Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer Goals 2009 Midterm Review

It is almost August. Sigh. I have only a month or so to complete my Summer Goals 2009 - so let's review my progress.

- go to the batting cages COMPLETED

- drink as much pink lemonade as possible COMPLETED and ONGOING

- go to Dairy Queen at least once every two weeks MORE THAN COMPLETED and ONGOING

- have a picnic in the park

- Beats, Breaks & Culture Fest at Harbourfront Centre with Katy COMPLETED

- see "Julie vs. Julia" with Katy

- spend an entire day shopping up and down Queen Street - from Parliament to Lansdowne.

- visit the Toronto Zoo

- drive to Saugeen Bluffs

- visit Honest Eds COMPLETED

- read "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and "Love In The Time Of Cholera" ONGOING

- wear as many dresses as possible. 2009 is the summer of dresses COMPLETED and ONGOING

I have also added the following items to my list:

- get a ride on a motorcycle (completing this will not only be fun but will put me ahead with my newest crush)

- swim in pool any warm day we get

- make pesto with my fresh basil

- get a haircut

- make water balloons and find someone to toss them with

- take long bike ride (to Oakville? Toronto?)

To friend or not to friend...

Deciding to become friends with someone beyond the age of 13 is a tricky task. I recently met a woman who I think is fairly cool, smart, funny and with that requisite biting edge I look for in everyone. We started with a working relationship but have moved on to a form of relationship between accquaintance and friend.

I want to be this woman's friend. There, I said it. Making this happen requires many steps - it is often more difficult and time consuming than hooking a guy. At least with men, I can use my feminine wiles (yes, I do have them). With women, you need to make sure you have something in common, are not jealous of one another, and are at essentially the same social level.

Then there is always the risk that the woman is one of those women who don't have many female friends. (What is with those girls??) The hardest part is making someone open to the idea of adding another friend to their roster. Most people are pretty set after their mid twenties. They've got the following friends all lined up:

- the best friend
- the friend who they've known since childhood
- the crazy party friend who is up for anything
- the kind, nice friend who will coddle
- the tough love friend who will set it straight
- the friends they have through a boyfriend/husband
- the friend they don't really want anymore, but feel guilty about ditching
- the work friend
- the filler friends

...and most women aren't thinking about adding anyone else. Or if they do, she had better be really great.

Now, obviously, I'm really great - so I just have to delicately increase email frequency, drop casual invites here and there and wait. She'll see the light.

Stupid News

Those little News Nuggets that run on the bottom half of the City Pulse news channel are often highly entertaining. And ridiculous.

- North Americans prefer white male employees to women or minorities, study shows.

Seriously? This is news? Who is doing this inane study anyway? This just in: It's been raining a lot this summer and cereal is best served in a bowl with milk.

- Canadian Space Agency eyes 2020 as man to walk on moon.

Ok, this one is just embarrassing. Hello? This has been done....40 years ago!!! Are we trying to look like America's slow cousin? Perhaps we should put our money and talents into something new and remarkable like putting a person on another planet or figuring out who killed JFK. At this level of innovation we're probably also eyeing to finally elect a black Prime Minister in 2059.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

White Hot & Wedding

Better late than never - pictures of our triumph at the National Ballet of Canada's White Hot fundraising gala.

We did all the decor and went with an ethereal, Barbarella, spacey look to match the theme. There were 600 people paying upwards of $75,000 per table and it was so fabulous to work on this event where they let us run with Rob's vision.

We also did a wedding for an highly likable couple (always much more fun when you like the client) and these pictures don't do it justice - it was stunningly beautiful.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Grand Goal August 2009

I am Queen of the Grand Resolution. However, I am Pauper of the Follow-through. (Does that compute? I get it.)

I love making lists, statements of change and detailed plans for my self-improvement.

Things I have committed to achieving in the past:

- attend gym three times per week
- stay at gym for at least 15 minutes each time
- run up the Wentworth escarpment stairs each day
- log all food consumed without lying
- use free weights each morning before getting dressed
- write a different person a letter each week
- stop eating fast food or anything neon in colour
- read War and Peace
- do all Christmas shopping by December 1
- host dinner parties on the last Sunday of each month
- complement one person genuinely each day

Of this list, I have achieved very few. Your outfit looks really great today, by the way.
I often begin gung-ho and fizzle out after a 3 or 4 days. Fine, after 2 days. I console myself with the fact that at least I have the ambition to set goals for myself, but I really would like to make changes that stick.

So, this one I really mean! No, really.

Beginning August 1 (it always helps to start something on the first of a month) I pledge to:

- spend at least one hour each day reading

So many evenings after work I find myself puttering around or zoning out in front of the three channels I get clear which are usually airing the same Seinfeld episode, when there are so many things I should/could/would rather be reading. (Was that sentence too long?) I was in Chapters yesterday and came across dozens of books I would love to read. I decided that I need to set aside time to make reading a priority.

In the grand scheme of my day, an hour is no big deal and I anticipate that I will begin to crave that hour. The key, is good books. I plan on having several available in case one fails to keep my attention (I'm looking at you Love in the Time of Cholera!).

I'm a 'librarian', for Pete's sake, this shouldn't even need to be a goal! Oh, I've decided to use quotations around the word librarian whenever I use it to refer to myself. I enjoy the idea of playing the 'librarian' card when it suits me. Like now.

Bulk Barn Update

Do you know that Swedish berries are now called Finnish berries at the Bulk Barn?

My top 5 favourite Bulk Barn purchases are:

- Licorice allsorts (I carefully pick the ones with the least amount of black licorice)

- Fortune cookies (they're so light, they cost pennies each - plus all the sage sayings!)

- Chocolate covered pretzels (the perfect combo of salty and sweet)

- Moritz Icy Squares (why do they taste cold? Because they're from Switzerland?)

- Candy corn (I wish it was around all year - the white tip is my favourite)

What happened Gwyneth??

I used to be a huge fan of Gwyneth Paltrow. I thought she was the epitome of grace and class. She was the "Audrey Hepburn" of my teens. Now, however, there is no one in Hollywood who comes across as more holier-than-thou, irritating and snobbishly grating.

I've been receiving her email newsletter - GOOP (I still don't know where the name comes from) and it's full of reasons why she's better than you and ways that we can live as green and purely as she.

She calls Billy Joel, William. Yeah.

She posts videos of her "fast food" - cooking a whole organic chicken and describes it as 'beauteous' and 'gorge'.

She's becoming as sinewy and veiny as the Queen of the Bicep.

She pretends she was born and raised in upper-crust England, when really she's a SoCal brat, brought up by actors.

Naming your baby Apple no longer seems quirky, yet acceptable.
G.P. I'm over you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dull weather chitchat

I think Southern Ontario is in a collective funk. Or at least I am tonight and last night. I mostly blame our weather. Well, that and the garbage smell slowly wafting downwind toward Hamilton.

This isn't summer, this is a pleasant November. I can't remember when I saw the sun last and my vitamin D (that's the one you get from sunshine, right?) deficiency is causing me to mope around in a sullen mood. Plus, I'm cold because I refuse to bow to the mercury - it's summer, I'm wearing dresses! That's it.

Everyone loves to talk about it too. There are three things that are currently on the small talk menu for discussion with strangers at bus stops, with the neighbour while mowing the lawn and during any sort of line up with anyone annoying. They are:

- My, what unseasonable weather we're having!
- Have you seen "Bruno" yet?
- Can you believe they're still striking?

Yes, I've now resorted to blogging about the weather. Sigh.

Effortlessly better than you

It's no secret that I enjoy a good chick flick or rom-com any day of the week. Recently, I saw "The Proposal" which could accurately have been called "The Ridiculous Plot That Allows For Two Enemies To Fall In Love Within Three Days Set In Alaska For No Conceivable Reason". Recently and regrettably, I've even plucked "Bride Wars" from the library shelf. And watched it.
I've been noticing a familiar face in many of the chick flicks I've seen lately - Candice Bergen.

She has a strong grip on the Mother Superior of Girly Movies title and she isn't letting go any time soon. Let's review:

- Miss Congeniality - Pageant queen who mentors the contestants and runs the show but (*spoiler alert if you're an idiot*) ends up being the bad guy.

-Sweet Home Alabama - Mother of the Groom/Mayor of NYC (yeah, right) who the leading lady has to impress in order to marry He Of The Overtousled Hair.

- View From the Top - Veteran stewardess who takes a badly blonded Gwyneth under her wing and encourages her to shoot for "Paris, first class, international."

- The In-Laws - I don't know, but I'm sure I've seen it and it was probably terrible.

- Sex and the City (television and film) - Successful Vogue editor who the leading lady has to impress but (*spoiler alert if you're an idiot*) ends up being just as flawed as everyone else - and looking very chunky in the film to boot.

- The Women - I know I saw this one but it was so awful I've forgotten her part - but let me take a wild guess, she played the older role model the other women strive to emulate.

- Bride Wars - Top wedding planner who can make every lame-o girl's dream come true - the Plaza in June. Chic, organized and effortlessly better than you.

I really dig Candice. I think she's refined, polished and smart. The way she has used her age to her advantage in Hollywood is genius. She is completely believable in these roles. And most importantly, someone needs to put Sarah Jessica Parker in her place.

As I reread this, I'm loving the phrase "effortlessly better than you". May try to add that to "fly" in my summer vernacular.

Friday, July 17, 2009


A girl always remembers her first. And my first Tiffany & Co. jewellery is the key necklace. I'm not a major jewellery person and I usually have to remind, then convince, myself to wear accessories, but I have to admit there is something special about Tiffany.

It's one of those things I didn't think I really wanted until I received it. That little blue/green bag, the pristine white ribbon - opening the box is an experience in itself. It was gift from a client and their generosity was so above and beyond. I was really touched.
I have only a couple pieces of jewellery that have significance to me and that I deem special: a sapphire ring from my aunt, a string of pearls from my father, a diamond/sapphire necklace from a love and now this piece.

A cheapie to the core, I can sometimes see the pleasure and appeal of investing in luxury pieces. You wear them differently, they mean more because you know they'll last forever.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Generation Half-Ass

I've been thinking about the following:

Every generation gets a chance to change the world.

What have we done? What are 80s babies doing to make our impact? It seems pretty obvious that the youth/movers and shakers of the 60s made strides for race equality. The 70s marched for and accomplished rights for women. The 80s movement - well, since it was the Me Generation, I'm not surprised much got done for other people. But what about the 90s and the two thousands (00s) - what are we doing?

Will our fight for the environment be heralded and attributed to us? Are we doing enough to make it count? I would say that we have made differences in 3 things: littering, recycling and seatbelts.

Part of me wishes I could have been a part of the heydays of yesteryear - where people marched on Washington, had sit-ins for peace or faced down military barricades with daisies. Sure, it was dangerous and maybe foolhardy, but it meant something and it made a difference.

We study these movements, these fights, these figureheads in school - what will kids learn about us? We sat around and made our individual lives better? We bought stuff, we made more technology than we knew what to do with, we Twittered??

Sure, we're talking about the environment, but will it really make the impact it should? I feel like the radicals in the 60s would have chained themselves to oil tankers, marched in front of loggers, whatever it took. And what about the war? Those who are opposed to it haven't made quite the stir of Vietnam opposers.

I'm not saying I'm in any position to do these things, but when I sit and compare our generation to those before me, I feel selfish and disappointed.

I could be wrong.

Acting out...

At times, I have a flair for the dramatic. Those of you who know my mother will recognize that I get it from her.

I find that I get in my own fantasy world when I'm in a big city. I thrive on the anonymity that comes with a metropolis. I can be anyone I want to be. That was one of my favourite things about living in New York and I find that I can be all alone among thousands in Toronto too.

The other night I went to see a movie on my own and somehow exited the theatre to find myself in a sketchy back alley. I think it was partly because I'd just spent 2 hours watching 'acting' and was in a type of melancholy mood that allows me to indulge in these scenarios, but I pretended I was in a movie.

You know the scene where the naive ingenue finds herself trapped in an alley being chased by the axe murderer? But it didn't stop there. As I walked around the city, I literally pretended I was someone else. I had an entire plotline that included a jilted lover and a Communist spy.

The soundtrack I heard in my head contained songs from The Casinos, Beautiful South and Dido.
I know it's childish and ridiculous, but I loved it. Clearly, I missed my calling - well, there was that one time when I played the lead in a Tom Sawyer production. Yes, I played a boy.

Weekend "Rap" Up

After a fabulous weekend, I maintain the following: it is so much better to go out, give it a shot and be present than to pass it up and stay home. You never know what will happen, how much fun you will have, what kind of experiences you will have or who you'll meet. I'm glad I lived my weekend.
Dinner at the usual Thai place with rude servers and balls made entirely of pork (with the consistency of something bouncy) was followed by the batting cages, mini-golf and the bungee trampoline. I am officially addicted to baseball batting. I want to work up to the 'fast baseball' pitches by the end of August.

Pipes, I know. Ok, what is wrong with my camera?

Then I made my friends watch as I bounced above the treeline on the trampoline. I was like a giddy child - seriously, I went SO high!

Then mini-golf. Mini-golf - meh. I don't know, I've never been crazy about it. It's too dated and slow....I need to bounce!! It always reminds me of what you do on a second date when someone wants to seem creative or romantic - it's awful.

Saturday I crossed two things off my Summer Goals 2009 list with my friend Katy - Beats, Breaks and Culture and Honest Ed's. The first was super cool and reminded me of my summer in Ottawa 2007 with my b-girl roommate Lauren. She once took me to a sneaker pimps show - not the band, but actual sneaker pimps.

BBC was great - we watched the semi-finals of the break dancing competition, saw the graffiti contest and listened to some fairly bad hip hop karaoke. Some of the b-boy groups had names like Twisted Ankles, Flying Antics, Fresh Format and my personal favourite, Rhythm Architects.

There was lots of smack talk, gesturing and particularly a certain kind of prancing that happened when someone did a fly move or spun on his head. Yeah, I say 'fly' now. Get used to it.

Look how street we look!

The MC guy - a hottie named Benzo - liked to say "Show up and throw down". I may make this a personal motto. That or "Yeeeah son". Let's see how long it takes before people get annoyed with me saying that.

Honest Ed's was pretty much what I expected - like a dollar store with loud hand-painted signs. I bought a couple cake pans, but mostly I just walked around, my senses assaulted. I don't think I agree with the claim that Honest Ed's is Toronto's version of New York's Macy's or London's Harrod's, but I'm glad I went.

All the way home I was on this hip hop high. I literally was car break dancing - my own little version that includes finger snapping (why doesn't my left hand snap well?), amateur pop and lock, the Running Man with just my arms and basically getting down to this hip hop/house mix on 93.5. I think I even brushed imaginary dirt off my shoulder.

No, I know I did.

I rode that high the rest of the night and the regular inner crew hit up the club. Such a fun night filled with Akon sightings, the robot and 3 am last ditch pitches for hot tubs. The only blemish was Shari punching out that creeper. Yeeah son.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The construction continues...

...and the pool is nearly obstructed. But I will persevere.

Today I will accept change.

I recently had a lovely summer dinner with three girlfriends. One was pregnant and due that very day. Another was pregnant and due in three weeks. Another has two children under 5. And then there was me.

Every time we get together it's an education for me. But an education that you don't think you'll need for a very long time, if ever. Like when you took Visual Arts or History in high school. Or gym, in my case.

A lot of things I'm learning gross or freak me out. Other things are just plain interesting - who knew there are certain kinds of cheese you can't eat?. I'm very happy for all of them and their impending arrivals, but I'm also very happy to just be watching from the distance.

Babies are all around me. One of my best friends just announced her pregnancy - my reaction was stunned panic at best, but I'm warming to idea of watching them as fantastic parents. Another friend's wife is due in two weeks - I'm sure he'll be great as he has already proven himself by caring wonderfully for a wild squirrel.

Life is moving pretty quick. Friends are moving in with their partners, others are getting married, people are becoming responsible for another human being. I don't deal well with change. I never have - that hasn't changed. I usually need a few weeks to digest big news and get used to it. I know, it's not healthy, but I'm trying my best.

So, if anyone out there has a big announcement, please give me a couple days.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Well, it's official: my hand-eye coordination is out of this world. Seriously. Last night I went to play casual baseball with Naomi and Tim and all were impressed with my accuracy. I made contact with the ball at least 90% of the time and once I hit every ball lobbed to me.

I will give credit where it's due, Tim was a great pitcher, even though he looks like this:

Naomi played great outfield which mainly meant she chased the balls around and ducked.

I had a really fun time and it's made me add the following item to my Summer Goals 2009 list:

- go to batting cages and amaze my friends

I'm also adding the following:

- find trampoline(s) and go to town as often as possible
- go to Honest Ed's in Toronto - I've just never done it

Sunday, July 5, 2009

General Bewilderment

My neighbour is a chef. I borrowed a Dutch Oven from her (Yeah, who knew those words meant something culinary!). I made paella in it. I returned the pot to her along with a sample of my paella. It has been a week and I have received neither a comment on the paella or my Tupperware back. This is bad, right?

Ok, I saw another one of those stupid Coors Light billboards. Yes, I will concede that the taste of beer is affected by temperature. However, am I just a girl who doesn't drink beer and therefore cannot comprehend this ad, or does this just not make sense?

Colder than a ______________ at a ______________ convention.

????? What does this mean??? And again, it's MY job to make it cold! Grr.

Yesterday the top part of the Statue of Liberty reopened to tourists for the first time since 9/11. When I was living in NYC in 2004, I was only allowed to go on the island, the entire statue was off limits. Since then tourists have been able to go up, but only to the base.

Why has it taken almost 8 years for it to reopen??? What could possibly happen there that couldn't happen anywhere else, in any other building or monument? I don't get it. And of course, some loser had to ruin July 4 by proposing to his girlfriend at the top, something he may very well have been waiting 8 years to do. Ugh.
Construction is in full swing at Casa Winnie Cooper. We are extending the back of our house and there has been a steady stream of backhoes, dump trucks and men who like to sing Sinead O'Connor songs (not quite sure why).

I was minding my own business one afternoon lying on my bed while my Dad was on the other side of my wall removing bricks. He thought it would be funny to come through the wall a la the Kool Aid Man right near my head. So, now I have a baseball sized hole in my wall.

Dad spins it as a convenience so I can now check the weather right when I wake up. It's been plugged with a pair of socks ever since.

Ladies Who Laugh

The other week Katy and I went to the S.M.U.T Soiree hosted by The Society - an elitist grown-up sorority that requires two referrals to even apply for membership. It's full of young twenty somethings that live and work in Toronto. Well, I'm sure some of them work.

Anyway, occasionally they open up some of their events to the hoi polloi and this time it was hosted by Lainey of She's like our Perez Hilton - sort of. So we got dressed up, went for the free cocktails and sliders (seriously, why does every event have sliders? Where is the next popular h'or doeurve?) and of course, the gift bag.

There were at least 500 women there in this cool location in a weird part of town (we didn't get the location until the day before giving it an even more exclusive feel - I bought into it) and it was sweltering. Dior was there doing makeup, Schwarkopf would do your hair, it was the kind of event that I always work but never am a true guest at, so it was really fun to be on the other side.

The "papparazzi" were there taking photos and the following was posted on the Fashion Magazine site. This picture was snapped before I got my hair done.

I wanted to get my hair done mainly to get it off my neck in the crazy heat and I gave the stylist cart blanche. Although it's a little Bride of Frankenstein, I kinda dig it. It's different at the very least. My hair was teased and sprayed within an inch of its life and took several hours of conditioning and crying to get all the knots out.