October 30: Minutes

Minutes well-spent:

1. Josh Rachlis's Terry Cloth (11 minutes)
2. Anita Renfroe's William Tell Overture for moms (3 minutes of Momsense)
3. Josh Rachlis's Marriage Proposal (3 minutes)

Bonus: Kirchner

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has won Argentina's presidential election. I have a big politician crush on her spouse. He will make a sexy First Husband!

October 29: Farmers

Oy vey, October!

I haven't fallen off the wagon. November will be a time of reflection. Didn't Ernest Hemingway say that in order to write about life, first you must live it? I've been going the way of Heming, but my blog will soon again go the way of me.

Without further ado, this mild Monday:

1. Artists: Friendly peeps, served with delicious crackers and baby carrots alongside spicy and non-spicy hummus at a kitchen roundtable.

2. Creatives: Dinner with a friendly stranger sharing his unique hyphenated name story, a free film pass and other nuggets of imagination.

3. Farmers: On the subway, conversation all the way to the west end with two sweetie-pies from St. Catherines. Who really were farmers. Who were adorable young men. Who thought I was in college. Which I'm not. Which was flattering.

Three Things: Movies

1. In the Valley of Elah by Paul Haggis
2. Eastern Promises by David Cronenberg
3. The Unforeseen by Laura Dunn

October 28: Priorities

1. Pastry. I'm at this thing. I meet this nice guy from Kent, Ohio. He'd like to share his Belgian beer; I'd like to share my gnocchi. We picnic on Greek Orthodox church-steps. He is half-Greek, half-Lithuanian. My nephews are half-Greek, half-Lithuanian. We toast from plastic cups labelled ‘Baltika’. We pour Forêt beer from its wine-shaped bottle. The foam is thick and creamy like a pastry.

I've always liked people from Ohio.

2. Film. I'm at this thing. I see this Robert Redford feature titled The Unforeseen. I learn about Barton Springs and the aquifer in Austin, Texas. Inspired by the perseverance and the conviction of its people, I decide I must make an appointment with Barton Springs for a swim. ‘If the people lead, the leaders will follow.’

I've always wanted to visit Austin.

3. Wine. I'm at this thing. I re-meet this nice guy from Toronto. We drink red wine and talk about ... well, we talk about all kinds of things. He is a writer and artist who keeps on keeping on ... and even though we should both call it a night, we don't. Priorities? These are coffee-spoon moments.

I've always liked kindred creative spirits.

October 27: Insiders

1. People in media: Sharing time with journalists.
2. People in media: Sharing time with publicists.
3. People in media: Sharing time with totally charming, intelligent and engaging adult film industry insiders!

October 26: Skip

1. Privileged: to observe a film pitch session.
2. Surprised: to meet a fellow Baltic Canadian.
3. Delighted: to skip off work and catch a film.

October 25: Parties

1. Two free drinks, one graphic designer, one reception.
2. Two colleagues, one standing bar, one new confidant.
3. Two friends, one cab, one Queen West West gallery.

Three Things: Typos

1. ‘companies listed on the Toronto Sock Exchange’
2. ‘terms and conditions as being in the pubic interest’
3. ‘acknowledgment regarding nun-exclusive relationship’

October 24: Tori!

1. The voice of darkness: gory guest list beckons.
2. The voice of improvisation: performance art calls.
3. The voice of an angel: Tori Amos touches down.

October 23: Tori

1. Online: Surprise! Tori, tomorrow night.
2. Offline: Korean green tea birthday cake.
3. In line: Encouraging coursework grades.

Bonus: Value


More on this later . . . I will leave you with that while I attempt to find a moment in which to blog.

(I have been attending lots of parties this week - it is hard work!)

Speaking of, I'd like to encourage everyone out there, as we move into party season, to ditch the black wardrobe. I propose white instead, or anything vintage and shiny.

October 22: Meeting

Yes, I've blogged backwards a couple of times. I go by email and my calendar. Today is November 27, but October 22 isn't lost. This particularly Monday, however, was a Totally Ordinary Monday.

But with Totally Special People:
1. Andy
2. Selena
3. Sandra

October 21: Recovery

Beware the after-effects of galas...

1. Hooded à la Unabomber, tracked down some Coca-Cola to begin my recovery.
2. Recovered (miraculously) in time for the closing film at ImagineNative.
3. Enjoyed, unhooded, the vivacious company of a German film producer, whose energy and effervescent charm completed my full recovery.

October 20: Gala

Joining a black-and-white fundraiser gala for free is more than enough fun. Especially when you forget your dress at home and your friend helps you coordinate an outfit (which you may or may not have successfully pulled off, seeing as jeans were a part of the ensemble). So, what to do with the spare cash? Why, throw it into charity fundraising, of course!

Our winnings included
1. Gift certificates,
2. Fancy dinners, and
3. Manicure packages.

The trip to Italy eluded us, despite everyone's best concerted efforts to concoct a win, but we got a great return on our $20 bills nonetheless... and the drinks just kept flowing.

October 19: Impromptu

1. Hanging: Another day of fun with Neil.
2. Partying: Jsho's impromptu houseparty.
3. Drinking: Jsho's heavenly homebrew.

October 18: Neil

1. Creating solutions, like how to affix stubborn lanyard clips to badges (damn it), with Neil, my Friend in Frustration and Small Pleasures.
2. Creating new friends (Hello, Ian) at a party I was lucky enough to be invited to.
3. Creating (not I): new media art on the way home at the Spin Gallery. Not spun sound; spun images!

October 17: Milka

1. Meeting up with Neil.
2. Meeting up with Daniel.
3. Meeting up with Milka!

October 16: Pickled

1. Free replacement brake pads (already worn down). I'm going to keep biking through the winter: wear them down again!

2. Runway-hair-meets-bike-courier. Getting the up and down - in a good way - on the elevator. I love arriving at work in my bike-greased khakis.

3. Complimentary pickled ginger from the local Japanese restaurant. When all else fails, I cut it up and improvise tea. I refuse to get sick.

Now I'm pickled tink! This is my 365th post.

October 15: Meeting

1. Meeting of the minds: kitchen table collaboration.
2. Meeting of acquaintances: restaurant dialogues.
3. Meeting of the hearts: old classmates catch up.

Bonus: ESL

Teaching English is the best! Direct from overseas, here are some of my favourite lines from recent kids' writings:

1. ‘Ants are so little and are firmly united with patriotic spirit.’
2. ‘In praise of David… A teacher who is the rebirth of Goliath.’
3. ‘The French people don’t use English. They have their self-respect.’

AND: ‘Nowadays I have a habit of picking my nose.’

October 14: Lessons

A bathroom renovation is a good way to learn a few lessons.

1. Inspect contractor's other finished work in advance. Check.
2. Leave town for a weekend while work is completed. Check.
3. Do not - I repeat, do not - hire the contractor if he names his two trailers ‘Betsy’ and ‘Susan’. Oops, did not check.

October 13: Lunch

No breakfast.

Lunch #1 with teacher was served with charm.
Lunch #2 with student was served with delight.
Lunch #3 with nephew was served with wonder.

No dinner.

October 12: Double

1. Early evening. Large groups of young men chased each other through the financial district, the air thick with urgency. Relief when I discovered I would not get caught in the cross-fire of a gang war. They were playing Capture the Flag.

2. Mid-evening. ‘I'm feeling great, and I have sex almost every day. Almost on Monday, almost on Tuesday, almost on Wednesday...’ - Fitness guru Jack LaLanne, who has turned 93.

3. Late evening. My folding bike supports two! Dan and I rode double, none too sober, from Union Station to Queen Street West. My legs sprawled out sideways so my wide pants wouldn't get caught in the gears; his legs pedalled with fury. We laughed all the way there - we did it!

October 11: Touching

3. News. Ontario has a new statutory holiday in February!

2. Truce. The guy at the bike shop showed me how to use a mini-pump for my tires, then slotted me in with the mechanics to examine all the bruises on my baby folding bike.

1. Touch. In a moving experience, I sat next to a woman reading Braille. Her fingers ran over a thick white cardstock book about the size of an LP. It looked like sheet music, but with imprinted notes. Imagine reading words by touch!

Bonus: Lessing

‘When you look at my life, you can go back to the late 1930s. What I saw was, first of all, Hitler, he was going to live forever. Mussolini was in for 10,000 years. You had the Soviet Union, which was, by definition, going to last forever. There was the British empire – nobody imagined it could come to an end. So why should one believe in any kind of permanence?’

Doris Lessing, 2007 Nobel Prize Winner (Literature)

October 10: Lemons

My employer blocked access to my blog and webmail. How flattering that someone is watching over me so closely.

1. Hence the opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons.

2. Lessons from a man who made lemons out of lemonade:
‘Those who talk don't know what is going on and those who know what is going on won't talk.’ - Larry Speakes

3. I once lost a lot of weight and significantly improved my health by drinking hot lemon water every day. The benefits cannot be overstated. I'm bringing back the almighty lemon!

October 9: Chili

1. Urination: I have a beautiful new bathroom!
2. Consideration: I was asked whether I had any ‘philosophical objections’ to meeting for a coffee at Starbucks.
3. Salvation: I found a can of chili in my empty kitchen.

Bonus: Seen

In a shop window in Halifax:

‘The bitterness of low quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.’

October 8: ‘Sole mio’

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia

A. The clock tower in the Public Gardens is chiming midnight 15 minutes early. It is beautiful, yet perplexing.

1. Feeling it as I am welcomed into several extended Korean-Portuguese families.

B. Email from old friends, wireless internet connections, chlorinated pools, hair straighteners, control top nylons, Titanic marine museums.

2. Feeling it as everyone helps me get to where I need to go in a hurry.

C. The privilege of hearing ‘Sole mio’ sung in Italian - with extraordinary feeling - from a husband to a wife (‘you are my sunshine’).

3. Feeling it as the Portuguese Adam Sandler (à la Wedding Singer) plays a Christmas carol over dinner.

Bonus: Thanksgiving

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. Since this is at heart a blog of thanksgiving, I want to pay respect to this underrated holiday.

This morning, I am thankful for Canadian Maple Syrup.

Three Things: Halifax

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia

People in Toronto are nice – don't get me wrong. I certainly believe Toronto gets a bad rap in the rest of the country. Except out here, I am extra nice... all this friendliness is so unfamiliar.

1. Six universities! Intelligentia in a small town.
2. Nothing snobby about it, in it, through it or around it.
3. My server at the pub actually called me a lass!

I'm also quite weirded out (in a good way) that everyone I've met so far has perfect grammar. Make no mistake: This place packs a punch!

More bits on 1for365.

October 7: Vowels

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia

1. Fresh Haddock brunch, Warm Gingerbread dessert. Jane's on the Common: You absolutely must eat here if you're in Halifax (right next to Tony's).

2. At the YMCA, courtesy in the swimming lanes. Note to guys: you don’t have to accommodate the ladies. It's obvious we are out-swimming you.

3. Emanuel tells the story of learning Korean by watching infomercials about anti-fat potions. He wasn't watching them for his bowels; he was watching them for his vowels.

October 6: $95

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia

1. Historic? A traveller offers me $100US for $95Cdn.
2. Cuba? Outside the airport, the sweet smell of cigars.
3. Donairs? Tony's across the Common serves it oven-fresh.

October 5: Licked?

How will this adventure end? So far:

1. Strength: The contractor asks me if I'm going to ‘behave myself’ at Home Depot. God gives me strength to resist harsh retaliation (since I don't want any, either). I ask God to please send feminists into this man's life immediately.

2. Story: I buy the contractor and his son lunch. The contractor tells the tale of his brother, who would only visit when their mom baked her famous chocolate cake. He'd never call; he never knew. It just happened to be on those exact days that he'd pop in.

3. Plate: The contractor demonstrates what he used to do back in the day, way back when, who-knows-where: turn the plate over onto the placemat. Either he licked it clean or I will never have to do another dish so long as he eats at my table.

Bonus: Toronto Fog

The city was steeped in fog so thick you could scoop it up in your palm like bubbles in a bath. When it lifted, rays of sun hit the skyscrapers like daggers piercing through sheets of snow. She returned at night to tuck us back into bed.

October 4: Zen

1. The building manager gets me a contractor, pronto.
2. My dad arrives to help negotiate the bathroom job.
3. After a near heart attack over the whole affair, Zen where I least expect it. I spend a couple of hours sending faxes. Paper sliding, fax humming, low frequencies buzzing... it is unbelievably soothing.

October 3: Slammin’

My friend runs a travellers' hostel, where I met her for lunch. Hostels are where it's at.

1. Salad: Fresh vegetables from Kensington Market.
2. Speech: Fresh conversation from Spain, Japan, Israel.
3. Slammin': As in, Mmm, Fresh Slammin' Hotties!

October 2: Journey

1. Being introduced to members of a local creative organization.
2. Having conversations with them about the creative journey.
3. Taking the journey to the office, with me renewed optimism.

I want to mention it was a great hair day. I don't give it enough credit sometimes.

October 1: Six

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
loads of laundry.

Bonus: New Scotland

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia

I am blogging from Halifax this long weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving). Nova Scotia is ‘New Scotland’ and it is my new favourite place in Canada.

Just overhead at Coburg Coffee:
‘Hi, I was wondering if you have a coffee filter I could have – not buy, just have... I ran out.’
‘Oh, it's ok, I just need one.’
‘No worries!’

People here are VERY nice.

September 30: Advice

I spent the whole day with old people at the nursing home. I left with a sense of urgency: to enjoy my youth and my body now!

The elderly tell me:
1. ‘A man can be nice – but not too nice! If he's too nice, he won't be strong.’
2. ‘You can be nice to a man – but not too nice! Be nice – but never beg!’
3. ‘The most important thing in this life is to be healthy. And to be young!’

September 29: Nuit

Babe 1: The school President introduced herself to us at an alumni reception.
Babe 2: Jung took nice photos of us at Toronto's second annual Nuit Blanche.
Babe 3: Rhonda supplied two bottles of red wine, and the cups for us to sip from, for wandering through the streets and sitting in the park all night.

September 28: Colleagues

There is something really special about colleagues you can turn to. There exists quite a bond, actually. Think of all the hours spent together.

My beautiful friends at work:
1. share their meals, drinks and time with me when I'm hungry for any of them,
2. share real estate, financial and career advice from a sweet pool of knowledge, and
3. share their feedback on my love life, love letters and anything else love-related.

September 27: Hugs

1. Thanks: Dad set up the trailer from the cottage for my move.
2. Thanks: Mother Nature waited until after I moved to let it rain.
3. Thanks: Ron listened to my sob story at the local coffee shop.

Plus my two nephews, who came running into the coffee shop in their little dinosaur raincoats. Wet plastic hugs never felt so good!

September 26: Words

Drowning in boxes upon boxes today,

1. kind words from Spain,
2. kind words from Venezuela, and
3. kind words from England.

Life really does change overnight. Yesterday, here I was. Tomorrow, new circumstances, moments with my parents never to be recaptured. Four months with mom and dad. Did we find our utopia? Hell, no! Perhaps something virtuous, instead, in our time shared together.

Bonus: Toilet

‘I've learned.... That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.’ - Andy Rooney

Holy October!

Dear friends and bloggers,

I've been positively swamped! I dared to moved house again. After which I looked up to hope, stared down despair, fooled around with busy, flirted with a little chaos and engaged in a few slices of fun. So when an emergency bathroom renovation descended upon me, I didn't bat an eyelash!

I'm paper blogging right now (well, scrap-paper blogging). This is like my 40 days and 40 nights... wow, I miss this space!

Cheers! Here's to no toilet and no sink!