28 November 2008

Slice and dice

I am happy (sort of) to report that I finally have a date for surgery! After three frustrating months of waiting, I will finally be able to kiss this stupid cyst on my lip goodbye. While it doesn’t cause me much pain, it’s annoying and gets in the way. I can’t drink a coffee, kiss my husband, or generally use the right side of my mouth without irritating the lump. Even more annoying, is the fact that I have no idea how I got this stupid thing in the first place…just that ‘luck’ or the Irish I guess.

I’m not too worried about the procedure. I do find it mildly confusing that an ENT will be performing the surgery - last time I checked, a lip has nothing to do with ears, a nose or a throat? Oddly enough, however, he performs several of these removals each week at the Monfort Hospital. I assumed the surgery would take place at his office but he does it at the hospital in the event that he can't get the bleeding under control - apparently lips love the bleed...a lot (comforting thought). Bleeding like a 'stuck pig' aside, it’s a relatively simple 10-15 minute procedure performed under a local anesthetic (a.k.a. freezing). He will remove both the cyst and some of the surrounding tissue on my lower lip, slap on a few stitches and send me on my merry way. I actually want to see the damn little sucker before they send it off for biopsy; is that weird?

My only fear about the procedure is that I may temporarily loose some feeling in my lip; it could be for days, weeks or even a few months. I will also have some scarring on the inside of my mouth, but it should flatten out nicely within a year. In the rare event that the incision does not heal well, there may be a slight pull on the corner of my lower lip. I’m sincerely hoping that I won’t be his first unfortunate case; I really don’t want sad clown lips! All joking aside, I really do worry about cosmetic appearance. My lips and my smile are often described as two of my best physical attributes; I would hate to lose that.

I am fortunate that the surgery will be taking place on a Friday afternoon. Most of the pain or swelling should subside over the weekend and I’ll be able to return to work on Monday. I tend to bruise easily so I may come back to the office looking like I was in a bad bar fight, which is significantly cooler sounding than, “I had a mucosal cyst removed.”

Keep those fingers crossed for me on the 12th folks! Hopefully I’ll come out of this smiling. Either way, I’ll be sure to post grotesque pictures of my post-removal freak lip.

P.S. Check out that freaky looking little bugger. They will be removing a similar chunk from me...gross! Now go and enjoy your dinner.

26 November 2008

Seen your family Doctor lately?

If there is one important lesson that life and experience has taught me, it’s never to take your health for granted. Money may come and go, relationships may wax and wan, but your health is the one thing that will see you through it all. Perhaps I grew up with this attitude because my mother is a nurse, or maybe it comes from watching loved-ones suffer from disease or disability, but health has always been a top priority in my life. Sadly, however, it’s amazing how many people neglect this important aspect of life. Sometimes it seems as though folks are more concerned with annual checkups for their cars, rather than setting foot in a doctor’s office for a physical examination.

Time and time again, I’ve heard friends (even my own sibling) argue, “Why go to the doctor unless something is bothering you?” The answer is painfully obvious – the human body is a mystery and even though you may feel healthy as a horse, you never know what is lurking beneath the surface. I don’t mean to sound dismal but ignorance is not always bliss; it’s plain stupidity. Look at it this way, a 30-minute visit to your family doctor once a year could end up buying you a few extra years on this earth. Ask anyone who has been diagnosed or treated for cancer, I’m sure they could shed some light on the topic.

Why am I spouting off about health today? Why do I feel so strongly about the topic? Let’s just say that I certainly wasn’t aware that I had an odd node in my neck. I walked into my annual physical yesterday afternoon for the routine checkup and came out with a requisition for a neck/thyroid ultrasound and blood work. Does this mean that something serious is going on? No; I may be perfectly fine. On the other hand, the node is not normal and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Had I not had my annual physical, I would not be aware of this potential issue. If I rested on my laurels and simply waited for an obvious problem to confront me, it could be a case of too little too late.

I’m not encouraging folks to backlog an already overstretched healthcare system. Leave your sniffles and sneezes at home. However, in a country where we are fortunate enough to have universal healthcare, it’s not unreasonable to book one physical examination each or every two years. Life is too precious for negligence.

25 November 2008

Doing the right thing

Looks like hubby and I will be kissing our big trip to Europe goodbye. Given the global financial crisis, we were starting to get cold feet about a $7000 splurge. While hubby remains confident that his job is safe, there have already been a few subsequent layoffs and ‘expense cuts’ at his company. We’re not being pessimistic; we’re just erring on the side of caution and deciding to save rather than splurge. On one hand I’m heartbroken by the decision; on the other hand I’m somewhat relieved. Better to save for a rainy day and have a good umbrella.

The only negative about this whole decision, other than the fact that we don’t get our dream vacation, is that we may loose the $1,800 that we already paid for our airfare through Expedia. Because we got such a great deal on the flights, the tickets were non refundable. If we do decide to cancel the flight, Expedia will grant us a credit equal to our ticket price however we will be charged an extra $500 ($250/each) if we decide to use the credit to book other tickets or make changes to our existing itinerary.

For now we are in limbo. We may decide to scale back our trip and simply visit Paris for 5 days, cutting our original estimated vacation costs by roughly 70%. We still have the flight to Paris booked, although we would have to pay a penalty to switch our return flight which was originally departing from Rome. In terms of accommodation, I would only have to book 1-2 extra nights in Paris as we already have 3 nights reserved. It may not be the original plan, but it could still be a feasible small vacation to one city rather than several different stops with expensive train travel between destinations. Thankfully, I am able to cancel all of my accommodations in Italy at no charge.

I’m upset that our original plans are falling through but I’m optimistic that we are making a much wiser decision by playing it safe. We may still end up with a nice little vacation, or worst-case-scenario, we will have lost $1,800 that has already been paid and the money no longer exists. Yes, it’s a stupid waste, but it would be even more foolish to let this dictate our decision to fork out yet another $5000 on a vacation that we may not be able to afford when the time comes.

I suppose that one of the greatest joys and sorrows of being an adult is having the common sense to analyze what is important in your life and being able to cut your losses and move on. The added gravy is always nice, but it’s certainly not a necessity. At twenty-seven life is certainly not over. Europe has been around for ages and I still have ages to get there.

20 November 2008

Ho Ho Hold the decorations…

I tried fooling myself into believing that I wouldn’t get excited for Christmas until after December 1st. I promised hubby that he could enjoy a ‘theme-free” house for at least a solid month. Who am I kidding?

I know that I’m well and truly affected because I have already started downloading carols, my gift list is already distributed, I have cross-stitched seven tree ornaments and I just put the finishing touches on my annual family holiday newsletter. Let’s face it; I’m a holiday dork – a classic Hallmark target through and through.

Hubby made a keen observation the other night. “You really live for the future, don’t you?” he enquired with a wry look on his face. Truth be told, I think he’s right. It seems that I spend my entire life living in anticipation, looking ahead and planning for the next big thing or event to come my way. It’s nice to always have something to look forward to but I suppose it’s a bit of a double-edged sword; I sometimes wonder if I ever truly take time to enjoy the present. I often feel like I’m fighting to keep up with my own mind which operates on fast-forward, much akin to a hyper little Jack-Russell Terrier…on speed.

I’m a strange kind of gal, but at least I’m aware of my own maddening follies. Bless the Lord for sending me a very patient, calm and “relatively” normal husband (he fell for me after all). If it wasn't for dear old hubby, I think I’d drive myself crazy. He is also the reason why we’ll never have huge animatronic reindeer mechanically tromping about our lawn in early November (okay, or December for that matter). Let’s face it; I’m not the strong one here…he is!

15 November 2008


Oh yeah, that’s me by the way!

On this very rare Saturday evening post, I would simply like to inform you all that anti-inflammatory pills and wine = Woahhhhhhhhh! When it comes to Doctor vs. Pharmacist opinions, I think I’ll stick with the Pharmacist from now on.

Excuse me now, while I dance to music in my head and count the orange spiders on my wall.

14 November 2008

Gloomy Friday

Blehhhhhhhhh! That’s the noise that escaped my mouth first thing this morning when I awoke from a particularly fitful slumber. Despite being a Friday, it’s one of those gloomy days where I have to fight to keep my eyes open, fake smile at colleagues and generally act way chirpier than I feel. It’s one of those days where your only friend in the world is an extra-bold mammoth cup of coffee.

Why so melancholy?

BWE sucked again last night and lost two of three games

I had a few too many drinks at the pub last night to drown aforementioned sorrows.

Wendell the Wallaby was found dead

It’s raining and will continue to do so for the whole weekend

I had an acne breakout this morning…as an adult…WTF?!?

I gained a few lbs from emotional eating

I’ve been taken over by the dreaded PMS Monster

Sorry folks! If you were looking for a bright ray of sunshine here, you’re not going to find it today. Now go and soak up some depressing Emo music; I’ve got nothing…

13 November 2008

Praying to the Lords of volley…

Tonight the Billy Whitmore Experience will be fighting for survival and trying to regain first place in the league. Last week we were off our game and lost two out of three matches to a lower ranked team. It was a maddening defeat, as it allowed the second place team in the league to slip into the lead by one game. It was a sobering experience and hopefully we’ll learn to be more prepared this time. I especially hope to see a personal improvement tonight because I was certainly bench-worthy last week. It was the first time that I left the gym in a sour mood and sadly realized that I’m still a poor sport when it comes to loosing…no different than I was as a child. Recreational or not, I always want to win and inevitably end up berating myself when I play poorly. I suppose, this is why I never participated in many group sports when I was younger; the interest was there, but the competitiveness was always an issue.

With only three regular season games left until the playoffs, we still stand a chance of ranking in one of three medal standings. My only concern is that we are now playing the other top ranked teams. While the BWE has undoubtedly improved as a team, I can’t help but wonder whether our long-standing lead was due, in part, to the fact that we were playing some of the less experienced teams. We’re not running away with the games anymore and subsequently, we really have to focus harder and setup plays as a team. On the plus side, it really is some great volleyball with some beautiful rallying and returns.

Keep those fingers crossed folks. No matter how we play, I certainly hope that I leave the court in a better state of mind this week. Nobody likes a sulky six-year-old, myself included.

12 November 2008

Nine Inches of Awesomeness!

Last night’s NIN (Nine Inch Nails) concert was absolutely amazing! I have heard that they put on a good show, but this far exceeded my expectations.

I have been listening to NIN since high school and while I can’t claim myself to be a diehard fan, I always thought they would be a cool band to see live in concert. Being a bit older now, and totally frightened by mosh pits and claustrophobic crowds, having a box was definitely the best way to see the concert. Hubs and I had a great view with only a minimum amount of pot inhalation from the fumes wafting up from the unwashed masses below. Yup...there’s that crotchety old lady seeping out again…

The only downer of the night was the opening act, Boris. If the signer had a decent voice, I certainly couldn’t tell. The instruments drowned out his voice and all was left with was the ungodly sounds of wailing and screeching instruments without any discernable beat, rhyme or reason. To be perfectly blunt, it was about forty minutes of depressing noise that forced me into a comatose state. Who needs drugs or alcohol?

The NIN show opened with most of the classics. I went a little wild when Trent sang Closer – a song that is sadly near and dear to my heart and very much reminiscent of high school and early university speaker-dancing days. (I swear to God, I’m a good girl!). The set also included: Head Like a Hole, March of the Pigs, Hurt, Only, Deep and The Hand That Feeds. Sadly they didn't play Into the Void, one of my favourites. The band wowed the crows for almost a solid 2 ½ hours with barely a pause between songs. As if the music wasn't good enough, we were also awed by what was easily, one of the coolest stages and light shows I have yet to see at a concert. Every song was backlit by LCD lights and images. At one point the band looked as though they were singing in the middle of a waterfall – the water had the illusion of falling around the singer anytime he stepped forward into the falls. I could go on and on about the visual effects that accompanied each song, but then that would ruin the surprise.

If you like rock (industrial-rock), I highly recommend seeing NIN in the future. It was truly an experience, both acoustically and visually. This is going down as one of the best concerts yet and believe me, I’ve seen my fair share!

09 November 2008

A “sort of” quiet Sunday…

Today I’m taking a break from the maddening weekend pace, if you don’t count cooking two entirely different meals in the span of a few hours. No I’m not mad; I had a an old bag of potatoes that was starting to turn so I salvaged what I could and made Shepherd’s Pie to freeze for quick weeknight meals down to road. I still have tonight’s meal to make - low-fat kielbasa paella. Once again, I’m turning to my trusty slow cooker for inspiration. This should give me a few blissful hours of downtime to work on more Christmas ornaments later this afternoon. Yes I know, I’m still being productive but it’s about as relaxed as I get.

And now, I shall regale you with a recap of the past few days…

Ottawa Food and Wine Show

’m so glad that hubby and decided to leave work at noon on Friday to attend the show. We had no lineups to contend with and we got to talk to a lot of the different vintners. In particular, I loved the France exhibit which was very well conceived and attractive. They built a large two sided-bar with stools. You could take a seat, give your wobbly legs a rest and sample some twenty-plus wines displayed along the bar. Spain, California, Chili and Argentina also had decent representation. I was, however, upset to see that Italy was next to invisible. I was hoping to find out more about different wineries in Tuscany and the Chianti region seeing as hubs and I will be doing some touring there in April…no such luck.

The one complaint that I have about the Ottawa Food and Wine Show, although not surprising in the least, is that it is an absolute money-making racket. On top of paying $20 each for general admission into the show, we also had to pay 50¢/ each for sampling tickets to try the wine. While this doesn’t sound too unreasonable, we soon discovered that most of the decent wine samples cost 2-6 tickets / $1-$3 per tiny sample. It doesn’t take long to use up your tickets or burn through your budget, especially when you’re hungry and also have to use your tickets for overpriced and under-portioned food samples. Hubby and I went through 120 tickets…you do the math… Don’t get me wrong, we had an amazing time and it was a fun experience but the value for $$$ sucks! The individual country wine evenings often held at the Government of Canada Conference Centre are much better in terms of wine and food/ ticket price. $45 dollars at one of these events will give you three-hour access to roughly 20-30 wineries from a featured country, special tasting seminars with vintners and unlimited samplings of an assortment of catered goodies. Another benefit of the smaller country events is that they only sell a limited number of tickets – the crowd is a little more exclusive and you tend to encounter more wine enthusiast s rather than nineteen-year- old, scantily-clad, gaggles of girls trying to pick up men. Yes, I realize that this makes me sound old and crotchety, but I take my imbibing very seriously.

If you are an Ottawa native and want to find out more about local wine evenings, I highly suggest checking out the Groovy Grapes website or the Local Wine Events page.

The “World-Famous” Lipizzaner Stallions

On Saturday, hubby and I brought my parents to see the Lipizzaner Stallions at Scotiabank Place. Daniel won the tickets in a draw at work and I figured that it could be interesting (because I love ponies!), especially for my father who used to train for the RCMP Musical Ride.

While the breed of horse is beautiful and their strength and agility are undoubtedly impressive, I wasn’t blown away by the show. Most of the routine was much of the same - classic dressage with repetitive movements and a few tricks thrown in for good measure. While I can fully appreciate the amount of dedication, training and trust that goes into this style of riding (4-6 years), two hours was a bit much for my liking. The end of the show featured some 8-horse figures, but it truly paled in comparison with the Musical Ride’s precision. The “swinging gate,” while beautiful, did not measure up to our own national show. It was still a fun afternoon out with the family and I was content even to stare at the beautiful horses, but I also walked away feeling just a wee bit thankful that our tickets were free.

Despite a few complaints, I truly did enjoy myself this weekend. Hubby and I are looking forward to returning to box again on Tuesday night for the NIN concert. On the other hand, I’m not looking forward to the second-hand pot fumes that will undoubtedly be drifting up to us from the crowd below. I may still enjoy rock music, but I don’t particularly enjoy the smells or ‘interesting’ characters that accompany them. Yeah, I’m a fuddy-duddy!

07 November 2008

Wine, ponies and Electronica = awesome!

Oh what a beautiful morning,
Oh what a beautiful day,
I've got a wonderful feeling,
Everything's going my way.

Hoist up your wine glasses, strap on your saddles and get ready to rock. The next few days are going to be awesome. Behold…

Ottawa-Food and Wine Show:

Today hubby and I are taking a half-day vacation and we’re leaving the office at noon to attend the Ottawa Food and Wine show. We have attended lots of smaller individual wine country events, but this will be our first time attending this mammoth-sized annual show. We tried to get in for two consecutive years but the prospect of standing in a line for four hours, completely open to the elements, put a damper on our plans. We soon learnt that the key to getting in is getting there early to avoid the crowds and the huge surplus on the weekend. Even though you can pre-purchase your entrance tickets, it still doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to get in. I’m sincerely hoping that we’ll be successful this afternoon! Either way, it’s a fun date day and something out of the ordinary.

OMG, pony show!

Despite the fact that I’m a fully-grown woman, I will still readily and enthusiastically admit that I want a pony! It’s that classic little girl dream and, sadly, it stays with some of us for as long as we live. Aside from a big old farm house and a spread of 100 acres, my next fictional lottery purchase would definitely be horses…mini ones in particular! I fully realize how insane this sounds, but there you have it; I’m a complex girl and I dream big.

While I don’t have the cash, land or resources to purchase my ponies just yet, at least I’ll enjoy the next best thing this weekend. Hubby managed to snag some box seats to the Lipizzaner Stallions show this Saturday at Scotiabank Place. He entered our name into a draw at work and, low and behold, we were the lucky recipients of four tickets. Something tells me that it was an easy win (I’m sure that most of his colleagues don’t get excited about horse shows), but who cares when it works in your favour? Ponies, ponies, ponies!

NIN concert:

Score another huge point for hubby, as he also managed to snag box tickets to Nine Inch Nails. These are hot tickets and we are the envy of many fans and colleagues. NIN has been around for a while now and they have managed to maintain a solid career in music with a dedicated fan base. The music is fresh, original, raw and pulsating - totally different from a lot of the ‘bubble gum’ mainstream stuff on the radio. I always thought of them as the perfect ‘stripper’ band (yeah, odd I know), but the music is so moody and hard hitting. I can see how they wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but hubs and I love a lot of their stuff. Oh yeah…we’re “so” hardcore…

I guess it won't be a relaxing weekend, but at least it will be an interesting one.

06 November 2008

Bring us a shrubbery…

Spamalot turned out to be a decent performance for what it was – a zany musical that mocks broadway musicals. There weren’t any particularly poignant musical numbers or scores, no standalone strong or memorable characters and the plot was sketchy at best, yet it delivered exactly what it set out to deliver - some lighthearted laughs with a penchant for the absurd.

The musical did not exceed my expectations; it was pretty much on par with what I imagined. It was well conceived, even downright clever at times, but as a ‘serious’ musical it is lacking….not a problem really because it was never designed to be serious. I won’t get into the details in the event that some readers plan on catching a performance in the future.

Overall impression = worthwhile, especially if you have a quirky sense of humour. I’ll give it 7 coconuts out of 10...oh what the heck, I’ll give it 8 because I have a certain soft spot for killer rabbits.

05 November 2008

I am a good wife...

Tonight I’m going to see Spamalot at the NAC with hubby. For those of you wacky folks that avidly followed Monty Python as children, you will undoubtedly know what I’m talking about. While I’ll admit that I enjoyed the actual T.V. show and short skits, I could never fully sink my teeth into the movies. Is it therefore any wonder that I’m a little dubious about a musical that is based on the infamous Holy Grail? Ni!

Don’t get me wrong folks; I love musicals and I enjoy getting out to the theatre as much as possible, but I’m more of a classics girl. I tend to enjoy stories with a deeper plot, something that I can really loose myself in or connect with the actors’ emotions. I just don’t see myself getting the same sense of fulfillment out of this production. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of light-hearted laugher. I do have a penchant for the absurd and, while I typically don’t seek it out through theatre, perhaps I’ll walk away loving Spamalot in the end.

Either way, I think hubby will owe me a few romantic movies of dramas out of this.

04 November 2008

Whistle while you work? Do so, and suffer!

It’s Tuesday and I’m back to my usual surly self. I got into the office nice and early this morning, only to be greeted by the incessant whistling and boisterous laughter of the construction workers repairing the inner courtyard just outside of my window.

I am one of those unfortunate people that don’t do well with distraction. In particular, I tend to get fixated on certain noises to the point that they magnify in my brain and become all-consuming. My biggest enemy is whistling and, much to my chagrin, one of the workers outside my window seems to think he’s a damn bird today.

The sadistic wheels have started to turn in my head. The workers are directly one level below my window, like sitting ducks. I keep eyeing an old heavy pair of shoes in the corner of my office, thinking that they would make the perfect lobbing object.

Pray for my sanity folks…or for the workers. Either way, one of us is not going to come out of this well.

03 November 2008

Well rested and content

I know what you’re thinking…
Don’t panic!

You have, indeed, arrived at the right blog!

Every once in a blue moon, I actually arrive to work on Monday feeling relaxed and happy. Don’t get me wrong; I still rather be loafing at home rather than working, but at least I showed up to the office this morning without the typical self pity. It’s a rare mood and occasion, so it makes it all the more wonderful.

What did I do to make me so relaxed? Nothing! At my husband’s insistence, I actually sat still for a day and did nothing of huge significance. I started a new exercise routine (I’ll save that for another sarcastic post), but I don’t really consider that particularly to be stressful. Hubby and I even took a 40 minute stroll to Blockbuster to rent a video. When we got home, he put up the outdoor Christmas lights and started cleaning the garage; I on the other hand, sat on my behind, sipping tea and leisurely cross-stitching Christmas ornaments. Okay, so I suppose that’s still doing something and trying to find a purposeful way to fill the time, but it’s a stretch for me. I also tried a new slow cooker Swiss steak recipe, but again, it wasn’t anything to strenuous or taxing.

We capped the evening off in a nice clean home, all signs of Halloween gone, enjoying a great bottle of Bardolino, good conversation and a tasty warm meal. We hopped into our pajamas early and settled down in front of the T.V. to watch The Amazing Race. It was so very, very nice!

I have to learn to make a conscious effort to end off my weekends this way. I even found myself feeling refreshed and better able to cope with the stressful workload sitting on my desk this morning. Looks like today is going to be an equally gratifying day - I’ve flown though pressing deadlines, I had a wonderful aerobics class during lunch and now my evening is free to watch a movie with hubby. I better make the most of this rare mood while it lasts – the cynic in me is bound to resurface soon.

02 November 2008

All Halloweened out...

I never thought I’d say it…I’m glad Halloween is officially over! I couldn’t help but sigh in relief as hubby and I packed away out final decorations yesterday afternoon. It was a wonderful season, but a tiring one, so it’s nice to return to some form of normalcy for the next month until the Christmas arrives.

I’m happy to report that we had a good deal of children visit the house this year. We weren’t run off our feet, but there seemed to be a decent steady stream. The kids were very appreciative of all the hard work we put into decorating and they certainly weren’t afraid to tell us either. I can’t even begin to describe how happy it makes me feel when we give the kids a scream or a laugh – we’re giving them a good memory and that’s what it’s all about. Sadly, despite the large number of young families in my neighbourhood, only a handful of houses were decorated or handing out candy. Things are so different now from when I was a kid. I sometimes feel like the children of this generation don’t get to have as much fun. Parents are too tired and overworked nowadays and I truly believe that people put less time and effort into all the fun little details and activities that I got to enjoy as a kid. No matter my age, career or demands, I hope that I’ll never lose that spirit!

After we closed up shop around 8:00 pm, hubby and I enjoyed the rest of our evening at a Halloween party with friends. It was a great time and all the more enjoyable because the hosts announced that they’re expecting their first child! They dressed as the main characters from Juno – a movie / comedy about teen pregnancy - it was such a clever and original way to reveal the big news. It looks like hubby and I are going to have to start hosting ‘kids’ parties in the near future. We’re one of the few remaining couples in our immediate group of friends that aren’t expecting or parents yet. No complaints here though, I’m thrilled for our friends and I’m learning lots from them before my own time comes! Don’t hold your breath folks; I still have to conquer Europe before hubs and I start producing our own little hobgoblins.

So there you have it – Halloween 2008! Tons of decorations, countless hours in the kitchen, two parties and a busy night of haunting. I’m ready to hang up my broom and hat for a much-needed rest. Only 29 days until the Christmas decorations make their appearance… not that I’m anxiously counting or anything.

And now, as promised, here are some pictures of our haunted house. You truly have to see it in person to get the full creepy effect. Sadly, none of my smoke maching pictures turned out...

This is what greeted kids on the front porch
(+ lots of billowing smoke)

My sick sense of humour

Poor fella...

Graveyard - likely to grow next year

Another victim...

A little less scary for the little ones

Not too bad during daylight

Hubby setting up the smoke machine

Pumpkin reaper

Getting spooky

All set for the kiddies

A motley crew

Yes, even he creeps me out

Mr. B - a perennial favourite with the kids