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Showing posts from 2008

A Very Very Merry

This year has been yet another one of discovery. As we inch closer and closer to the new year, I'm getting that old reflection feeling that I suppose comes with this time of year. I'm also realising that as we enter 2009, I wonder how I will finish the sentence "This time last year I was..."

There have been ups, downs, highs, lows and more adventure then I expected. There have been disappointments and surprises, laughter and tears, frustration and joy.

All lives are filled with these types of emotions - whether ride the roller coaster with a backpack or in the car on the morning commute, it's hard to constrain life into the box in which you had expected it to squish.

I should have been writing more this year because I have been through some periods which I think were important in this journey I'm on. Sometimes its easier to leave it in your head for awhile.

And I imagine, now that I have some time off, the thoughts will crystalise into a better message then what …

Festivus for...

....THE REST OF US!!

Christmas has always been a sea of change for D and I. Over the past 10 years, I've spent it in many place most memorably last year's Moscow and of course all of our years in England and Ireland.

This year is no exception. Being home for Christmas is like this added bonus to at the end of another year in transition.

I actually started shopping earlier this year, sent my cards on time, had a budget, stuck to it - well, okay, MOSTLY but I only have one week to be frivolous - and and soaking up as much Christmas music as I can.

(For those of you needing Christmas music 24/7, I found this AMAZING radio website)



We get to partake in our own traditions - mimosas on Christmas morning - and old ones - time with family over the holidays.

Our Christmas actually begins this Saturday with the arrival of my mom. My grandmother arrives as well on Sunday. My sister, bro-in-law and nephew will be there - I can't remember the last time I had that many of my family members to…

In the Recesses of My Brain...

....seems to be a lot of random information.

I find it facinating, that you can be sitting there, at your desk, working away on a project, completely focussed on the task at hand, and then suddenly, out of no where, comes a thought from an experience that you hadn't recalled in years.

This morning, I remembered - or should I say my brain remembered it, I didn't really have anything to do with the involuntary thought that was had - being in the basement of the Sangrada Familla in Barcelona, looking at all of the architectural drawings of the amazing church that is yet to be built.

I remember it so distinctly because it was a basement but yet all cream coloured with arc entrances and beautifully lit. Just a very warm fuzzy place to be.

And, as the thought came and went, I could only wonder WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?

And of course look forward to the next little travel jaunt my brain will take me on.

Upon Reflection...

I am no longer AS ANGRY as I was yesterday but I'm still pretty steamed although calm enough now to retract the statement that we are resembling anything like a dictatorship.

I will say that I am still engaged in what's going on in this country right now and am still appalled at the way politicians think we're all stupid and can't see through their motives.

We need an Obama.

The latest....

WHERE THE HELL AM I??? THAILAND???

I cannot go into depth right now but I must register my EXTREME RAGE that I am feeling towards the politicians in our country.

In a nutshell, the non-governing parties have decided for the WHOLE of Canada that they know better then the VOTERS who should lead the government.

I can reveal that I did actually vote for one of the non-governing parties, which makes me EVEN MORE PISSED that instead of getting down to the business OF THEIR JOBS they are more focused on their own political gain.

No matter who you support, you must recognize this BLATANT HIJACKING of the government and one of the highest fundamentals of Canadian society that we hold dear.

No, not beer. DEMOCRACY.

The country voted 2 months ago. And now, people within our government are trying to CHANGE what those votes mean.

THAT'S why this is important.

It must be stopped.

Here are some places you can have your say:

Canadians for Democracy

Rally for Canada

This is a time to act and stand up for the democracy in our country, for the…

How to Become Prime Minister

For all of you ambitious young political types, it's now EVEN EASIER to become Prime Minister.

First you poke a stick at the current Prime Minister until he calls an election.

Then, you proceed to LOSE the largest defeat in DECADES for your party.

Next, slither away into oblivion until you see the opportunity to EXPLOIT the system for your own benefit.

Next steps? Secretly agree with the loser kid on the playground that you will let him be your right hand man IF he promises him and his party will vote AGAINST the bill that the current PM and his party have put together after YOU RAGED about needing economic change.

Then, once voting a big baby NO to the bill, you exploit the fact that in the Canadian system this is what they call a NON CONFIDENCE VOTE and you have now forced the hand of the current government to CALL AN ELECTION.

The cherry on top? Well, you just swoop in and offer to take over yourself. Cause, you don't want to put Canadians through ANOTHER election.

Piece of cake.

W…

Worker B-Ware

It always brings me great pleasure when an injustice is brought to justice.

And working in the serving industry to fund my university (well, okay, it funded all the FUN parts of university because my parents contributed to all the schooling) I can appreciate what an exhausting job it can be.

So this story makes me believe in just desserts and what I like to call 'travel karma' or in this case 'dining karma'.

Don't Let Friends Dine and Dash - But if They Do, Be Sure to Rat Them Out on Facebook

The best part of this story was what the dashers employer did.

Now that is what I call industry loyalty and a little bit o' work karma.

It's All Good

I always like to give a shout out to ideas that I find are very inventive, even if the presenters of the said idea are actually trying to sell me something.

I actually don't mind that - I'm a bit of an ad junkie in a way and have been known to purchase a product just simply because I liked the creativity of the ad.

It's not really enough any more to just have a product that does stuff or makes my life easier. What I really want to see is HOW CREATIVE you can get to get you hands on my dough before your competitors come along and do so.

And so, when I stumbled upon the new Dell campaign, I had to express how impressed I was with this ingenuity:

Good News Day

Pay attention to the scrolling bar. The attention to detail (and the tongue and cheek way of doing so) made me giggle.

It's a Location Thing

The best part about being back in Toronto is how easily I can get access to all of the things I love about the places that are NOT Toronto.

Like, thanks to David's Tea, I'm able to have authentic, Chinese green tea, as referenced in this entry, any time I want. I can bring myself back to that afternoon in the tea museum, pretty much every time I pour a cup of tea.

I was able to have some delicious kimchi jigae a few weeks ago with a vegetarian friend I introduced to Korean food. The restaurant looked exactly the the ones in Oe Dong D and I used to frequent - tons of tables crammed into a tiny space, full of Koreans enjoying their food. They even had the cutlery boxes on the table AND the napkin boxes as well.

There's an Irish pub right around the corner. It has the old wooden booths, the Irish beers on tap and (although a little OTT) the girls all dressed in kilts (also because kilts are kinda Scottish and..well..you ge the picture)

The beauty of all these experiences is that …

In Case you Haven't Heard...

THE ECONOMY SUCKS RIGHT NOW!!!

And do you know what else sucks? THE FACT THAT NOTHING ELSE IS IN THE NEWSPAPER. OR ON THE RADIO. OR ON THE INTERNET.

And now I'm helping to perpetuate that problem but BLOGGING about it but mostly I wanted to blog this.

That I'm not sure whether being away for 6 years has sheltered me from all the bad=ness that seems to happy ONLY in North America or whether this is really bigger than all the headlines about Afghanistan or Iraq or the Tsunami or global warming.

Because I remember talking to my family when I was away wondering why they were getting so obsessed with one thing or another and now maybe I realize that maybe JUST MAYBE the MEDIA WAS OBSESSING THEM.

Because I'm being bombarded with this information that is only about ONE THING.

A thing that I suppose is really important but is potentially being dealt with EXTREMELY BETTER in parts of the world where they have actually had real problems like droughts and bombs and fear of N. Korea that th…

When Talented People Become Moms

So, there has always been the if/what if/when conversation in my house regarding entry into the whole mommy world.

But I have to say, that my favorite blogger and her friends has done it again, showing us just what can happen if when those creative types take mommy-hood by the kahoonas and SPEAK OUT.

Momversation

If/when the mommyhood fairy visits me, I hope I'm as innovative as all of these lovely ladies.

A Math

For as long as I can remember, I have not been very good at math. This tends to make sense as words are more my friend.

My family and friends often refer to math-gone-wrong as 'A Math'.

There was a recent conversation at the cottage that turned everyone into laughing hyenas as I said something to the effect that "5+5 is like 11", not EXACTLY 11, but just LIKE it.

You get the picture.

And so in honour of A Math, I had to add this video. credit where credit is due as I'm not sure where this came from, just know that I feel just that bit more vindicated.


The Freedom to Write

I was moved in many ways at the opening gala of the International Festival of Authors last night.

Hearing Dubliner Roddy Doyle speak in his lovely lilt made me want to jump on the next plane and fly back to the green Isle. He reminded me too, how culturally rich a nation Ireland is.

How humour plays a role in almost everything they do. How some of the world's best story tellers come from there.

How I'm not sure I could ever replicate - even just a little - the experience I had in the Irish publishing industry. And maybe that's okay.

I was also privileged to speak to the talented Canadian director, writer and actor Don McKellar and let him know IN PERSON just how deeply his movie Last Nightaffected me.

But most importantly, I found a charity that I want to actually work with. Not to say that there are charities that I WOULDN'T work with, just that this organisation has got me mobilized in a way I've not thought of before.

"PEN Canada assists writers around the world …

Have Your Say!

There is a lot I want to say and should say and WILL say but today I just want to say ONE THING...






Get out and vote!!

There are millions of people all over this world that risk their lives in order to make a choice for leadership.

No matter what you think of the Canadian candidates, it's important to remember today that this is bigger than the politicians who are running.

It may actually matter more that you cast a vote then who you vote for at all.

So GET OUT AND VOTE!

A Bit O a Plunge

National Novel Writing Month

I heard about this from a woman I work with and thought it would be fun to see publishing from the other side of the fence.

I'm currently trying to think of interesting characters and scenarios and mostly, following the golden rule, write what you know.

So, please don't be surprised if you end up hearing of a backpacking Irish girl who goes to teach English in Korea. Hmmm...original?

No Show Me Da Money

I'm doing some training for work and came across an interesting statement in regards to technical information:

"..If the quality isn't acceptable to end users, no drop in cost will matter."

In the course of the last few months, I've been soaking up information from this world of technical information and usability.

I suppose the main reason companies do anything is to save money, purely because they make money, fuel the economy and allow me to live comfortably.

So I find it interesting that even though there may be a consideration when building documentation to budget it appropriately, it's also very important to remember that to the end user, it's not the quality of the paper or the colour vs black&white in the materials, it is truly about the quality of the content.

And even if you can say well, we used to charge you $20 and now we only charge you $10, it actually STILL won't make them a happier or more satisfied customer if the content does not help…

A Wordy Evening

One of the most exciting aspects of living in a big city is the opportunity to have an abundance of things to do...right outside your doorstep.

Stating the obvious, I suppose, but when we live in TO before, we didn't take advantage as much as I now feel we should have. Bonus is? Being back is like being able to do it all over again.

In Belfast, we were fortunate to attend lots of arts events because of my line work. I was just luck to be in the know and felt quite at home amongst those that took part in these events. (NOT Harper's rich rendition, I assure you)

So, tonight, we're going to take advantage of our geography and head to a book reading. Everyone probably remembers Irvine Welsh mostly for his crazy druggies in Trainspotting and I got to know a bit more of his work while at Blackstaff as we had an author with a similar style.

His latest novel, Crime, is out and lucky for us he's promoting it. Seems a bit funny to go see a Scot in Toronto when I could have seen him …

On a Lighter Note

This made me chuckle this morning. Thought with the cool weather upon, you all could use a little laughter to warm you up:

Apple Announcement:

Apple announced today that it has developed a
breast implant that can store and play music. The iTit will
cost from $499 to $699, depending on cup and speaker size.

This has been hailed as a major social
breakthrough, because women are always complaining about
men staring at their breasts and not listening to them.

What is Worth?

There has been some talk - and government action - regarding the arts funding in Canada that I must humbly admit I have not been paying enough attention to.

I remember feeling quite lucky to live and work in the arts scene in Belfast as it was abundant not only with talented people but also the money to support those people in the creation of good work.

It's a bit sad that my home country seems to not want to see the value of art as it relates to the well being of every day life.

Margaret Atwood has written a very great piece on this here:

To be creative is, in fact, Canadian

After reading today I am reminding yet again how frustrating it is to prove worth. That human worth has been relegated to the economic factor.

That we can see the benefit in bankers because they make money. That there seems to be this theory that only rich snobs wander around at art galas and events.

That even the act of mentioning that maybe there is worth outside of bringing in money tends to draw large scoffs a…

A Few Wee Events

This past weekend, I became nostalgic and saw the future all at once.

NKOTB were fantastically surreal (blog post coming soon)

My first 10km was even more so (blog post also coming soon)

All I can do right now is wait to listen to my MP3 player with songs of my teenage years while I'm running and training for the next 10km.

Welcome to surreal Monday.

If They're Good Enough for a Samurai....

My littlest sister H has etched out yet another talent (she can sing, write, act, and look beautiful without trying) to add to her repertoire and has come up with a pretty inventive way of showing it.

Her new blog, Baby Samurai Story, is a fictional story about a Japanese woman, daughter of a Samurai, who becomes a mother without necessarily choosing to do so.

It's the prefect length for a quick read and is very engaging. Her descriptive passages are so clear and crisp, I could actually visualize what her characters. It's very comic book-'episotic' style writing (can you say 300 anyone?) and was just a really new, fresh take on blog writing.

What got her interested? Well, her Gemini-distracto mind came up with the idea after she was researching her newest talent, samurai pants.

Baby Samurai

They are unique as well as flexible, funky as well as functional, easy to clean, easier to put on and just the perfect accessory for any little warrior.

Word to Jeff Vader

In this world of instant information, it can be easy to be bombarded with a lot of, well, crap.

But today, my friends, I wanted to share this with all of you.

My father sent it to me in an email - which further the debate that he is either hip or a geek or both - and, so, I wanted to share the imaginative mind of Eddie Izzard with you all.

The One with Vader in the Canteen



(I'm not sure someone WITHOUT an English accent could pull this off)

TIFF-ness

So writing for an entertaiment magazine, I have been given a bit of a background peek into this year's TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival).

No I'm not having drinks with Brad Pitt or exchanging comic book stories with Kevin Smith.

But I do have to give a shout out to the IT Lounge in Windsor Arms Hotel, just off Bloor Street on Thomas Street. Fantastic facilites for media and quite a quiet place amongst all the hustle bustle.

And yes, there has been a bit of celebrity spotting. Can you say Evangeline Lilly of Lost? Smaller, of course, then she looks on TV but still with that sparkling smile, pausing every so often to pose with fans.

I wanted to shout out 'Your biceps rock!' but then, I also wanted to look cool and professional and not be whisked away by the body guards.

A pleasant surprise today - a very surreal vibe to be out and about amongst all this TIFF-ness.

How In Love Am I?

I sorta stopped listening to the radio since I've been home. People sort of ask, 'what kind of music do you like?' I kinda hum and ha and well and er and finally just say 'you know, top 40'.

Yes, I'm very advanced in my musical enjoyment. Me and your 10th grader would have a lot in common.

And then, I was informed of last.fm, the station that picks songs you will like based on one song choice.

Guess what? I'm SO MUCH MORE than a Top 40 fan. I'm TOTALLY indy now. In a very Top 40 way.

C'mon, don't you think it's impressive that there are other songs that sound like Pieces of Me?

In love love love. Thank you inventors of amazing websites that eventually I will have to pay for but for now will relish in the ad and investment money they're squandering on my enjoyment.

Let me share again - lastfm

There. That should help there Google ranking.

Just One More Reason NOT to Golf

I have to say it takes a lot to shock me these days when it comes to organizations not thinking globally. Since living abroad, I've learned that most countries are essentially quite insular and not very good at thinking outside their own borders.

I would not even go as far to say specific countries because I think each country has its own close minded view of the world, and, in their own way, contributes to this intolerance and understanding across the globe.

But I think the LPGA has really taken the cake on this with the latest rid-onk-ulous (thanks JF) decision.

English only please - we're not racist, just an American organization

I'm just wondering what exactly the LPGA was thinking? Oh yes that's it, they were thinking about THEIR SPONSORS.

What about all of the people AROUND THE WORLD who watch the bloody thing that DON'T speak English? That pay to fly all over the planet just to watch the stupid events? Maybe the LPGA should make all their players learn Spanish o…

Deep Thoughts

Happiness is about managing expectations. Expectations you have for yourself. Expectations you have for others. Expectations others have for you. (credit goes to a friend at work)

The beauty of travel is that at the mere mention of a city you've visited, your mind instantly creates a picture of that time there. (credit goes to a longtime friend)

These two ideas and thoughts seem to have been the most poignant for me over the past little while and I wanted to share them with you. Share with you the types of things that are rolling around in my head.

The summer is coming to a close and with it, I anticipate some breathing space in the world that is busyness. Some reflection time in the cool fall air. Some more energy put towards experiencing and less towards maintaining.

More time for the rose smelling, and the bird-chirping-listening. Simplification. Although it may be hard for people to understand but there is still a period of understanding, decompressing, computing, reflecting over …

Stick to the Jump Shots, Boys

The Olympics has of course sparked many controversial stories as it seems to every time it rolls around.

I always chuckle a little bit at the intense conviction of which many of the reporters cover stories of 'atrocities' and 'wrong doings' as if the end of the world was nigh, the large asteroid was seconds away from hitting and the world itself will NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN because of *insert daily controversy here*.

But this, people THIS takes the cake. I raise my hands up and say, yes, sometimes it REALLY IS THAT BAD.

What were they thinking?

Give it up for tolerance, peace, posterity and all that.

The Fever

I've got and not sure when it will go away.

Olympic fever!

I remember in Belfast, I used to take advantage of BBC's interactive feature, where you could 'press the red button' and 'go interactive', picking from 1 of 5 different live streams.

This allowed me to see every ice hockey game during the ENTIRE OLYMPICS - without commercials!

No interactive CBC but their Canadian coverage make up for it.

So, it's a sunny Sunday, I have grand plans of leaving the house but people, we're talking gymnastics here.

If I can't flip around on a mat, I might as well watch those skilled enough to do so.

To Kid or Not to Kid

A controversial - yet thought-provoking - article on having children.

I Kid You Not

And yes, I realise I made a pledge to write about stuff that I have not yet even read to write about.

It's coming...

But for now, let's hope this link will give you enough to think about until I find the time to think about the stuff I've written to re-write about it.

One thing that stuck in my mind after reading this article was something my mom said to me once.

A vegetarian friend of hers said that the largest hurdle about being vegetarian was not hunting for lentils and beans or avoiding those juicy BBQ steaks but having to defend her life choice by simply stating it. I'm a vegetarian seemed to translate into I want to argue with you about my life choice.

Ponder.

Onward

I have been thinking about this space and I do I have an idea which I think will keep me keep it updated.

It has now been over a year since we finished our time in Korea and started on a 6 month adventure that would take us across multiple time zones and continents.

Each day on that journey I kept a journal, which outlined the bare minimum of activities as well as meals and lodging.

For my own personal reflection - which, lucky you, will be able to take part in - I am going to read each day what I wrote about in that journal and really, just write here about it. Perhaps how I feel now about the entry. Perhaps a funny story that happened. Perhaps about how I have no idea what I actually did that day and that it was a good thing I wrote it down because I still can't picture it.

Starting tomorrow, I'll begin a new journey. One that doesn't include a lot of upset stomachs or late night anxiety or even white sandy beaches for that matter.

It will be a much more reflective one, a loo…

To My FavoriteOctogenarian

This weekend I will have the honour of celebrating the 80th birthday of one of the kindest, most understanding, most lovely-laugh octogenarians I know.

I'm quite proud to be able to say my Grandmother N, full of all her facilities, turned 80 today.

That's such a big number. And yet, she still doesn't seem that OLD to me. I saw her just a couple of months ago and it was like when I used to visit her as a small child, being spoiled by celery and cheese whiz, staying up late and of course, a chance to watch Three's Company.

Happy Birthday Grandma - I'm very proud to be your granddaughter and can't wait to give you a hug and big sloppy kiss when I see you tomorrow.

Reading..to Write

I was sifting through the 'blogosphere' today, trying to get a feel for what's out there, what's interesting, what people are writing and what people seem to be reading.

I found a couple of new ones - interesting, reflective kind of stuff - stuff that this blog here is no unfamiliar with. So I suppose I'm not exceptionally out of the norm but I guess some people enjoy reading about other people's excruciating minutia of their days.

And then I came to this, will which make you feel like your on speed or cocaine or maybe like you want to puke.

Most likely both.

I will leave it to you to decide whether or not this is actually and ENJOYABLE read or more like a ride on a really fast roller coaster, where the wind sucks the life out of your face until your cheeks touch your ears and your knuckles remain permanently white from the clutching of the stable thing.

For an energy buzz, click here.

Mid Way

I would like someone to tell me exactly where the summer has gone?

It's mid July and for some reason, I'm already panicking about snow.

I've had a great summer so far. Filled with so many people and activities, that I'm finding it hard to even get to this blog.

CBC has become a new best friend. It travels with me to and from work.

I found myself smiling the other day as, in total suburbia fashion, I opened the door to my townhouse to get my paper and lo and behold, my Friendly North Neighbour, had popped out to get her paper at the exact same time.

"Good Morning"
"Oh Good morning"
"Gorgeous day"
"Absolutely"
"A day for a bbq"
"For sure, see you on our rooftops later"

And in I went, to finish my breakfast, reading the paper, drinking my tea.

So different from the days of rising 20 minutes before I had to leave, just enough time to shower and then grab food on the way.

Life is turning into quite the settled urban scene I had…

In Need of a Challenge

Ever the planner with lists, I found this idea on Rocketwife's blog.

101 in 1001

When I was about 25, I made a list of things I wanted to do before I was 30. You know, those stupid things your arrogant 20ish self does to your aging 30ish self, not realising that the landscape will have changed in those short 5 years and that includes priorities, goals and well things that will make you happy.

I haven't seen that list since we've got home. I remember a few things that are there I've done, a few things that are there I haven't and the others? Well, I cringe to think at how my smug 20ish self actually thought THAT MUCH could be achieved in 5 years.

When I dig it out, I'll share it here.

Until then, I'll have to get cracking on my new list.

Perhaps I can put a bit more effort into it than my 365 Project?

The road to hell...

Status

June turned out to be wonderfully wonderful, filled with family, friends, outings, hen dos, cottages, boats, festivals, wine, patio parties, city walks, city restaurants, city markets, city shops, relaxing in the sun.

Now, what am I going to do in July?

How Do You Solve a Problem That's So Cheezy

D and I managed to catch the first two episodes of the latest Canadian reality TV show, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

CBC is running this one and I believe it must have just finished in the UK because when I tried to search for the video from last nights show so that YOU TOO could piss your pants laughing, I only came up with the Brit version.

I kinda don't want to ruin the surprise. And maybe not finding a video was the universe's way of telling me NOT TO.

So, I'm just going to kindly ask, that if you do anything over the Canada Day long weekend, please stop just before 9pm on Monday and watch how the Marias are kicked off the show.

Trust me, it'll be so worth it. Especially if you've been partaking some festive beverages during the day.

Cleaning the Pipes

A few years ago after New Years, I went on a 30 day detox and felt like a million bucks.

I had totally forgotten of this concept until yesterday surfing around.

I don't usually pay attention to Oprah but Dooce got me caught onto this and I'm thinking I might make it a Christmas in July situation and de-clutter my insides after Canada Day.

Mostly for my health, it certainly couldn't hurt my waistline!

Anyone want to join me in the challenge?

Your Own Company

Everyone should try to become comfortable in their own company. D's away for a long weekend and I'm attempting to really enjoy just hanging out with myself.

I suppose it sounds terrible to say but in a way, it just feels so sad.

It's not that I'm sad, it's just that being alone feels sad. To me.

You could hear a pin drop in my house right now. And really, if I just sat around in my pajamas all day, who would really know? Or care?

Perhaps I sound selfish or needy or pathetic and I suppose that would make me a bad writer because that's actually not what I'm trying to convey.

I'm simply sitting here, in this moment alone, and thinking 'what am I feeling about this whole being alone thing?'

As the oldest in a family of four, there was never a time when my house was quiet. When there was no one around. When I got to make all the choices, without anyone around and without having to think of anyone else.

I think I'm just not cut out for this by-myself-lif…

Connecting

I have had such wonderful family and friend connections happen over the last month and a half.

My new job is taking up a lot of my time (what else is knew) but I am still finding time to spend with all of those people I made this trek back for.

Getting to know people again and actually spending very little time at all connecting has been so wonderful. Knowing that my weekends are filled with weddings adn cottages and bbqs and girls nights out gives me such comfort.

It's a life that I left behind, that I don't regret not being a part of back then but enjoy that it's part of this journey now.

Some things have not turned out the way we planned since we got back. We were prepared for that. But the core of the reason we are here continues to be there.

For the people. And not in a political speech kinda way. Just to be here with the people that we missed. To recapture some of the time that was lost. And to rejoice in the fact that I feel as though I've had the best of both worlds…

The Muddle

There are so many thoughts and stories I WANT to share...and yet, I'm not quite in the headspace to articulate them properly yet.

Inspriation always seems to come when I got hands full of groceries or house keys or lets face it, a nice cold G&T.

And yet, there's never a laptop nearby when the feeling strikes.

I do carry around notebooks. But sometimes I feel like THAT STUFF just ends up sounding like a dramatic drunken ramble, regardless of whether I've been sipping any of the devil's poison.

I have talked about feeling inspired by typing. And I suppose this is very 'uncreative' in a way but hey, we've all seen Carrie on Sex and the City. That girl's not hunting down her Moleskin.

I think maybe that's the voice I hear in my head. Not Carrie's voice, but a version of that voice that is less "oh-who-should-i-love-today" and more "which-patio-has-the-best-sun-for-reflection-and-of-course-alcohol".

But it's that same vein. That…

Happy Birthday to Me

It has been the best two days I've had in awhile.

I was treated to dinner at my favorite Toronto restaurant. Can you say views of CN Tower and sunset all at once???

I hit the spa for my usual pampering - just a mani-pedi so I can save the facial for next month - and had a lunch BBQ on our sunny rooftop.

I got to spend the day with family. My sister, bro-in-law and the Mellow came over. I got to entertain in my house, use our BBQ, sit on our patio and drink lots of wine. Oh and also become quite verklempt over a card that 'Marshall' got for me. That perhaps was everyone else's highlight.

I'm actually off today to see more family. Spend more time with little buddies and enjoy more verklempt moments.

Although there was no norebang or Belfast pub or Turin restaurant, it actually is turning out to be one of my favorite birthdays. You can really only thank people for that.

And FB has allowed for so many more people to help make me feel special on the one day of the year that&…

Cultural Differences

I think I may have been out of the North America too long because when I saw this commercial, I was certain it must have been 11:33 on a Saturday night and I was about to watch SNL on Global TV.

Something was building...

I've just watched this commercial again and can't tell you if it gets funnier after the second line because I can't stop myself from laughing ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE REST.

People, really, is this how far we're come in advertising? One step away from a SNL skit?

MasterCard, here is another priceless.

To the Mothers In My Family

This year is quite a special Mother's Day because we've added two new mothers to the mix. Both my sisters joined the special land of motherhood this past fall and will look at this day a lot differently than they have in the past.

In honour of all the mothers in my family, I thought I would write a few words about what each one has taught me.

My father's mother has taught me not only how to make a great pie or some super canned jam and chili sauce, but also how to stay young. Surround yourself with young people, journey around the world as though you're 25 and always be the last one to leave the kegger.

My mother's mother has taught me the importance of honest hard work. As a teacher when not many women were out in the workforce, she spent tireless hours educating children, just like me, to go out into the world and conquer. And always with a smile on her face and a positive outlook on life.

D's mom has taught me patience. Patience with your children. Patience with…

Good Vibes

We've had some new exciting news in the A-D team. I've shared with many people personally but thought it does need a spot here as well.

I've recently taking a job as a technical writer and could not be more excited about this opportunity. I will be able to flex my writing muscle in this new way, mostly in writing, but also in the creation of a product, which is also exciting for me.

In an effort not to dooce myself, I won't be writing about it here. Just wanted you to know the next phase of the re-entry plan seems to be coming together.

I also wanted to share some wonderful words my good high school friend K shared with me. Her and I used to swing on swings at Lion's Park in the early years of high school, talking about boys and thinking about our futures.

"It is soooo nice to have you back in the province. Isn't it crazy how some of our most cherished friends are those who knew us before boyfriends, husbands, kids...before half of our adventures even existed…

Beer Goggles and Nostalgia

We've all had a 'beer goggles' moment, one where something just looked SO DAMN GOOD that you leapt in feet first or lips first, in awe of your chance encounter with some kind of greatness.

I ended up clicking on an ad link in Facebook today about teaching in Korea and I was quite impressed by the video for its 'beer goggles' way of presenting Sparkling Korea.

Sparkling Korea

For most of you who don't know, Sparkling Korea is actually Korea Tourism's slogan for the place. It was quite a funny inside joke of all us teachers about how 'Sparkling' the place could be. The cities had their own slogans, usually with really ridiculous adjectives placed in front of the town's name. Unfortunately none come to mind however when I saw this video, I thought for sure the makers could work for Korea Tourism.

A few things they are correct - you CAN save $1000 a month and YOU DO get a bonus when you leave. You can also stress for the duration of your contract about …

I Hear Ya

You may know I'm a bit of a Facebook addict, although I can't say I know anyone who has tried it that doesn't check it on a regular basis.

I was never someone who got into any other communities - ie MySpace Bebo etc - and I've always said (to the chagrin of my friends who must LISTEN to my ramble) that Facebook was just..well..easy. It' all about interface, sir.

Although I'd like to pretend in my fairy tale word that I am VERY web savvy, I'm certain I don't know everything there is to know about it. Then again who does?

My excitement today, however, stems from comments made by an ACTUAL web geek.

And I'm glad because this means I'm not a crazy person talking out of my ass - at least, not when it come to Facebook.

Read it and weep...or cheer...whichever, just read.

New Digs

Right now I'm sitting at a computer in my HOME OFFICE.

Yes, that's right I have HOME. A nice, 3 story HOME that is ALL MINE. Well, I share it with D but he's easy to share with.

Over the past 6 days I've enjoyed relaxing on MY OWN couch, staring out the construction from MY OWN window and getting in some exercising running up and down the 3 FLIGHTS OF STAIRS in the space which I now call my own.

D and I fell luckily into this place which a friend of ours owns and is kindly renting to us. It's given me a whole new outlook on things. Just having your own space has never seemed so important.

I guess it feels like almost 2 years since I've had my own space. We had a great place in Korea - huge 3 bedroom, great for parties - but, in hindsight, it was hard for me to feel completely at home there because I knew I would be leaving.

The Belfast rentals always felt instantly like home. I suppose since Ireland is very much Western like Canada, it didn't take much.

But now, …

For a Thought

Hot Docs is this incredible festival that comes to Toronto once a year to showcase some of today's top talent when it comes to documentaries.

The festival continues until Sunday and would highly recommend you check it out.

There are a ton of different films, all which look interesting and inspiring, but I also want to point you to one I watch last night after the book launch as it accompanies the book.

Dr. James Orbinski is a Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Canadian sector of Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Triage: Dr. James Orbinski's Humanitarian Dilemma is a fantastic documentary about his journey back to the war torn countries in Africa he worked as a young doctor.

I highly recommend it, it makes you think about Africa and mostly humanitarianism as we know it today.

So happy to be taking part in artistic, grass roots events again. Toronto has so much to offer and I'm really getting psyched about the summer festivals ahead.

The Big Missing-the-Big-Picture??

Over the last month, I actually started watching Oprah's The Big Give.

My opinions on Oprah have not really changed over the years - she's an ambitious person who I can respect for her tenacity and drive, who has contributed to society nationally and internationally in a mostly positive way and who, at the very least, should be given some sort of kudos.

I just don't like her. Her show tends to be her and her celebrity friends ta ha ha-ing about all the times they were hanging out in fabulous places, too fabulous for her audience to ever dream of going there once. Then, she introduced Dr. Phil, who is just simply an advertisement for the obvious and a sad state of affairs if he is considered an 'expert' on helping people.

For me, it's mostly her book club, although I have to give her credit for getting people reading. It was more the pretending to not profit from the books. I suppose you don't count having to sign movie rights over to her company as profit. Cau…

If Train A is travelling at a speed of 100km an hour and Train B...

I've started to widen my job search according to my skill set and have added various writing gigs to to the list.

I just finished a 2 hour online test which tested not only my grammar but also sentence structure, logic and reasoning.

Is it 100% nerdy that I actually LIKED it?

For the most part, many of my jobs have consisted of a lot of people interaction. I suppose since I'm such a chatty Kathy, I figured that's the route to go with jobs.

But maybe it's not. Maybe silent words can be my friends. Maybe I can use that annoying habit I have of correcting people's grammar and actually put it to good use. Like TO MAKE MONEY or something like that.

That way, I can save all my talking energy for recreation.

Good idea, me thinks on this sunny Sunday.

Just Write Dude

I managed to find another blog today that I think will be a good one to follow.

Seth Godin's Blog

Recently I have been feeling tapped of most of my creative energy but looking through Seth's list reminds me that it's not always about writing perfectly, it's just about writing.

Another part of the blogosphere that makes me ponder a new addition - what would it be like if I recorded my voice READING my blog? Because I'm certain, that I use inflections in my head when I'm writing that doesn't always come across when you're READING.

And maybe one would say that, that if you're a GOOD writer your readers will GET IT but I can't say whether or not that's true actually because I read a lot of GOOD writers and I bet I'm not always reading them the way they would like to sound like.

And this type of genre is different than a book or a magazine or even a radio program. Because it can tend to get very stream of consciousness, very therapeutic for the wr…

Infinite

Rainy days always tend to give me this infinite feeling. Like I have all the time in the world to get stuff done because hey, it's not even really NICE enough outside to do anything.

I'm actually EXCITED if you can believe it that I'm going to be sitting in on a Friday night, banging away in various capacities on a computer. In a basement office.

Many of you are probably picturing a dull dreary existence I'm leading, to be so excited about GREY and DARK.

Perhaps it's simply the way I'm feeling. More productive with the darker things in life.

I'm up and down about the job search. It's never fun for anyone but just like travelling extensively, you learn a lot about yourself and in the end, you'll probably come out a better person.

Some days I want to just hurry up to the better person part. Some days I'm quite happy to just be looking around, seeing what's out there, waiting for a perfect opportunity to come my way.

I've started down a path of f…

One More Distraction

I was introduced to Twitter a couple of ways and finally it just hit the tipping point for me and I signed.

I've also been able to add it to my blog.

And this also reminds me how little I update the side bar content - doh.

Enjoy for now. While I'm still interested in filling you in on the excrutiating minutia of my day.

Flying

There has been a slight slump in A) the frequency of posts and B) my ability to keep a positive outlook.

I think perhaps it was a strange sort of boredom that was setting in, one that occurs when you're not being as mentally productive as you're used to being, one that was causing me a great bit of angst and annoyance.

It seems to have lifted, I can see through the fog and I've got a load of new energy with which to persevere.

As I have always written on this blog, any life you choose is filled with challenges. Some of those you're more prepared for. Some you didn't see coming and smack you in the face like a telephone pole as you round the corner.

The latter can be a bit more difficult to bounce back from.

But today, I'm flying high and just riding this wave.

Don't Talk Back to Darth Vader

I've been working on writing and editing projects all day today and my brain is slightly fried, although quite happy to be busy.

In light of that, I've decided to share this video, as my attempt to try and write something right now would probably come out AS IF NOT LESS coherent than this and plus, I'm not cute and small nor to I have beautiful doe eyes, black curly hair and a girlie bandana ta boot.

Enjoy

Energized

As I've written here probably about 10 million times, I always feel better after a bit of physical activity.

I'm not sure exactly what happens in the brain (okay, I'm not even really certain on a GOOD day what's going on up there) but once I've gotten some good old activity done, I feel ready to take on the world.

It's like a filing cabinet appears in my head. A nice, calm, filing cabinet. That opens and closes at appropriate times. That calmly hands me one thought after the next. That allows me to focus, work and move on. Task complete, problem solved, onto the next one.

I felt today that I had a lot to get done. And I almost felt that perhaps I should not go for an hour run.

But I didn't go yesterday, took a day off, and last night went to bed looking forward to the exercise.

I don't think I'm a terribly vain person but it is nice to know that you can fit in your pants properly, if only so that you don't have to go and buy a totally new wardrobe.

I …

Lessons in Technology

I'm a bit concerned about the way that job hunting now seems to be consumed with technology.

Don't get me wrong, I love the job websites just as much as the next guy. And the ability to actually email your resume to someone has always been more advantageous than say, a mass mailout to every company in your preferred industry.

But I'm wondering if perhaps some companies have taken things just a bit too far.

Every weekday, I wake up, have breakfast, read the paper, head to the computer to 'work'. My day of work consists of research, writing, talking of on the phone. It feels like a full time job.

It's very productive, I feel as though I'm really getting myself back to a 9-5 routine, not necessarily a bad thing. I'm reintegrating myself with the Canadian lifestyle, finding out what all the hot buttons are. Wondering if and when the snow will ever go away.

This is all good. All productive. All very very hunky dory.

What worries me, though, is that all the work I …

Spring Has Not Sprung But Begun to Claw it's Way Through All the Snow

Today is the first day of spring. I have to say that I think Mother Nature is turning a bit of a corner because although the streets were sheets of ice this morning, it's turning into a glorious day.

For years, I've been a fan of Scott Feschuk, dating back to his days at the National Post.

Thanks to a link from Dooce, I've just read his latest 'commentary' on the winter we've been having.

An Open Letter to Mother Nature

Now my sides don't just hurt from all the sit ups I've been doing, they are also in pain because I can't stop picturing Mother Nature's face at being addressed as Dear Bicth. In the wise words of Homer Simpson, it's funny cause it's true.

I'm not sure what it's like in Ottawa today but checking the weather outside, I think you finally got her attention Scott.

Happy St. What?

I've always enjoyed St. Patrick's Day, a day built around the celebration of everything Irish and much like Canada, a good excuse to have a pint or four.

This year was quite tame. Although I went to a party on Saturday, I was driving so I didn't drink.

I had an early morning meeting today so there was no way I was going to head out to a pub the night before.

I find myself, only now, not only reminicing about St. Paddy's Days of years past but also of Belfast and our time there.

One of my favourite memories of getting together with two very dear friends, Belfast A and Belfast G, usually on a spur of the moment, for a drink and a gab session.

Garrick Bar in Belfast was the perfect wee spot: (photo courtesy of flickr account)



We would tuck ourselves away into one of these corners and next thing you know, it'd be last call. And then we'd all stumble back to our respective homes, perhaps stopping for some chinese or jacket potatoes along the way.

It was great to have such …

Two for Tea and Tea for Two

I've had a fairly long love affair with tea. I think it may have reached the same length of time as my love affair with coffee. But I had to part with the black stuff long ago. My nose says yes but my stomach says no.

My love of tea great exponentially when I moved to the UK. I mean, come on people, in the Western world, they are THE QUEEN of tea. Just ask their Queen. I know she's having tea all the time.

When I moved to Asia, it became greater on a whole other level. I mean, I had read about the benefits of green tea - that it can help reduce your risk of cancer by 70%!!!! - and had dabbled a little bit in the green stuff before I arrived.

But South Korea had green tea by the plentiful. Hot green tea. Cold green tea. Instant green tea. It became my companion at work, at home and more importantly, in the sauna. While I sweat out all the junk I was consuming, the green tea was there with me, offering a refreshing coolness as well as a detoxifyer. The relationship just kept growin…

A Lot

I've been doing a lot of writing but not so much here.

I've been doing a lot of thinking but not so much expressing.

I've been doing a lot of laughing right out loud.

I've been doing a lot of visiting.

I have actually been DOING a lot, and yet sometimes, it feels like I've not yet done anything at all.

And I couldn't feel any better about that.

The Word of the Day is...

Dynamic.

I'm not sure how anyone can get a job if they are not dynamic.

Cause every career website, job posting, corporate section of company websites, wants DYNAMIC people.

Are you dynamic? If you are, I'm confident you're employed. If you not, good luck. Might as well head off to remote island, work the land and live out your days a loner.

A very un-dynamic loner.

More Packing

We're setting off today again for our journey down to the extravaganza of the Leap Year - V Day.

It's not really at all like D Day, 1) because it's not the end of a war, more like the beginning and 2) there are not nearly as many Europeans involved, although I suppose D and I count with our dual citizenship.

It's a day that my parents invented, to make sure that at least once every four years, all of their children would actually come home. There's no guilt for Christmases missed or birthdays, even Mother's Day and Father's Day aren't pushed heavily.

But on V Day, February 29th, if you're not with my parents, well, you might as well fly yourself to the moon.

My mother, however, is not great at giving guilt, which I great for me although sometimes I feel bad for her. Isn't it her right of passage to GET to make me feel guilty? Isn't THAT what all those hours of labour was for?

And since me and my siblings actually LIKE my parents, we end up gettin…

The Universe at Work

When we lived in Toronto, we rarely went further past Spadina on Queen Street.



Not that I had anything against the street, it's just that I spent more time up Church Street or down to Jarvis and Front or up to Bloor and Yonge than I did in that direction. Ryerson's near the Eaton's Centre. I was a lazy student. I just stayed closer to home.




This weekend my lovely friends from Korea K and W met D and I downtown for some visiting and potential sightseeing.




As the weather was garbage - not unusual for February - we ended up walking underground for awhile.



After a quick lunch near the Eatons Centre we ventured outside towards City Hall and onto Queen Street.



I knew it would be a street that K would like I also knew that W has lived here before and probably frequented this street as well.



So we walked, in the slush and the snow and the rain (yes, it was raining. IN FEBRUARY. And making this mucky and wet and melted and brown).




W said he knew of a place where we could sit, have a coffe…

Back to the Beach - Post #756

It's very cold here in Canada. Us Canadians love to discuss the weather and I had forgotten why. Because in winter, IT GETS REALLY REALLY FREAKIN COLD!!!!

Over the past couple of days, I've become slightly pathetic and started looking at all my Facebook pictures from the beaches. I'm not sure if I'm nostalgic for the trip or if it's just for the beach.

So, since that's they way my mind seems to be going right now, I just thought I'd share a random sampling of the beaches we lounged on this fall.

Can I tell you, as I look outside to the 5 feet of snow and the thick sheets of ice that it's hard for me to believe there was ever a time that I could leave the house without 5 layers on.

Enjoy.












Remembering Sunscreen on the Road

When we were driving in Western Australia from Perth to wine country Margaret River, an old song came on an immediately punched me back to high school.

Many of your will remember Sunscreen, the speech given by Mary Schimch to a group of graduates.

I began reciting the words, surprising myself how I knew them off by heart and also amazed at the difference at what the words now meant to me, 15 years on.

We were driving through a beautiful part of the country, just about 6 weeks into our glorious journey, and this song was now becoming part of much more than my old school memories.

And I also felt happy. Because I had had so many dreams and plans when I used to listen to that song. And here I was, living them out more wildly that my dreams could ever have imagined.

I happen to be cat sitting today and was reminded of the song - it was posted up in a room in the house.

Although the entire song makes me feel reflective, I really like this one part:

"Be careful whose advice you buy, buy be p…

Welcome to the 21st Century

I do realise that when we first left Canada, it was the 21st century. It was actually a couple of years into the 21st century.

But it is only NOW that I'm learning of all these new fandangle things that use technology to make life easier.

Over the past 5 years, we have not really been 'consumers' in the true sense. We became sticklers for NOT buying stuff because any money we made was meant to go into savings.

You can be an adventurous travelling nomad but ONLY if you don't spend all your money on the latest Blackberry or that designer bag that would look just..so..good with those new shoes.

Plus, there's the not having-the-internet-at-home thing, which changes your world in ways well, that all of you can imagine.

So, since we've been home, it's taking a little getting use to all this consumer luxury, and the advances that they bring.

I feel a bit like an alien from outer space sometimes when I'm being shown how to use technology by people 20 YEARS OLDER tha…