Sunday, September 30, 2007

Nuit Blanche

I spent a few hours Saturday night wandering along Queen West, otherwise known as "Zone C" of Nuit Blanche - a free festival of independent art and performances that took over parts of the city. I had the run the next day so wasn't so ambitious as to think I could hit up all 3 zones like some people, but kudos to them for trying.

There was some good, some not so good, and some...interesting. Here's a bit of what I saw:

A collection of wings made out of onion skin - one of my favourites:

From the website:
From sunset at 7:03 pm on Saturday, September 29, to sunrise at 7:14 am on Sunday, September 30, 2007, Toronto will be bustling with activity as thousands experience a full night of contemporary art and performance in three zones across the city. After a stunning and triumphant launch in September 2006, the widespread appeal for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche to return in 2007 was overwhelming. On May 10, 2007, Toronto Mayor David Miller officially announced that Scotiabank Nuit Blanche had become an annual signature event for the City of Toronto, and he invited everyone to rediscover Toronto through this free, all-night celebration of contemporary art.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Run for the Cure

I'm participating in the Run for the Cure this Sunday to help raise money for breast cancer research.

I joined a team started by a friend of a friend, who's mother had breast cancer but is thankfully now in remission. It's been a long, long time since I've raised money for anything and thanks to the friends, family and colleagues who have sponsored me, I surpassed my initial fundraising goal.

If you're interested in making a donation, please click here. And if you'd like to do a little something everyday, please click here to help fund free mammograms.

Thank you.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Amber glow

I was in the family room after dinner watching some TV when I noticed this bright glow outside. I couldn't resist taking a picture to share as the dusk sky is rarely this lovely:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I met my friend, E, after work tonight. She plotted out my Chinese astrological chart and explained it to me. And can I just say that I'm more than a little bit spooked by what she told me.

The chart is based on date and time of birth, so everyone's will be unique, and it's mapped out in 12 boxes that form a rectangle, like this:

Each box relates to a different aspect, e.g. career, money, parents, marriage, children, friendship, etc., and depending on your birthday, the position of these aspects will change. Each box is also populated by different stars that will exert influence on that aspect and when you read the chart, you have to consider the aspect diagonal to it since the stars in that aspect may mitigate or intensify the other - so if the stars in aspect 2 are negative, their impact may be mitigated by really positive stars in aspect 8. All of this sounds similar to having one's astrological chart done according to one's zodiac sign, right?

The key difference here, however, is that each box has numbers in it which correspond to an the chart sort of reads like a road map for one's life - which, if "accurate" can be pretty spooky if you believe in that kind of thing. This being the case, E started off by asking me a few questions - the first of which was whether anything significant had happened to me when I was about 10. And the answer is that about a month before I turned 10, my father died, which was confirmed by the age 9 which fell in my parents' aspect - signifying, in this case, a seperation. The next significant age was 22 - the year I graduated university.*

We spent 2.5 hours talking about my chart and it is spooky how much of my past it reveals - E asked me when I came to Canada, but I was born here, so upon further probing, she asked if we moved when I was 15...and we didn't. The only thing I could think of was my mother's business moving from Toronto to Scarborough...I couldn't be certain about the timing...I knew it happened when I was in high school, so I put in a call to my mother, who confirmed it. And then there was what E could see about my siblings - I have a younger brother and sister so am the oldest. E said that usually, the oldest child is born early in the day, yet I was born in the afternoon, so I would be an exception. So she looked at my chart and said that there should have been more children - so I asked my mother when I got home, and there was another child after my brother, and my mother chose not to have it because my father was already sick with cancer at the time. How crazy is that? It can't be mere coincidence, can it?

I've always been interested in having my fortune read and I've been spooked in the past before given the fairly consistent readings of my past by 3 different to have what could be the road map to my life before me is kinda freaky, if any of this is to be believed.

Where love and marriage are concerned, I'm destined to marry later in life - if later means 36 - which is no different from what I've been told in the past - to a man of stocky build, with thick eyebrows and big eyes, and I will have my first child a year after. In the near-term, this year will be rather blah - which is how I've been feeling - but things will pick up next year and I should be on track to become a millionare by the time I'm 38. Luckily for me, I've got a fantastic star in my wealth aspect, so I should retire by the time I'm 56 - which begs the question - how am I going to make my millions??

Is any of this to be believed? I suppose time will tell....

* Until 2004, Ontario was the only province in Canada that required students to complete a 5th year of high school, otherwise known as the Ontario Academic Credit year.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My first rose sauce! With Lobster!

I made my very own version of this lobster penne in a rose sauce for dinner tonight and it was FAN-tastic! I don't usually watch Chef at Home since I find the host a bit annoying, but the lobster caught my eye while channel surfing and I've been wanting to try it ever since.

My version didn't have onions because I was too lazy to chop them, nor the bay leaves because I didn't think we had any in the house, and I didn't simmer the sauce for 1.5 hours because I was too hungry and impatient. Oh, I also used a lobster tail only and added de-shelled shrimps to the sauce at the end...SO yummy!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Flying high!

The Canadian dollar was at par today for the first time in 31 years and I wanna go shopping! Except that I don't NEED anything!!

WC says I should shop online and save myself the drive across the border to I've been browsing Anthropoligie and J. Crew for the last little while, daydreaming of another cute skirt...and more cashmere....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Better late than never

I am a bad friend. My best girl's birthday was over a month ago and I've only just finished making her gift:

Ocean blue chalcedony, brushed sterling silver and freshwater pearl choker

My only excuse is that she was on vacation in Japan on her birthday and within a week of her leaving, I myself was in Peru...and then when we were all back in Toronto again, I just procrastinated partly because I wasn't sure how I was going to design it. But also because I am a bad friend.

I will see her this Friday for dinner so she'll finally get her gift...I hope she likes it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

No more excuses

I know I've been saying this off-and-on the last year but I really need to get serious about looking for a new job because this current one isn't making me happy.

I've been feeling increasingly dissatisfied with work and it's only gotten worse upon my return from Peru - and yes, I haven't been back that long. I knew before I left that there would be changes upon my return - aside from heading back to work in a new office building in downtown Toronto, I'd probably find out who my new manager was with the restructuring in our group, and with that news, I'd see a change in my mandate. This has all come to pass and it's only in the last week that I've come to realize what the change in my mandate would mean, and I don't really like it. Granted, I should probably give it a chance...but the regime hasn't changed at the top, so why prolong the inevitable?

But what would that new job be - this has been my excuse for dragging my feet the last year. I wasn't sure what I was looking for...I'm still not completely sure...but I'm going to make a real effort in finding out what that is and that means getting off my ass and actively searching and applying. No more excuses.

Skinny jeans and other good news

Just the other day, I thought I'd try on my skinny know, just for fun, since I had noticed that my capris weren't fitting as snug as I I opened my closet and took my skinny jeans off the hanger. With trepidation, I pulled them on, and 'lo and behold, they fit! So then I decided I would try my skinnier skinny jeans...the jeans that I haven't worn in about 4(!!) years. And you know what? They fit too!!!!!! How happy was I to be able to fasten all the buttons of my dark-wash Mavis? I guess all my running and the hike along the Inca Trail has paid off! :)

The other news is that I dropped by my condo before heading to S&W's for dinner tonight and they're now working on the 8th floor! Two more floors to go!! The original occupancy date for my unit was supposed to have been this coming Tuesday, the's now been pushed to May and I'm very hopeful with the progress-to-date that it shan't be delayed any further. Keeping my fingers crossed....

Monday, September 10, 2007

Another year older...

Today is my 31st birthday and it was a pretty good day. I looked cute - I wore the transitional skirt I bought last month with a brown v-neck T and my brown wedge heels that have a velvet flower motif - and it was a good hair day, although I had a few break-outs thanks to my facial from Saturday night.

The commute to work was not so good though - our offices moved from midtown to downtown while I was away on vacation so what used to be a 20-35 minute drive to work depending on the traffic is now a 25-35 minute drive to the subway parking lot, followed by a 10 minute walk to the station and about an hour's ride on the train to my office, which is, thankfully, right upstairs from my stop. That's right folks - my commute has tripled and while I was actually looking forward to the commute initially because I had time again to read the morning paper, I am now officially over it and it is the bane of my existence.

Anyway. I got into work around 9am and about 15 minutes in, my group gathered round me for a "meeting" at which time they presented me with my birthday gift - a gift bag full of fun (and purple!) dollar store finds - de rigeur on my team. I then checked my email and was greeted with, among other messages, a lovely e-card from my cousin, A, in London. We had made a date earlier in the week for a long chat Sunday afternoon, but her friend arrived unexpectedly for a visit from Amsterdam so she called me earlier that morning to tell me. We talked for a few minutes and she never fails to crack me up - "We don't want to draw attention to getting older, but we'll be hot when we're 60 so it doesn't matter anyway."

I was all set to have a very low-key birthday this year when my friend J, who I've grown apart from the last couple years, called me out-of-the-blue last week to ask if I had any plans to celebrate my birthday. He wanted to take me out for a drink, and then took it upon himself to co-ordinate with everyone else - which is extraordinary since it's usually my job to get everyone together.

In hindsight, I suspect it's because his girlfriend was still abroad - we, the friends, don't like her, the girlfriend, very much. She's...different...and when he's with her, he's different. So we all got together for dinner and drinks at The Rushton last Friday and it was fun. J was very much like the old J that we knew and loved, and R brought his new girl out for us to meet. She seemed super-sweet and friendly and we all liked it got me thinking why none of us seemed to like V, J's girl very much, when we've all liked R's last two girlfriends...could it be because J settled? There's much back story here that I shan't get into, but I suspect that has a lot to do with it. He mentioned that he's shopping for a ring so he's well on his way to following his lifescript.

He drove me to my car afterwards and we sort of talked about it...we're nowhere near as close as we used to be and I wonder if he's making a mistake because I never imagined him with someone like her - that is, someone I didn't like - but he seems content in his relationship and who am I to question him now when I haven't been present in his life, nor he in mine the last few years?

I'm usually hit by a bout of the birthday blues in the weeks leading up to today because I take stock and reflect on my life to date...I wonder about the choices I've made and where I'm headed...and this year, the blues haven't been so blue.

When I think about it, I've had a full year, despite the ups and downs: I'd like to think that I'm more accepting about the things I can't change and I'm learning to let go because sometimes it hurts to hold on. I'm fortunate and grateful for the family and friends in my life, and I value the experiences they have brought to me - like hiking the Inca Trail and camping for the first time ever. Who would've thunk that that would ever happen? I'll leave the self-reflection at that...and turn now, to one of my favourite subjects - FOOD!

It's been my wish the last few years to have dinner at home. My mom and Uncle N. are great cooks and they never fail to serve up a fantastic seafood feast on my birthday. On tonight's menu was Vancouver crab, clams, oysters, prawns, fish, chicken, and one of my favourite soups, literally called "monk jumps over the wall" in Cantonese, because the story goes that the vegetarian monk was so tempted by the lovely aroma of the soup that he jumped over the wall to taste it. My mom's version of this soup had chicken, pork, conpoy, shark fin, dates, shitake mushroom, conch and ginseng. And damn was dinner ever good!

My mother asks if I'd like to invite friends over to join us, but I always decline because there is no need for my friends to see me eat like a savage. My sister and I are big on crab and when we're all together for dinner, we're usually the last ones at the table, sucking out the last bit of crab meat. My brother's too lazy and impatient for crab but he gave good game tonight - "I don't want you to have all the crab." Isn't he such a sweeite? I wasn't completely savage today though - while my left hand was greasy with crab sauce, my right hand held my chopsticks, which is quite the improvement from my experience last year. So while I may not necessarily be wiser with age, I'm at least a neater eater.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Condo status update

It's been a while since I've posted about my condo and that's because the live update is no more - the structure-in-progress is now taller than the surrouding buildings so the camera is rather pointless. I've been stopping by occasionally in person and am happy to report that last I checked, they were working on the 7th floor - that means 3 more floors to go and they can begin work on the "exterior facade composed of precast concrete panels and floor-to-ceiling glass."

This is the beginnings of my floor, taken on August 4:

And here it is with some walls up on August 12:

Finally, this is the 8th floor, taken on August 31:

And the lovely hibiscus blooms in the park across the street:

Saturday, September 08, 2007

My apologies...

First off, my bad for not posting pictures from my trip as originally promised. The only excuse I have is that I haven't gotten all my pictures in order, i.e. I'm waiting for wL to compile everyone's photos onto a CD so that I have pictures from all 4 days of the Inca Trail hike accounted for. The reason I don't is because I didn't have a spare battery for my camera and I didn't want to run out of juice part-way through the hike and be without a camera when I arrived at Machu Picchu so I didn't start taking pictures until day 3, and the scenery from days 1 and 2 are pretty amazing.

Anyway, I've been back from Peru 2 weeks now and aside from a nagging sense of restlessness that is due in part to my usual bout of moody blues in the weeks leading up to my birthday, I'm just about over the need for a vacation from my vacation - although the retail therapy over the last few days might also have something to do with that!

This is what I mean when I say I needed a vacation from my vacation:

That my friends, is the dresser in my bedroom. As you can see, just about every inch of its surface is covered with stuff. To be honest, it was like that before I left, but I had every intention of sorting through it when I got back. Except that I didn't. I only added to it with the bottle of water I got on the plane (it's been sitting there for the last 2 weeks, unmoved), an empty bag of Chicha Morada candies that I should really toss, and more mail and papers. I'll get to this eyesore maybe tomorrow...or not...

On a more happy note, here's the sassy little black dress I bought on sale at Club Monaco yesterday:

It's cotton so rather wrinkly from the shopping bag but it's really comfortable and the empire-waist is super-forgiving. I also bought a couple of fall sweaters that were on promotion at the Gap, and picked up my complimentary birthday gift from Kiehl's, which was one of the main reasons for being on Queen West in the first place.

This morning, I dragged myself out of bed only to dilly-dally for an hour and a half before going on a 5K run because I felt guilty after having pigged out at dinner last night. I then got ready for the first day of mandarin class and as I was walking to the parking meter, a nice lady who was leaving kindly offered to give me her paid ticket, saving me $4 in the process. How lovely!

I also shopped after class - but for more practical things, like new running shoes that were also on sale, and exactly the same as the pair they're meant to replace; hair colour to cover my grays (and there are many as I found my first when I was about 12); nail polish; facial scrub; ketchup chips; and a tube of La Roche-Posay Active C eye gel which the cosmetician at Shopper's had recommended because the skin around my eyes looks thin and that's one of the first signs of aging(!!!) I promptly called my aesthetician when I got home and arranged to meet her after dinner for a facial. I'm in for some more pampering tomorrow as I've a 1.5 hour massage booked in the afternoon.

I know. I lead a tough life.

P.S. Sorry too, for the many run-on sentences that litter this post.
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