Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ready for the Gun Show?

Happy Halloween! I know it's a week early but I wanted to share these pics from last night. A good friend helped host a fundraiser for her Weekend to End Breast Cancer team, and I of course was much obliged to have been invited. Pulled together in about 5 minutes, I admit my costume may have bordered on more fit for the boudoir than the Bronte Legion Hall; however, upon arrival my costume proved positively nun-like in comparison to my fellow party-goers!!
Glancing furtively around the room I couldn't help but rest my eyes on one risque costume after another.
Sexy Superman, lusty angel and the finest (or most shocking) specimen, depending on your point of view, some sort of Sargent army dude...minus one uniform and plus one Mr. Potato head on his ahem, package.

My dignified sensibilities set aside for the evening, I enjoyed the festivities and the considerable amount of food included in our ticket. The music was your standard but enjoyable DJ set and the $3.75 cocktail price was easy on the wallet. Back from 6 feet under, Steve Irwin even made an appearance and to my delight, really was from Down Under! As my upcoming trip (move?) to Australia is always (if not right in the front of,) in the back of my mind, I was thrilled to meet a real Aussie in Oakville. It was my first encounter with an Australian in Oakville, and if I'm not mistaken, t'was what he hopes will be his last... Apparently Banff is much more alluring. I guess our concrete jungle doesn't amuse? All in all a great evening of costumes, yummy food, booty-shakin on the dance floor and a cocktail (or 5)...hey anything for a good cause right?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Student Loans

Has anyone out there ever applied for educational funding? I feel like I'm the last person on earth to realize that you can actually GET THE GOVERNMENT TO PAY for a large chunk of university fees! I feel really really annoyed right now that I never bothered to look into this as an undergrad. Grrrrr.... hopefully by eschewing the loan world until now I will have a better chance of being granted enough money to eat while I'm at school in Sydney. I guess there is a bright side of not being approved; achieving my ideal surfer girl weight will be that much easier if I can't actually afford food. 
So, to acquaint myself of all things Aussie, I've been reading Australian travel books (see sidebar) and revisiting my photographs from when I was there in 2005. This particular photo reminded me of the myriad complexities of what one might expect to be an ordinary straight-forward venture - ordering a coffee. In any regular Tim Horton's type coffee shop, conveying one's order requires careful attention to a certain vocabulary. This puzzled me and it often resulted in the level of confusion and bewilderment among us tourists that I am used to seeing in novice Starbucks patrons. In contrast though, it wasn't pretentious, or unique to one chain of shops... to me it was just... peculiar...
 I must quote Bill Bryson on this as I couldn't say it better myself:

"....It appeared you had to specify a length (principally long or short), a color (black or white), and even an angle of orientation to the perpendicular (flat or not), and these could be put together in a multitude of permutations- "long black, "short black," even 
"long short black.""

This, I can assure you is not an exaggeration in the slightest. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Owie

Ouch! Who knew that catching a floor hockey ball between one's legs could leave such a painful and grotesque reminder of one's unfortunate reflexive reaction? It's a good thing that shorts/ skirt season is all but over here in crispy cool Ontario. Speaking of which, I love fall! The other day I was reminded of this while walking through a cute little area of Toronto known as Liberty Village. The condos there are those "industrial chic loft" types and have names like Toy Factory Lofts and Chocolate Factory Lofts etc. (I'm not clear as to whether or not these buildings used to actually be what they are named for...) Anywho, the ground was covered with these deep red round leaves the exact shape and colour of rose petals! It was like the cliched romantic petal-covered bed had exploded outside to pave the way for every fashionably dressed hand-holding Torontonian couple to glide over. Fall or "Autumn" (in fact seasons in general) will be one of the things I will definitely miss the most while I'm in Australia. There's nothing better than taking a brisk fall walk with friends and then ducking inside a warm cafe for a frothy cup of hot coco and lively conversation. Ah well I'm sure I'll get over it while I'm surfing the waves in January!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Well Pho Hung

I'm In Love. There... I said it. The affair started five weeks ago when I, along with a dear friend (whom I will refer to as, J) joined a Sunday afternoon floor hockey league. Since then J and I have maintained a weekly apres game date of dining at a Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Hung. I am absolutely In Love with their rare beef soup known as Pho Tai, and each week I order the bathtub sized dish for the low price of only $5.00! I must admit I was skeptical at first:"Rare" is actually meant to be, and is "raw" beef that "cooks" at the table while it's floating in the hot broth. Setting aside my food-safety paranoia (or as some may see it, better judgement) I decided to try this new dish. It was love at first taste! I became instantly hooked on this sumptuous dish...the broth made tangy by the plate of fresh bean sprouts, cilantro and lime wedges served on the side; the delicious noodles, and the tender beef all with a dash of heat from a liberal squirting of srirscha hot chili sauce. Mmmmm heaven in a bowl. It is without a doubt, one of the highlights of my week, made that much sweeter by the company of my fabulous, funny, fantastic friend J!
PS As I live a prohibitively far distance from my object of affection I thought I might try a homemade version. Stay tuned for how this turns out.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Good News

Breaking News: I was accepted into law school at the University of Sydney! As of sometime late January I will be Down Under to (finally) begin my life-long dream of becoming a lawyer. Hopefully this blog will be a good way for friends and family in Canada to stay abreast of my new life in Sydney!

Cheers mate!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Re: my poor blogger etiquette

Apologies for my lack of posting of late. I've been so busy livin life I haven't had time to write about it! (Oooh sorry, that sounded so pretentious, can you tell I'm back in Oakville?) Having been been sucked back into the black hole, I've been living my life as a yuppy impostor. Sleeping in, reading the paper, and taking Bailey on long leisurely walks. Luckily all is not lost: today I joined in on a fab mid-morning pilates class...for most participants it's post offspring-drop-off at private school, pre-shopping trip to Whole Foods, but at least I feel like my rear isn't so close to the floor anymore. Last night I baked (!) what turned out to be a quite tasty pie made with only 8 ingredients! It was my contribution to a gathering of wii enthusiasts at a friend's house. Thanks to Jess, (to avoid the confusion with yours truly we quickly gave her a nickname-Dingo) my new friend from the Aussie Footie game for coming out tonight. She was witness to what is sure to be a wii bowling game that will go down in the annals of wiii bowling history. Tenleigh and James  duked it out each bowling an almost perfect game. Congrats to James who's 9 Strikes won him the game and a free beverage!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I've been tagged!

Anne Sage, my best friend and author of one of the blogosphere's most fabulous style and design blogs, The City Sage... has tagged me! I have to list 6 details about moi but first the rules...
1. Link to the person who tagged me
2. List the rules
3. Tag 6 fellow bloggers
4. Leave them a comment so they know they've been tagged

So here it goes...

1. I'm somewhat of a shopaholic, currently in forced recovery due to (what the parentals refer to as) my champagne taste on a beer budget. I LOVE to shop and am especially vulnerable to the wiley and dangerous impulse purchase. When going on, what the Oprah crowd would call, an "emotional shopping spree" this tendency has resulted in quite a number of purchases that fall somewhere between the categories of could-have-survived-without, and downright frivolous. One of the most memorable and expensive examples (and yet one that I love the best) is my puppy, Bailey. Like most infants, she's cutest when asleep but I just adore her! I'm sure I'm not the first person to decide that having a dog would be a big improvement over a boyfriend but looking back, I still can't believe I bought one on a whim!

2. One of my favourite hobbies has to be photography. I would take pictures all day if I could (to which my travel mates can definitely attest!) I have been known to get a bit carried away with the camera and I realized things were out of control after taking about 100 pictures of an Australian sunset. It was spectacular but one does not need 100 pictures of one thing... Alas, I am currently satisfied by my amateur status and get my fix happy-snapping (but not too much!) my way through my many adventures, which brings me to...

3. Travelling! I adore getting the heck outta dodge (Oakville) and exploring the world outside the kingdom of the Stepford Wives. This past year I've been lucky enough to get to New York and San Francisco, Brazil, Cuba and British Columbia. I think I got the travel bug when, as a baby, my parents who are both British ex-pats would take us to visit our Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins across the pond.

4. Despite being first generation, I am a tried and true Canadian. I love to ski and snowboard, I think the Americans are the ones who sound funny saying "house" and "about," and I much prefer watching hockey to any other professional sport. Maple syrup (real, not the fake "table" variety) is definitely a diet staple (try it on plain yogurt, mmmm) and for crying out loud it's a toque not a beanie!!! Oh and Canadian beer? Also a food staple. 

5. The cliche "a fish out of water" could apply to any number of facets of my life (high school in its entirety?) However, it's especially apropos when it comes to my love of water. If not born an actual sea-dwelling creature, at the very least I should have been raised near the water (Lake Ontario circa 1986 doesn't count...ew). I learned to swim at a very young age and have been employed as a swimming instructor, lifeguard, and water polo referee.  Swimming, playing water polo, surfing, sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing and kitesurfing are all on my top 10 list of fav activities and I can't think of anything better than falling asleep to the sound of ocean waves crashing onto rocks or breathing in crisp, salty air on the way out for a morning surf... 

6. I've erroneously convinced myself not to go to Starbucks with anyone but my closest friends. My logic: You only get one chance for a first impression and my Starbucks order has an extreme scaring-off-potential-suitor factor. I consider myself a down-to-earth, tee shirt and jeans lovin' girl-next-door type, but lo! my high maintenance Starbucks order smacks of the exact opposite! On those unfortunate occasions when a first date suggests Starbucks, I've denied myself the pleasure of that deliciously, addictively, scrumptious Grande, Extra-hot, Non-fat, Three-pump, No water, Tazo Chai...but why should I? I'd probably enjoy the latte more than the guy anyway. 

I'm going to tag: the other 4 to be added soon! (Having only been doing this a week, I don't know anyone else yet.)

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Tribute to Anthropomorphic Chairs

Today is Monday... aka the first of five long days preceding the weekend and so I got to thinking... is sinking into a cozy, comfy chair, clad in soft flannel pj's with a hot bevy and a juicy magazine in hand not one of the best pleasures the weekend brings? Acquiescently resigned to its duty as the bridesmaid of the furniture world, the chair is rarely given the credit it's due. Relegated to the center-back of catalogues and a mere sidekick to the dining table or settee, the chair deserves to take center stage once in a while and I, along with my best friend (, have decided to give the chair some long over-due recognition. Of course, even the chair has its niche set of fans and followers and in honour of them and their object of affection, I devote today's post as a Tribute to Chairs. You'll see what I mean about the anthropomorphic bit in a minute. 
A recent post on my best friend's blog inspired the inclusion of  this photo. Do the metal skinny-legged chairs not seem almost biological in how they appear to be engaged in some type of phagocytotic engulfing of the marble table? 

These chairs also have a life-like quality to them... it's like they're sitting there in the shade of the palm trees, enjoying the view.

...while these chairs are engaged in lively conversation...

P.S In case you were wondering, I took each of these photos at Inhotim, the gallery/ garden in Brazil I mentioned yesterday. 

A Collision of Culture: Art vs. Sport

Creepy looking statue. From a front-on angle you can see his eyes are rolled back in his head. 

Last night Toronto held its annual sunset to sunrise contemporary art show, appropriately named Nuit Blanche. The series of contemporary art installations throughout the downtown core proved to be quite the attraction as I discovered navigating my way through the throngs of people crowding the streets on my way to my destination- the Ontario Aussie Rules Football League Championship post game party. The Toronto Aussie Rules football team made an unbelievable 4th quarter comeback to win their championship game earlier in the day and I had been invited to the party by a team member who I'd met just that day at the game... uh hello...a room full of Australian "footie" players??? count me in! True to form, the Aussies had arranged for at least two, and possibly three kegs of beer to be flowing freely all night (and by freely I mean both plentifully and FREE!) The house was right in the center of the Nuit Blanch festivities and so our party (and perhaps the free beer) attracted art connoisseurs right off the street! The party hosts had decided to be a bit cheeky and adjust the lighting and the decor of the party room to reflect their own unofficial contribution to Nuit Blanch. Green and brown cardboard covered the walls and guests were encouraged to sign their name on the door cum guest book, and enjoy the politically charged messages written on the walls. A post modern take on university keg party subculture? Possibly. A subversive joke on the nuit blanch patrons who thought our party was an actual exhibit? definitely. Either way we got to enjoy the patronage of Toronto's weird and wild artsy crowd and they got to see our "exhibit" and did I mention the free beer? They drank plenty of that too...all in all a great night was had by all. In lieu of pictures of the event (I avoid taking my v. expensive camera out at night) I will share some pictures of my trip to one of Brazil's most popular contemporary art attractions...the exhibitions at Inhotim. A park, nature reserve and art gallery in the Atlantic Forest amidst the mountains of Minas Gerais not far from Belo Horizonte, where I was visiting my Dad for two weeks this past July. There are separate galleries as well as other works placed in strategic places (side of a building, anyone?) as well as unusual wild life and ahem, garden furniture....  

             Even the bathrooms have style!

Not being an "artsy" person myself,  I was astonished at the unexpected appreciation/ goosebumpy feeling I had for this breathtaking art  The photos don't really do the artwork justice but you get the idea. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Baby's First Kiss

Normally the very presence of a photo containing persons under the age of 10 is criteria enough for me to "next" the blog, so at the risk of being a complete hypocrite I would like to post this picture. The redeeming factors of this being 1) it's not my kid 2) the back story of this is that the parents of this gorgeous baby are soooo germ conscious (and rightly so) but I still think it's funny (much to my relief they weren't mad when they saw this) and 3) this is sooo cute, I just had to share. This is my puppy, Bailey. I half expected her to move in for the tongue action but I was quite surprised to see that her new friend was so into the idea! A match made in heaven? Bailey doesn't kiss and tell. 
Does anyone have an idea for a funny caption for this pic?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

"Items left unattended will be seized and may be destroyed"

The proverbial travel bug: I definitely have it. In the past year I have been on 17 different airplanes which may not seem like a lot but I don't travel on business (that would require actually having a job- more on that later) and I'm not what one would call "independently wealthy." Anyway I've amassed my share of airport stories but I'd like to share one from a recent trip home from my best friend's west coast wedding. I was waiting for my flight after saying a very hollywood chic-flick-esque, at-the-gate farewell to a fellow wedding party member with whom I got on particularly well (wink wink). I, being an aware/ slightly paranoid post 9/11 air passenger, noticed an unattended backpack in the empty seats next to me. Unattended but not empty! This backpack, much to my surprise, held an adorable, sleeping-while-dangling baby! Now of all places to leave one's baggage unattended, the gate at an American international airport seems like quite a peculiar choice. Especially when one's infant is part of the package. Just as I was thinking to myself,  "is this the 21st century version of a bassinet on the doorstep?" the mother appeared. Back from the bathroom maybe? the duty free?  Not harried or in a rush was she to retrieve her abandoned offspring, but calm as though she'd come back to get a forgotten, half-eaten sandwich... and here's the kicker- she was carrying a handbag! 

Express and Collectors Moving Slowly Beyond Next Transfer

I live in what is fondly and justifiably known as "the slowdown" between Toronto and Hamilton...yes, you guessed it...Oakville! The stretch of highway where 6 lanes merge into 3 creating this disastrous bottleneck of carbon-wasting  traffic. The other day I was "driving" home after a long day at a job I'm not crazy about (and by driving I mean enduring the soul-sucking agony that is crawling along in 1st gear at infinitesimally minute increments) and I thought to myself: This isn't your life, this isn't you in this car... but alas it WAS me; I WAS there. I was quite panicked, a clear indicator that I've stayed in one place for too long. I've always believed in change - that's how you grow.  That's how your life stays interesting. Ironically since moving to Oakville my life has mirrored the town's nickname- it has, quite literally, slowed down. Yes, I've made some amazing friends and had some good times, but overall I'm not quite where I thought I'd be at 26. Well all that will change when, later this winter, I move to Australia. Of course nothing is set in stone, but fingers crossed I will be starting school in the land down under this February. Cheers mate!