I love shopping. I do so love buying myself a little happy. Just every once and a while. I love getting the clerk to gift wrap items for me. Even if it is for me. I loooooove opening that little gift I bought for myself, and keeping the ribbon tied "just so" so it can be slipped back onto the box. I know. I'm nutters.

Lastly, I love wrapping presents. Well, I love shopping for presents (in case you haven't been reading too carefully) and choosing just the right one - sometimes months in advance - and then meticulously planning (again - see above) the wrapping and presentation. This may involve more shopping to secure the right paper, tissue and card. Colour combinations will be considered to match the theme, colour or occasion. Multiple parcels will have coordinating (but not matching) papers. Bows will most likely be fabric. I know. I'm nutters.

That's it for now. Tune in next Friday for another installment of "FOUR"!