November 07, 2013


I went to avenge my 7th grade loss to Cheryl Miller.  Cheryl was a doughy brunette who wore too much makeup and she had perfect feathered hair.  Not jealous.  I can't remember the word that did me in; however, I do remember Cheryl's smug smile when I was eliminated.  Evil Admission forthcoming:  Whap! I wanted to slap that smile off her face.

Cheryl, I apologize.  You deserved to win.

Last night, I attended the 1st Annual Literacy London Adult Spelling Bee. The event was a fundraiser for Literacy London's programs and services.  I'm a writer and a librarian; I am a staunch supporter of anything that improves literacy.  To be literate is to live.  I was thrilled to support the cause in such a FUN way.

Here's Oh Bee-have - my team of competitive wordsmiths

Can I just say right now that last night was pretty much my dream night?  Let me tell you the reasons why:


Who doesn't love to shop and drink wine at the same time?  And support a great cause?

I bought this giant vintage skate by London artist, Andrew Gillet, because it is awesome.   It also reminds me of my own vintage, six dollar ice skates that I purchased many years ago from (my favourite store) The Goodwill:

This is how I feel when I wear these skates:

image from
When I brought my skates into the hockey shop to get them sharpened for the first time (they looked like they had never been worn), all the jocks in the shop had to congregate and ooh and ahh and handle them.  I'm not kidding.  The sportsdudes were in awe of my pristine, leather Playmakers.  It almost seemed like a shame to sharpen them.  They are not nearly as pretty as they were when I bought them twenty years ago, but then again, neither am I. :-) 

I also purchased six London Lightning tickets in the Silent Auction.  The game is on the fifteenth, which just happens to be my birthday.  HB to me!  

Last year, I arranged for the Lightning to visit my children's school.  The two fellows that represented the team were magnificent ambassadors and the students LOVED them.  They talked the talk, walked the walk and they could SLAMDUNK like nobody!  My kids play basketball twice a week and so I am super happy to be able to take them to see a game.  

Last shopping anecdote, I promise.  I even squeezed in a shop at The Goodwill before going to the spelling bee.  The bee was held on the 3rd floor of the Goodwill Centre building at 255 Horton Street.  Hours before, the kids, my husband and I had been shopping for indoor soccer shoes.  As I am far too cheap / parsimonious / stingy thrifty to spend upwards of fifty dollars on a pair of athletic shoes that the children will outgrow in a week, I stomped out of the sports store after purchasing nothing. 

But Mummmmmm, I like the pink ones! I want the pink ones!  
Me:  The pink ones are $69!
I want the pink ones!  
Me:  You're not getting the pink ones.
You're mean! You never buy me anything. blah blah blah blah blah 
Me (thinking, not saying, people):  I'll show you mean, you little bee-yotch...

Hours later, as the family dropped me off at the event, RB said:  "make sure you look for indoor soccer shoes for the kids."  Still stinging from the shopping expedition, I said:  "The Goodwill will not have a pair of men's size seven-and-a-half indoor soccer shoes there!"  But because I am a dutiful wife, I checked out the shoes and wouldn't you know, the ONLY PAIR of indoor soccer shoes on the rack...  I don't even have to say it, people.  You KNOW!  I was sooooo happy.  They look brand new and cost only $10!  SWEET!!!!!  And they're by AllDayIDreamAboutSex (Adidas for those of you who are too young to remember that acronym, or were out of it in the mid-seventies).  

So I still have to get a pair for G, but N is done.
Okay, focus Christine, back to the Spelling Bee!


The dinner, by Local Food Skills (a London program that gives people the opportunity to "gain real skills and work with real food in a state of the art commercial kitchen") was designed to look like a kid's lunchbox, but the food inside was definitely for a mature palate:

I am a total foodie and this dinner was FABULOUS.

The spicy fried chicken was the best I've ever had, and the pumpkin soup was also the best that I've ever had (mainly because of the addition of the crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds which were the most delicious contrast to the rich, creamy soup).  The purple slaw was also the best slaw that I have ever had and I am a coleslaw snob.  Don't even get me started on coleslaw.  I could write an entire blog entry about it.  The potato salad was NOT the best that I have ever had; however, it was delicious.  I liked the green bits (celery and dill? and it was not loaded in fatty sour cream and/or dreaded Miracle Whip dressing).  Our dessert was a chocolate pudding. I do not eat pudding but I made an exception because there was whipped cream and chocolate shaved on top.  It was divine.  

Kudos also to the food people for using a recyclable lunchbox and containers (all paper) and bamboo cutlery.  The bamboo gave me a bit of a nails on chalkboard reaction initially, but I got over it.  



I'm not going to lie.  The spelling was HARD!  Really hard!  There were 12 -15 five person teams with funny names:  Antidisestablishmentarianism, Oh Beehave, The Queen Bees, The Bee Gees, The Bookworms et cetera.  We all competed at the same time.  The moderator, Kevin - a fellow librarian - would say the word, provide a definition and then use it in a sentence.   Here's Kevin, posing with Austin:

We all had a minute to write down how we thought the word should be spelled and then as a team, we had to decide on the correct spelling based on everyone's answers.  The captain wrote down the final spelling and a runner took it up to the panel of judges:  Murray Faulkner (ex-chief of police), Gary Ennett with CBC Radio, and Becky Howse from Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education at TVDSB. 

The first word of the evening was a trick, as it has three correct spellings: maneuver.  I am not going to give you all three; google it up if you're curious.

Here is the list of all the other words we had to spell (I'm pretty sure that I spelled them properly here):  dieffenbachia, peccadillo, isosceles, connoisseur, sarsaparilla, deliquesce, kohlrabi, ceilidh, schottische, carrageenan, alstroemeria, onomatopoeia and quinzhee.  Because I am obnoxious, let me tell you that peccadillo, isosceles, kohlrabi, carrageenan and onomatopoeia were dead-easy pour moi.  I know, you hate me.  
Our team came in second place!!!!!!!!  We were very happy getting 8 of the 15 words; the winners got 9 correct.  We lost to the Bookworms, whose captain, an old colleague of mine - Beth - is a retired librarian.  Earlier in the evening, she told the room that she was the world spelling bee champion in Grade 3!  Come on!!!!!

We played another game in which we had to come up with the longest list of homonyms (fair / fare, here /hear).  Our team came in first and we each won twenty downtown bucks!

The last game we played was Boggle.  We thought we won again with 21 words in a minute, but we are convinced that the judges gave it to another team, who also got 21, because we won the first game.  we weren't competitive at all...

The final event of the evening was the Canadianisms elimination draw.  Thirty words, 10 bucks each, last one standing won a weekend in NOTL.

I purchased Sasquatch and was one of five people remaining, when I was eliminated.  I roared like a Sasquatch when they pulled my "name" out of the bag.  


In short, the evening was SUPERLATIVE; I was spellbound.  I will be studying the dictionary so that we can win next year's event.  Look out, Beth.

Soundtrack:  L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole!

Here are some links to organizations that I mentioned above:

Literacy London