Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ramp it up

The weather's getting warmer in the city and you can see the sun shining! By week's end, the ramp into the underground parking is well underway.

Exciting progress this week! :)

March 26 @ 4:32pm

March 27 @ 1:24pm

March 28 @ 10:33am

March 29 @ 1:05pm

March 30 @ 1:30pm

Friday, March 30, 2007

Quantity. Not Quality.

I went shopping after work today and did real good! I've been feeling restless for the last, oh, say, month or so. Can't explain it, and nothing has really been able to assuage it. So I went shopping. Again.

This time, I bought lots! And all within 1.5 hours! I stuck to just one floor with my goal to hit H&M for some cheap, seasonal wear. And by seasonal, I don't mean spring stuff...more like clothing that's cheap and disposable in the sense that you don't have to feel guilty about if you just wear it the one season.

Anyway, after browsing and trying on oh, I don't know, 50 or so different items, I left with bags from Jacob, Suzy Shier and H&M. I spent around $200 on 14 items!!! :) See! I did good! I bought a lot of basics - I picked up 10 tanktop/camisoles in various colours:

My brother: "What do you need so many tanks for?"
Me: "Why, to layer with."

I also bought 2 t-shirts, a short-sleeved wrap blouse and a little black dress.

I had my eye on a couple items from the M by Madonna collection. I liked the white button-down short-sleeved blouse but they didn't have my size, and a black dress, also not available in my size. I tried the taupe-coloured version but it made me look washed-out. So no M for me.

Oh well. I'm happy with my haul. It will do until I need my next hit of retail therapy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

J.W. Waterhouse

John William Waterhouse is one of my favourite painters. I love that he drew inspiration from mythology and literature for his art.

I first discovered him when in university. There is an annual poster sale that tours the schools called Imaginus and I bought this print to decorate my bare residence walls in my second year: La Belle Dame Sans Merci.

The next year, I added Hylas and the Nymphs to my collection:

It's one of my favourites because of the rich reds in the nymphs' hair - the image here doesn't do it justice but it's beautiful.

I've never actually seen any of his paintings up close and personal in any of the museums or galleries I've visited. I have this vague memory that much of his work is in Manchester, where I have never been...but I could be wrong about that.

I immediately recognized his work when I saw the image below today while browsing the paper online and clicked to read this story about his painting, Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May, being up for sale.

According to the article, the painting was originally owned by a British aristocrat who bought it around 1910 but it's not clear how the painting ended up in Canada, where it surfaced for framing and cleaning in Toronto in 1959.

Although Waterhouse scholars have known about the canvas for decades, it disappeared from public view until 2002 when Odon Wagner, an art dealer in Toronto, announced that it had been found in a run-down farmhouse near Lake Simcoe, about 150 kilometres north of Toronto.

The painting was brought to his attention in November, 2001, by clients who wanted the work appraised. The couple had bought the Lake Simcoe property and its furnishings, including the Waterhouse, from its previous owner in 1973. It is scheduled to be sold next month by Sotheby's in New York where it could go for as much as $3-million.

Friday, March 23, 2007

OMG! The Changes!

The on-site camera had been down all this week for "upgrades" so I wasn't sure if there'd be anything to see this morning when I went to the website, but LOOK:

Today @ 9:23am

They've built up most of the walls on P1 and have started to put up the ceiling - which is the floor of the main level! PROGRESS!!!!

So exciting!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Writer's block

I have been sitting here for the last 30 minutes trying to think of something to talk about for my speech assignment in Mandarin class this Saturday. Actually, it's been more like 75 minutes, but I procrastinated by listening to my dialogue CDs and practicing out loud - which I've been neglecting for the last, oh, 6 weeks now.

So here I sit. Staring at my almost blank page.

I have the first sentence down:

Da jia tongxuemen ni hao, which literally means something like, Greetings my fellow students. Stellar, huh?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I've got the blahs...


I don't know what's wrong with me. I was fine this morning and then I hit some kind of invisible wall this kind of snuck up on me...but there it was. Bam!

I think it's restlessness. I was planning a visit to San Francisco with one of my favourite girls, but that's been nixed now so I'm back to considering Denver in May to visit a university friend. But I don't know if I can't wait that long. I need a hit sooner rather than later.

Perhaps a little Montreal over Easter? I came across this article back in February. There's a visiting exhibit from Paris called Once Upon a Time Walt Disney at the Museum of Fine Arts that opened March 8 and is running to June 8...Ottawa in the summer is looking pretty good too, with the exhibition of Renoir Landscapes, 1865-1883 coming to the National Gallery of Canada June 8 to September 9.

Until then, there's this:


Isn't he adorable??

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Condo this week

The walls on P1 are slowly going up...

March 13 @ 8:55am

March 14 @ 10:52am

March 15 @ 10:52am

March 16 @ 11:32am

March 16 @ 4:03pm

Toronto Art Expo

I spent Friday night hanging out with a couple friends from work at the Toronto Art Expo. We had dinner at Marinela's first, which is, I think, one of the best Italian restos in Toronto, particularly in terms of quality and value. I've been there a handful of times and it never disappoints. If I recall correctly, I had the linguine with clams my first time there and I was impressed with how many clams there were. I like pasta, but I'm sometimes hesitant to order it over other mains because I find some restaurants skimp on the good stuff to maximize on the margin. Not Marinela's. I ordered the Fettucine di Mare last night and there were 2 honkin' whole scallops, a generous lobster tail, shrimp, mussels and crab legs. And it was just the right serving size. Mmm mmm good.

We hit the expo around 7pm and given the sheer number of artists present, we tried to be fairly systematic about our walk through the show. 1.5 hours in, we realized that we would have to step up our pace if we wanted to see all the artists because the expo closed at 10pm.

This visit was meant to be a reconnaissance mission. I was going to scope out the talent and get a sense of what kind of price points the artists I liked were asking for so that a year or two from now, when I am ready to buy art for my place, I'll have a price and object in mind.

So what did I find? A LOT. While I picked up cards for 20+ artists the themes were fairly consistent amongst them. I obviously like flowers, I gravitate towards works that have an Asian feel to them, and I prefer bright, bold colours.

Of the many artists there, I'd have to say that my favourite was Danielle O'Connor Akiyama - and it was because of her work that we stayed after close. We had made our way to the escalator to leave when my one friend who has been collecting art for a number of years now played the little devil on my what did we do but ride the escalator down and back up again so that I could take a second look at her paintings!

I love Akiyama's style - flowers figure prominently in her work, but there's something very energetic and dynamic about them. And I love the brilliant colour of her palette. I was taken with 2 canvases in particular, both of which, of course, were on the high end - they both cost more than my ring!

I couldn't help but think again that if I had kept all my bonus like in years past instead of playing the responsible card and rolling half of it into my retirement savings, I could have bought me some art! But no. I did so I can't and now I'm sad. There may still be hope though. I should be getting a tax refund back this year, so maybe....just maybe...I can still swing it. Hope springs eternal, non?

Anyway, here are the other artists that I've got on my radar:

Andrea Maguire - there's something just this side of eerie and lonely to her large favourite was Spirit Dancer
Anne Drouin - I'm loving her orchids
Bert Liverance - I loved his 2 large orchid canvases but they are way out of my price range
Claustro - very cool, sculpted paintings
Debra Jackson - I saw her last at the One of A Kind show late last year
Dianna Last - she was super-nice and explained her interesting photography using old-school film and dark room techniques
Eric Tardif - I'm pretty sure I've seen his sculpted wood birds in a Toronto gallery before and I was taken by how beautifully fluid they are. I want one and a small bird is certainly in my price range....
Giampietro Filippetti - colourful, mosaic art
Ingrid Kay - I was taken with her treescapes
Jennifer Lawton - vibrant florals
Jeremy Bortz - fields of flowers, my favourite was probably Red Dahlias
March Gregoroff - there's a luminous quality to the canvases
Maura Joy Lustig - my favourite is this one
Miri Peer - I was tempted by her Rhapsody in Purple, which again, was in my price range...
Monika Aebischer - there's something very whimsical about her work
Patricia Morris - I love the light in her paintings
Paul Saari - I don't know why but I like
Robyn Drage - I like her Seasons series
Sri Prabha - his abstract work with the gold leaf is gorgeous - this is my favourite
Steven Nederveen - there's an Asian feel to his work that I love...they're sort of moody too
Sandor Monos - this little sculpture was my favourite - I love how sleek she looks, yet there's such detail in her braided hair
Samantha Sandbrook - I love the layered, old-world/new-world feel of her work using the encaustic method - my favourite is the Oriental Poppies

Obviously I'll have to narrow my scope some.

Friday, March 16, 2007


It has been one of those entirely unproductive weeks at work. I don't think I got ONE thing completely done. And even though it's only been a 4-day work week for me, the weekend seemed to take freakin' 2(!!!) weeks to arrive. Why is that? Is it the time change? Is it that it's March Break and two-thirds of my team isn't in the office this week? I don't know, but it sucked eggs.

I'm now biding my time, surfing the net at my desk as I wait for a couple friends to start the weekend. We have plans to check out the Toronto Art Expo tonight after work but since they're on a different team, with a less flexible schedule, they have to stay until 5. Meanwhile, my boss left almost an hour ago. Ah well.

I'm so bored.

Waiting sucks.

This is a lame post.

I'm going to surf some more now.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Just when I thought I was safe

I was chatting with my girl S on the phone last night about how trying the rings on last Friday was enough to sate my recent urge for retail therapy. But it seems I was wrong. So very wrong.

I met her tonight after work to browse the bead stores on Queen West for chandelier earring findings for my client. I'm meeting her next Sunday to show her designs so I wanted to see what was available locally. I didn't find anything for her, but I found something for me...actually, a number of somethings, in the latest addition to the bead strip.

I was just going to get a couple of bracelet displays, but then I came across the wall of smokey quartz. I envisioned these beauties knotted with small pink pearls or rose quartz into a choker and figured that would be it. But it was downhill from there.

I somehow found myself in front of the glass display case at the cash - and you know that can ONLY MEAN TROUBLE! I was shown the sea blue chalcedony in two different cuts - and of course, I had to like the one that was more expensive. So I added that to my stash. Next, and what I thought would be last, was the lemon quartz. Isn't it pretty??

I was all set to check out and then I noticed the tourmalines. You can't really tell in this picture, but some of the stones are blue-green, which isn't very common. The funny thing is that their shape reminds me of kryptonite. So I ended up buying them too. It's a damn good thing that my bonus is being paid out tomorrow!

We met up with WC & WL for dinner afterwards at Epicure and had our usual fun laughing and talking over food and wine. I couldn't linger downtown since it's a school night, so I subwayed back up to pick up my car and drive home. Assuming my condo isn't delayed overlong, I shan't have to make the trek back uptown this time next year.

The nice thing was that the boy called me tonight before he went to bed. We last spoke on Monday and have been in email contact since then. I'm making dinner for him Saturday night - I'm thinking my lobster risotto and pan-seared scallops on a bed of greens or something...I got the idea from the cover of the latest issue of the LCBO's Food and Drink. He says he's going to make key lime pie for dessert - from scratch, no less!

We're also going to spend the night watching the first of apparently many movie marathons. Among them, the Star Wars Trilogy (I've yet to see the original and am rather proud of it), The Matrix, Austin Powers and The Lord of the Rings, which I've already seen, but he's talking the extended versions. I guess this means he sees us together at least in the short- to medium-term, which is a good thing. :)

This Saturday is Jane Austen's night: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma. This is not my doing but his - his favourite book is Emma - I'm still not quite sure what to make of this...mais chacun son gout.

Anyway, I told him about how bad I was tonight with my little spending spree and he tried to assuage my guilt by telling me that I deserved it, that it was for something I enjoyed doing, etc. Sweet, huh?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

5 Things About Me

I've been tagged for a meme by The Lone Beader to state 5 things about me so here goes:

1. I'm a recovering compulsive planner and control freak. Case in point: For my NYC trip with my cousin A in the spring of 2005, I read up on restaurants to dine in, museums and art galleries to visit and plays/musicals to go see and compiled detailed spreadsheets for review. After making my choices, I called ahead to book tables or reserved online on and bought tickets to our shows online. To keep track of it all, I made up a colour-coded Master Schedule of our 5 days and 4 nights broken up in hourly increments - yellow for sights, green for dining, pink for entertainment and orange for to-do's. Yes, I have a problem. But I'm working on it. (The boy actually thinks I'm laidback!)

2. If there was one food staple I could not live without, it's rice. Maybe it's because I'm Chinese and that's what I've eaten at meal times for much of my life, but it's so versatile if you think about it - it can be eaten plain or fried up in infinite ways. It can be made up in congee or in a dessert (black glutinous rice with coconut milk is one of my favourites!) and it can be served sticky or wrapped in lotus leaves (my aunt makes the best sticky rice ever!) It's divine when steamed with coconut milk and so good in sushi...yum. And that's just skimming the surface of the Asian methods of preparing rice. There's risotto, another favourite...and the many different types of rice - there's long grain and short grain, there's brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, arborio rice....the list just goes on and on.

3. I had to change my Chinese name last year just before I bought my condo because my superstitious mother had a feng shui master friend of hers do a reading for me. As a fire dragon, my name was entirely inappropriate because there was too much fire in it and changing my name to something softer is supposed to have an affect on my personality and luck in love. Ya right. I had a choice of 3 new names to choose from so I picked the one that sounded the least country bumpkin to my ears - the bonus is that the Chinese character is easier than the original. Aside from the name change though, I had to find a condo that met a seemingly impossible combination of requirements, one of which was that it must not face west. Why, you may ask? Too much fire. I had many an argument with my mother about how crazy it was but I'm still enough of my mother's daughter that I couldn't completely go against her wishes. In the end, I was able to find a floor plan that met all the requirements to a T...thankfully, it was in short order too.

4. I majored in Economics in university but didn't like it at all. If I could have, I would have switched to History instead because I love to research and write papers. Some people dread them, but me? I'd take a paper ANY DAY! If only the upper-year courses I wanted to take in European history had been offered...but they weren't so an Economics major I remained.

5. I used to read cheesy Harlequin romances like they were going out of style. I'd come home for the weekend from university with my first stop being the library where I'd pick up a dozen paperbacks. I'd then go home and settle in for the weekend. Not a single call to my friends. I'd spend the weekend in my PJs devouring 4 or 5 in succession, reading into the early morning hours and then head back to school recharged and refreshed.

I'm now supposed to send it to 5 blog friends but I don't have any to send it to - the blogs I frequent on a regular basis don't often have a comment facility so this is where I fail. : ( This was fun though! I do love these things. : )

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

DST Delayed

I don't usually notice the annual one-hour fast-forward we do to save daylight but with this year's change coming earlier than normal, I've noticed it...albeit in a delayed fashion. I slept in Sunday and yesterday since I had the day off, but today was depressing. My alarm rang at 7am and it was dark.

It took all my will not to pick up the phone to call in sick because I felt so tired.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Coming to a small screen near you...

I took the day off from work since the show on which my jewelry will be making its small screen debut was taped today at my friend's studio-store.

For the last week, I've been working on pieces to accessorize the dresses that will be worn during the fashion show portion of the taping. There were 3 models, each scheduled to wear 10 dresses. Since the dresses weren't finalized until Wednesday, it was impossible for me to make something for each dress. In the end, I made about a dozen pieces, mostly earrings and bracelets since many of the gowns were heavily-beaded around the bodice. It all worked out rather well since a number of the pieces were versatile enough to be repeated with different dresses.

It was so cool to see the jewelry on someone other than myself, and with dress that's appropriate for the jewelry. For one thing, a lot of the earrings I made were chandelier-style, and since I tend not to wear them, they look weird on me when I look in the mirror. For another, I don't have fancy gowns readily available at home to see how they look with the right dress. To have the opportunity to see the jewelry on a model all dressed up? Wow.

To backtrack a bit, my day in the studio started around 10:30. The girls were about 30 minutes for the 11am start time so everything ended up being pushed back. It was interesting to get a taste of what goes on in a fashion show atmosphere. Aside from accessorizing all the girls, I was charged with helping one of them get in and out of her dresses. There was a lot of waiting waiting waiting in between changes.

The taping of the models took about 2 hours and then we broke for an hour. I left to grab a bite and run some errands and was back for 3pm, at which time the photographer had arrived to take the stills. Since the interview portion of the show was going on in another part of the store, we had to be quiet on the other side. More with the waiting waiting waiting. We finally wrapped around 6:30.

And now that it's done, I wait some more. The show is expected to air two weeks this Friday on Fairchild between 6 and 7pm. I can't wait to see how it all turns out. My friend asked that I be given a credit for the jewelry, so we'll see if they remember. I'm glad I decided to take the day off. If nothing comes of this publicity, at least I had a lot of fun.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Daydreams that sparkle and shine

Before meeting the boy for dinner last night, I met up with my girlfriend with plans to visit Birks and Tiffany to try on rings.

We hit Birks first, where I wanted to try on this new sapphire and diamond version of the right-hand ring I'd come across last fall. It looked good, but the original all-diamond version looked better on my finger. At $1200(!!) more, it'll be a long while yet before this lovely graces my right hand, which is fine though, because I haven't yet come up with the appropriate milestone to warrant such a big ticket purchase. It's going to have to be a good one too.

I've also had my eye on Frank Gehry's Torque ring in the brown banded agate at Tiffany for a little while now and decided it was about time I tried it on to see if it actually looked good on my finger, lest I waste any more time thinking about it. I love the design but I had misgivings about the wide band - turns out I was right - it made my finger look stumpy, fat and rather manly. Not flattering at all.

I picked up a couple of their catalogues, including The Blue Book, over which I spent considerable time oohing and aahing over the green tourmaline and aquamarine bracelet, which costs a whopping $104,500!!! My heart skipped a beat. What I really loved though, was the Tiffany Novo - their new cushion-cut diamond. It's fantastic, and with the matching bead-set diamond wedding band? Sigh. I'm so over their Legacy diamond engagement ring! The Novo is the way to go! Hehe!

OK. Daydream over.

The gratifying moment though was when I was complemented not once, but twice, on my citrine and carnelian rope necklace on two seperate occassions by the Tiffany sales associates! I was too embarassed to admit that I had made the piece in Tiffany, but it certainly made me smile real big inside! :)

Condo this week

Progress on P1 this week includes the plastic going up on the side - the vapour barrier?? I dunno what all the terms are...but I'd assume so. Whatever it is, I can't wait until they get to ground level and start building up!

March 5 @ 11:20am

March 6 @ 6:17pm

March 7 @ 6:59pm

March 8 @ 9:07am

March 10 @ 12:33am

Friday, March 09, 2007

Busy busy bee am I

One thing I learned: Another word for a dandy or fop is macaroni(!), which, in mid-18th-century England, was a fashionable fellow who dressed and even spoke in an outlandishly affected manner.

One thing I'm grateful for: my friends, who talked me out of my tree, yet again, for overreacting about the boy's "weird" behaviour over the last few days. As per WC, a fellow boy: "don't spend too much time fretting about it and just let whatever happen, happen...y'knowhatimean?...boys are silly...i'm sure we all know that!"

One thing that made me laugh: Conversation with my team over Friday morning breakfast snacks - my big boss waxing poetic about, among other things, the wonder of the built-in DVD player in the car on long drives chaufferuing his kid from town to town for soccer tourneys.

Date night with the boy - we're going out for Indian food tonight. He'd been acting a little out of character the last week - and I of course, forgot momentarily that I was going to chill this time around and overreacted by acting like a girl - I analyzed and second-guessed and got all paranoid...but thankfully, my friends calmed me down and reminded me what's what. He and I spoke on the phone last night and things seemed it seems my little freak-out was unwarranted.

I've also been very busy the last couple weeks working on jewelry since I was asked to provide some for a fashion show that will be taped this coming Monday for a Cantonese show produced by a national Chinese lanuguage TV network here. I'm excited by the opportunity for the exposure, but am also wary about not getting my hopes up about it and then being disappointed you sense a pattern here??

The other good news is that I have my first appointment this Sunday with a bride-to-be who called me Monday about a consultation for custom jewelry for her May wedding. Busy busy busy.

Meanwhile, I've been a bad student and haven't practiced my mandarin or done my homework. : (

Monday, March 05, 2007

I'm in like

I've been seeing a guy and I think I'm in like. It's early days yet, but this one may be a keeper.

He's sweet, considerate and funny. It was easy and comfortable when we met for dinner the first time a couple weeks ago. He was in California for business last week but we kept in touch via email and made a date for dinner this past Saturday. He flew the red-eye in and was still jetlagged, so we had a low-key night of dinner and DVDs in - Little Miss Sunshine: thumbs up; Garden State: thumbs down.

I'm wary about rushing things because I fell hard and fast the last time around and that didn't end well. But I'm also mindful of not letting the past get in the way, so it's a fine balance. I re-read the article I posted earlier this year about giving 100% in love so I'm taking everyday as it comes.

We have a date set for this Friday night so I'm looking forward to the end of the week - moreso than usual.

Dating is fun again. :)

Condo Update

The live construction udpate was down for the last couple weeks apparently because the equipment was being upgraded. I still checked just about every day though in the hopes that it would come back online sooner rather than later. It finally did on the first of the month.

I was confused at first since they've changed the vantage point, but I've since figured out that the camera is facing south now as opposed to west.

March 1 @ 9:00am

March 2 @ 11:16am

March 4 @ 1:22pm

March 5 @ 11:20pm

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