Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Years!

I'm heading out to Guelph for my New Years and just wanted to send out a wish to my friends. I hope they'll be spending NYE with people they love too.

It's been an interesting year. Full of change.

And you know what? I'm really excited about the year to come.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas... the wrap up... or UNwrap

family christmasDid we really finish opening all our presents already?!

I woke up at 8am -- solely based on excitement -- and started on my stocking. Strawberry perfume and a book by Judi Picoult and Psychology Today and a red fleece hat (seen here), jewelery, underwear, socks, decaf earl grey tea (my fave), lip gloss, money... I could go on. I waited until everyone else got up. Watched them unveil their own stockings with as much interest as I unpacked my own.

That took us to noon. Seriously.

And then, aside from the awesome presents I GAVE (which is truly my favourite part), I got a white pashmina, nightgown, Lulu Lemon sweater, gift certificate for the Yoga Sanctuary (yay!) as well as for La Senza. And, of course, some chicken poop. I'm sure you got some too? It's the hot thing this year, according to my dad. My garden will love it, he says. I'm sure it will. And I'm not so sure that my belly is loving all the chocolate that I'm getting and putting in my face. I've already won $5 on a lottery scratch card. And there's still more to scratch. So I could be a very rich woman as I write this.

The best part of the whole day was when my mom got her sewing machine from my dad. She cried, she loves it so much. It made my heart feel good. She also really likes the gym membership we got for her. She's already planning the multitude of activities that she's going to partake in.

We finally stopped and made dinner. The usual turkey, potatoes, gravy and tutti fruitti (basically, stewed fruit). Soon I'm thinking that the ice cream sundaes are going to be broken out. MMmm. Just what I need. More food. While I finish reading that Psychology Today in front of the fire and winning more cash!

Tomorrow, we go shopping for some treasures at the sales. I can't wait.

Merry Christmas!

me and the christmas treeLast night, we decorated our tree... Will tried to sit it out on the couch again, but he finally broke down and put the most ugly decorations up, front and centre, and laughed. And of course, Jen took them down and hid them again.

We all took down our presents and laid them under the tree. There are less this year only because we're getting money for boxing day shopping. Still, having already opened my stocking this morning, it seems like the usual way too much fun stuff! (We've only gotten as far as our stockings this morning... and actually it's already noon. We have problems getting to the gifts. We like to drag out the pleasure.)

Then we settled down to a rousing game of Balderdash. Jen dropped out part way through, finding the fake-definition writing far too stressful for Christmas Eve. We ate ice cream sundaes and drank yummy liqueurs. And I continually picked Matt's definitions as the "right" ones. I'm a sucker and he won.

Did you know that a "stammel" is rough, dull red material?
And "fuscate" is to obscure with paint?
And that a "bibble" is someone who drinks too much?
Now you do.

And now we'll try to use those obscure words as much as possible. We're so cool.

And now off to open actual presents!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Snow day

Teasles in Snow
Originally uploaded by wmacphail
Oooh, I love snow days!

I especially love them when I don't really HAVE to be anywhere. Here at my parents' farm, it is gorgeous. Well, as long as you have a snow blower and a warm car and drive about 40km/hr on the highways.

The snow is so light and fluffy, it's like the fake movie confetti snow. Now that the sun is shining, it is so bright and sparkly. Every once in a while, the air stirs and a mound of fluff tumbles from the branch of a tree, drifting lazily down. I hate to move from this spot.

I even got to hang out at the local coffee shop, Groundswell, and read my book. My latte was thoroughly satisfying. Frothy and light, like the snow outside.

Now, finished working remotely from my parents' computer, I'm about to head out into the country roads and slowly but surely make my way to the local shops.

I hope my perma smile doesn't piss anyone off.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Winter wonderland

Winter wonderland.
Photo by my friend, wmacphail
I picked my parents up at the airport last night when they came in from St. Martin where they were staying at my timeshare.

They're all tanned and happy.
You gotta hate that when you've just battled the sloppy, slippery streets and highways at 3am.

And I stayed overnight at the farm and woke up to this winter wonderland. It's always so beautiful here when it snows. More quiet than usual. The pine tree boughs out front is laden down with snow. The flakes swirl around.


Today I'm hanging out in front of the wood stove, reading my book, with my cat on my lap and tea in my hand. While the snow keeps falling out the window -- all framed and pretty just for me to watch from my comfy seat.

Relaxed already and knowing that next week, I'm off. I don't go back to work until the new year, in fact. I figured out on Friday that I needed to use up all my vacation. So it's an impromptu vacation. In Toronto. So I can concentrate on getting Christmasy. Having lunch with friends, Christmas shopping, going to a Christmas party, ice skating at Nathan Phillips Square.

What could be better? I'm so excited.
I should "forget" to take my vacation more often ;)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas holidays start early

Mother and Child
Originally uploaded by CaptPiper
So I discovered today that I have about a week left of vacation in 2007 and that I can't carry that vacation over to 2008.

What does that mean?
It means that the holidays start early this year! I think this is my last day of work! YAY!

Tonight, I'm hanging out and possibly watching more BSG (see previous post).

Tomorrow, shopping! Then possibly again some BSG. Then picking up my parents at the airport and going home with them through some likely crappy weather.

Sunday: home on the farm.
Monday: the farm and then dinner with friends
Tuesday: lunch with Sarah!
Wednesday: Sara, possibly
Thursday: Jane
Friday: My sister arrives and I'm back to the farm.

All in all this is looking like I have lots of time available for Christmas shopping and reading my book at Starbucks.


This is the best Christmas present I think I could have gotten myself!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica
Originally uploaded by isriya
Oi, have you SEEN Battlestar Galactica?

I almost wish I hadn't. It's like when Raye and I rented that first season of Lost when I went to visit her in Halifax. I was a bit in love.

This weekend, after Dave has told me FOREVER to watch the stupid show, I finally broke down and watched the mini series. And loved it. Dammit.

Now what?
I can't watch it on TV as it's WAY ahead and I'll be lost. It means now I have to watch each of the seasons and it's going to take forever.

Also, great. One more TV show to watch. Just what I wanted.

* * *

On another note, I did get to see Dave ever-so-briefly. Which was wonderful and too short. And I did make it to Anita's Christmas party. Very nice to see people there too. And I did make it to see Scott and Kat and my little boyfriend, Max. Too cute. I could just eat him up, he's so darling.

So it was a weekend full of friends.
And Christmas shopping! YAY I love the Christmas shopping!

Monday, December 03, 2007

busy week

It was a busy weekend, which I love. And a busy week, which is sometimes also good. Right now, this is a good thing, since I don't want to be at home a lot.

Tonight, making merry in the office, putting up Christmas decorations then off for some super yummy Mexican food and fantastic conversation. (Although I had another "Cathy, shut up!" moment, but that happens, inevitably, when someone is listening.)

Tomorrow, lunch out, a physio appointment (finally) for my shoulder that's been sore for almost a year now then dinner out to celebrate the completion of a successful event. Hopefully home at a reasonable time so I can start crunching some more numbers. Again.

Wednesday is yoga day, I think.
Thursday is my company holiday party.
Friday, I see DAVE! Super exciting!
Saturday, I meet my parents at the airport and grab their car for the rest of the week. Head off for some holiday shopping before I head to Anita's Christmas party and then possibly a sleep over.
Sunday to Oakville to visit more friends and their adorable baby.

Seriously, does life get any better?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

christmas baking

Originally uploaded by aus_chick
I spent the day at my friend Sarah's mom's house, Christmas baking. I was in charge of chocolate-dipping the chocolate peanut butter balls.

I remembered when I was a kid and I used to help my mom with the Christmas cookies. It always made it feel so much more like Christmas.

It was so much fun running around the kitchen, chopping, mixing, rolling, tasting. Joking, storytelling, teasing, laughing.

I still have a few more things I'd like to make, but it's amazing how much more quickly everything happens when you've got a couple people pitching in to make it happen. I guess it's what makes any community work better.

I even enjoyed the quiet subway ride out to Kipling station with my London Fog and my book. I didn't have to talk to anyone. The walk to the subway station was quiet as the snow dampened the sound of the traffic.

I passed neighbours helping each other clear their sidewalks and walkways. It warmed my heart.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


I have been having a lot of fun lately.

It's been a long time since I've felt this happy.

I'd been so angry for so long, I forgot what it was like to be happy-Cathy. (Or, what I like to refer to as "the real Cathy.")

Long live the real Cathy.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Excited about Christmas!

O Christmas Tree
Originally uploaded by Heather Garland
I'm starting to get excited about Christmas.

I started feeling it yesterday at Starbucks with all the red cups and the cute little card-holder stockings.

And then there was the email/call from Sarah about Christmas baking. Can't wait to get started on that this weekend! Any orders or suggestions? I usually make a shortbread, some chocolate-butterscotch marshmallow log, chocolate peanut butter balls, chocolate macaroons and a pecan cornflake chew. Last year, I threw in some yummy homemade granola as well. Now what will I do this year? I'm thinking I need something lemony.

Then there was the conversation with my friend Tanya about Christmas shopping. I can't wait to get to Winners to start looking! I'm thinking I'll start next weekend, although I'd love to have gone to the One of a Kind show, it looks like it's not in the cards for me this year.

This weekend, I'll be attending my first Christmas party at Tree's house. And my family has been assembling their Christmas lists for the past couple of weeks. I'm not sure that mine is actually any good, though.

Mostly, I'm excited about having some time off to spend with my family, hanging out in front of the wood stove with some tea, reading my Christmas stocking magazines and some mindless novels while A Very Special Christmas plays on the stereo.

Ahh, I can feel the warmth stealing over me now!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Woodstoves, tea and cats on laps

This is largely what my weekend consisted of: sitting by the woodstove, my feet propped up, reading MoneySense magazine, drinking a cup of tea with a cat curled up on my lap.

Seriously, there isn't much that could be better than that.

And I suppose if that's all I did, I mightn't feel as good about my weekend as I do. I also managed to:
  • eat out with my parents
  • get some branches of my overzealous tree chopped down
  • get to Home Depot to cost out some reno options
  • fix my watch, helped my mom with Christmas shopping (shopping without spending money... isn't it the best?)
  • check out a new coffee shop in a little town to see my friend's photo exhibit, chat and catch up with friends there
  • listen to an acoustic version of some of my favourite live music
  • watch a cheesey ridiculous local theatre show
  • ice skate at the local rink
  • tour the local historical arts centre.
And, as I mentioned, sit in front of the woodstove with tea, a magazine and a curled up cat.

And now I'm on to more unsavoury tasks: financial spreadsheeting, website updates (if I'm lucky) and cooking or cleaning or some such mundane task.

I had such a nice weekend, looking out at the gorgeous winter wonderland in the country. And next weekend maybe I'll start getting in the Christmas spirit with some Christmas baking and decorating.

Assuming I still live in my house.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

pretty dresses

Last night, I decided to help a friend in need with their pant selection at the Gap. Usually, this is something I love. It was still something I loved, except I forgot about the trap potential of that store.

This past summer, I bought TWO cute dresses there. And they're both my kind of dresses. Empire waist, coming away from the hips. Falling just above the knee. Great colours. Don't have to be ironed. Can be dressed up or dressed down. Sexy or work-appropriate.


And I thought: I don't even have to LOOK at the dresses. I can just look for the pants for someone else. Because I don't need (or like) pants.

And then there was a girl in the changing room who was trying on dresses. I couldn't escape it. There was THE dress: the super cute one. And I almost made it out of the store before breaking down and grabbing it to try. Actually, grabbing it in two sizes and two colours, and trying it on.

It looked GOOD.


And I had to leave it behind.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

cookies make things better

14th August 2007 / Day 226
Originally uploaded by Mrs Magic
You know, chocolate chip cookies with skor bits makes a lot of things better. One of those things is NOT your belly. However, it does take away boredom.

Because there are grocery stores to visit and batters to whip up and dishes to do afterwards and warm bits of yumminess to stuff in your mouth. And then there's tea to wash it down with.

Really, there are a lot of activities that can fill up your day out of one batch of cookies.

And then there are friends to call.Especially when you have a long distance phone card to use up.

Follow the photo link for a recipe for some regular chocolate chip cookies. I'm sure you can add some skor bits in there to kick em up a notch.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

not feeling good

Ugh. Migraines.

They don't just affect your head, but your stomach and pretty much your desire to move your face in any way.

I just want a massage and darkness.

But today I got bored. Bored bored bored. I don't know if I actually spoke at all. Felt like a lump.

I think I'm restless. I want to be doing something, but don't know what to do. I don't feel much like myself. I feel sick, but don't have any symptoms of anything in particular. Just blah-ness. And of course the migraine, which is nothing new.

Maybe it's the coming of winter and hating the cold and avoiding the outdoors because of it.

Whatever it is, I need to figure it out and get over it. Because I'm not liking this at all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Feeling less dramatic

Ok, so I had a bad day.

You know, sometimes you have your heart set on something and it doesn't work out that way.

Part of why I was sad was : LOOK AT THIS!

This beautiful mock-up of my house. My house as it was meant to be. My cute little darling house. It WANTS to be the house in this picture. It WANTS to grow up and have people driving by point and say, "Look at that cute house! I want a house like that!"

And then I had a conversation that may lead to me not being able to let my house achieve its full potential. Yes, I may need to sell the house.

If you know me, you know I like my house. You know that I've put a lot of work into it. That it was OK before, but it's even better now. You'll know that I was lucky to get it. That I take good care of it.

And I'm sad to think that I may not be able to get HERE, to this picture. But I realize that it will work out, no matter what happens. It will work out, even if I have to be separated prematurely from my baby.

Also, thank you to my neighbour who is the greatest neighbour of all time who has the prettiest house on the street and who, if I do have to sell, I want to bring with me wherever I go.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

my weekend

I went for a really nice dinner party at a friend's house. It was so great to see them, catch up, etc. They have a really exciting opportunity coming up that may have them off to Amsterdam to work. I was envious hearing about it. Happy for them, but envious.

The rest of my weekend was pretty restful. I cleaned, cooked, watched movies, read, drank London Fogs at Starbucks, gardened, went for a long walk, rode my bike and grocery shopped.

It was quiet, but maybe something I needed. Until things went... wrong. Funny how one conversation can really change the way you think about your near future.

This morning, I was talking to my neighbour about the renovations I'm going to make next to my house. And now I'm emailing my real estate agent, asking him for a house assessment and letting him know that I may need his services sometime soon.

It can change just like that.

And suddenly your half-hopeful smile in the face of adversity crumbles. And you wonder how you could be so silly as to think that it was going to turn out alright.

Really, I only have myself and my expectations to blame for being disappointed. I should know by now that expectations only hurt me in the long run. And yes I am totally feeling sorry for myself. And yes I'm totally bitter and sad and disappointed. And tired and going to bed. While it's still my bed.

Tomorrow, it may not be.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My Garden

Garden - the AFTER shot
Originally uploaded by webgoddesscathy
You know what I like about my garden?

Yes, OK, it's kind of cute (albeit sparse) and it's teaching me about all sorts of laws about soil and sun exposure and moisture levels and seasonal changes and even design.

And yes, I don't have to mow it, but really I think I spend MORE time on my garden than I ever did on my lawn. But, sure, it's more environmentally friendly.

What like best is when it's late and it's raining and I'm making my lunch and I need an onion some herbs for my pasta salad and I just go out and snip, pull, there I have it in my kitchen, my spreader onions, garlic chives and summer savoury, contributing fresh yumminess when I need it. Green and flavourful in my mouth today, making me feel proud of the otherwise boring leftovers in my cupboards.

Instead of padding the back pockets of the big grocery chains, I'm working my own slightly deficient soil. (I learned this weekend at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair that farmers are getting paid much much less today than ever before for their produce. Sad story. Long live the farmer's markets!)

It gave me an immense sense of satisfaction to harvest the fruist of my own labours. And next year, I'm expanding into tomatoes and garlic!

(Any recommendations for what grows well in sandy soil that gets only partial sun?)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Royal

Me, mom and dad at the Royal Agricultural Winter fair this weekend. My brother Matt took this awesome photo and, by some freak chance, we weren't making stupid faces or talking.

It was such a great day. Lots of interesting nerdy stuff to do and learn. A family that nerds-it-up together, stays together!

I felt fairly productive this weekend:
  • met up with Sara for catching up and her birthday dinner at my favourite thai place (I know it was HER bday, but she told me to choose...)
  • cleaned pretty much everything
  • laundry (even the linens and nasty food in the fridge!)
  • all my pre-winter gardening done (well, almost all - I got the bulbs and the perennials in the ground and that's pretty damn good)
  • made apple crisp
  • made my lunch for tomorrow
  • dishes, and lots of them
  • went to Home Depot to get the latest door catalogue
  • biked to work to pick up the stucco colour pamphlet and just HAD to stay for my morning Starbucks. They recognize me. I love that. They asked me where my cup was.
  • I drank my london fog while reading a work-related article I've been meaning to get to
  • did my grocery shopping
  • got my bike fixed (for free! I love my bike guy!)
  • rode back downtown for a friend's housewarming party with Sarah
  • talked to my neighbour about house plans
  • talked to my sister and updated her on everything
  • even did a little reading

How great is all of that?

I love getting stuff DONE. And having fun while doing it. More of that, please!

Turned my clocks back and, yes, I'm exhausted, so off I go.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I just had my first trick-or-treaters: two little girls in princess costumes!

I still get excited about giving out candy -- it is, afterall, only my second year at it. This year, since I'm in the middle of renovations, I don't have a porch light. So I just hope that people see the light on in the front room and me at my computer and realize there is way too much candy in here.

To be honest, since I was a little late buying candy, I had to buy the good stuff -- the stuff I don't like was no longer on the shelves. That was my trick last year: buy stuff that kids like, but that I don't. Worked like a charm!

And this year? I've already eaten all of the Reece peanut butter cups. Boo Cathy!

On the other hand, I did manage to help carve a really cool pumpkin at work today. Ours was a pumpkin hamburger, similar to the one in this picture, although our "patty" was made up of pumpkin innards.

We reduced, reused, recycled: took inedible cheese, lettuce and tomatoes from our fridges. And ours of course had the company branding on it. Genius!

Um, except for the fact that someone else had the same sort of idea. Oops.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The World's Shortest Fairytale

Maybe you've read this before, but a friend just sent it to me:

"Once upon a time, a guy asked a girl "Will you marry me?" The girl said:"NO!" And the girl lived happily ever-after and went shopping, dancing, camping, drank martinis, always had a clean house, never had to cook, did whatever the hell she wanted, never argued, didn't get fat, traveled more, had many lovers, didn't save money, and had all the hot water to herself. She went to the theater, never watched sports, never wore friggin' lacy lingerie that went up her ass, had high self esteem, never cried or yelled, felt and looked fabulous in sweat pants and was pleasant all the time. The End"

I do love men. I do. But it was still funny.
(Except for the part about NOT saving money. In my fairytale, she DID save money all the time. And drank London Fogs at Starbucks while reading the paper every day. The End.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

wouldn't you know

As soon as I want something to take my mind off of life, work becomes a little less difficult, all-encompassing and stressful.

Luckily, there are plenty of house-related messes to clean up.

And a nice weekend trip to look forward to.

Have I mentioned how much I'm yearning for some get-away time? Seriously. Today during my walking club, we went to BCE Place (now called Brookfield Place, but who really calls it that?!) to see the World Press Photo exhibit. It was amazing. And that's not to say that they were uplifting. Apparently we love sad photos -- I saw many of horrific ones today to be sure.

But it did remind me how fascinated I am with other cultures, other places, exploring, seeing for myself.

I need to start doing that again in my own city, even. I need to start stepping outside of my known universe more often. Doing more scary things. It's the way you find the things that are worthwhile. The things that will get me excited about the future.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I'm impatient.

I always want something to happen NOW. I want to do that thing NOW. I want to go there NOW.

I hate waiting.
Time means that I get to thinking... and then it's all over. What happens then? Girly Over-Thinking, that's what happens.

Brains won't stop going over the situations and stomachs won't stop churning.

How does one conquer the Girly Over-Thinking when one is in fact a female?

Perhaps keep oneself Over-Busy so that brain power must be shared with the task at hand.

House cleaning. Website updating. Email writing. Cooking apple crisps? Yes, it sounds like an excellent way to use up the time.

So what have we learned here?
Eating homemade desserts makes one less impatient.

Sounds right.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Jane's wedding

Well, the big day has come and gone for Jane.

This weekend, I was in Mississauga, playing third fiddle in Jane's wedding party. It was weird, not really knowing anyone there except Jane and of course I've met the groom, Chris, before as well. I'd met a couple of people once before, but mostly it was all new faces.

There were lots of really cute Korean kids there. I got to play blocks for a little while with one of them. And of course, the attractive Korean adults too...

I got to have a manicure and pedicure and my hair and makeup done -- I felt like a total princess. Like it was my wedding!

It was funny, I wasn't at all emotional during the wedding or speeches, even though most people got at least misty. Not me. In typical fashion, I waited until this morning when I saw Jane to get all teary. It just hit me. Possibly I'm an emotional freak, i don't know. Anyway, I would like to note that I did call it.

I'm really happy that she's happy. And that they're on the their way to Jamaica tomorrow. Yay. The girl never relaxes otherwise. She was planning and directing the entire wedding. She was great. I didn't have to know a thing... just followed the leader and wore pretty things.

And now I'm off to the New Pornographers concert with about two hours of sleep.

Not that I'm complaining. If there's a good reason for not getting sleep, then it's all good. And for the first time in a while, I have a happy smile on my face.

I have two regrets: not being MORE friendly sooner and not dancing more.

But that could be said about most days.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


What a fantastic day!

Biking to Distillery District, stop for coffee, mmm.
Biked to Toronto Island just as the rain poured down. Then, gorgeous sun. I've never really explored the Island before, and it was fantastic.

Then back on the ferry and bike to Ontario Place for the Chinese Lantern Festival. Which was so amazing -- I had no idea it was going to be so cool.

Then bike home with a stop for Dairy Queen.
Perfect day.

And tomorrow, turkey at my brother's house in Guelph. YAY!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

More Web of Change photos

woc2007 080
Originally uploaded by PhillipDjwa
More and more people have been putting up their Web of Change photos. Thank god, because I think I took almost zero photos -- clearly I was too busy working and networking. (The ones I did take, you can see in my Facebook account.)

There are over a thousand Web of Change photos on Flickr, so I shan't send you to look at all of them. On the other hand, I did look at all of them and weeded out the ones that have me in them because I figured that if read my blog, you might want to see me instead of other random people that you don't know.

So here are a few Me@WOC:
For my part, I've been blogging about WOC participants. Would you like to read about these inspirational people who are using technology to save the world? Of course you would.

Lettieri = garbage

Coffee cup
Originally uploaded by Kevin Steele
I've actually had a soft spot in my heart for Lettieri in the past.

And then, today, in a rare non-Starbucks moment, I bowed to peer pressure and ventured in for a decaf Americano. I took my reusable travel mug.

And what happened?
They made my coffee in a paper cup.

Ya. They were about to transfer it to my mug when I told them not to bother if they were just going to throw the cup away anyway.


Plus, it wasn't good.
Sad story.

Monday, October 01, 2007


So how many of you out there at cake for breakfast, lunch AND dinner?

Hmm? Anyone?

Apparently, I'm the winner of the cake eating contest. Chumps. I'm the champion of cake!

It's been a long day and was a long long night of working working working and should have been a longer day yesterday of still more work. Because I'm still working. And will be working long into the night, I suspect. (Yes, this is an English exercise in verb tenses.)

Does cake and tea make you feel creative or just jittery/giddy? I'm hoping energized and inspired. I have much to write and much technology to work my brain through.

Thankfully, I had SOME time this weekend to enjoy the better things in life. I won tickets to the Ferocious Beauty: Genome multimedia dance show on Thursday. It was interesting, although I feel there was some unifying narrative missing there. And on Saturday night, I went to Sharon's birthday get-together where we played the Wii (Sarah kicked my ass in bowling but I shone in tennis), ate yummy gorgonzola-pear tarts and chicken satay, and then went out for Nuit Blanche.

Sunday, I rode my bike downtown to grab up the last of the New Pornographers concert tickets
and then hung out on the Little Italy Starbucks patio, having discovered an old friend sitting there, soaking up the Indian Summer sun. I got back on my bike and got as far as Church and Wellesley before I stopped at another Starbucks that still had some sun on its tables. I had my writing out (work writing not the super-fun stuff). But everyone there is so friendly and wants to talk to you. So I met a bunch of people, including Daisy the lazy cute dog and a street kid who grabbed my neighbour's drink right off the table. YOINK! Crazy.

Then I headed home with my book open, my pen poised, I fell asleep on my front porch. And woke up just in time to head to Allen's on the Danforth for Sarah's birthday dinner. Mm! And good company, fine conversation. And Guiness cake?!

Certainly that started my cake trend: it was the last thing I ate last night, first thing this morning, and possibly the last thing I eat tonight again. And maybe I will save some for breakfast for tomorrow.

I am such a model of healthy eating.
All hail cake!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cathy & Michael

Cathy & Michael
Originally uploaded by LK's photospace
... At Web of Change. Meet my friend Michael.

Interesting that this conference has led to an increase in workload.

After a morning of episodes of Voyager, a nice long conversation with my sister in Calgary and wading through my bills, I'm starting to get back to the task at hand: writing up some stories from this conference.

But first there were a couple of interesting emails to respond to. It gets me thinking, but it's scary how much time this can eat up. Checking out various people's blogs. Looking up Flickr photos. Joining the Facebook communities and email discussions.

It's all a bit crazy.

Especially when it's such a nice day outside and I really want to get to Starbucks and start writing.

Amazing that this is so hard for me. I should have known: if I have to write, I never want to. So I have to get into the mindspace and remember why I WANT to write about this. Find the passion for it again, find the story that I want to tell.

How people are using technology to change the world. It's a dream that I want to be part of. But something I also feel a bit apprehensive about as I see so many people doing it so misguidedly. It makes me not want to make the same mistake.

And do we know how much I hate making mistakes? A lot.

And now to Starbucks and from there, Nuit Blanche.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I have a serious talent for talking too much and giving too much personal information away, even in professional settings. I think it's a nervous habit. Weird. Why DO I do that? Thinking about it afterwards, I figure they were sitting there thinking, "Dear God, why is she telling me that? How awkward."

And then what do I do?
Blog about it.


I am not feeling well at all. The lack of sleep and stress of too-much-work-to-catch-up-on is, well, catching up with me. On top of that awesomeness, I've developed another of my killer migraines. These are good times to be sure.

I'm working on a project at work that I'm really excited about and another project that is wearing me down. Anyone have recommendations for me in how to perk back up to former post-conference motivation levels?

It all seems so easy when everyone is in the same mind-set as you are. And then you come back to the real world where people look at me like I'm on fire when I suggest that a status report includes a list of the tasks left to complete and the time required to complete them. Am I crazy?

I need a shot of positivity.

On the positive side, I have finally got an application for some help. I am desperate for this person to be amazing when I meet them so I can just hire them without thinking any further. So I can stop working late every day while still feeling like I'm not getting everything accomplished.

* * *
OK, Starbucks at my desk now. Banter with cute Starbucks boy accomplished. The day can begin anew...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Home sweet home?

Originally uploaded by sarahfelicity
Seems so long ago that I was there in that session room at Hollyhock. But yes, I'm in there, paying rapt attention to the speaker. I believe that this was the session on Human-Centred Design. Oh, those were the times, I tell ya.

And today, when I dragged myself out of my warm bed much too late to be at work on time, I tried to convince myself that I could bring the conference state of mind to my day. On my bike ride through my neighbourhood, I tried to be present and aware. I smelled the too-sweet smell of honey and butter from the local baklava bakery. I looked at the gardens of flowers (trying not to curse that mine had dried out and died while I was away...)

I had my usual banter with my cute little Starbucks guy about my London fog and thought about how much I had missed him. It was sunny and warmer than the west coast. Quite beautiful, actually. And then the crap day started. I guess it was inevitable. Inspiration doesn't make the crap go away, it just makes you a little more immune to it... or sometimes, anyway.

At first I was cheerful. And suddenly I felt I was hanging on to my smile with desperation. Finally, I sat down in my chair and gave in to it.

At the end of my very long crap day in which I didn't manage to a single inspiring thing, I remembered what I had waiting for me at home: ST Voyager episodes.

And it carried me through to getting out of there and picking up my bike from the bike room. It carried me home through the darkness as I looked at the lights of the DVP from the Bloor-Danforth bridge and cars ripped by and even other cyclists were jerks to me.

It carried me until I checked my messages and got the one that had been waiting for me since I left on my holiday.

It was from my neighbour. He was calling because he wanted to know if he could use the driveway. There were relatives over, you see. There were many people visiting, in fact. They were over because his wife died last week. Passed while I was away. And he had just wanted to use my driveway and I wasn't here to say yes.

I felt so petty about begrudging my day. Because nothing really matters that much, does it?

I do love my neighbour. He is such a nice man. And his wife was so wonderful to me. And now she has given in to the lung cancer and he is probably alone with his yappy dog. Do I go knock on his door? What do I say? Do I give him space? Do I call him?

I remember the last time that his wife was away. I remember he lived on frozen dinners because he hates cooking. I think I will make him something. I will make him something and bring it over and tell him that I'm very sorry. And it won't be enough but it will be something, won't it?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Crybaby alert!

How cool was I today on the plane ride home Vancouver when Away From Her, the in-flight movie, played and I cried beside some guy I've only ever spoken to in order to get to the toilet?

Now, first: see previous email about having no sleep.
But, seriously, have you seen this movie?
It's pretty touching.

I mean, this old couple is so in love (the first tears welled up right there: just thinking about the deep, long-lasting love. That's when I realized I had to write about this because emotional-Cathy is really something sappy and funny when you're not in the middle of it, so I'm giggling about it now).

And then the wife, Fiona, develops Alzheimer’s and the progression of the disease is sad, for sure, but the really sad part is that she loves her husband, Grant, so much that she doesn't want to burden him with her care. She decides, while she still has her marbles, to self-check into some caring institution. He is resistant. Actual rolling-down-the-face tears came when she firmly asks him to leave, but only because it is so very hard for her to say goodbye. And you know that it's hard for her because it is so hard for him. OK, you get the whole love theme happening here? It's heartbreaking.

And once I start, pretty much anything sets me off.
Grant comes back to visit Fiona and she has forgotten him, predictably, but shockingly has found another boyfriend! But Grant continues to visit her every day, doggedly, even though she clearly feels uncomfortable with him there and prefers to spend all her time and compassion that she used to share with her husband on her new mate. And still he comes. Grant explains to a young kid who asks why he continues to visit and torture himself:

"To watch her. To make sure she's happy and OK."

Come on!
My throat is aching, trying not to sob.

And then this new mate leaves the hospital because his wife (yes, he too has a wife) can't afford to pay to keep him there.

Fiona is devastated. Her health goes downhill in grief over the loss of her loved one, the only one she can remember. And what does Grant do? Visits their house and tries to convince the wife to bring Fiona's lover back to the hospital.

Cry fest. Seriously. It was all over for me.
Every thought after that was just a huge wash of emotion that I couldn't contain so I had to distract myself by thinking about something totally mundane like how much laundry I needed to do when I got home and what I was going to wear tomorrow. My brain wasn't capable of any higher thought, to be honest.

But it was a beautiful movie about the selflessness of true love. Which of course led me to introspection on how selfish I am (I love how self-critical I can be -- I'm probably not that selfish, really) and how I'd like to fix that but wondering if it's just something that fixes itself when the situation is right. In truth, I suspect it is a little of both: it requires the right relationship as well as the right personal commitment to it and maybe a different understanding of the self compared to the whole.

Web of Change

I'm back from BC and the Web of Change conference and I am warning you now: I will likely talk about it, refer to it and generally make all the people who weren't there a little nauseous about it.

It's OK, you can sit there and roll your eyes. But I have a few things that I've been thinking about that I need to get out. I'll be coming out with them, I hope, over the next couple of days.

Some of the resolutions gained:

  • start yoga again
  • be a better project manager (and all the other strategic professionally-related boring stuff that will make my work-life better)
  • give myself time for reflection
  • savour my relationships and remember that I love making new ones
  • work towards my passion and keep them front of mind
  • more hugs
  • relearn scrabble ;)

There are lots of others that were going through my mind on the plane trip home, but since my overhead light didn't work, I couldn't write them down and I'm just going to have to hope that I remember them later.

OK, I'm working on about two hours of sleep -- that's what you get for making brilliant new connections and looking at the stars on beautiful islands during inspiring conferences. I don't regret a moment.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Granville Island, Part II

Granville Island Market
Originally uploaded by PoYang_博仰
After spending most of the day online, working (ugh, on a vacation?!), I managed to get on the bus and make my way through the pouring rain to Granville Island again.

When I was there with Steve and Heather, I decided I had to come back. And since most of the day had been lost and the rest of it looked quite sodden, I decided to skip the walks that I'd planned and head right for the market.

I went back to the shop where I'd seen some earrings I'd loved. Bought 'em. That, and a necklace. I love buying fun jewlery on vacation.

I met Heather for sushi dinner downtown. And then we went back to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Caffe Artiggiano. Mm.

Now I've got to figure out how to get to the airport tomorrow morning. I'm off to Cortes Island's Hollyhock Centre. Should be interesting. Check out the conference: Web of Change.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Coffee Art in Vancouver

Coffee Art
Original photo by Veerle Pieters
Today Heather took the day off and we headed to downtown Vancouver. We had some seriously amazing coffee.

Caffe Artigiano.

New favourite.
Goodness. So yum. So rich. And all done with froth/crema art. Gorgeous AND the best coffee I've ever had, I think.

And it was a beautiful day in Vancouver, after it had promised to probably rain. Yay, thank you for not raining.

That said, I'm looking at the weather forecast for tomorrow and it's not looking great.

However, we did get to the art gallery today where we saw a really interesting exhibit by Andrea Zittel called Critical Space.

She's originally from California and got a call to do some sort of stint at an artist studio thing (yes, I know that's exact correct technical term) in Berlin. Turns out it was in a basement. So she did an experiment. She blocked out all references to time and lived there for a week to see what would happen. A time-indexed surveilance camera took footage which she later reviewed to create a colour-coded hour-by-hour artistic room-sized spreadsheet representation of her time-without-time.

What she discovered was that she was so afraid of not working enough that she worked too much. She found that indicators of time (clocks, the sun, etc) were actually preventing her from working more. Not in fact chaining her to her work at all.

Take a look at her website; she's done many other interesting explorations of time and space and how we live. She made her own felted clothing to wear to her job at a gallery... but she only had money to make one item every six months. So she wore the same "smock" for six months until she had money to make another uniform.

Six months in the same clothes. A jail sentance? Or freeing?

We also caught the gallery talk on the exhibit, where I learned quite a bit more than I had by just reading through the posted notes, collection of felt smocks and series of space-saving apartments-in-a-box. She seems a real cross-over between the disciplines of science, innovation and art. What, really, is the difference?

We had a nice lunch on the patio of the art gallery (including some pretty outstanding strawberry rhubarb pie). I actually remembered to take a photo, except I did forget to bring my camera cable with me so I can't actually upload them at the moment. Boo!

We did a little shopping. Stopped in at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate company and tried some dark chocolate espresso bomb... Oi. Who invented that? They were trying to kill me.

We went to Starbucks, of course. I got my london fog and read through parts of Lonely Planet Vancouver and decided on my course of action for my day alone tomorrow. Then it was home for some fantastic eggplant pizza. I really enjoyed my day with Heather. I don't get to spend enough time with her.

Now off to bed I go excited about what tomorrow holds in store!

Sunday, September 16, 2007


I arrived last night, late but managed to stay up late enough that I slept in sufficiently this morning and am now on Pacific Time.

I still work up early enough -- but 7am is pretty normal for me. And the baby had already woken up anyway. Heather slept in. But she got up before Steve took the dog for its haircut and brought us back Starbucks. As you may imagine, I have warmed to him very quickly. I even confessed that I loved him when he presented me with my london fog.

I'd never been to Granville Island before, so we headed there. And, after battling for a parking spot, probably got there around 1pm or so and stayed until about 4pm. Very cute place. Kind of reminds me of a Distillery District only with more stores. I even bought myself a little something at a cute shop. I wouldn't mind going back as we didn't get to all the stores. And we did eat some yummy blueberry pie. But I think I'd like to try their banana cream pie next...

We got invited for dinner to one of Steve's friends' house in West Vancouver, which is quite a chichi area, apparently. So we went there and I met his really nice friends and we had a lovely evening.

Now they're all in bed and I'm looking up options for tomorrow's kind of rainy weather. (And trying to solve some technical problems that I'm having with my work laptop...) But I'm fading fast.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Sleeping Numbers
Originally uploaded by bovinemagnet
This is pretty much how I feel today: like I could lay my head down on my keyboard or desk and just fall asleep.

The stress hormones have been coursing through the body, keeping me awake. So, when I get home at 10pm I'm still raring to rip through that pile of laundry and start packing for my upcoming trip to BC.

Now, don't kid yourself: you know I'm not yet packed.

Nice try, but you know that's not how I roll. I'm a terrible packer. Could have something to do with last minuteness. But I did start at least.

And then some TV to try to get my brain to shut down. Several hours later, I guess I fell asleep. I thought I would sleep in... No such luck. So here I am all ready to work, early.

Ready for my Starbucks.


What kind of day is it when I'm not interested in eating chocolate?

Seriously, all I can think about it dark, rich bitter coffee. Oooh, I am craving it. Pots of it. Not for the caffeine, you understand. But the flavour.

I am meeting Sarah for a Film Festival flick tonight, meeting at the Indigo Starbucks. Maybe then I will get my chance. It is three hours away. Not sure that I can make it.

Also in the back of my mind: what to pack?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

blading fun

This weekend, I ended up heading out to my parents' place on Saturday night. Sunday, my mom and I went roller blading in Base Borden, an air force base near their home. It wasn't the sunniest day, so there weren't a lot of people on the trail.

But how nice is that, to have a great trail so close to home?

I am just loving the biking and blading this summer! I'm just really glad that I have a mom who likes to do stuff like that.

I remember when I didn't used to be so keen about outdoor sports and activity. And now I find it lifts my spirits so much just to be outside, moving around, enjoying nature, seeing new things, even sweating.

Click on the photo to see more roller blading photos in my Facebook account.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Did I tell you I got a haircut? Well, I did. A couple of weeks ago.

It was one of those package deals that someone was selling on the street. An ad company selling discounted packages for a particular salon in the area.

I've done it before and got a fantastic deal on a suite of services, so I managed to convince my friend and colleague to do the same.

$50 for a haircut, some foil highlights, a manicure, pedicure and eyebrow threading. Seriously, does it get better than that?

I was a little afraid that it would suck, to be honest. But I've been looking for a hairdresser for some time now. Since I got curly hair. Over three years ago. And I haven't found anyone that I really like and would go back to.

Well, I think I've found it. I got a good haircut.

And a male colleague was standing over me this past week at my computer and said, "are those highlights new?"

I was shocked. When does a guy notice these things? Well, this guy does. He said they were nice. And I quite like them too. I haven't had highlights in probably over 8 years.

It's a nice change. Cute summer hair!
And a note to all those who avoid the guys on the street with their salon offers: they DO work.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Big news

Well, it's finally happened.

I'm using a permanent/reusable cup for my Starbucks beverage. This morning was my first time. My guy there was very proud of me. He's been bugging me to get a cup for months.

And then I found out that it's a tall (as opposed to my usual venti size).

I was heartbroken.

But then I realized that this will just save me money. And calories. So really, this is a positive turn of events.

Except that I kind of think it tastes a little metallic. Which gives me the shivers.

But on the positive side, it's staying hot for a very long time as I sip instead of gulp.

See? Positives on all sides!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Skate Brampton!

Well, I finally got out to Brampton to check out the trails around Professor's Lake, right around my friend Anita's place.

It was a gorgeous day and I loved that fact that I could take advantage of having a car for once. And I got to hang out with my friend, whom I don't get to see very often. And of course, I love the exercise. I so rarely get to skate with anyone!

Anyway, we stopped to chat around the pretty lake before heading back home. And JUST as we're leaving the park, down I go, scraping my elbow.

I think that's the first time I've ever hurt myself falling. DORK!

But it was all made better by going to Dairy Queen afterwards. Where I they messed up my order so I got two hot-fudge-and-pecan sundaes and also was taught a VERY strange lesson from a woman in line about what it means when you lick your spoon in public.

Let's ignore for a moment the fact that this was a totally inappropriate secret to share with a random stranger. Let's just focus instead on the fact that, sometimes, you just have to lick the hot fudge and ice cream off of your spoon.

Anyway, nice end to the long weekend.
Although I am NOT ready for the weekend to end.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Harry Potter, CHECK!

Well, it's finished.

I've been reading the last Harry Potter book for the past couple of weeks, a chapter or so every day that I could fit it in.

And today I had enough doing-nothing time to sit out in my backyard, enjoy the sunshine and read, read, read.

I finished it!

It was pretty exciting, although it did have some boring parts that could have been left out. And don't read this if you haven't read the book yet and want to be surprised. But it really ended exactly as I thought it would. Which is a bit annoying. I prefer surprises.

But anyway, now I'm done my book and I still have a day left of the long weekend. Which actually is not feeling the most festive or relaxing. But I'm determined to make tomorrow better.

I'm torn: there is lots of work to do on the house. It would put me outside, at least. But it wouldn't be very fun, exactly. But I might actually get to see Alex in between his comings and goings. Or I could just ride my bike somewhere and read a new book... or I could do something else exciting.

I had wanted to do something with the vehicle that I have at my disposal, since I so rarely have a car. But it just didn't turn out that way.

I have been aching for a road trip or a short vacation.

Happily, I may be making up for it in a week or so when I should be going to a conference in BC! Very excited about the prospect! I've been so very anxious lately, just feeling that I need to get away and my head cleared...

I'm so very sad that it's the last weekend of the summer.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I did it!

Yes, I know I am a Starbucks addict. But just let me focus on my nice thing for the morning:

  • I went non-fat for my London Fog
  • I got a permanent mug - so no more throw-aways or reusing the paper cups!

Verdict: haven't actually USED the travel mug yet but I've been warned that beverages can sometimes taste metallic if you leave them in there too long. And the non-fat? Well, it didn't elicit the closed-eye "mmmm" that it normally does. But it's not bad.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Starbucks Alert

Cappuccino, Starbucks
Originally uploaded by glynnish
I have just learned that Starbucks is going to 2% milk as their "regular" milk. So, instead of the whole milk (about 4% or so) in your steaming mug of goodness, you'll get about half the calories and you might feel a little less full.

So my new health initiative of ordering 2% London Fogs has turned into the norm.

Honestly, I couldn't really tell the difference. But now I won't accidentally order the full-fat version.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


You probably don't remember, but I got a ceiling fan for either my birthday or my house warming last summer. It was beautiful, but it sat for a while until April this spring before we got around to trying to put it up. We ended up deciding that it was going to hang too low.

So, in April, my brother and I took it back to Home Depot and exchanged for another, higher ceiling fan. In preparation for the warm weather, of course.

My family had been over that weekend to help me with a bunch of house improvements. I told them that Alex and I could handle putting up the ceiling fan together.

I didn't know how ambitious that statement was.

It sat there until today. But, I should say that I'm quite happy that we finally got around to putting that damn ceiling fan up today. (I had stopped nagging, since that clearly wasn't working. I don't know what finally convinced him, but I'm not complaining! Maybe it was that it was the ONLY thing I asked for on the list of things to do today?)

Anyway, we toiled at it for about two hours before finally pressing the "on" button.

And nothing happened.

We did some trouble-shooting for a bit until we finally admitted that it was just broken. Boo! So, off it had to come AGAIN.

Vermiculite falling from the ceiling and landing in lovely glittery piles on our bed and floor. And probably in our lungs. Awesome.

And we took it back to Home Depot and, guess what? They don't have any more. But the girl was very helpful and told us where we COULD find that model. That's my goal tomorrow: exchange the ceiling fan.

On the happy side, it will be nice.

On the boo side, it will mean I'll have to clean up more vermiculite some other time... if we get around to putting it up again six months from now...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I love my friends

Whenever things seem bad, along come my friends and make everything seem so much better.

I am lucky to have wonderful people in my life.

Thank you.

Monday, August 20, 2007


I read something recently about frustration - that it's about not getting what you want or need.

I've been feeling pretty frustrated lately. Roadblocks to many of the things that I'm trying to accomplish.

For every step forward, I feel like I'm taking three back. Today, I felt like crying and throwing things and screaming and actually purposely running my bike into something.

How do I get like this?

Because I have to keep my cool and pretend that nothing is happening when people make faces when I ask them a question, looking like I'm on fire or crazy without explaining why.

Because I know people are lying to me or to themselves or both and can't say anything about it.

Because things that were supposed to be fixed and working weeks and months ago are still in their early stages of development. Creeping along while those who are supposed to be working on them pretend like they have done all they can do... that that have completed the task before them.

And I feel like my hands are tied in each situation because freaking out would make it all so much worse. And yet I so want to freak out.

What in god's name is WRONG with people? Don't they have any pride in themselves? I feel overwhelmed. I constantly wonder how I can make the situation better and I am at a loss. I have no idea what to do. I feel hopeless. I want to quit. I want someone to help me, to give me the tools to fix everything. I want things to stop sucking so much. I want to be able to stop trying SO hard all the time. I want someone else to take responsibility and work WITH me.

My weekend joy is still in my mind, however. It just reminds me how good things can be. It serves to show me how dysfunctional other things are.

Somehow, somewhere, I will find the strength and motivation to pull things together again.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sometimes you gotta love life

I have had such a fantastic weekend, I'm just sitting here with a little grin on my face and sad that it's all ending after I take my much-needed shower and lay down my ridiculously sleepy head.

Friday night, I met a friend who works at the Starbucks near work. It's her last week working there. Sad story. BUT, I did get a free yummy-yum-favourite-beverage-in-the-world. And a cookie. Mm. Dinner.

And I walked to my "date" at the movie theatre, where we watched "SuperBad" which was very funny for boys, but mildly amusing for me, once I got past the horrific affirmation of all the worst that boys represent. Does that even make sense? Anyway. Let's move on.

Sleep, blah blah blah.

Saturday, I met my brother and his wife at the airport, as they're on their way to Brazil! I got the keys and now I have their vehicle for the month, which can come in handy.

I hung out for a bit at home, doing some garden work and doing some of my phone calls and then decided that I needed to get outside because it was a beautiful day. I slapped on my mp3 player and my comfy sandals and headed out the door.

First stop: Dairy Queen. Bien sur!

Then I walked downtown.

Second stop: movie theatre -- just my luck, Harry Potter was about to start. So I used my birthday movie pass and saw it! Loved it!

Then I walked to work and picked up my bike from the bike room.

Third stop: Sarah's house.

Fourth Stop: a local pub that had a great cover band playing. We chatted and chatted and ate sweet potato fries and onion rings.

And finally, I rode my bike home. I was asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow. God, I love that feeling.

Bike Trip, beach near East Point ParkSunday morning, I get up, strip the bed and start the laundry. I make myself a pot of tea and sit down to watch Voyageur and home improvement shows.

My mom arrives at 11am and we pore over the cycling map and choose our route, pack the paniers and we're off.

First stop: Starbucks, of course.

Second stop: Taylor Creek Park, having a little difficulty finding the entry, but otherwise, we're good. We cycle east beneath the trees, alongside the bubbling creek.

Third stop: Warden Woods/Byng Park

Fourth stop: St. Clair Ravine

Fifth stop: Dairy Queen. It was, afterall about time for lunch.

Sixth stop: Bellehaven St, Scarborough. Where the beautiful people live. Time for gawking!

Seventh stop: Guildwood Park. We meet a retired man who is so deeply tanned his skin has that "indian red" sheen to it... you remember that colour from your pencil crayon collection? He told us about the best paths to take and that he'd been out golfing that morning and that he was going for a run now and that he was selling off everything now and going back to the UK. Sigh. I think I would like his life. We ride down to the beach and sit on the rocks there, below the bluffs that tower above us, and get our picture taken by some people walking by, and our retired friend.

Eighth stop: East Point Park, or just east of there, west of Rouge Hill, there is a new path. Newly paved, it is like riding on butter (just not the melty kind). And finally, there we sit on the rocks by the beach with real sand. A basically deserted beach. We wonder why there is hardly anyone here. We eat our lunch. And marvel that you would never know you were in Toronto. Until the Go train rumbles by behind us. Which is all the better for us, as we think next time we can take the Go train out here or at least catch it back...

Ninth stop: North up Highland Creek to Colonel Danforth Park and UofT Sarborough Campus.

Tenth stop: another route through the Guildwood Village area houses before hoping on the TTC to get us back to the Danforth.

Festival of SoutheastAsia - the final stop on our bike tour of easter TorontoEleventh stop: bike down to Gerrard for the Festival of South Asia. Feed our hungry faces with all manner of tasty treats that we had no names for or at least couldn't pronounce. All I can say is "Mmmm!" In fact, one of the best places we ate was the Veggie restaurant, Udupi Restaurant. Quite surprising, but very very tasty. And mom was introduced to mango lassis. She is won over.

Twelfth stop: home. We biked home. Drank some water, uploaded some photos and here I am, in front of my computer with my map before me. Amazed at where I've been today. Hoping I will relive this all in my dreams tonight.

Does it get better?

Friday, August 17, 2007

YAY, New Pornographers

Sarah has sent me the link to the latest New Pornographers album preview on the MuchMusic website.

I am LOVING it.
Love love love!

Groovin a Friday morning away while I sort out content management system problems. What could be better?

(Doing it with a London Fog, you say? Oh wait, that was me thinking out loud. And, yes, I do have on sitting right here on my desk. Perfection.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

I love summer weekends

Taste of the Danforth
Roller blading along the lakeshore
Listening to the bands at the Beer festival
Dinner with friends
Bicycle shopping

Gotta love the summertime! And more specifically, my weekend, because that's what I just described!

Probably one of the best weekends of the summer. MOre on it later.

I'm off to the Crowded House concert...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

pretty dress

Raye will be happy to know that I'm wearing my new pretty dress that I bought while shopping on the Danforth with her.

I was a little nervous about it because it's different from the other dresses I have. It's a light cotton, vivid orange with big white daisies on it. But the cut is very 50's housewife: capped sleeves, cinched waist, full skirt, but with a plunging neckline.

Raye assured me that it suited my body type and I love the orange and it was something else that I love: on sale!

So I bought it and tried it on for Alex, whom I told couldn't actually tell me it didn't look good. :)

I've been a little hesitant about pulling it out. But today was the day. I need the orange in my life. I need something a little spunky.

And this morning, at Starbucks, I was admiring a lady's dress out of the corner of my eye when she suddenly said to me, "I love your dress!"

It made my day.
Yay pretty dress!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

deep breath

The long weekend was a good opportunity for a deep breath before I begin the madness that is this week. Woke up this morning with a bit of an anxiety attack about work. Went to bed with some anxiety about personal life stuff.

Clearly, the weekend wasn't enough.

We went for a lovely dinner, a great hike at Awenda Park (although it was really too easy for us, it was nice to be in the shade on a hot day and then end up at the beach) and BBQ and family applesauce-making. It was as "away" as I could be on short notice.

But it was so good that I want more.
Even last night, when I got home, I had "away" things to do. Outside in the lovely hot weather with my grubbies on and a cap, digging in the dirt, mowing the lawn, garbage duty, all of the stuff that needs to get done. All until it was too dark to see so I came inside for some food.

After my gluttonous weekend, I decided to try to go clean. I ate veggies and hummous and then a tomato-basil salad and asparagus soup. I felt quite self-righteous about it.

And today? Indian veggie curry leftovers.
Seriously, somebody stop me!

I'm secretly (well, not so secretly anymore) hoping that good nourishment will banish all bad thoughts.

I think it's time for another deep breath before I dive back in after my lunch...

Friday, August 03, 2007

the joy of a long weekend

I have been needing a vacation. There are too many things going on. One can only multitask so much and at some point you need to depend on other people to take care of some things. So what happens when they don't?

Well, Cathy gets stressed and has two-week migraines.

This is not the Cathy that I like to be. I like to be the Cathy that enjoys the challenges of work, enjoys the warmth of her friends and the stimulation of a good talk on a patio or the inspiration of a good performance.

I don't like to be consumed with all of the things I have to do and take care of and and and...

I can tell myself all I like that it's not important and that it could be worse and really who cares and seriously, relax. But sometimes it just doesn't make it through to my emotional brain. And my body keeps producing those fight or flight hormones. And the migraine keeps burning.

But what's great about long weekends, especially those on the farm, is that I can take the time that I need to take to really forget about all of those things that need to be done. I can get perspective on what is important. I can hear the crickets. The hum of the fridge and nothing else.

And I can finally sleep the long, deep sleep and wake up when my eyelids just part because they are done being closed.

Happy long weekend.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Do-over birthdays

When your birthday kind of sucks, there is the option -- sometimes -- of a do-over. A chance to fix it.

Last night was Alex's do-over. And he scored. It was simple, yet effective. A really nice Indian restaurant find. Yummy butter chicken! Made especially nice because it means he was thinking about what I would like. And he knows that I like "different." So he chose exactly that.

And then we went over to Trinity Bellwoods Park for some Shakespeare. Driftwood Theatre was doing Much Ado About Nothing.

It was a very nice night, because as you might already know, I love theatre. And even more, I love outdoor summer theatre. This one was... well, the Dream in High Park CanStage production was much better. And I'm wondering how it compares to the UofT, Canopy Theatre Company production of the exact same show (I think someone needed to do some research!).

And on top of it all, I needed to forget about a lot of things that are going on.

Yay for do-overs!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Star Trek

Last night was Star Trek night. I watched probably five episodes of ST: Voyager. It's my favourite series of them all, although I'm not sure why. The early episodes were pretty crap, as with most of the series. But last night, I did some stucco work, talked to Sarah and then flaked out on the couch with my migraine, watching my decadence.

Happy to announce: the 10-day migraine seems to be gone!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The luxury of full-fat

I have been successfully drinking 2% London Fogs for the past week. I made the decision after a doctor's appointment at which I realized that I was the same weight that I'd been over the winter.

This, despite riding my bike to and from work every day and to wherever else I might head to after work and on the weekends.

Have I really been eating that much? I wondered.

Last summer, I lost quite a bit of weight that I attributed to my bike riding. I was wearing jeans that I hadn't worn in years. I felt good.

This year, nothing. What was the difference? The only change I could think of was my daily London Fog habit. And not just any LF, a venti with full-fat milk. And I thought of what I could do about this. If you read me, um, ever, you probably know that I love the earl grey tea mistos. Very, very much. Would I have to give them up? Blasphemy!

And so I thought, instead, I could try lower-fat milk. (NO, I will not go to a smaller size yet! They already seem not to last long enough.) I've been doing that, as I said, successfully for a week. Quite proud of myself, actually, and not missing the other 2% of fat.

Until today when I forgot the addendum to my Starbucks order.
And I sipped the frothy beverage.

Pure heaven. Like a hot milkshake. Mmmmmmmmm. I closed my eyes and really enjoyed it.

THAT is the difference. THAT is the joy that comes from full-fat milk. But, like every luxury, one only enjoys it when you don't normally have it.

It brought to mind travelling. When I lived with my life on my back for a year. It was amazing how little I really needed to live quite normally for 365 days. And I remember how many little luxuries popped up to elicit a stronger than normal reaction. A deeper enjoyment. Things that I had never really appreciated before.

The lesson? Maybe you need to deprive yourself just a little bit to truly enjoy those amazing things in life.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Reflection: love it or leave it

This weekend, I bought a dress.

I didn't need the dress. I have a closet full of clothes. I bought the dress because, on the day before my birthday, I had a bad day.

I cried because I felt fat and unattractive and disliked and stupid. Now, I'm NOT fat and I'm sure I'm attractive to some people, and there are many people who like me and I'm actually quite smart.

I just FELT all of those things. It was a bad day.

And I didn't write about it. I went and bought a new dress. And I got my nails done. And last night I went out for my friend Tanya's birthday and wore the pretty new dress and some cute shoes and even took a handbag instead of my usual big sporty purse. I did my hair and put on makeup. I felt girly and pretty. And I helped Tanya blow out her birthday candles because I haven't had any. And I helped her eat the cake (both of them!) because I haven't had any of that either.

And this morning, I went to Starbucks and hung out there for the second day in a row, reading. It's amazing that I don't do this more often, considering that it's my favourite thing to do.

Today I read Psychology Today and it made me think about a lot of things and I need to try to capture that to let you know why I'm feeling so... I don't know, reflective, maybe.

I read about why people do personal blogs and the effect that they have. People do it to clear their minds and figure stuff out, but they also do it to be the centre of attention and tell a story to an audience. It's that audience, they caution, that causes the problem. When you blog, you know there are people on the receiving end. And your so-called "self reflection" becomes a piece of entertainment or art or a vehicle for creating a persona that you want to have. You can look as good as you want to look. The bad or guilty things you do can be written in such a way so as to look much more innocent or just funny.

Self-journalling -- the usually paper-based method that is for your eyes only -- is much less edited, more honest, and apparently more helpful for mental well-being.

It reminded me of why I love going to coffee shops and hanging out, reading and writing. I used the time to get new ideas about the world, to think about them, consider how it applies to me and my life, to reflect on what's going on in my brain and how I feel. To get perspective. I would think and I would write it down.

But I did it in conjunction with blogging. I could tell every story, there was no one I was going to hurt or make uncomfortable.

And lately it's been complicated.

I have held back. You may have noticed that I don't write as much as I once did. It's not because I don't like writing. I think it's because I'm afraid of writing. I'm gagged on certain subjects and even though I try to keep my relationship out of it in specific terms, thoughts spill out into my general ideas and of course, these thoughts are applied to my relationship and no one can help drawing conclusions.

Alex doesn't like being a public figure. I understand that. He's a private person to begin with. Very private (I'm not entirely sure why he thinks being a rock star will be a comfortable position for him, but that's his issue and not mine). But I don't know anyone who'd love being discussed in a public forum that is so one-sided and unfair.

So I try to keep him out of it. I don't always succeed.

And I haven't taken the time to sit down at the coffee shop with my journal very often either. When I do, I'm playing catch-up. Trying to get down all the events and the complaints and do I REALLY remember how I felt at that moment? I'm recreating it from my memory and we all know how accurate that is, don't we? (If you don't, then you should read another issue of Psychology Today that talks about how unreliable our emotional memory is.)

I've been wondering if maybe that's been hindering me. I've always been one to write. It really does help me figure things out and be able to look at my life like I'm looking at an object from above. Dissociated from it. It helps me make decisions, maybe not totally objectively, since it is still my life with my biases, but at least more calmly, feeling that I've had enough though about it with less emotion getting in the way.

And so today, after reading and thinking, and after yesterday when I spent a second Starbucks visit actually writing in my journal, I had a burning desire to go home and write in my blog. I have so much that wants to get out. And so much self-editing that's been going on.

I realize that much of this has been leaking out to my friends. Bless them, they've endured much moaning and lashing about the same topics over and over. Inundated with frustrated Cathy. Because, despite a counsellor (with whom I've recently broken up in favour of a new couples therapist that Alex could tolerate), I've not been able to figure stuff out on my own. Instead of dumping online or on paper, I've been dumping on the ears of the people who love me, but probably wish I would shut the hell up or get over my obsession with myself. It's been a selfish time. And don't get me wrong, I think it's important to be that kind of selfish: the kind in which you consider your reactions and life and decisions and emotions. But it should stop when it affects others and becomes an obsession.

So let me obsess here and then at least you can stop reading or skip over or whatever.

I also wonder if perhaps there is a reason that Alex is private and doesn't read my blog. Nor have a journal of his own in which he reflects on life. Sure, there are a lot of guys who don't. I know that. But I don't know if he actually talks to anyone either. About the stuff that matters. And I know he hates it when readers of my blog talk to him about the contents of my blog. He hates people knowing things about him that he doesn't control.

What I wonder is whether he doesn't actually WANT to reflect on his life. Because it might mean that he'd have to grapple with some really uncomfortable facts. And it is certainly his way to ignore difficult things and hope that they'll go away -- as is the wont of many of us.

So there, I've said something specific.

And it may be completely untrue - you are only reading my musing that came out of my reflective period at Starbucks today. And even if it's true, what does it really matter or mean?

Not a whole lot except that it makes me feel better to write it down.
So that maybe I don't need to buy myself another dress.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My birthday

Today's my birthday. And I love my birthday.

I got three somewhat-singing phone messages. I got LOTS of Facebook wall posts. I got four emails. Two snail mail cards. One free birthday Starbucks (and they EVEN remembered my drink!) and one bouquet of yellow and white roses.

I got two presents today, two presents on the weekend. And many birthday wishes from my coworkers.

No birthday cake yet, but my birthday dinner is yet to come on the weekend.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to make me feel remembered!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

YAY day

I spent the day at home in the country yesterday with a migraine and a computer to do my work remotely. It's really quite amazing how much I can do from anywhere in the world as long as I have a computer.

Not necessarily great when you consider that it quite hurt my eyes to look at a computer screen yesterday when my migraine medication wasn't working.

It was probably around 2pm when I realized that I needed to get away from the computer.

So I ventured into town to the local cute coffee shop, GroundSwell. I got a double latte and sat down in the comfy leather couch and read. And read. And read. And savoured that amazing coffee.

Honestly, I don't think I've had a better coffee in... well, a very long time. (I know, I love Balzac's coffee. But I think this might be just as good.) Plus, I just love the place. They're exactly the kind of place that I dream of running one day. Although when I think about it, I always think there should be a web terminal. Yesterday, I was just pleased that there wasn't one.

It was me, my rich frothy coffee, the old lady sipping soup, the girl sweeping the floors, dufflets pastries calling to me from the pastry window, and the local paper's magazine. It was great.

But finally, my coffee drained, the magazines read, it was time to head out to the local massage therapist. Tough life. I had my tense muscles kneaded for an hour. I hoped it might help the migraine, but of course it didn't.

I picked up some of the local pizzareria's panzerottos and drove home to enjoy them with my dad. We sat outside to digest and chat until I had to leave.

It was a nice visit. And by the time I left, my migraine medication had started to work. Yay.

Maybe it was my brain's way of saying: you need a day off.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Birthday wishes

So, obviously my birthday is coming up. I know you knew that. I know you've been counting down the days since Christmas, the last time you were able to buy me a present.

I was just thinking that probably you were wondering what I wanted for my birthday.

Well, you're in luck, because I do have some wishes:

  • Stratford tickets
  • a bike (a used one, which is tough to buy for me, but it's still what I want)
  • a nice dinner
  • a clean house
  • time with my friends and family
  • Dairy Queen
  • cheesecake (like the one Sarah made for me years ago that was probably the best cheesecake I've ever had, but I also like Dufflet's apple caramel cheesecake in case you can't bake)
  • manicure and pedicure
  • massage
  • a new bathtub, or at least access to a really nice bathtub for a nice bath
  • a half-sized dishwasher and someone to install it
  • a handy man to do a few odd jobs
  • a laptop
  • a pretty summer shirt
  • cute jewelry that's tasteful but fun
  • yoga and pilates classes
  • home depot and IKEA gift certificates
  • a good music CD, based on my tastes (see them at
  • Starbucks gift card (or a lot of London Fogs)
  • espresso machine
  • Style at Home subscription (or other Cdn house n home magazine)

So now you know. I might update this list, so you should probably check it often. :)

House update

So, our party was on Saturday night and it was really nice. I got to see a lot of people that I don't get to see much and I also got to show off the news things that have been done to the house.

Friday afternoon, though, I came home from work and the stucco was still on the front of the house, unchanged. I walked into the house, all excited to see the tiles... the counter top was in. But the backsplash was a mess of chewed-up drywall. The faucet was laying on its side. No grouting in the counter.

And reno mess everywhere. I nearly cried.

I get emotional about these things.

Alex had called a plumber to install the sink and faucet and they came the next day. My neighbour came over with a belt sander and suggested we try it. I went and bought belt sanding replacement paper (I don't know what you call that stuff, but you know the actual sand paper that goes on the roller). And I grocery shopped for the party. And cleaned.

Alex went to baseball, I think. And probably worried very much about how upset I was.

Saturday, we woke up and Alex went to baseball. I went to IKEA. I bought our patio chairs. I bought flowers and some more odds and ends at the grocery store and came home.

Alex was busy with the belt sander. But he had to get back to baseball.

The plumber arrived and began installing the sink. I got to work on the sanding.

Alex and I traded off when he got home and I continued with cleaning and assembling our patio table and chopping veggies.

Finally, I jumped in the shower, dressed and then I heard the sander switch off and the power washer come on. Alex cleaned up the brick dust outside. I cleaned up the brick dust inside. It was on every surface. I had just finished washing the floor when Raye arrived.

We opened a bottle of wine and sat out in the back yard to await the others.

Parties are a lot of work.

But it forced us to get a lot done:

  • We have most of the stucco off. YAY! We just need to paint it.
  • We have our landscaping done for this year (more next year).
  • We have our countertop and WILL have our backsplash and basement laundry room tiles by the end of this week, I think.
  • We have our patio set. Which I lounged in yesterday in the afternoon sun, enjoying a frivolous magazine.
  • We have our gorgeous new windows. Which I have to get them back to recaulk at the top, no big deal.
  • We have air conditioning. We just need a little surround for the unit so it looks a little less ugly.

There is still lots to do. Our front deck, for example, needs some work: turn over the boards or maybe replace them altogether. New railing for sure. Our neighbour gave an excellent idea for a bit of storage on the one side...

We still need a cupboard door for the cupboard over the over-the-range microwave.

And I still need to clean up the basement so that I can actually find things. I need some walls in the laundry room and some shelving.

As they all say, it's a never-ending process.