Wednesday, April 30, 2008

If this, then that

I know this is TOTALLY geeky but I must share with you the pride I feel in having figured out the pesky logical order of an If statement in Excel that was stressing me out all yesterday afternoon.

I enlisted AL's help and consulted with my ex-manager. I even used my whiteboard to jot down the various criteria in the hopes that a solution would come to me, much to the amusement of my cubemates.

After searching through Excel's Help function earlier today (why didn't I think of that sooner? duh!), I discovered that the solution was much easier than I had thought! I was just complicating the matter! So all is well in my little financial modelling world again.

Now, if only I can figure out how to use the Data Tables function properly....!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I'd made an appointment for 8pm with a guy named Dino to come over and take a look at my vintage dressers. I wanted an estimate for how much it'd cost to repair the scratches and damaged veneer and then paint it white.

I rushed back from another appointment only to be stood up. An hour later and he still has not shown. I am not impressed.

On the more reliable front, I did get a call back from Michael today - a man I spoke with yesterday who was following up with me about the availabilty and cost of a Saarinen-esque pedestal table...yes...I am considering getting a copy if only to save myself a couple thousand dollars, which is not an insignificant amount! Anyway, he left me a voicemail to say that there isn't one in stock in their international network so a custom one would have to be made for me in Italy, hence an 8-9 week lag from order to delivery, which suits me just fine. I'm now It in this game of phone tag.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

7 days and counting...

It's a week to the Sporting Life 10K and I had mapped out an 8K run with the intention of heading out this morning for some training. Things didn't quite happen as I'd planned though since I didn't get out the door 'til about 1pm and I shaved 1.5K off with a little detour after being hit by a stitch in my side.

I'm home now and have been vegging ever since...sigh.

Instructions for Visitors

I picked up Helen Stevenson's Instructions for Visitors when I was in Hong Kong about 4 years ago and only just got around to reading it in the last week. I finished it a couple hours ago and am rather ambivalent about this particular title. I've read other literary travel about France before - always there's the element of romance - consider Sarah Turnbull's Almost French and Suzy Gershman's C'est La Vie - but I didn't find her written voice particularly engaging, which was rather a disappointment.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

6K to Ice Cream!

I went for another run tonight after work with AL. The grand plan was to run 6K tonight with ice cream as the motivator, so we mapped out a route with Summer's Ice Cream in Yorkville as our goal.

View Interactive Map on

I surprised myself with how easy the run was since I've been running 5K fairly consistently. For some reason, I thought tacking on the extra kilometre would be harder but it really wasn't. I did get a bit of a stitch in the last 1K but I was able to run through it and made it to the end without being too too winded.

The only thing that made me feel out of sorts was walking through the heart of Yorkville all sweaty in my running clothes. AL needed to make a pit stop at Manulife Centre and we walked through the underground path towards Holt Renfrew, where he wanted to take the escalator up and out, but I refused. I just couldn't bring myself to walk into Holt Renfrew of all places in my workout gear. I.JUST.COULD.NOT. So we walked further and found and escalator up and out through a random office building a little further west.

I felt slightly uncomfortable walking about Yorkville and Cumberland streets where all the wannabe "beautiful" people were out on the patios but once I had my ice cream, I got over it...and maybe felt a little...dare I say...proud...?...for doing so well on this first long run out. Maybe I won't embarass myself running the 10K next Sunday after all!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Salute the Sun

One of the gifts in the Motionball SWAG I attended late February was a certificate for a free yoga class at a downtown gym, so after work tonight, I went with a couple friends from work. It'd been a while since I'd done any yoga so I wasn't sure what to expect.

The class was really good though. My favourite series is the Sun Saluation and a good 1/3 of the class was devoted to that. We then did some bridge poses, plows and shoulder stands, the latter two of which were new to me. I have a feeling I will be quite sore tomorrow...which isn't good as I've plans to run after work. Only 10 days to the 10K!

Monday, April 21, 2008


I finished Susan Glaspell's Fidelity last week and count it as one of my favourite books of the year:

Set in Iowa in 1900 and in 1913, this dramatic and deeply moral novel uses complex but subtle use of flashback to describe a girl named Ruth Holland, bored with her life at home, falling in love with a married man and running off with him; when she comes back more than a decade later we are shown how her actions have affected those around her. Ruth had taken another woman's husband and as such 'Freeport' society thinks she is 'a human being who selfishly - basely - took her own happiness, leaving misery for others. She outraged society as completely as a woman could outrage it... One who defies it - deceives it - must be shut out from it.'

I was struck at different times in the book by how much the moral society in Fidelity reminded me of the aspect of Chinese culture which values the collective goodwill over individuality and independence, one's own desire is selfish and must be suppressed, except, it seems slightly twisted in the novel.

Without giving away the entire story, I was heartened by how others were able to be true to themselves: "Forget society...and be just a human being! If you can forget - forgive - what seemed to you the wrong Ruth did you - if your heart goes out to her - then what else is there to it?...after all, what is society...Just a collection of individuals, isn't it? Why must it be so much harder than the individuals comprising it? If it is that - then there must be something wrong with it, wouldn't you think?"

And I was saddened and frustrated by how some of the characters behaved because that's how they were supposed to since "one isn't free. Society has to protect itself. What might not happen - if it didn't?"

The novel had a bittersweet but hopeful end and if I had to sum it up in a nutshell, I'll leave you with this, which I've come to believe, more or less, depending on my mood, in the last few years: "Love could not fail if it left one richer than it found one. Love had not failed - nothing had failed - and life was wonderful, limitless, a great adventure for which one must have great courage, glad faith. Let come what would come!"

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Let's Sleep...

Here's how I sort of envision my bedroom:
I have most of the elements: the vintage dressers I picked up yesterday afternoon need to be painted white, as does the screen I got from Pier 1 that I'm going to use as a headboard. The lamps, chair and endtable are ready as they are, so all that remains is the floor lamp, bed, mirror and ultimate paint colour...which I imagine as a red-violet.

Let's Dine...and then Lounge...

Here's what I've been thinking for my dining area:
Image brought to you by, which I found thanks again to Wanderluster.

And for my living area, I was thinking something along the lines of this:

Oh, and let's pretend that the walls will be some shade of a green-yellow that weighs heavier on the gray scale.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sunburst, Starburst

I've been thinking about wall clocks ever since I stumbled upon EQ3's Glamour Clock earlier this week:

It reminds me of West Elm's Sunburst Wire Wall Art which I came across last year:

And since I've been on a vintage kick of late, I thought I'd check ebay and came across these fantastic finds:










If I had to pick, 4 and 5 are my favourites - the former for its simplicity, and the latter for the reflection the brass bursts make on the wall. What's yours?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

5K on the Beltway

I went for a run after work with AL today. We started off at the entrance of Mount Pleasant Cemetary and made our way onto the Kay Gardner Beltway and back. It was my best run yet as it was my first 5K straight without any stopping - well, except for the brief reprieve to get the pebble out of my shoe - so, YAY for me!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I've been getting a pop-up message while browsing in Safari that a keychain can't be stored or something and the text of some of the sites - my bank's in particular - is running together so I called Apple and was told that some websites just aren't compatible with Safari.

And that surprised me given the size of my bank, and the impact that Apple has. So I was advised to download Firefox. So I did. And now we wait to see if any other issues persist.

Despite the issues, I'm still loving my new MBP.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Gate Leg Tables

My copy of Elle Decor hasn't arrived yet so my first look was via this post at Style Court - look at the gorgeous cover table:

It's a gate leg table, which I'd never seen or heard of before but it's lovely and I kinda want one now...for my grown up house, I think. I found this late-17th century specimen below here which is just as beautiful, if not more so than the one on the cover...can you imagine the history it's witnessed?...just LOOK at the detail of the legs and nevermind the $48K pricetag!

From the listing:
Important Jacobean Oak Gateleg Table. A rare and important oval joined Gateleg table of early form. With well-shaped bold spiral twist legs and stretchers. Good thick top with wonderful mellow dark oak colour and patina. Supported by full height bold vase-shaped feet. English. Circa 1690. Length 57", Height 30", Width closed 23" , Width open (each leaf is 19.5") 62".

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A productive (and forgetful) night

I spent a rather unproductive afternoon but made up for it in the evening.  I finally netfiled my taxes so the impatient wait begins for my refund, and I even cleaned my room!  Well, half-cleaned it anyway.

I sorted through the bag of samples I got last week at Lifefest, filed away a lot of papers I'd had piled up on my loveseat and stowed a large stack of design magazines into a box - this took over an hour to do because much of the time was spent sorting....oh, wait a sec!  I remember what I did this afternoon now!  I updated my accounts in Quicken!  Geeky, I know, but now I feel better because I wasn't as lazy as I thought!

Next on my to-do is to tackle the top of my you can see here, it's a rather alarming mess of papers, catalogues, bills and what-not...but perhaps I'll save that for next weekend...

Edited April 14: By the by, this is my 500th post! In hindsight, I feel like it should have been...oh, I don't know...a little more interesting then about cleaning on a Sunday. :)

Would have rather stayed home...

I went out for dim sum today with some of my so-called because some of them are the kind of friends with whom you share a history and even though you have little if nothing in common anymore, you feel like you have an obligation to say yes and make an appearance even though you really don't care to be there because the friend that you do care about made the effort in arranging the get-together.  

That is all.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sofa options!

One of my last stops on this rainy Saturday was to G.H. Johnson on Dupont where my hope was to find affordable sofa options and I was not disappointed.

This tufted leather sofa reminds me of the vintage one here without the buttons, but it's too firm for my liking.

I like this one by Kimberley Seldon but it's above my budget.

This sectional by Elite Designs reminds me of Gus Design Group's Carter Sectional, only, less comfortable.

This velvet one is comfortable and, in hindsight...rather bland.

The Bowan Sofa here by Klaussner is a more casual, comfy version of the Kimberley Seldon sample a couple above.

The two following are the front-runners, both by Brentwood - Normand Couture and manufactured right here in Canada.

This is NC10-Lounge, which reads more formal with its bolsters and piped cushions.

And this is NC50-Move Me (what awful names) which reads more comfy-casual, but not too casual with its tuxedo-frame.  I must say that this one has the price advantage over the former, besides, see how great it looks with my throw pillow cases from bed!:

I think I need to inject some more brown in there though by way of another throw pillow...and I think I have just the right fabric...

I found these pretty occasional chairs in the back room where all the bedding is stocked.  I love the print and their my grown-up bedroom, I'd place them around my newly-acquired Eileen Gray side table.

And I LOVE LOVE LOVE this graphic bedding by Nygard - those blooms you see are flocked!   Imagine the velvet against comfy cotton...brilliant!

More vintage finds...

Here's a selection of some of the other great vintage finds I found on Queen West, the one block just east of Roncesvalles:

I love everything in this picture - the bar cart which, if it were mine, I'd have nickel-plated and switch out the glass for mirror because I'm all about the sparkle of Hollywood glam, the Art Nouveau lamp base atop it, the floral wall art just to the right of it and the astronomical globe too.

I imagine these jewel-like wall sconces wired up in my "grown-up" dining room...Can't you just imagine the sparkle and glow they'd emit when lit?

This circa 1950s sculpture by I don't remember which artist brings to mind the image of an old-school bespectacled doctor with a light on his forehead...
I love this: according to the note attached to the frame, "This is the commercially produced "text" sent to correspondence students in 1893.  They re-produced the sheet freehand and returned it to the school for grading."

This teak sideboard is very similar to one that currently resides in our basement which sits mostly empty - I've laid claim to it and it will be moving with me in August.   I love the style of the button-tufted leather chesterfield in the background too.  Too bad the colour's all wrong.
The shape of these chairs totally appeals...I'm pretty sure they're walnut and I even like the fabric print.  If re-upholstered, I think these chairs would look pretty good with the Tulip.

This mirrored vision is a free-standing bar and I love the Chinese panel in the background.

And finally, this Danish design teak table with the 6 matching chairs...gorgeous, non?

My fantastic vintage finds!

I spent the rainy afternoon doing one of my favourite things - shopping for furniture! And boy did I do well today!

First off, I went back to the Queen West Antiques Centre to take another look at a set of vintage 1950s dressers I'd seen last week.  I saw this wide 3x3 chest of drawers first and was immediately taken by the lovely handles of the outer drawers and the scalloped drawer front of the middle ones:

It wasn't until I turned around that I noticed the matching chest of drawers below (you can better-see the detail of the legs here - aren't they cute?):

I couldn't remember the exact dimensions of my bedroom and I wasn't sure how I'd place them so I left empty-handed.  I couldn't stop thinking about them though - the curvalicious drawer fronts, the scroll-esque handles and the abundant storage potential - I spent a lot of time the last week daydreaming about what I'd do with them...I think I finally figured it out and hightailed it down after lunch today in the hopes that they were still there, waiting for my to buy them...and they were!

I examined them more closely this time around and noticed that the veneered surface is a little banged up and that there are even a couple of fairly deep scratches on the surface of the wider dresser - so I think I'll definitely have to refinish them...some wood filler and a few coats of glossy white paint on my part and nickel-plating of the hardware on the part of a specialist and these dressers will be good as new.

I also picked up this unlicensed Eileen Gray-designed bedside table below.  It's perfect for my needs as the height is completely adjustable and the chrome base offers up additional sparkle.

I'm beginning to think my virtual bedroom is looking rather eclectic in style now...but that's OK because I love everything in it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I see you!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the camera on my new Macbook because it allows me to chat with my sister and Little Miss Fire Piglet and see them at the same time!

We connected through Skype tonight for the first time and chatted with T while she fed LMFP a mixture of breastmilk and cereal with my Mother backseat-driving the feeding all the way through.

Here she is all adorable and chubby, hanging out with Tigger:

Scent of cedar in the air...

The day started off rather cool and gray but the sun decided to break through the clouds after all and it warmed up, which was a good thing because AL and I had plans to go for a run after work and I was wondering if it was going to even happen since there was a chance of showers and I don't do rain.  It worked out though and we made our way by subway to St. Clair for what turned out to be the aptly named Mount Pleasant Cemetary.

The runners and cyclists were out in full effect today and I'm racking up the kilometers as I train for my 10K 26 days from now.  Next run is maybe Thursday if the weather holds.  I'm going to the symphony tomorrow night. :)

Bedroom IIIa & IIIb

My trek to the Queen West Antiques Centre this past Saturday yielded a couple more floorplans for my bedroom thanks to these 2 beautiful dressers I saw, one of which was a 5' wide, 3x3 drawer configuration and another which was about 3.5' and 4x1. Given their dimensions, I wasn't sure at first that they would fit since I thought my bedroom was 12' long, but I was wrong. It's actually 13.9', and that's when I started scheming.

I thought initially that I'd stick to my original plan of having a dresser on either side, like this:

The problem with this idea is that this elevation looks really funny with the different heights of the 2 dressers and the, how will my beautiful purple lamps look at different levels?

After chatting it over with AL, we came up with this next scheme, which is a more effective and efficient use of the space since both dressers will be closest to the closet and I won't have to walk all the way around my bed to get to some of my wardrobe:

This new plan shakes things up a number of different ways:

1. I will have to shop for a mirror to place over the wider dresser, which opens up a whole new world of shopping opportunities for me - not a big deal since I really love the look of Venetian glass mirrors and this is my chance to incorporate it into my scheme...the problem now is finding one in the right size at the right price.

2. I will have to refinish the dressers since they're in a dark wood finish right now and a bit worn with age - I'm thinking glossy white - so I will have to call around to get quotes. Logistically this is a pain in the ass, but the quality of the dressers is so much better then what I would end up with if I cheap out and go the Ikea route.

3. What to do about my purple lamps? They're BIG, so I don't think one will fit on the little night table I've got in place on the I was thinking on either side of the mirror to balance off the dresser....but wouldn't the left side of the room be cast in shadow then? This perhaps means a new lamp...and there was a gorgeous vintage one I saw in the same store as the dressers...problem is whether or not it will need to be re-wired.

4. Of course, I don't even know if the dressers are still available for sale. Someone could have fallen for them after I left the store and snatched them up. But I will call later this week to see if they're still there...and if so, I'm going to stop by again this Saturday for another look-see and to take measurements...if they're still there and the price is right, then they were meant to be mine.

That's all I can think of at the head is super-busy with ideas again...not only am I re-thinking my bedroom, I'm also reconsidering my living room since I'm pulling my Zoey chair out of that plan to place in this one. This being the case, sectionals are back in the mix! I'll post about that soon as it's well past my bed time.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Springtime in Toronto

This weekend's weather has been unbelievably amazing. I walked about without a jacket in the sunshine while I browsed along the far western reaches of Queen Street and even remembered to bring my sunglasses!

And! S & I ran for the first time outside this season in preparation for our 10K run about a month from now. Here's the route we took, thanks to MapMyRun, which is an amazing mash-up of Google maps and a training log.


wL and I were supposed to run this afternoon but we ended up hanging out at LifeFest because he had to check out his company's booth and take some photos.

I've never been to this show before - I was never curious or interested but since we were able to get in free as exhibitors, I thought, why not check it out?

LifeFest is billed as Canada's largest and most inspiring show for real women - but all it is, for those who've never been, is a huge trade show where you pay $20 for admission to walk from booth to booth trying products and picking up samples.  I myself didn't find it particularly inspiring...what amazed me was the number of people who walked about the show carrying 4 or 5 bags each full of products.  That was crazy to me.  

Friday, April 04, 2008

Smacks of insecurity

You wanna know what irks me?  People who include their educational and professional credentials in their email signatures at work - it's one thing if it's a generally accepted practice in the organization, but when it's not, then it just reeks of insecurity.

The perfect example is this manager who recently joined our organization who I had to train to do a quarterly report.  The instructions and links in the binder are clearly identified and cross-indexed because it's reviewed by our auditors yet the guy had to book a meeting with me to ask me a question that could have easily been answered if he had just flipped the page.  And this guy is a manager?  Where's the initiative here?

He sent me an email request about something else and that's when I noticed he signed his email "D@&!% M#^?@, MBA, CMA."  He makes me embarassed to be a CMA myself.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Architecture of Happiness

I finished The Architecture of Happiness today and am a little sad that I have because that means I won't be spending the next subway ride home reading the erudite thoughts of Alain de Botton, my not-so-secret nerd crush.

His writing always strikes a relevant and oftentimes emotional chord for me and this book is no different. I had to re-read the following passage several times because he describes what has been top-of-mind for me the last few months as I've begun to commit and make purchases for my new home come August:

Our sensitivity to our surroundings may be traced back to a troubling feature of human psychology: to the way we harbour within us many different selves, not all of which feel equally like "us", so much so that in certain moods, we can complain of having come adrift from what we judge to be our true selves.

Unfortunately, the self we miss at such moments, the elusively authentic, creative and spontaneous side of our character, is not ours to summon at will. Our access to it is, to a humbling extent, determined by the places we happen to be in, by the colour of the bricks, the height of the ceilings and the layout of the streets...

...We arrange around us material forms which communicate to us what we need - but are at risk of forgetting we need - within. We turn to wallpaper, benches, paintings and streets to staunch the disappearance of our true selves.

In turn, those places whose outlook matches and legitimates our own, we tend to honour with the term "home"...

...We need our rooms to align us to desirable versions of ourselves and to keep alive the important, evanescent sides of us

AL teases me all the time about how much I have "going on up there" in my brain what with all the different virtual homes I have but I can't help it because there are so many different things that appeal to me for different reasons at different times - but in that moment, it feels like "me". So this was a helpful way to consider my seeming indecision about the interior design of my home.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Hockey in the Box

I went to see my very first live hockey game yesterday and did it in style in my company's corporate box at the Air Canada Centre. Here's the view from the front row of our box just before the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres took the ice:

Here're the teams by their respective benches during a commercial break:

And the scoreboard 41 seconds before the end of the first period:

I am not a hockey fan and the few times I've ever watched a game from start to finish has been when Team Canada was up for medal contention at the Olympics...and maybe the World Championships...this being said, I lost interest after the first period and spent the next two chatting with my team, drinking the free-flowing wine and eating an ice cream drumstick. :)

The Leafs ended up losing the game in a shoot-out 4-3.
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