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.
  • It's one of those days when things just do not want to go right.

    I usually ascribe to the belief that nothing goes wrong if you plan well enough, so following that logic, that the problems are due to lack of planning.

    However, it is not always possible to plan every aspect of a project and sometimes you must rely on your team to be experts and learn. And sometimes that means that things will go wrong.

    And it seems that I just have to be OK with that.
    I discovered a super interesting magazine today: Technology Review, from MIT, which discusses emerging technologies and their impact.

    Totally my cup of tea and, oh-so-coincidentally, that of MaRS as well.

    If you follow my blog at all, you might have read the post about Web 2.0.

    Today I read an article by a technology journalist who explored what it meant to live on Web 2.0 in his article "Homo Conexus".

    He came to some similar conclusions that I am coming to about all this stuff: that it's interesting, but only some of it is actually useful.

    It's the same argument I had with myself and others about getting a mobile so many years ago: why?

    I was happy with my cordless phone in my apartment. I had voice mail that I could access anywhere. I made plans before I went anywhere. I had my work phone with voice mail. There are phone booths. What could I possibly need a mobile phone for?

    Well, it finally had its use in Australia. And so I bought it. And it followed me around everywhere and became the place where anyone could reach me, anytime. OK, except when I was out of range or had burnt through the battery. But still.

    I fell in love.
    The technology met my needs at a time when I didn't have a HOME or any one place where one could reach me. There was email, but we all know that's not the same as a real live voice. It helped me feel like I was connected to the people I loved.

    And when I got back to Canada, I started thinking about it from the other way: what the hell did I need with a land line? And so the mobile phone stayed and the land line went.

    I pay less for my phone, but I also admittedly have more limitations on use and have to pay for long distance separately in order to make it affordable. In the end, I still find it a useful replacement of the old technology.

    So I find myself waiting for Web 2.0 to become more useful to me, or cheaper than another alternative.

    I've found a couple things that I like...

  • I'm using because I'm sick of not having my bookmarks from home available to me at the office and vice versa.
  • I'm using my blog, and have been for years, instead of mass emails and to be my writerly self and get my creative stuff out. Although I wonder sometimes how creative I'm being. Lately, due to house stuff, I've been writing more as a duty than anything else. Goodness, what has become of me?!
  • I use my web mail to store files and a calendar, but I would like to have a shared calendar with Alex so that I could see him every once in a while
  • I used a wiki for my trip to Halifax
    . It didn't work out so well.
  • I network through LinkedIn. Although I have yet to actually use it for professional reasons.
  • I post my photos on Flickr and blog them. Problem with Flickr is that there's a limit on the number of photos and the ways that I can organize them and link to them. Sad story.

    A big issue is finding other people who will buy into your latest and greatest tool (know how to use it, care to even try, want to participate with you, etc).

    In theory, though, if I were more interesting in my USE of these tools, it wouldn't be a problem. Except that I would spend my entire LIFE creating this online persona.

    And what fun is that when the sun is shining and your house needs renovations?
  • Friday, August 25, 2006


    Golf Statue
    Originally uploaded by webgoddesscathy.
    The MaRS Social Committee (organized by yours truly) put on an AWESOME company golf tournament on Wednesday this week.

    I was a little afraid, since I've never golfed before in my life.

    We played "best ball" so everyone teed off and we all shot next from the team's best-placed ball. We had to use at least 2 of each team member's tee-offs.

    They used THREE of mine! I was very excited.

    I had a great team, with two really good golfers being patient enough to teach me some basics. We even won the spirit award!

    The day was gorgeous and it was the most fun I've had in a long time. Can't wait to golf again!
    It's been a great and tiring week.

    Tuesday night, I went to see The Chairs for half price with Sara (with no 'h'). It was an interesting play - I'm still thinking about it.

    I chose that play rather than The Importance of Being Earnest because NOW magazine had given it a better review.

    I'm glad I went, but it was a LATE night.

    Wednesday, I got up super early to get to Davisville station where a colleague drove us to the MaRS Golf Tournament (at the Richmond Hill Country Club). See above post and photos on flikr.

    After golfing, I went to see the Lord of the Rings play at the Princess of Wales theatre. It was a long slog; it started at 7:30pm and we got out at 11pm. One full intermission, one short intermission.

    But I'm really glad that I saw it. A couple of characters, mostly elves, actually, had the most fantastic voices. Legolas, Galadriel and Arwen were all gorgeous singers and I found their music haunting. The other music I found completely forgettable and kind of wanted to fast-forward through it in efforts to get to the end more quickly.

    There were some pretty cool effects as well. The Balrog was the definitely the highlight. I won't spoil it in case you go to see it too. But I felt the destruction of the ring was pretty underdone in terms of effects. Sad.

    But I paid only $25 for the ticket, so I was quite happy. Be sure you know the story if you go, because otherwise you will have serious trouble figuring out what's going on.

    Thursday night was date night.

    A colleague had just come home from Newfoundland where he'd been cod fishing and had brought me back some of his wares. So we grilled it on the bbq and I made some butter white wine sauce and grilled veggies and rice.

    Total yum!

    But I was beat. So many late nights. So Alex and I put together the long-awaited chore schedule and went to bed.

    Today at work we had a goodbye lunch for our summer students, which was sad but really quite nice to hang out. I'll miss them and I totally hope they come back someday. They were the most fun people here.

    I also visited my friend Evelyn at Sick Kids hospital for my coffee break, as her daughter is there right now. It was nice to see Ev at least, but her daughter was very uncharacteristically quiet. Poor kid feels pretty crappy with an appendicitis complication that I sort of went through when I was 16; but apparently she'll be fine soon. They expect that she may be able to go home on Monday.

    Tonight - shortly, actually - I'm heading to the bus station to catch a ride to Kitchener. Kendra's picking me up and we're driving to Sauble Beach for her stagette weekend. I've never been there.

    I'm really looking forward to a lot of sleeping. And hopefully it won't be too cold or rain so much that we can't go mini putting!

    Sunday, August 20, 2006

    I love weekends at home.

    They're always filled with too much food, lots of interesting conversations, relaxing and Star-Trek-watching. I'm usually able to catch up on a bit of reading as well.

    So I finally managed to read the exceptional Summer 2006 issue of MoneySense. Seriously, this is a great magazine.

    This issue listed 50 great ways to grow your money. It wasn't just about investing, much as the whole magazine is not about just investing. It included some tips on smart investing, but there were far more about the basic commandments (ie: pay yourself first, spending less than you make, etc), insurance, handling debt, being a good consumer, real estate, tax and retirement.

    Fantastic tips. I might post them on my fridge.

    Actually, even better for posting on your fridge is 10 ways to make yourself happier. Shockingly, money doesn't bring happiness. But, based on research, they have a list of 10 things you can do be happier. A couple nice ones: have sex and (somewhat related) exercise regularly, set achievable goals, reflect on the good things in life, get enough sleep and try to enjoy your job which should engage your skills.

    ON the work note, my dad commented that I actually am a lot less stressed now that I enjoy my job more. When I looked up how they suggested finding satisfying work, they recommend asking the following questions: What gives me a sense of purpose? What do I enjoy doing? What am I good at?

    Find meaning, pleasure and strength in work, or seeing your work as a calling will not surprisingly increase your joy in work. But it will also make you more productive AND creative!

    Maybe these are all things that I knew or suspected. But I think I just needed to be reminded.

    I think tonight I will go home and talk about what I've read with my favourite boyfriend. Talk about it with your partner too. Apparently, it's one of the top ways to both increase your happiness AND grow your money.

    So there.

    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    Dave has arrived!

    Dave comes "home" from Japan every year to visit and it's such a treat! Yesterday, he arrived in Toronto and we met up with Anita to go for coffee and a chat. We talked about relationships vs dating, living and working abroad, coming home, and life lessons.

    I felt wise when I was able to pass on the lessons that have helped me most:

    1. Sometimes, making a decision is paralyzing because you think it's forever. It's not. If you aren't happy with the outcome of any decision you make, you can change it. You can do something else. And if you don't like that? You'll do somethingn else.
    2. Change is hard. Actually, it can seriously suck. This can prevent us from taking risks. But it will get better. Because (refer to point #1) you will do something to make it better. But also because time heals and soon, the change will become the NEW reality.
    3. Having many options can be scary because you don't know what to choose and it can cause your desire to change to stall. My advice: PICK ONE. Pick an option, do the research to make sure it's not ridiculous and JUST DO IT. Then, see item #1.
    4. Everything you do in life is never a waste. You can always learn something, even if it's figuring out what you don't want.

    They're all kind of related, I guess. And by no means is this the sum total of the life lessons I've learned. But they were the focus of our conversation last night as Dave tries to decide where to go next with his life.

    It's funny because Dave and Alex seem to be going through similar third-life crises. They're wondering where their lives have gone, what have they accomplished, are they wasting their time on whatever they're doing now.

    What's funny is that I'm not having those feelings right now. This is usually where my head is at. And, YES, I do wish that I could travel more. But I'm surprisingly quite content.

    Yes, I said "content."

    And now I can't wait to help others through their ordeals. Problem is, there's not much that anyone can or should say/do. They need to figure it out on their own. And that's a life lesson I've learned too.

    Monday, August 14, 2006

    What a week!

    I got a lot of stuff done around the house - banister stained, laundry, dishes, garden weeding/watering, changing the beds, got my bike fixed.

    And then there was all of the fun stuff: Taste of the Danforth was busy but I got a nice pork souvlaki for $2 and a yummy greek pastry for $2. I spent most of Saturday at the Toronto International Dance Festival at the Distillery District. And of couse grabbed a decaf iced latte from my favourite roaster, Balzac's Coffee.

    Sunday, I rode my bike down to Sarah's house and went to the Beer Festival at Fort York to... not drink beer. Her brother is a brewmaster (St. Andre's), so I got in free and also managed to get a few free drinks from the likes of Smirnoff Ice and Mike's Hard Lemonade. Mm! And Alex's band, The Free Press, was playing. Not their best show, but it was fun anyway.

    Gorgeous day.

    We went out for food and then I biked home and hung out with my favourite boyfriend for a bit.

    Today he takes off for Austria. I'm sad; I'll miss him.

    Saturday, August 12, 2006


    That great non-working time when all the cool people do cool things.

    Weekends, chez Cathy: work late on Friday just so you can bike home (after the bike repair shop is closed - grr), water the plants, do laundry, change the bed sheets, resand and restain the banister. Make quick plans for Saturday as your boyfriend has ditched you for the weekend.

    Saturday, wake up as early as you normally do, try to sleep in unsuccessfully. Watch terrible episodes of home improvement shows while drinking a smoothy (OK, that part was pretty damn good) and think about whether to ride your bike to the distillery district for the dance festival or whether you can drop it off at the bike shop and walk that far.

    Water more plants, do more laundry, admire the banister now that it has non-defective stain on it. Freeze inside while you debate how you're going to go about your day in the sunshine.

    OK, that's it. I'm OUT of here!

    Friday, August 11, 2006

    So there I am, volunteering at an AIDS Conference-affiliated event at MaRS last night.

    I'm volunteering as the photographer's assistant and writing down the names of everyone in the photos he's taking.

    "Can I take down your name for the photo credit?"
    "Can you please spell your last name?"

    And so on.

    Valerie Pringle's there, Olivia Chow and Barbara Hall. There's the speaker of the evening, Dr. James Orbinski. And the man with the million-dollar cheque. And all I can do is wait because I know She is here.

    Sarah McLachlan. I was there for her soundcheck and took some blurry photos from the mezzanine. It hardly seemed real.

    And now I'm being asked to join the photographer as he waits for Sarah to exit from her dressing room or the bathroom. So I'm fiddling with my camera. I look up and She is there, looking me right in the face.

    Dear God.
    I smile.
    This is so unreal.

    But she's walking past me before I remember the camera in my hand. I join the entourage, tailing my photographer. I step into the elevator with everyone.

    I cannot stare. And I can't start snapping photos in her face. How rude. I am not rude. So I try to be normal.

    Except I am not normal. My heart is hammering in my chest. It's like that feeling I used to get around that boy I had a crush on.

    And do you think I can say ANYTHING? Not a peep.

    I can't think of anything intelligent.

    "I love you" is not right. "I love your music" seems silly. And really, there is no opportunity. I have no reason to speak to her. Except to gush and make a fool of myself.

    But she is pretty and she laughs and is normal as we walk backstage.

    As she greets James Fraser, the CEO of Dignitas, the medical humanitarian organization that is the reason for this event, I start snapping. It seems somehow less intrusive, as I am supposed to document the evening, along with the professional beside me.

    It is all happening so fast. The show will be starting. I am ushered to the front of the stage. She comes out and I snap more photos. Mostly blurry. And I sing along to the four songs she chooses.

    I wish she would notice.

    God, I am a silly teenager.

    Finally, it is over and we clap and she goes back to her room. The photographer is invited to the VIP party and of course I must go with him. This is where Sarah will greet all of the important people.

    I have another chance!
    To do what, I'm not sure.

    But she arrives and smiles and hugs people and shakes hands and talks to various people and poses for photos. The professional takes all the photos now. I dutifully write down names.

    And I do not speak to her.
    Or get my photo taken with her.

    And she leaves and it is done. My job over. I will never get another chance like this. But really, what does it matter? What good would it do to tell her that I, like so many, like her music? That I have all of her CDs (but one)?

    She would smile and inwardly roll her eyes and think, "oh god, another one" and maybe say "thank you" and that's about it.

    So really, it's probably best that I have said nothing.

    I wish I really felt that. But I head to the open bar to forget. Normal life resumes.

    I would post my photos of her but I have signed an agreement that I will not do so unless it is approved by her management. And so I have nothing but a silly uncomfortable memory.

    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Today is Miracle Treat Day - the day to buy a blizzard at DQ! Buy a blizzard to support your local Children's Miracle hospital.

    Seriously, do you need a BETTER reason to buy a blizzard?

    Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    What a gorgeous weekend!

    Sadly, I was in a car for most of it, but it was great.

    I went with my parents to visit my grandmother. I haven't seen her since Christmas, I think, so it was great to talk to her. It really makes me appreciate everything about youth - my eyesight, my hearing, my energy and mobility. I'm really very lucky.

    On our way home, we went blueberry picking - YUM, blueberries are my favourite! I've never been blueberry picking before. It was so easy. Picking strawberries is back-breaking work as the plants are so close to the ground. I thought that blueberry bushes were too - not true! They're like trees! And just packed with the bright blue clusters of berries.

    So, of course, we had blueberry pancakes.

    We visited Matt and Kendra and had dinner with them. We talked about all of their wedding plans and their honeymoon. It's the first time I ever heard my brother talk about having kids. Eery.

    Monday, my mom and dad and I had lunch together (aforementioned blueberry pancakes) before my mom drove me back to Toronto.

    I love it when she drives me because she's always so eager to get stuff accomplished. First, and most important, we went to Dairy Queen (although the Georgia Mud Fudge Blizzard that I had wasn't very good). We went to Home Depot and bought a ceiling fan and a screen door (although the screen door didn't fit in our trunk, so we had to return it and then found out that we couldn't order it online either!). We had a coffee. We went to Canadian Tire to return something and then spent the store credit on 40%-off perrenials from their Garden Centre. What a deal!

    After dropping me off and unloading everything, she loaded up the car with all the things I needed to send home. Then I broke a beer bottle in my basement and she helped me clean up that mess too. Which meant washing the entire basement floor, pretty much.

    When she left, I kept the momentum up. I did laundry, folded, put away clothes. I cleaned. I finished the planter on my front deck (filled with my cheap plants!). I took the garbage out. I unpacked some of Alex's boxes.

    I felt so productive!

    I even read all of the flyers as I relaxed and cooled down on my front porch.

    It would have been a great night, had I been able to fall asleep! Instead, I was wide awake until well past 2am. And woke up with the garbage truck before my alarm at 7am.

    But I rode my bike in to work - thankful that the heat wave has passed. And I just got back from a dim sum lunch with my Mom and Kendra and her maid of honour, Dana.

    It is NAP TIME!

    I'm looking forward to the end of the work day so that I can reconnect with my mom so we can go shopping for birthday presents and shoes/jewelery for her wedding outfit. I LOVE shopping for other people!

    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    It's been tough lately, with the unbearable heat and house stress, for Alex and I.

    So last night I decided we should treat ourselves to movie. We saw Clerks II.

    Bad choice.
    Don't see it, because if you like Kevin Smith, you'll be sad.

    Still, it was a nice night out, if it hadn't been for my raging migraine.

    We got home and I had another weird moment of feeling emotional about the house - just realizing that I friggin LIVE there and it's MINE.

    Alex and I laid on the floor together and just talked.

    We're both feeling a little restless, although for completely different reasons. I have to figure out how to stop being upset about an unkempt, unfinished house. I need to find my zen garden deep inside and go back there whenever I feel that I'm about to drown.

    And then there's the long weekend. I made the mistake of getting excited about it. Now I realize there's nothing to get excited about. I'm not doing anything anyway.

    This is a very quick way to get depressed, so I'm trying to think of good ways to entertain and zen myself out.

    Oddly, I'm having trouble.

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    I'm pretty fascinated by trying out new web tools/software.

    So today, I set up a Yahoo 360 blog to just talk about that kind of crap, since it's more professionally related and I'm not sure about posting that to this blog, since this blog tends to be more personal.

    So here's my page:

    I'm kind of interested in seeing what this 360 thing is all about. Theoretically, I can connect my images from Flickr here, but it doesn't seem to want to let me do that. Grr.

    This space may be completely useless, but I'm doing a test, just as I did with the MSN space. It seems to be more useful so far. Aside from having cute Avatars (that's the cartoony-me picture that you'd see on my yahoo page).

    Anyway, in my blog, you'll see that I started up a account too. That's just a place on the Web where you can store your bookmarks. I was tired of not finding the bookmarks I needed because they were on my computer at home or I'd forgotten to export them from my last workplace or whatever.

    In other news, it is too hot to be outside and just hot enough to be inside, happily geeking out in my air conditioned office.

    Soon, Sara with no 'h' will come to my house to help drink up some of the left-over house warming party wine. I think we'll have to sit in my basement as there is still no air conditioning Chez WebGoddessCathy.