July 31: Greta

1. Motivation. Greta dragged my derrière out of bed.
2. Word Fun. Capricieuse. Who you callin' caprichosa?
3. Brazaletes. Beautiful wrist candy from Madrid.

¡Gracias, Greta!

Bonus: 120 Seconds

120 Seconds to Get Elected
Brilliant 2-minute film.

Watch here (be patient while it loads, it's worth it) or download it from Shorts in Motion.

July 30: Email

1. From the world of Rump: my friend writes that she is going to ‘ass around’ this week. I've never heard this before, but I think it's Wicked. Sick. Ill.
2. From the world of Film: Free tickets to an advance screening.
3. From the world of Goat: Purple Pygmy Party Pants and other goat accessories here. (Wicked? Sick? Ill?)

There was a Cheeks theme floating around today, and an honourable mention goes to Kevin for a hilarious email about crocs, but I don't want to get x-rated or mean. I'll save the style deliberations for an upcoming post.

July 29: Putty

12 hours with my habibis!

1a. Clean-Shirts Journey: Julija helped with the downtown-bound ‘Tunnel!’ ‘Train!’ ‘Station!’ adventure. Lucky for us, the seats at the back of the last subway car were available.

1b. Dirty-Shirts-Covered-in-Popsicles-and-Chocolate-Milkshake Version: My brother helped with the homeward-bound trip. Even if the seats had been taken, I'm sure they'd have freed up quickly...

2. Mothers will appreciate this one. Little Lukas fell asleep the second we entered the restaurant for lunch; he woke up the second we exited, 90 minutes later.

3. Thankfully, the swimming pool was still open when we got home. We all jumped in and washed the day away.

Free silly putty and musical keychains also went a long way. Not to mention Starbucks, which is highly reliable for diaper stops. No wonder ‘Starbucks’ is one of Lukas's first words.

Happy Birthday, Yee!

July 28: L*st

After a beautiful day,

1. Last, Kevin invited me to a party - though he didn't show up.

2. Lest I forget: Late into the evening, my dad gave me a bottle of wine to take to the party. Why?

Note to oenophiles: Canadians are govered by liquor control boards and most of us have to buy alcohol during set hours from the government. Seriously. The LCBO in the Province of Ontario is the world's single largest alcohol buyer (read more here). Upside: this is nonetheless an improvement on the days when you had to get booze by prescription.

3. Lost. Biking through a neighbourhood with the wrong address (thanks, Kevin!) and a dead cell phone, I took a moment to appreciate a hidden urban gem: a beautiful baseball diamond. Then a local kid directed me to an exact spot for an electrical outlet in which to plug my phone charger (East end of the South wall of the community centre at Dufferin and Dupont for those who need to know). I was impressed...

...but not nearly as impressed as by the cinephiles next door to our party, projecting old NFB films from reels onto a garage-mounted screen in the backyard. (Imagine a lawnchair audience of 40 in dead silence. Here they are on intermission.)

...and not nearly as impressed as by my hostesses, who sent me home with two slices of fresh vegetarian pizza.

There is my List.
Sorry, no Lust.

July 27: Happy Feet

1. Dreamy: A loooooong sleep, at long last.
2. Boon(y): Corporate discount on stationary.
3. Musical: Happy Feet, one moving movie.

Bonus: DollyMix Interview

Click here to read my first online interview.

Thank you, Keris!

July 26: Boondoggle

1. Fresh: Over lunch, a Beautiful Berliner taught me to spread the sour cream onto the fresh bread.
2. Fresher: A friend gave me two Advils for my day-after headache.
3. Freshest: My new, comfy kitten heels, laced with gimp! I have just learned that gimp is also called boondoggle.

July 25: Julija

1. A wall of mist edging onto the road off the park water sprinkler refreshed me as I rode by on my bicycle.

2. This line from The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger:
‘Would you like some cookies? I always like to eat cookies while I look around museums. It makes it more multisensory.’

3. Drinks with The One and Only Julija:
From within the water marks on the table, The One and Only Garfield (à la Itchy and Scratchy) enchanted us with an appearance. We were not hallucinating - we captured him HERE, see?

Then Julija enchanted me. ‘Would you like to share a sausage?’

Bonus: Thinking

‘If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.’
George S. Patton

July 24: More Love

Who is Justin? He is this dude. Who is probably friends with Jeremy (from a previous post). Both of whom are all about handing out the freebies. I went for an overpriced juice bar dinner, but returned with:

1. a free panini,
2. a free Cinnabon, and
3. Bola, a free Tagalog Love Word.

My also-starving colleague shared my good fortune. We were so giddy, we did the happy dance and went halves on all the good take-out (carry-out, take-away, hand-out...) we had amassed. It was a Love Feast!

July 23: ‘Love’ and Love

1. I love my shoe repair man. He let me take a can of protector today, to be paid for when I pick up my shoes later this week.

2. I love my bike shop. They returned my now-tuned-up bike and replaced the seat with something softer (i.e., a softer seat).

3. I love my oatmeal. Some call it boring. I call it sexy and exciting! Or ‘the dinner alternative’ (when your other alternative is the office vending machine).

And I love Audra! Welcome back from the Middle East, širdelė. (Speaking of the Big Breakfast Bang, while I was visiting Syria, this phenomenal woman actually found me Quaker Oats. In Damascus!)

Bonus: Imagination

‘It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.’
Henry David Thoreau

‘I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.’

‘Live out of your imagination, not your history.’
Stephen Covey

July 22: Catching Kisses

1. Matthew blew me kisses, which I caught like volleyballs. Then we switched and he caught my kisses (‘Woah! That's a big one!’). Together, we sent our beachball-sized kisses down an imaginary bowling lane, knocking over all 10 pins.

2. Matthew filled my imaginary teacup with all things savoury: chocolate, popcorn, a teddy bear, magic markers, a little boy, a shoe (‘What kind?’ ‘A Birkenstock’) and yucky mud. Mmm!

3. Little Lukas offered me handfuls of sand, followed by a playground wood chip straight from his mouth. Nothing imaginary about it. (Except, perhaps, in all he cannot yet verbalize. What is this kid thinking?!)

‘Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!’ - Theodor Geisel

July 21: Benassi

1. On my way into the subway, fumbling for change since I had forgotten my pass at home, a tourist emerged and randomly offered me his day pass.

2. On my way to a club, the driver said, ‘You're too old to go to the Guvernment.’ After I let him have it, he explained, ‘You're not dressed like a teenager.’ I later realized it was for my own good. (Next time, I will dress like a teenager.)

3. On my way back to my younger days, I was infected by the one and only Benny Benassi, beautiful inside and out.

July 20: Beagles

1. A first: Heather was my Hooters girl this evening.
2. A second: Turning the sidewalk corner, two baby beagles. Brother and sister. I instantly fell to my knees and we all embraced each other. Soft, warm puppies. Pure love.
3. A third: Yee and I bumped into Kevin at Evil Dead. If you like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this is the musical for you.

July 19: Avatar

1. Lovely Donna fowarded me an important email.
2. Thanks to Gretta, I created my Simpsons avatar.
3. Tommy was watching a Lance Armstrong documentary. Which reminded him of the Lance audiobook I once gave him. He texted. I called. He picked me up from work. We went for drinks. And then we discovered that we both attended the same summer day camp in 1988.

July 18: Progress

1. Conversation: Lunch with a group of endearing women, all strangers to each other, in an honest, warm discussion.

2. Discovery: Internet kiosk in a hotel business centre where one can swipe a credit card for 10 minutes of free web access.

3. Peace: I made a friend out of an enemy (so to speak). Being genuinely nice to this woman really helped us progress.

July 17: Unexpected

1. Unexpected: guided tour of local post-production house.
2. Unexpected: visiting the film set for American Pie #685.
3. Unexpected: receiving giftbags containing free swag.

Bonus: Game - Jeu - Juego

HiSpAnoBeLgAs has invited me to play secretillos, in which we reveal seven truths. It's a little game circulating between blogeros - the taggers and the tagged. Sounds fair to me, considering I don't have much of a profile. Rules:

1. Tagged individuals must write seven truths on their blog, as well as the rules of the game.
2. They must then tag seven people and list them in their blog.
3. They must leave a message on each person's blog, inviting them to visit and play.

This is my first - and maybe only - such game. I'd like to tag more of you, but I'm going with seven at random. Here goes:

1. I am a former rhythmic gymnast
2. who loves roasted garlic and hummus
3. and has been to Transylvania three times.

4. Once, I washed a scraggly bike courier's garbage bag full of laundry. He was drunk and forgot it on the bus. (How would you feel?) I had to track him down through a biker cafe. I was staying with my grandmother that week. I had a heck of a time explaining to her why I was washing a strange man's dirty clothes.

5. I used to walk into street poles while reading books.
6. I have one grandmother-approved tattoo.

7. The little girl on the blog is me. You knew that, right?

Gretta, Fancy Dress, Dan, Tracey, Evalinn, Shari, Manic Mom, come on down.

July 16: Chicon

1. To start the day, my neighbour gave me a lift to the subway (I had basically hailed his minivan in desperation).

2. To spend the day, I ate heavenly food, attended incredible seminars and met fantastic new people.

3. To finish the day, I read some comments on my blog, including an invite from HiSpAnoBeLgAs to play a little blogeros game.

While I was reading seven secretillos on HiSpAnoBeLgAs, I learned a new word: chicon. The ‘white gold’ of Belgium. An endive or witloof - are any of these English words? Anyway, I googled it and got the picture.

July 15: Stinky Cheese

1. 02:00 - Front porch, downtown houseparty. One of our sexy French Canadians (parce qu'ils sont tous sexy) brings out the stinkiest French cheese. It is wrapped in multiple layers of aluminum, so the whole house doesn't smell like soiled diapers. It is positively the most delicious Camembert I have ever tried!

2. 16:00 - Office. Grilled Salmon on a bed of rice. Pure energy!

3. 20:30 - Homeward Bound. I don't have to work as long as I had expected. Good night. Bonne soirée. To bed!

July 14: Sparrow

Bus station, 8:30 a.m.

1. As I'm eating crackers from the snack pack D prepared for me, a little sparrow hops over and says good morning. So I feel really special and share my crumbs.

2. Not a minute later, my new friend disappears, only to return with five others. They're really adorable. I keep feeding them, though I'm starting to feel like an old man on a park bench.

3. You can probably guess what happens next. They go away and come back with twenty of their best friends. I don't know how to feel, to be honest. They're crossing the line a little... but it's fun talking to them. (I hope all the people staring at me are having fun, too.)

Lo and behold, when I walk over to the bus, they all follow me.

It's awesome.

Three Things: 70s

Last night, I slept in a home that ought to be preserved as a national monument to the swinging seventies. It was soooo pimpy! I was like, Where's the orgy?

Three things I love about 1970s home decor:

1. colourful shaggy carpets
2. shiny psychedelic wallpaper
3. puffy vinyl toilet seats

July 13: Mannequin


I'd like to dedicate this post to another Julia, who lent me her eyes. Thanks, Jules!

1. James Street North Art Crawl. We meandered into galleries and studios, experiencing this type of vibe, meeting local artists like Melanie and discovering hidden spaces and treasures such as this beauty.

2. Fisherman's pier pub. Even though we decided not to stay, the waitress brought out Sour Apple shots, on the house.

3. My dream of ending a late night with live music in a Hamilton honky-tonk bar came true. Only my cowboy boots were missing.

There is no doubt about it. People in Hamilton are very nice.

The next art crawl is August 10, for all you Torontonians looking for something different.

Weekend Bonus: Hamilton

I can't wait to describe - in words and pictures - my experience last night in Hamilton, Ontario. This city, 45 minutes West of Toronto, is home to one of the best-named pubs I've ever heard of: The Pheasant Plucker. Say that 20 times.

I've got six crazy days on the go, but I'll try to post regularly. Have a great weekend!

July 12: Nice people from...

...Etobicoke. Driver stops the bus to access first-aid kit for me. Imagine, if you will, opening something that resembles an electric panel, next to the engine. After a thick layer of dust cascades onto the steps, an interior metal box squeaks open to reveal little white (well, yellowed...) boxes. The wax paper wrappers crumble open instantly: band-aids older than me!

...Toronto. Dental hygienist does me a favour by showing me the plaque she is digging out from under my gums. I am instructed to become reacquainted with my floss (the move has thrown me off this month). She also gives me free samples of Butler G.U.M. Softpicks (they're amazing). Tartar forms after only three days!

...Scarborough. Calvin, Gentleman Extraordinaire, sits next to me at a work meeting full of new faces. Well, doesn't chance have it that he will be working for me in September. Since I'm new, but he's experienced, he'll be teaching me, I'm sure.

July 11: $143

1. The seamstress gave me a good price for my mending.

I used to sew... anyone remember tapering their jeans? Actually, I'm about to start again (sewing, that is). I want to modify my shapeless souvenir t-shirts into hot little numbers. I hope it's possible, or I'll be making a big mess.

2. A saleswoman refunded me the difference on the jacket I bought 10 days ago. (I nearly had a heart attack when I saw it was marked down already.) $143 is nothing to sneeze at! She really made my day.

3. I got a pretty quick response from a woman I'd been meaning to get in touch with for a year (then finally did).

In fact, all these women made my day.

By the way, I'll probably blog my parents a little more this weekend... they really are a rich source of stories. I'll try my mighty best to bring you a venom-free, positive take on this experience. It's either that or Ativan!

Bonus: Bent

Wow! Did you see this Blog of Note? It is so beautifully Bent (and so is his really bent second blog). Kudos!

July 10: Renita

1. Lunch: Renita deserves her own post. I'm dedicating today to her. She is my Grade Two Best Friend who taught me how to crack my knuckles. The last time we saw each other was 10 years ago. The next time we saw each other was today.

2. Divo: Not only did we eat well, we had free entertainment. Our restaurant turned out to be a Divo magnet, full of guys with crisp shirts, suave shades and enough crusty hairgel to hold up Venice. Fabu-Tans. Blinding bright teeth. Plus the roses. Oh, the roses... Renita provided the running commentary. She is a wry observer.

3. Idea: We didn't talk about this, but in Grade Two (‘this one time, at band camp...’), Renita and I got into trouble for playing with household bathroom chemicals. We mixed a toxic magic potion of nail polish, solvents, witch hazel, etc. in a plastic cottage cheese tub in the schoolyard. Did we cast a spell? I can't remember. What matters is that she is as mischievous as ever. Today, she unhatched the genius idea for an unscrewpulous little plan.

July 9: Cam on

1. To commemorate my diet (effective immediately), a pedicure.

2. The three women on duty agree to teach me some Vietnamese.

3. ‘Thank you - very much - my love.’ ‘Cam on - nhieu - em yeu’ (to girl) ‘anh yeu’ (to guy). Pronounced ‘Gam œn (rhymes with jeune) nyieu (rhymes with Dieu) em ee-o / an ee-o.’

July 8: Fruits, Veggies

Eat is just one letter away from Fat.

How can I describe this? I spent almost my entire weekend in my underwear.

Tea, smoke, muffins, chocolate, candies, smoke, biscottis, ice cream, smoke, wander backyard in rain.

1. Dried fruit snacks, Perrier, email.

Big-budget Chinese film set in Tang dynasty (co-starring lots of boob), ice cream, cheese, smoke, wander around the house.

2. Fresh tomatoes, Perrier, email.

Too Legit to Quit courtesy of MC Hammer and the kids next door (followed by mild depression), ice cream, smoke, wander front yard.

3. Garlic dill pickles, Perrier, email.

My parents were in Montreal for the big Jazz Festival. You'd think I would take advantage... I don't eat dairy and I don't even smoke!

Sad? Rad. In a pathetic kind of way, I will always remember it as my own Home Alone, Generation X.

Bonus: Eat Pray Love

I chose these quotes - one from each section - as I read Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Or maybe they chose me.

1. ‘The Bhagavad Gita - that ancient Indian Yogic text - says that it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection.’

2. ‘You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.’ - Richard from Texas

3. ‘Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.’

Bonus: Little Lukas

I took exactly one break from my solitude today to go flop around in a swimming pool with my nephews. The surest way to coax little Lukas from the farthest reaches of the deck into the shallow end, jumping madly, is to make a big production of clumsily tumbling into the water. I keel over, sunglasses and all, and emerge a sputtering, giggling wethead. He goes wild with laughter and runs to Messy Auntie Julia.

Let me know if this works with your little ones.

July 7: Nourishing

I finished Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Ladies - and Gentlemen - it's a good one! It has inspired me to:

1. nourish my body;
2. nourish my soul; and
3. nourish my passport.

July 6: Transformer

1. A nice driver allowed my bike on the bus during rush hour. I was running late, and he didn't make a big stink of it.

2. A few guys in a band let me join them for dinner, post-soundcheck, pre-gig. I was the lucky observer of the pre-show dynamic.

3. I recognized an old neighbour and schoolmate late at night on Queen Street West, where we took time out to catch up.

Speaking of my folding bike, I finally learned why every guy - and maybe cop - seems to salivate over it (completely seeing through, when not scowling at, yours truly). Suddenly all my male friends are calling my bike a Transformer. Nothing to do with any current Hollywood movie releases.

Bonus: Perspective

I thought this was pretty good. Thanks to Daiva.

July 5: Eat

Some serious ‘compliments of’ today:

1. Belgian chocolate-covered caramel popcorn (resembling pretzels).
2. Cheddar biscuit ‘crisps’ (resembling shortbread cookies).
3. Leafy dark green spinach salad (resembling spinach salad).

How appropriate. I am reading Eat Pray Love. Today I'm doing the eat part.

July 4: ‘Foon’

1. Food: My sister made me an incredible scrambled eggs breakfast using cheese brought back fresh from Holland.

2. Foon: When I showed my nephew a spork (spoon+fork), he studied it carefully and logically concluded that it was a Foon.

3. Fool: I went biking in the warm, pouring rain, but it was fun. Then I had a cigarette, but I liked it. I watched my neighours; my neighbours watched me. Maybe they'll tell my parents. Maybe I'll tell my parents who here calls the cops in the middle of the night long after they are sleeping. It's a strange place, this Crescent, beneath its shiny veneer.

P-Units, II: Street Action

I am a girl who rides her bike around town in her flip flops. Innocent enough, right?

So it's beyond me why the cops felt like chasing me in the middle of the night.

Ok... I was in what are essentially my pyjamas, wearing a funny-looking backpack and trying to balance a huge garment bag containing a suit. Is that suspicious?

Sirens were approaching. They neared as I turned onto a darkened street. I sped up. They sped up! I whipped through the curves, trying not to lose my suit. They were onto me. I turned into my parents' driveway. They followed, screeching to a halt. I was caught like a deer in high-beam headlights.

They shook their heads and backed out.

Never a dull moment!

July 3: Rejection

1. Thoughtful - A guy at work got me this point it book in New York. Pictures include a grapefruit.
2. Helpful - I got the ok to arrive late for work tomorrow.
3. Surprising - A great piece of direct mail full of samples. Cream, shampoo, conditioner, gel, chewing gum, even bobbypins.

And especially this:
4. Inspiring - After a rejection of sorts, I am more inspired than ever to work hard to make my dreams come true, damn it!

Bonus: Canada Day

I've been celebrating this long weekend. July 1st was Canada's 140th birthday. Not too shabby.

I was in a bit of a funk - post-party syndrome - but Izzy gave me Def Leppard's Greatest Hits and I was ready to blog again.

Pour some ssssugar on me!

July 2: Smashing

1. My nephews attacked me with hugs. Lukas loves smashing his head into my face.
2. Izzy prepared an incredible dinner, including some smashing French red wine.
3. My friends in Cleveland were getting smashed and decided to call me up so I could be there with them.

July 1: Offer

Happy Birthday, Canada!

1. My suit was taken in more than three inches.
2. My friend Asuka joined my family for dinner.
3. My in-box contained an official job offer!

Happy Birthday to my blog, too.

Bonus: Grapefruit

I met a really interesting guy tonight who can utter the following statement in umpteen languages:

‘My grapefruit has no knees.’

June 30: Blue Moon

1. Learning: Portuguese people brought the ukelele to Hawai'i.
2. Reading: a thick, heavy memoir at the bookstore for only $2.
3. Blue Moon Beer: post-gig, a home brew ale on a back patio.

I'm told it was the second full moon this month. I'll toast to that!

June 29: Brazilian

Everything really good today happened late at night:

1. Chilling with my brother, listening to friends play in a club, eating what may possibly have been the world's greatest onion rings.
2. Checking out a lively Brazilian party at Toronto's Gladstone Hotel.
3. Arriving with Tim at a west-end Brazilian after-hours house party to the words, ‘Welcome Home!’

God Bless the Beautiful Brazilians!