Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Black Chandelier
Originally uploaded by petite-rin
I bought the damn lights.

I probably bought the wrong ones.

I have a black simple chandelier for the dining area. I have a lantern-style ceiling fixture for the front hall entryway. I have a matching lantern-style wall sconce for the stairwell.

Not hugely bad prices, but not as cheap as IKEA. Let's face it, we all have to stop the IKEA thing at some point in our lives, don't we?

Today was my day to kick the habit.

And my house? No further along.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Light shopping

Shopping is supposed to be fun.

It's like the definition of shopping, isn't it?

Not so with lighting shopping. Today, I researched lighting stores and discovered a whole STREET of lighting stores. I found one called Universal Lighting that is clearly the place to go. Only problem? Too much choice.

Now if you know me, you'll know that that's not usually a complaint that I would make. In this case, however, I'm lost.

I need someone who :
a) Cares
b) Has good taste and good design sense
c) Knows my house

And they need to make a decision. Not me. I care. But I really have no idea what light fixtures belong in my house.

So what do we think of this "hurricane lantern" for my entrance hall? Don't know? Well, join the club!

And this is just one of the three lights that I have to pick out. Do some research and email me to let me know what lights I should get for my dining room, my entrance hallway and my stairway/hallway. I'll let you know if you win.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tropical Paradise

Well, what can you say about a tropical paradise?

Clearly, it was beautiful. The sun shone a lot. There was a little bit of rain every day, if that makes you feel better. Also, I was sick the first day.

But I still returned with a tan. Everyone keeps stopping me: "dude - where WERE you? You are DARK!"

I didn't burn. I still love my boyfriend. (Maybe even more than before?) I know a LOT more about his brother. I snorkeled. I shopped. I wore a sarong and bikini a lot. I bought some stuff. I drank rum punch. I swam in the ocean. I was knocked down by some crazy waves. I got a LOT of mosquito bites. I ate some good food. I ate some meh food. I was married for an afternoon. I saw some crabs. I met some interesting people. I saw some lovely sites.

I want to go back.
Now. (I'm homeless anyway: might as well go back.)

I'm not SO upset about buying a timeshare afterall.

See more photos of the trip here >>

Saturday, December 06, 2008

St. Maarten

St. Maarten
Originally uploaded by 708718
So this is where I am this week.

St. Maarten. The beach, more specifically. My timeshare.

We looked at the forecast and it looks like it's supposed to be about 28 degrees every day. Tough one, but I'll manage.

Things I'm looking forward to:
* not working
* not thinking about the house
* sun
* snorkeling
* reading

I can already feel my shoulders dropping away from my ears as the stress begins to melt in anticipation.

Sometimes a timeshare forces you to take time to relax. It couldn't have come at a better time.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Pick my kitchen handles

lee valley
OK, seriously, how many decisions can one person be expected make?

So, I've got my kitchen cupboard handles narrowed down.
I know, they're pretty much the same. And one is cheaper than the other. But here's your chance to make a difference. In my kitchen. I'm sure your choice will change the world forever.

Monday, December 01, 2008


So the electrical inspector isn't really playing to my tune.

He doesn't really care about my schedule and has given us his apparently EARLIEST appointment: Wednesday morning. Ya, I was supposed to move IN on Wednesday night. And while it may sound perfect, consider this domino effect:
  • we can't put in floors until after the drywall
  • we can't close up the walls (drywall) until after the electrical is inspected
Nevermind the whole CLEANING up part. And trust me, there is a LOT of clean-up.

I was of course visiting on the weekend. I think maybe I shouldn't have gone. I had a minor heart attack... or maybe a panic attack. At the very minimum, some buyer's remorse.
  • Water by the back door - I HOPE caused by the melting (now rotten/reeking) fridge/freezer food and not some leaking disaster sliding door
  • An even MORE dropped ceiling in the main rooms
  • A front hall closet that makes the front of the house look SMALL
  • A sloping sub-floor in the kitchen
  • A front hall light switch located on the OTHER side of the wall
  • A support beam leaning precariously half on the concrete of the basement floor and partially suspended in air.
And, wait, was that a water stain on the UPSTAIRS subfloor under the hall skylight? And a CRACK? Dear God, I hope not!

I left in a hurry, fretting all the way home. WHAT have I got myself into?

But I talked to my contractor today and he explained what they're working on and why things are the way they are and really, everything will be FINE.

Fine. They will be FINE. I must keep repeating it. Or I might throw up.

My hardwood floor, though it SAYS it's in-stock at Home Depot, is not actually in stock at ANY store in the GTA. So it's now ordered and will arrive in 3-4 days. So they should be able to get at LEAST the kitchen done before the kitchen has to go in. At least that arrived at Ikea today.

And I'm headed on vacation next week?

I'm leaving it in their hands.
It will be FINE.

Friday, November 28, 2008

House delays

My very small inspection delay has turned into a longer delay due to an inspector's inability to get his butt out to my house.

So that means I'm living in my surrogate house basically until my St. Maarten vacation in a week. Don't get me wrong, my surrogate home is lovely. And I'm eternally grateful for it. But I would really, really like to live in my newly renovated house.

So this is disappointing.

However, let's look at the bright side:
  • Things have been crazy busy at work and this gives me time to organize and schedule a few things that I haven't gotten to yet.
  • The kitchen will be installed by the time I move in.
  • I won't have to pay for a Rogers bill for a long while now
  • I will have a lovely vacation before I have to worry about painting and doing all the little fix-it things to my new house.
In the grand scheme of things, this all works out well and there have been very few surprises along the way. So now I'm off to sort out those extra bits I need to do: selling some appliances, furnace servicing, duct cleaning, paint and backsplash selection...

If anyone wants to buy a perfectly good refrigerator, please let me know.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

at work, at night

at work, at night
Originally uploaded by christing-O-
I have got to stop working so late.

It's getting ridiculous! Get here at 8:30am, leave at midnight? Not good.

It sometimes feels like it's the only way for that big long list of things that are really important to get done... to get done. So I keep going. And I think about leaving. Then I remember that OTHER thing that I need to get done as I will otherwise never get to it tomorrow. And then, oh ya, there's that other thing that I should print out and send in. Oh, and that email I should really send - they've been waiting for me forever. And on it goes...

And it's not like if I get home late that I can sleep in, because I suck at sleeping.

I can't wait for my vacation. I really need it. One more week.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My life is the web

So, my life WAS my house and my renovation. And, don't get me wrong, it's still going on and it still rules at least 20% of my brain on any given day.

But lately, it's been work, work, work. Which means web, web, web.

I ran an event today for Women in Technology and it was good. I was happy. But it was a LOT of work. On top of it, I was SICK. I'd actually tried to stay home and then remembered that I had to be there for the event. So I got dressed in about 2 minutes, downed some medication and hoofed it in, miserably. Despite feeling totally crappy and probably getting about 10 other people sick, I was glad I was there. I got to see a bunch of people I love and never get to see.

And then there projects for my web intern, whom I'd forgotten is only in on Mondays.

And then there were project schedules, blogs, newsletters, social web campaigns, meetings to set up, resource requests to make and emails to respond to.

Only at the end of the day did I find out that an inspector had been to my house and stopped all work until I got a permit for something else that I didn't have a permit for. Ugh. So we're going to be a couple of days behind at this point -- but still planning to move there next week. I lost a few productive days this weekend being sick on the couch, too, which only means that my non-scheduled house prettification scheme will be a little behind. But life goes on.

If I could just stop working until the 10:30pm. I thought I left it all behind in Web Agency world.

Photo by Kristi

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

At SES08

At SES08
Originally uploaded by mars_discovery_district
This is what I've been working on this week.

I've been a blogging, twittering, flickring, slidesharing, bookmarking and general social-webbing mad woman the past two days.

It has really been a completely amazing two days, professionally speaking. I turned something around totally last minute and did a stellar job. Really successful.

It's so great to feel totally confident and proud of something you do. And to know that you're doing it for a good cause: to bring people together who are trying to change the world. Sometimes I stop and think about what I do and I remember that I'm part of something truly amazing.

And on top of that, while I'm supporting and catalyzing something really important, I'm doing work that is really fun. Sometimes I can't believe it's my job.

Monday, November 10, 2008


sick...day 10 / year 2
Originally uploaded by TeeRish
I feel sick.
My stomach doesn't like me at all. I want to throw up.
I have that tingle in the back of my jaw and throat that means it all wants to come up.

And my head hurts.
My eyes ache.
My jaw feels like it has locked shut.

I want someone to take care of me. Feed me crackers and tea. And keep me warm.

Instead, I'm working on my kitchen layout with cold feet.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Time to vote!

Well, I've got to pick a kitchen layout on Tuesday.

So take a look at my options. Go look at the pictures, leave comments and tell me, gently, what you think. What I should consider changing.

I may not do what you say, but I might. And I will thank you for your suggestions.

Also: today is my anniversary!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Looking for deals

Well, the results are in and I need a deal. I have a budget and I'm within the budget. But I know something will come up.

I know SOMETHING will go wrong.

So I'm looking for deals. I got my stove deal. And now I need a fridge and over the range microwave deal.

Because I just remembered that I'm going on vacation to my timeshare in St. Maartin in December. Now, we got a crazy excellent deal on the flights. But it still costs money.

Soooo, who's got a deal for me?

And also: how is it possible that I JUST missed the IKEA and Home Depot kitchen sale? Seriously, they could have waited ONE week. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Oooh, that hurts!

Have you bought a major appliance lately?

You know, you see those low-end $500-models and you think, "Oh, it's fine, it still cooks and it's the right colour."

And then you get sucked in. And then you go to Lowe's and you see this amazing gas convection oven with a double oven and it's like half price and you think you can't POSSIBLY leave it behind! And so suddenly you have this kick-ass appliance and now all the crap appliances would look even crappier beside it so you have to drop even more money on a Bosch dishwasher.

Sigh. You go in thinking, "Maybe I'll look at some kitchen cabinets" and you come out $2000 in hole.

But I have a kick-ass range. And you will all be jealous when you finally come over for my house warming. (Please.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Yikes - reno demo

Well, it has begun. The house is being a wee bit ripped up. Whoa!

I don't really have a front step. The floor? Well, I was afraid I might go through it. Renos are dirty business. But I'm so excited. There was a picture of my plans on the wall with a list of tasks beside it for all to see.

My kitchen was unidentifiable. I didn't think I was going to do this. I was just going to do something small. And then the drawings with the "cool idea" had to come around. And now there's no turning back. What have I done?!

The plan is to be able to move into my house at the end of this month. That doesn't mean that it will be done, completely, but that it will be a place that I can sleep in and shower in. Take-out food might be in order, but I'm not really doing anything upstairs anyway.

Well, clearly, no one will be going to a housewarming chez-moi anytime soon. But you're all welcome to come over and celebrate when it's all done. (As if it will EVER be ALL done!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Well, the renovations have begun!

This weekend, I signed the deal with the contractor. Gulp.

Then I went shopping for hardwoord flooring, tiles, kitchen cupboards, appliances, and lighting.


It's a lot of stuff. It's a lot of money. If you know me, I don't like spending money. I'm very very careful with my money. So I did not like signing that contractor's initial cheque.

However, I'm sure this will all work out. I'm sure that I will have a beautiful house in the end. Check out the flooring type I'm looking at and let me know what you think: Dubeau Presitge series in "Brownie".

Thanks to Sarah for her valuable style and product input. And Gordon and his brother for their "input" as well. :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

A friend gave me a happy Monday

Today a friend got me to listen to something I needed to hear. I can't stop listening.

Maybe you need to hear it too? Click here to watch and be uplifted >>

Enjoying the autumn colours

The badlands
I've been having some emotional moments lately.

Saturday I woke up at my usual early time and got up to hang at Starbucks with my London Fog and read the magazine my family had brought me from the Style at Home show (which they'd gone to Friday and thought was quite disappointing). If you've read my blog before, you probably know that this is one of my favourite things to do.

Then I got on my bike and rode down to my new house where I met up with some contractors and such. I had some time inbetween meetings, so I went to one of the local chinese bun shops and picked up an assortment of my favourite things for the princely sum of $2. I rode to the park just up the street and sat on a bench in the sun while I ate. While up there, I started thinking about how much I love my new neighbourhood. And how dearly I want to move in. NOW.

I met up with Gordon at my house, went for a walk and tried to explain my teary moment up there on that hill in that park. I love what my house will be. I love where it is. I love that several neighbours walked up to me while I was sitting out front and introduced themselves and their dogs and kids. I love that I can sit out on my deck in the afternoon sun and there is no one behind me. Just trees. I love that my house will be MINE. It's scary but it will be such a contented moment when I can finally sit down on my favourite orange couch and just enjoy it.

After my appointments were done and I rode my bike back and we had some dinner (seriously, Gordon: pickles and horseradish gravy?) we went to the Yorkdale Indigo to wait for my mom. Since she was late due to traffic, I got to read more home renovation/decor magazines! And when we got home, we ate our favourite local pizzeria panzerottis. Mmm. That was an emotional moment too.

Sunday we (including my parents) met up with Matt, Kendra, Freya and Jen at the Badlands. We hiked around for most of the day although the rock itself was a little overcrowded with tour buses. At some point, we were walking through the sun-dappled forest with the shush-shush of our feet through the crisp yellow leaves and the banter and laughter of my family and my boyfriend cutting through and little Freya making cute faces, dangling from her daddy's BabyBjorn and I thought: how lucky am I?

I am blessed. My life is good.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Giving thanks

It has been super hard to keep up with the writing and the updating here and in Facebook.

Here's my attempt at some quick updates and some thanks-giving:
  • I moved my stuff this weekend: thanks to Gordon and Darren and my parents and Jen!
  • It cost me less to move than last time. The truck was only $50. But food for everyone was $150. Still, cheaper than movers. Thanks to U-Haul for being reasonable!
  • My sister Jen is in town for the week! (Hence, the being here for my moving situation.) She is awesome and fun and happy to be home and I love seeing her and hanging out with her.
  • I hung out at my parents' house for Thanksgiving with the whole family. Thanks to Will and Josee for making it home from Ottawa/Pembroke. Thanks to Matt and Kendra for managing to tear themselves away from the mansion cottage with Freya so we could all enjoy her cuteness! Thanks to Josee for getting the Thanksgiving photos up so soon so we can all enjoy them!
  • I am still not living in my house, but comfy at Yonge/St. Clair - thanks to Nina!
  • I am still getting quotes for the renovations on my house. I got quite a few good referrals. Thanks to all those who sent me their treasured contacts!
  • I have drawings for the renovations on my house (which I'd like to post sometime soon but I'm almost afraid of the feedback). Thanks to Bryan!
  • I get to hang out with my boyfriend (yesterday and today). Thanks to Gordon!
Things are pretty good.
Even though my house smells like dog. :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Closing time...

Well, it's closing day.

I have finally sold the house. It's done and apparently the money has all been dispersed to the correct places. Some, in holding for my next place which closes next week and some to my lawyer and soon on to me.

This is a picture of the house when we bought it two years ago. Hard to believe all the changes we made. But my new place will be closer to downtown. It's a townhouse, but it's cute and not on a busy street, which makes me happy.

The only sad part is that I have to take care of moving and renovations, which are always stressful. BUT I'm excited to move into my new place.

If you know an electrician, a handyman, a furnace chimney guy or a flooring company that you'd like to recommend to me, please drop me a line or leave a comment. I'm also part of GigPark which I use to look for recommendations, so please join and recommend away!

Chapter One of my life's house-story is closed. On to Chapter Two...

Caramel Hot Chocolate

Today's theme seems to be Starbucks.

I tried the salted caramel hot chocolate today. Grande.

It started out soooo goooood. Salty. Sweet. Thick. Creamy.

And it lasted until I got back to my desk. Maybe a quarter of a cup left. And suddenly my stomach won't let me take another sip. It's over between us. The body has revolted.

Too thick. Too sweet. Too much.

A tall would have been sufficient and resulted in Happy Satiated Cathy.

It may need to start carrying a warning: Grande may result in vomit.

Starbucks and iTunes

Why didn't someone tell me?

Today i walked into Starbucks and there was an iTunes song of the day download card. This has never happened to me before and I got all excited. I downloaded City and Colour's "Constant Knot" and it is good. It's actually the only paid download from iTunes that I have. So this is an exciting development.

I go to blog about it, looking for a photo or some information on it from Starbucks. I find a press release from Starbucks from APRIL! Then I go to Flickr to find a photo to accompany this blog and I find there's a whole weird following of these songs of the day from Starbucks.

How did I not know about this until now?

Now that I know, rest assured, I will be downloading new music. Because I generally like Starbucks' music choices. And I like free.

And if you would like to download this particular one, let me know as I have one additional redemption code for it.

Happy Tuesday -- My house sale is closing today!

Monday, September 22, 2008

House, holy crap

I've been a little quiet lately, I think.

I've had a lot of house stuff going on -- lots of house hunting and visits and discussions and calculations and organizing and disappointments. Some have passed me by. Well, many have passed me by. They have not been the right ones.

I'm now working on what may be the right one. Stay tuned.

* * *


I have signed the papers!

Tomorrow is the house inspection, but since I'll be renovating pretty much everything anyway, I can't imagine that there will be any big surprises.

Some details:
Location: Broadview/Gerrard
Type: Townhouse
Size: Over 1100 sqft plus bsmt, 3 bdrm
Closing date: October 7th
Emotions: excited, nervous, anxious, relieved.

I thought that house hunting was hard. Now comes the real hard part: renovations!

I sat on the subway home, a little shell-shocked. So much can happen at a table at Starbucks. You can read a book, chat about the weather or sign away hundreds of thousands of dollars and several years of your life. Take your pick.

At Yonge/Bloor, I stopped at the Gateway Newsstand and bought a home reno magazine.

I'll need it. Designer opinions wanted!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Camping bliss


I'd like to say that I had camping bliss on my vacation Thursday-Sunday. But it would be a stretch.

It rained. A lot. Our tent leaked. The two year old decided to have his terrible twos. Which stressed out his parents. There were fights and lots of smoking. I got a migraine. But even though my boyfriend left his sleeping bag at home and we had to share mine, it did mean that we had to cuddle. A lot. And that was nice. And we got to swim in the waves of Lake Erie. And there was a beautiful sunset on our first night when it wasn't raining (a picture of which I will upload when I remember to bring my cable). And the biggest nice part was that, even though other people fought, me and Gordon were great. Really great. But that was hard to keep in the forefront of my mind when I was going nuts scratching the twelve mosquito bites on one ankle alone. I am not exaggerating.

And it's snowballed into a bit of a crap-sandwich week. A house I really liked sold. Nothing that I want is on the market and I have two weeks to find a place if I want to keep my mortgage.
  • My allergies are sucking.
  • I'm covered in mosquito bites.
  • I've got yet another migraine.
  • I've got a cold sore so I look and feel like a leper. (Apologies to the lepers out there, I don't mean to make light of your situation.)
  • I just realized that I've already read the book that I'm reading.
  • It's kind of cold out.
But I know things will get better. And in fact, they're probably not as bad as I feel them to be at this moment. So I'm just going to be bummed out for a day or two and then I'll be fine. And hopefully no one will get mad at me for my post .

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Science in the 21st Century

Right now I'm sitting in a session about Open Access in science at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo.

I'm surrounded by scientists. I'm not a scientist. But I'm interested in science. And I'm interested in open access. And, more than anything, I'm interested in technology and culture in the 21st century, which is ultimately what this conference is about.

Although focussed on science, the learnings here could be applied to any industry. Here, it just happens to be academia, where, oddly enough, people are quite resistant to sharing their fruits of their educational labour. Being IN academia, wouldn't you think they would be super interested in making their research, their intellectual fruit, available for the public's education? I would have thought so. But it's not necessarily true.

Academia is really a totally new world for me. I've been learning a lot about the culture since working at MaRS and even more so since dating a research scientist.

I'm not saying they're all resistant. Not at all. In fact, the people I'm surrounded by in this room are all in favour of open access, collaboration and even dumbing-down the research in the form of blogs for public consumption and participation. Today, and all week, actually, during this conference, they are preaching to the converted, it seems.

So what is the point? Why are the likes of Chad Orzel, creator of Uncertain Principles (read "Talking to My Dog About Science: Weblogs and Public Outreach") trying to convince the convinced that we should be sharing our information?

Because of this. Because of what you're reading right now.

Because people like me and people like him and possibly Timo Hannay, the Publishing Director of Nature.com who also gave an excellent presentation this morning and sat with me at lunch yesterday, will write about this. And that people like you will read it.

And maybe you're not in an industry in which open access is important. More likely, you just don't KNOW that you're in an industry in which open access and sharing information and knowledge is important. But likely you ARE. Maybe you are a scientist, but maybe you're a farmer or a an engineer. It doesn't matter.

Maybe you'll read this and you'll look up the conference abstracts or proceedings and you'll think maybe you'll do some little thing different. Maybe you'll post your paper in PubMed, maybe you'll start a blog, maybe you'll open up your research to the public and let them participate from home, counting fish in their river or tracking the rainfall or whatever. Maybe you'll upload your preliminary findings or photos and make them part of the creative commons. Or maybe you'll just decide that you could really learn something from a scientist in a different discipline and read THEIR stuff and comment -- adding to the context of their information.

And that will be enough.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Well, we made it.

In our family, we call it "The Gruel" but we used to go every year. It's the annual family camping trip. We canoe in the backcountry, camping and portaging. One year, I hurt my back and stopped going. Slowly, people started dropping out.

Finally, this year, the trip was resurrected and I was able to go, given assurances that I wouldn't be expected to carry a canoe. But I did have to meet the group part-way through due to a lack of vacation time.

This was MY trip:

7am Leave my parents' house - thankfully, they let me borrow their car, their tent, their water jug, their baja bag, mug, and batteries. I was also able to borrow a pack and sandals from Kendra. Goodness, do I own ANY camping equipment? I bring my own utensil set and underwear, finding that I've been storing all my other sporty clothes at their house anyway.

Takeout breakfast at the Starbucks near Molson Park. Mm. That'll be it for a couple of days. Enjoy it while it lasts. Especially the too-cheerful window service.

Drive past the exit to Highway 60 without noticing. Make it all the way to North Bay before stopping at a gas station to look at the map. Tanking up. Driving back to Huntsville. Take Highway 60. Don't stop at DQ.

12pm Algonquin Outfitters for rentals. Continue on into the park to Rock Lake access point. Unload the car, lock it up, hop in the canoe.

1pm Paddle to Whitefish Lake. With a minor disagreement about which way to go. Oops.

2pm Check out all the campsites on Whitefish: all full except the one facing west. Take it. Set up the tent, thermarest, sleeping bags and wait. And wait. Eat some pepperoni sticks to stave off hunger, remembering that we didn't eat lunch.

4:30pm Finally, the crew arrives. Welcome, introductions, stories. Swimming ensues. I help make dinner: tacos... on a camping trip? Yes. And they are yummy.

9pm Sneak into the forest to the other side where we hear bongo drums and chanting. Laugh quietly in the dark, snooping on someone's camp. We are bad people. Go back so Will and Ian can play glow-in-the-pitch-black frisbee. Fun game until they are so far apart they can't see each other and the frisbee goes in the water.

10pm Bed.

6am Awake with the sun. Stay in bed, pretending to sleep.

9am Get up. No one woke me up! Have instant coffee with real cream (on a camping trip!?) and french vanilla coffee mix. Pretty good. And instant oatmeal.

10am Pack up. Kids from the camp on the other side of the forest swarm our campsite, unexplained. They get water and stick around, talking and laughing loudly and banging a large stick on our picnic table (yes, we had a picnic table there, on a camping trip!). We finally get into our canoes and leave, hating the obnoxious children. I canoe with Matt.

11am Stop at the bridge to Rock Lake narrows. Get out for that much-needed wimp-trip break. I go swimming. Of course the guys decide to jump off the bridge. So of course, we all do it. Except Josee, who is busy taking our photos. I think I swallowed some water. Scary -- the jump and the water swallowing, but nothing untoward results.

12pm? Stop at Rock Lake access point to go to the bathroom and get water from the tap and eat snacks.

1pm Stop at Barclay Estate ruins on Rock Lake for lunch (pepperoni sticks, cheddar, pears, rice crispy squares). Check out the ruins. Back in the canoe, Matt and I get beached on a rock in the middle of the lake while looking at a dog in another canoe.

2pm Portage 375m around a dam and waterfall. Go back and take a look at the falls. Put our feet in the water, jump subsequently further and further between risky, slippery rocks. Well, not all of us. Mostly just Will.

3pm Land on our camp site - beautiful camp site facing south on Pen Lake. Set up tents and blah blah blah. Swimming ensues. Dry out on the warm, flat rocks. Filter water for the next day. Ian fishes. Will and Matt look for firewood. This place even has an outhouse.

5pm I make Kraft Dinner (with no milk or margarine!) and sausages for dinner. It's super yummy and LOTS of it. Almost too much for everyone to eat.

8pm Josee makes white pine needle tea. Yummy new taste sensation. While we sit around the fire and chat.

10pm Bed.

6am Up with the sun. Stay in bed.

9:15am Get up. No one woke me up. Will's alarm had gone off at 7am. He turned it off and woke up at 9. Josee is boiling water for coffee. More instant coffee with french vanilla and cream for me! Gordon pours his and then drops the whole pot. Oops. He goes to get more water. He drops that too.

10am More water is finally ready for oatmeal and coffees.

11am We're all packed up an in our canoes. Today I'm with Ron. We totally win every race. We cross the lake to our big portage of the day: 1680m. Thankfully, it's flat and well maintained. We get to the other side, Night Lake, and play paddles, a game organized by Josee. Yep, wimp trip!

Cross Night Lake in about two seconds and do another 80m portage to Galeairy Lake.

1pm Stop at a basically vertical rock on Galeairy for lunch of cookies, granola bars, and more cookies.

1:30pm Back in the canoes and Ron and I are at the front of the pack, chatting about relationships.

3pm Arrive in Whitney. Some swimming and lollygagging and a trip to the other outfitters.

5pm Dinner at the Mad Musher and some lollygagging. Ian drives us back to Rock Lake, Matt drives our canoe back to the Outfitters. We get in the car, and on the way to the Outfitters, we finally see a moose!

7:30pm Outfitters is closed so we leave our crap there, outside. Continue on to Huntsville where we fill up on gas and DQ and then push on for home.

Not bad for our first couple's camping trip!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yung Sing Pastry Shop

Yung Sing Pastry Shop
Originally uploaded by bribriTO
Mmm mmm.

Mmm, dim sum.

Just got back from the walking club I run at MaRS. Today we walked to Baldwin St. and stopped by the Yung Sing Pastry Shop.

Fun Kak, pork spring roll, curry beef turnover and egg tart. The perfect grease lunch. With wonderful company in gorgeous weather. I love the walking club. It makes me get UP for lunch. Walk. Chat. Explore. Or revisit some of my favourites. Learn new things about the people I work with.

And it gets me some dim sum. What could be better?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The post-vacation trauma

Sleep, Wake Up, POWER!
Originally uploaded by TheCX

I feel like I've been tapping on a computer all day.

Click, type, drag, click, tap. Sigh when the computer isn't fast enough to keep up with my hands. When it appears to have just stopped. Or when it's "thinking about it"... It will all drive me mad.

Then I'm out to teach. Then home, starving, fire up the computer. And since then, it's been bill paying and catching up on the important emails, making appointments and updating my files and more clicking, dragging, typing and crying about how slow my computer is.

That's what happens when you come back from a "vacation" -- are our camping trips ever really a vacation? We challenge ourselves to paddle hard, portage all our crap up and over hills for kilometers over to the next body of water. For what? For the chance to have some peace and quiet on a somewhat emptyish lake?

But it was good. It was worth it.
But now I am tired. My shoulders hurt. My eyes are bloodshot and dry and they want to stop looking at my computer screen.

Press "Sleep" now.

Tomorrow, I'll press "power" again and will upload photos and be all productive and awesome.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Spacing Magazine

Spacing Magazine.

How much do I love thee? You are what I want to be. What I wish I had time to be. What I wish someone paid me to be.

You are my window to Toronto.
I wish I had time to read you more often.

And, today when I read about the Heritage Walks this weekend, how much did I wish I was going to be in the city for the weekend? Instead of camping in the rain? Oh yes, we all know it will rain. And we all know how miserable that will be. And there will be weeping and wailing in the wilderness. Instead of learning about my city, calmly standing under an umbrella.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Frugality is sexy

Canadian Penny
Originally uploaded by Martin Ujlaki
It's official: I am totally hip.

The internet tells me that I am have been on the leading edge of the coolest new trend: frugality.

Except that the examples of frugality given in article is for chumps. Amateurs, I say! What about riding your bike to save on public transportation costs? What about giving up on your in-flight meal and bringing your OWN food? What about reusing your Starbucks cup to get the $0.10-discount? Or using the registered Starbucks card to get free syrup in your drink?

What about staking out all the PWYC nights for plays and especially those Shakespeare in the Park options that you can enjoy for super-cheap-to-free?

Turning off the lights and turning down your air con and using air flow to cool the house -- of course these are old-hat for savers like me.

But scouring the flyers for the cheapest groceries and best sales is a new habit I've come to enjoy. Even my house hunting (after selling the house -- closing date, Sept. 30th!) involves not compromising on a price that doesn't involve a stretch in my monthly payments, even though the bank assures me I could afford so much more. Even if it means quite a bit of elbow grease. That's OK, it just means that I'll have more cheap-to-free exercise.

Ah, it's nice to be cool!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Croissants and frangipane

Almond Croissant (1)
Originally uploaded by gnuf
So I met up with some friends, finally, at Frangipane. It is this cute little pastry shop on Dupont at Madison. All you really have to do is look at their website to know that I am salivating as I write this.

Anyway, I had a real craving for an almond croissant. So I got one. Even though I do know that their croissants are supplied by Patachou. But it was just so perfect. It was so crispy on the outside and moist and chewy on the inside. Butter explosions and sweet almond paste. Well, of course I nearly died right there on my chair.

But then my friend told me to try the gruyere tart. Well, of course I will try anything. I like adventure. But I didn't expect THIS. This was... something. Imagine, this cheese with an egg and custard filling as well as caramelized onions, fresh herbs and proscuitto. Even then, you can't imagine it really. Add some nutmeg and you're starting to get the idea. It was magic. Totally unexpected and lovely.

Oh, and should you think that I'm not in love with food enough, you should know that I fully expect to go to DQ for a Blizzard on Thursday, which is Miracle Treat Day. You should too. I mean, think of the children!


my new haircutAfter a YEAR of not cutting my hair, I have a new haircut. And it's actually a new cut, because I don't think I've had this style before.

It all started when I went to my boyfriend's family's house for his birthday (see previous post). His sister cuts hair. She is a "Hair Stylist." And, as I said, I hadn't had my hair cut in a year.

It wasn't that I particularly liked my hair. No, in fact I pretty much hated my hair and was pretty aware of the need for the cut. But there was the problem of finding someone to do it. I've been looking around. I tried a couple of people in 2007. I didn't really like them much. I even, however, went so far as to call a salon. But they didn't answer the phone. And I don't think I left them a message as I knew I'd be too busy to deal with it when they did call me back.

Excuses, I know.

But I figured I had to give it a shot. I was a bit nervous, mostly excited. So I wet my hair. I sat in the high twirly chair in her kitchen. She got out the tools. I showed her a couple of pics I'd seen in a magazine that had elements of hair styles that were OK.

And then she snipped. And cut and razored and tossed some strands about and snip, snip, snip... pull, style, twirl. Done.

I got up and looked at myself in the mirror.

"I'm so cute!" I yelled.

Really. I am SO happy! She did a totally fantastic job! My hair is cute.

And Gordon liked it. He said something pretty typically (for him) inappropriate (something to the effect of "Wow that's way better than the crappy hair you had before" -- minus the word "crappy") but he liked it a lot too.

So today was my first day of styling it myself. And it's not quite as good as when SHE did it, but it'll take some practice. But it's fine. And people are still stopping me to tell me that my new short hair is cute, which is nice. (But you know, what are they going to say, really? "Did you cut your hair? Ya? Oh. Huh." Really, they have to say it looks nice.)

OK, I have another picture of my haircut. If you're on Facebook, you've already seen it. But you can see it on my website in my Facebook widget as well, off to the right there. Here's a larger version.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Go Gordo, it's your birthday

It's Gordon's birthday this weekend. I've never mentioned him on my blog before. Not by name, anyway. But I thought it was time.

And so I also created him a profile on my website, so that other people who are poking around in my life can find out more about him. So check it out.

You'll find he's pretty cute. Maybe not as cute as my niece. But still, pretty cute as far as tall men with a Masters degree go, I guess. And I quite like him. OK, a lot. He makes me happy. Notice the happy smile in the photo? It's not fake.

And so I want to make sure his birthday is a happy one.
Happy Birthday to Gordon!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Finally, the wedding pictures

The only thing I wanted from Jane for my birthday were pictures from her wedding. And so last night, when we had dinner, I got them! I'm so excited. I have put them up on Facebook so if you're a member, you can see them there.

I was very happy with my hair and makeup at this wedding. It's not often that happens, apparently. And I was also impressed that I didn't have to pay for any of it. Jane, gracious and generous to a fault, took care of everything.

I thank her for including me in her big day. She was talking last night about sending out thank-you cards and I told her that I don't need or want one. Really, these photos are enough for me. Just a memory of the day is all I want.

And now she talks about how they will soon start trying for a baby. Amazing how it all happens so quickly. I remember on this weekend that I caught the bouquet because (a) Jane aimed directly for me, (b) There weren't that many girls out there anyway, and (c) All the girls moved away when it was thrown so I had no choice but to hold out my hands and let it drop into them before it fell to the floor.

Marriage is a scary thing, but I love how Jane has embraced it. Just like my friend Anita, whom I also saw this past weekend at my birthday and who is also trying for a baby. And then of course there are Matt and Kendra. These friends of mine are models for me. All of them are quite happy in their marriages and their babies. I'm starting to feel less afraid.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The life and times of a soccer player

Soccer is beautiful
Originally uploaded by [ cas ]
Sometimes I wonder why I play soccer.

I played soccer for 13 years when I was a kid. I played until it wasn't fun anymore and my doctor told me that I should stop anyway as it was really messing up my body. So I didn't play for years.

This summer, I signed up for a spring and summer recreational team, figuring no great harm would come to me in such a recreational forum.

Today I'm wearing a long skirt so as to artfully cover my full-leg bruise. Only I realized, too late, that when my skirt brushes against my leg, it hurts.

Last week, on Monday, we had a game against a team that was somehow still in the lowest rec league. They clearly were interested in a more competitive game. And a few were a little bit aggressive. I got kicked in the shin. I got kicked through my shin pad so hard that I still have a hug goose egg and the bruise has spread down from just below my knee, down to my ankle. And, as I said, my skirt just brushing against this bruise causes me to grimace.

Last night, after taking off my soccer gear after another game, I found that the imprint of my shin pads was almost permanent in the swollen flesh. I kept my leg elevated on pillows. I got out my ice pack. I placed the ice pack to my leg. And groaned in pain.

I'm sick to my stomach and weak in the knees now just thinking of it.

I finally figured out some ways of placing the ice so that the full weight of it wouldn't be on the bruise. And I moved it around every once in a while, as you're supposed to do. Is it better? No.

I remember another foot injury I had from several weeks ago that made it almost impossible to walk.

So why play soccer?

Because it feels good to run. To kick. To sweat. To see the play happen. To make that beautiful pass.

And you know, I don't really care a lot if we win. (Most real soccer players won't tell you this, but I'm not a "real" soccer player.) I care if I'm involved in the game and get exercise and enjoy being outdoors.

That's the fun of it. Just don't look at me afterwards -- it ain't pretty.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Birthday cake

Birthday cake
Originally uploaded by robokow
Happy birthday to me! Yesterday, anyway.

So what did I do? I spent much of the day getting ready for my bday party at my house. But I also got Starbucks, although they didn't put the right amount of vanilla in London Fog :( I made sangria and chopped veggies and cleaned the house.

And then we went to Allen's on the Danforth for my bday dinner. We sat on the back patio, which was lovely. I had the burger -- which was sadly overcooked! -- with goat cheese. We went back to my place and drank sangria and played video games and chatted. I had a really nice time.

I loved seeing all my friends (well, all the ones who could come anyway). I really do love my friends -- they're great.

I got a chocolate cake from Val -- thanks Val!

And my mom and my sister called from Calgary to sing HBD very badly as is the fashion in my family. It was particularly horrible.

I slept a very very long time. Woke up today just in time to jump in the shower and head out to another BBQ. And now I'm about to watch a rental movie. And eat heavenly hash ice cream. Luxury.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pedestrian Sundays Kensington Market - Water ! Sunday July 27

Oh oh oh! Who wants to go to Kensington Market's Pedestrian Sunday this weekend?

I have yet to go to one of these. Shame on me! And I call myself an active community member of Toronto?

It's my bday weekend and I'm looking for fun things to do in fun places with fun people. Join me at Allen's on the Danforth on Saturday night and then back at the house for drinks later on. And Wii. And Guitar Hero.

Turning 33 was never more fun!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Who loves their migraine medication?

Originally uploaded by Roadsidepictures
Ya, I LOVE my migraine medication! At least, I do today. Today it works.

This week has been crazy with the weather changes and storms. And then there was my sleep disturbance. I had a horrible sleep on Monday night when I locked myself out of the place where I was house sitting.

At 11:30pm.
With no shoes on.
No wallet, no phone.

That was after I had already forgotten my keys to MY house where I'd needed to pick up clothes for the next day and had to walk to the house sitting place, then ride to my house and back again. Feed the kitty. Who hissed at me.

I was just about to shower (as I had just come from a soccer game where I'd gotten hoofed in the shin quite painfully and a goose egg was already forming) when I thought that maybe I should put out the recycling. So I did. And locked myself out. It happened that quickly.

I ended up waking up the neighbour to use their phone. Well, the locksmith was very nice, but very expensive and took quite a while as it was quite late.

And then there was all the stuff I had to do before bed... and I was finally in bed around 2am. Only to have to get up that morning at 6am to catch a ride to our company golf tournament. Which was great until the skies opened up on us on the 10th hole. And I'm telling you, I was TOTALLY going to win Longest Drive, Female again this year! Sigh.

Anyway, it was migraine city after that.

And then I took my medication and it was like my head was about 10lbs lighter. Yay for modern medicine!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Home for the birthdays

Well, I'm back at my parents' house to celebrate our July family birthdays: mine and my dad's. Tonight is our first dose of cake once my dad gets home!

My mom picked us up from work and we went out for my favourite meal : Salad King's Islamic noodles! Mmmmm. Then, on the way home in the car, I asked my mom about whether, as young adults, we'd made decisions that she was sure were bad but hadn't said anything about. Sure enough, there were a few. Like that guy I dated when I was in grade 11, for example.

And I thought about the decisions that I made that I regretted. But I realized that I actually DON'T regret them anymore. Even decisions that didn't turn out the way that I'd wanted initially ended up getting me to a place that was really great.

And the same was the case with all of the examples that my mom could come up with. No matter what silly reasons we had for doing something, and whatever stupid thing we rationalized, it always ended up OK. If it was bad, it pushed us harder to do something else. If it was just hard, it made us stronger people.

So all those fears that I have about having kids and having them do stupid stuff and go to hell? Well, no worries. They'll do those stupid things, alright. But they'll learn from them eventually and probably turn out fine. Whew.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summer cheats

I don't know how it happens, but it appears that the summer cheats. It goes WAY too fast. I'm already planning my birthday party?! COME ON!

At least I'm taking advantage of the nice weather. We were outside for much of it. I got to see some places and I went to a couple of friends' houses for lovely dinners. It was quite nice.

And this week, I'm house sitting. Fun -- kind of like being in a hotel but free and no one knocks on your door in the morning offering to clean. Well, and no one makes your bed and changes your sheets and towels. But still... it seems a bit decadent.

And I'm going to order IN food. I never do that. Funny how little things like that can get you excited.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Summer weekends

Bluffer's Park 5
Originally uploaded by John Vetterli
Oooh do I love beautiful summer weekends! Especially when they mean walking around everywhere when there are all sorts of things going on.

And I think we all know how much I love to do things.

So we walked down through Riverdale Park, across the bridge, through the Don Valley to Distillery where we had lunch.

Then we walked to Harbourfront Centre for the Beats Breaks and Culture festival. Unfortunately, we only got there for the last bit of a band that I didn't love. Oh well. Still entertaining.

And then we walked along the harbour to Ontario Place and the Ex. Walked up to have dinner on Queen St at Squirrly's. Then finally home on the TTC because our feet had had enough.

Next day, we walked to Starbucks and then a few errands and then lunch on the Danforth, near Broadview. Then back to my house. Then TTC'd over to Warden station after grabbing some groceries. Bussed out to Brimley and walked down to Bluffer's Park.

Even on my bike trip with my mom last year, I'd never been there. It was quite busy. But beautiful! We ate our picnic dinner on the rocks you see in this picture as the sun went down.

And then? Well, then we walked back.
Ow my feet.

Damn, did I sleep well!

Did I say I love the summer?

Monday, June 30, 2008

On the dock, Canada Day Weekend

YAY for Sarah having a cottage. And a beautiful one at that. On their own island.

YAY for her also having her mom's car for the weekend so we could drive up.

YAY for her awesome family and awesome food and drinks and company and games.

YAY for the time to sit on the dock and do nothing or read or talk.

YAY for paddling about in the canoe and for starry night skies.

YAY for an awesome extra long Canada Day weekend.

BOO for mosquitoes who love me too much.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Social media mastah!

Well, it was a great week for social media. I was at Social Tech Training at MaRS Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday, I was at a Toronto Geek Girls Dinner which featured Jane from eHarlequin discussing online communities.

These two events conspired to inspire me on the social media front. And not a moment too soon, as Thursday I gave a talk to the staff at MaRS about social media and Web2.0 and about what I do in general.

Recently, I've been thinking more about the importance of online communities and their interaction and it's started to rival my love of the technology and the cool tools. And it was amazing to explain that to people who can do something about it: the community. What was also amazing was to remember that there are people out there who don't KNOW this stuff. I feared that it would be boring because it's old hat for me. It's same-old, same-old, blah blah blah. I know it. I live it and breathe it. But that's just me and the people I hang around and listen to. It was amazing to pass on something that I know so well. I just hope that I managed to get through and communicate the excitement.

I'm excited about the web. I'm excited about the possibilities. There is so much I want to do, I'm frustrated by the silly roadblocks that stand in the way of me NOT doing all of those wonderful cool fun things for and with my community.

I get so fired up that I get frustrated with the slow pace of change, with the lack of understanding. I have to take deep, calming breaths and remind myself that it WILL happen. I just have to keep going and keep changing those tiny things that are within my grasp today. Do that one small thing that wasn't done yesterday. Keep plugging away. Chipping at the wall. And someday in that bright-light future, there will be a perfect (or at least more-perfect) online state.

So today I am acknowledging all that is good.

I am acknowledging that I have learned so much about social media that I might be a Social Media Mastah. I am at least an evangelist. And the things I have done have made our online state better. They're not perfect nor even near-perfect. But they are better. And better means I have effected CHANGE.

And change is good.
Hurrah for the Social Media Mastah!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Weddings Rule!

I think I just had one of the best weekends ever.

My cousin had a wedding up near Huntsville, so we all trekked up and took over Pow-Wow Point Lodge. It was GORGEOUS. We had access to all manner of boats and water activities including an awesome trampoline.

We drank and frolicked in the water and laughed and ate and hung out with family and danced. Totally great! Lots of fun.

I would totally get married in a place like that if I got the chance!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stuff I've done lately

I can't believe it's been so long since I wrote a blog. This is truly sad. And it's not like I don't have anything to write about. Conversely, it's that I have so MUCH to write about that I'm so often not at home to turn on my computer. And when I'm at work, well, I'm at WORK.

So here I go:
  • At right, it all started with Luminato. I went to the opening night at Dundas Square. Saw Count Basie Orchestra and jazz prodigy Nikki Yanofsky. Seriously awesome.
  • Distillery Jazz Festival, Art of Jazz - saw some pretty fantastic a cappella singers. Had some nice wine on the patio of the Mill St. Ate the best burgers at Allen's on the Danforth.
  • More Luminato. Scottish music festival, funk festival, Joni Mitchell photos, 80s music. Played the wii and Guitar Hero. Good times!
  • BBQ at my brother and sister-in-laws. Gorgeous weather. Cute baby. My sister arrived from Calgary. Lots of family good times, shopping and yummy food. Mm, steak. And a small hike. Did I say cute baby? Seriously cute.
  • Nature Network's Toronto Group Pub Night - met lots of interesting people.
In between I've been playing soccer, teaching literacy, working and house hunting as usual.

This weekend I'm off to my cousin's wedding in Huntsville. For more family fun! I love long weekends!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It's going to be OK

I know myself. Sometimes I have to sleep on things. And bounce my ideas off someone I trust. And then it's really just OK.

My house will sell. I will buy a house. The agreements will be signed and the money will change hands and suddenly I'll live somewhere else. And someone else's house will now be mine.

It happens all the time, every day. For most people, at least several times in their life. And so I'm sure it will also happen for me. Without too much bother. Some bother. But not too much. And it will be different and different will be good. An adventure.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


The thing about decisions is that there's no one to tell you whether they're right.

At work, it seems so much easier. You are or have or pay an expert to inform you about the recommended course of action. You have requirements to deliver on or some sort of goal with specific measurable outcomes that you're meant to achieve.


Personal decisions are the tough ones. At least for me. Maybe it's that I don't trust myself as the "expert" in my life. Maybe I haven't done enough research to verify that a decision is the right one. And then there are those pesky "externals" to consider: like emotions.

So then panic ensues and suddenly you're writing blogs when you should be going to sleep. At least I can smile about it. And I know that, given time, I will be fine. It will become no big deal. Because I've always already made the decision. And I know the decision to be the right one. But I'm just not yet comfortable with it. Because I have no one to tell me, "Ya, right on, that is such a kick ass decision, you frickin' STAR!" And so I just have to live with the panicky feeling for a bit and it will all be fine.

Is this why people get married? So they can have that person to reassure them that they're doing the right thing? That they're not screwing everything up?

I mean, cavemen didn't marry. And let's face it, they were working on instinct a lot more than using those overgrown noggins for any big decisions. Lucky them. Not about the marriage bit, but about the decisions.

I guess that's what it is to be an adult. You just stand on your own and just say "ya" or "no" and then something happens. You sign on a dotted line or not and a whole cacophony of action is kicked into motion. Weird how that happens. Wish they would have asked me if I was ready to start making decisions. I might have said "sure" to deciding on Thai for dinner but declined the more intricate cacophony-mobilizing stuff.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

House hunting is sad

Well, I started my first round of house visits tonight in earnest. Now, I haven't yet sold the house, so I really need to get a signature on the line before I can do anything, however, I still wanted to get out and see what's available right now.

And I saw some great stuff. But I realize that, no matter what I look at, the nice stuff will go for WAY more than it's listed at. And it's only the crap stuff that will stick around and/or go for a price that's reasonable.

So I'll have to compromise. Live somewhere else. Further from downtown or further from the subway. Something will have to give. But there is a lot out there. Some of it is beautiful -- the house above, for example. But it will not go for a price that I can afford.

I saw one cute place that is on a great hidden street (a little further from the subway than I'd like) which has a really weirdly located kitchen. In the basement. With drawers that you can't actually open if the fridge is closed. And a bedroom right beside the front door with no door on it. But it has a great garden. And it's not expensive. And cute.

Conversely, on a busy street, there's a ginormous house with almost too much space and a somewhat reasonable price. But it just doesn't feel like me.

Ah, I remember when I last went through this. What a difficult time. All of the places are either fine or not-really... depending on what kind of mood I'm in. They've all got something wrong with them. But they're all livable.

And at this point, I almost don't care. I feel like just going for WHATEVER. Which of course is a mistake. And nothing will happen until I sell the house anyway, so really it's all just comparison window-shopping at this point.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Walk Around Halifax

Halifax Harbor Overlook
Originally uploaded by TomS-M
Yesterday, Raye, Jodi and I got up late as Raye had been out quite late celebrating her graduation. This clearly needs to be celebrated. And needs to be slept off too.

But it also means that we left the house only after 1pm. Oops. But she then introduced us to Carlito's, an amazing little coffee shop on Quinpool road very close to where she lives. AMAZING coffee. Mm. Go there if you're in Halifax right now. They also have free internet for cafe customers. That's where I am typing this RIGHT NOW.

We walked downtown, ate some Vietnamese food and walked around the harbour. It was a little overcast with some sprinkling of rain here and there. We climbed on board the Mexican Marine's tallship and took some photos that I promise to show you later. They will be awesome.

We kept walking out to Bishop's Landing where we stopped at Ristretto for another amazing coffee. Then we walked back to Raye's place for some salad, episodes of Firefly (friggen LOVE that show) and getting ready to go out.

We then went to Raye's friends' hottub party (did you know you can rent one for about $300 per night?) and had a few glasses of wine before heading downtown to the Triangle where a celtic-y type band was playing great east coast tunes. Another glass of wine. And then it was time to head home.

We stayed up for hours talking. As girls do. And hence they are still sleeping and I am awake, typing on a terminal at Carlito's with my super yummy coffee. I LOVE getting out on my own in a new city! Only thing I'm wishing for now is some breakfast...

And then we'll be off to the airport for my evening flight back to Toronto. I feel so wordly: a weekend on the other side of the country!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Halifax - Trip #2

Halifax - Downtown
Originally uploaded by rwkphotos
Way back, my friend Raye told me she was graduating from her MBA at St. Mary's in Halifax. And she also told me about a WestJet sale, which I took advantage of. Months and $160 later, here I am, blogging from her apartment in Halifax.

I never lose my fascination of going up into the sky in one city and coming down in a couple of hours in a complete other part of the country. How small is our world!?

It was a lovely flight : the sun sinking in Toronto and the city lights as we descended to Halifax. This time, as Raye as in the middle of her post-grad celebrations, I took the airporter into the city. Not too bad for $18, although the wait time was a little annoying. It's a beautiful drive from the airport: the moon reflects off the pools at the side of the highway. And the nighttime scene as we crossed the bridge from Dartmouth really does look like this picture.

Raye and her sober friend were great enough to pick me up at the downtown hotel, but my post-Mesh-conference headache wasn't whetting my appetite for a party night out. Although I do love dancing to alternative 90s music... Reminds me of my university days... But after a hard week of trying to pack all the conference ideas into my brain and still trying to get all my work done -- well, it's done me in.

I'm so excited to be in a different city. I do love Halifax. I picked up a tourist guide at the airport, which I didn't do the last time I was here. I saw a couple of write ups on various parks to visit and beautiful trails and heritage buildings and walks. But most of all, I'm excited about hanging out with my friend and drinking coffee (or London Fogs) and making the ordinary special. This is the sort of thing that Raye excels at.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Being Bob

This weekend, I learned a lot about Bob.

Bob is very smart and very loving and a really great friend. He knows how to do things and he loves to share. He's good at puzzles and catching dinky cars and firetrucks at the bottom of slides. His hugs are pretty nice too. Yes, Bob the Builder is a pretty cool guy.

And little boys LOVE him.

Even if they don't want to share their toys or clean up or have help, little boys will do it all for Bob. And while they still get excited when Mama comes home, Bob is the guy they turn to when they need someone to blame everything on.

The more I learn about kids, the more I realize how much work they are and how important it is to have the support of as many people as possible if one wants to remain sane -- and how much fun they are and how much love one can feel for them, inspite of, and possibly BECAUSE of all of that.

Kudos to all those who've done it on their own, but I don't think I could do it. They're demanding alright and suck up all that time you never even knew you had in the first place. But I see and hear from others how rewarding it can be. And it makes me ache for it. For that day when it will be my turn.

When Bob will take second place only to me as Mommy.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The House

So we're going down the private sale road again and just crunching some numbers and talking some talk. And the house is looking good after the renovations, but not as good as this picture. This picture is the dream.

In the meantime I'm tired and my brain isn't working. Mostly, I just don't want to think about this anymore. But in fact, there is so much to think about that it's annoying.

At least I'm going away from the house this weekend. Not that I don't love the house. I do. It's just good to get away and turn off my brain for a while. I'm hoping my brainless book will help in this respect. And maybe I'll have time for some Battlestar action.

At this point, I don't even care. I just want to sleep. And relax but not be bored. Not think about work or the house. And get outside for some exercise -- hopefully it won't be crappy weather.

Did I tell you that I played my first game of rec soccer on Monday? And that I SCORED? Well, it's true, so now you know. I'm a superstar. ;)

Actually, I nearly peed my pants when I scored, I was so surprised.

And since then, my body has been telling me how old I am. My knees are KILLING me. I'm stiff all over. And starting to get better... just in time for my next game on holiday Monday. Who plays rec rec soccer on a holiday??

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tulip Festival, Ottawa

Ottawa was beautiful! Great weather, great hotel in a fantastic location. Lovely flowers -- check out my photo and click to see more photos on Facebook. We walked and walked and walked. Which is my favourite thing to do, really. Well, and we ate some pretty yummy food, including a Killaloe Sunrise beavertail and Planet Coffee, which I totally loved.

There was lots of family and kids around. Including, of course, my niece, Freya! My mom is surprising with what a great grandma she is. I mean, obviously she doesn't LOOK like a grandma, but she just scoops that little baby up and burps and pets and hugs and bounces her like a pro.

And she thought she'd have problems with grandmotherhood?

And my dad -- a totally baby whisperer. Freya can be screaming at the top of her lungs and my dad starts talking and suddenly she's mesmerized. Just stares, fascinated.

I got to hold her a little which was great.

In general, a fantastic trip. Be sure to check out my photos on Facebook.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Headed to the capital

Originally uploaded by wvs
This weekend, I'm headed to our nation's capital (Yes, that's Ottawa) for some family time (my neice is coming too!) and for a bit of a celebration.

I always like Ottawa and I'm so glad my brother moved there as it means I visit at least once a year, and usually twice. The family usually makes it up for the Tulip Festival, which is this weekend, and Winterlude when we skate on the canal and eat BeaverTails. Which, incidentally, we never got around to doing this year.

This time, I'll be staying near the Market, which is unusual but more exciting than the usual Ottawa East Travelodge. And we're getting out of Toronto a little early so that we get to enjoy more of the day over there.

The only downside to Ottawa is the drive. Five hours of pretty crappy radio. If you don't have a CD player (as my Dad's car doesn't) the options get pretty scarce. And of course in a non-CD-player car, the noise is a little loud and so talking can be a little difficult too. Leave it to my family, though, we will find a way.

To be honest, this might be one of the times that I actually sleep in the car. I have been having some pretty annoying sleep problems lately and it's leaving me constantly tired. It wears one down, for sure. So maybe the car time will do me good.

I can't wait to stroll the streets and do a little shopping and browse the tulip parks. Some RnR is just what the doctor ordered.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A walk in Corktown

Yesterday, I went on one of the many Jane's Walks across Toronto. I went to Corktown, which I knew very little about.

I found out about the Irish immigration and settlement in the area. I was told about the amazing distillery history of the area, including the Dominion Brewery and Gooderham & Worts rye distillery, now known as the Distillery District (although we didn't actually walk there). And about Enoch Turner's first free school in Toronto. And we saw and heard the history of the first Roman Catholic church in Toronto and even heard a ghost story concerning the Inglenook alternative school. And we also visited the refurbished 51 Division police station. Just a gorgeous use of an old building.

It was very interesting.

Finally, we heard a bit about the West Donlands Development. It's very exciting and I hope I can one day live in the smart neighborhood that it seems they'll be building there.

Gorgeous day and I learned so much about the city that I live in. I think they expected something like 20 people and got over 100 in the walking group, but they did an excellent job.

I will definitely go on this next year!