Sunday, May 31, 2009


I've just been given a much delayed (but still appreciated) birthday gift in the form of a $25 coupon to The Evil Empire of Chapters. I won't go though my entire rant how how I hate to shop there (again), but free books are free books and I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. (No Shopaholic, I'm not calling you a horse)

I did make a solemn vow that I will NOT buy any more books prior to my departure, but again, free's free and besides, I'm not hanging onto that vouchers until I get back in 2 years!

So, I'm cordially soliciting advice from my readers on what book I should purchase. And why!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Socially Awkward Moment # 653

I've been recently reading about a blogger friend's travels in the land of the leprechaun and apart from the description of the beauty of the hills and little towns and general countryside, she's been talking about the food! Apparently, in Ireland, a guest is not being properly treated unless he/she is being constantly plied with food and drink in large (and alarming) quantities. In that respect I guess Irish people are very similar to my Nana! Beans has told me much about the legendary Irish breakfasts (2 fried eggs, 2 rashes of bacon, 2 sausages, 2 fried tomatoes, white pudding, black pudding and coffee. Followed by a light serving of cardiac arrest) that he regularly consumes. But the part that most worried me is that I was going to be living with him for a month or so, and what wretched effect was all that food going to have on me???? Of course, as luck would have it I'm dating Mr. High Metabolism himself and in spite of stuffing his face silly with all sorts of fried foods washed down with copious amounts of Guinness, the boy is irritatingly thin as a... well.... beanpole!

Just as I was pondering my inevitable oversized fate, I get a call from the yoga studio down the road to remind me that I had a prepaid card of 18 classes that I had bought last year and it was about to expire in August. Eureka! I'd go back to the studio and use up the card before I leave so that even if I bloat horribly after, at least I'd get to Scotland looking reasonably good!

And so, I set off to my first class yesterday after work.
Pilates Mat? Check!
Water bottle? Check!
Workout clothes? Check!
Can-do attitude? Double check!

Five minutes into the class I realised why I'd stopped going to Pilates in the first place.

For starters, I couldn't figure out if I was supposed to be breathing in or out at specific points and most of the time I was just trying to catch my breath if anything. Also, I didn't really remember what any of the exercises or poses were called, so while everyone else was tranquilly doing deep breathing exercises while holding Angel Arms over a C Curve, I on the other hand was constantly secretly peeking through half closed lids to figure out what all that mumbo-jumbo meant! And in any case, I couldn't manage most of the exercises anyway coz my amply distributed fat kept getting in the way of me and the desired effect.

But the worse hit about half way through the class when I knew....just KNEW that I was going to fart! And there was not a damn thing I could do to stop it!

I tried to hold it in for as long as possible, but seriously have YOU tried to hold on to a *parp* while simultaneously doing what in effect is pumping you stomach up and down to create the air in the first place?? It's simply not possible.

Desperately I looked around. Serene pilates poses everywhere. I could feel it slipping out, and with every iota of my being I prayed that it was a silent killer and not a trumpet solo. At least with the former there was a chance of plausible deniability! And yes, I was trying to keep my features as neutral as possible. Even harder!

Thankfully, it was a silent one. Not sure if it were killer or not (since it went away from me) but as the minutes passed and no one reacted, I started to breathe again.

Not sure if that's what they meant by letting out your inner peace, but hell I'd take it!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Can you say F-U-G-L-Y?

My neighbours two doors down are a lovely congenial Sri Lankan family - Ma, Pa, 3 kids and Grandpa. They're always smiling and waving at folks who walk by. They send over sweets and delicacies to us on Hindu festivals. They are keen gardeners and in my personal experience people who are loving and nurturing gardeners, are generally loving and nurturing towards other human beings. They are quite and orderly and MOST IMPORTANTLY never hold loud rave parties. All key attributes you want in a neighbour.

The catch?

An unfortunate sense of home and garden decor. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Ah well, could be worse I suppose. Right?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Starry Starry Night

On Friday night, I met up with a friend with whom I had not had ANY contact with for the past 2 years, but when we meet it was like no time has passed at all. Peaches (unfortunate name from his high school days that just stuck) and I caught up on each others adventures on a sun kissed patio over some fine brews and good food.

On Friday night after Peaches and I said goodbye, I headed over to a West Coast Swing dance and hit the floor for 3 hours straight. I wondered, how is it that I can be a sexy inhibited dancing QUEEN here, but am all legs and arms and awkward as hell each time I do the Rumba? Same level of "sexy" required for both dances. Huuuum.

On Friday night, I left the dance hall tired and sweaty and instead of hopping on the subway, I took a detour and a midnight streetcar ride. The driver had a little transistor radio on and the music of Cole Porter hummed gently.

On Friday night I finally got home at 2am and realised that Friday night was long gone. Saturday was here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Midnight Madness

I am tired and listless and my eyes are incapable of staying open and focused. Been staring at the same email for about 15 minutes and trying to compose a sensible response. T'is all in vain. I need sleep, and I need it now!

Really, its not my fault. I went off to bed like a good girl at 10pm last night knowing that I had to be in at work for 8 am. I had just fallen asleep (or so it seemed), when the phone rang. Once, twice, three times..... long pauses in between telling my sleepy brain that it was a long distance call. Its too late for a telemarketer, so it can only mean that someone's calling about some bad news. I jump up and scramble for the phone and say a shaky Hello?

A cheery voice at the other end yodels, Pixy! I'm so glad you're home! How is everyone?? Somewhere in my brain, it registers. Aunty M? Is that you? What's going on? I start to panic as I recognise that it is my aunt from Australia. Was it my cousin's daughter? Was she ill again? Perhaps it was my uncle. We TOLD him to get help with the construction for the house extension. Or perhaps......

Listen, can you hear that? my aunt says. I snap back to the call. Can you hear it? Its rain. Just torrential!! Now I'm sleepy AND confused. You called me all the way from the Gold Coast to tell me about the RAIN? I asked incredulously. It's 1:15 in the fu*king morning!!!

Oh dear, I must have miscalculated, she said. I thought it was 10:15. No, I called to tell you I had a heart attack.

Turns out she'd had chest pains the week before and when they persisted, she drove to the hospital to find out what was wrong and was told she'd just had a heart attack. She was in the hospital 3 days then discharged and told that she'll need to start treatment to clear the 2 blockages in the valves. She nodded at them, left the hospital and then some days later got onto a plane and flew to the other side of the country for a wedding.

All this she told me in one breath. Then she asked me if I was ready for the move. Then she told me about how my cousins had gone into business together and bought a chain of stores. Then she told me to give my love to the family, bid me a cheery farewell and hung up.

Five minutes later I was still holding the phone to my ear.

I would have been utterly convinced that I was dreaming the entire time except for the dull pounding in my head that I knew was the onset of a headache. That was real enough. I switched off the light and tried to settle back to sleep, glancing at the clock.

2 am.

I thought, Tomorrow is going to be a pain filled day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dare to Dance!

One of the primary reasons I have enjoyed learning ballroom dancing over the past 2 years is the fact that the lessons are kept very entertaining thanks to the (unintentional) efforts of the head instructor. I'm going to call him Line Man based on how he's always going on and on about the "line of dance" and about the angles and lines in each of the dance steps.

Line Man is passionate about dancing - that much is evident. Sometimes though, he gets too caught up in the drama and passion of the dancing atmosphere and forgets that he's in a classroom. This results in him using some rather interesting terms and analogies to explain or break down the steps to the students.

Like yesterday for example at the Level 1 class where I am a teaching assistant. We were teaching them the very basics of the Tango which requires a rather close contact between the partners in order for the dance steps to be executed well. In many cases where the students are not a couple, getting them to attempt that level of closeness is challenging. This level 1 class was particularly timid. Even the couples in the class seemed adverse to the close contact of the dance and the results were shaky at best. I tried everything to get them to relax and loosen up, but even my best quirky one liners were being met with stony silence and I was beginning to have that distinct "Is this mic on?" feeling. Even Line Man seemed to be giving up, and in a final attempt to salvage some of the class he instructed everyone to just dance around the room using the steps that they'd just learned. He gave them one last piece of advice. This is the most manly of ballroom dances guys. Just push into her. Dare to go right between her legs.

There was a split second of pin drop silence, and then with one accord the entire class burst out into hysterical laughter. I am happy to report that most of them did follow the advice, and were able to execute the steps quite well for a "virgin" tango dancer!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stupid Parents = Stupider Children. Help stop this cycle of destruction!!

By most accounts, Queen Victoria was a cranky old bat who lived and reigned far longer than she should have. Still, I cannot help but feeling a surge of love for the old girl every spring when we are graced with a much coveted day off on the 3rd Monday of May in celebration of her birthday.

I was supposed to head over to Shutterbug's place on Saturday for a pot luck + communal viewing of Eurovision 2009. Most ashamed to say that I had never even HEARD of Eurovision until she sent out the invite a few weeks ago and even then, I had to go google it! Who knew this had been going on for almost 50 years??? Beans scoffed at the whole concept, but was also quick to point out that Ireland had apparently won the most times! (funny boy!). Anyway, that's where I had planned to be on Saturday afternoon, thinking that it would a great addition towards my Preparing to Live in Europe series. But, life turned out differently and thanks to some majorly yucky sensations in my tummy I was huddled in bed until late afternoon. Texts back and forth t'ween Beans (who was in Ft. Williams at an Iron Man contest with some mutual friends) and I made me feel heaps better and by that evening.

Sunday morning dawned bright and beautiful and it seemed a pity to waste such a glorious day indoors. A quick bout of calls to Beer Baron, Trippy and Lady Killer had us all heading out to the Toronto Zoo where we spent a de-lightful afternoon animal gazing. Not so de-lightful however was fighting our way through the crowds and crowds of families each with a couple of strollers that were close in size to a mini humvi! Apparently, "I have a kid" is a good enough reason for every parent to abandon all rules of polite social conduct - such as waiting in line - and push and shove ones way to the front. This would make sense in a situation with only ONE person with a kid/stroller such as at a bus stop or subway, but doesn't really work the same when about 20 people around you ALSO have over sized stroller filled offspring. Trippy and I kept hoping that a couple of the parents would get into an all out stroller battle and we would have been so ready with a play by play commentary!

The abundance of species Parentus Stupidus made us realize just why there are so many kids who grow up to be total douchbags; really, they cannot help it after the constant interaction with douchbag parents throughout the formative years of their life. Case in point, at the Artic Wolves paddock, Parentus Stupidus # 1 to her youngins: Oh look at the cute white doggie boys. His name is Wolf.

And a few years from now, we will hear about this same kid being mauled by a grizzly on a camping trip because he went to play with the little brown bear that was just like Teddy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Old Wives' Tales

A very strange side effect of Bean's stomach flu has been his inability to stop hiccuping. Apparently it was so bad that he hardly got a wink of sleep last night and it continued all day today playing havoc with his work as well. One of his colleagues told him that its an old wives' tale that you hiccup when someone is thinking about you.

And so, I got a text message a while back that said I love you too, but for feck's sake can you think about something else for the next little while???

Thursday, May 14, 2009


The notice about my leaving went out to my colleagues on Monday. I was relieved because it was getting very awkward at work when people were wondering why I wasn't picking up projects that were directly related to my work and why at the beginning of the fiscal year it was announced that a lot of my major clients were being redistributed. I hadn't wanted to lie about my leaving, but until my VP made the official announcement there wasn't a damn thing I could do!

And yet, when I saw the email and read the announcement for myself, a chill went down my spine. This was it. Certainly no turning back now! The die was cast and in 57 days I would be unemployed! There was a certain *gulp* factor to that realization!

Then, logging in to Skype this evening I was met with a very low down and subdued version of my Beans who in a tiny tiny voice told me that he'd been sick all day, and for most of the night before. No need for details here, but any of you who've been through a bad bout of stomach flu will know what I'm talking about.

And as I listened to him, I knew that I didn't want to be this far away from the one I love. I wanted to be able to hold him and comfort him when things were wrong and to clasp his hands and dance around madly in the good times. This long distance thing was crap and thankfully in a mere 61 days I was going be with him again.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Written in the Stars

Flipping through the paper this morning, I saw that my horoscope advised that I ....go outside and claim the world. It will make you awake to the infinite possibilities out there.

Taking that into consideration, I took my lunch and sat outside in the brilliant sunshine and indulged in a favourite pass time - people watching.

Now, back in the office I am listless and sleepy from all that time in the sun. Wasn't this suppose to "awaken" me?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pursuing an Ancient Path

After a 4 hour conversation on Skype yesterday, Beans and I finally had our tickets booked and a tentative itinerary for our summer trip - or weekend wedding frenzy - to London and Israel in August. As it stands, we'll travel down to London on the evening of August 4 and meet up with Big T, Bean's brother with who we'll be staying. College pal Drama Queen (DQ) is getting married on the 7th and apart from celebrating the wedding of course, I'm looking forward to a mini reunion of a couple of college pals who are making the trek from Bombay, Bangalore and Boston.

The day after the wedding, Beans and I fly to Tel Aviv. Friend Shutterbug and her husband's Israeli wedding is the next day after which we have until August 18 to wander around doing touristy things.

On the agenda are visits to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Galilee, Akkon and Haifa. We threw around the possibility of a quick visit to Petra in Jordan (think Indy Jones and last crusade) but soon realised that we would not be doing the place justice if we just skimmed in a out on a one day trip. Hence, Petra awaits us another day.

But, there's a lot to see and do in Israel, so I don't think we'll be bored. Also, Jules mentioned that she may be able to swing by and visit on the weekend seeing as she's in the neighbourhood, so that will be a whole other cool piece to look forward to.

Suggestions welcome!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Answer

For anyone who has every wondered why dancing and travelling are my passions, here's why. I couldn't have expressed it better!


Rude Awakenings

Drifting in and out of a comfortable Saturday morning dream, I could hear that pitter patter of the rain outside my window. I drew the comforter closer around me and burrowed deeper into the bed. An almighty clap of thunder jarred me right out of my reverie and brought the harsh light of day into focus.

Except, that that light was muted and subdued, even though the curtains were pulled back. I opened my eyes wider and saw that the sky was d
ark with angry clouds and the rain wasn't a pleasant pitter patter anymore, rather a vicious lashing force working with a wind that bent the maple tree to ominous angles. I was still taking this all in when I head a rumbling. Thunder, it wasn't. It sounded more like a monster version of a garbage truck was making its way down my street. I peered out of the bay window, puzzled.

And then, jumped back in alarm as hundreds up
on thousands of missiles suddenly landed on the lawn in front of me with an intensity that made them bounce back up and slap against the window pane. For the next 5 minutes the air was filled with the rat-tat-tat of these heavenly bullets striking against the driveway, the sidewalk, the parked cars and the roofs.

And then, just as suddenly as it arrived, it ceased. The rain lessened to a muffled hum and then that too stopped. And only then did I creep back to the window to take stock of my battered world.
Pictures by a friend, LK.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Ever since I made the decision to move, I've been going through a roller coaster ride of emotions. In the manic/excited phase, I dream about travelling across Europe, spending time with Beans and experiencing a wonderful world of new opportunities and encounters.

On the flip side, there are also the phases of abject terror where I envision myself having to peddle my wares on a street corner to pay the rent and (it gets worse) not even managing to get enough that way coz I'm not hooker-like enough! (I AM my own worse enemy aren't I?)

My most recent fear? That I'm nowhere NEAR stylish enough to live in Europe.

I told this to the Lady Killer when I met him last week. My extent of style is throwing on earrings or a necklace. That barely counts as style!

To which he replied, You're moving to Scotland love. That barely counts as Europe!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Back and Blue and Brown all over

A couple of weekends ago I helped Beer Baron and his lady love (LL) move into a new apartment conversion loft unit. Over 2 days, BB, Trippy, LL and myself hauled, moved, pushed and tugged at various pieces of furniture and umpteen boxes and other assorted odds and ends that left me with some spectacular bruises all over my arms, torso and legs. Some of these movable units included custom made red leather cowboy boots, 3 microwaves (when the new place has a built in one), 2 racer bikes (one of which has not been ridden in 3 years) and 4 egg cartons of hand painted 40 year old Ukrainian Easter eggs.

All moves have their up and downs, but this one was particularly eventful. Like when one of the couches slipped out of my hands on the way down the stairs and ended up pinning Trippy to the wall at the bottom. Or when we got to the new place and had the truck semi unloaded, the skies ominously darkened and a gale force wind took up whipping around any and all loose debris and pelting us with gravel from a nearby construction site. It was like being in a war zone and having shrapnel flying at us! If that wasn't enough, the wind somehow activated the fire alarm in not one, not two... but THREE adjoining buildings causing their collective sirens to ring for the next 20 minutes and then ring in our ears for the next 3 hours... give or take!

By day two, we were all physical and emotional wrecks so thankfully Lady Killer dropped by to help on Sunday afternoon or else there would have been a couple o corpses to add to the pile in their living room.

Somewhere in between, Beer Baron decided that it was getting too hot (this was pre storm) and with the aid of the moving dolly and the combined efforts of Trippy and LL he managed to get one of the loft windows open. The whole operation looked rather like a rehearsal for a Cirque du Soleil routine and of course, we HAD to take a picture!

It's been 2 weeks now and we're not sure if they've figured out how to close that window again!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Monster Accomplishments!

It is my privilege to announce that all 3 members of Team Leaping Badgers successfully completed the 73 mile Maggie's Monster Bike and Hike event this past weekend. The boys also raised over 3500 GBPs through online donations, auctions, sweepstakes, quizzes and some outright begging to family and friends.

Honestly, those lads are pleased as punch right now. And rightly so! Not only did they finish a really challenging event - 30 miles of biking, 43 hiking from Fort Williams to Inverness - they also surpassed their fundraising goal by a large margin! They should be very very proud of their accomplishments.

So Damn Proud.
Swollen head proud.
New Daddy proud.
Just nailed a supermodel proud!

Well.... you get the picture!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Look Who's Talking (Again)

This weekend was packed solid with a visiting out-of-town cousin, attending my first wedding shower that turned out better than expected (primarily because I won a game), Trippy's birthday celebrations that included some interesting interactions with a group of guys out on a stag night. And as icing on this festive weekend cake - comparing and executing games at a friend's daughter's communion party. I've only just returned from the party and am utterly pooped!

It did help that I had terrific hair ALL WEEKEND LONG. How rare is that!

Also, was pleasantly surprised to see two bloggers had returned after a long extended hiatus. CB/Mrs. Pirate and Miss Melville - glad to have you back.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Darling Buds of May

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
- Sonnet XVIII, Shakespeare

Photos taken around my neighbourhood this sunny weekend afternoon.
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