Monday, June 25, 2007

ballet shoes

ballet shoes line
Originally uploaded by jeff medaugh
Sarah and I went to the ballet on Sunday. Balachine's Don Quixote and we left after the second act, if that says anything.

The first act was OK, just setting up the story. The second act was... ugh. Sarah and both probably slept. I sort of felt bad, but then when we woke up at intermission she suggested leaving and I was like, "Right on!" and there we went.

She made me veggies and dip at her house and we chatted until I had to leave to go back home to meet the window measurer guy.

And I was inspired by Sarah to make myself something healthy for dinner: asparagus goat cheese fritatta with herbs. It was pretty good, but I'll be honest: I can never make things taste as good as Sarah.

I also got to see Sharon's new condo on Sunday. It is LOVELY. Makes me a little sad when I see cute brand new places like that downtown, as I can't help but think of all the downfalls of the place that I do have.

Sarah and I talked about it, though: you always compromise on something. You're never completely happy with your first home (nor maybe any home after that). You're always looking to change, improve...

I would like to be closer to downtown. Or at least closer to a bookstore and movie theatre. I would prefer not to be on the corner of a busyish street. And I would love a big spa-like bathroom where I could soak in the tub for hours. With a basement that cleans and organizes itself.

But I have many things to be happy about.

And I realized today, as I lay on the massage table after work, the masseur commenting on my messed up neck, shoulders and traps, that it's really not worth stressing myself about the stuff that I don't like.

Yes, I should try to change it and make it better. Like the master bedroom that I just finished painting. I felt such accomplishment last night when I finished. And then, to have Alex say that he liked it SO much better? Well, it was just icing on the cake!

But I'm trying to take more time to just love my house. Trying not to dwell on all the to-do's. And just do what I can do when I can do it.

Someday -- SOMEDAY -- I will achieve contentedness.

For now, I will go to bed and enjoy my lovely new luxury bedding.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Originally uploaded by kptyson
Today, as I was weeding my front garden and laying down the mulch I brought back from my parents' house this weekend, my Greek neighbour, Maria comes over.

She decides to berate me because I'm a shit gardener.

"Why you no plant some flowers? Why you let grass go like that? That plant no good. You have to water them -- they need to DRINK."

And on and on and on.

I tried at first to be friendly. Smiling and telling her about my time constraints and how we're doing indoor renovations too and there's always so much to and I'm trying, but I also don't really know what to do, but I'm also planning on redoing everything...

She wouldn't shut up.
On and on about how crap everything looks and how good she is with all her plants.

And how she cleans up my garbage cans sometimes when I don't bring them back in early enough. (Because I'm home late from work, by the way, and although it has been agreed to be Alex's job, he NEVER does it anymore and will walk over top of the empty cans for several days before lifting a finger.)

So I'm getting mad and almost want to cry.

"I'm TRYING!" I scream.

It wasn't pretty. But she still didn't get it. She wanted to keep going.

I don't get it.
  • I was clearly DOING my gardening when she decided to pick on me
  • My garden isn't THAT bad, just a little thin
  • Her house is an eyesore, but has a lot of crazy plants all over the place.

    She invited me over to her place to look at some plants, which took precious time away from my own gardening which I wanted to get done in my ONLY night at home... but she pulled up some creeper plants and told me to plant them. Only I'm a little unsure how well they're going to grow, given that she just PULLED them up and wrecked their roots.

    But I took them and planted them and watered them.
    And finished weeding and mulching, mostly.

    But she's still not happy and I'm embarrassed. I can't wait to get this landscaping thing done. I'm not the most confident person in the world as it is, I don't need a crazy lady telling me how much I suck.
  • Wednesday, June 20, 2007


    Yesterday, my mouth salivated for a London Fog, even though I wasn't feeling well. And so of course, I got one. I even tasted it before walking away.

    But after a couple of sips, something didn't taste right. I soon realized it was the bitter after taste of artificial sweetener -- that they'd added sugar-free vanilla instead of regular vanilla syrup. Yuk.

    I remember back in high school when I used to drink cases of diet pop every month. I had diet yogurt with sweetener. Everything I ate was full of sweetener. I was a teenager and obsessed with losing weight.

    In university, I slowly got off the sweetener until I wasn't having any at all.

    And now the whole London Fog experience was ruined with fake sugar. It's amazing how one's taste buds can become accustomed to something.

    I'm glad for people like my mom who's a diabetic who'd rather not have to take insulin for her Starbucks. Now she can enjoy a sweet beverage without the pain. But for me, it's just not an acceptable trade off.

    And that's my sad Starbucks story.

    Monday, June 18, 2007

    Busy weekend

    Busy busy busy weekend.

    Friday night, a bachelorette party on College Street for a Taste of Little Italy. Drinks at Cafe Diplomatico. More drinks and dancing and drag queen show at El Convento Rico. Funny enough, the best part was when I finally broke down and accepted to dance with one of the guys who asked... It's not that I don't like dancing, I don't like Latin music and I don't like creepy guys. But I figured I had to get the full experience of the place.

    He whipped me around the dance floor, twirling and sweeping and finally throwing me in the air! All the while, in true latin form, he told me how lovely and what a great dancer I am. Mm hm. Of course I AM all of those things, but I have a pretty strong suspicion that his compliments were motivated by other than the best intentions.

    But it was still nice to hear.

    I got home at 3:30am. Ugh.

    Next morning, I was awoken at 9am by a loud noise. I ran downstairs in a panic, certain that there was a robber. It was, of course, Alex, who scared me out of my skin. There was no returning to sleep after that.

    I got ready for Anita's wedding instead. Now, at least, I had time to do a french manicure and even paint my toenails. I picked up Anita's friend downtown and was off to Grimsby for the church service. Even though I left according to her instructions, leaving lots of time for traffic, we were late. So I missed seeing her come down the aisle, sadly. But the rest of the service was great.

    In between the service and the reception, we went to IKEA and I bought a patio table on sale! Just in time for upcoming party! I didn't get the chairs as they were sold out already, but I'll get those later.

    Then off to the reception where I ate way too much and danced way too little. And left to drive to my parents' (near Barrie) at midnight. I fought to stay awake and barely made it.

    Sunday, Father's Day, we lazed around my parents' farm and talked and ate strawberry sandwiches. Love the strawberry sandwiches.

    I got some mulch for my garden and some asparagus and rhubarb. And we went out for Chinese dinner and a nice walk to look at the town's cute gardens and then off home again.

    The traffic wasn't as annoying as it could have been for a Sunday. I got home in time to drop into bed and get up to bring the rental car back. And now I'm back to meetings and emails, living for next weekend...

    Thursday, June 14, 2007

    I'm a machine

    So I finally got my butt in gear last night.

    Dinner with Alex at HoSu. Love the HoSu.
    Bike ride back home.
    Check the roof - voila! The roof/attic venting is in!
    Ride over to the contractor, drop off money for venting.
    Ride home.
    Water garden.
    Oil bike and bike lock (grease is magik - I am so fast now).
    Paint master bedroom wall. First coat.
    Do load of laundry.

    Seriously, how happy do I get when I'm productive?

    Today I'm trying to order windows. On my bike ride back home from dropping off the money (yay, item ticked off my list!) I saw a bunch of houses that are the exact same building style as mine. The ones I liked had 2 things in common, generally:
  • painted brick in front
  • new cute windows

    So, it's decided: get windows now!
    (We already had the quotes, it was just a matter of deciding what to do.)

    I love having decisions made!
  • Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    Green Toronto Festival

    What are you doing for lunch today? If you can, drop by Nathan Phillips Square for the Green Toronto Festival.

    I'll be taking a walk down on my lunch. It's such a beautiful day, it deserves to be enjoyed.

    I'll try to forget about the fact that our newly installed air conditioner is uneven in its cooling and that we could probably get by with a fan (yes, the ceiling fan is still sitting on the floor of the master bedroom) if it weren't for heat-factory-Alex who always dies in any heat. The unit is high efficiency, but nothing is as efficient as natural cooling processes and certainly it's losing efficiency points if no one remembers to turn down the air con when they leave the house.

    I'm actually quite hoping that Dutch Bike Toronto will be there, showing off its wares. I'm in the market for a new (used) bike, but these Dutch bikes, you'll notice, have a completely enclosed chain! And the lovely storage! I would be in heaven!

    But I'm sure they're expensive. Not as expensive as having a car, mind you, so maybe that's a consolation.

    I got the word on the Dutch Bikes from my AutoShare newsletter. AutoShare can be really good, but honestly, I've been getting such great deals on car rentals for the odd weekend, that I've found I don't really need AutoShare that much. When you can get a vehicle for about $50 for an entire weekend, then AutoShare's rates no longer seem that reasonable... Of course it helps that I have a credit card with car insurance for my rental and AutoShare's prices DO include insurance as well as gas.

    Alex asked me if I will always want to live close to work, as I do now. I said, "I can't answer about 'forever' but I can say that, in the near future, I really do enjoy living close enough to bike to work and not having a car."

    He seemed disappointed. Could have something to do with the fact that:

    a) he doesn't have a bike, nor am I sure that he will ride the one that I'm trying to get him for his bday (which was in May)

    b) he's trying to buy a vehicle. A mini-van, no less. For band trips, etc. But owned and for personal use by him. Yikes.

    c) he works all over the place. Right now he's working on the MuchMusic Video Awards, but often it's out in Markham. Or he has to go pick up equipment in Guelph.

    d) he grew up in the suburbs.

    Hey, I'm not despairing. I do have some influence on him. He hasn't had a car for some years now. We own a house, proudly, on the subway line. He tells other people about the money we are saving on cars, which leaves a lot more money to spend on a house in Toronto.

    I just have to keep this personal green crusade of mine sane but top of mind.

    Some day, I know, my needs will change. I may decide that living with Go Transit distance to my work is what I want or need. For now though, I'm happy where I am.

    See you at Nathan Phillips Square!

    Sunday, June 10, 2007


    Today was finally a day for Alex and I to hang out. Of course he slept in a lot following his gig last night at Savannah House as part of NXNE. The show was really good.

    After he finally woke up, I found out that he didn't have to go to work afterall. It was a day for us. So we went off to the tile stores at Lawrence and Dufferin. Picturesque part of town (I wish I could write in sarcastic fonts).

    Anyway, after many no's, we agreed on a couple options. My favourite is a tumbled mosaic marble tile (2" x 4") in "Botticino" (beigey white) for our backsplash. It is beautiful. Looks like a mini brick.

    The other options were 3x6 matte white or chocolate subway tiles. Pretty and probably OK, but not great. The chocolate I think would be too dark for our kitchen, which is already painted a brown-grey colour.

    We're still looking at counter top options. The chocolate subway tiles are an option, but I'd really like a dark stone-like large tile. We just couldn't agree on any. I saw a couple of limestone options that looked very nice. But then, if we go with the marble tumbled mosaic tiles, will a stone-like counter top be too much texture?

    Tough choices. But we need to decide soon, as we'll be having a lot of people over in mid-July and our kitchen is currently a construction zone. Ugh. I also hate that I can't currently cook in there.

    Exciting to look at the choices, but we're not being very efficient with our time and I'm a little concerned about actually getting it done.

    At the same time, we have another window quote coming in tomorrow night. A lot of money about to spent at the WebGoddessCathy house in the next short while.

    I just want to like my house and be comfortable. But still on the list includes:
    • landscaping - turning our lawn into a garden, regrading the soil, filling up my container gardens, buying patio furniture so that people have somewhere to sit when they come over for a BBQ.
    • front porch - definitely redoing the railing, possibly changing the decking boards
    • house exterior - possibly new siding or possibly stucco, which appears to be a very expensive option, but may be OK to replace a small portion at the front that is currently very badly stucco'd.
    • laundry room floor - we finished the main part of the laundry room structural change over. Now we need to put in the floor so that I can put the dryer back in.
    • ceiling fan - the master bedroom has a ceiling fan that has just been sitting there on the floor for months. Months!
    • dishwasher - taking out one cupboard and adding a 1/2-sized dishwasher. It could save our relationship.
    • master bedroom painting - painting a third wall jalapeno green and painting a headboard onto the wall above the bed (in white and brown, I think)
    • kitchen sink replacement and possibly repainting the cupboards and redoing the under-counter lighting.
    • entryway table - restaining/painting the baker's rack by the door to match our decor

    But I do take comfort that we have done:
    • floors
    • painting (only a few small touch ups needed and master, as above)
    • garden clean up - the stuff that's there is at least clean and neat
    • laundry room head room
    • air conditioning
    • over the range microwave - just the cupboard door to put back on
    • curtains - designed and sewed by me and my mom!
    • insulated the attic - I am a superstar for doing that crappy job!

    Oh the never-ending joys of house ownership. It's exhausting.

    Saturday, June 09, 2007

    So it turns out...

    buckwheat zydeco at Harbourfront, TorontoTurns out the rain stopped last night.

    So I thought, what the hell? Let's see what's happening. Got my bike out and wheeled down to Harbourfront. Got me a London Fog at the nearby Starbucks, of course. And walked around. Quiet on the inside amidst the riotous goings-on.

    Soon, on the main stage, Buckwheat Zydeco, whom I'd never heard of before, comes out with his band. And they are GOOD. They are FUN. Buckwheat is like a cross between a Louisiana James Brown and a TV preacher.

    And they LOVE him.

    The audience was a dancin' and a singin'. Even the ones who couldn't. Seriously. It hurt me to look at one guy... what beat was he listening to? But he was having his fun all the same and that made me smile. So did the overweight woman who was just groovin' and howlin'. And the young woman and older man who were swing dancing over to the side of the stage.

    I got into it. It was hard not to move. Three guitars, Buckwheat slammin' it out on the accordion and a guy playing the washboard? Seriously, that's some hardcore creole party music. Toe tappin', shoulder shakin', head boppin' fun.

    dirty dozen brass bandI stayed a little later to check out Dirty Dozen Brass Band, which was also great. But I was getting cold. It was time to go.

    So I rode slowly back home through the streets just packed with people heading out to the clubs and still piling into Harbourfront. I got home just in time to check out The DaVinci Code on TV. Free Movie Network, gotta love it. And I quite liked the movie, although I'm glad I saw it for free, to be honest.

    Alex was out at NXNE as he is again today. He's playing tonight at Savannah (go to and click on The Free Press to see the excitement) and you should definitely go.

    Seriously, what are you doing sitting in front of your computer reading this? There is so much going on -- get out and enjoy it!

    Friday, June 08, 2007

    Simulcast Lost

    ballet shoes line
    Originally uploaded by jeff medaugh
    Sad story last night.

    Well, first a happy story: I met Sarah for dinner at Salad King (favourite Thai restaurant of all time).

    Then we walked down to the Elgin to see a simulcast of the National Ballet of Canada's Wolf’s Court, Polyphonia, and The Four Seasons.

    As we sat in our perfect seats and the anticipation set in - yes, I was excited to see the ballet (and for free!) - Luminato's CEO steps up to the microphone and announces that, due to technical problems, there would be no simulcast.

    Rex Harrington still spoke a little about the ballet and his movie The Four Seasons. And we still saw two ballet films: one on the National Ballet of Canada and the Rex Harrington Four Seasons film (complete with some serious cheese, but beautiful music).

    And no simulcast.

    However, to end on a positive note, all those in the audience can exchange these free tickets for tickets to an ACTUAL performance of Don Quixote. Not the performance I was looking for, but it'll do!

    And perhaps tonight I'll take in some more Luminato events to satiate my appetite for free art, performance and creativity.

    Tuesday, June 05, 2007

    What will the movie of your life be called?

    Apparently, this is the movie of my life. Nice. I always knew it would end badly. Don't tell me you didn't see it coming.!

    Take this quiz at

    Monday, June 04, 2007

    Putting the "ass" back in "class"

    Last Friday, I bought these sexy new K2 inline skates. They're pretty hot, alright. And I got a great deal on them, since I had a COUPON (gift card, same thing) and they were on SALE!

    I left them at work and biked home. This morning, I took public transit to work (it was raining afterall) and realized that since it had stopped raining, I could actually skate home. In my skirt. With no protective gear. Whatever, it's fine.

    So I did.

    I think I forgot to preface that with the fact that I actually haven't been inline skating since last year. And then I think I think I went once or twice all year. And probably the same the year before as well.

    So, OK, I'm not great. I'm fine until I have to stop, really. OR jump over things. OR something unexpected happens.

    And i forgot that those kinds of things happen all the time in Toronto. So I took back streets so that I could stop dodging people on Yonge Street. And I was pretty close to home. Crossed the street at the light, up on the sidewalk on the other side and... slip slip slip, whoa, slam!

    I'm down.
    I'm on my butt.

    Right on a busy street corner. And a guy on a bike was nice enough to ask me if I was OK. I was fine, aside from feeling like a loser. And my wrist hurt a little from breaking my fall. And actually, my shoulder too.

    I mumbled some nonsense about the sidewalk being more uphill than I thought (I don't even know what made me fall to be honest) and thanked him for his concern before I shuffled off awkwardly. And realized that my head actually hurt a little too. Whiplash or something.

    I totally put the "ass" back in "class".

    Next time, I'm sticking to blading paths and parks with wide open avenues and no hills.

    Pretty nails

    Saturday night, I went to my friend Anita's "manicures and martinis" bachelorette. It was great and now I have pretty, albeit quite pink, nails.

    It was really fun to hang out with such awesome girls.

    I didn't go out to the bar because my head was hurting... again.

    I'm not entirely sure what is going on that my head hurts so much all the time. The weather, maybe a little. Sleep? Maybe, although last night I slept well. I'm also quite susceptible to hormonal headaches so it's likely that stress could be causing these ones.

    I've been trying to exercise more regularly as that can help. On Saturday, I pulled out my new expensive decadent running shoes and walked pretty much the entire city in pursuit of covering as much Luminato as possible. I got a good amount in and even managed to find my old friend Michelle playing drums in Queen's Park! I was so happy to see her. It was too bad that I didn't have more time to catch up, though. It was just nice to see her doing her thing.

    Sunday I was supposed to do the Autism walk but my team pulled out because the team lead was in the hospital - pretty serious. So we didn't do the walk -- rather, I did the walk the day before many times over, I suppose. Enough for all of them, I'd wager. Instead, on Sunday, I watched movies on TV (The Break Up wasn't bad, actually) and went to Starbucks to drink London Fogs and read a magazine.

    Then I walked back home, looking at people's gardens and wishing I'd brought my camera to identify later the plants that I want to grow and the styles that I really like. At home, I vaccuumed and swept and washed and folded and scrubbed and baked. And then I sat down and watched more TV movies. Ocean's Eleven never fails to make me smile.

    And all with my pretty pink nails.

    Saturday, June 02, 2007


    I'm off to do some Luminato stuff with Sarah.

    Distillery is always a nice place to go, especially with Balzac's coffee right there. Then probably the boat to Harbourfront.

    I'm hoping it holds off on the rain until later. I'm walking there and everywhere until I go to Anita's manicures and martinis bachelorette party... walking with my new fancy running shoes!

    But first, of course, a stop at Starbucks to have a London Fog.
    No weekend can start off right without one.

    By the way, have you donated to my walk for autism yet? If not, please click here.

    And thank you SO much to everyone who has donated already!

    Friday, June 01, 2007

    mesh wrap up

    the mesh conference wrapped up last night and, while I was a little disappointed with the depth of some of the sessions, there were some surprises.

    I enjoyed the workshop with Mark Dowds, "Build a Team, Build a Culture." It wasn't exactly stuff I didn't know, but it was stuff that I needed to be reminded of in a different context. It was about the attitudes that change a team (and their performance) and it was common sense, but much needed to remind me of a couple of pitfalls, such as the Pygmalion effect in which people perform better simply because they are expected to do so.

    This was a notion that I would do well to remember in both my professional and personal life. I have to be careful about my expectations because my perception will become reality - what I'm looking for is what I'm going to find (observer participancy - I am a participant and have an effect on what I observe).

    Basically, when you're more positive, you'll find things more positive in the world including the people you interact with.

    Even the question, "what happens when you're dealing with someone who just isn't interested in performing?" was met with an answer that turned it back onto the questioner: what benefit does that person get by acting that way? What are they trying to achieve? What is their positive motivator? A good leader will ask that question and wonder what more they can do as a leader to bring out the best in that person. A leader who promotes sub-performance is the leader who asks, "why doesn't he want to perform?"

    The other session that actually made me think the most was another workshop about community building. Again, it didn't really tell me anything I didn't know, but made me think about my goals a little more as well as what I really like about the online communities that I'm involved with.

    I discovered that, even as a WebGoddess, I don't actually USE most online communities. I used to love Flickr, but then got mad when I reached my limit of photo storage. I still use it from time to time because it can make blogging a photo a little easier. So I use it as a TOOL - a useful tool that makes my life easier. It's the same with and LinkedIn, Yahoo 360 and even Google's My Maps and of course my latest favourite, Facebook.

    They help me access my bookmarks anywhere, no matter what computer I'm at. And my contacts, pictures, maps, event calendar, blog and email... all that stuff.

    But I don't just GO to these places without using them for something. Something useful.

    My own blog is a collection of people who are interested in me (for whatever reason). I'm offering info that they can't usually get anywhere else. Personal exciting information about what I do every day and the thoughts I have (so exciting, I can't believe you don't pee your pants every day you read this). So it's sorta useful. Demented and sad, but useful (ha - I wonder if anyone caught the Breakfast Club reference).

    Back on track, yes I knew that the community couldn't just be a "build it and they will come" initiative -- in fact, as Kate said, maybe you don't need to build it (the platform, that is), maybe you can take advantage of one that already exists and just add your own group space in there. But now I'm really thinking about what we could do that our community would really find USEFUL. We can think that we should do something (ie: build a community for people to come to because that's what we're all about: innovation collaboration) but if those people working away in their labs don't want/care to collaborate or the "community" doesn't actually do anything that makes their lives easier? Well, they're just going to do nothing -- and that's not very community oriented, is it?

    So I was inspired to talk to people more. Random people. People who don't volunteer to talk about it (because those tend to be the joiners and I don't WANT a biased sample); people I meet at tenant pub nights who are keeping to their usual group of coworkers.

    I did that last night. I got some interesting ideas. None of them were really web-related. But they are still things I can do to move along my idea of building this community. Small steps. Patience and small steps and positive thinking.

    It all comes together.