Sunday, December 31, 2006

Came home from Christmas at my parents' place last night to a house full of wonderful changes:

  • the cove molding was done
  • pictures had been put up
  • there was a HEPA filter in our room
  • the wardrobe had handles on it
  • the wardrobe had its lights installed
  • the place was clean

    It was so nice to come home to. What a surprise!

    And that's not even my Christmas present, apparently.

    We have yet to have our private Christmas here at our house. And we certainly won't be doing that tonight. Tonight, Alex is playing at the Madison and we figured that since he'd be playing, we wouldn't have much together-time, so instead I'm going to visit my friends in Oakville for NYE!

    It's going to be a nice dinner and a good movie and I'm very excited. My dad and I were talking about this phenomenon on the way home last night: we just aren't interested in going to a noisy bar to drink our faces off. We're really just interested in a nice evening with friends and loved ones.

    Sounds cheesey, but this fits my bill.

    Happy New Year!
    Hope you celebrate in a way that fits your bill too.
  • Saturday, December 30, 2006

    Found a whole stack of my old journals from years back. They pretty much start at the beginning of university. I'm taking my counsellor's advice and reading through my history as it really happened, instead of how my flawed memory recollects it.

    Interesting to see the similarities between what's happening in my life now and what happened years ago. Interesting also to see the changes.

    I have grown up and take more responsibility for myself and my needs. I say "more" because I have not totally grown out of my infantile desire for someone else to be in control. To be responsible for decisions that I'm afraid to make on my own and bear the consequences of.

    If such decisions turn out badly, at least I can convince myself I wasn't the total reason for failure.

    Clever little sub-conscious I have, wouldn't you say?

    Ya, I know: I'm working on it.
    Discovered a new sci-fi tv series: Firefly. We got the series DVD from my brother, Matt, for Christmas. It's weird: a wild-west space show. With great characters and dialogue and stories.

    And yet, it didn't make it past season one.
    Wonder why?

    Anyway, we're watching it and I'm totally addicted.
    Sad story that they didn't continue it.

    You know, TV can be really great when you're trying to not think about things that really matter.

    Thursday, December 28, 2006

    Setting up a new computer is just tonnes of fun.

    Download that before you can upload this just so that you can download it again. Get a license key, find the password for such and such.

    Even though we got my parents a Dell, and it's easIER, it's still not easy. And being the resident "computer person" means that I get to do it. Too bad I'm more "web" and less "computer".

    Just makes me realize how little I know.
    But I'm learning.

    Monday, December 25, 2006

    Christmas YAY!

    We took until about 5pm tonight to open our presents. As usual. I got ski poles and a leather storage bench for my front room and a flower box and CDs and some thermal underwear and a Bingo scratch ticket on which I won $6!

    Awesome Christmas. I love being home with family.
    I don't want it to end.

    Friday, December 22, 2006

    Nature, Improved by Science

    Nature, Improved by Science
    Originally uploaded by klareralt.
    Remember when this used to happen?

    When there wasn't RAIN on December 22nd?

    When the snow used to be up past your knees when you went out to get the Christmas tree?

    Looks like we've knocked too many down, cuz it's beginning to look a lot like a Global Warming Christmas.

    I'm trying to look on the bright side: at least i can still ride my bike (as long as it's not pouring rain) so I can continue to reduce my impact on the earth in my small way.

    And since I didn't knock down a tree (it's just my sad little artificial guy again this year) I wanted to look at this one and just pretend for a couple minutes that I'm lying in the snow, it's creaking in my ears, looking up at the beautiful tree and clear night sky.

    Try it, maybe it'll help you get in the spirit too.
    Christmas Cathy Style
    Christmas Cathy Style
    Originally uploaded by webgoddesscathy.
    Last night was our company Christmas party. What a blast! It was at the Academy of Spherical Arts (a fantastic pool hall/event facility in Liberty Village) and, aside from really bad swordfish (all dried out), the evening was a great success!

    Santa even came and read out some holiday wishes from all of us to our CEO. We love her and she got all embarrassed.

    I stayed late, finishing off all the open bottles of wine, with two others after everyone else had left. We talked about the company - what's going on now, the history and the future.

    It was great - I got a lot of fantastic feedback from everyone that they had a good time, which is all I need to feel really good about the whole thing.

    Too bad I suck at sleeping and still woke up early, despite thinking I'd just sleep in after going to bed so late. Oi, I wish I had normal sleeping abilities.

    So now I await Raye's arrival from Halifax so we can go out for a nice gossipy dinner and then head to my place for much needed sleep. My brother will arrive to sleep at my place tonight as well and then he'll drive us to grandma's house for our first stop on the family Christmas circuit. Fun!

    PS: today I am wearing my pretty new brown boots (which I bought on SALE!).

    Monday, December 18, 2006

    It's been an interesting day on the web. Check out the things that I've checked out today:

    • - very cool social music site. Listen to music and it learns what you like and creates a profile that you can share with people who have similar music tastes and makes recommendations on what else you’d like. You can connect what you’ve played to your blog so that it has a recommended songlist updated automatically. Nice. But I couldn't get it to work for some reason. Maybe because I'm on a Mac.
    • MyBlogLog - find out who's reading your blog (not just what part of the country they're from, but WHO these people really are) by having them join a social community where they can meet each other. I mean, they obviously have something in common if they're all reading your blog, right? It's better than setting up an entirely separate blog through MySpace or MSN Live Spaces or whatever, just to have the community aspect of it. Although, I've done that too, but that's mostly because I'm a geek and want to try everything out. ;)
    • Sacha Chua's website - tech evangelist - I met her at a CATA WIT event that I organized last week. Very interesting girl - I didn't know that a tech evangelist is just someone who's really excited about tech and tries to match people with the right technology for their lives.
    • - I already knew about this social events calendar, but Sacha reminded me about it. And so I visited again and was impressed by the interesting events that are happening in Toronto in the next while. I love events. As long as they're not expensive.
    • ZeroFootPrint - they're going to be at GreenCamp in February. I love their site with enviro events, marketplace, blog and news, plus they have a TONNE of Canadian advisors.

    Saturday, December 16, 2006

    What a day!
    Lots of shopping with my mom, dad and my brother Matt at Yorkdale shopping mall.

    My feet hurt!

    But there are lots of good presents in the hands of the right people now. YAY!

    And I've made lots of decisions about the presents I'm giving. Double YAY!

    And I'm going to decorate my Xmas tree tomorrow and do Christmas baking with Sarah!

    Could things get better?

    Friday, December 15, 2006

    Had a LOVELY dinner with my friend Jane last night. I haven't talked to her in months. So it was nice to catch up. We just talked, talked, talked. At the greek restaurant, at my house, over tea.

    It was great.

    She gave me a nice gift card for Sephoria. So now I get to go pamper myself and buy either make up that doesn't irritate the excema around my eyes (good times, I'll tell ya) or yummy smelling things. Love Sephoria.

    I also gave my counsellor a gift card from Starbucks. I notice that he drinks it too, so I thought it would be a nice thing.

    Have gift cards totally saved us from gifts that we hate, or WHAT?!
    However, to be fair, I do really enjoy spending a lot of time and care picking out just the right sweater... And opening that surprise? well, there's just nothing like it.

    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Sleep: I need you.

    Please come visit me at work in my cubicle and we'll curl up under my desk.

    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    I had a lovely dinner with my friend, Jess, and her boyfriend. They're so cute together; it makes me so happy to see them so happy.

    Tomorrow night I'm having dinner with my friend Jane. I'm excited to see her - I haven't talked to her in months. Weird how that happens.

    I love that Christmas can bring people together who haven't seen each other in while. I guess while that's happening, it also makes things more busy. Hence, why I missed my friend Tree's Christmas party last weekend. But at least I finally got to drop off my gift for the baby. I can't believe it took me so long!

    It appears that I won't have Christmas with Alex until he comes over to my family's house on Christmas night. Our Christmas in our own house might end up being closer to New Years. Which is OK since I don't really know what to get him anyway.

    Speaking of the importance of friendships, I've had two really nice comments this week: one person said that I make everything more fun at work. And another girl said thank you to me for all my support and said that she'd learned a lot from me.

    Isn't that the nicest thing?

    Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Christmas certainly does make everything more busy.

    At work, I did some online shopping on my lunch hour. Then hurried up to get all my work done in time to go to a tenant Christmas party at which I won a PRIZE! (A mug and a book, so I'm not freaking out, but this IS the second time I've won a draw in the past while. Chanceuse!)

    After tutoring tonight, I came right home and continued my christmas baking. I actually made 3 things tonight. And cleaned up afterwards.

    Pretty impressive!
    But that's why I'm still up at 11:30pm -- past my bedtime!

    Tomorrow night I have a Christmas get-together with a friend of mine. Hence, the baking frenzy.

    I have really felt Christmas sneak up on me.

    I don't seem to have a lot of time for Christmas shopping. I think it's because I missed the One of a Kind Show, where I often buy my best gifts. Sad. And then the homemade back-up gifts take time and I just have been too busy to get my act together!

    Too bad, I absolutely LOVE Christmas. I love Christmas shopping. I love Christmas decorating. But I haven't managed to put the lights on the tree yet. All I've got up is my wreath on my door.

    Since when did Cathy become Christmas-dysfunctional?

    Sunday, December 10, 2006

    I had a bit of a meltdown today.

    I'm not really certain what happened.

    It could have had something to do with the fact that I got home late and didn't sleep well and then woke up to my parents calling from the airport -- ohygosh, I had forgotten to pick them up! They'd been calling since about 2am and it was 7:30am. I rushed to the airport, feeling pretty sick about it.

    I didn't get much sleep, but after hearing about their awesome trip (I'll try to get up a photo album of their photos soon), they went on home and I had breakfast made for me (yay!) and I took a 2-hour nap. I felt a little better and the doors were being weather-stripped when I came back down. (YAY!)

    I sat down to do bills. And suddenly I realized that there were all sorts of weird things going on. I hadn't paid them on time, or hadn't paid enough, or couldn't figure out how much was owed or why two amounts didn't jive...

    And I cried.

    Thinking about it now, I'm still getting emotional about it and I don't know why. Bill paying should not be an emotional issue. It's not like I don't have the money to pay (that would be emotional). It's not like I'm avoiding it, running from creditors, or anything like that.

    I just feel like everything's very complicated and I got overwhelmed.

    Saturday, December 09, 2006

    Last night, I went on a date. It was nice.

    I got picked up from work. We drove to the Beach (southeast Toronto) and tried a new restaurant: Green Eggplant on Queen East, which is a family-style Italian restaurant that's so new I can't find it on the web yet. I really liked it (especially the baba ganoush!). It was laid back, very clean and comfortable and not too loud, outstanding service with reasonable prices and serving sizes. My lobster-giant prawn angel hair pasta was amazing too.

    We talked. We laughed. It was like a date when you're thinking, "I'd like to see this guy again" only he's already your boyfriend.

    Then we went to the movies -- arriving a bit early so we could relax and read some movie magazines and chat. We saw Stranger than Fiction and I totally loved it. It was so different and Will Ferrell, whom I normally quite dislike in movies. He played a good straight character.

    And then we came home.
    I sat in my dark kitchen for a bit, just enjoying the dark and the quiet before going to bed and realized that I really like the dark and the quiet very much. I get a very strong sense of calm from them.

    Maybe that's why I like my weekend mornings.

    I always wake up first. I make my decaf coffee. I sip and read or write or type. I plan my day.

    I speak to no one.

    And I love the luxuriousness of it.

    Is it odd that I really enjoy quiet simple moments so much? Perhaps that's why I'm having difficulty adjusting to having another intrude on my silence and stillness.

    Wednesday, December 06, 2006

    Quite the day... quite a LONG day.

    Managing suppliers on deliverables, researching contracts and budgets, updating the blog, organizing an event, attending the Global CONNECT conference at MaRS.

    I got home at 10pm. I'll be up tomorrow morning when Alex wakes up at 5:30am because I suck at sleeping. Off to the counselor I'll go and then start it all over again.


    Good thing I love my work.

    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    Night on the town

    Night on the town
    Originally uploaded by webgoddesscathy.
    Do you know what you look like when you insulate your vermiculite-ridden attic?

    Well, you might think it would be something like this, but these are the party clothes I wore out that night.

    I totally picked up.

    My favourite band, Keane, has done a "cover" of Bootylicious called "Dirrtylicious". Funny.

    Check it out on their myspace site:
    OK, here's the thing: I hate it when people lie to me.

    The problem with this situation is that often, you don't actually KNOW when they're lying to you. Sure, there are times when you catch them in a lie and then it's easy.

    Black and white.

    They lied.

    When you have no proof that what they're saying is false and you just have a feeling, which may be a very strong feeling because the circumstances seem very suspicious, it becomes more difficult.

    You can't come out and call them a liar. Because there's a chance, however small, that they may be telling the truth and that the truth, as they say, is actually stranger than fiction.

    And if you DO come out and call them a liar with no proof, you're either:
    a) crazy paranoid
    b) an asshole
    c) very intuitive/smart

    It all depends on whether you're right or not. And as I said, this is difficult when you have no proof.

    So what do you do?

    Well, I question the crazy circumstances and ask if there's something they're not telling me, without flat-out calling them a liar. Which doesn't work so well, because they still have grounds to call me crazy/paranoid or an asshole. And they're all defensive and of course they're not going to suddenly admit to the truth. And now they can accuse you of not trusting them (in a righteous manner).

    So, there's no benefit to this approach.
    I'm looking for a new approach.

    Now, keep in mind, I generally trust people that I know unless they have in the past shown themselves to lie. I myself lie quite a bit (keep that in mind when you're reading me - how do you really know that what I say is true?).

    I don't actually believe that I'm untrusting. I think I have a healthy suspicion of suspicious circumstances, is all. Those who have proven themselves trustworthy, I trust.

    Those who haven't... well, what does one do?

    Monday, December 04, 2006

    My mom gave me some soup on the weekend, when I drove them to the airport. I am eating it now and I think I'm going to freak out - it is the best soup I've ever had.

    Some sort of thai curried chicken and vegetable soup.

    Last Friday - World AIDS day - my colleagues and I made a donation to the Stephen Lewis Foundation as part of the Give a Day to AIDS campaign.

    We donated $9,295 altogether.

    I hope you managed to get your company on board too.
    It is done.

    I conquered the attic.

    Saturday, I dropped my mom and dad off at the airport and off they went to stay in my timeshare in St. Martin. I took the car and went to Home Depot and bought a crap-load of 9.5inch, 31-R pink insulation for the attic.

    Got it home and moved the furniture in our bedroom away from the closet's attic trap-door. Nick, my brother-in-law, arrived in time to help us get one thing down the stairs. Nick is awesome - I am just so thankful that he came, it was SO nice of him!

    He also brought gifts of respirators, Tyvek coveralls and gloves. Best of all, he helped us. He helped me figure out how to put the respirator on safely. I got taped into my suit, put up my hood and strapped on the face mask. I have a photo - or he does - somewhere.

    I climbed up through that tiny opening, put down boards across the joists so that I could walk/crawl across them without causing the ceiling to sag and raked out the hills of vermiculite. I immediately saw the dust-vapour rising. The hatch closed and all I had was the light of a lamp and a flashlight. Creepy.

    And you can't stand up straight in my attic. So I crab-walked for the next 3 hours over 2x8s, laying down insulation in near-darkness in an asbestos-filled attic.

    What was I thinking?

    It got hot FAST. I was soaked. I had to stop to catch my breath a lot. I swore a LOT. I almost cried.

    But I got it DONE.

    I am strong, I am invincible - I am WOMAN!

    Friday, December 01, 2006

    I am in love with Starbucks' London Fogs.

    Seriously, I cannot get enough of them. I am an addict. It's quite disgusting.

    On the positive side, it becomes a lot easier to decide what to get me for Christmas: Starbucks cards! Note that I have added this to my Christmas Wish List.

    I've been struggling with how to write about this - I feel like anything I say will not be enough.

    This week, after my trip to Ottawa on the weekend, my brother Will sent out an email to my family inviting them to come together one weekend in the new year and help me with some of my house projects.

    The email was just titled "help Cath" and when I read it I just wanted to cry because I was so touched by it.

    I'm almost overwhelmed that they would do this for me.

    Certainly, there are many things that need to be done on my house. And goodness knows that I've been busy the past couple of weeks/months and that, in many cases, I just really have no idea where to start on certain tasks. And I'm bad about starting something in the absence of a second person to motivate or support or even just confirm my idea of what I'm doing.

    I started thinking about how lucky I am to have such an amazing family. I have always been aware of this, but I felt so warm inside suddenly, to know that I had people I could turn to and depend on for support.

    I have been feeling like I ask them for too much, lately. I don't have a car and have to bum rides off of everyone, for one thing. I ask my dad for gardening help and my mom for sewing assistance. And they have never complained to me about it.

    And now this - I feel that I don't deserve it. But I am tearfully about happy about it, nonetheless. And I hope that there is something, someday that I can do that will express to all of them how much I appreciate it.

    Thursday, November 30, 2006

    ~ puts on Domestic Goddess hat ~

    Goodness - HBC is having an awesome sale on high quality sheet sets. (Thanks Sara, for letting me know!)

    You may know that I'm asking for awesome sheets for Christmas. Check out my Christmas list here:

    So, I'm looking at these ones:
    • Lifestyle Linens Queen Size Sheet Set by Millano (White)
      400-thread count 100% Egyptian Cotton sheets
      Product No.: 53973251
    • Millano 1000-Thread Count Sheet Set – Queen (White)
      Product No.: 53974739

    OK, maybe not the second - that's too much for a set of sheets that will likely get stained in about a month.

    Anyway, the dilemma is: do I get the sheets even though they're on my Christmas list and maybe some has already bought them or they want to buy them for me? And maybe they'll be able to get a better colour (is white really practical? I just realized they have a weird design on them - do I really want that?).

    I suppose I could always bring them back if I don't open them.

    Also, they don't have any double sheet sets - boo! I actually sleep in the double bed now (though that's probably too much information) so should I really be concerned with getting queen sheets?


    Monday, November 27, 2006

    The gutters are done!

    I have a migraine, so I stayed home today. It just so happened that it was also the day that the gutter guy came. So I could explain what I wanted and get his opinion about attic ventilation. And I got to talk to my handy neighbour about our insulation and attic ventilation project that I'm going to start this weekend.

    This sick day turned out to be a somewhat productive day.

    At least I have some next steps for my attic ventilation dilemma. It will probably wait until the spring.

    AND I got to talk to my brother-in-law and found out he works for a company that sells some supplies that I need for my attic insulation project and he's bringing me the stuff on Saturday!

    I even managed to do a lot of stuff remotely for work.

    And, moving slowly, washed a huge pile of dishes, took out my annuals and replaced them with the mums from Matt's wedding, because it was such a mild day and I needed air anyway.

    You know, sometimes, I swear that if you just don't fight life (and that means being sick when you're sick), good things will happen.

    Sunday, November 26, 2006

    I'm just back from Ottawa.

    Went with my mom and dad to visit my brother, Will. A bit of a long trip, but we really don't get to see him all that often.

    Sadly, I was getting over a migraine and managed to contract another. On the OTHER side of my head. Oi, these things get annoying. Interfere with everything.

    We stayed in a Travelodge for the night. Now, Travelodges aren't the nicest hotels, but I really like staying in hotels sometimes. I reveled in the brilliant white, clean smelling towels. The clean tub which I took a long hot bath in. The dark room. The lobby where I could pick up whatever toiletry I'd forgotten. The big bed all to myself.

    But mostly the bath.

    God, do I miss having a nice hot bath.

    Yes, I have a bathtub, but it's kind of gross. The caulking needs to be redone. (The whole bathroom needs to be redone, but that's another story, for another year.)

    Actually, that quite set the scene for much of what I talked about on the trip: my house. I made a list of the things I need to do. I stressed a little bit. But I feel better suddenly.

    Maybe it's the list.

    Maybe it's because when my parents dropped me off, my dad fixed the door threshold and I installed the insulation behind the outlets. Maybe it's because we looked at the ventilation in the attic and thought about how we could increase it and I have some concrete options to consider. Maybe it's because my dad took a look at the plumbing in my basement bathroom and told me we can fix it with his soldering gun or whatever. Or maybe it's the bag of clothing that I sent my mom home with so that she can find a better home for them.

    I don't know.
    I just like getting things done. It might just be the list that I wrote up that makes me feel better. (Goodness knows why -- it's long enough to scare anyone.)

    But I'm pretty confident that it's about the insulation that I put in the outlets and the door threshold.

    And my resolve to choose one thing every day this week and just DO it.

    Wednesday, November 22, 2006

    My bike is fixed! I took it on my lunch hour to a place around Kensington Market, called "Bikes on Wheels" and they had to replace the whole crank as I'd done some damage... plus they replaced a gear wire or something.

    Anyway, $30 later, my bike rides like new. Doesn't take long to pay off that repair, I guess. But the bike is just pretty crappy anyway. At some point I should really get a comfy bike that fits me with a springy, cushy seat, high handle bars, proper road tires, a pannier for all the crap I lug around, a bell and some reflectors.

    For now, however, I will make do with welfare-bike (don't say that out loud near the bike though, I don't want to hurt its feelings -- it was free afterall).

    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    Reading in Fernie

    3 Fernie : Freshies
    Originally uploaded by webgoddesscathy.
    I was thinking about the concept of reading tonight because it was my first night as a literacy tutor.

    My learner is a pretty smart guy. Has a job at Canadian Tire. He finished high school. He wasn't sure if it's supposed to be "Dear Mary" or "Daer Mary". He reads by context -- if there's a difficult word, he looks at the words around it to take a guess at what the long word beginning with "a" might be.

    He would probably never spend an afternoon in Fernie, BC, with his familiy, reading in a coffee shop.

    They warn us tutors not to get all romantic about what we're doing. We're teaching students fundamentals. Many are learning to read so that they can read to learn. Many students want to go on to a college program or to just pass their driver's test.

    I take reading and writing for granted.

    Tonight, I felt bad when I realized that I just expect that people would know how to structure a business letter.

    My student is probably never going to have a passion for reading or writing like I do. But he may be able to read a damn good story to his child someday. And he may get into the college program of his choice in a couple of years.

    And maybe I will have helped one life become better. Maybe I'll even have an impact on his life.

    Monday, November 20, 2006

    Busy day!

    It started out just grand, though... riding along Bloor Street and my entire pedal pops off. Grr. Let me tell you, you cannot ride a bike with only one pedal. So I used my bike like a scooter to get the rest of the way to work. You're not even allowed on the subway with your bike at that time of day, even if you COULD smash yourself into the crowded car in some way.

    Anyway, at work, I had two emergency tasks that had to get done, someone who comes up to me with a lame excuse for not doing their blog (seriously, stop with the lame excuses! At some point there is NO excuse) and then my designer unapologetically ditches a meeting with me. Yet another.

    Here's another thing I hate: when people ignore me.

    I'll give you a hint: if I send you a meeting request, it's because I really need to meet with you. And I will NOT waste your time. Please do not waste mine.

    Seriously: unapologetic!?

    GRR. By the time he strolled into the office, I had to be off for a lunch meeting, which the designer seemed very surprised to learn. He was 45 minutes late. At least my lunch was very pleasant. Mexican food. Mmm, enchilada with tomatillo sauce!

    Back to the office for another quick look at emergency emails and then into another meeting. Productive meeting. On time. YES.

    Then another meeting directly after. On time. DOUBLE YES.

    Then back to my desk to deal with the final emergency emails and find out that an email newsletter was sent out with significant errors. Unfortunate. But not much I can do about something that's already been sent out.

    A few last minute items that needed to be taken care of as a result of my meetings earlier and I'm already late for meeting with Anita at my house. At least I call to warn her and say I'm sorry ahead of time.

    When I arrive, she's waiting for me on my deck. Oi, I hate that I made her wait!
    I make her dinner, we talk. We eat. We work on her website concept. We talk about her new house and her upcoming wedding.

    Very exciting!

    And now before dashing off to bed, I must jot a few notes in my blog, do some research on hiring a contractor to take a look at our attic (we have vermiculite insulation that I'm not supposed to "disturb" -- does that mean I can't lay OTHER insulation on top of it?) and make a few changes to my own site as a way of testing features that I want to use on other sites I'm working on.

    And then it's time to turn my brain off to do it all over again tomorrow.

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    My favourite part of my job: working on the MaRS blog.

    I love researching new content topics and sending them to just the right blogger. And finding images to help tell someone's story. And finding new guest bloggers. And commenting on the posts I find interesting (inevitably these are ones that have to do with the environment or websites, but every once in a while I can apply some research I've done or info gleaned from an event I attended and I can marvel that I've actually learned a lot here).

    I want to be BlogGoddessCathy. That would be great - just doing the stuff that I love most.

    But of course, everyone has parts of their job that they don't like so much. But not everyone has something that they actually LIKE. Something that they'd actually choose to do in their off-time. I'm very lucky.

    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    I have realized that my calendar is getting booked up very very quickly. Next week, for example, I have an event or meeting every single night.

    This is a bit crazy.

    Scheduling time with me has become tricky.
    And I mean, for ME to schedule time with ME is tricky.

    Last night, I did enjoy time alone, however. It looks like the last time in a good while, though. But I got to make myself dinner and tea and watch part of The Hour (as you may have guessed from my last post) and then mucked about on my computer, doing research for the next website project on my list. It was very productive and QUIET.

    Sadly, I got little-to-no sleep. I went to bed at a normal time, but kept getting woken up by those who don't live in my timezone. And then I had to be in at work early - which didn't matter, because I was awake anyway at that point.

    If you know me, you'll know I get grouchy when I'm tired.

    So right about now I'm wishing I were at home in my bed. Unconscious.

    Instead, I'm working away, not taking lunch, booking my days up with appointments, forcing myself to be cheerful. Getting organized so that I don't feel so hairy in the next couple of weeks.

    Time to go eat that chocolate croissant that I stole from that event I went to this morning...

    Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    So I think I have changed my mind about George Stroumboulopoulos.

    I think I may see what the big deal is about. And I think I may love him a little.

    It's the second time that I've seen The Hour, which, I know, is supposed be for a YOUTH audience, but since I'm still a youth in my mind, I figured I was the perfect demographic.

    Today he talked with Wendy Mesley and said something about how he'll never be an anchor on The National. He did one of those "look at me" kind of motions to explain WHY he'd never have the seat.

    And I did just that.
    And all I could think were good things. He's very expressive, he's casual, his semi-babbling way of speaking in efforts to make good segues to the next topic, he has, admittedly, kind of cool style. And he's cute.

    Which has about as much to do with his likeability as a journalist as it did for the up-and-coming Wendy Mesley. But, still, it's true and I've been resistant to admitting it for years while other friends fell prey to the hype.

    On the other hand, I don't think I'll ever get to the stage of preferring The Hour over my Daily Planet fix, even though Natasha and Jay just don't cut it on the eye-candy scale.

    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    So the vote went down last night - I voted, of course. I even stayed late at work to finish my research on my ward's candidates.

    I am disappointed to find that Case Ootes won again in my ward.

    I didn't vote for him after reading this article about how Case is against bikes.

    I can't in good conscience, vote for someone who's so ridiculously short-sited, elitist and anti-environment. I can't believe he won after pulling that crap, trying to take out a bike lane. Diane Alexopolous was so close, I thought she'd won. I'm really sad that she lost by 20 votes. I feel like I should have done more.

    I guess this goes to show me that I should have done some research earlier and talked about the issue so as to sway some other voters in her direction (or at least away from Crusty Case). We need a re-vote.

    As a happy sidebar, I found another Canadian magazine that I like: Spacing. They're an interesting media outlet. I especially liked their coverage of the election and associated issues.

    Sunday, November 12, 2006

    The happiest time in my life, aside from childhood of course, but I'm talking about relatively recent history, is when I was travelling in Australia.

    I've been trying to figure out exactly what made that experience so memorable and why I able to be the person then that I really want to be.

    I really do believe that it was because I had time. While some of that time was used going around to various museums and parks and beaches and on various hikes and of course, sampling the best coffee in various cities -- much of what made those times resonate with me was that I was writing about them as they happened.

    At every moment I was thinking about how I would describe what I was seeing or doing to the people who read me at home. And I would write whatever I was thinking or feeling. And I thought and felt a lot.

    Often, a destination was just an excuse to sit down and write in a very beautiful, inspirational spot. And in fact, every place I went became the perfect writing opportunity. If it wasn't particularly beautiful, I waited and watched until I found the interest or peculiarity of the place.

    I found beauty in everything around me.
    I was mindful.
    And the writing flowed.
    It was utterly effortless.

    Now I sit down at my computer at the end of a long day at, well, the computer, and I try to think of what engaging, insightful tidbit I can extract out of the melee. And sometimes, I don't even get around to doing that.

    You may not have noticed the change, as maybe you've just met me. But I'll bet if you read my archives from March 2003-March 2004 you'll understand. Something happened. Something changed.

    Yes, we are always changing. I accept that.
    But hopefully, we are changing for the better. And I really am disappointed to think that perhaps I have changed for the worse.

    When did I stop writing?

    When did I start letting go of the thing that I love so much? It's been my passion since I was a little girl. I'll tell you -- as I know you didn't know me then -- I had volumes of pages written on a variety of imaginative themes. I still have all of the binders filled with all of the handwritten, crossed-out, scrap paper and work books.

    Back then, I used my imagination to create an ideal future, packed with intriguing boyfriends and witty dialogue and fantastic outfits. Sometimes I even admitted that I was the main character. Other times, I called them such enviable names as "Kit" and "Brooke".

    I even co-wrote adventures with my best teenage friend, Heather. We spent an entire summer writing what we called "Imagines" that involved elaborate scenes of what our lives would be like if we were dating our teen band heartthrobs.

    And now?
    Now, my furious personal scrawls that generated a monstrous writer's bump have given way to electronic tappings that are saved and filed, tagged by topic, posted to various electronic journals that are shared with the world. Should they want to read them.

    Now, I post a smattering of rants about the environment, the pains of home ownership and the whinings of a frustrated woman trying to have a mature relationship without a roadmap.

    I suppose my writing (my real writing) stopped when I stopped fulfilling another life mantra: live life with passion. Although which came first, I don't know.

    I want to regain the Cathy who lived with passion. I want to start writing again.

    Cross-posted from WebGoddessCathy on MySpace.

    Friday, November 10, 2006

    Sometimes, I get upset about things.

    I know, I know: shocking.

    But seriously, I get so upset about some things that I make myself sick. I worry, I fret, I obsess.

    And sometimes, when it seems the worst, I take a step back and ask myself a very important question:

    How important is this, really?

    And I look at the span of my life until now and all the crappy things that have happened and realize that, no matter how crappy something was when I went through it, I still got through it. Better yet, I haven't thought about that crappy time in years.

    And so I realize: nothing is really all that important.

    There are even people that you thought were important at the time and they came and went and you life is no worse off for their absence. I mean, come on, when's the last time you thought about that best friend in grade 1? Or that chick who stole the guy you liked in highschool?

    It all passes.

    And suddenly, I can handle anything.
    As I'm sitting here freezing in my new office cubicle, I'm thinking back fondly to last night's meeting with my university friends, Scott and Mike.

    I actually had DRINKS with BUDDIES and ate WINGS!
    I feel cooler already.

    Strange thing, though. Scott has a wife and a home, pets and a baby. Mike has a very significant other with whom he owns a cute house and they live there with her child and were seriously considering having another together.

    They both are relatively happy. Even Mike, who is not known for being happy. Ever.

    I'll tell ya, if you'd asked me back when we were in university, I would not have guessed that they would be in those lives and I would be in mine. OK, yes, I own a house. And YES, I live with my boyfriend. But marriage and babies and even pets are so far away from where we are right now.

    I really do want that life.

    Most of my friends already have that life, or are heading quickly for it (not everyone, I know). But even Anita has gotten engaged and owns a house in Brampton now.

    I look at pictures of Max, Scott and Kat's baby and I get this pull in my stomach.

    I know that obviously it's not the right time yet for me. But I'm impatient.

    The economics of climate change

    Originally uploaded by chrisevans.
    "Climate change is the greatest market failure the world has seen."

    Thus says the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, apparently the most comprehensive report on this topic ever published.

    Basically, they are confirming what we all know but refuse to face and take responsibility for: the climate is changing ridiculously fast and it's going to have some really horrible consequences.

    They have recommendations that we need to undertake NOW:

    1. Carbon pricing, through taxation, emissions trading or regulation, so that people are faced with the full social costs of their actions.
    2. Technology policy, to drive the development and deployment at scale of a range of low-carbon and high-efficiency products
    3. remove barriers to energy efficiency, and to inform, educate and persuade individuals about what they can do to respond to climate change

    I really have to ask if people are THAT dumb.

    We have known for a long time that this is a problem. Al Gore got on the war path and some people started to say, "Well, I guess maybe I should think about it."

    In the end, I suspect the problem is this:

    "The most vulnerable -- the poorest countries and populations -- will suffer earliest and most, even though they have contributed least to the causes..."

    Sadly, I think the reason that we (and I mean North America and most of the people that I know) are not really doing anything or for that matter, all that concerned, is that we believe that this really won't affect us.

    We are protected by our affluence.
    And perhaps we are.

    But perhaps not so for our children.
    "All countries will be affected."

    Perhaps we have the luxury of kidding ourselves, temporarily. But it will catch up with us if we don't do our part.

    While that doesn't mean freezing our asses off in winter, it may mean NOT freezing our asses off in summer. I mean, seriously, there are no barriers to energy efficiency for us, unless they are our own refusals to spend an extra couple of bucks on the more efficient light or appliance.

    And we are informed, educated individuals about what we can do to respond to climate change. Think about it -- your are, aren't you?

    Apparently, we just need to be spoon-fed. We need change to be made SO easy that we don't even realize we're making a change that means a sustainable future.

    We need to add our own item to this list if anything is going to happen: elect a governing body that puts this issue FIRST. And write to those governing bodies to let them know what you care about so that they don't lose steam once they get into office.

    If we, as the market and the electoral body, make it important, it will become economically and politically viable for the entrepreneurs and politicians to make a go of it.

    OK, I need to go take a cold shower.

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    i want to ride my bicycle

    Tonight I rode my bike home through the fog.

    Stopped at the Food Basics to pick up some cheap groceries and rode up the ridiculously steep hill on Jones as I made my way home with several pounds of frozen chicken on my back.

    Apparently, cyclists are the happiest commuters - at least, according to a Stats Can study. Many of us feel that it's the best part of our day.

    And am I one of these happy cyclists?

    I certainly do prefer the bike to wrestling amongst the rude people in public transportation. What I don't like is the traffic that doesn't know how to deal with cyclists. I don't like the stress. And I don't like the cold.

    But sometimes, every so often, when I'm riding around, I find a quiet street that smells of autumn leaves and I slow down to enjoy it and it really is the best part of my day.

    Monday, November 06, 2006

    I'm so excited about Christmas, that I'm working on my Christmas wish list.

    Don't know if you remember me complaining about the lack of good wish-list-making tools. Well, I think the one on MSN Live is pretty good. So, check out my MSN Live space: and click on Wish List.

    This is where I'll be keeping my updated wish list this Christmas season.


    I'm a web nerd. This is what web nerds DO. They use the web for seemingly silly reasons. I personally call it "useful" although I'm sure Alex calls his PVR useful too.
    Tonight, after work, on my way to get my bike from the bike room, I found myself singing Christmas carols.

    OH, but I am EXCITED already!

    I think it's that I'm organizing the MaRS Christmas party. It totally puts me in the mood...

    I was also looking at holiday recipes at my parents' house on the weekend. I love going there - I get away from the stress of my house, catch up on my magazine reading, get fed, have warm, comforting cats sit on me, demanding to be petted, and drink warm decaf beverages.

    Really, what could be better? Aside from Christmas of course?

    This time, I had brought home a bunch of clothes that I wanted to give away because I never wear them. And then I had a brainwave: Mom and I could alter the clothes to make them cool again! So we made my that's-so-2000 bell-bottom jeans into straight legs. And PRESTO! I have hot new jeans! We also tailored a velvet jacket that was way too boxy to be flattering. Mom made darts in all the right places and I wore it at work today and felt very cool.

    YAY for new refurbished clothes!

    Tuesday, October 31, 2006

    Trick or Treat?

    Trick or Treat?
    Originally uploaded by webgoddesscathy.
    My first trick or treaters JUST came by. I had to go out and take a photo of them at the neighbour's house, I was so excited!

    My neighbour really decorates his place up for the event. It looks great!

    I'm a total natural at this trick-or-treating business.

    Thanks to Sara for helping me do Halloween.

    Sunday, October 29, 2006

    Friday night, I went to Sara's birthday party at NOW Lounge.

    It was great - what a nice spot for a party. She had Mandippal Jandu play first. He's so great. What a beautiful voice.

    Then, of course, the Free Press came on and performed a set of Sara's favourite songs. I have to tell you, I'm loving their song, "Struggle" as long as they leave out all the blah, blah, blah at the end (another wife calls it "wanking").

    Anyway, it was a good set. Alex was all excited about his new drum set that he'd spontaneousy bought that day.

    Later, they were fooling around with some songs, everyone playing different instruments and I tried to get Alex to sing, but he wouldn't do it. I guess he's a little shy. I suspect he doesn't like to do anything if it's not done perfectly. Too bad, I love it when he sings.

    It was a late, late night for me. And everyone was WAY more drunk than I was. And I think we all know how much fun that can be after a while. I nearly punched out one of the guys in the band for trying to pick a fight with me in the PizzaPizza. It was that bad.

    Instead, in typical fashion, I just shut up, rather than cause a scene. Not worth it. I'm sure he doesn't even remember and here I am, being all bitter about it.

    Anyway, at home, I was asleep for about two hours when I woke up with bladder pain and decided to get to the hospital. Alex came with me. It took a couple of hours but he was at least able to sleep most of the time. I was in too much pain.

    In the end, they sent me home with a prescription for antibiotics, although not entirely sure what was wrong.

    A bit worrying, I'll be honest.

    But I've been taking it mostly easy all weekend. Sleeping and watching TV yesterday. Only getting up to make dinner. It was BORING. Goddessakes, I hate sitting around.

    So today I got up with a bit more in the way of plans on my mind. We were going to clean the house because it was a disaster. I'd been busy and sick, so not able to do anything. Plus, I was kind of on strike to see if it would happen if I didn't do it.

    So I announced the plan to Alex.
    I managed to get him to:
  • do the dishes
  • mow the lawn
  • intall a light
  • put up the curtain rod

    This is very good news.

    In between bouts of pretty serious nausea, I was able to do all the laundry, including all the bedding, make breakfast, sweep, clean the bathroom, rake the leaves and weed the garden AND make indian food for dinner.

    I'm very proud of myself.

    I'm so tempted to talk about the things that I'd WANTED to get done today that I didn't. Unfortunately, I made a promise to Raye the last time she was here. I'm going to try not to do that. I suppose that this is kind of cheating, but in my defense, the challenge was to start in November.

    I have to do something to keep myself more positive. I have not been myself lately. I am trying to figure out how to get Happy-Cathy back.

    I'm working on it.

    Happy birthday, Sara!
  • Thursday, October 26, 2006

    I've been doing literacy training for the past two nights. You know, learning how to teach others to read and write.

    It's something I've been thinking about doing for a long time, so I finally signed on with a group near my house.

    First step is the training and we're learning interesting things about different types of learning styles.

    Interesting thing is, even though there is a lot of research on the subject, I was discussing it with colleagues and they brought up a point I was trying to suppress in my own mind: aren't we just giving people excuses?

    I mean, how hard is it to learn to read and write? How do we know they're not just lazy or don't want to learn?

    My training discusses these questions.
    But it can be hard to overcome your own biases.

    These thoughts have made me realize how I have a hard time understanding that other people just THINK DIFFERENTLY than I do. And at times, I just want to tell them they're wrong -- that my way is clearly better and they should just DO it. That they're just being lazy or stupid or inefficient.

    This is something huge that I have to overcome. I like to pretend that I'm very open minded about different strokes for different folks. It's the enlightened way, afterall. But I really do have to realize that I make unconscious judgements about this kind of thing all the time.

    I'm striving to remain aware, at least. It's the first step to making a change.

    I'm not the most patient person, but I have to learn to be patient with myself in this. Attitudes are not altered overnight.

    Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    The wedding

    Originally uploaded by webgoddesscathy.
    The first of many wedding photos to be posted, i suspect.

    I love this one. Taken by my cousin, Chris, of me putting on my brother Will's boutonniere.

    You can click to view a few more wedding photos (with me and my dress!) that I've uploaded to my Flickr account.

    Otherwise, I recommend you view Chris' online album. He has some gorgeous ones! And you can see the ceremony, the signing of documents, the kiss, the speeches, the dancing, the ties around the heads.

    Check it out here:

    Tuesday, October 24, 2006


    Originally uploaded by ronestar.
    Pictures from Sharon's birthday on Sept 29th at Pogue Mahone's are up!

    You can visit Sharon's Flickr account to see the rest. There are one or two of me and a lot of other friends.

    I always love meeting up with Sharon and of course Sarah. (You did know that, given the chance, Sarah WILL stick her tongue out at you?) But it was even better to see a bunch of other friends that I haven't seen in a VERY long time (years, some of them).

    My favourite part of the night was when my old rez friend Derek says, "Cathy, you are aging really well. Like, not at all. You look the same or better than in university."

    Yay for good genes and decent haircuts!

    Monday, October 23, 2006

    There was an interesting event at MaRS on the weekend: Alphabet City: Garbage Town Hall.

    You can get some context about the event from this article, written in UofT's The Varsity:
    Fixing Toronto's trash dilemma.

    Now, I was at a wedding over the weekend, but this is something that interests me. I really DO want to know what's happening to our garbage.

    Sadly, when I went to "" there was a blog error and I can't read the proceedings.

    I find it odd that so many people are so blase about their trash. They don't even think about it. It goes much further than just junk mail or boxes or apple cores. I think it has a lot to do with our rampant consumerism.

    Think about it: if you need to buy that cooler phone or that nicer couch, then you're going to throw out that old one. Now, this is perfectly fine if your phone or your couch is broken. Not so fine when it's because the new one is just cooler.

    We think: I can afford that.
    We think we can afford it because we've saved up a couple hundred bucks.

    But we're not being charged for the disposal of the old one - for the resources that we are putting out of commission just to consume another. (To be clear: I realize the taxes we pay taxes are for just this sort of thing. I don't think this blanket tax system sufficiently forces us to consider the impact of our actions.)

    I strongly believe that the government should make "disposal of the old" a factor in our consumer behaviour. There are many ways to accomplish it (taxes, polluter-pays, incentives, etc).

    But it's not popular. So what politician who wants to be elected (or re-elected) will impose such measures?

    It's a sad story that can only be fixed by tax payers asking for the penalty. And how many people are going to ask to pay more?

    Discouraging situation.

    I'd like to know what this guy suggested as the answer in this talk. Or someday, we'll be drowning our neighbours and inevitably ourselves, in our own greed.
    Well, the Matt and Kendra Show is over.


    I am left with a serious migraine, but it was damn good fun!

    I got a lot of compliments on my dress, at least, so I worried for nothing about it being too big and not nice.

    Sad that it's over, actually. It was so nice seeing all my family together. Although I didn't get to talk to everyone nearly as much as I'd have liked. And I didn't even get to talk to some people at all!

    I was happy about my cheap car rental. I was not so happy about the double bed hotel room that Alex and I ended up with. But all in all, it was a great time.

    Pictures to follow soon, I hope!

    Monday, October 16, 2006

    This weekend, my sister arrived from Calgary.

    My mom picked her up at the airport and they came over to my place on Saturday afternoon. I had made some apple crisp for us in case we wanted a snack. Turns out we wanted a snack and it was a very yummy batch of apple crisp. Mm!

    Then we went shopping at Yorkdale mall. Shopped at all the stores that Jen doesn't have in Calgary. I bought a couple of things at H&M. We got my mom to get a few cool pieces, too.

    We stayed til past closing before taking the subway back to the Danforth where we went for Thai food.

    We went back to my house and drank lots of wine and talked until the wee hours of the morning.

    Next morning, we got ready and went downtown to shop again. And I showed them my workplace. And we ate indian food. YUM!

    Then they had to get home.
    It was a totally fun girl weekend.

    Wednesday, October 11, 2006

    Paying bills.

    I know; this sounds like it should be a lot of fun.

    In fact, I actually used to like it. I felt competent, responsible, efficient.

    I had a system.

    Step one: recieve a bill (paper or electronic)
    Step two: go online, post date the payment
    Step three: forget about bill

    I'm sure you can see why this might be enjoyable.

    It was simple. Tidy.

    Now I have a bill tracking spreadsheet.
    Now I have to create complicated spreadsheets to figure out how much I owe and how much my significantly more consumerist partner owes for each bill.
    Now I have to send emails with invoices to him about how much he owes.
    Now I have note due dates and put reminders in my calendar so that I can remind him to pay when the deadline looms.
    Now I have to pay again when he's missed the deadline and tell him to pay me instead. And then make sure he pays.
    Now I have to worry about balancing nagging with actually getting bills paid on time.
    Now I have touch a bill multiple times - increasing the amount of time I have to analyze spreadsheets and totals and checking email trails.

    I ask you: does this sound FUN?

    It is not.

    But what is the answer?

    How do I stop being the responsible boring adult who sits at home at night infront of her computer, contemplating bills and getting angry that I'm forced to do it to maintain my credit rating?

    Friday, October 06, 2006

    Yesterday I met Stephen Lewis.

    He shook my hand and I thought about all the interesting places he's been and all of the really wonderful, life changing things he's done. I was really humbled by it.

    He talked about the Give a Day to World AIDS campaign and MaRS announced that we, as a company, are giving a days' pay to combat the AIDS pandemic this year. And we're coming up with ideas on how we can encourage other companies in our building to do the same.

    It's a really good company I work for.
    They do good stuff.

    December 1 is World AIDS Day. Why not challenge your colleagues to join the effort? Then you can work for a company that you're proud of, too.
    Yesterday I met Stephen Lewis.

    He shook my hand and I thought about all the interesting places he's been and all of the really wonderful, life changing things he's done. I was really humbled by it.

    He talked about the Give a Day to World AIDS campaign and MaRS announced that we, as a company, are giving a days' pay to combat the AIDS pandemic this year. And we're coming up with ideas on how we can encourage other companies in our building to do the same.

    It's a really good company I work for.
    They do good stuff.

    December 1 is World AIDS Day. Why not challenge your colleagues to join the effort? Then you can work for a company that you're proud of, too.
    Friday nights in a quiet, empty office are somehow soothing.

    I'm flying across my keyboard: editing and approving blogs, testing new software, writing emails to my graphic designer, creating homepage design specs, sending meeting requests to usability contractors, finishing reading my emails.

    I'm feeling good about getting stuff done.

    The fans are humming. My keyboard is clicking. They are the only sounds in the office.

    It's time to go home and face the many things that need to get done there. It will be as quiet there as it is here, I know, but somehow it won't be as special.

    Thursday, October 05, 2006

    House Update
    1. I have bought curtain material.
      White curtain material.
      And blackout material.
      Very exciting.

      The plan was to add some embellishment to the curtains - some ribbon or silk edging. That is, until Alex became unsure of what he wanted. And now he thinks that maybe the OLD curtains might be OK afterall...

      In that case, I will use the blackout material for reinforcing the darkness of the old curtains. And I'll use the white material to make a duvet cover.


    2. I bought new curtain rod supports.
      Somehow, my old ones got lost in the move. I'm sure there in an un-opened box somewhere.

    3. I bought a programmable thermostat. Only $50 at Home Depot and I can program the weekend separate from the weekdays AND program a "special" day setting. Basically, I can be cheaper about my energy bill. PLUS, I get a $15 rebate for buying an energy-conscious gadget for my house! Now all I need to do is install it.

    4. I have a new door threshold to keep out the cold winter. Boring. But smart. Again, installation necessary.

    5. I am a new member of AutoShare! So now I can book a car for a couple of hours whenever I want and go to Home Depot to pick up some insulation or eavestroughs or whatever.

    6. I am designing my new PAX wardrobe using the online PAX Planner Tool. I love useful online tools. When I'm done, I'm gonna my AutoShare car and go pick it up!

    I love getting things done. I love that my new house is starting feel a little like MINE. Of course, there is much to do. But I guess the winter may be a good time to do it? Or at least to plan it.
    Is having a relationship a little like having a child?

    I mean, you have to teach them discipline - how to treat you.
    You have to be consistent.
    You have to punish when they do something wrong or they won't know not to do it again.
    You have to lay out your expectations - give them a schedule of chores or whatever.

    I'm wondering if perhaps I am fighting in vain against this concept. I have been hanging on to the ideal that it is a completely equal partnership in which both members understand what is needed and just DO IT.

    But what if one of you does not know what is needed?

    Doesn't it fall to the other to help them see and understand and even to train them to supply it without asking?

    Perhaps I give too much credit and expected too much.

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    I've been on a bit of a shopping spree lately, having been under the bad influence of Sara.

    She has a car at the moment and so we drove out to Vaugn Mills shopping centre to, well, shop.

    While there, I had another of my favourite beverage from Starbucks, the London Fog. Earl Grey tea, steamed milk, vanilla. Only, the problem with this off-menu item is that not everyone makes it exactly the same way. This time, there wasn't enough vanilla. I had the courage to say something and the guy added more and told me to come back if it wasn't right! I'm constantly impressed with Starbucks.

    (Except for when they took away the maple oat scone and replaced it with a cheap-ass version. But that's another story that I think I've blogged about before. Sigh.)

    And then I bought really cheap things at Old Navy and had a grand ol' time.

    I am really unhappy with my clothes lately and wanting to buy everything. Also, with my haircut (did I talk about that yet?) I feel a bit like a boy.

    I need to stop shopping. But I also want to look pretty.

    Thursday, September 28, 2006

    There's nothing I dislike more than jargon or corporatese.


    Who likes that stuff? Who got up one day and thought, "I should speak and write in a manner that no one will actually understand so that I can pretend I know what a lot of big words mean" ?

    Seriously, people!
    I know you know someone who communicates this way.

    They say things like "co-location of target communities of science, business and capital—communities energized and engaged by catalytic programs and services and structured networks" and think that people are bobbing their heads emphatically because they understand and agree -- instead of just to hide the fact that they nodded off.

    Whatever happened to short, concise sentences? To meaningful, straightforward words?

    They've been lost - buried by the suits who believe that "Taurus excreta cerebrum vincit" (bullshit baffles brains).

    And now for those who have one of these people at work:

    Just press "enter" and you'll be able to contribute to the stupid corporatese conversations coming soon to a boardroom near you.

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    I'm experiencing an exceptional frequency of coincidences today.

    Nothing earth shattering, just, you know, I'm hungry and food shows up. Or I'm talking about someone I haven't thought about in months, thinking I should reconnect and they email me about 5 minutes later.

    Finally, I'm updating a Post-Doc Application from the Royal Society on our website. And someone sends me a notice that the complete archive of the UK Royal Society's journals, which stretches back over 300 years, has been put on-line, and that, until December 2006 access to this remarkable collection of almost 60,000 articles will be free of charge.

    Obviously, this needs to go on our website. And my browser is already there, just waiting to download their logo to post with the story that I'm about to put up. Seriously, the last time I've been to the Royal Society's website? Probably when I started working here.

    Weird stuff.

    Anyway, if you think our excitement over the Royal Society's free downloads, consider some of the amazing things you can access:

    Today I'm wearing a pair of pants that I haven't worn since before I went to Australia. That's about three and a half years since I was fit enough to wear these sexy pants!

    Even better, I got a better-than-average "you look nice today" from Alex, who asked, "oh my gosh, are you MY girlfriend?"

    Nothing like something like that to make you feel good.

    Cycling certainly has advantages that make the sweating on the way to work worthwhile.

    Monday, September 25, 2006

    Alex is home from Europe tomorrow!

    I guess I've had enough of a quiet house. Although I'm not quite ready for the TV to go back on.

    But right about now I'm really wishing I had someone who would take out the recycling for me...
    Just had my first experience of cycling home in the rain. Ew.

    You know, so many times, I've left my bike at work thinking it was supposed to rain and then I got home and was mad cuz it DIDN'T rain. This time, I thought, "for sure it's not going to rain, I'll be fine."

    Of course, it didn't just rain, it POURED.

    It was cold cold cold and stung and I regretted choosing a dress today (even though it's my new favourite cute brown dress with white polka dots).

    But, you know, it could have been worse.

    At least I'm home now and can warm up with maybe a hot chocolate after I eat my late dinner of MaRS potato salad. And I can cuddle up in the cozy blanket that Alex bought me for Christmas two years ago while I work on the report that I have to write tonight.

    While I ignore the tasks that I had set aside for me to do tonight so I can write a report for work. Boo, but yay for cozy things like flannel PJs and steaming mugs of cocoa.

    Sunday, September 24, 2006

    Decided to go home with my mom, sort of last-minute last night. She'd been in Toronto to go fabric shopping.

    I decided on some curtain material for our master bedroom, bought most of the material and I'm waiting til Alex gets home to buy the rest. He SAYS he doesn't care, but he does.

    Anyway, he's still in Europe now (Amsterdam, actually) and I just wanted to get away from the house for a bit. I think he comes home tomorrow. He was in Austria for work and stayed a couple of extra days and decided to go to Amsterdam. I can't figure that out. Why wouldn't he go somewhere closer? I mean, he's only there for a couple of days (Saturday, Sunday). He's spending most of his time on a train. And when Prague and Budapest are so close by? Why would he do that?

    It's a mystery. (Actually, I'm pretty sure I know why, although I think he will deny it if we ask...)

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    Burning Man - Serpent Mother

    Burning Man - Serpent Mother
    Originally uploaded by loupiote.
    Have you heard of Burning Man?

    "...people make the journey to the Black Rock Desert for one week out of the year to be part of an experimental community, which challenges its members to express themselves and rely on themselves to a degree that is not normally encountered in one's day-to-day life. The result of this experiment is Black Rock City, home to the Burning Man event."

    Sounds like something I aspire to go be a part of someday. I think I'll add this to my list of things to do before I die.

    It's funny that I heard about this event via the recently launched (by moi!) MaRS Blog. It's not something that I would have thought I would find in a MaRS Blog.

    It's just one more example of how amazed I get at the diversity of interesting things going on around MaRS and in the minds of the brilliant people who work there.

    Monday, September 18, 2006

    You know, the most frustrating thing about the internet is that there's just so MUCH of it.

    I love it but I hate that I can't get to it all. It would suck every living second out of me if I were to spend time with every interesting thread that I picked up.

    Take today's emails, for example.

    IgoUgo sends me their annual hall of fame announcement - basically a list of all the outstanding members of their travel community. I've taken to ignoring their emails, because there's only so much I can read.

    But, for some reason, I opened it thinking, "I wonder what kind of person wins these awards?" (And I thought that maybe one of them could inspire me with an idea for my next big trip.)

    And what I found was not what I expected. I thought I would find young punk hard-nosed adventure travellers who'd make me feel bad that I hadn't done that mountain or seen that temple. But no. These are people of all ages. Who love all types of travelling.

    I followed a couple of the intriguing profiles: Idler, HobWahid, SamePenny. I read a few of their journeys. I wanted to read more. I wanted to contribute to MY journal.

    But of course that would mean that I will definitely NOT get to bed at a reasonable time like I'd planned because I'm still sick.

    And then, in my landscaping newsletter, I was educated about mosquito magnets. I had no idea these gadgets existed! Again, I wanted to do more research.

    And then Tree emails me about this KILLER teak patio set on Craiglist, which I'm totally in love with but realized that, no matter what a great deal it is, it's STILL way too big for my backyard. I SO wanted to do a search for other patio furniture that people might be selling off. Or for that wardrobe that I really need...

    But seriously, I can't. There's just too much. And I have to take the garbage out and get to bed.

    Never mind all the friend's blogs that I'd like to read. I finally managed to read about Raye's secret admirer, for goddessakes! What kind of friend AM I? I managed to leave a comment (what do you think of my theory?) and wanted to keep going through all the posts, finding out what's going on in Raye's life right now and comment on all of it, but I had to stop.

    I love that I work on the web, but I really wish I had more time for it.

    Sunday, September 17, 2006

    Evening #1 of the week without Alex.

    Alex has headed out to Austria. He's pretty unhappy that
    a) he has to fly at all b/c he hates flying
    b) he's flying economy with Air Canada who apparently does NOT understand additional baggage needs
    c) that he has a 5-hr layover in Frankfurt
    d) he has to take a baby-plane to the little town he has to get to for the event he's working on over there.

    Today, I saw "The Last Kiss" with my friends Sarah and Tanya. I really liked it. It was sad. I get very upset about movies that depict cheating men. Because I don't need any more reasons to think badly of the opposite sex. I want to believe in them as a race. I want to believe they're all like my brothers and my dad. I do. But they keep proving me wrong. At least there was hope at the end of this one. It did make me think about how much one has to work at a relationship. No matter how tough I think I am, I need to be better/more.

    On Saturday night, Alex and I saw "Bon Cop, Bad Cop" - that Canadian French/English movie that's causing a lot of stir. Honestly? Don't see the big deal. I think Alex said it best when he said the movie had an identity crisis. It doesn't know whether it's a thriller, a comedy, an action movie or a political piece. It had some good moments, but it was a real mixed bag.

    I biked around as much as I could this weekend, which makes me feel good. As well as being my sole source of exercise and saving me on gym fees, biking has saved me a lot on transit fees. And I've noticed that in some cases, I can actually get there faster than by taking the TTC.

    Alex and I managed to spend most of Saturday together, which was nice, even though it was mostly doing errands for him so that he can leave on the aforementioned trip to Austria.

    It was the most time I've spent with him since last weekend when we went to the Cabbagetown festival. I think I spoke to him for a total of an hour the whole rest of the week. Stupid work!

    We did manage to get to aforementioned so-so movie on Saturday, and eat at one of our favourite spots: HoSu.

    We also stumbled upon an open house in our neighbourhood. We guessed how much it would list at (we thought just under a 1/2-million). Turns out it's listed at $859K. Wow. It was a nice place, don't get me wrong. All newly reno'd. But even if I had the money, I certainly wouldn't spend it on THAT place. I felt even better about our house after that. Although we still have so much to do on it.

    Which brings me to:

    I made a list of the things I want to accomplish this week.

    It ranges from small stuff like getting a haircut and doing some groceries to a big goal of planning out the next year of house work (and by "work" I mean reno's). That should be a lot of thinking. If anyone has an idea of HOW to plan this all out, please let me know.

    I've got plans of seeing a couple of friends as well. I love being social.

    But for now, I'm off to bask in a a full bed all to myself - hopefully to sleep enough to be able enjoy this partner-less week.

    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    Spending all night working.

    You'd think it was horrible. Such a sad story, right? Especially since I'm STILL sick.

    But no, I am munching on my mom's spice cookies, drinking hot chocolate in my flannel PJs while Jack Johnson plays in the otherwise quiet house.

    I am suddenly transported back to that Audi, driving around with Jaap in New Zealand.

    My head bobs to the groove. A smile creeps its way into my face.

    The monotonous work continues, almost unnoticed.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    Under the category of "Little-Known Fun Stuff to Do" is the Toronto Trails Festival.

    Seriously, who wants to go do some light hiking in Toronto?

    I'm very happy with myself that I put a reminder in my calendar from last year (when I actually found it AFTER the event had already passed - BOO!).

    I hope to do at least one of the hikes to see what it's like this year. I'm hoping that I'll stop feeling so crappy so that I can enjoy it too.

    Right about now I feel like trash. Throat, head, stomach... all conspiring against me. Ugh.

    Monday, September 11, 2006

    Toronto Film Festival 2006

    Toronto Film Festival 2006
    Originally uploaded by amnesic_kid.
    Managed to get to a film festival movie last night for free! I really do love going to at least one every year.

    This year it was "The Pleasure of Your Company".

    I knew nothing about the film before I arrived. I invited my favourite film festival buddy, Sarah. She knew nothing about the film, either. And we both loved it!

    Great comedic timing, the awkwardness was palpable, and I actually laughed out loud, which is unusual for me (Alex will attest to that). Apparently, it was low budget, but it totally didn't seem like it. It was very well done.

    Yes, it was romantically cheesey ridiculous. Don't expect anything less. But you will laugh. Try not to read anything else about it before you go see it.

    After the showing, we were interviewed by Starz TV about the movie. If you subscribe, you might get to see my famous TV appearance!

    I found that the Q&A session that followed the movie was almost better. The director/writer and Jason Biggs were actually even funnier in person. Congrats to them on getting me to laugh!

    Inline skating at Ashbridges Bay

    Mom and I went inline skating yesterday at The Beach, starting at Ashbridges Bay. It was the first time I've actually explored the trails in that area and it was a perfect spot (especially if you have a car or live nearby).

    Gorgeous weather, some smooth trails, it hardly seemed like we were in Toronto at all. We felt like we were on vacation. Wondered why we don't do stuff like this more often.

    Actually, the Martin Goodman Trail was great until we decided to check out Tommy Thompson park. I'll tell you, that's a definite skip for next time. Not so pretty, really. And the path is pretty rough.

    My legs are pretty sore and I'm even more convinced that I need to get new inline skates. I have the gift certificate to get them, I just haven't found the right pair for the right price.
    Logan Movers: the moving company that cheated me

    Judging by the number of emails and comments on our blogs, CityRat and I reckon that we have cost Logan Movers thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

    Read up on the saga:

    A couple of people have worked together to figure out what we can do to legally ensure that they can't hurt other people this way. Keep your receipt or invoice from Logan Movers and email me to find out what you can do!

    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    I am so done with rain. It meant that I wasn't really able to get out and bike ride or walk and visit people, like I'd wanted to.

    On the other hand, I suppose I got some work accomplished around the house. And I watched some pointless TV. Let me tell you, The Dukes of Hazzard is NOT a good movie.

    I did manage to get Alex to come for a walk with me as long as there was the promise of Dairy Queen on the other end.

    At least there are always Georgia Mud Fudge Blizzards.

    Saturday, September 02, 2006

    So, I had so much stuff to do that I'm not even getting through my list. However, holy crap, my banister is looking SO good! Not completely done yet, but pretty close! So excited that it will be done soon and I can just sit there and admire it. Oh and I WILL sit there and admire, dammmit.

    Plus, I managed to get Alex's stinky duvet over to the dry clearners. Thursday I will have a pretty, almost new bed cover!

    Sadly, all of my outdoor activities were cancelled due to copious amounts of rain. However, it meant that I was able to concentrate on the banister and not feel bad about being inside.

    And I was able to work on Anita's website, which I feel pretty good about.

    Nothing I love more than being productive.

    And now we're debating whether or not we can go out tonight since we MAY need to wake up early to get to Bala where The Free Press is supposed to be playing tomorrow. I like going out, but no one's happy when I haven't slept.

    Friday, September 01, 2006

    So, one big project out of the way. Mostly.

    And another big project - the weekend - on deck. Haven't had many recommendations from people. SERIOUSLY, where ARE you when I need help?

    I have made a commitment to myself: be positive.

    Sounds easy. But, damn, it is not easy when you keep getting stood up, when house problems keep creeping up, when projects at work are behind schedule and lack resources.

    So I must remember to figure out how to just BE HAPPY. No matter what happens.

    New matra. Stay positive. Let's see how this works.

    Thursday, August 31, 2006

    What fun things are you doing on your long weekend?

    I'm not at all sure WHAT I'm doing, but I really have an itch to do something different/interesting/fun.

    Thoughts? Recommendations?


    • shop for duvet cover/curtain/bedsheet material
    • paint and do house reno errands/work
    • call every friend I know and go be social
    • shop. Preferably Winners. Bad idea for the pocketbook.
    • Go for a long walk and bike ride
    • Go to the Chet Baker festival at Yonge-Dundas square
    • go home to my parents' house
    • sleep in, eat bon bons, lounge on the couch and watch HGTV

    Wednesday, August 30, 2006

    Just when I thought I was getting bored (or boring), I am suddenly inspired by looking up my stats, which led me to find out about a top exit page, which I promptly read (to clarify, it was the post that I read that inspired me, not the stats).

    The post is one that I wrote in Sydney after reading SHE magazine about "How to be Happy."

    I thought I'd like to see how things have progressed in just over 3 years. (Goodness has it been that long?)

    The list:

    1. two things to do every day to inspire myself
    2. two people I want to meet this year
    3. two things I want to learn
    4. two things I want to finish
    5. two things I want to start
    6. two material things I want in my lifetime
    7. two books I want to read
    8. two places I want to go
    10. two things I want to eliminate from my life

    My list (and progress):

    1. a) Previous answers and progress
  • walk through a park - I used to do it every day in Australia. Now I ride my bike to/from work and try to choose the quieter streets and go a little slower to enjoy it. I've started a walking club and I try to take my group somewhere pretty in downtown Toronto every week. But I don't know if I'd call that "inspiring".

  • read while I drink my tea - well, I haven't had much time to do that lately. While I was at my apartment, I had my weekend morning ritual of coffee and magazine reading. Totally loved it. Haven't done that since I've been in the house. Must get back to it.

    b) THIS YEAR: must do better on this one - I'm definitely missing a sense of inspiration. Ideas (although not necessarily daily ones):
  • take a course
  • go for walks early in the morning or in the evening

    2. a) Previous answers and progress
  • someone interesting from an exotic place - totally met lots of these people on my trip. This year I met Jesse, a musician from Tasmania.
  • someone who inspires me - the CEO of my company

    b) THIS YEAR:
  • a good doctor/counsellor
  • a professional mentor

    3. a) Previous answers and progress
  • scuba diving - done! - got my advanced diving license
  • surfing - done! - took 2 classes

    b) THIS YEAR:
  • patience
  • how fix a bike

    4. a) Previous answers and progress
  • this trip - done! - totally smoked that trip!
  • the Lord of the Rings Trilogy - done!

    b) THIS YEAR:
  • unpacking
  • renovating

    5. a) Previous answers and progress
  • a professional web site - nope
  • loving and believing myself - um, better on the former, not so great on the latter

    b) THIS YEAR:
  • site redesign, including a professional section
  • being truly supportive and unselfish

    6. a) Previous answers and progress
  • a house - done - I'm sitting in it!
  • a wedding ring - no deal

    b) THIS YEAR: tough one as I really don't feel that I want much beyond what I have...
  • a pretty garden to sit out in
  • a gorgeous deep bathtub

    7. a) Previous answers and progress
  • tales of a female nomad - done
  • The High King - done

    b) THIS YEAR:
  • 1000 Places to See Before You Die
  • Suggestions?

    8. a) Previous answers and progress
  • The Great Barrier Reef - done!
  • Fraser Island - done!

    b) THIS YEAR:
  • Thailand
  • Cape Breton Island

    10. a) Previous answers and progress
  • caring so much what others expect from me or think about me
  • fear of failure (or my ridiculous notion of what constitutes failure)
    I'm still struggling with these

  • the above
  • my sense of urgency about pretty much everything


    I accomplished a lot.
    I can do a lot more to nurture myself.
    It's probably a good idea to do a list like this every once in a while to refocus.
    I can't count to 10.