1. 57:11 - Length of conversation with T, a morning philosopher before she even gets out of bed.
2. 70.00 - Percent discount on a summer t-shirt, just for asking.
3. 99.99 - All I paid for a pair of $650 shoes!
1. 57:11 - Length of conversation with T, a morning philosopher before she even gets out of bed.
1. Listening to my nephews' voicemail messages to me.
2. Picnic brunch at a tucked-away lawn bowling club.
3. E, for documentation in an administrative nightmare.
1. Empathy: A friend, also hung over, listened.
2. Sunshine and Ice: Hot weather, cool pool water.
3. Silence: Peace and stillness, in contemplation.
‘The best things in life are not things.’
If I could name today, I'd call it Rejection. Among its lights:
1. Waking up to the September cover of National Geographic magazine. Look at his eyes!
2. Jung and Benson met me in Kensington Market (where the incredible Nunca Antes, Brazilian Maracatu drummers, performed).
3. My wonderful friend Audra listened to me spilling my heart out from a payphone booth, folding bike parked outside, cell phone dead.
And I kept biking and biking, all the way home...
1. Omelettes. Pre-planned brunch with colleagues in the Annex.
2. Roast Beef (in beer). Friendly last-minute dinner in Scarborough.
3. Black hearts (in beer). Overnight conversation in Liberty Village.
‘Every kick in the ass is a step forward.’
1. Philip, Duncan, Dave. Meeting friendly new printers.
2. Oscar. I watched a Ryan Gosling film. Mmm, watch out!
3. Unknown. Hot-t-t retail shop guy offering assistance.
1. A certain lifeguard at a certain hotel pool agreed to hook me up.
2. A certain Madrileña talked me through some romance issues.
3. A certain little nephew did some dancing for me (‘dance #4,’ ‘dance #79’) and, much to our shock and concern, reproduced a little hip-hop lyrical: ‘I'm gonna kick your aaa!’ He was clueless; it was hilarious. (This forever solves the to-play-or-not-to-play issue as far as I'm concerned.) We convinced the confused little guy to sing, ‘I'm gonna kiss your hand!’
I broke my rule about waiting until bedtime to look back on the day. More miscellany:
1. Discovery: secret key to a secret kitchen.
2. LOL: my friend Karolis wrote a fabulous short story that included the line, ‘we'd ... ride off to a hot clime where we could be homeless all our lives and fuck outdoors.’
3. Kosher: delicious dill pickle from my parents' fridge. Half, actually... It is the first dill pickle in my life that I have had to wrap in plastic and save because it was too big to finish.
Some of you know I've been staying with my parents. We're looking at 3-4 months, with possibility for early release. I wanted to get to know them as people - and now I am!
1. My dad sunbathes in a straw cowboy-like hat.
2. He also listens to Eminem when my mom isn't home.
3. My mom tap dances to Il Divo at 6:30 every morning.
Today was a miscellany of goodies. Here are just three:
1. Hand extended outside restaurant, ‘Hi, are you Walter? I'm Julia.’ ‘Hi Julia, nice to meet you, I'm Larry.’ It was hilarious.
2. Walking down Bay Street during the afternoon rush. Crawling bumper to bumper, two army boys in a Hummer, pulling up to a pretty young woman every 30 seconds, cranking up the music and belting out at the top of their lungs, ‘What is love? Baby don't hurt me no more...’
3. Reading Two Chicago Stories. If you can, take five minutes to read them. They are AMAZING. Thank you, Gretta!
1. I called out in anguish on the street to no one in particular, ‘What day is it today?!’ And a nice guy replied, ‘Tuesday!’
2. After my bike ride, Paul took me into his home and offered me grapefruit juice - which happens to be my favourite.
3. In the Aftermath of Paul, I lingered ... in a good way ... and I got more free legal advice! Damn, that's the best kind.
Quebec is a slice of Europe in North America. Good things from la belle province:
1 Party. Legal drinking age: 18. Last call: 3am. You can also buy beer and wine at many corner stores (unlike the rest of Canada). Liberal thinking embodied in attitudes such as, ‘The world will not end if you take a two-hour lunch.’
2 Party. June 24: An extra statutory holiday, St-Jean-Baptiste Day (Fête de la Saint-Jean), presumably to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, beautiful cities and beautiful people...
2b ...and beautiful beer. Another excuse to get drunk and launch oneself into the St-Jean-Baptiste bonfire. ‘Every year, somehow, it happens. It usually makes the news.’
3 Poutine. Hand-cut potatoes, fried in pure lard, covered in thick French-Canadian gravy and fresh white cheddar-cheese curds that go ‘squick, squick’ when you bite into them. There is nothing like it anywhere else. If you’ve never indulged in this sinful stuff, drive up on your next free weekend!
Merci, Isabelle, pour votre perspective.
1. Eyes, closed. ‘Sweet dreams.’ ... ‘Hello again.’ Short, but effective, nap.
2. Toes, also closed, toddling... ‘Good job.’ ‘Raise?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Thanks!’ Short, but effective, meeting.
3. Ears, open. ‘Thanks for listening.’ ‘Anytime.’ Short, but effective, conversation.
Ah Jung, my ears and my eyes... and the wind beneath my wings. Sniff!
1. Arriving: to a new job, boss greeting me with a hug.
2. Sharing: men's washroom, door being guarded for me.
3. Biking: relaxed, buzzed, on a warm evening, across the city. My friend A answers her phone and invites me in when I spy her silhouette en route.
I love this dresscode: ‘Don't show your bits.’
1. Before: needed to be at work at 2pm, not 9am.
2. During: won a round of Jeopardy for my team.
3. After: drank, ate with some new colleagues.
1. Matthew: called to announce that he built a yellow Mega Bloks tower for me and that I live inside at the top.
2. Mama: called to warn that the temperature outside was dropping (she and my dad were worried about me).
3. Tammy: confirmed Saturday's details and scheduling in an online conversation from our respective workspaces.
1. Warm gesture: My boss was extra nice and sent me to the sick room to lie down, which I really needed to do.
2. Warm email: I got to be happy for someone else, whose good news email was titled, ‘Greetings and sunshine!’
3. Warm paper: I hugged the fresh, hot stacks of office paper feeding out of the printer up against my chest and stomach.
‘Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.’ - Oprah Winfrey
This week, I took my folding bike:
1. into the teller lineup at the bank;
2. into the change room at Zara; and
3. into row X at the movie theatre.
If I was Oprah, I'd buy one for everybody!
1. Seeing my brother made me very happy.
2. Seeing Bourne Identity for free: bonus.
3. Seeing two friends at the shopping mall.
How come Bourne always has cash at the ready?
From the theatre that is Yorkville, Hoo-ha!
Woman, bleach-white bouffant hair radiating from behind tinted windows in the distance, stops her Bentley in the middle of the road. Car parked, she emerges dressed head to toe in designer white. Quilted accessories. Gold trimmings. Ageing-Beauty-Pageant-Queen-meets-Televangelist's-Wife. Walks towards café, chubby feet stuffed into size 5 high-heels. Single-handedly creates a traffic jam two blocks long. Exits café. Saunters back to her vehicle. Slowly. Daintily. Obliviously. Her high-pitched, soft-spoken answer to the string of obscenities flying towards her: ‘What? I was here first.’
A1. Free wireless internet in the restaurant.
B1. Over lunch: Building on ideas born of a midnight moment.
A2. People-watching on a sunny patio corner.
B2. Over coffee: Idea stories unfolding live in the flesh.
A3. Phone call from my one-and-only Ula.
B3. Over email: Even more ridiculous ideas!
C. Free legal advice!
‘You can't knock the hustle.’
** years ago, The World of Iz arrived.
To celebrate, I am sitting cross-legged on my favourite futon, licking an orange popsicle, humming Happy Birthday. Who knew that in the scheme of the universe, this very 2:00 a.m. moment would take place whilst Izzy slumbers not far away. Bonne anniversaire!
1. ¡Hola! Bumping into my Spanish teacher y su madre en el banco.
2. ¡Hola! My friend's brother served me a large green tea ice-cream for the price of a small.
3. ¡Hola! ‘I'm so excited to have you joining my professional world. Just let me know if I can do anything to help!’
I spent the day sewing. I am not even done. My back is killing me. Respect to anyone who, hunched over, sews.
As mentioned in a previous post, I have a few t-shirts I'd like to modify. They are souvenirs, cut for the male chest. Basically, I want to look less like David Beckham and more like his wife.
1. In the basement, my dad found me two pairs of incredibly sharp scissors.
2. At the mall sewing centre, the saleslady offered me some great suggestions.
3. At the dining room table, my mom saved the day. She and her magic hands stepped in when I inevitably screwed up.
In related news, I lopped off another set of pant legs to achieve jean shorts. Snip, snip, snip!
1. Mamma's Pizza: One of the best chains in Toronto.
2. Lukas's Wine: Quick drink, perfect timing. Sunset.
3. Vera's 'hood: Where I drank a Quebec Oatmeal beer.
Vera also took care of the $5 cover charge for me. When we got checked for ID, I took that as a great compliment, even if the doorman wasn't trying to flatter us.
1. Diagnostic: My wireless router works just fine.
2. Skanky-pants: Snip, snip jeans into even better shorts.
3. Download: Rhythmicru now has a ringtone on Telus (check your provider). It's called ‘Turn it Up’ (not to be confused with Paris Hilton's). We downloaded it to my phone, to everyone's approval.
Office Candy could mean many things. Today it means Treats. The kind people leave on their desks in small jars.
This post is dedicated to Anonymous Provider, Co-Worker of the Year. I have never laid eyes on such decadent office confectioneries. Entering Anonymous Provider's office can make anyone feel like a kid trick-or-treating in the poshest district on Halloween.
1. Candy-licious: not your run-of-the-mill sweet and sours. Lovely lollipops, joyous jelly beans, jamborees of jube-jubes...
2. Caramel-icious: chocolate-covered and non-chocolate-covered...
3. Chocolatey-icious: rich, individually-wrapped squares, mints of every persuasion, luxurious dark chocolate enveloping soft, buttery toffee...
Thank you, Anonymous Provider!
1. Fashion advice from my (exasperated) dad.
2. Career advice from a seasoned professional.
3. Industry advice from a friend who knows:
‘Don't accept any drinks and don't buy any land! There are a lot of film people out there who'll whisper sweet life-changing promises in your ears, and then the next morning you'll be waking up next to the Pillsbury Dough Boy looking for your shorts and wondering why you have a title deed to a swamp in Florida.’
God bless you, R, G and E!
1. ‘All the world's a stage’ – A woman was pacing through the streets calling out over and over, ‘Romeo!’ I'm not making light of it; it was beautiful.
2. ‘And all the men and women merely players’ – There really are good-looking gardeners all over suburbia.
3. ‘They have their exits and their entrances’ – I left the house late; I arrived at work early.
...one man in his time plays many parts’ – Thanks to my dad, who scanned Sunday’s Letraset. I added some colour and am quite pleased. Click here to view the result.
Public spaces. Private spaces. Shared spaces.
Voicemail: ‘Hi Julia, please excuse the echo. I am in my bathroom, but not doing gross things... I am brushing my teeth.’
1. People I know openly admit to using laptops in toilets.
2. Recently, a friend picked up his cell phone in the shower.
3. Another friend is installing an iPod bath speaker system.
What else do Bathroom Blackberry addicts do?
Snacking on cream cheese, popsicles and gummies, my dad and I watched three classic films together this long weekend.
1. The Getaway
‘All you are is what you're going after,’ or ‘All you are is _____________’ (37,000 Google results).
1. First Monday in August: a holiday in most of Canada.
2. Popsicles on sale at the big grocery chain for $2 a box.
3. My nephew and I took ‘naps’ on the steps of the swimming pool and shared where we'd like to go in our dreams.
I'm not the only one in Toronto with a folding bike. But since I'm one of the few – and no one here ever talks to strangers – here are some recent treasures that have come my way:
1. ‘Ah! You like it, Brazil? Nice sandals!’
2. ‘I like your arms. I have an arm fetish.’
3. ‘Is that a bike? It's perfect for the bush! For escaping grizzlies and polar bears. They can take your head off in two seconds flat.’
1. ‘No, Auntie Julia! I will not be an artist when I grow up... Because I'm going to be a dinosaur when I grow up.’ -My nephew Matthew
2. ‘All I have in this world is my balls and my word and I don't break them for no one.’ -Tony Montana (Al Pacino) in Scarface
3. ‘Our fathers grew up thinking that brown shoes were for sportsjackets and grey flannels only; you wore brown with a navy suit and you were a parvenu. Then Italians came along, lit a cigarette, ordered an espresso and said, ‘Why are you all so uptight?’’ -Russell Smith, 2006-06-24, xyyz.ca
1. Bit here: My dad prepared dinner for two, in what appeared to be a peace offering.
2. Bit there: Grandma moments. One spoke loving nonsense; the other smiled a toothless grin. One giggled; the other burped in reply when I asked if she was full. Mmm, mushy peas.
3. Bit everywhere: Daydreams about the man on whose forearms I want to inscribe lovenotes with my fingertips. [Extra good because I later realized it was my ex's birthday and I hadn't thought once of it.]
I made a huge error in judgement and wore closed heels on a humid, sweaty summer day.
3pm - Starbucks Barista showed mercy. Provided first-aid kit bandages for my blistered heels.
4pm - Ditto for the Barista at the next Starbucks.
5pm - The drugstore cashier forgave me $0.57 on the bandages and told me I could pay her back next time.
My predicament, it turns out, was not nearly as bad as that of my colleague's. She taped her blistered toes in transluscent Scotch Tape! She went into raptures when she saw the box of bandages.
I am now wearing my new Havaianas.
3am. I'm going three for three with the late-night routine. I'd like to honour email again. Letters make me feel less alone in these quiet hours.
1. From one Night Owl to Another: The Snowy Owl wrote some encouraging words. Peace.
2. From a Haligonian to a Torontonian: Emanuel invited me to his wedding in Halifax this October. Oh, I am so there! Nova Scotia - ‘New Scotland’ - is FABulous. Home to some of the Friendliest Party People on Earth.
3. From a Quebecker to an Ontarian: Isabelle, merci! While in Montreal, home to some of the Sexiest Party People on Earth, she snaps a photo of a Habibi tanktop. Now I'll just have to write a post extolling the virtues of French Canada.
1. Sweet: Country lemon pie for breakfast from my parents.
2. Sweeter: Gentle slope all the way down the city, from the top to the bottom, making for an excellent high-speed bike ride down Yonge Sreet (especially on a hot, sticky day like this).
3. Sweetest: A quiet night in which to get some work done.