Sunday, July 30, 2006

Happy ever after II

The evening's reception did not disappoint. The banquet room of the country club was elegantly decorated with chiffon and tulle, pink satin taffeta ribbons and fairy lights, and the festivities unfolded with C&H's sense of fun and humour evident throughout: Each table was named after a different candy, reflecting C's very sweet tooth, and of course, there were samples of the candy scattered about the white brocade-covered tables. And the bridal party danced into the room to various styles of music (my favourite has to be the chicken dance.)

The piece de resistance though was the couple's first dance, which came later in the evening: C stood alone on the dancefloor waiting for her new husband who had disappeared momentarily, only to reappear and join her dressed up in a bunny suit! The expression on her surprised face was priceless.

The music was a walk down memory lane: NKOTB's Please Don't Go Girl (which I hadn't heard since grade school!) and Debbie Gibson's Lost in Your Eyes. I like to think I'm pretty good at remembering song titles and artists, and my friend's beau seems to think so too because we engaged in a friendly little competition to see who can name that tune/artist the quickest. I reigned supreme, but he claims it's because most of the music was off CHFI's playlist. I will concede that if the music was more CFNY he would have kicked my butt. Luckily for me, it wasn't. :)

With the night winding down, we made a final sweep of the room to see what candy remained. I picked up a couple ring pops, some peanut M&Ms, a box of Junior Mints and my favourite Tootsie Rolls.

The wedding cake was as yummy as it is pretty. I couldn't resist a taste of the bottom two layers of wedding cake: chocolate cake and lemon cake with raspberries in whipped icing. With my sweet tooth well-satisfied, we called it a night, wishing the newly-wed couple a happy ever after.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Happy ever after I

Today is C&H's wedding day. The ceremony was lovely: the sun shone in through the stained glass windows, the church pews were decorated with roses, orchids and chiffon ribbons in the palest pink, the soloist was exceptional, and the vows were heartfelt.

The last time I went to a church wedding, I was stuck in one of the last pews so I made sure to be early this time...I might have been a bit overzealous though, since we were the first to arrive. But we secured the best seats in the house behind the bride's family so I was content, despite the heat.

Everything about the wedding so far has been refined and elegant. From my first impression of the wedding invitation to this afternoon's ceremony program and flowers. I'm now really looking forward to the reception to see what they have planned.

Friday, July 28, 2006

a BIG hole!

I had a busy morning at work today seeing to the administrative details of a project that's got me excited about my job again. To date, my work has been mostly numbers-focused. Now I’m up to my neck in research, which I really enjoy, and learning how strategy is applied in the “real” world, which is quite different from what you get out of articles and textbooks. And I actually have meetings and conference calls to book and attend(!) which is a very welcome change from hiding away in my cubicle crunching numbers!

It was my half day and I had plans to meet a girlfriend for lunch. We were going to spend the rest of the afternoon in bead stores as I’m custom-designing a necklace for her.

Our lunch plans were nixed since her conference call ended later than she had expected. Instead, I chilled out (literally!) at the Starbucks with a Caribbean Chicken wrap (yum!) and a chai latte. I then spent some time browsing in the biography section at Chapters and came up with a new wishlist:

Kiss and Tango – Marina Palmer
A Bed of Flowers – Nelofer Pazira
Straight Up and Dirty – Stephanie Klein
Diplomatic Baggage – Bridgid Keenan
Letters of a Portuguese Nun – Myriam Cyr

These books are all written by women about women. I’ve often wondered why I’m more drawn to the non-fictionalized lives of women as opposed to men, and it’s probably because I’m better able to relate to their experiences. When I read fiction, I know it’s make-believe, so it doesn’t really matter to me whether I’m championing a hero or a heroine.

My friend was able to make it down to Queen West by about 3pm, so we spent the next couple hours browsing the bead stores. I might have gotten just a tiny bit carried away with my purchases…actually, I know I did: we stopped for a coffee at Tequila Bookworm (which truly is one of the coziest spaces in the city—they have their own blog) and the cost of airfare to NYC came up in conversation. My friend reiterated the invitation to join her there in September for a weekend—I was tentative when last we spoke and that’s when I found out that what I spent on beads today in an hour would have gotten me on a flight to NYC!

The most exciting news of the day? We drove by the site of my condo, and there’s a big hole! When last I walked by a couple weeks ago, there was just a pile of dirt, but a hole! That’s real progress! I couldn’t stop thinking about it…all through our car ride uptown, we’d be talking about ideas for jewellery and families and priorities, meanwhile, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking about that big hole!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Smuthound I am

I often browse the G&M online at work and a couple weeks ago I came across an article about Elaine Lui's gossip, or, as she prefers, "smut" column, I was curious so checked it out and it's hilarious! She explains why I enjoy her column very well in her own words here:

"I'm not the Associated Press or the National Enquirer," she laughs. "What my readers like is the snarky spin on Hollywood. They're tired of the press-release image that gets shoved down our throat by People magazine, and the publicists that represent the celebrities. What is appealing to the people who read my column is that they understand Hollywood is an illusion, and this is an open-ended discussion about celebrity and what's going on underneath it all. And of course, I try to do it in my own voice."

It's thanks to her that I now have a new crush and his name is Daniel Henney.

( I started this post about an hour ago and got sidetracked looking for a pic of dear he is looking perfectly model-sexy-beautiful. I think he looks even better in glasses. Check him out at

I'd never heard of him before but he is definitely what my friends and I would consider a "fortunate mix" of Korean and American. It's completely superficial and certainly not PC, but if you're honest with yourself, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Tyson Beckford is another example with the sweetest Asian eyes I've ever seen on a grown man.

Anyway, I used to watch Entertainment Tonight religiously. Every weeknight I'd plop down in front of the TV during the 7 o' clock hour and take in the day's celebrity news. It's because of ET that I was able to come through in the clutch in answer to a sports trivia question at work about which American family started the Special Olympics. Answer: The Shrivers, cousins to the more famous Kennedys.

Now the tube's saturated with entertainment news magazine-type shows and I lost patience trying to keep was this, and the Average Joe human interest stories they ran that made me lose interest. I really didn't care to tune in to the morbidly-obese-man-who-can't-get-out-of-his-house-and-has-to-lose-weight-or-else-he'll-die, nor the skeletal-bulimic-anorexic-who-is-trying-to-gain-weight-or-else-she'll-die. Especially not with my dinner. Way to put a girl off her food. Yeah, I'm superficial and shallow. (But only sometimes.)

Can't sleep dammit - Part II

This is the second time in as many nights that I'm finding it difficult to fall asleep. It's not the heat because I'm quite comfortable with the A/C on...actually, I find it a bit on the cool side, which is usually conducive to sleep. I'm physically eyes certainly tell me so, but my mind just refuses to let me rest.

Counting sheep does not work (duh) and telling myself to stop thinking is futile because I end up obsessing over not thinking and then it's just a vicious circle from there.

I read my horoscope monthly at the beginning of the month, and when I remember to, at the end to compare and contrast. Given all that's happened this month (and because I can't sleep) I decided to read it sooner rather than later. (Speaking of which, whatever happened to July?) This bit cracks me up:

Mars will increase your drive, determination, and passion to achieve difficult goals, and rather than be deterred by obstacles, you'll relish them because you'll get so good at deflecting them. Once you see the power of your inner will, you'll feel able to leap buildings in a single bound.

If my inner will were so powerful, why can't I just hurry up and fall asleep already?!

What depresses me is this little gem:

If single, you'll be A-list with friends, but also in hot demand romantically. The July 8 - 9 weekend should be your most romantic of the month, possibly of the year.

Nothing particularly romantic happened that weekend save for a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake to see High Society with a friend and dinner afterwards with a larger group of friends. If that was supposed to be my most romantic weekend of the year (emphasis above is my own), then I'm destined to remain single for the remainder of 2006. Now I have one more thing to keep me up at night!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Introducing the Self

I think Diane Ackerman is brilliant. She seems to effortlessly present complex ideas in a manner that's beautifully literary and evocative.

I've been reading An Alchemy of Mind for a little while now, and it's taking me longer than usual to get through because there are so many interesting ideas to mull over.

The chapter I just read really struck me, titled "Introducing the Self." She begins with a quote by Stephen Mitchell:

If "I" give my love to you, what exactly am I giving and who is the "I" making the offering, and who, by the way, are you?

In this way Ackerman perfectly frames the idea of the many selves that make up our identity: "The conscious, preconscious and unconscious conspire to create the notion of never exists in the brain. As solitary as we feel at times, alone and unknowable in the fullness of our desires, every "I" is a "we"...A self is plural."

This concept of self was echoed in Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing in his examination of what love is: that we share many versions of ourselves with different people in our various interactions throughout our days, but there is one true self that is saved for our significant other.

I've always felt that I can be a different person with different people, depending on the circumstances of the relationship...with some friends, I feel I'm given licence to be more silly, while with others I feel I have to be more serious and responsible. I could never articulate this feeling of having different versions of myself so well as Ackerman:

Much of a self derives from recollected events, their weight and outcome, and the personal iconography they create. Since others figure in those mementos, and the daily acts that impress new memories, other people become integral elements of oneself, an important part of our inner diary and identity. If a loved one dies, one loses portions of self, not just a portion, because the missing person also hosted different selves. One loses the parts of self linked to the different parts of the loved one...

This idea of the many versions of self also helps to articulate what I'm looking for in love: I want someone who will enhance my life...who will inspire the many different versions of me, the good and the bad; the silly, playful me and the serious, responsible me. Is that too much to ask?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Real Thing

I went to see the Soulpepper Theatre Company’s production of The Real Thing this afternoon and I really enjoyed it. The dialogue was witty and intelligent. And the idea of what constitutes love was brilliantly written.

I consider myself a fairly literal person in the sense that when I am presented with a complex/abstract concept, I need time to absorb it before being able to formulate a response. I’m slow that way. So reading is my ideal way to take things in because I can do so at my leisure. When I see something acted out for me, I find that before I’ve had the time to fully understand what’s been said or what’s happened, the characters have moved on and I have to struggle to keep up.

I felt that way while watching the play…there was great dialogue about what love is—one of the universal questions of humankind. One of the proposed definitions is very much like my own: love isn’t loving someone at their best, but loving them when they’re at their worst.

I stopped at a Chapters on my way home in the hopes of picking up a copy of the play to read but there wasn’t one in stock so I’ll just have to buy it online.

There were two things that bothered me though: I’ve always found it a bit distracting when actors who are not British act with British accents because a play is set in Britain. All the actors onstage today were Canadian and some of the accents were better than others so it was a bit hard for me to suspend my belief. The other thing that was a bit odd was to see Megan Follows portray the selfish and sexual Annie when she is forever Anne of Green Gables in my mind.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Custom-order blues

I was all excited about picking up my new custom-made dress after work today. How disappointed was I to find that the changes we had discussed at my last fitting weren't implemented?

There was a miscommunication between the designer and the seamstresses who made the dress so what I tried at my fitting wasn't exactly as I had ordered. Seems there isn't enough fabric to fix it and I wasn't called in advance about that. I tried not to be annoyed but I wasn't about to accept a dress that wasn't what I had ordered. What's the point of getting a dress custom-made if it's not to your specifications?

I was going to wear the dress to my friend's church ceremony next Saturday but I guess I'll have to find an alternative since the fabric is from NYC and it's highly unlikely that the fabric can be sourced in time.

UGH. I'm just not having any luck with this custom-order stuff. First the tuxedo and now this. What a bummer.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

...and so ends the gluttony.

I just got back from the last of my Summerlicious dinners. Of the five restos I dined at over the course of the festival, 3 were return visits.

Caju, where I dined on the first Friday of the festival was fun and low-key. The caipirhiñas were perfect for that warm summer evening and the food was as tasty as I remembered. We sat next to a friendly Guyanese couple who were there celebrating their son's birthday.

Flow was OK as there was nothing that particularly stood out food-wise that made me think, wow, I have to come back! I went with a large group too, and as often is the case with large groups: 1) it's hard to talk to everyone when you're spread out across a looong table and 2) in the interests of being "fair" there's haggling over the bill to determine what everyone's share is. (In the absence of separate bills, the peanut butter method of accounting is best.)

Mistura was the best value because the portions were large, the service was great and the food was as good as my last visit. Beet Risotto....mmmm...yummy. I couldn't finish the perfectly roasted rosemary chicken because I had gorged myself on the tasty bread while waiting for our last guest to arrive. We went through 2 of our 3 bottles of Chardonnay while waiting so I had to eat bread in order to avoid getting drunk, which is inevitable for me on an empty stomach.

Herbs was a disappointment despite all the good notices from friends who had dined there on a non-summerlicious night. The pork loin and white fish we had each ordered were both dry and the portions were the skimpiest I had seen of all the restos I dined at over the course of the festival.

Corner House was an experience considering the questionable weather we had. The patio was closed because of rain earlier in the afternoon and remained closed for most of the night thanks to the gray skies. The loss of 25 seats resulted in a back-up of reservations. We had rsvp'd for 7pm but weren't seated until an hour later. I felt for the hostess who had to explain to a particularly annoyed guest that unlike other restos who reserve 30% of their seats for the promotion, they reserve 100%. As a result of the lost seats and the inevitable late arrivals earlier in the evening, they were behind.

But it was worth the wait. The food was good, as was the company. I particularly liked my appetizer of grilled tiger shrimp with chili apple aioli and Asian noodle salad. As expected I was super-hungry and ordered the roasted Striploin, which was perfectly rare.

The best news of the day though is that I found the perfect shoes to match my silk brocade dress! I had been on the hunt for the right shoes to go with the gold dress I had bought in London to wear to my friend's wedding. It was proving very difficult because of the style and colour and as the wedding is next Saturday, time was running out.

I had time to kill before dinner tonight so decided to go to the mall to run some errands. I walked into the shoe store because of the sale signs not really expecting to find anything and what should I find but a pair of newly arrived Enzo's that perfectly matched my dress? I only found them after picking out 6 other pairs that might have worked.

My only worry now is that I haven't eaten my way out of the dress with all my meals out!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Back to the Depot. AGAIN.

Ever since we began our renovations, I've become a regular visitor at the Home Depot. In the last 4 days, I've been 3 times...the last 2 trips were made today because the first one I went to didn't have the faucet I wanted in stock. I expect to go back again tomorrow because my mother has decided that she wants wall sconces in the basement after all(!) in addition to the really great new decorative sconces I found at Ikea last night.

They'll be hung horizontally in a series of 3 along the wall that will be my brother's study. I was excited by my find, but being the typical guy, he could care less what they look like.

I was telling a friend today about my familiarity with the Depot and he thought it was cool that I was "handy" and commented that he had only just introduced his bride to the Depot in the last year since they recently bought a home. I had to laugh at being called handy because I am so not. Crafty, maybe, but handy? Non. That's what contractors are for! I come up with the vision and they make it a reality.

Aside from the sconces, I'm on the hunt for lighting for our family room. I want something similar to this one here in its contemporary, clean lines. It would be perfect if it weren't 3ft across and hung so low.

I found a few possibilities tonight while at Living Lighting but nothing struck me as perfectly what I had in mind. I'm not ready to give up yet. I have at least a week to source the perfect fixture and if I were to just get a light that sort of matched the criteria I had in mind right now, it would feel like settling and I'm not ready to settle just yet. I know the perfect fixture is out there waiting for me to find it...I just have to be patient and persevere.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Can't sleep dammit

I've been up for the last hour because I can't sleep.

The A/C is on and I'd already been tossing and turning for an hour before I gave up and decided to surf the net. Judging by the forecast, this coming week is going to be unbearable.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pineapple Fizz = Powder Sand?

I spent a relatively lazy but productive Sunday. I stepped out long enough to pick up the paper on our front step and have been indoors ever since. The contractors were off for the day so the house was quiet.

After lingering over the morning paper, I settled in to finalize the paint colours for the various rooms and I'm proud to report that there isn't a shade of boring beige to be found. There are shades of blue and green, yellow and pink...and every one of them is soft and inviting.

Part of my afternoon was spent fussing over just the right shade of creamy yellow. Because this will be the principal colour of the house, it will have to look good in many different lights as it will be on the walls of all the halls, foyer, dining room and basement.

I started with Pineapple Fizz, then decided it was too bright so settled on Clear Yellow before deciding that it was too cool...Powder Sand looked like Pineapple Fizz and just when I was about to give up (who the heck comes up with these silly names anyway?) I saw Lightning White, which isn't white at all but a lovely and perfect shade of cream so my choice was made.

With my colour crisis over, I turned to the next item on my To Do list: the dreaded wardrobe edit. It turned out to be fearly painless and quick as I was done in about 30 minutes...which makes me wonder if I did as good a job as I could have done if I had spent longer...but I won't stress about that anymore. My mission for the weekend is accomplished.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Amortization and marginal utilities

I brunched at Cantine this morning. My friend was a bit late meeting me so I wandered into the nearby kitchen supply store to browse. There were lots of great gadgets and cute little cake and tart pans that I would have loved to bring home with me, but given that I won't be moving into my own place for another year and a half and the hard fact that we're in the middle of a home reno so there'd be nowhere to put it in the meantime, I walked out of there empty-handed.

I was famished for food and the cornmeal bread we were served while we waited was perfectly toasted and perfectly yummy. The coffee was great and the eggs benny I had ordered was just runny enough. On a purely superficial level, my only complaint is the skimpy serving of potatoes I got, since I didn't finish them all anyway. Because the plate was on the large side, and the eggs benny didn't take up even a 1/3 of it, the small pile of roasted potatoes on my plate just looked a bit sad despite their tastiness.

It was hot hot hot but we wanted to check out the MO851 sale (up to 75% off!) so we walked over to St. Thomas Street, browsing the various shoe stores along the way as I'm still on the hunt for a pair of shoes to go with the gold silk brocade dress I bought in London to wear to my friend's wedding later this month.

I didn't find anything I had to have, although for a few seconds there, I flirted with a vanilla-coloured, blazer-style, super-soft nubuck leather jacket. Sanity and fiscal responsibility prevailed though, because much as I loved the was still $300. If it was perhaps $150, I might have picked it up just because...but it wasn't so I was safe from temptation.

We also went into a couple of jewellery stores as I've also been thinking about getting a new watch. I've been wanting a Longines DolceVita ever since I tried one on while waiting for my flight home at the Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong a couple years ago.

I love this one with the diamonds along the side of the case and the beautiful blue of the dial. Aside from being a lovely dress watch, it's got roman numerals so I can actually tell the time! I have my everyday Movado which I love but it's the iconic black dial without any indicators for the hour so form definitely triumphs over function in this instance.

I walked into Royal de Versailles Jewellers on Bloor thinking they carried Longines but they don't (Birks does, so I went there afterwards.) Instead, I tried on the Cartier Tank Francaise, which I wanted long before I ever spied the DolceVita. It was so perfectly classic on my wrist. The price tag was not so much.

This 18K gold version with the sapphire cabochon crown would set me back $5400+(!!) I've also tried the stainless steel version, but it just doesn't compare, so why settle for a pale, albeit still Cartier, imitation?

I know, you're probably thinking my logic's faulty when I won't pay $300 for a leather jacket but would consider $5400 for a watch. But it makes complete sense to me when you consider that the Tank Francaise is a classic timepiece that can be passed through the generations while a leather jacket is fashionable and not nearly as enduring.

Because I'm a geek, I'll often rationalize the purchase of an expensive item by amortizing its cost over the number of times I think I'll wear it. When you compare the amortization period of the watch, which could span generations, to that of the jacket, then the watch makes complete sense. I could probably also rationalize in economic terms too by talking about the marginal utility of an additional jacket, of which I have many, to that of a watch, of which I have only one, but I was only ever an indifferent student of economics at best.

Considering that I have closing costs to save for before the mortgage payments for my condo even kick in, it'll be a long-time coming before this lovely graces my wrist again. At least I have a new milestone gift for myself to work towards. Now if only I had a milestone to work towards!

Friday, July 14, 2006


The forecast for this weekend in Toronto is crazy-hot. That being the case, my plans are to do as little as possible out-of-doors. I have a brunch date in the morning and more errands to run in the afternoon related to our home reno, but afterwards, I plan on staying home in air-conditioned comfort.

I figured I may as well make the most of this weather and buckle-down and edit my wardrobe. I probably won’t have time during the week and I definitely won’t have time next weekend so this is it.

This weekend is D-Day for my wardrobe.

I think I’ll need something long and cool to see me through.
Note to self: chill a couple bottles of wine in preparation.

Anyway, I came across this article in the Star the other day stating that theatre in Toronto is not dead, despite the early close of the Lord of the Rings. It went on to list the stage companies with bonafide box office hits including Stratford’s sold-out production of South Pacific, Shawfest’s High Society (which I saw last weekend) and Soulpepper’s The Real Thing (which I plan to see next weekend.)

I’m intrigued by Spamalot, but have no burning desire to see it. What I would love to see though is Wicked which returns for a limited engagement in the fall. I tried to get tickets for the NYC production last spring but it was impossible. I hope not to be disappointed again.
Note to self: follow up on the tickets.

On the mention of BoyGroove (which I also saw):

"Our marketing was confused…People didn't know if we were selling a musical play or an actual boy band. And we also realized too late that we had priced the show out of the range of the young audiences we wanted to attend."

I really enjoyed the satiric parody of a boyband on stage (and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the guys could actually sing quite well, if not dance, heh). It was disappointing to see how few people were in the audience for the performance I saw—if I recall correctly, it might have been in the neighbourhood of 20…granted, it was a matinee, but still.

The audience was also quite odd—as expected, there were a few groups of girlfriends in their 20s who went through the teeny-bopper boyband phase, a few couples made up of the already-mentioned former teeny-bopper girlfriend and reluctant-but-indulgent/long-suffering boyfriend, the odd (older) man out who was there alone, and the unexpectedly rowdy bunch who took advantage of the table service at the Diesel Playhouse and proceeded to get drunk and chatty through the performance.

I had more commentary to add, but my brain’s a bit fried from the heat so that's it for now.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I don't wanna but I gotta

In anticipation of all the packing I’ll have to do for our home reno, I’ve started collecting boxes at work. I brought home a couple tonight and packed up all my CDs. The top of my armoire looks so sad with just my stereo system atop it.

I turned to my bookcases next, and though I don’t want to, I know it’s time to purge. Much of what’s going will be my collection of paperback romances by Jude Deveraux and Julie Garwood. I was a huge fan of Ms. Deveraux’s Montgomery and Taggert clans and bought just about every title in the series back when I was in high school.

Aside: I just found a Montgomery-Taggert family tree up until the late 20th Century that is quite fantastic. It's scary to see that with the exception of maybe 3 titles, I've read them all. I also found a site with Jude Deveraux quizzes and scored a 9 out of 10 on the first quiz. The only question I got wrong was the one about the name of her son. Not bad considering how long it's been since I read her books. Ya gotta love the internet!!

Anyway, sometimes I’ll re-read a cheesy romance just because. I often do this with Nora Roberts, and when I’m in the mood for historical, I’ll turn to Judith McNaught. It’s been ages though since I checked in with Ms. Deveraux and Ms. Garwood so it’s probably time to bid them adieu, so off to the Salvation Army they go…sniff sniff. I’m undecided on Jayne Ann Krentz, but I think I’m leaning towards saying good-bye since they’re hardcover and not the most comfortable thing to read while lying in bed.

I’m not quite psychologically prepared to sort through my clothes yet, but Sally Ann’s not coming by until the end of the month for a scheduled pick-up of all the stuff we’d like to see find a good home so I can procrastinate a little while longer…

Monday, July 10, 2006

A brand new house!

So, the contractors who will be working on our home reno came over tonight to discuss what's to be done and to settle on a quote. As time's passed, what was originally supposed to be just replacing the nasty faux-wood-paneling from the 70s we have in our basement and main-floor family room has snowballed into a major undertaking that will now see our entire household eventually sequestered in our basement for what's likely to be at least a two-week period. So what's changed? Well, we're now painting the entire house, which wouldn't be all that bad if that were it. Nope. The kicker is that we're tearing up the wall-to-wall carpeting and re-finishing the natural hardwood floor that's beneath the main and second floors. This means that EVERYTHING will have to be removed so that they can do the job. The estimate is that it will take a week per floor; so for a couple weeks we'll be in each others pockets living in the basement.

Thank goodness there's a separate entrance and two full bathrooms down there, otherwise my mother, brother and I will kill each other within the week. It also occurred to me after the contractors left that if they’re replacing/painting the window frames, we’ll have to decide on new window treatments sooner rather than later.

Right now, we have those ugly aluminum blinds that have seen better days. When we first considered replacing all the window treatments in the winter, we figured we’d see to it once all the renovations were complete, but depending on what kind of window treatments we get, they may be mounted in the window frame as opposed to above it…so it’ll be better to decide on that so the frames will only have to be painted once. UGH.

I now not only have to stress about how I’m going to pack up not one, not two but THREE of my rooms upstairs—let alone the rest of the house, because my brother is indifferent to this entire process and will do the least amount possible to see it through—but I will also have to see about making arrangements for the window treatments. It’s during times like this that I wish I wasn’t the oldest and more responsible sibling. Being the kid sib and not giving a damn looks pretty good to me right about now.

My only consolation is that the house is going to look amazing when it's finally done. No more boring white walls! No more ugly faux-wood paneling. No more 20 year old wall-to-wall carpeting! No more bent-out-of-shape aluminum blinds! I just have to keep reminding myself of that over the next month or so....

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The gluttony begins again....

It's that time of year again. Summerlicious. Along with Winterlicious, it’s the most dangerous time of year for my diet. And by diet, I don't mean that I count calories and eat like a bird. No, not I. I enjoy food far too much to suffer so; I'm all about everything in moderation and portion control. I also go to the gym more so that I can eat and get not get fat. Gaining muscle tone is an added bonus.

When I first found out that the list of participating restos was published, I didn't think much of it. I didn’t get all excited and start plotting out where I wanted to go like in years past. I’d even call my attitude rather blasé. I’d been there and eaten that since I had taken advantage of the promotion in its first couple years during both the summer and winter seasons. I think at my most gluttonous, I went to 7 different restos in a 2-week period. And they weren't what I'd call Tier 2 restos of the city either—I’m talking Truffles and Canoe, La Maquette and Mistura, Rosewater Supper Club and the now defunct Avalon—sometimes for lunch AND dinner. Those were wild and crazy times.

So how did I end up with dinner plans at 5 different restos this time around? I’ll tell you how! I blame it on friends who are terrible at keeping in touch because everyone has a life and is busy and so you need a reason like a good deal to get everyone out!

I shouldn’t really complain—I’m glad for the chance to see everyone over the next couple weeks—and since I was often the social co-ordinator, I wisely scheduled the dinners so that there was a nice 3 or 4 day break between dinners.

And to prepare for all the rich 3-course meals to come, I’ve hauled my butt back to the gym after going on hiatus last week. I’m determined to spend every weekday evening I’m not out for dinner sweating it out, dammit!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Short work weeks rock!

Going back to work after a long weekend is hard, especially when the long weekend was lots of fun. There's nothing more disorienting then waking up at 6:30 in the morning after having slept in for the last 3. The drive in was awful and the office is quiet because so many people decided to make the most of their vacation days and take the whole week off. The good news is that it's a short work week and there's much to look forward to this coming weekend so that'll make it go by even faster. Yay!

I've actually got real work to do, too! Not the crappy, tedious kind that makes me want to bang my head against the wall (since Finance's new hire started today, they will no longer require my services, double-yay!) My latest project is actually interesting! We're in the very early stages of looking at a candidate company for acquisition and I've been working on gathering intelligence on the industry, etc. This is why I loved my job.

We also have the first of what will be monthly group status meetings this Thursday so I'm curious to hear what our VP has to say about what's coming down the pipe. As long as there is this kind of work to challenge me, I'll be quite happy. If not...then I may just be brushing off my CV the end of the summer.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Oh, Canada!

On this day, 139 years ago, the British North America Act created the dominion of Canada, uniting the British colonies of Upper and Lower Canada (Ontario & Quebec), New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Reading my paper this morning, there were the usual articles about things to do in and around the city, and festivities that will be taking place across the country and elsewhere around the world where ex-pats have settled: I was amused by this story about the first-ever festival to celebrate Canada Day in London. Imagine playing in a ball hockey tourney in the middle of Trafalgar Square! There was the usual mention of the Maple Leaf Pub, where Canadian ex-pats gather annually for a big Canada Day celebration. There was a heartwarming story published in the Toronto Star a few years back about a father who flew to London to surprise his son at the Maple Leaf.

I never did make it out to the Maple Leaf although I must have been through Covent Garden at least twice during my trip to London in April. Since my cousin has recently moved there, a trip back will definitely be in my future. Maybe I can time it so I'm there to take in the festivities first-hand.

Aside from all the good news stories, there are the usual reflective "what does it mean to be Canadian?" stories. Inspired by the Danish government's initiative to establish a canon of Danish arts and culture, the Toronto Star undertook a project to come up with a "definitive" guide to the works Canadians need to know in order to understand their cultural history. They called the guide, Essentially Canadian and in the week leading up to Canada day, published the long lists for their 9 categories: Children's Entertainment, Movies, Visual Arts, Books, Design, Music, Architecture, Theatre and Television.

The Top Ten lists, as determined by their 36 panellists, was published today, and based on the lists that would probably be most relevant to me, I must say that there’s much Canadian Culture that I have not been exposed to. On the Essential Music list, I know about ½ the names on the list, but have only ever heard 3 of the songs: Joni Mitchell’s 2 entries and The Guess Who’s American Woman.

On the Essential Architecture list, I must agree with the iconic Chateau Frontenac and the TD Centre as they are so clearly identified with their respective city’s skylines.

The only play on the Essential Theatre list I had seen was Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Goodnight, Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet, which was staged by CanStage about 5 years ago—the cool thing about that production was seeing MacDonald, who is also an actor, portray the title roles she had penned.

I thought I might have done better on the Essential Books list since I like to think I do a pretty good job of supporting Canadian authors and reading their works, but sadly, I’ve only read Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of A Lion. I’m not so much a fan of what I call “Old School Can-Lit” by authors like Alice Munro, Gabrielle Roy, Robertson Davies and Margaret Laurence (I had to read The Stone Angel in school and couldn’t relate at all to the experiences of small town life; Fifth Business was OK, but still not a fave.)

The entry of the CN Logo in the Essential Design list elicited a smile because it reminded me of the co-op work term I spent at CN Rail. One of my “special projects” was ensuring the integrity of the logo on the various documents and reports that our group published.

The one pessimistic article in today’s news kicked off the paper’s series of essays that will run from July to November called Canada in 2020. Andrew Cohen’s A Virtual Country suggests that thanks to rising immigration levels, Canada would be a nation in name only. Given that the word nation refers to two quite distinct ideas, he can be both right and wrong in his assertion.

On the one hand, there’s the definition of a nation as “a relatively large group of people organized under a single, usually independent government; a country”, and then there’s the definition of nation as “a people who share common customs, origins, history, and frequently language; a nationality.” By the former definition, he may very well be right. But if the later, than I would argue that Canada, as a country of immigrants, never had a common nationality to begin with: the French and the English who first settled in Canada, displacing the Native American’s might have both been European, but they both have distinct cultures—a point that is a bone of contention to this day amongst the Quebecois and the “Rest of Canada.”

Yes, Canada as a country is inclusive and we promote multiculturalism, perhaps at the expense of a national identity. But who says that my Canada has to be the same as your Canada? We all have different views on what being a Canadian means, and I’m not about to impose mine onto you. We ain’t them Americans, and that’s how we like it here.

Anyway, I never really meant for this to turn into a rant…but that’s what happened so I’m going to stop. I’ve a long cool drink and a BBQ to look forward to, so Happy Canada Day to you and yours.
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