Meet Fashion Santa

For those of you that have read Random Olio over the last couple of years, you may remember that I am not big on holidays. Most likely a product of my childhood, they have never really been my thing. My dad was overzealous about Christmas, and so there are things that make me nostalgic, as there are memories I have where he seemed happy and completely into the moment. Yet most of those moments were things I witnessed not really things he taught me or I learned from his example.

He was all about Santa, in the decorate-your-house kind of way. Not as much as a kid but when I was in high school and college and no longer lived with him I would usually see him for part of Christmas day. His house, with haphazard furnishings throughout the year, would transform into a showcase for Santa and Father Christmas decorations. Some of them actually creeped me out in a wizard-like or scary old man way. Somehow as he got older, he would wait until after Christmas to purchase a Santa or two on clearance. Only to pack them away and bring them out for a few weeks the next year.

In any case, I am all for change and a new look on things. So when I heard about Fashion Santa I thought “why not!” He hails not from the North Pole, but from a shopping mall in Toronto, Canada. He is styled in clothes from stores in the mall in a lumber jack meets metrosexual St. Nick way. Along the way he is raising money for a charity that helps sick kids. So all in all the 2015 looking Santa is doing good.

Next I would be curious how the stylist would upgrade Mrs. Claus. Anyone up for the task?

A man and his TV…

What is it about a man and his TV? I was traveling this weekend and while running on the treadmill at the hotel I was staying at, I watched a bit of “Love it, or List it.” A Canadian TV show with 2 hosts, a realtor that wants to find that perfect place for the family, or the designer that can make changes to your home and make you want to stay. At the end of the episode the couple decides if they are going to stay in their current upgraded home (Love it) or sell their current home and buy a new one (List it).

While watching “Love it, or List it” over the weekend, there was an episode about a man and his massive TV. The realtor (a man) was in heaven seeing the massive TV. The designer (a woman) did not get why such a large TV was a big deal. So what is it about the man and the big TV? Such a variety of options, sizes, HD, pixels, etc. Yet, most of the women in my life could care less about any of it. So what is it about a man and his TV? Why do they get so over zealous to watch a football game on high definition? Is it because it feels like you are literally at the game, with a crisp, clear picture?

I never saw the end of the show, as I had finished my run and was back to my room for a shower and on to the rest of my day, however somehow I think that TV was allowed to stay. (The wife had remarked in an interview that they always fought about the TV). It is not an argument topic for us, but I think a big TV might always make it on the top ten list of must haves for Chris.

Regardless, I have resorted to chalking a man and his TV in the category of “it I what it is.” What item would you say about a woman? “A woman and her …”


It was about two years ago that I was sitting on a beach in Maui talking to a family member about how I wanted to start a blog. When they asked me: “Well what would you write about each day?” I said: “I think it will be random every day. There are a variety of topics I can see writing about based on my many interests.” I had no idea I would still be writing this blog 500 posts later. Yes, today is my 500th blog post. It is just a few weeks shy of a 2 year anniversary for random olio.

There are days that I cannot imagine how I will have the time or inspiration to write another blog post, and there are other days that I have so many ideas that I often cannot decide what I want to write about for that day. Just to shed light on how often the ideas flow, I currently have 108 “blog drafts.” For those of you reading this that might not be WordPress bloggers, that would be like having 108 draft messages in your email client. Every once in a while I will go to the oldest drafts and see if I can resurrect the inspiration from my original idea.

random olio has been visited from 141 different countries, a shocking statistic for me. The top three are: United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, which makes sense. While I do not know how long I will continue to write blog posts, as long as random ideas continue to pour out of my fingertips, I will continue to share random olios! With appreciation to all who stop by and read a few, and especially to those of you who may have actually read all 500 blog posts. You probably know way too much about me, and potentially think I am insane.

Vancouver parking meter = Brilliance!

Vancouver has inspired me. The first one hit not even thirty minutes after we set foot on Canadian soil. We were starving, and so stopped off for some brunch before embarking on our list of adventures. We parallel park the car (well Chris does) and get out to pay the meter before looking at each other and realizing we do not have any Canadian change. Crap, what are we going to do? I say maybe we can ask the restaurant to give us some change and they can then charge it to our bill. We stand there for a bit and wonder if that is going to work.

Then we realize that the meter says pay by phone. Huh. How does that work? I have to pee though, so I leave Chris to get us a table and relieve myself of hours of sips of sparkling water. I find us a table, and wait for Chris to join me. When he comes in to meet me he states that all you have to do is create an account over the phone, give them your credit card and the number of the meter, and enter the amount of time you want to charge to your card.

Brilliant. Really, why do more cities not handle parking in this way? We find out later that once you have set up your account, then subsequent times you park, you just call the number and enter the meter number. It will recognize you by your phone number. I think of how many times I have stood in the pouring rain in Portland and would have gladly gone to the meter taken note of the meter number and then found my way to a dry spot to feed my meter.

The plot thickens and only gets better.

Yes. After ingesting eggs and coffee, Chris received a text message alerting him that his meter was about to expire and he could call or go to their website to add more time to his meter. That is service! To know that I would not have to go back to my car to put more time on the meter. I could stay at the salon, show, store, wherever I was and pull out my phone to pay for more time. I wonder what I have to do to get Portland on board with this clever way to pay for parking.

Does anyone know of any other cities that have this type of parking system?