Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Keeping busy

I've been feeling restless and I suppose a little bored with my routine - or lack thereof.

So I made a couple decisions today: The first is that I'm going to sign up for the CIBC Run for the Cure on September 30th. My friend A ran the Half Marathon in Ottawa this past weekend and has been goading me to sign up for a race sooner rather than later ever since I told him I was working towards a 10K race next year. This run is good for a few reasons:

1. It's only 5K, so it is definitely do-able,
2. There's a 5K running clinic that starts July 31st which I plan on joining in preparation for the run since training with my friend wL isn't working out so well given his busy summer schedule of recreational sports. As I lack the motivation to run regularly on my own, joining a clinic means I'll have at least 1 day a week set aside for running, as well as 2 practice days a week if I decide to go, and,
3. I'll be fundraising for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, which means it's payback time for all my colleagues who come to work to fundraise for their kids' school/hockey/soccer/etc.!

I also decided that I'm not going to wait until I've moved downtown to take Flamenco lessons. I checked my town's community summer programs calender and there's a beginner's class running 6 weeks starting June 20th and I've signed up for it. No more waiting!


Tuesday, May 29, 2007


There's a purple corner in my mother's garden that makes me smile to see it because purple is, of course, my favourite colour. Among the flowers are these irises:

To the left of the irses is a climbing vine of clematis and just to the right is a young lilac bush. I didn't know that irises were so fragrant until my mother called me out last night all excited with their lovely scent.

It's silly, but when I see irises, I can't help but think of the hoity-toity iris in Disney's Alice in Wonderland....



Saturday, May 26, 2007

Worst. Date. Ever.

I don't think I have ever been so annoyed with anyone so soon after meeting them as I have been tonight. Like, ever. And I thought the Edmontonian who couldn't seem to discuss anything other than hockey was annoying. Well. I was wrong.

To rewind, I met this guy online and we've been emailing back and forth for a bit. He seemed like a nice enough guy and based on our correspondence, he seemed like someone I would like to get to know better so I said yes when he asked me out to dinner and a movie. We finalized the details last night on the phone and it all seemed so promising!

Anyway, things were fine when he picked me up and as we drove down to the theatre, we chatted about work, which was fine, and then he asked me what I was looking for in a person. To which I answered that I don't really have an answer since I used to have a list of all the qualities that I would ideally want in a man* but I have since realized that the perfect man doesn't exist and I could have the perfect guy on paper but if there's no spark in person, it's pointless.

To which he replied, (and I'm obviously paraphrasing here): Well, I'm a direct person, and I think it's important to talk about these things since I'm not interested in just dating and fooling around.

Um. Excuse me, but I only just met you. Yes, it's important to talk about these things, but must it be the second question you ask on your list of top questions to ask on a first date? I barely know you and you want to know if I'm interested in dating you in the long term? And yes, according to him, it is the second question he likes to ask after "what do you do?"

Was I wrong in being annoyed? I've been thinking about it and talked to S about it in a date post-mortem, and she seemed to agree with me. I told him that he needed to RELAX; that discussions like that come up naturally in conversation and if you front-load a date with those kinds of questions right away, you're only going to put your date on guard.

It reminded me of the article that W sent to me a couple days ago about "establishing economic compatibility":

Andrea Barclay was thrilled when a handsome, dark-haired man named Michael sat down across from her at a speed-dating event. Until, that is, he asked about her retirement savings.

"I thought he was kidding," said the 30-year-old teacher from Orange County, Calif. "He said he was an investment banker and then he asked me if I had a Roth IRA account."

W wondered if I would ask this on a first date, and my answer was no, besides which, there is no guarantee that you'd get an honest answer anyway. Gail Vaz-Oxlade, host of the TV show Til Debt Do Us Part, put it far better than I though: "Who wants to have a conversation about how much they make with a person you haven't even slept with yet?" To which I will add, let alone kiss.

So, I told my date about this article tonight, and I likened his question to the savings question. It's fine to bring up eventually, but within 15 minutes of meeting? Definite no-no.

Perhaps I allowed this to colour the rest of the date: We went to see Once which opened yesterday to great reviews here and it truly was a little gem with great music and a quiet story that unfolds. We ended up discussing the movie and he made some comment about how, for a musical, the music wasn't really relevant. So I asked him if he listened to the lyrics. And he said no, he didn't really notice...and we proceeded to have a semi-heated discussion about the lyrics being central to a musical since they progress the plot and he disagreed and I kid you not, he said, "I'm right and you're wrong." And even after I said we should agree to disagree he wouldn't give, so I told him that we should stop talking about it because it would only annoy me. I feel bad for being so blunt, and "direct" but he started it, dammit. (yes, I'm still annoyed just thinking about it.)

The movie finished at 6:30 and our dinner reservations were for 8 but I knew I couldn't stand an extra 1.5 hours in addition to dinner with him so we went somewhere else instead.

Is it bad that in the back of my mind, I contemplated an early escape route and continued to think about it through dinner? I was so irked that the thought had crossed my mind to ditch him after the movie, but I thought that would have been rude since I had agreed to dinner too, so to dinner we went. I made sure though that we went to a restaurant along the subway line so that if he pissed me off further during dinner, I could just decline the ride back to my car and take the subway up a few stops in relative peace.

He was just as overbearing at dinner, although he had dialled it back slightly. We were able to have "normal" conversation and when he dropped me off at my car, I thanked him for dinner, advised him not to be so direct next time, and reminded him of the RRSP question - my in-direct way of saying good luck and have a nice life! UGH.

OK...maybe this isn't the could have been worse...he could have gotten into a drunken fight with someone at the bar, which actually happened to a friend of mine, so it could have been worse...

At least the movie was perfect.

* This list was actually made on my (I think) 24th birthday - I was gathered with my friends and they asked and I answered and someone wrote it down and I still have that list here somewhere.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Green with envy

Images like this make me wish I had a good eye for photography:

Anne Sofie Hovde Eriksson. A drop of water on a leaf in the water lily pond at Bergius Botanic Garden, Stockholm, Sweden. via

Why do we stay when we know we should go?

I've been thinking about relationships lately. Nothing really specific or focused. Sometimes I think about what it is I want in one and if I'll ever be happy in a relationship again. And if there is a man out there for me, will I find him sooner rather than later?

I've also wondered why we stay in relationships that we know aren't good for us and make us unhappy. I think it's fair to say that just about all my friends are coupled off. While I think most of them are happy, I have 2 friends who clearly are not.

Despite attempts on their part to communicate with their partners in an effort to make things better, things are not better. One is married and seeing a therapist on her own and the other is living with her boyfriend in the suburbs. Both know deep down that they should leave, but they're scared to - the former because she doesn't want to be a 32 year old divorcee, and the latter because she's turning 34 this year and doesn't want to be 34 and single.

I admit that I wish I had a man in my life to share my interests with. While I have great friends and we are close, I miss being part of a couple and the simple intimacy of holding hands. So I guess the nagging question for me of late is whether it's better to be coupled off and unhappy, or single and relatively content?


I was anxious this morning to see if there were any updates on the strike so one of the first things I did was search online and I came across this item. While industrial, commercial and institutional projects around the province are feeling the impact of the strike, housing and condo construction is mostly unaffected. Yay!




Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hot fun in the summer time

This summer promises to be a great one weather-wise and with the temps in the high 20s today, I couldn't help but think of some of the things I'm looking forward to this season:

1. The Shaw and Stratford Festivals. This season's programs appears right up my alley and as the reviews trickle in, my problem is deciding which ones to see given the wealth of choices available.

2. Luminato: Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity 2007, June 1-10. This is the inaugural year of the festival so I'm curious to see how it plays out. There's a lot going on and the only thing I've planned so far is to check out the opening of the Libeskind-designed Lee-Chin Crystal at the ROM.

3. Rollerblading down by the Beaches. I hope to get out more often than I did last year...which might have been just once. I have cute rollerblades. They're purple and they make me smile just to look at them. I need to use them more often.

4. Just For Laughs Toronto. We're getting our first Just For Laughs this year in Toronto and I'm excited since I went to Just For Laughs in Montreal about 5 years ago and had such a great time. Russell Peters is expected to appear and he is hiLARious!

5. Backyard BBQs. With the house undergoing renovations through all of last summer, our BBQ saw NO action, so I plan to rectify that as soon as possible.

6. MACHU PICCHU. My GAP Adventure and plane ticket for August were booked last month but in the meantime, there's lots to do to prepare including a trip to the travel clinic to get vaccinated and shopping for necessities like clothes to rough in and a backpack. I am a city girl. I have never been camping before EVER IN MY LIFE. So I'm slightly concerned about how I'll do on the 4 nights that we'll be camping along the Inca Trail. But it's a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience - certainly for me - so I'm not going to stress about that.

When I told my friends at work what the trip would entail, they were thrilled and vastly amused: "This is the trip that keeps on giving! There'll be the stories before the trip about how you're preparing for it, and then there will be the stories after you get back!" - I have a reputation for being a high maintenance shopaholic-princess at work, which I think is undeserved, but they like to tease me all the same, so why spoil their fun?

Quiet on site...

There was good progress on site yesterday as part of the concrete floor was poured:

May 22 @ 10:19am

May 22 @ 12:42pm

May 22 @ 2:34pm

And there appeared to be a lot of action on site this morning:

May 23 @ 8:29am

But then, nothing:

May 23 @ 1:54pm

May 23 @ 4:37pm

Why? Because Ontario's 2,000 crane and heavy equipment operators went on strike over wages and safety issues. I'm keeping my fingers crossed in the hopes that their differences are resolved sooner rather than later...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Wise One. Ha!


You are The High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Bleeding Hearts

Hakka: "Tziga Ngin"

It's Victoria Day in Canada so no work for me today. I went out for dim sum with my family and learned something extraordinary, or not, depending on how you look at it:

My family is Hakka, and as part of the greater Chinese diaspora, my parents were born in Guangdong, met in Surinam and emigrated to Canada in the early 70s. Like most immigrants, my parents worked hard - my dad worked as a cook in his uncle's restaurant in Hamilton to save money to sponsor my mother to Canada so they could marry. Once here, my mother got work as a seamstress and they eventually saved up enough money to open their own store in Toronto's East Chinatown selling fresh seafood. For the first 9 years of my life, we lived upstairs our store, and on our street, there were 3 other Hakka families with storefronts. And as a member of the Hakka and Chinese business community for 30+ years, my mother knows a LOT of people - it's not uncommon for us to go grocery shopping or out for a meal at a Chinese restaurant and for my mother to bump into an old friend of the family, a former vendor or regular customer.

Anyway, we went out for dim sum this morning and a familiar-looking Hakka lady about my mother's age came to our table to say hello. They carried on the usual smalltalk to catch up on the latest family news: she related how her mother was in Florida with her kids visiting her younger sister and when the lady left, my mother made some comment about her kids. (My hakka is rather rusty now...I was able to speak it fluently as a child because my grandmother raised us when my parents worked during the day, nowadays, my Cantonese is far better since my mother speaks to me in Cantonese.) I had to ask my mother to clarify, because it sounded like that lady's kids were actually her niece and nephew by birth. And they in fact were.

Apparently this lady's husband was impotent so they could not have kids of their own. Her younger sister and brother-in-law gave them two of their children to raise as their own. I was surprised by this because it seems like such a selfless thing to do - how could anyone give away their own children, even to their sibling? I asked if the children knew that the couple they called mom and dad were actually their aunt and uncle and not their birth parents, and the children do know - that's why they were going down to Florida to visit their "aunt and uncle."

It seems this is not an uncommon occurrence - my mother knows of 4 other such families in which the children were given up as babies by their birth parents to be raised by their aunts/uncles as their own. I don't know if this is something that only happens in Hakka families, I would think not, but all 5 of these families are Hakka.

It got me thinking though...I can't imagine something so selfless and...pragmatic(?) this happening amongst my generation. Chinese traditionally value the family and community above the self - and this "practice" (for lack of a better word) supports that - the way my mother explained it, it's better than going out and adopting a child of unknown origins, besides, all these childless couples have money and raised and loved the children as if they were their own - "Tziga Ngin" 自家人 (our own people) in the most literal sense.

While I consider myself very Chinese, I also grew up in a western culture, where the emphasis is very much on the individual. If my sister or brother couldn't have kids of their own, and I could, would I (and my husband) be able to have another child with the understanding that this child would be given away to be raised by my sister or brother as their own? Or vice versa? I somehow doubt it.

This to me serves as another example of the pragmatic perserverance of the Chinese people. I have other interesting stories but I'll save them for another day.

Feeling lightheaded

I met S&W for brunch yesterday at Tequila Bookworm before heading to my hair appointment.

I got there about 15 minutes early and sat with a coffee flipping through magazines before my stylist, J, arrived to greet me. I was glad to see that he was Asian, only because I figured he'd understand how Asian hair behaves (my hair is typical in that it's straight, very thick, and grows out). Oh, and he was very cute, which was a nice bonus.

The salon's signature hair service includes a "stress-relieving head, neck and shoulder massage, makeup touch up for women and a skincare hot towel treatment for men." I've gotta say, in that moment, the head massage was the best thing EVER. The neck and shoulder were blah, but the head massage? Wow.

After explaining that I needed the weight taken out of my hair and a style cut into it after 6 months of neglect, he got to work. I said bye-bye to about 4 inches overall in length and probably at least twice as much of that in the layers he cut in. Even with all the hair cut though, I still managed to give him quite the workout (his words) when it came time to blow it dry with a big, round brush. He did a pretty good job...but I can't say unequivocally that I'm thrilled with it.

The experience wasn't what I was used to. For one thing, he barely spoke to me while I was in his chair. I'm used to catching up like girlfriends do with my regular stylist, S, but with J, there was none of that, which was kind of disappointing...not to say that I expected him to ask me about my love life or work or whatever, but some conversation would have been nice. He just seemed really focused in the task at hand.

The mark of a great haircut for me is how it looks the day after. S is a genius with the shears because my hair looks just as great, if not better, the day after it's been slept on. The layers are cut so that there's even more body and wave to it the next day, just from how I've slept on my pillow. Like magic! J's cut is good...but not quite the same. If S decides not to come back from maternity leave (please please please come back from maternity leave!) I'd go back to J again.

I indulged in some retail therapy afterwards and picked up these cute (too cute?), casual shoes at Aldo, and a couple CDs: The Reminder by Feist and Michael Buble's Call Me Irresponsible. I'm listening to Feist right now, and I think as a whole, I prefer Let it's early days yet. I think it will grow on me.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Look into my eyes

You Communicate With Your Eyes

When you say, "I'll believe it when I see it" - you really mean it.
For you, what you see is a lot more important than what you hear.
You don't take someone's words at face value. You judge people by their facial expressions, body language, and appearance.
You tend to be quiet, but when you talk, you tend to make eye contact and describe things in colorful detail.

Condo this week

The countdown begins: 21 days to my design appointment!

May 14 @ 9:35am

May 14 @ 1:57pm

May 15 @ 12:31pm

May 16 @ 1:47pm - rainy, rainy day

May 16 @ 2:04pm

May 17 @ 11:16am - Hey you! Ya you, you in the foreground just loafing about! Back to work!!

May 17 @ 1:20pm

May 17 @ 3:20pm

May 18 @ 1:23pm

May 18 @ 4:39pm

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Favourite first line

Inspired by this blog, my favourite first line is from Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, which I recently finished:

I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.

I'm curious to read his debut novel, Virgin Suicides, to see if the writing is as tight and intelligent as I found in Middlesex. I did not see the ending coming...and I'm usually pretty good at figuring things out if given enough hints from the author along the way.

I went for a run. Outside.

I just got back from a run - outside! - with wL and I fared a lot better than expected in the elements.

This was my first time running outside since, oh, maybe my grade 9 gym class. I was never particularly interested in being active - the sweat and grime just doesn't appeal, you know? - so I just avoided it. There have been half-hearted attempts since that last (required) gym class to run but I always gave up since I'd get painful shin-splints.

I decided around my last birthday that I must learn to run - so many people get enjoyment out of it; it's a good way to keep fit; and the roads are always open (actually, that's what my t-shirt says); and I have since worked up to a comfortable 5K on the gym treadmill. So comfortable that I was getting a little...bored.

So, with some goading from my friend A at work, I've decided to work towards entering a 10K race next year, hence running outside, which brings me to my just completed 4K run in about 30 minutes with wL, who's a great running partner. We fell into an easy rhythm - I only lagged behind a little - and he was good about setting goal posts for me: "we'll stop at that blue sign," or "we'll start running at that intersection up ahead."

We did (loose) intervals of R5-W1 and while I cramped up just a little they didn't cease me so I was able to keep up. Yay for me!

wL and I have a running date Saturday morning for 10. Perhaps we'll be able to tack on an extra K. :)


There was a hint of lilac in the breeze today as I walked during my lunch hour...

Going private

Public companies going private have been making the headlines lately thanks, more often than not, to the deep pockets of private equity firms. First Data was aquired by KKR and Sobey's remaining shares outstanding were re-purchased by its majority shareholder, Empire just last month; and Acxiom's announcement that they were being acquired by Silver Lake and ValueAct Capital was made just yesterday.

I found out this morning that our company has joined the fray: We agreed to be acquired by a private equity firm for a handsome premium, which makes sense of all the closed door meetings of late amongst the senior execs.

I knew something was off from the start; I just didn't know what it was - it was too damn quiet. And the seemingly random conversation I had with my SVP last week about the flush of private equity funds available in the market today? Well it ALL MAKES SENSE now!

We've been told that it's BAU: Business As Usual. So we'll see how things play out.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Random Tuesday

I woke up to the sounds of heavy spring rain but by the time I left the house for work, it had calmed to a drizzle. The sun peeked through the clouds by late morning so I went out during the latter half of my lunch hour for a walk.

My office is located near a neighbourhood of million dollar homes so I like to walk and daydream about one day living in such a home. This one here is my favourite:

It's certainly not the largest home in the neighbourhood but there's an English charm to its formal manicured hedges that I love.

Also, my hair is beginning to annoy me. This is the longest it's been maybe ever and since it grows super-fast I'm seriously due for a cut. My stylist has been on maternity leave since January and I called the salon today to see if they had any news on when she would be back. When I saw her last in December, she said she might take 6 months instead of the full year off, so I thought I'd just wait it out. But my hair has grown 6 inches since then and as they don't know yet when she'll be back, I can't wait another month or 2.

So, I've decided I must take action: I am going to cheat on my stylist. The same stylist who took me from long to short to long to super-short to long again in our 6 year relationship. I hopped on the internet for salon recommendations and reviews and made an appointment for this Sunday afternoon.

I feel guilty already.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I'm smitten

Michael Buble was on Cityline this morning with Marilyn Denis and I am now smitten.

I love his latest single, Everything - the melody is happy and the lyrics are so sweet and romantic - and when I saw the commercials last week advertising his appearance on the show, I set the timer on the VCR to tape it, and am I glad I did!

He's so genuine and charming and funny (which I didn't know) and babyface cute (which I did know, but babyface cute has never been my type), and I wish I could embed a link to the show here so that you could see for yourself - instead I've included a link to his video below!

When talking about women dragging their husbands to the show, Marilyn brings up the fact that he often jokes during his show about it being the lead up to sex, to wit:

I say, all the time, that my responsibility is simply to come on stage, we make the best music we can make, I put a little air in the tire, and that's it. And by putting a little air in the tire, I hope that the gentlemen get to go home and ride the bikes all night long.

(I'm reading this now and, taken out of context it sounds kind of ick and arrogant, but he's soo not.)

According to his website, he's appearing on CBC's The Hour with George Stromboulopoulos tonight at 11pm. Here's the link to his appearance.

Friday, May 11, 2007

My latest book buys

I ordered 5 books online Monday night, one of which arrived Wednesday and the remainder were waiting for me when I arrived home tonight from work.

Kiss and Tango by Marina Palmer
This one has been on my wishlist for about a year now and it's top of mind because there is a girl* in my mandarin class who is going to Argentina later this summer to study tango, which I think is pretty damn cool.

I've been wanting to take flamenco lessons for a few years now but I haven't yet found a class that's held at the right time and the right place. I expect it'll be easier when I move downtown - the commute from the 'burbs pretty much sucks, and all the dance schools I've found are downtown.

Around the World in 80 Dates by Jennifer Cox
I found this title while browsing the literary travel section last weekend and it sounds like something right up my alley - female writer recounts her adventures travelling around the world with a romantic twist.

Imagined London by Anna Quindlen
Another title off my wishlist - literary travel at its most literal: "[Quindlen's] book is about traveling and reading in a city in fact and a city in fiction and where and how the two cities intersect. "

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
I first read about this title about a month ago I don't remember might have been in the paper or in a magazine. Again, it's a female writer who travels in the hopes of finding herself.

The London Collection
This is the title that triggered my latest book-buying binge since I was looking for a birthday gift for WC who's an Anglophile with very particular tastes. We're all going out tomorrow night for drinks so it arrived just in time. I hope he likes it.

I didn't have to buy all these books of course. I could have just bought the one book for WC and called it a day, but I had to spend at least $39 to qualify for free shipping. Why pay for shipping if I don't have to? Besides, it's not like I wasn't going to buy these books eventually anyway.

I'm just being efficient.

*By girl, I don't mean that she's very young. I could probably say woman, but I think of myself as a girl instead of a woman so I tend to refer to my female contemporaries as girls too.

A further delay??

I half-listened to this news report on the radio this morning about construction workers striking over the high cost of parking in the downtown core.

But it wasn't until I read this article that it registered: Shit! Will this affect my condo site? At what point during the construction phase are plumbers and pipefitters needed? I'd think not yet since they're just building the structure at the moment, but I could be completely wrong. Please please please let this not delay my occupancy any further....!

Meanwhile, it looks like the glass townhomes on the ground level are coming along:



Fugitive Pieces to open TIFF

I read Fugitive Pieces not long after it was published in 1997. While I couldn't tell you now what it was about beyond the fact that: it opens in WWII; is about the lives of a boy and the Greek man who finds him buried in the woods where he's hiding from the Nazis; and the boy eventually settles in Toronto, I can tell you that I was struck at the time by the lyrical language, which is explained by the fact that Anne Michaels began her writing career as a poet.

It was right about this time too that I started to read New School CanLit - which I can only describe by comparing it to Old School CanLit. By Old School I mean the kind of CanLit found on my high school syllabus set in rural towns that I absolutely could not relate to. The perfect example is The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence, which I was required to read in English class. Ugh.

New School CanLit, however is another story. Many of these books are set in Canadian urban centres and there's something very intimate and relative about stories set amongst the familiar: The University of Toronto figures into the plot of Fugitive Pieces, as does the building of the Bloor Street Viaduct in Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of the Lion, which I've driven under and over countless times.

Anyway, I'd heard awhile back that the book was going to be adapted to film and now it's slated to open the Toronto International Film Festival. I'm going to have to re-read the book now.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The joy of snail mail

I came across this article in the Globe today about groups that have formed in an effort to keep the old art of letter writing alive and it struck a chord because I used to be quite the letter writer back in the day before emails became the de facto means of keeping in touch.

I was pen pals with my cousin A in Amsterdam through the latter half of grade school, and with my cousin W in South Carolina all though high school. I still have 3 shoeboxes full of old letters that we exchanged, and a crazy supply of cute stationary I'd pick up at Chinese bookstores.

I must confess that I have a mild addiction for stationary. When I was in Japan a couple years ago visiting my friend S, I spent many hours perusing the stationary aisles in the various department stores there. May I just say that American Hallmark has got nothing on Hallmark Japan? And even though I don't write nearly as many letters as I used to, it doesn't stop me from browsing the stationary at Winners and buying the occasional box of discounted note cards.

Let us refer to exhibit A, the assorted stationary and related paraphernalia that I bought within (I think) the first few days of my 1 week visit:

S thought it would be funny to take a picture to document my addiction. Heh.

I've been trying to get into the habit of sending Thank You cards and I was pretty good for a couple years there, but have since gotten lazy again - it's a bit of a bummer to put effort into thank you notes and not receive any in return, like, ever, except for the occasional wedding thank you.

The one good thing that's come out of my addiction is that I'm prepared with a greeting card for just about any occasion. Consider Mother's Day: My manager was telling me yesterday about how crazy-expensive Mother's Day cards are. I haven't bought a Mother's Day card in several years so was shocked to hear that they were going for about $8 a pop - and not anything particularly special or oversize either! Is that not obscene??

This pretty beaded(!) Sanrio card is the one I plan on giving my mother this weekend:

It's a beautiful pop-up, yes, but the best thing? The best thing is that it was only JPY 360, which converts to about C$3.30 today!

Happy Birthday WC!

My friend WC turns 31 today.

We met in university and my earliest, most vivid memory of him is at the bowling lanes. A group of us had gone out bowling and he'd sat down against the wall with his head back and fallen asleep.

I have another vivid memory of him a few years later at Borders in Chicago. The two of us had driven down to visit our friend J for a few days and we were browsing in the magazine section at waiting for J to get off work and meet us. The next thing I know, our birthday boy was sitting cross-legged, against the wall, asleep.
I realize I'm probably not painting a very flattering picture, but these memories just make me smile. I've admired his amazing napping abilities ever since.

Best wishes, guy! :)

Holy smokes! Looky here!

The progress on site never ceases to amaze me. I dropped by this past Sunday to see it up close and personal, not thinking that there would be so much progress a few days later:

May 7 @ 12:30pm

A day later, the concrete wall in the foreground is up:

May 8 @ 8:46am

May 8 @ 2:22pm

May 8 @ 4:53pm

May 9 @ 1:14pm

And today? Well today the first floor ceiling is well underway. :)

May 10 @ 8:51am

May 10 @ 2:40pm

May 10 @ 4:11pm

Finally, I received a fax this morning from the condo sales office. They sent me a copy of the architect's drawing of my unit's floorplan for approval. Thankfully, there was no drama this time around and all I had to do was sign it and fax it back.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

100 Questions

I stole this from my friend wL off Facebook:

1. How old will you be in five years? 35
2. What month is your birthday? September
3. How tall are you? 5'7"
4. What do you look forward to most in the next six weeks? Continued warm weather and my cute, cute skirts
5. Last person you ate with? My friend A in our work lunchroom
6. Who is the last person you called? My mom
7. Who was the last person to call you? Membership services at the Royal Ontario Museum
8.What are you wearing? blue shorts and a pink T
9. Do you prefer call or text? Depends
10. Do you have any pets? No
11. What were you doing at 2am last night? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
12. Are your parents married/separated/divorced? Widowed
13. When is the last time you saw your mom? An hour ago when I got home from work
14. What color are your eyes? Brown
15. What time did you wake up today? 6:55 am but I snoozed until 7:15
16. What's the last song you sang? A remix of Fill Me In by Craig David
17. What's your favorite Christmas song? Silver Bells - it's the only carol I can think of that refers to shopping ;)
18. Where is your favorite place to be? In the comfort of my own home
19. Where is your least favorite place to be? In a crowd with people jostling and invading my personal space
20. Where would you go if you could go anywhere? Around the world uninterrupted.
21. Where do you think you'll be in 10 yrs? Maybe in Toronto, but who knows?
22. Do you tan or burn? Tan - although I have been known to burn if I'm dumb and don't wear sunscreen prior to going out in the sun for prolonged periods
23. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child? Nothing - I slept in the same bedroom as my parents until I don't remember when...maybe when we moved up to the burbs when I was 9?
24. What was the last thing that made you laugh? Don't remember what exactly but it was earlier today at work
25. How many TVs do you have in your house? 6 - we're a 2 TV per person household
26. Who do you miss most? My dad
27. Do you have a laptop or desktop computer? Laptop
28. Do you sleep with or without clothes on? I like my pjs
29. What color are your sheets? White, presently
30. How many pillows do you sleep with? 3
31. What is your favorite season? Summer
32. What do you like about Fall? Milder weather, leaves changing colours
33. What do you like about winter? Snow and my winter wardrobe
34. What do you like about the summer? Warm weather, drinks on the patio, BBQs and wearing pretty skirts
36. How many provinces/territories have you lived in? 1
37. How many cities/towns have you lived in? 2
38. Do you prefer shoes, socks, or bare feet? Shoes
39. Are you a social person? I can be depending on the situation
40. What was the last thing you ate? Wonton and noodles
41. What is your favorite restaurant? No fair - too many to name
42. What is your favorite ice cream? Cookies 'n' Cream
43. What is your favorite dessert? Creme Brulee
44. What is your favorite kind of soup? Wild Mushroom
45. What kind of jelly do you like on your PB & J sandwich? Strawberry
46. Do you like Chinese food? Yes
47. Do you like coffee? Yes
48. How many glasses of water, a day, do you drink on average? 2 or 3
50. Would you rather sleep with someone or alone? Depends on the someone
51. Do you sleep on a certain side of the bed? The left side
52. Do you know how to play poker? No
53. Do you like to cuddle? Yes
54. Have you ever been to The States? Yes
55. Do you have an addictive personality? What does this mean exactly?
56. Do you eat out or at home more often? Home
58. Do you know anyone with the same birthday as you? No
59. Do you want kids? Yes
60. Do you speak any other languages? English, Cantonese, and limited French, Hakka and Mandarin (at the moment anyway)
61. Have you ever gotten stitches? No
62. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance? No
63. Do you prefer an ocean or a pool? Not big on swimming but I love the sound of the ocean
64. Do you prefer a window seat or an aisle seat? Window if it's a shorthaul, aisle if it's longhaul because I feel bad asking the person next to me to move so I can use the facilities
65. Do you know how to drive stick? No, but I want to learn in case I have to one day drive the getaway car and it's stick ;)
66. What is your favorite thing to spend money on? Probably books...followed by beads/jewellery, bags and clothes in no particular order
67. Do you wear any jewelry 24/7? Yes - my bracelet and stud earrings
68. What is your favorite TV show? Ugly Betty
69. Can you roll your tongue? Don't think so
70. Who is the funniest person you know? I don't know
71. Do you sleep with stuffed animals? No
72. What is the main ring tone on your phone? Sony Ericsson Ringlord
73. Do you still have clothes from when you were little? No
74. What color are your bedroom walls? CIL - Pine Scent, if I recall correctly
75. Do you turn off the water while you brush your teeth? Yes
76. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed? Closed
77. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees? Neither
78. Do you flirt a lot? I don't think so - which probably explains why I'm still single
79. What do you dip a chicken nugget in? Sweet'n' Sour / Plum sauce
80. What is your favorite food? Again, no fair. See 41.
81. Can you change the oil on a car? No - why get your hands dirty if you don't have to? Besides, my car comes with lifetime oil change.
82. Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket? Yes
83. Have you ever run out of gas? No
84. What is your usual bedtime? Midnight
86. Do you read the newspaper? Yes
87. Do you have any magazine subscriptions? Yes
88. Best comedian? Russell Peters is top of mind
89. Do you watch soap operas? Not anymore
90. Do you dance in the car? I've been known to when I'm the passenger and the beats are good
91. What's something people might not know about you? I'm not as self-assured as I appear to be....nor as smart
92. Do you prefer silver or gold? White gold
93. First thing on your to do list? Go to the gym
94. Coke or Pepsi? Coke
95 How often are you on Facebook? It's now part of my email routine, so everyday
96. Do you have any bad habits? I'm impatient
97. Are you a romantic? I'm a cynical romantic
98. Crayons or markers? Markers
99. Weirdest pet you've owned?
100. Are you waiting for something or someone? Isn't life all about waiting? No (person) is an island and all that...

Monday, May 07, 2007

New goal: 10K next year?

I went to the gym tonight and ran just over 5K with little effort after about a month's hiatus from running....which got me to thinking perhaps I should work towards running a 10K race this time next year. It's only occured to me since Yonge St. was closed for part of yesterday because of a 10K this crazy talk??? Hmmm....we'll see.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Dreams of hardwood and granite...

I spent the afternoon with S&W today, beginning with a late brunch and then followed by a visit to my condo's design centre. My design appointment isn't until June but I don't want to show up the day of and have to make all my decisions on the spot. I know me and the pressure to make decisions on tile, granite, hardwood, etc. and upgrades in a couple hours would stress me out. I'd much prefer to visit in advance of the actual appointment several times so that I can agonize and second-guess myself now. :)

So what did I decide? Here's the palette on this first visit:

Top left is the hardwood floor that runs throughout the space. It's American Walnut, and I suspect that this particular sample is an upgrade. Bottom left is the granite counter in Bethel White which is standard. To the right is a sample of the Scavolini kitchen cabinet in a dark espresso colour and the mini glass subway tile for the kitchen backsplash, both of which are standard.

The middle sample is the porcelain tile that I'd like to put in the kitchen. It's called Bamboo Oyster and it's not really obvious in the picture but there are streaks of gray that pick up the shades in the granite and brown which echoes the floor and kitchen cabinets. This may be an upgrade since hardwood floor in the kitchen is standard.

Given the layout of my kitchen and the placement of my fridge, putting in tile means that I will have to upgrade to the extended island so that the kitchen space is clearly defined. My concern at the moment is that the contrast between the tile and the floor is too great, but I think it's mitigated by the fact that it's contained in the corner of my unit. I'm going to upgrade to the pantry too - I figure the additional storage will come in handy. It's unclear though how flexible the cabinet configuration will be. I'll have to find out at my appointment which I am so impatient for!

Afterwards, we dropped in at Winners since S was looking for some casual wear. While W and I were waiting for her near the change rooms, I noticed the most random thing: assorted helmets from suits of armour - which at first I thought were the tops of waste baskets - and a pair of gauntlets! W drew the line at trying the helmet but he did agree to one of the gauntlets:

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