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 Fran├žaise 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.


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