Thursday, March 31, 2005

I am packing. Again.

Do we all know how absolutely horrible I am at packing? Well, let me remind you: I suck at it.

I am so very happy to be on vacation, only it doesn't feel like vacation. You know that the last day of work before you go away is always the worst? Well, this one did not disappoint.

Everyone was bugging me to do something for them. And then someone would come along and say "hey, haven't you done THIS stupid thing that doesn't matter to anyone but me? NO?! OHMYGOSH, you totally need to do that before you leave today or I will think you're a complete failure!" So, I'd spend my precious time doing something stupid that could really wait until after I got back from vacation. And then I stayed late and didn't even get to some of the things that I really should have done before I left -- all because someone thought that their idea of a priority was more important.

And I walked home all tense, trying to remind myself: you're on vacation now, relax! But to no avail. I knew I'd come home and have to do laundry and pack and tie up all those loose ends before going to bed early so that I can wake up in time for my 6:45am ride to the airport. Ugh.

I suppose it could be worse. I could be moving at the same time. Ha, now what idiot would do that?? Oh ya, right, I would.

Intead, I haven't even STARTED to organize my move, even though I move in about 2 weeks. Good for me.

One step at a time.
First step: enjoy vacation.
Second step: enjoy life.

I'll see you April 11th.
1 more sleep until Calgary!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I think I've discovered what is plaguing me. ADT.

"It's sort of like the normal version of attention deficit disorder. But it's a condition induced by modern life, in which you've become so busy attending to so many inputs and outputs that you become increasingly distracted, irritable, impulsive, restless and, over the long term, underachieving. In other words, it costs you efficiency because you're doing so much or trying to do so much, it's as if you're juggling one more ball than you possibly can."

I've been wondering why I forget everything and seem so out of sorts and irritable lately. I certainly wasn't like this when I was travelling last year. And why? Because I didn't have to deal with "the constant and relentless chatter coming from our computers, phones and other high-tech devices".

Are my mental powers being diluted by my modern workplace?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

God bless Chapters.

On our way home from Toronto, my mom and I thought we should stop in Starbucks for a decadent Chantico. One thing led to another and suddenly I was buying $45-worth of reading material.

I spent hours sitting on the floor, pouring through travel magazines. I settled on Transitions Abroad and Budget Travel as well as the Utne Reader.

And then I realized that we didn't have a travel guide for the Netherlands yet and how are you supposed to plan a trip without a good travel guide? Well, the answer is you're NOT. So we went over to the section I try to stay away from because I inevitably start to salivate over there. We weighed a couple of good options and settled on the Lonely Planet standard. It's got the stuff that we need; everything else will come from people's recommendations.

This weekend will be a good reading and planning weekend, I say as I struggle to keep my eyelids open.

OK, maybe I'll get some sleep first.
I had such a lovely dinner with Sarah last night. She's got a new beautiful condo downtown with a gorgeous kitchen, which of course makes everything taste so much better.

We had amazing food, as usual, cuz Sarah is a cooking Goddess. We had fantastic wine from a winery in New Zealand that I had actual visited in my cycling wine tour.

And a good talk. Of course. My favourite part!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I'm sitting here after a night out - dressing up, dinner, dancing - and thinking that the best part of the whole night is just having interesting conversations with my friends.

I do, however, have a new motivation to go out and buy cute dresses and skirts.

Happy Birthday Raye!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Wow, is this some kind of record?
When's the last time I went about a week without posting when I wasn't travelling in the outback?


I must be in love. What? Who said that?
I admit NOTHING.

Actually, it's been a crazy week. Working, choir practice, dealing with moving issues, drinks out, appointments for my broken back and wrists... well, I'm just saying it all takes time. I'm not asking for any sympathy.

I've been trying balance my workload at work vs my workload in my so-called "free time".

This is the first time I've sat down at my computer all week!
And I might add that I'm sitting down thinking of all the things I have to do and actually feeling STRESSED! AT MY OWN COMPUTER!?

At least there's no one home, so it's quite and I can freak out in peace. Who needs THIS on a Friday night?

I went to my chiropractor appointment (I LOVE my chirpractor, I admit it - perhaps he should be on my boyfriends page?) and he was swearing away about how f'd up my hips are and said my biggest problem stress. I pointed to my nails, bitten down to the quick, hurting and bleeding.

Stress? What stress?

But I'm trying. Trying to take the work stuff less personally. Trying to stop letting hormones wreak havoc. Trying to focus on the good - the new apartment in April! The ski vacation with my family on April 1st! The trip to the Netherlands in spring! Raye's bday party this weekend! How I'm going to decorate my gorgeous new apartment! The yummy spagetti I'm eating!

You see, there's a lot to be excited about.

So that craving for chocolate? That can just SHUT UP!
There's no chocolate in this house, anyway.

And those butterflies in my stomach? Breathe them out.
The knot in my neck, shoulders, back... I'm thinking that nice hot bath later tonight will take care of it.

And the obssessive thoughts? Um. Well, there MIGHT just be a wee smidge of hot chocolate stashed somewhere back there in the recesses of my cupboard...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Is there anything better on a Saturday morning than homemade bread, fresh out of the over (erm, breadmaker) drenched in butter?

OK, let's not mention that steaming cup of rich strong coffee from, let's say, The Coffee Roaster in Sydney.

I really miss that lovely crema atop the first flat white of the day. I haven't found a single place in Toronto that comes close. All the best coffee shops were in Australia. Adelaide and Perth were my favourites, actually.

Does anyone know of a truly great cup of coffee in Toronto?

I've tried JetFuel, but it's totally overrated. There's supposed to be someplace in Kensington Market, but I've yet to find/try it. Maybe I should make that my quest today.

You know, when I was travelling, somedays that WAS my quest: find the best coffee in the city. Sometimes I succeeded. And somedays I had to settle for Gloria Jeans or, worse, Charbucks.

Actually, I think Charbucks might be better in North America. Maybe it's because I've been drinking the Chantico lately... oh my GOD, have you TRIED the stuff? Melted chocolate in a cup! SINFUL! But it can be a challenge to finish a whole one by yourself, even given the mini-cup they serve it in. It's that rich.

Anyone tried any of the following and wanna comment:
Fresh Start Coffee Co (Bay/Elm)
Merchants of Green Coffee (sold at Matilda St. and Yummy Baguette on Queen)

Friday, March 11, 2005

It's difficult to take a day off work.
Staying home today, I probably did almost a full-day's work.

Although, unlike work, I was able to make myself Pillsbury crescent rolls for breakfast and scrumptious spaghetti with meat sauce and whole wheat noodles for lunch/dinner to try to make myself feel better. From what I can taste, i am a good cook! Kendra would be proud: lots of garlic!

Also unlike work, I was able to get home at a reasonable time, so I can finally work on Anita's website.

And thanks to the Robaxicet/Robaxisal-type drugs I've always scoffed at, I can sit without wanting to cry.

NO THANKS to stupid JetsGo going bankrupt, I've also had to deal with getting new flights for me and my mom to Calgary for April 1st. And WestJet makes this big press release about how they're going to really BE there for the POOR JetsGo passengers -- and then they turn around and RAISE their prices! I paid double the price! I'm paying almost the same to go to Calgary for a week as I am to go to the Netherlands for 2 weeks!

Oi, do I hate the stupid airlines.
I am totally sending them mean thoughts for making my sick day even worse!

And now I'm going for a soak in the tub, thanks to inspiration from Raye, who is also sick :(

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Well, at least I'm not the only one who has problems with the roommates not putting my stuff back in the frige. I discovered a blog today "Things I hate about my flatmate" that made me giggle. I, too, had to put a note on the Brita saying "If you use my Brita, please refill and place back in the fridge."

Sounds bitchy? But I said thanks!
But I was always coming home to my empty Brita, lying forlornly on the kitchen counter BESIDE the fridge. Kinda thoughtless, dontcha think?

Well, now I know I'm not that bad off.
At least they put their own milk in the fridge.

Although they never take the garbage out. Seriously, they MIGHT have done it once. I tried leaving it to see if they'd actually do something about it. No such luck. It was falling onto the floor and smelling of rotting garbage when I finally took it the 5-second walk down the hall to the garbage shute where we have to pass by EVERY SINGLE DAY on our way out of the apartment.

It's OK if they read this. Maybe then they'll take the garbage out.
My body has decided it's not going to take it anymore.

It attacked me with a cold, complete with drippy nose, sore throat, draggy body feeling - take THAT! Not content with that, it decided I might need a migraine to remind me what REAL pain is. HA! That'll show me! And finally, let's top it off with some good old fashioned back spasms. Great, now she can't bend, take big steps, or sit down or even sleep comfortably! Who needs sleep anyway?

Well, what did I expect, stressing it out all the time? Poor body! It's been getting ready for the big wave to hit, adrenalizing itself so it's ready to run for the hills. And I've faked it out once too many times. It knows that the so-called-emergency situation is a more permanent situation that I'd been leading it to believe. And it's saying "screw you, buddy."

And so it did.
My body has decided it's not going to take it anymore.

It attacked me with a cold, complete with drippy nose, sore throat, draggy body feeling - take THAT! Not content with that, it decided I might need a migraine to remind me what REAL pain is. HA! That'll show me! And finally, let's top it off with some good old fashioned back spasms. Great, now she can't bend, take big steps, or sit down or even sleep comfortably! Who needs sleep anyway?

Well, what did I expect, stressing it out all the time? Poor body! It's been getting ready for the big wave to hit, adrenalizing itself so it's ready to run for the hills. And I've faked it out once too many times. It knows that the so-called-emergency situation is a more permanent situation that I'd been leading it to believe. And it's saying "screw you, buddy."

And so it did.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

It seems to me that I freak out with some regularity. I'm not sure exactly what happens. One minute, I'm calm, with perspective on my life. The next minute I'm overwhelmed, panicked and snapping at everyone.

How does it happen?

It seems to have a 2- to 3-week cycle.
So it's not JUST hormones, if that's what you're thinking.

Am I crazy? Do I suck at my job?
Can I not handle stress?
These are the fears I deal with.

So I spend my 10-plus-hours at the office and I organize. And I put together schedules, send emails, update budgets, write status reports. All in the quiet of an empty building.

And finally, I am sane. I can breathe that sigh of relief. Press send, sign off, click off the lights, lock the doors, set the alarms.

Head off to another night of barely enough time to make some dinner, check my email, blog, and brush my teeth before bed.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Oh great. Now the fire alarm is going off. God, I love it here.
"It seems to me that, when you were in Australia, you blogged a lot more about how you felt about things."

I might have blushed if I weren't so sad about it.

I know it to be true. And I also lament it. But it's not something you can force.

I shrugged. "I had more time to think about it."
And I mean that in every sense.

More time to think about what I was doing. More time to think about how I felt about it and the people around me and consider how things affected me. I had more detachment from everything as it unfolded like a story around me. I had the sense that I had to remember it all very clearly or it would all get away from me; that if I didn't document every chance conversation, every slant of sunshine, every splash of wave, it would be like it had never happened.

I was obssessed. Even in the midst of a great experience, I was thinking about how I would write about it.

And then I actually had the lulls. When I didn't speak to anyone. When I didn't have to clean the bathroom or visit a friend or finish that big project. When there was really nothing else to do but think about things that had happened. And think about why they mattered. And ponder the correct choice of wording.

Writing takes time.
Good writing takes time. And a sense of inspiration pulled from everything around you.

And these are two things that I fall consistently short of these days.
To the detriment of something I love very much.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Today is a very special day. I'm posting from my parents' computer! They are finally online.

Please send them every bit of spam and adware so that they know what a bad decision it was to get online (my dad actually believes that this will happen if people know his address).
Yesterday, before an appointment, I stopped off at a Second Cup for a chai latte.

When I went to pay, I discovered that my wallet wasn't in my purse. I panicked.

"Oh my gosh, where's my wallet?"

I told the woman behind me in line to go ahead as I searched frantically for it. And came up empty-handed.

She paid for my latte.
And offered me money if I needed it. And a ride home or to work or wherever I might have lost my wallet.

I thanked her, but I had tokens in my pocket (BTW: price goes up on Monday so stock up!) so I told her I was OK.

But I thought it was the nicest thing that anyone in Toronto had ever done for me.

It renewed my faith that there can be good people in the city.

I went home and discovered that I'd left my wallet beside my computer the night before when I was paying my bills online. Duh.

Thank you to the nice lady at the Mount Pleasant Second Cup.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I can't describe how much I like the quiet.

I can feel every bone in my body unwind and melt.

I can hear the wind whistle around the building. I can hear myself chewing as I enjoy my lamb stew. I can hear the hum of the computer.

On my way home, I took refuge in the music on my MP3 player as the traffic honked and roared and several sirens went off around me. Otherwise, it would have been a pretty beautiful night (aside from the blistering wind).

I wonder if perhaps I am sick of this location. So many cars all the time. So many people.

I want the sound of snow crunching beneath my feet.
Of trees creaking.

Not the sort of sounds you get on the edge of the Don Valley Parkway.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I have finally pulled the trigger on the tickets to Amsterdam!

My mom and I are going to the Netherlands from May 27th to June 11th and we're only paying $670 each! Pretty good deal!

I had checked the prices only a week ago and the price went up a whole $2! I figured it was time to go for it.

Yay AirTransat!
Yay WebShoppingGoddessCathy!
Oh my gosh, I make a mean Lamb Stew!

It's snowing outside; slushy and gross. What do you want? Comfort food!

So what do I whip up? Lamb and barley stew with apricots and raisins. HEAVEN! It's the first time I've made this stew in, like, 2 years. My memory didn't do it justice! Of course, it helps that I'm in love with lamb.

In other news, I am actually home in time to cook myself a regular meal. This is very exciting news. And I had a very good lunch with the prez of the company and it looks like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

You know, it's great when aspects of your job excite you. But it doesn't matter how promising it seems - if you're spending most of your life there, you feel like you're ruining your life. I'm a much happier, productive person when I have some perspective on work. And that's what I get when I go home at a normal time and do things for ME.

Like cook yummy stews.