Friday, November 28, 2008


When you're a mere hours away from a big trip, with your bags still not packed, your room looking like a tornado has hit and amazingly every single pair of underwear that you own is nowhere to be found..... the only thing to do is pour yourself a glass of brewsky and kick back and relax. The bags can pack themselves and after all, there are shops in Oz!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


At 10:32 am yesterday, the door bell at work rang and a delivery boy dropped off a package for me. Written on the card - Bon Voyage from The Leprechaun.

While trying to fend the barrage of questions from my colleagues who descended on me like vultures on a kill (perils of a predominantly female office), I was also trying very hard to not break down and cry. I'd never ever gotten flowers from anyone before and the fact that they came from him, and that he made the effort from all the way across the Atlantic made the gift even more special.

Even so, I still don't want him to make fun of my lists! ;)

PS: The little bear has been named Bonnie and will be going home with me today to live in my bookcase with my other bears

Saturday, November 22, 2008

An Open Letter

My dearest Beany,

You do not get to make fun of my lists.

I'm normally a very careful person. I think about things a lot before I do them, and I like planning - a lot. I plan things down to minute details (which is primarily why I'm so go at my job!) I like the comfort around making a list of things to do, and then the satisfaction of seeing each item crossed off. It gives me a sense of accomplishment - however small. A list makes me feel like I'm in control of the situation. And believe me, I like having control. In fact, I'm all ABOUT the control.

So, you can possibly understand just how out of control my life felt when, a mere 4 days after meeting you I fell totally, completely, utterly and madly in love with you.

When I met you, everything I thought I knew about love went out the window. My carefully laid plans about not getting involved in another relationship, not putting myself into the path of turmoil, not allowing myself to be open to the hurt and pain that inevitably follows all went to hell in a handbasket. In the short time that we spent together, you succeed in making me loose control of all the carefully created barriers I had erected around me and they all came tumbling down like a stack of cards. You made me forget about all the things that I had guarded myself against and give in to the whirling dirvish of fun and freedom I feel when I am with you.

This crazy ride that we are both on is moving so fast that I cannot seem to fully grasp hold of the reins. Usually, I like to be able to steer; to know what I'm heading towards. And right now I cannot. The ride is thrilling and exciting and giving me that fun whoop-dee-do feeling in my tummy. But in reality, I'm terrified of heights and if you look closely I'm holding on to the side bar for dear life.

So, if making lists is the only thing in my control right now, please, let me have it. Please don't laugh at me for doing it and understand that right now I need to have this one little piece of stability in my otherwise turned up-side down life.


Sunday, November 16, 2008


Day 1
My mum was admitted into the hospital last week on Wednesday. Her surgery (Werthers' Hysterectomy) was scheduled for 8am, which meant that she need to check in at 6am. So, accordingly the entire family woke up at some ungodly hour and trotted off the the hospital.
After getting her settled into the room and prepped for surgery I left and hastened downtown to work. Got there just in time to set my phone/email to "out of office" grab my files and head over to Union station to catch a train out to Waterloo which is about 2 hours west of the T Dot. Got there, attended my meetings, gave my presentations, met the people I needed to meet, shook the hands I needed to shake and then it was right back to TO. Went over to the hospital that night to stay with my mum. Thankfully she was loopy on morphine and snored most of the night away. Didn't get too much sleep myself as the room was freezing (but mum was hot), the floor was icy cold (even through the sleeping bag) and it seemed like my mum and the dude next door were competing for who has the loudest post-operative snore.

Day 2

My dad relieved me the next morning and I trooped off home to catch some much needed zzzzzzs. Woke up at 11am and worked from home for the rest of the day. Back to the hospital for the night shift. Mum was moving around now, and so this night was filled with trips back and forth to the washroom.

Day 3

9 am the next morning. Where the HELL is my brother? He was supposed to relieve me at 8 am.
9:54 - Brother finally shows up. Sans coffee. Grrrrrrrrrr. Run back home. No time for a nap as have to sit in on conference call at 10:30. Continued working right through the afternoon. Trippy* and the Beer Baron rescued me that evening and I headed off with them to oogle at Daniel Craig's ass. (ok, just Trippy and I were doing the oogling) Back to the hospital after the movie, that's when the fun REALLY began.
Woke up at around 1 am coz my entire body felt like it was on FIRE. Apparently I had been itching in my sleep and my arms and tummy and legs were all red and there were some weird-ass looking welts all over me. Realizing that I hadn't had too much of sleep over the past 2 days, there was the distinct possibility that I was dreaming up this entire episode. A quick check in at the nurse's station confirmed that I was indeed awake and in need to medical attention. Well, good thing I was in a hospital! So, after making sure my mum knew where I would be, off I went to the ER.

It was easy enough to check in and get my "wait-in-line" number. The hard part was trying to find a seat in the waiting room where I could avoid catching another disease! It was truly hard to avoid all the coughers and sneezy and feverish folk who had strategically placed themselves all over the waiting area so that no matter which way you faced, you were in direct line with one (or more) of them. I spied a seat that SEEMED to be angled just right. As I settled in, I at once realized WHY that seat was empty. The girl across from me looked like she was going to hurl at any minute. Eesh! Well, it was too late to move; All the other "good" spots were taken. And besides, I was already drawing curious looks as I was in PJs and bedroom slippers with a big shawl wrapped around me. So it was sit tight and hope for the best!

About 1.5 hours and 20 songs on my mp3 player later, my name is called and I'm told to "....follow the green dots to room 9." Feeling a little like Indy Jones on a treasure quest, I comply with direction only to find myself in another little waiting area; what a let down! I guess they sort out patients by their symptoms/illness so I was with a group of fellow symptomizers.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) by the time I actually saw a doctor, the hives/rash had subsided so I actually didn't have anything to show him. He looked at me most suspiciously (well, who could blame him? I was wearing cheeky monkey PJs and fuzzy blue bedroom slippers) as I tried to explain what exactly the rash looked liked. Anyway, without any current symptoms there was little he could do so he told me to get some Benadryl and come back if it got worse. Great, 3 hours later he tells me to do what I wanted to do in the first place. We did figure out however what DIDN'T cause the hives!
- Not food: symptoms would have manifested with 15 mins to half hour of eating.
- Not a bite: symptoms would be localized to one area of the body.
- Not medication: I wasn't on any (though I could see he doubted that)

So back I went to my mum's room to try and catch whatever sleep I could sitting upright in a very uncomfortable hospital chair.**

Day 4As soon as it was possible (i.e 6 am) I called my brother and told him to come pick me up - and bring some Benadryl! Went home and crashed and was thrilled that the hives had all disappeared when I woke up. Thinking that everything was peachy once more, I headed off to get my hair cut. By the time I got back, my mum had been discharged from the hospital and we had a whole load of people over at our place all supposedly trying to "help" but in reality they were just all in way! Finally got them all out and my mum settled in, just in time for the hives to flare up again! Great!

A quick call to Telehealth Ontario assured me that I didn't need to run back to the ER, instead keep up the regular doses of Benadryl and apply lots of cooling lotions on affected areas. This time around, it was all over my back which of course meant that I couldn't sit down or lie down very comfortably and that meant that I had to sleep on my belly all night long.

Day 5 (today)Woke up this morning and the rash on my back is all gone - only to be replaced by a rash all over my neck and upper chest and around my shoulders. So its been regular guzzling of Benadryl all day long and constant lathering in lotion and here I am!

Wonder what tomorrow will bring???

*The artist formerly known as Menace will henceforth be referred to as Trippy. Why? 1. She didn't like Menace and threatened to withdraw breakfast pancakes until I made the change (that sounds menacing to me!) and 2. She trips and falls down rather a lot. There is a funny story about Trippy, a road in south India and a local bus; but that's for another day.

**Just why ARE hospital chairs so bloody uncomfortable? I mean, surely they know that there will be some very concern (and very tired) relatives and friends visiting and/or spending the night. At the very least the hospital administration can say - Let's give them some nice chairs so that they in turn don't have to show up in the hospital with a strained back!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Like the Girl Guides

In preparation of the big trip, I have been making lists. So far I have:


  • Backpack
  • Khakis (just found out old ones have big hole in strategic place)
  • Running shoes/hiking boots - cannot figure out which would be more comfy/apt
  • Extra battery for camera
  • Sunscreen - spray-on and waterproof
  • Travel size shampoo/conditioner/lotion
  • Cheap watch with alarm
  • Wedding card (1)
  • Christmas cards (10)
  • Misc cards (5)
  • Pendrive
  • Moneybelt
  • Travel journal
  • Current converter/adapter
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pocket flashlight
  • Convert money
  • Suspend gym membership
  • Check if phone can be put on hold. Not! Bummer.
  • Sell TTC pass
  • Call VISA and sign up for online billing
I'm sure this post will be amended several times!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Holiday Plans

**Updated: New Zealand and detailed Sydney itinerary added in***

With exactly 3 weeks to go until my "Down Under" holiday commences, thought I'd share some of my intended travel plans.
Nov 29
Depart T Dot 09:35 am for LAX. Yey for friend's buddy pass!

Transfer to Quantas flight to Wellington departing 20:30 PT.

Nov 30
Loose it somewhere over the Pacific!

Dec 1
Arrive into Wellington, NZ - local time 0930 hrs.Chill out at friend's place, get over jet lag!!

Dec 2
Wander around Wellington city

Dec 3
Tongariro Trek - hopefully can be done as a day trip. (More deets needed)

Dec 4
Catch ferry to south island (Picton); Transfer onto train to Kaikoura. Spend evening/night/morning exploring Kaikoura

Dec 5
Catch train to Christchurch. (3:30pm) Arrive Christchurch at 6:45.

Dec 6Christchurch

Dec 7
TranzAlpine Train to Greymouth on the west coast. I've heard that this is one of the top 5 most beautiful train journeys in the world, and having recently seen snippits of the same on a tv special, I'd have to agree! Arrive Greymouth 12:45pm.

Dec 7/8
Greymouth and surrounding areas.

Back to Wellington either late Dec 8 or early Dec 9.
Flight to Sydney Dec 9 at 3pm. Have to figure out best/quickest way back. Hoping I can fly back to save time.

Dec 9
Dep Wellington 3pm. Fly to Sydney, NSW. Arrive local time 1650
Staying with cousin and hubby next 2 nights.

Dec 10-12
General Sydney sightseeing/exploring that could include all/some of the following:
- Walk in The Rocks
- Sydney Harbour boat cruise
- Climb the Harbour Bridge (if I have the gumption)
Bondi to Coogee Walk (recommended by Sydney cousin) - start on Bondi Beach and then walk along the coast/beach line of about 5 beaches. Apparently the best views of ocean and (v imp) surfer boys?!! Cap off walk with meat pie and chips at the other end.
- Meet the Ant (friend from TO) and do some catching up.
- Find out about cheap/discounted tickets to see "Priscilla, the Musical" (apparently, very Sydney thing to do!)
- Find time to rehearse solo for friend Bitch's wedding. Ack!

Dec 12
Move to good friend Bitch's place. Bitch is getting married to childhood friend/sweetheart and am tres happy to be part of it. Bitch's 2 bridesmaids also spending pre wedding night at her place. Huuum, can anyone say PJ party???

Dec 13
Bitch's wedding! Yey!! (Dammit, need to find nice dress to wear. Bridesmaid dress too big and cumbersome to carry)

Dec 14
Post wedding brunch with close family et friends followed by cruise in Sydney harbour.

Dec 15/16
More general touring around Sydney organized by Bitch for out-of-town guests

Dec 17
Fly to Alice Springs.

Dec 18
Poke around Alice Springs

Dec 19
Day trip to Ayers Rock

Dec 20-22
Camping in the East MacDonnell Ranges. **Still have to figure out if I can join a group here. Don't fancy doing this on my own! Any ideas/suggestions??***

Dec 23
Fly to Melbourne. From Melbourne, head out to Mansfield - approx 2 hrs north east. Cousin and wife and kids have a ranch outside of town. The entire clan is meeting up for Christmas.

Dec 24-26
Mansfield with dad's family

Dec 27-31
In/around Melbourne. Spending some time with various bits of mum's family
**again, accepting suggestions of sites to see, things to do, places to eat at***

Jan 1
Fly to Gold Coast with cousin. (Did not feel like spending 2 days in a car with Aunt, Uncle and 3 of their grand kids)

Jan 2-6
Gold Coast - wide open (Looking at you Jules!)

Jan 7
Fly back home. Brisbane to LAX, then on to the T Dot.

Jan 8
Back to work (and reality) Euck!

Friday, November 07, 2008


15 year old Brandon Crisp had been missing since Thanksgiving Day (October 13) when he left home after an argument with his parents over his seeming obsession with his XBox. For more details on the story see here. Yesterday, the Ontario Provincial Police formally called off the search, after a body matching the teen's description was found in a wooded area just outside of Barrie - his hometown.

Like everyone else, I too had been following the developing story. With every passing day, the chances of finding the boy alive grew slimmer; and my anger grew bigger. I was angry with Brandon Crisp. So angry, that I wanted him to be found, and then sit him down and give him the talking-to of a lifetime. Then make sure he was grounded for the rest of puberty.

To me, what that boy did was not only basically stupid but more so supremely selfish. I cannot even imagine the anxiety that his parents and family went through while he was missing followed by the cruel pain of now knowing that even the slim hope that they had clung to for the past 3 weeks was all in vain.

I cannot imagine that they will ever be able to forgive themselves - even though they were not to blame for him taking off. They would have been called bad parents if they had not tried to curb his addiction. So, basically they were damned if they did or did not - either way.

Have they already started to turn on each other? It is well known that many marriages do not survive the trauma of the death of a child, especially accidental death. Will the other children (two girls, both younger) have to suffer the added pain and suffering of a split home over and above loosing their brother?

I do not know what Brandon Crisp was feeling in his last moments on this earth. I imagine that the days and nights he spent in the woods were not pleasant. I hope and I pray that he is now at peace. Certainly, no one else is.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


****Crucial Amendments********

The Irishman has been teaching me Irishisms - Irish words and phrases and Irish swear words and for good measure British swear words and lots of such words. Why is it that calling someone a "Wally" or a "Wanker" seems more refined than calling someone a "Arsehole"* or "Moron"? Sounds much nicer, and still has the same effect. Of course, if one wishes to properly and truly swear at someone, Hindi (more specifically the variety spoken in Bombay), is GREAT. But that's for another post.

Sidebar: I've decided that referring to the Irishman as The Irishman is getting rather tedious. Also, it is rather impersonal. Yes, he's Irish, but he's also so much more! And since everyone else on the blog gets to have nice snappy nic names, why not him? So, after much pondering here's the decree: The Irishman will henceforth be known as Beanpole. Yes, the name is quite apt as he is well over the 6ft mark and more so to me because I just about make the 5ft4" mark. Barely. And no, you durrty minded freaks, it has nothing to do with his *ahem* manhood, though let me just state right now on record that he's certainly not lacking in said area. ;)

Anyway, where was I? Right - learning new words.

And it's not just with words (swear or otherwise) that I'm trying. I have suddenly taken to reading all and much about the weird and wonderful world of Rugby. Beanpole is a big fan total nutter about that game, and apparently so is the rest of the family. Mommy Beanpole (who is actually rather wee), Big Brother Beanpole and Little Brother Beanpole are all apparently super addicted and they spend an extraordinary amount of time calling each other (long distance) to discuss recent games. (matches?) So far, my education has included
a) the teams he supports (Munster and Leinster - don't they sound like 2 of the dwarfs?)
b) their team colours and unis
c) the match between Munster and the All Blacks in 1978 was historic in every way (and some day I'm going to have to watch the bloody thing)
d) that Ireland generally loose to Scotland that Ireland is a damn good team
e) If Ireland isn't playing, you don't care who wins as long as England looses.

**In conversation with His Beanpoleness last night, he asked me what exactly I had said about my basic understanding of the sport, and so I told him. Apparently, even my "basics" are all wrong, hence the above amendments.** (Damn, I almost messed up the entire relationship there!)

My education is been sadly impeded by the fact that I am a visual learner and need to see/do/touch my way around something new, and so far most of the education has been him trying to explain things to me over Skype. Suffice to say I'm horribly confused about the sport and the only fact that I was able to fathom myself is that you have throw the ball (is it called a ball?) backwards. Beer Baron, in an attempt to help told me that I just needed to know about a Hooker (eh?), Lock and Scrum and that the person with the most broken bones looses. Beer Baron didn't however expand on those terms, so the concepts are still fuzzy.

As if long distance dating wasn't hard enough already!

*Spellcheck seems to want to change Arsehole to Arsenal. Even as a non soccer person I am thinking that is poetic justice!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


That's the sound of me slapping my hand against my forehead.

Why, you ask?

Well some weeks ago, I was chatting with a dance acquaintance about my upcoming trip to AUS. Said acquaintance is a pilot with Air Canada and often flies to Sydney. As we were chatting, she mentioned that it would nice if she could join me in Sydney and hang out for a bit. "Sure," I said. "That sounds great." Then she asked what I'm doing after Sydney, and I said that I was thinking of heading off to the Northern Territory to do some camping/hiking in the outback. "That sounds great," said she. "I've always wanted to do that. Perhaps I can take a few days off and tag along." Once again, I agreed thinking that it would be nice to have company on this rather desolate of adventures. It was agreed that she would check with the airline about getting time off and get back to me by the end of the week. 

Two weeks, two phone calls and three emails later, I still haven't heard from her and I'm getting antsy as I want to go ahead and finalize my internal travel plans. Logic (and the Irishman) tells me to go ahead anyway. If she was really interested, she'd connect with me. Anyway, I finally manage to touch base with her last Thursday and as I'm telling her about my plan to hike/camp out in the East MacDonnell Ranges, she's suddenly asking me about new year's eve plans in Melbourne. A bit confused, I say that I don't have a set plan but I'm sure my cousins will come up with something. She then proceeds to tell me all her ideas for new year's eve in Melbourne. Still a little confused, I clarify - XX, are you planning to going to Melbourne as well? "Well yes", she replies. "Melbourne for New Year's just sounds great, and so I've decided to go there as well." "But XX," I say with much trepidation, "I'm going to be spending most of my time in Melbourne with my family. In fact, I'm not even going to be IN Melbourne for Christmas as my cousin lives on a ranch in the country and the entire family is heading over there for a few days. But, hey, I'll be back on the 27th and we can hang out again - if you want."

"Oh" says XX. "You're going to be with your family. Hummm, I forgot about Christmas. Well, I guess I can come along to your cousins ranch and then we can come back to Melbourne together."

Totally panicking now, I mumble something about not being sure if my cousin has room for any more people seeing as how he's already hosting about 20 people at his place. Her reply; "Pixy, I don't do alone. I'm not like you. Christmas in the country is not exactly what I'd planned, but under the circumstances, it will just have to do."

Eh? Did I even INVITE you.... you spazzy self centered c*nt???? And what moron can't see that if I want to spend Christmas with my family, well then that's my prerogative??? This is MY holiday that you've just hijacked and now YOU want to make the rules???? GAH!!!!

Heroically maintaining my self composure, I tell her that I'm afraid I cannot impose on my family any more and that if she wants to join me in Melbourne, she will have to amuse herself for the 4 days I'm away, whether or not its what she DOES. If she is still interested in joining me, I will wait another 2 days and then go ahead and book my internal travel tickets.

Yesterday, I get an email from her and I quote:
"I forgot that i had already booked a ski trip with my club from Dec 12-14. So I'm not sure about this whole Australia thing. Why don't' you just go ahead and book your tickets, and I'll book my own if I still want to go."

Hence, *THWAK*

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Went out to celebrate a friend's birthday last night at a bar downtown. As I stepped into the foyer of the bar what do I see but a FULLY DECORATED AND LIT CHRISTMAS TREE!!!!!

For Heavens Sake. It's only November 1st. We've BARELY gotten over Halloween. Some of us are still nursing the hangover and shame of the antics of the night before. (What IS it about a costume that brings out the slutty best in us all?)

BUT, I digress. As I was saying, November 1 is just too damn early to be seeing jolly old elves and hearing Bing Crosby carols.

And then, 10 minutes ago I was channel surfing and I saw the first Christmas themed commercial. God Help Us, Everyone.

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