Friday, June 29, 2007
So he just handed me my large, presumably regular, coffee. How's that for a way to start the Friday before the Canada Day long weekend?
Oh, and the other good thing is that we got an email from my Sr. Dir. yesterday afternoon with "Special Announcement" in the subject line:
Given the great weather going into the long weekend we will be "closing" the office at 12:00 noon tomorrow. Please enjoy and have a safe weekend.
Thank God it's a long weekend Friday! :)
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Fishburne is teaming with one of the producers of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Barry Osborne, to bring The Alchemist to the big screen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the filmmakers want to turn the book into "a Harry Potter meets Indiana Jones" sweeping adventure.
The last bit concerns me since I've read the book twice - and will probably read it many times more in the future, it's THAT kind of book - and not once did it ever strike me as "a Harry Potter meets Indiana Jones" kind of movie. I hope they don't screw up a perfectly simple, lovely story.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
As for whether or not I can dance, well, I used to take dance classes as a kid - ballet and jazz - and I was pretty good, or at least I thought I was pretty good. And I can hold my own on the dance floor at a club, but I just can't seem to get even the simplest footwork pattern down. And to throw in the arms or hand movements? Forget it. I can't seem to do co-ordinate everything properly and I just get lost.
At least I understand now why there are about a dozen "regular girls" in my beginners' class. These middle-aged ladies have been taking the beginners' class over and over again because it's taken them that long to master the basics. It ALL makes sense now. So I am getting old! And that just makes me sad. :(
Meanwhile, I sat through a meeting from 9-11 this morning to hammer out a SWOT for our group. If you don't know what a SWOT is, it's a strategic tool to analyse the internal and external environment in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Anyways, I'm skeptical that the senior leadership will read this document and actually take anything away from it - will they see some of the weaknesses/threats we've highlighted and try to mitigate them? Will they see any of the opportunities we've noted as calls to action? Given how little has changed in the last year....I somehow doubt it. Which is why I need to get out.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
So among other things this afternoon, I indulged in some browsing along West Queen West. The goal today was to find couch candidates with Nicole Miller's Plaza sectional (below), which I first spied in some decor magazine, in mind.
I really like the contemporary shape of this sectional and how the button-tufted back cushions lend it a retro-50s feel. It looks super-comfy, but it's also over-sized and more likely than not, it's out of my price range, so I've begun the hunt for a suitable substitute.
And yes, while I presently don't take possession of my condo for about a year, daydreaming about how I'm going to furnish and decorate it (which of course, involves a spreadsheet just so that everything is organized) and checking my live condo feed will have to sustain me in the meantime in between time.
I found 2 potential candidates at Pavilion: The Portland, with its 4-button-tufted back cushions and cushy, but firm seats. It comes with 2 bolsters too, which I quite like.
And the Grace, with its piped 6-button-tufted back cushions. I'm not sure how keen I am on the piped detail, but I think of the two, this one looks sleeker...and more...feminine and glamorous*, I guess. Maybe because its arms have a slimmer profile and it's bolster-less? The Portland looks more casual in comparison...
Which do you prefer and why?
So in the last 24 hours, I've gone and bought 5 books, 4 of them online: Three Trees Make a Forest and The Age of Feminine Drawing off Amazon, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (pre-order) and, just so I'd qualify for Indigo's free shipping, A Year in Japan off my wishlist.
Then this afternoon, I wandered into Type Books, this fantastic little independent book shop across from Trinity Bellwoods Park, where I lost myself for over half an hour. I found lots of little gems, but left with The End of the Alphabet by CS Richardson.
I really must stop with the unnecessary purchases. If this keeps up my condo will be empty save for a mattress on the floor to sleep on because I can't afford to buy any furniture. :(
Saturday, June 23, 2007
I can't explain how very weird it is to see my little sister big and pregnant - and for 4 months, she's BIG. Anyway, I had to feel her belly this morning (having never felt a pregnant belly before - or at least, not that I can remember) and I was surprised by how soft it was, cushy-like. I was expecting it to be a lot harder. Apparently her belly gets harder through the day as she eats...SO, SO WEIRD!
She had an 11am flight to Thunder Bay to spend time with the in-laws at a cottage for the next week so we went for early morning dim sum with Mom before I had to go off to mandarin and she had to catch her flight.
Class was blah - the more I think about it, the more disappointed I feel that the focus isn't practical conversation as my last two classes were...but enough about that. Back to food.
I met S&W for brunch at Xacutti after class and it was so yummy. I had the warm cardamon biscuits with whipped honey butter and the cinnamon apple pancakes. I usually prefer my brunch savoury but I was seduced by the heavy scent of cinnamon while I was waiting for our table to be set...mmmmm, cinnamon.
We wandered along College for a bit before heading back to King and Spadina where I wanted to stop at MEC and Europe Bound to pick up a sleeping bag and backpack for my upcoming trip. I ended up not getting the sleeping bag but I did get my big-ass backpack though. I'd gone to get fitted for one Thursday evening and went back to pick it up. More window-shopping ensued and I found a couple beautiful little coffee table books I coveted, and after checking on Amazon.ca, they're expected to arrive on my doorstep in the next 4-6 weeks:
Three Trees Make a Forest
"The three artists featured in Three Trees Make a Forest are professional illustrators with a penchant for travel and ambitious side projects in books and Comics. Ronnie Del Carmen is a story artist, character designer and illustrator at Pixar Animation Studios in California. Del Carmen has also worked in comics with DC and Dark Horse. Tadahiro Uesugi is a world renowned illustrator, based in Japan who creates intuitive drawings of landscapes, characters and urban scenery, all with an amazing sense of color and texture. Enrico Casarosa is also a story artist at Pixar and is the founder of Sketch Crawl, a worldwide marathon sketching event. Most of the work found in Three Trees Make a Forest was originally created for an exhibition of the same name at Nucleus Gallery in Alhambra, CA." - Gingko Press
The Age of Feminine Drawing
"The ascendance of feminine illustration in the arts & design is a development that has had an enormous effect on today’s visual landscape, not only influencing but often driving contemporary aesthetic practices and trends in all disciplines. Highlighting the prevalence and importance of the female hand in our modern culture, The Age of Feminine Drawing showcases works from some of the most talented male & female artists in the world whose work underscores this influence and is certain to leave a lasting imprint on their respective fields." - Gingko Press
We finished our afternoon with a stop at a running shop on Queen West where I picked up a pair of running capris and I've been home ever since. I suspect it's going to be an early night tonight. At the very least, I'm going to get by butt to yoga tomorrow at 11:30. If I'm feeling ambitious, maybe I'll get up early enough to go for a run before that since I've been a slug since my great run last Sunday. This will give me a chance to actually use one of my recent purchases. It is absolutely NO FUN to spend money on tangible goods and not be able to use them, right away.
This reminds me of when I used to stay up late at night waiting for her to come home in high school. I was always the responsible sister being the oldest, etc, and she was always the rebellious, misunderstood middle child...throw in the fact that my father died when we were young and my mother always telling me that I was responsible for my younger siblings and you get a very messed up sister-sister relationship because I was always telling her what to do and worrying about her and she would bristle at my authority and wisdom. heh.
I remember how ANGRY I used to be with her because my imagination would run wild and I would worry that something terrible had happened to her as the minutes passed into hours and she wasn't yet home. Meanwhile, my mother is sleeping in bed. And when she finally did come home in the early hours, I'd be angry and resentful because I had worried needlessly.
Our relationship is better now...although if we spend too much time together, we resort to our old patterns of behaviour and snipe at each other for no real reason but that it's familiar to react that way. How messed up is that? I do regret that we didn't have a closer relationship growing up. There are only 2 years between us, so maybe if things had been different - if our dad hadn't died when we were so young and my mother was able to spend more time with us as a result instead of always working - we'd have been the kind of sisters who shared secrets and did all the typical sisterly things that sisters do. We're still not close and I suspect we probably never will be. We're just too different.
Anyway, I'm sure I could have been more articulate in my analysis of our relationship, but I am so tired. So. Tired. When is she going to get here already?! And why can't I just go to bed like my mother and wake up to answer the door when she rings the bell??
See. Damn patterns again.
Friday, June 22, 2007
The exercises are written in Chinese characters, which I can't read particularly well. My instructor gives us at most, all of 10 minutes to decipher the Chinese text and answer the questions before taking it up in class. So I decided after the second time of showing up for class unprepared that it would be the last time if I could help it.
So here I am on a Friday night, doing my Chinese homework. But then I needed a break....so I snacked on some juicy, sweet lichee - yum - and a crisp, seedless persimmon - soo good. And I did this while watching The Hour. The first interview was with Ray Anderson, founder and chairman of Interface, who I had never heard of before. He has been called America's Greenest Executive for being the first CEO to recognize and commit to environmental sustainability as early as 1994. Anyway, I shan't write any more on him...I've procrastinated long enough, but see his interview here if you are so inclined.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Rules: Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following.
1. Famous singer/band: Jesus Jones
2. 4 letter word: joke
3. Street name: Jones Ave.
4. Colour: jaune
5. Gifts/presents: jam
6. Vehicle: jeep
7. Things in a souvenir shop: jerky
8. Boy name: Jack
9. Girl name: Jessica
10. Movie title: Jumanji
11. Drink: julep
12. Occupation: janitor
13. Flower: jasmine
14. Celebrity: Jennifer Lopez
15. Magazine: Jasmine
16. U.S. city: Jacksonville, FL
17. Pro sports teams: Jets
18. Fruit/vegetable: jackfruit
19. Reason late for work: jury duty
20. Something you throw away: junk
21. Things you shout: Jeez!!
22. Cartoon character: Jem!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
It was just as well though since my mother would probably have woken me up anyway soon after to go visit my dad's grave site. We planted some flowers and then went for dim sum.
Since it was Father's Day today, I was bound and determined to have a popsicle in memory of my dad, who used to treat me to popsicles whenever I lost a tooth. I went through the mental debate as to whether I wanted the grape or cherry flavour since those were my favourites as a child...when I couldn't decide, I'd settled on getting both in my head, only to be thwarted at the moment of truth - the store only sold cherry and banana. So my earlier struggle was all in vain. *sigh*
I settled into my Sunday paper after grocery shopping with popsicle in hand in order to avoid my to-do list which included applying for a couple of jobs. When I finally worked myself up to it, I had problems with the online application tool because there were errors so I ended up not being able to apply after all. Grrr. Maybe it's because I have all this crap on my laptop - I should really clean up my hard drive since I'm nearing capacity and its been super-slow of late.
My friend R had sent me a text this afternoon asking if I wanted to go for a run today - the thought hadn't crossed my mind to go out, but I was glad that he asked because I had another great run. He was intent on an after-dinner run so I invited him over for dinner and off we went afterwards to run laps around my street, which is, in fact, a circuit.
We did two laps in about 35 minutes. I had no idea how long a distance it was but R drove the route on his way home and it's 2.3K - so we ran 4.6K tonight. And it was a great run because I did 2 sets of approximately R15/W2, and even though there was a shadow of a cramp the entire second lap, I fought it and didn't let it slow me down. I overcame! And I'm so proud of myself!
I'm glad R got my ass out of the house because prior to tonight's run, I was maybe running 5-6 sets of R4/W1. I'm feeling more confident that I can easily do 5K in September without embarassing myself. He's trying to work more cardio into his routine so I think I've got myself a new running buddy on the weekends. It's clear to me that I need the motivation of a training partner since the last time I ran was Monday. So yay R, and yay me!
Saturday, June 16, 2007
I still have quite the list of to-dos to get through this weekend, the most important of which is probably applying to a couple jobs. I've been growing increasingly dissatisfied job-wise and though I hadn't planned on it, I ended up having a chat with my manager about it during our regular status meeting earlier this week.
This wouldn't have been the first time we've had this conversation. Right about this time last year, I was job-hunting too, but I wasn't so jaded at the time that I was ready to leave for just any job. So I bided my time for the right role to come along, and since we underwent a couple of organizational changes which came with promises of more interesting work, I stuck around...but after waiting and seeing and waiting and seeing some more, I'm beginning to realize that these were just empty promises.
So before I become any more cynical and jaded about work, it's time to start looking again. The problem though is that I'm not sure what it is I want to be when I grow up. I don't know how to answer that ever-popular question, "So where do you see yourself in 5/10/years?" And I feel like I should have some inkling before going out to interviews.
I have a vague idea of what I'd like to do in my career - I've had a taste of it in my current role - there's just not enough of it to keep me busy on a consistent basis so that I feel like I'm developing and growing. But a role like mine is hard to come by in other companies because not very many have a group focused on strategy like ours does. So what am I looking for? Perhaps it's one of those things that I'll only know when I find it. Which stresses me out because I don't like not knowing. It does not jibe with my ISTJ personality damn it!
Anyway. I'm meeting S tonight for dinner. Perhaps talking out some of my frustration will help bring about some clarity.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
This is the second time in almost as many weeks that I've been shit on. The last time it happened, I was in my car with all the windows rolled down, including the sunroof. I had just parked the car and the bird managed to shit at some crazy angle so that it came in through the passenger window and landed smack dab in the middle of my car seat. My bag and mapbook sustained some collateral damage, but luckily, I have leather seats, and my bag was nylon. GRRR!!
Then at 3 today, I hit the wall. HARD. And I've been sleepy and tired ever since. I think tonight will be a VERY early night...whether I like it or not. I'm not going to fight it. Screw working out today. I need my sleep.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The day started off with the usual rah-rah all-company meeting which was emcee'd by Shaun Majumder, a comedian from Newfoundland who was most recently on 24 as a terrorist - before this, I had no idea who he was since I had never seen him on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, the CBC's sketch comedy show. Anyway, he was funny, if a little raunchy - but "it's not sexual - it's corporate!"
I thought he was the special guest our admin was teasing us about on the way over to our meeting this morning. But no. Our special guest was Martin Short, who apparently flew in for our corporate event and left to return to LA soon afterwards. He sang and he danced (well, sort of danced) and brought out Jiminy Glick and Ed Grimley, his best-known original character. It was all very cool and very funny.
This year, they kept the boring corporate stuff to a minimum - there were no(!) powerpoint presentations - and even though the meeting started later than anticipated, they still wrapped it up by noon so that we could head over to our BBQ, eat, and spend the rest of the afternoon riding the rollercoasters.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I was rather skeptical that the day would actually be any fun since I hadn't been to the park in about 10 years. Truth be told, the only thing I was looking forward to was the funnel cake - a yummy treat of calorie-ridden, deep-fried goodness. Ironically, I turned out to be the one leading the way towards the next ride. The weather was perfect, and since it was mid-week before all the kids were out of school, we waited on average about 15 minutes for each ride. (If the wait was any longer, I would have bailed out early to go shopping at the outlet mall next door, which had been my original plan!) In 3 hours, we went on 8 rides including Tomb Raider below:
I hadn't seen any of the movies so I didn't understand the relevance of it being a "flying" ride, but it was quite the thrill. If I had to pick a favourite, it would probably be Shockwave since I loved the sensation of falling and then being jerked and spun around. Other favourites include Top Gun, Italian Job, Drop Zone and The Bat. As with any and all thrill rides though, they were far too short. All time favourite may have to be The Mighty Canadian Minebuster, which is the largest and longest wooden coaster in Canada.
We ended our full 8-hour work day with funnel cake, which was as good as I remembered. If only all our work days could be this fun!
Friday, June 08, 2007
We spent a nice mother-daughter afternoon: we had lunch and then spent the next couple hours at the design centre. I wasn't sure how it would play out - would my mother be opinionated or critical of my choices? Would she offer helpful advice or suggestions? Or would she just be there to provide moral support?
In the end, it was the latter with a bit of helpful advice thrown in. She'd never seen the site before, nor the model suite, so it was good that she could finally see how and where I will eventually live.
I thought going in that with all the upgrades I had in mind it would end up costing upwards of $10,000 or more - and it probably would have, if I was able to lay tile in the kitchen as I had originally planned, but that's not even an option, so I saved money there by eschewing the optional extended island upgrade that would have been necessary if tile were possible. Oh well.
So here's the colour story for the kitchen: clockwise from top right is the granite for the kitchen counters in Bethel White, the hardwood for the floors in American Walnut, the mini-glass subway tile for the backsplash in "stone" and the Scalvolini cabinets.
In the bathroom, clockwise from top right: White tile for the bathroom surround, the 12"x24" porcelain tile for the floor and the same Scalvolini cabinet for the vanity. I have visions of a bathroom accessorized with a rotating roster of towels in lavender, soft pink, light blue and grass green...
I went for the optional pantry because one never has enough storage space in a condo - besides which, I didn't buy a storage locker - and the window coverings. My original intent was to hang panels in a linen-y material with grommet details, but given that I have a wall of windows and 10' concrete ceilings, getting coverings through the developer is the easiest solution - and the price seemed reasonable.
My big ticket item was my hardwood though. Given the laminate and 3 grades of hardwood available, I of course had to like the one that was in the 2nd grade! But isn't it lovely!? It's so warm and goes so well with everything else. There was a teak sample (also a 2nd upgrade) that I liked as well but I decided that the colour ran a little too orange for my liking.
I asked about getting mirrored closet doors instead of the builder's white that's standard, but they don't offer any upgrades, which I found surprising. I suppose I can fix that after the fact, or just get an oversized mirror to lean against the wall.
Me being the planner I am, I came armed with a list of questions to ask - some of which the design consultant didn't have the answers to. Apparently no one had thought to ask any of these questions in all the time that she's been working on this project - which makes me wonder what that means. Are other people just more knowledgable about condos and design then I am? Are they asking better questions and/or getting better answers? Am I a detail-oriented control freak? Whatever. I don't care. This is the biggest purchase I've ever made and I'm going to ask whatever questions I want!
I ended up spending half of what I had originally anticipated so I was feeling pretty good although still much poorer. I took my mother out for a walk afterwards to acquaint her with my soon-to-be neighbourhood. The sky turned rather ominous and gray so we ducked into a Second Cup for some refreshment and managed to sit out the height of the thunderstorm. We went out again after the rain had lightened up and stopped in the many bead stores that were having sales! I was tempted by many a sparkly strand but couldn't bring myself to buy any after writing such a big cheque so we decided to head on home for dinner. :-(
I better quit it now with the condo dreaming and get cracking with my mandarin. I've been neglecting my homework all week and since I have an oral exam tomorrow, I've got a lot of catching up to do...why did I think taking a course in the summer was I good idea again?!
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
While the juxtaposition between old and new is rather jarring at first, I've since decided that I like it. If nothing else, it's got the city engaged in discussions about culture and architecture and that is always a good thing. Anyway, I played tourist tonight and took pics inside and out:
The original plan was to take a guided tour but the guide was running late and the group was really big, so we skipped the tour and decided to wander around on our own using the top-down approach:One of the many angled windows
The open, expansive sightlines within the new galleries
The soaring, angled walls - one of these galleries will house the ROM's Dinosaurs
The goal has been to be immune to expression, to produce objective, not subjective architecture. But who wants to be trapped in an anonymous box? Neutrality is not a value...The world is enriched not by neutrality or indifference, but by passions and beliefs. Why settle for buildings on a regimented formula that denies human desire?
And another profile of Michael Lee-Chin, the self-made billionaire who donated $30 million towards Renaissance ROM. His immigrant story as a mixed Chinese (he's Hakka, as a matter of fact!) and Black man from Jamaica who arrived without enough money to finish his engineering degree at McMaster and later made his fortune with AIC, a mutual fund company.
I love this anecdote about how Hilary Weston came knocking on his door to ask him to serve as lead donor:
He asked her why she went to the trouble of going all the way to Burlington when she could have looked across the breakfast table and asked her billionaire husband to take care of it.
"Well," said Mrs. Weston, "if Galen wrote the cheque, it wouldn't cause a ripple. But if you do it, it will be an inspiration to every immigrant."
And I'll admit it. I'm a sap because it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside as a child of Hakka Chinese immigrants.
Monday, June 04, 2007
I went out for a run tonight and it was great for a few reasons, the first of which was that I managed to get out of the house at all after getting all comfy on the couch after dinner. I skipped the trip to the gym with my brother and went to the track behind my grade school and ran around 6 times, for a total distance of about 4.8Km! And I didn't even get a stitch in my side once! I mean, one kind of flirted with me part way through my 3rd circuit but it left me alone and I was able to run on...and the last 3 laps, I did without my usual walk interval to rest! I ROCKED TONIGHT! :)
If I sit back and analyse it, I think it was my pace...I kept a pretty even, easy pace throughout thanks to my soundtrack. I'm a creature of habit, but I'm also lazy and though I've been meaning to put together a running track, I just haven't gotten around to it - so every.time.I.go.running, I listen to the same thing: Craig David's The Story Goes..., which kicks off with All the Way - the perfect song to start to, because that's what I want to do - go all the way! :) Anyway, today, I decided to run to Everything But the Girl's Adapt or Die: Ten Years of Remixes and it set the perfect tempo for me. I think it'll be my new running track for the next little while.
AND! When I got back from my run around 9:15, I caught the last half of Ace of Cakes!
Here's Craig doing an acoustic version of All the Way - amongst the male RnB vocalists, he's one of the best, as far as I'm concerned. Even though he didn't keep me company tonight, he was there in the back of mind.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
First there was Sugar, the wedding edition. It was followed by Ace of Cakes, about Baltimore-based Charm City Cakes which has become one of my favourite shows (even though I don't know when it's on and have only caught it by chance thusfar) given the amazing artistry of the cakes created. Today's episode was a re-run of the first one I saw that peaked my interest. Check out these adorable little owls made of cake:
Now I'm watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay (who I've never been a fan of) and the challenge in this episode is wedding cakes.
What's with the wedding theme in this afternoon's programming? Is it the influence of June being the traditional month for weddings? Regardless, there's no cake in the house and I'm not so inspired that I'm up to baking a cake right now so I'm munching on some cookies which isn't nearly as satisfying as a moist, frosted slice of cake would be.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Also, why do pregnant woman not smile in their belly shots? Of all the ones I've seen to date, the pregnant lady in question is standing in profile looking straight ahead - it's like a belly mugshot and all that's missing is the ruler on the wall. I suppose in this case, the ruler should run horizontally as opposed to vertically....Anyway, she's always hungry (has to eat every 2 hours otherwise she gets awful headaches) and craves beef - kalbi in particular - and rice, which might explain her fatness. If the cravings are anything to go by, this baby is going to favour his/her Chinese mama despite his/her Irish father.
It looks like our new addition will be a Sagittarian, but we'll be more certain on the due date when my sis goes in for her first ultrasound next Wednesday. She'll be coming home from Vancouver for a visit later this month so it'll be cool to see how much she's ballooned by then.
I still can't believe that I'm going to be an aunt. I suspect seeing her in person will make the prospect of my new title all the more real...