December 29: Demolition

1. 10am: My dad helped me demolish the kitchen.
2. 5pm: My neighbour helped me remove the rubbish.
3. 8pm: My missing burgundy Syrian scarf reappeared.

Then some Tudors...

December 28: Butterfly

The Best of Ordinary Days, Errands Edition.

1. Fixed soles on my Marc Jacobs shoes (for cheap).
2. Soon-to-be-fixed Argentine rabbit coat (for free).
3. No day of repairs, mending, etc. would be complete without an extraordinary film at an art house cinema to end the day.

The Diving Bell and The Butterfly is the true story of Jean-Dominique Bauby. After suffering a massive stroke that left him paralyzed from head to toe, his mind intact (‘locked-in syndrome’), blinking his left eyelid was his only means of communication. The film is based on his best-selling memoir, Le Scaphandre et le Papillon, published just days before he died.

Bonus: Time (II)

‘Life is all about timing... the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable becomes available, the unattainable... attainable. Have the patience, wait it out. It's all about timing.’ - Stacey Charter

‘Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.’ - Steve Jobs

‘If you get up one more time than you fall you will make it through.’ - Chinese Proverb

December 27: Joke

1. Winning another battle in the paper war at home!

2. ‘Stalin's ghost appears to Putin in a dream, and Putin asks for help running the country. Stalin says, ‘Round up and shoot all the democrats, and then paint the inside of the Kremlin blue.’ ‘Why blue?’ Putin asks. ‘Ha!’ says Stalin. ‘I knew you wouldn't ask me about the first part.’’

3. A real estate professional took the time - over an hour - to patiently listen, and to answer my questions. [I'm so glad he's not a lawyer.]

December 26: Chalet

1. Petras is in town from Tokyo. He and I got together for dinner to satisfy his massive craving for Swiss Chalet.

2. Then he picked up the tab. He swears Swiss Chalet would be a roaring success overseas - anyone in head office listening?

3. A good friend was online, up late at night. We had a proper chat to catch up on affairs of the mind and matters of the heart.

It seems everyone returns to Swiss Chalet for that special sauce. I return for the coleslaw.

Bonus: Time (I)

‘We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they're called memories. Some take us forward, they're called dreams.’ - Jeremy Irons

‘Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.’ - H. Jackson Brown

‘There is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go.’ - Tennessee Williams

December 25: Dinner

1. Holiday downtime, at last, to start reflecting on the year.
2. Christmas dinner with friends whose families are far away.
3. Beautiful gift of letterpress typography, patterns and haiku.

‘The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.’ - Albert Einstein

December 24: Pancakes

1. No big rush hour: morning commute into downtown.
2. Bill the time anyway: work cancelled for the afternoon.
3. Kids' Christmas Eve: being served imaginary pancakes.

December 23: Tuesdays

1. Precious sleep: ‘There are twelve hours in the day, and above fifty in the night.’ - Marie de Rabutin-Chantal

2. Silver Tuesdays: All I wanted was a pair of low-rise, boot-cut jeans. Easy? Not so! After a painful hunt, it ended where it all started (thank you, Jean Machine).

3. Happy convert: $150 (plus tax) buys a 1hr facial in a fancy hotel; $50 buys that same facial - for 1.5hrs - in that same aesthetician's home.

‘If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.’ - Dale Carnegie

December 22: Dining

This was a special three-part day.

1. Matthew: My nephew and I explored Kensington Market's art galleries, butcher shops and free cheese samples.

2. Keesh: Cabs to the 'burbs and back for dinner in a place known as Ajax (and what a fabulous dinner it was).

3. Julija: Post-Eastern European pub, dining at the 24hr McDonald's (for a McSober combo, thank you very much).

December 21: Baklava

1. The bootie boots I got yesterday are pretty hottie-hot!
2. Famished, I discovered baklava in the kitchen at work.
3. Thanks to a tip from Neil, I had fun exploring Good Business Day (a ‘continuously updated source of information on holidays and observances affecting global financial markets—bank holidays, public holidays, currency non-clearing days and trading and settlement holidays affecting exchanges’).

Happy National Unity Day, Zimbabwe.

December 20: Maracatu

1. Late Night: In a quiet corner of Dundas Street West, a midnight Brazilian drumming party. Toronto's own Maracatu Nunca Antes was performing at the one and only Lula Lounge.

2. Later That Night: Met two guys at the streetcar stop, so we shared a cab to the subway. Torontonians need to do this more often: it saves money and it's social.

3. Really Late Night: Didn't need to hop in another taxi, as I saw a bus going my way. Riding Toronto buses by night puts me in touch with the city.

December 19: Escalator

1. Table, Restaurant: Looong lunch with Ms. Heather.
2. Escalator, Subway: Chris ascended as I descended.
3. Sofabed, Apartment: Late-night Ocean's Thirteen.

Bonus: Listened

Three people listened to me today:

1. My brother
2. Ms. Sharon
3. My brother (again)

December 18: Meatballs

1. Memory! Got a photo print from last week's party.
2. Hawaiian meatballs! Served warm, delicious food.
3. Blog! Lingered at my desk all night... blogging.

December 17: 3:00

1. Finished cleaning the house (3am).
2. Picked up my abandoned phone (3pm).
3. Continued cleaning the house (3am).

December 16: Juice

We were pounded by a snowstorm. That was fine. But my fridge was empty and nothing in the known universe was open. Except Blockbuster.

1. Tostitos bite-size Rounds (surprisingly natural)
2. Tostitos salsa, medium (quite healthy, actually)
3. Dole orange juice (the only juice they carried)

Foodgroups in themselves, really.

December 15: Chit

1. A day wandering Kensington Market:
Market. Touch-ing exhibit. Helvetica film documentary DVD.

2. An evening at a houseparty:
Wine. Chopping vegetables. Turquoise ski pant advice.

3. A late night journey home:
Snow. Hailing taxi. Complimentary corporate cab chit.

December 14: Lightning

First, this guy sold me his $15 ticket for $10 at the door.
Then, local band Flash Lightning rocked an incredible gig.
Then, White Cowbell Oklahoma on stage at Lee's Palace.

Bonus: VerveEarth

VerveEarth is a new way to surf the web. It's just starting up, so check it out and let them know what you think!

December 13: Duprees

The Corporate Party:

My dinner companion shared her beef with me. (I always order salmon because it's ostensibly healthier, but as soon as beef is set on the table, I am like the family puppy.) That is my 1, 2, 3-in-one.

The Creative Party:

1. On telling the organizer I was a ‘guest of a guest’ – this was true – she replied that she appreciated my honesty, let me stay and even gave me a drink ticket.

2. A storyteller named Roger met Julia and Neil, whereupon they – all three possibly Duprees – voted on naked business cards and told each other stories.

3. At the end of the night, this to me from the remaining guests: ‘Hi, we're a bunch of straight guys and we just wanted to tell you that we totally looove your shoes.’

December 12: Timeslot

1. Colourist agrees to refine her highlights in an open slot.
2. Dude at Laura Mercier examines her shades of plum lips.
3. Babe scores some fancy corporate toilet paper for herself.

Corporate TP is the most enduring and endearing. Snag a roll from work and test it at home. It lasts twice as long. I'd like to know where to buy this stuff. Toilet paper should not be soft and squeezable, of puffy air and no longevity – it ought to be a solid roll of consumer product!

PS - Just went here for a fantabulous surprise.

December 11: The FB

1. Facebook: Izzy is a real woman with a real job. Who takes my calls in the middle of the day to listen to – of all things – my aliases. All the cool names get rejected. I beg her to listen to a few more (‘is this too porny?’) – and she actually does, even though she has real work to do.

2. Non-Facebook: My first swim in a saltwater pool.

3. Facebook: Is it possible to spend two hours on the FB at work? Oh, it is possible to spend a lot more than two hours! Just a theoretical supposition.

December 10: Super

1. Superstuffed: two slices of orange carrot cake.
2. Superbad: two high school kids in a riotous flick.
3. Superbeer: two reds resting in the fridge, waiting.

December 9: Workshop

1. Free full-size milk with Starbucks ‘traveller.’
2. Free exchange of ideas in a creative workshop.
3. Free spirits, free, with the free gift of learning.

Bonus: Story

1. Character
2. Plot
3. Theme

December 8: Calories

1. Feeling the love: film directors and learning the art of.
2. Feeling the love: grandmothers and beaming smiles from.
3. Feeling the calories: Izzy and sharing free birthday cake with.

December 7: Fridge

1. Goodbye, Miss Elena (brunch titled ‘Indian’)
2. Goodbye, Miss Vivian (linner titled ‘Japanese’)
3. Hello, Miss Jennifer (email titled ‘chocolate treats for you in the fridge’)

I love Indian food, but do not recommend it for breakfast.

December 6: Sneaking

1. Two little nephews sneaking into bed early in the morning. ‘Oh! I thought you were mummy – but you're Auntie Julia!’

2. With my 4-year-old companion, sneaking pink and blue cream cheese icing and pink and blue Smarties from the carrot cake sitting atop the kitchen island.

3. In hysterics, rolling back and forth with Lukas on speckled white floor tiles after Gymboree: sneaking snow pants onto a giggly, fidgety two-year-old in a Canadian winter in a simultaneously hilarious and exhausting moment.

December 5: Frames and Pictures

1. Guest Surprise – Meeting up once again with the talented women of Frames and Pictures.
2. ‘Guest Straw’ – Sipping on Kat’s strawberry banana milkshake.
3. Guest Beds – A, Sneaking a little afternoon nap. B, Sneaking into a little sister’s crib.

December 4: Brandy

3. In a freezing cold office over a kitchen counter, leaning up against a running dishwasher for hot, steamy comfort. It almost felt as good as taking a shower.
2. In an idle morning over cream of wheat, chatting with Vivian.
1. In an unexpected moment over a pile of papers and laundry, receiving some very good news from a woman named Brandy.

Bonus: Rules

All I Ever Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten:

1. Listen
2. Participate
3. Have fun!

December 3: Doughnut

1. Honouring: attending one very inspiring awards luncheon.
2. Spacing: attending a release party for Toronto's coolest mag.
3. Attending: to the maple-glazed doughnut Kevin bought me.

‘Today is the tomorrow I was terrified of yesterday.’

December 2: Mustard

1. Trekking through freshly fallen snow with the boys early on Sunday morning in a city hugged by the white blanket of winter.

2. Journeying through carol-filled hotel foyers and salons packed with young children wired on chocolate milk and sugary sweets.

3. Laughing through lunch as Lukas repeatedly offers me a green-coloured shortbread cookie wreath, dipped in bright yellow mustard.

December 1: Ethiopian

1. Queen Street West: Doing the gallery walk, warm lights glowing from storefront galleries at twilight.

2. Queen Street West West: Gingerly picking up salad with folded bread between fingers; eating an entire meal without utensils at Addis Ababa Ethiopian restaurant. Ridiculously delicious!

3. Hollywood Boulevard: A night of raspberry sorbet and the boys of Entourage. Ouch! Hot! Jeremy Piven. Sigh...

Bonus: Lessons

As holiday party season kicks off:

1. Keep an extra plastic bag at coat check in case you are the lucky winner of the oversized centrepiece in the middle of the dinner table.

2. If you're wearing stay-up nylons, for heaven's sakes, wear stay-up panties!

3. If your company is dim enough not to provide you with a taxi home, by all means feel free to act up in any way you see fit for free cab money.

November 30: Hours

1. Nine hours of beauty sleep.
2. Two hours of office work.
3. Six hours of party time.

November 29: Yellow

1. Good: Got a lot of good work done.
2. Better: Then got even more work done.
3. Best: After the work was done, the pleasure of being sandwiched between four teenaged boys on the subway. Yes, I do mean that. It was remarkably entertaining. Every sentence started with ‘Yo’ - as in ‘Yo, check out the Yellow DJs!’

What is a Yellow DJ? Yo, that would be the construction workers in the subway tunnels.