Golfing with players who cheat

chaet_golfIn the game of golf, hazards are generally the sand traps and small bodies of water that golfers have to avoid to keep their score down. But in some cases, the people you’re playing with turn out to be the hazards.

In a recent round of golf I was paired up with a older couple who were very friendly, but turned out to be heinous cheaters.  They hit at least twice off every tee. When they hit from the fairway and didn’t like where their ball landed, they dropped a new ball in a more auspicious place and proceeded to hit from there. The woman consistently teed up on the fairway so she could hit with her driver. Both the man and woman took their time and never once acknowledged (or apologized for) the fact that they were holding up the game — including us and the players behind us.

The most ridiculous part? They both kept score. I’m baffled as to why — perhaps as heinous cheaters they gave themselves 18 holes in one. I mean, if you’re going to lie, why not go all the way?

I don’t know who they thought they were kidding, but I hope our golf carts never cross paths again.

Gimme Gimme Gimlet

gimlet

This is a love story.  I admit in the past I’ve been linked to micro-brewed beer and seen in public with gin and tonics.  And I confess I’ve spent more than one crazy, impulsive weekend with a bottle (or 2) of tequila.

Like most people, I never committed myself to one particular drink.  Not until 10 years ago, that is, when I was introduced to a gin gimlet – and I’ve sworn my undying devotion ever since.

A cocktail made of gin and lime juice, the gimlet was first popularized in the 1920s, and is now enjoying a comeback for its slightly sweet and sharp flavour.  It’s a cool, elegant, citrus-flavoured drink that, thanks to the ratio of gin to mix, packs a bit of a punch.

My first time was on a hot summer night and I found myself powerless to resist.  I was initially taken with its looks.  A lovely shade of light green, it was visually appealing.  Looking closely at the glass I could see the tiniest bit of condensation, letting me know that its contents had been chilled. Ah, just my type.

I licked my lips and gave it a cool stare.  Then, feeling self conscious, I blushed.  I fiddled with my serviette as a mild panic set in.  What if I didn’t like it?  What if it didn’t agree with me?  Panic gave way to embarrassment. What rock had I been living under?  How had I never heard of this drink before?  My sudden shame of being such a late bloomer and lacking all experience with this libation gave me second thoughts.  I considered sending the gimlet back and forgetting the whole thing.  I wanted to retreat to the safety of my comfort zone with gin and tonics and micro-brewed beer.  But in a moment of clarity I looked up at the glass and saw a drop of condensation start to inch slowly down the outer rim.  I knew in that instant what I had to do.

I gently grasped the glass with my right hand and brought it to my lips.  A small sip passed over my tongue and a crescendo of flavour went straight to my heart.  It was perfect: not too tart, not too sweet, with a hint of lime.  I was giddy.  I was in love.

I try to recreate that first experience almost every time I go out for dinner or drinks.  Thanks to the resurgence of the gimlet’s popularity, it’s easy to get one, but I’ve learned that the quality of a gimlet is most often proportional to the profile of the establishment serving it.  In other words, if you’re in a restaurant or bar that’s less than upscale, you may be served something more appropriate for stripping your great-grandmother’s writing desk.

That’s why it’s smart to know how to mix a gimlet for yourself, so wherever you are, you can always be sure to have good love in a martini glass.  With that in mind, here is a recipe for an excellent gimlet:

  • 2 ounces of gin
  • 1 ounce of Rose’s lime cordial
  • juice of half a lime
  • shake with ice and strain into a martini glass
  • garnish with a lime wedge

2:1 is the ratio I’m fond of, but a bartender bible might preach that you use 3 parts gin, 1 part lime cordial, or even half and half.  Just set up a small gimlet test lab in your kitchen and find out for yourself what appeals to you.  Like any good relationship, it takes work, but I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Sayonara Trousers

Have you seen my pants?  No, seriously, have you?

Don’t worry, I’m not parading around in my undies, but I’ve just learnt a costly lesson and I have to admit that I’m a bit embarrassed.

In early June I dropped two pairs of wool dress trousers off at my local dry cleaner.  Then the weather got warm, sheets of the calendar flew off and seasons changed.  The next thing I knew it was September and I suddenly remembered my poor pants that I’d abandoned at the cleaners.  I hoofed it down the street, blew into the shop — and stopped in my tracks.  The woman behind the counter wasn’t the same woman who’d helped me for countless years.  I stared at the stranger in abject confusion.  She stared back at me.  I broke the staredown long enough to take in the refurbished digs, and noticed, to my horror, that the rack along the wall was no longer stuffed and drooping with hundreds of clean outfits.  Instead, it was pityingly bare.

Uh oh.

Turns out that the cleaners I’d entrusted my pants to went out of business in late June.  No call from the owners, no nothing.  And my pants are gone, daddy gone.

I’ve learnt my lesson: treat everything I own with respect, which includes picking up my dry cleaning within a week of dropping it off.  Boo.  I really liked those pants.

The Miracle of Life

One of my best friends has been trying to get pregnant for several years. After much disappointment and dashed hopes, she and her husband reconciled themselves with the fact that Mother Nature wasn’t supporting their natural methods, so they turned to modern science and started the In Vitro process.

What followed was a year in which my friend was subjected to the emotional and physical challenges associated with the IVF process. She took copious amounts of pills, was poked with needles and prodded by doctors and nurses, then suffered the disappointment of an unsuccessful first attempt at IVF. At this point my friend and her husband developed a profound appreciation for what a miracle conception truly is. We can put a man on the moon, but even modern science can’t always help a woman get pregnant.

But as night follows day… just as my friend entered another round of IVF, and she and her husband decided that if this attempt was unsuccessful they would look into adoption — a miracle occurred! Mother Nature joined forces with technology and the implanted, fertilized egg is now a happy embryo in my friend’s womb!

I believe there are times when we have to send a strong message to God, the Universe, what have you – that we are committed to having what we truly desire, and facing challenges like these is a necessary step in sending that message. Thankfully, I now know 2 people who are rejoicing that their message was received.

Are You Ready For an Earthquake?

Kobe, Japan 1995Experts say we are overdue for a big earthquake, with a possible magnitude of 9.0 on the Richter scale. You know, the kind that makes people in Winnipeg ask, “What was that?” while the coast of British Columbia tumbles into the Pacific Ocean. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but with 3 tectonic plates — the North America, Pacific and Juan de Fuca — converging just off the coast of Vancouver Island, the threat of a subduction earthquake definitely exists.

Or does it? In 2006, researchers at Oregon State University discovered that the subduction of the Juan de Fuca plate is slowing and could eventually cease, thereby mitigating the potential for such a calamitous event.

But don’t start balancing your breakables on the edge of your shelves just yet. The same researchers say the movement of the plates could still produce an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 or 8.0.

So the question remains: Are you ready for the Big One? For those of you snickering, here is some sobering information on the damage a 7.0 or 8.0-scale earthquake could cause:

  • masonry-walled buildings and brick structures could collapse
  • bridge sections could collapse
  • soil liquefaction could break dykes and produce widespread flooding
  • landslides could be triggered
  • power, gas and water systems could be affected for days
  • thousands of people could be seriously injured or killed

Do like a good boy scout and be prepared. Knowing what areas of the Lower Mainland will suffer the most damage is the first step. Also knowing where to take cover indoors during an earthquake could save you from serious injury. Ultimately, having a plan and an emergency kit with plenty of water and non-perishable food will help you and your family ride out those first several days of chaos.

Sources for earthquake information given above: Discover Vancouver website and Science Daily website.