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!

NKOTB Summer

NKOTB Summertime Photo
Originally uploaded by nkotbofficial
Yes, I just found out yesterday. NKOTB has reunited for a tour this summer. Actually, they'll be in Toronto September 21st.

Of course, I had to email my friend Heather, with whom I used to swoon over these guys. And specifically the brothers, of course, The idea of the two of us dating brothers was just too tempting.

I thought it was a joke when I saw their concert listed on the TicketMaster website. But no. They're really doing it. They have a single, which i haven't hear yet, but should probably listen to if not just to have a laugh. Or to feel nostalgic for when I was 13 and a teen heart-throb fan girl. As embarrassing as that may be.

But everyone has one of those bands, right? A band that they're not too proud of loving once upon a time? We had so many hours of joy together just watching their videos. I think we were entranced by the idea of being girlfriends to the famous. And we would write stories of our adventures together: on the tourbus, how we met, picnics and all sorts of teen romance novel stuff.

I wish I could be that romantic again.

I'm smiling to remember my ideas of relationships at that age. I wonder if that's how most girls have their first relationship: with a fictional star boy?

Who was your star boyfriend?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hyacinths are up

Photo originally uploaded by ToniVC
Spring has sprung at my house!

I returned from San Francisco to discover that my hyacinths had bloomed in my absence. I have a few of these little grape hyacinths and a few pink ones given to me by my mom and our friend Marlene from the gardening show.

I planted them last fall in my little garden and POP! There they were. All pretty and delicate. I'm amazed that I could make something so pretty grow!

I also have a bunch of other plants that survived the summer draught and winter blahs in my little garden. My strawberry plants have miraculously revived themselves! My day lillies are green and healthy. My herb section with the Summer Savoury, garlic chives and green onions is looking good. And right now my periwinkle looks its best with the little purple flowers peeking out from the sea of green.

I'm so proud of my success, of making something grow. I have a lot of pruning and weeding, mowing and re-mulching to do, though. That's the plan for the weekend. I can't wait to get my hands dirty again now that I know that good actually comes of it.

Sadly or not, I had a potential buyer over to see the house. They're interested. Which I can understand because I love the house too. So all my gardening joy is for someone else at this point. But I can't give up on my babies.