Sunday, December 30, 2007

Last days of 2007

Since Christmas, life has stumbled on at a rather slow and languid pace. And I'm really quite liking that! After the hustle and bustle of the last few months with the planning for the charity event, parties and meetings and finally the SFO trip, it's been quite nice to simply do.... nothing!


There has been a lot of lounging around in my new jammies and lots of watching of DVDs - Ronnie Mars, BFG Wedding, The Sound of Music (40th anniversary edition), Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, The Lady Vanishes...to name just a few)
I've interspersed the DVD watching with book reading - The Secrets of the Vinyl Cafe, The Glass Castle, Around the world in 80 days (re-read), Miracle on 34th Street (yes- the original book!) and am now on Tic Tok of Oz.


Finally left the comfort and warmth of home last night to meet up with the girls for pre New Year's Eve drinks. Found out that the bookstore on Front Street @ Church was having a mega sale and picked up a few books.


Will be going back tomorrow with a list....and more time to browse!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Unwrapping Christmas


Thanks to the abundant generosity of friends and family, this year's haul included:
  • A pot of poinsettia flowers
  • Veronica Mars DVDs (Season 3)
  • Comic - Asterix and the Magic Carpet
  • A bottle of Zinfandel Rose
  • DVD - My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  • Book - The Glass Castle
  • 2008 The Nutty Bunny Calender
  • A hand painted cloth bag
  • Gold Star dark ale - special from Israel!
  • A hatful of Lindt magic
  • A jade vase
  • A Bodyshop gift bag
  • And finally, (my fav) new "cheeky monkey" comfy flannel PJs!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Recipe for fun with friends @ Christmas!

I decided to try my hand at the delicate art of "sweet making" this Christmas and then realizing that I had not the foggiest clue about anything remotely concerned with the process, I called in re-enforcements; a.k.a Trippy and Shutterbug.

So here's a quick notes version of the events that transpired earlier today:

Step 1: Shutterbug checks to make sure we have all the ingredients we need.


  • 1/2 kg of non sweetened biscuits
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 200 gms drinking chocolate or cocoa powder
  • 2 fistful of minced raisins or plums
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 3 -4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bottle of dark rum
Step 2: Powder biscuits. Add sugar, cocoa and minced raisins and mix.



Step 3: Add beaten egg and rum a little at a time and knead into a dough with the butter

Step 3.5: Try to understand how the hand beater works.

Step 3.8: Figure out the hand mixer.

Step 4: Add extra rum if needed to take off the taste of the eggs. More rum the better. (which we did - liberally)

Step 4.5: Give up on the hand beater and decide to use good old (wo)man power! Make funny faces as you knead the dough - it's key!

Step 5: Make mixture into small balls. Or large balls. Whichever floats your boat.

Step 6: Garnish with coconut shavings and and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. You can also use finely chopped nuts (for that delightful balls and nuts combo), or coco power (for a bitter sweet taste)

Step 7: Contemplate afternoon's work.
Note: Finished product may vary depending on quality of ingredients and cooking skills of chefs.

Where are you Christmas?

There's something missing this year.
The spark... the magic... the wonder.... the joy?

I've tried so hard, and yet I feel nothing. It's Christmas eve and it might as well be any other day of the year - I feel just as empty, just as blah.

Perhaps some will say I'm overreacting. But then if you've known me even a little, you'd know just how important Christmas time is for me. There's always been a magical quality to this time of year - and I DON'T mean the presents and the decorations and the blatant consumerism that invades everyone's minds and thoughts since Nov 1 when the malls begin with the Carols.
I'm talking about a kind of quite but powerful feeling of love and friendship and kinship that though exists all year round, is somehow all that more magnified at this time.

That's just gone.

I've decorated the tree, put up lights, hung up rows of Christmas cards, attended parties and wished friends and family and general strangers on the train "Happy Christmas"

But I still feel empty and very lacking.




Thursday, December 13, 2007

More about San Fran

My public demanded, so there are the rest of the trip details:
Day 4, Tuesday Nov 27:
Discovered more little charming things about SFO - like the fact that you can buy transit passes in a Deli store which just happens to be right in the heart of the Castro district! Wandering around 'Frisco's "Man Town" was just a gut wrenching experience for me; All these fine young men all around me and not ONE who'd be interested in giving me a cursory glance even! honestly, moments like that do NO GOOD to a girl's ego!



Walked all over the Mission District and spent a few quite hours wandering around San Francisco's oldest building - Mission Dolores. Built by the Franciscan missionaries in 1791, this little Church that served as a house of prayer and a house of hope for countless has withstood the passage of time and stood firm through not one but two major earthquakes (1906 and 1989) that demolished most of the city.




Met up with Jean at the Asian Art Museum where she works and thanks to her, got in for free and peered around for a bit before closing time.


Day 5, Wednesday Nov 28:

Headed over to the other end of the city to check out the Home of the San Francisco Giants - AT&T Park... formerly known as Bell Pacific Park... formerly known as .....
People really should know better than to name buildings or landmarks after a Corporation. It's painful trying to keep up with who's buying what and who's merged with who etc.
Took a tour of the stadium which is quite new and is a "Classic urban ballpark with an old-time feel and all the amenities of modern ballparks. Inspired by Wrigley Field and Fenway Park and modeled after Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Jacobs Field and Coors Field."



Took my first (of many) Cable car rides from Union Sq. to Grace Cathedral - the beautiful Gothic inspired Episcopal Church that is also the home of the world's first interfaith AIDS memorial chapel.







Day 6, Thursday Nov 29

Tour of Alcatraz Island famous for the State Penitentiary

A quick walk down Fisherman's Wharf - which is really just a Tourist Trap and really quite crass!The sunbathing sea lions are about the only thing worth seeing - and even their incessant barking becomes tedious after the first 3 minutes.


More Cable Car rides and a windy walk down Lombard Street


Discoveries in SF's North Beach district and watching the sun set from the Coit Tower.


Day 7, Friday Nov 30

A long and leisurely walk along Ocean Beach to the start of Golden Gate Park.




A continued walk in Golden Gate Park stopping at the Conservatory


Hot Chocolate and Crepes in the famed Haight-Ashbury district





Day 8, December 1

Drive to Muir Woods with Hemant

Sunset along Pacific Hwy 1

Farewell dinner with Jean, Will and Hemant.


Day 9, Dec 2

Ta Ta San Francisco - it's been swell!









Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Losing my heart to San Francisco

Day 5 today and I'm having the time of my life in this amazing city. Don't quite have the time to tell all the tales in detail right now - so here is the bullet point version:

Day 1: Saturday, Nov 24:
Woke up with miserable cold
Traveled to SFO
Met Cousin-in Law, H
Went for walk in Belmont
Ate dinner
Researched Napa valley
Went to bed really early as feeling terribly ill!
Day 2: Sunday, Nov 25:
Woke up feeling better! (YEY!)
H and I drove up to Napa Valley
Spent the day driving around to vineyards and tasting wine. (Many thanks to nice lady at visitor's centre who gave us loads of free tasting coupons!)
Vineyards visited: Hagaffen Cellers (bought Chardonnay), Rutherford Ranch (bought PinoNoir), lunched at The Market in St. Helenas, Beringer Estates (tour of wine caves, history of the winery and more tasting!), Charles Krug (bought Zinfendel Port)





Drove back to Mr. and Mrs. Diabolic  place in the city. (Mrs. is an old old friend from gowning up in Bombay days)
Checked out their fav Ethiopian restaurant for dinner - AMAZING food and oh-so-yummy honey wine called Tej (sp?) promptly purchased bottle of said wine!
Back to their house for after dinner drinks and lots of chatty chatty!

Day 3: Monday, Nov 26
Mr. and Mrs. D had taken the day off to show me around.
Drove down along the Ocean beach front to Sutro Heights, millionaire Adolph Sutro's legacy to the city.
Walked around gardens overlooking to Pacific Ocean.
Drove to Golden Gate Bridge - parked and walked across bridge - a definitely cool moment!

Headed over to the Palace of Fine Arts - a Greco-Roman look a like building that is surrounded by well landscaped parks and a little lake and some of the most expensive housing in the city!
Took a walk up up up many flights of stairs in the Cow Hollow district - occasionally stopping to catch our breath and to critique the houses we passed. Honestly, there really is NOT accounting for taste!

Feeling quite drained after all that climbing, we stopped off at the Park Chow (9th and Lincoln) for their signature Ginger cake with pumpkin ice cream and Pear, Pecan and Huckleberry cobbler washed down with lemon raspberry Ade and hot chocolate.
Next stop - The Botanical Gardens, part of the Golden Gate park where we stopped to smell the roses and toss around a Frisbee (and effectively work off the calories just consumed!)
Explored some more of the park including Stow Lake, the bandstand, de Yonge Museum (just the outside) and more.
Feeling quite pooped, we headed home and then later out to Rick's Hawaiian Shack for a delish and much deserved dinner.

Stay tuned, more news to follow.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Winter Wonderland


Woke up this morning to a blanket of white over the world - well my part of the world at least! Not that it was a surprise - the weather stations had all been bleating warnings for the past 2 days and anyone who didn't know that the snow was a-coming was in La La Land!


It's been a while since I've seen the white stuff since I was away all of last winter and it never snowed when I was in the UK last December. Stepping out into the frosty morning was really quite delightful - until I realised that all the rain from yesterday had caused little pools of ice all over the driveway - THAT put a hasty stop to my dance of excitement!

Mother and Brother have returned from their Bombay vacation. Sounds like they had a good time. But I must say, they came back with the most boring of goodies - things like bathroom shelves and cooking pots! I come back with Tanjore paintings and Japanese dolls and silk throws and such things; They come back with pots and pans! Well OK, they also did buy a simply lovely table and matching mirror for our front foyer and there WAS a rather nice lot of Swiss chocolates in the 'fridge as well. So maybe not ALL was a washout!

For my very concerned readers, my trip to SF is ON! I finally got my booking confirmed last evening and I'm off early Saturday morn and back Dec 2nd. Everyone has suggested Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf and a trolley ride as the MUST sees/dos so watch out for pics of the above after I'm back.

Can't seem to remember if I mentioned the Fundraiser I was involved with this past weekend. A friend of mine started a Charity - Tempus International - a couple of years ago to raise money for literacy programs for kids in Nepal. I'd helped out with a past project, and when Chris asked if I could be part of the Organizing team for this fundraiser, I jumped at the chance. "Can I Kick It?" - a semi formal event was held at the Bata Shoe Museum this past Saturday and I'm glad to report was a resounding success! Our early estimates show that we have made around a $5000 profit and that figure could go up as we have yet to count donations etc.

But the highlight of the evening was NOT the fact that we sold out,
NOT the fact that the DJs were spinning some pretty amazing tunes,
NOT the fact that people were having a great time and bar sales were Up Up Up.....

Nope - the highlight of the evening was the fact that my pretty new sleek, shiny Cherry Red pumps were simply TERRIFIC and gave my derriere just the right amount of wriggle and made me feel GREAT all night long!







Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Whattodo? Whattodo?

.... that I'm only 4 days away from my trip to SF and I still don't have a 'plane ticket?

A friend was supposed to give me his "buddy ticket", but after many initial promises and checking of dates etc etc, he is now AWOL.

AND, I've missed all the good deals on tickets as well.

*Gulp*




Friday, November 16, 2007

Riddles

Q: What's more awkward (and painful) than being caught between a rock and a hard place?
A: Attending a Van Halen concert sitting between your CEO and a member of your Company's Board! 


YUP.

That was the strange situation I found myself in last night!


It all started when my VP came scurrying over to me in the afternoon to ask if I were free that night. Caught unawares, I blurted out a yes. Turns out, one of our largest clients Research in Motion (yes, the Blackberry guys) had "booked" the Air Canada Centre for the night and were throwing all of their Ontario employees a huge a** party! Our contact at RIM had scored some extra tickets and was offering them to our Company, and as my VP couldn't go, she offered the tickets to me as I manage that account. And so before I can say "jack", I find myself set to go on an evening out to see a band that I barely know anything about (don't they have a guy called Eddie???) with a bunch of people I know even less (there are BOARD members involved??!!!) and WORST of all - wearing the most un-concert-like outfit ever! (horrid suit that I only wear when all other suits are grimy)


Well - at least I was having a good hair day!


Thankfully we met my RIM contact and some of her team at the Bier Market prior to the show and I found out that Mr. Board Member was actually quite funny and sociable and that my CEO is a total hoot and that everyone else was also wearing suits (granted, not horrid) so things weren't as bad as they could have been.


The opening act was The Tragically Hip and thankfully I did know a few of their songs, so could bop along with the crowd. Van Halen itself was fun even though the only 2 songs I knew were the first and last ones! My CEO at one point leaned over and said "I really liked that last song; But I wish they didn't play it so LOUD". That was the point where I realised that I was at a rock concert with my MOTHER!!


And you KNOW you're among RIM employees when during one of the balard-like numbers, everyone got out their Blackberrys out and waved them around - in lieu of cigarette lighters!

In the end, for an unplanned, unprepared and (initially) unwelcome evening, I managed to have quite a good time!


Q: What's the best part about going to a rock concert with your CEO?
A: Getting permission to come in late the next day!!!



Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Decision Made!

Sweet Baby Moses!

It's bloody tough trying to find a destination that
a) you can get to within your budget
b) you can see a lot/all of in a week
c) has friends/family to crash with
d) is not more than a 24 hr journey away!

Anyway, after much tremulcous decision making, I settled on San Fransisco for the week of Nov 24 to Dec 2.

It's actually one of the places on my (very long) MUST VISIT list, so I'll feel a sense of accomplishment when I go there. Also, my cousin-in-law is currently there on a 3 month work assignment and I thought it would be nice to see him again. The last time we met it involved lots of laughs and copious amounts of beer - and I'm really hoping for a repeat!

So now, if any of my gentle readers have been to 'Frisco before, do share your tips on the city, things to do, places to go and good bars/pub to check out - and be checked out at.*



*appaling grammar I know - but sometimes one just HAS to break a few rules to truly express how one is feeling!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Decisions... Decisions.....

So, I just found out today that I have 8.5 vacation days to be used up by the end of this year. We're not allowed to "roll over" days - so I must take them, or I loose out.

OF COURSE I want to take time off..... but WHERE shall I go?

Suggestions most welcome!

************************************************

ok, so everyone has ideas - I should specify!

1. Somewhere that I can get to (and back) within $700 (taxes incl.)

2. Someplace I have NOT been to before (NYC out - sorry PP, but lovely suggestion!)

3. Someplace where I can see something new, do something new or meet new people (like fellow bloggers). I have plenty of time to relax when I'm dead. As for reading - I do that anyway... all the time. (;p CG)

4. It doesn't have to be a "sunny" location - I recognize that half the world is currently moving into Winter!

5. It has to be 1 week at the most - so pref not places on the far side of the globe!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Call off the hounds... She's alive!

The last few weeks have gone something like this:

work, work, meetings, work, planning meetings, attending meeting, work, work, sleep, work, crisis, crisis, work, work, meeting to plan to avert further crisis, work, work, dream of sleep, work, sleep, dream of work, work...... rinse and repeat.

Suffice to say that although there have been several blog worthy happenings - I haven't had the time to get online and actually blog about 'em!


  • Nuit Blanche, Toronto September 29th: Art, Art and more Art all over downtown Toronto. In the streets, down alleyways, in churches and shops and galleries - even on the pavements. A great concept, but somehow it got lost among all of the Corporate Branding and Merchandising of the event. I saw more ScotiaBank booths and banners than I did art exhibits! Still, it was a very enjoyable night and we did get to party (and drink) till 4 am thanks to a "one night only" extended hours at bars.





  • Last Blue Jays game of the 07 season, September 30th: Took my 3 little cousins out - 8, 10 and 11 yrs. Sat wayyyyy up high in the 500 level and my constant worry was that one of them was going to fall over the edge and land *splat* on Home Plate! Ate hotdogs and pizza and drank icies that made all our tongues go blue and yelled and screamed and cheered our way onto the Videoboard during the game! Cousin Pixy was declared "way cool cousin" and she nows basks in the glory of her new title - until someone else takes them out and shows them a good time. *sigh* Children and Cats - SO fickle!
  • October 7th, Thanksgiving at our house: 32 guests - 30 of who we were directly related to! Dinner menu: Roast Turkey, Stuffing with gravey, Potatoes and Carrots, Chicken Xacuti Curry, Sweet n Spicy Ribs, BBQed Shrimp, Rice, Spicy Pumpkin, 7 layered salad, corn salad and buns!






  • October 8th: Food hangover!

  • Friday, October 19th; Overheard on Dundas Steetcar:
"I'm so glad I'm out of there - my day was crazy"
"Yeah, I hear you. Mine too. Don't get me wrong - I f*cked around and did nothing. But it was crazy"



  • The T Dot is currently experiencing higher than usual temperatures. This weekend has been HOT! Great for late October - but somehow I feel like we'll pay for this in Feb with a whole week of -30 or something equally insane!

  • I am currently stressing over the fact that it is T minus 5 days and counting to Lady Killer's Halloween party and I'm still sans a costume. I don't even have the foggiest IDEA of a costume. Help and Inspiration for the same will be much welcomed coz guests who show up in no costume or shoddy costumes will be dressed by the Host - and that will guarantee humiliation of sorts!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fall Lineup

All the TV stations are doing it, so why not one for me too??

After a relatively easy breezy summer, it’s back to a full week’s schedule for the Pixy Princess. I’m trying for a nice balance of activities that will help me exercise both mind and body in turn! Acknowledge that much more bodily exercise is needed, but we’re going to start small – for now!

Confirmed:


1. Wednesday 8pm – 9pm; September 19 to November 21
Dancing – Latin/Ballroom Level 1
Eastminster United Church @ Danforth/Chester.
Class 1 was a bit stiff and stilted – but putting that down to nervousness on part of everyone. Class 2 was sadly missed due to Chaos at the Career Fair (detailed post to follow)
Dances I will be learning – Cha cha cha, Samba, Foxtrot, Waltz and Tango.

2. Mondays and Wednesdays 5:20 pm – 7:20 pm; November 5 to December 12
French Classes
Alliance Française de Toronto, Bloor/Spadina
Desperately need to brush up on my French speaking skills as I need to be able to have a half decent conversation with my clients in Quebec! Thankfully classes are tax deductible or else I’d be in the poorhouse!

Proposed:

1. Tuesdays and Thursdays 6-7 pm
Hot Pilates
Tula Spa and Studios, Duncan/Adelaide
6 months and counting till I will have to sashay down a Church aisle as Maid of Honor at Very Best Friend’s wedding. Absolutely cannot be tub of lard. Must loose desired 10 lbs. No Compromise. No Excuses. Now is the Hour!

Will be checking out their classes next Tuesday. Really really hope it works out as I cannot see myself running on a treadmill at the gym! Get ready for a new-and-improved version of the Pixy Princess to hit the streets this season!




Monday, September 24, 2007

A post for lovers – book lovers that is!

Next Sunday, I will be moseying down to Queen’s Park to check out the annual Word on the Street book event. I read about this event on Lotus’ site and have been eagerly awaiting said date all summer! For one day only, the lawns of the stately Ontario Legislature will be transformed into a book lover’s paradise showcasing the best of Canadian authors, poets, storytellers and performers. The day’s program includes book readings by Giller Prize winners and nominees, writing workshops, children’s story tent, live musical acts and much much more. If you’re a book lover and you’ll be in Toronto – you must go!

There is the dire need for some creative planning though as I’d already promised my 3 little cousins I’d take them to the final baseball game of the season, and one simply cannot break plans with one’s littlest relatives! Fortunately 2/3 are avid book lovers so could possibly drag them along with me. The 3rd could always be bribed with food and candy!

So, in honour of this upcoming book event, here’s a book related meme – “borrowed” from Beastie – with some additions of my own.

Total number of books owned
400+ and counting! (Spent my entire lunch hour today making a list, but I need to go home and do a recount – can’t trust my memory on this one!)

Side bar story: When we moved to Canada, my mother handed me 2 packing boxes for my books and said, “What fits in here, we take”
I ranted and raved, but she would not relent.
So I took to stowing away books in other boxes meant for silly things like clothes and shoes and such mundane stuff. I even managed to squeeze a few books in with the good china! Still, I ended up leaving a large part of my collection behind and I get teary eyed every time I think about all those books I had since I was a wee little lass. (Oh dear, welling up now….)

Last book bought
I am What I Ate…. And I’m frightened – Bill Cosby.
Also own Fatherhood by same author. Owned Childhood as well, but someone borrowed it and never gave it back. I hope that the fiend later developed a scaly rash in a hard to itch region.

Last book read
I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
By the same author who gave us the funny, touching and amazing story of 101 Dalmatians, I found myself unable to put down the story of a little girl on her way to becoming a woman – against all odds and in spite of her very odd family!

First book read
Although I cannot be absolutely sure of this, my mum thinks that it was a Sesame Street Counting book when I was 4 years young. One thing she IS sure of is that I chanted the rhymes in the book over and over till she could have willingly sold me to the first passing gypsy.

5 Books I re read most often
1. The entire “Anne of Green Gables” series (I can quote whole paragraphs!)
2. The Scarlett Pimpernel
3. Little Women
4. The Hobbit
5. Pride and Prejudice

5 Famous books I have never read
1. Green Eggs and Ham
2. The English Patient
3. The Colour Purple
4. Vanity Fair
5. Anna Karenina

5 books that mean a lot to me
Oh dear – this is the hard part. I simply cannot narrow it down to a mere 5 as I’m completely in love with so many of my books and their fascinating, amazing, complex, wonderful characters. Still, I’ve done my best and here goes:

1. Anne of Green Gables – laugh out loud and never stop dreaming.
2. Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood – everyone’s family is just as screwed up as mine – or even more!
3. Pride and Prejudice – believe in love, even if it comes in the guide of a seemingly pompous, self righteous ass!
4. Such a Long Journey – there is a season for everything; nothing lasts forever – even suffering and pain.
5. Atonement – for every action there is an equal, opposite and sometimes devastating reaction.




Friday, September 21, 2007

The Inevitable

The train burst out of the tunnel and onto the bridge. The sardine packed commuters seemed to relax, as if there was suddenly more air and more space around them. I tried to look out of the windows, but the crowd was too dense, too stiff.

Someone shifted, and suddenly I could see out. And there IT was.

Among the trees that lined the side of the Don River valley, one stood out. Red flaming leaves visible among a sea of greens.

There was no denying it any longer. Fall has arrived.







Friday, September 14, 2007

To Pee or Not to Pee – Part Deux

On my recent travels, my washroom visits ran the gamut from hole-in-the-ground to sparkly chrome-like sinks with posh washroom attendants in crisp uniforms! I’ll have to admit that one of the cleanest, nicest public washrooms was ironically a rest stop in India on the highway between Bombay and Hyderabad! But nothing compared to the toilet at the youth hostel I stayed at in Kyoto, Japan. I entered the toilet and found myself facing something that looked like the Captain’s Chair from the Starship Enterprise. There were side panels filled with all sorts of little buttons and big buttons and one rather large an ominous looking red one. I had used other Japanese washrooms that had heated seats and others that were decorated with Pokemon and Digimon characters, but this was something altogether different.

I sat down nervously. As soon as my butt hit the seat, the toilet began to play music! A nice little Japanese melody rang out in what I could only assume was an attempt to mask any unwelcome bowel noises that might occur during the process. Actually, a very useful invention!

Feeling a bit adventurous, I jabbed at one of the buttons that had a picture that looked like a fountain on it. An icy jet of water shot out into my girly bits and I couldn’t but help let out a gasp of surprise, which if anyone was listening would have sounded like I having a bit too much in there! It was then that I noticed a button indicating a temperature and guessing that was for the water, I upped it a bit and the water temperature went up. Ah, MUCH better!

Feeling a bit more adventurous, I jabbed at a couple other buttons and had jets of water steam out from all angles at me. In a panic tried to stop the water, but the more buttons I pushed, the more things happened including the music going louder, the auto flush was activated and the jet sprays went totally berserk. I was too afraid to get up for fear of the water spraying everywhere and by now was convinced that the entire Hostel was probably standing outside the toilet door wondering just WHAT I was experimenting with in there!

Just when I thought I’d have to sit on that potty seat for all eternity, I spied the big red button again. By this point, I had nothing to loose. Either it would either stop everything or catapult me through the door like a punch out seat in a fighter jet – either way I would be off the potty!

Thankfully, it was the former!

I cautiously stuck my head out of the toilet door. There was one dude brushing his teeth at the sink. Studiously avoiding eye contact, I muttered “g’mornin” and headed to the door with as much dignity as a soggy-bum, red-faced, morning-haired girl could muster. I was almost out, when he turned to me and gave me a smile – “Happened to me yesterday,” he said. “At least, you didn’t have to call through the door for help”

Feeling like I was the Queen Bee of Techno-Savvy Potties, I bestowed my most beaming smile on him and waltzed out with my head held high – and toilet paper trailing from under my shoe.



Monday, September 10, 2007

To Pee or Not to Pee

It is a well known fact that technology and I are only the remotest of friends. I have no clue how to operate an Ipod, occassionally have problems with my microwave and having to use more than 2 remotes to turn on the TV is a major stressor! The very fact that I’m able to keep this blog up and running is in my opinion nothing short of a bloody miracle! Of late I find that technology is advancing so quick that too many ordinary things are being affected. It’s as if techno geeks aren’t satisfied with making appliances faster, phones smaller and computers just short of having independent thinking that they now have to turn to everyday objects to try and “upgrade” those as well.

Take toilets for example. The very fact that they flush and all the poopy stuff is sucked away and you never have to see it again is itself a wonder of modern innovation. Of course the fact that little has changed with the design and working of a toilet was reason enough for folks to go tinkering around and make all sorts of “adjustments”.

Like the new “auto flush” toilets that you find in most public washrooms. They’re set to flush after you’re finished, but sometimes they have a mind of their own and randomly go off while you’re still sitting. Then of course, you end up with a wet bum – and that’s just not cool. In any case, most people (girls at least) do the “hover” over a public toilet seat so all that results in is the toilet not flushing when you’re done. Um - Ewww!


Or worse – you’re done and you stand up, zip up and are almost about to leave when you realize that it hasn’t flushed! Well, you can’t just leave, so you end up having to do the “fake sit” for a second or two. And if it still doesn’t flush, then you’re standing there in the stall peeping down into the bowl and praying that the damn thing just flushes so that you can get going!

But even if the toilet behaves and flushes when it’s supposed to, you have to then reckon with the washbasin. Every auto sink is different, so I never know whether to wave my hands under the faucet or near the wall of the sink or in any other place. I end up doing a sort of random hokie pokie kind of motion around the sink and eventually I have water. But the water disperses only in short 5 second bursts and then you have to start all over again and find that “sweet spot”.

Supporters of these new age washrooms state that these devices make it more hygienic etc etc, but really, after all of that hoop la everyone leaves the washroom by grabbing the same dirt and germ ridden door handle – so just WHAT was the point of all of the above????!!!




Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Reveling in Reading!

Recent Buys:
Peter Pan, Brick Lane, Tales of Oz, The Clocks, The Grass is Always Greener over the Septic Tank, Bart Simpson’s Guide to Life, A Little Princess, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Witches, Around the World in 80 Days, The Scarecrow of Oz, Tictok of Oz, The Magic of Oz, The Mousetrap and other plays, The Clocks, Elephants can Remember, Postern of Fate, Murder on the Blue Train, Death in the Clouds, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, The Golden Ball and other stories, The Big Four, Murder in Retrospect, Dead Man’s Mirror, Welcome Home – Tales from Small Town Canada, Hickory Dickory Dock, Emily Climbs, Akin to Anne – short stories from PEI, Shopaholic and Sister, Shopaholic Ties the Knot



Currently Reading:
Bomaby, meri jaan – One of my India trip buys; a collection of short stories, essays, poems and even a recipe for a typical “Bombay” dish by some of the biggest names in literature, all trying to capture the spirit, the essence and the very core that is this (in)famous city where millions flock to follow their dreams and millions more watch their dreams slip away.

The Six Wives of Henry VIII – Three Katherines, Two Annes and a Jane – all married to one of the most powerful and most notoriously fickle of English Kings. Divorce, beheadings, still borns and bastards – and this is still the early stages of the book!

Death in the Clouds – for a little light reading to get distract from the weight of the other books – Dame Agatha Christie’s story of murder accomplished at 3000 ft does the trick!


On my to-read wish List:
Amritsar to Lahore – An account of author Stephen Alter’s journey across the contentious border between India and Pakistan in 1997 (the 50th anniversary of Partition), interviewing people from all classes and castes and questioning national and individual identity, the territorial imperatives of history, and the mythology of borders.

The Assassin’s Song – I tried reading ‘The Gunny Sack’ by the same author – M.G Vassanji – before, but was unable to sift through the confusion of names and sub stories and found the entire narrative a bit tiresome and gave up. Have heard wonderful things about the book from Lotus Reads and on the strength of her recommendation, am going to give Vassanji another shot.




Sunday, September 02, 2007

That Jittery Feeling

I'm tired of being back home. And being responsible. And being a good girl.

Sick. And. Tired.

I want to go see the woods that Liisa is talking about.
I want to go back to Japan and try for another sight of Mt. Fuji.
I want to chill out on the shores of the lake in Udaipur and read my fav books.
I want to explore caves and caverns and climb mountains (ok, small hills) and trek in the rainforrest.

I want..... I want..... I want.

Instead, I will go off and shower and get ready for family day at the ballpark. Smile Intact.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Little Indian in the Big Woods

Determined to keep up with my new policy of expanding my horizons and making new friends, I accepted an invite from a friend to go on a camping trip. This was really taking a leap of faith as (1) I knew said friend in a very remote fashion and hadn’t even met him in the past 2 years and (2) I didn’t know any of the other people going on the trip.

Still, the mere prospect of finally participating in yet another truly “Canadian” summer experience” just thrilled me to the bones and I was all gung-ho with my preparations. Even the daunting forecast of thunder showers for Friday night and most of Saturday was not enough to deter me from enjoying my weekend.

I was supposed to get off work at noon on Friday and armed with all sorts of helpful hints from my camping savvy coworkers, I proceeded to Canadian Tire to pick up all the handy dandies I needed. Good thing everything was on sale coz as a Camping Virgin, I needed it all! Ropes, tarps, air mattress, sleeping bag, lantern, torch, insect repellent and more…. I piled it all into my cart. Next stop – the grocery store where I bought so many provisions that one would have suspected I was barricading myself in a bunker for the next 5 years! And last (but by no way least) a trip to the LCBO!!

By 6:30 when friend and friend’s friends came by to pick me up, I had 2 coolers, 2 folding chairs, 1 sleeping bag, 1 air mattress and 1 knapsack ready and waiting on my front steps. The car was already filled to the brim, so I had to leave one chair and one cooler behind, but I did manage to squeeze all the beer into various nooks and crannies. Wasn’t about to go off into the middle of nowhere with a bunch of strangers with out some backup!

Most of the folks were easy going and nice enough to get to know. Of course every rule has its exception and in this case the exception was Très Bossy Girl who’s constant nagging and whining and bitching about every little thing made me want to pitch her head first into the lake with a very LARGE rock tied to her feet! I’m sure I would have done the world a great service.

In spite of Little Missy Bossy Two Shoes, I did have a wonderful time. Not even the gloomy and wet weather could put a damper on our sprits. We indulged in game after game of Bluff and Snap; Charades provided hours of entertainment and we nearly brought down the tent with one hilarious game of Twister!

And of course there was the FOOD. Honestly, we’d hardly finished one meal before we’d get planning on the next! Food DOES taste so much better in picnic form. And the stranger the combinations, the better things tasted. And I’ll bet it was the ultra delish smells that brought a baby skunk a-sniffing round our garbage one night. Trying to shoo away a skunk and not alarm or annoy it in the process is a delicate science I tell ya! Fortunately there was no spraying incident and we did get a good laugh and pictures of Pepe perched on the bench delicately nibbling at a left over burger. I’m sure he went back to his friends telling them about how nicely the Two Feets treated him and how they should ALL drop by on the other Two Feets for a friendly visit! That probably accounted for the panicked yells we heard from other campsites later on at night!

I was back home Sunday night – exhausted, sleepy and a bit grimy. I was really glad that I could say that my first ever camping experience had been a tremendous success, but was equally happy to be back to my comfy bed and hot shower!




Monday, August 20, 2007

Trainspotting

On a day when the temperature in the shade is a balmy 38 C, a girl gets onto the subway wearing
(1) stripped leggings
(2) a skirt
(3) a long sleeved top
(4) a halter neck undershirt
AND
(5) a Scarf!
She DID have flip-flops on, so perhaps that was her cooling balance.

A few stops later, a guy with a bike got on. He was wearing a suit, so was obviously not going to ride the bike. Was he taking it for a train ride then?

In the seat besides me - College/ University student watching recording of lecture on his funky IMac typing simultaneous notes on the same, while listening to his Ipod and occasionally checking blackberry for messages.
This guy would be fun to watch during a power blackout. Kinda like the cold turkey patients at the Betty Ford clinic!


Twenty something year old with faux fashion label clothing and wet, limp just-out-of-the-shower hair gets onto the Rapid Transit. In the 9 minutes from end to end of the RT line, she manages to brush and twist her hair into a chic bun; apply eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara and curl her eyelashes (ouch!); apply foundation, blush, lip liner and lipstick; check teeth for breakfast remnants and dab on a bit of perfume. I almost wanted to applaud her when she finally put down the last beauty product!!

And finally,

Old man gets onto subway car wearing old but neat suit. Carrying walking stick, reads newspaper – seems like any other old man commuter. Suddenly something moving on his jacket catches my eye. I try to peer past the raised newspaper and then I see it – a mouse in his top pocket! It’s only a matter of minutes before the lady sitting next to him gives a petrified shriek and rushes to the other end of the subway car.

Old man looks up startled. Smiles. Keeps reading.

And folks wonder why I love taking transit!




Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dating: Likes and Dislikes

I like,
  • The whoop-de-doo, roller coaster feeling in my stomach I’ve been getting of late when I think about a certain someone.
  • The thrill of seeing a new email or txt message – also from same someone.
  • Learning new things about the person and piecing it all together like a big jigsaw puzzle.
  • The anticipation of the next meeting where one hopes one will have as much of a good time as our last one.

    I do not like,
  • Playing the dating game.
How long should I wait before replying to a message? How long should the actual reply be? How long is too long before he calls back/ asks me out again? This whole process is driving me NUTS!

I was discussing this with The Blonde One on Sunday while we sat around making polite conversation at a Baby Shower. She gave me much hope for the situation by telling me that her boyfriend took all of 3 months to call her after their first meeting. After hearing that, I decided that my situation was downright enviable and immediately felt heaps better.

Anyway, date # 1 on Tuesday went well. We stuck to the tried and true movie-and-a-meal formula, which is great coz if you find that you have nothing to say to each other, you can at least talk about the movie! Fortunately there was much to say as the movie turned out to be the biggest honking piece of crap ever made and I was SO embarrassed for choosing it. Boy was rather nice over it and we giggled our way through the totally crap dialogues, abysmal emoting and completely ridiculous story lines.

Post movie dinner n drinks were also comfortable – light funny stories and personal-but-not-too-detailed experiences shared. Pre date I had made a list of “reserve conversational topics” should the chatter wane, but am happy to report did not have to resort to said list at all. Yes, I realize that this idea was stolen right out of As Good As it Gets but hey, he got the girl didn’t he???

Date ended with light kiss and a “I’ll be seeing you soon” – Him and “Yes, that would be great” – Me.

Now back to waiting.

Crap!





Friday, August 10, 2007

Like a well Matured Merlot

The best part about being one of the very youngest among your circle of friends is that you always get to feel nice and “young’ in like” when hanging out with them. The downside can be that when out on your own, getting a reality check on the fact that you are in actuality NOT all that “young’ in like” and in fact part of the +25 age bracket can be a bit of a gob smacking experience!!

It also doesn’t help that I’m hopeless when it comes to hazarding a guess about a person’s age. I tend to judge people against myself, and that’s not a good measuring bar at all as today’s teenagers look older than I do, and I have the mental maturity of a 10 year old – on a good day!

Case in point; Earlier this year when I was traveling in Osaka, I hooked up* with two Aussi dudes and we wandered around the city together discovering the joys of the Dotonbori District. As we traded emails at the end of the night, I realized that the 86 after the one guy’s name could only stand for the year he was born making him a whole 5 YEARS younger than me!!! I had just spent an entire evening with 2 people who were probably still floating in amniotic fluid while I was in Kindergarten learning my ABCs!! Blast, Bother and Damnation!

Back in my college days, I received a gem of advice from a friend’s mom.
She said – Marry/ date someone who is at least 4 years older than you, and every day of that relationship you are guaranteed to feel good about yourself! And the day he turns 50, you will rejoice even more coz you’ll have (at least) 4 more years to go!

Ironically, all of my boyfriends have been 4+ years older than me. Well, there was that one dude I dated who was my age, but he was a rebound relationship and it only lasted 2 months anyway.

I think I generally like the idea of an “older man”. Being someone who tends to bend the scales (a bit), I like the idea of being “smaller” than my partner in some tangible sense! Some of my friends will say that I stretched this concept to the extreme with my first boyfriend who was a whopping 11 years older than I. While there may not appear to be a large gap between 32 and 43, there do tend to be eyebrows raised when it is 16 and 27!

Starting a career young can also have a distinct impact on your perceived age in the workplace. Although I was younger than most of my colleagues at my previous job, most people thought I was much older simply due to the fact that I was one of the most tenured employees in the department. Didn’t do much for my ego AT ALL I tell ya, when I was occasionally treated as being totally over-the-hill by someone who was 3 years older than me!

There are days when I cannot wait to hit my 30s. I think I’m just hoping that most of my life will be “sorted” by then. Or at least the important bits.

And then there are days when I feel that already at 26 I’m an aged fossil, and that my 30s will just be too hard to handle – especially since I’ll have one foot in the grave, and the other on a banana peel!


*Hooked up as in “hung out with” you dirty gutter inhabiting minds!






Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Just Breathe.....

... is the mantra I'm repeating over and over again as I sit at my desk this morning. It's day 5 now, and the AC in our office building is STILL not working!

This all began last Wednesday when finally after suffering in the heat for half a day, management took pity on us all and sent everyone home.

Thursday was only a tad bearable and Friday was awful! Half day for everyone!

Apparently, the problem is still not fixed, and the weather forecast this morning promised that today will be a hot and humid one!

Great! Just the way to begin a new week!


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

update.

We all got sent home. Again.
This is becomming inconvenient. I'm falling behind on projects!
Stupid AC systems!








Monday, August 06, 2007

All the good things in life are - FREE!

One of the coolest things about living in Toronto is that you don't have to break open the bank to go out and have a good time. There's something for everyone in the city, and if you know where to look - lots of it is FREE FREE FREE! I've been out almost every day of this long weekend and still managed to keep my spendings to a minimum - which of course I love!

Par example......

Friday night's ball game - all comped! Tickets, food, beverages, and insults too! ;)

Saturday evening, met up with friends for Ballet in the Park - part of a series of free ballet performances by a professional Toronto troupe to expose more people to the arts. The show was lovely, the sets beautiful and the dancers amazing. I've loved the ballet since I was a wee lassie and even did classes for 5 years! My first starring role was a chocolate bon bon in the Nutcracker. Quite apt, as I was the roundest little thing in a tutu! Of course these days when I watch a ballet performance, it's always with the slightest tinge of envy at the fact that those petite dancers can be lifted, carried and generally flung about the stage in all manners of ease. I'd probably need a pro wrestler to do the honours for me!

Post performace, we headed over to a house party. Once again, free food and good company and there *might* have been a wee bit of flirting involved. Ah well.....I'm allowed!

Headed over to The Lady Killer & Cosmo Girl's place on Sunday night for movie night. Ok, so it wasn't totally free; I invested in a bottle of wine and some dessert, but it was a generally cost effective evening but still with sufficient fun and entertainment! Watched some bad Sunday night TV and then a great movie - Hot Fuzz. Same crew as Shaun of the Dead and just as hilarious.

And continuing with this weekend's theme of Fun Times for Free, I'll soon be enthroned on my comfy blanket under the Maple tree in the backyard with a nice book, a jar of ice-cold lemonade and some pecan biscuits.

My weekend has literally been - Priceless!




Saturday, August 04, 2007

BaSS - Part 3

It was Friday night with friends at the at the ballpark last evening. The guys and I had worked together back in the day and it was fun talking about old times and sharing gossip about current affairs *wink, nudge* Texas was in town and with Doc Halladay, our ace pitcher on the mound it was bound to be a good game.

And it was! Lot's of scrappy base running and timely hits and nice defense and we won 6-4!

I had been on a high pretty much all day anyway, and was prepared to be in love with the world - even Andy who was sitting a few rows away from us. During the course of the game, we exchanged pleasantries, high-fived good plays and tipped our hats to each other on the win. (ok, mine was a virtual tip!)

Then as I was making my way to the parking lot I get a call from him. And I quote:

"Hey, I have to kill an hour - want to go get a drink?"

No, Jacka**, I don't want to be your "kill time" buddy while you wait for your gf to get in to town.

Just in case I didn't make that clear enough last night.







Friday, August 03, 2007

Boys are SO Stupid - Part 2

So last weekend Lady Killer and Cosmo Girl hosted a party that had all the trimmings of a summer BBQ fiesta!
Good food, good friends and the definitive signs of good times…. (Yes, there are pics!)

Thanks to some totally awesome Sangria followed by a bottle (or two) of vino blanc, I was delightfully tipsy by the end of the night – which is about when that I discovered one of J’s friends had been showing a more than cursory interest in my drunken rambling stories. Drawn in by his charming smile and deep blue eyes, I continued to spew stories to him about life and love and loss, and one thing led to another and we ended up playing a very enjoyable game of tonsil hockey for the better part of the night and into the wee hours of the morning.

In the clear (and strong) light of day, a bit of mortification began to seep into my system, but Deep Blue seemed to not want to let go of the moment bestowing tiny little butterfly kisses on me – when no one was looking.

When we parted, he asked if he could call me and took my number and email.

On Monday, I received one polite message on Facebook (actually a reply to MY message) and then – NOTHING.

It’s been 5 days now, and no contact.

No phone call.

No email.

No message on stupid Facebook.

Nothing.

Nada.

Nichego. (That’s Russian you plebeian!)

Ah well. At least he was a good kisser! Not a COMPLETE waste of my time! ;)



For more on the "Boys are SO Stupid" series, see here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dressed for Success

I begin every work day with the same routine. Repeatedly hit the clanging alarm, drag myself out of bed, stumble to the washroom, have a shower, stumble back to my room and then stand before my closet waiting for inspiration or divine intervention to hit me. Every morning I stand there with the knowledge that I have exactly 34.5 seconds to decide on what to wear and figure out if my choice of clothing is (a) washed (b) Out of the dryer (c) moderately unwrinkled (d) still fits me before I will start to fall behind on my schedule and inevitably be – late and running for the train.

When (note, no “ifs”) I’m terribly rich and moderately famous, I shall have a personal shopper and personal dresser. I shall then look as wonderfully turned out as some of the uber glamour chicks I see each day on the subway. At 7 am, when even the sun is still struggling to shine, these freaks of nature are well dressed, perfectly matched, prudently manicured, carefully coiffed and primed and pruned so that they look like they’ve just stepped out of a runway catalogue and onto the platform. They never run for trains (primarily coz they’d break their leg running in 4 inch overpriced shoes) and they never smudge their lip gloss as they serenely sip coffee and flip the pages of their newspaper. I also suspect that there’s actually no coffee in their overpriced flask – it just happened to match with the day’s ensemble.

Regardless, one day I will look just like them – in larger size clothing of course. And then even though I don’t need to take the subway to work anymore I will get onto a 7 am train looking just as coiffed and well groomed as they do, ‘cept I’ll be sipping on actual coffee of course!




Friday, July 27, 2007

Plans

The weekend is almost upon us and I have just 2 hrs and a bit until I'm OUTTA HERE. Woohoo for Summer flex time and half days every other Friday!

Lots of plans for this weekend are bouncing around trying to get my attention right now. Topmost on the list are of course my hair session and pedicure this afternoon. There will be some MAJOR primping happening - hopefully all with great results!

Other plans include:
  • Meeting H and Chudley this evening to check out the Yonge/ Dundas festival. Highlights include a set by comedian Russell Peters.
  • Checking out the HipHop festival at the Harbourfront Centre.
  • Browsing through the H&M sale while waiting for H and Chuds - who are perennially late.
  • Checking out the newest additions to the BMV outlet at Yonge/ Dundas. Have vowed to keep myself to a 3 book purchase limit. OK, maybe 4.

Rain is in the forecast for later today, so actual plans might turn out:

  • Get primped
  • Check out BMV
  • Browse at H&M
  • Meet H and Chuds
  • Find pub
  • Chat & drink & catch up!

Which are also perfectly lovely things to look forward to!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Happily Ever After?

A sunny afternoon, downtown in the city. A girl walks down the street sipping on a cool summer drink. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a big brown dog jumps up at her and her drink goes flying.

Frazzled, she looks around for the mutt and instead finds herself gazing into the most beautiful pair of melting brown eyes – and no it wasn’t the dog. Nice Eyes has a smile to match as well. She notices that his lips are moving, but she’s too intent in trying not to let her jaw (visibly) drop, so it’s about a minute later that she realizes that he’s asked a question and is waiting for a reply. Damn… what was the question? She opts for a laugh and a mumbled “Sure” hoping that it’s the right answer!

Apparently it does, coz Nice Eyes steers her towards the nearest coffee shop and gallantly buys her a new drink. All the while the puppy has been licking her drink sticky fingers. As he apologizes once again she realizes where she’s seen him before. On the baseball field at the stadium down the road pitching for the home team. And oh yeah – he’s married!

She smiles back at him, says thanks and trips away down the street. So close.




Monday, July 23, 2007

The Last Word in Magic

In the end, it was all about Love.

For 10 years now, J.K Rowling’s masterpiece books about the boy wizard and his magical world have had many a lesson in morality and ethics, friendship and loyalty, truth and courage, loss and laughter crafted within the stories and the characters of the 7 novels. But the one theme that turned out to be more important that any magic spell or mystical article or powerful weapon was – LOVE. Simple, undying, beautiful, eternal Love.

The concept of Love has played a central theme throughout all the books. It was Love that first stayed the hand of death to the infant Harry through his mother’s sacrifice of her life and 6 years later it was once again Love that showed Harry the way to his fulfilling his destiny and to his ultimate sacrifice.

It was friendship – tried and true – that helped Harry overcome many arduous challenges over the years. And what is friendship if not a version of Love?

For someone who has always been cynical of this particular four letter word and more so of late, the message hit home harder than ever.

For, to give up on Love is to loose out on life itself.

Love not only takes us to the dizzying heights of joy and happiness, but also grounds us, keeps us safe and comforts us in our time of despair; brings out the humanity in us all. It is Love that shows us the way when all exits seem have been barred and Love that promises us the dawn of a new day when the night seems everlasting and endless. To neglect such a strong emotion from our lives would be akin to splitting one’s soul and thereby tarnishing one’s being.

Do I think the books were perfect? By all means no, there were many gaps in the story that never got answered and many characters and sub plot that were loosely woven at best. I loved the roller coaster effect of the final book, with the twists and turns when you least expected it. I’m not all that fussed about the brief epilogue provided, but I also understand that Rowling felt like she had to have more than just an imagined “Happily Ever After”. I guess she wanted us, the fans to KNOW that there was an ever after, not just hope that it happened.

I am now filled with a relief that the wait is finally over, but also a deep sense of sadness in that this is the end – no more stories to come. But as long as I am able, I will read. And as long as I read, I will dream.

So although the world of Hogwarts has been closed, I know another world – just as spectacular – is waiting for me as I reach for my next book.




Saturday, July 21, 2007

Grrrrr......

It's past noon now and my Harry Potter book has yet to arrive.

I've been sitting out on my front steps since 10:30, and every time a car/ van/ bicycle drove by, I jumped up in hope.

After 1.5 hours of hopeless jumping I'm back indoors.

What's the point of the pre order if you have to WAIT this long????

**********************************

Update

New book FINALLY received at 3:54 pm.
It's now 11:15 and I'm done reading it.

J.K Rowling, you are a genius!

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