Thursday, November 27, 2008

Australia Countdown

Ladies Night Out

What do you get when you combine one chocolate fondue fountain, two pole dancers, three belly dancers and 25 cans of hairspray all under one roof at the Oakville Convention Center? Ladies Night Out of course! The who's who of Oakville's social elite all gathered last night for an evening of taste-testing, shopping and people watching in the glamourously decorated venue. Upon entering the room, My friend, her mother-in-law and I were swept up in the feeding frenzy that was swarming the tasting spread. The offerings were worth the mild indignity of being knocked off balance by more than one feisty octogenarian making a beeline for the tirimisu. Wild mushroom and goatcheese baguettes, not to mention the silky smooth liquor did hit the spot as we made our way through the throngs of bespeckled socialites armed with their pointy elbows and shoes. I was actually body checked at the wine tasting table, sending my cake fork into a crowd of leather and cashmere. Everybody's enourmous bags didn't help matters. Apparently carrying a large bag makes you look smaller. I'm not sure this "reason" justifies lugging around a suitcase, unless one needs to tote their border collie along with them. Anyhoo, after we were able to make our way through the crowd were were spat out into the great room just in time for the first of two fashion shows. This was followed by a belly dance performance and a pole dancing show. 
we all signed up for a free belly dancing lesson. It looks like such a fantastic workout and you get to wear bells to boot! I got my hair done by the runway models' stylist. Not sure I'd wear this look again but it was fun for one night. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just Bought: Plane Ticket

Bailey nosing around in the Frightful Weather in our front yard this week.

The weather outside is frightful but I'm delighted to report that I'll soon be saying sayanara to this Canadian winter! In exactly two months I will be getting on a plane to Australia and I couldn't be more excited. I leave Toronto on January 27th and with only one stopover in Vancouver, I arrive in Sydney only 21 hours but a full 2 DAYS later on January 29th. Ahh the miracle of time travel....How I manage to lose an entire day of my life just by getting on one little airplane is a bit beyond me. If only there was something I could do to go back in time. How great would THAT be? I could take back all those hours spent moping over stupid boys, an ill-timed confrontation with a jellyfish, and my entire 7th grade wardrobe. But I digress....
Of course my departure will be very bitter sweet as I have to leave my dear friends behind, but I've devised an ingenious solution: Use the powers of persuasion I will learn at law school to convince my friends to come to Australia! 
Here's a picture from my trip there in 2005. I think it looks like one of those green screens where you sit and they superimpose the background onto the photo later. I swear this is real though! And no, I do not wear all white outfits anymore. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Hot Saturday Night Date

They say a photo says a thousand words so here's my 21st century silent film: I call it 

"The Silent Blog"

Bloggity Blog Pictures Presents....
in collaboration with Pathetic Single Gal films...

"From Cabbage Patch to Cabbage Roll: My Life Thus Far"

Written, photographed and Starring Jess as herself
Bailey the dog as herself
Cabbage Rolls as themselves

Special Thanks to the Town of Oakville without whom this sorry excuse for a Saturday night would never have taken place. 

Black. Fade in to opening scene...


                              Ta Da!!!

                             "The End"

....Fade to Black

I've been tagged!

Meandering along the eastern beaches two weekends ago in Toronto. My Mom and I were treated to a gorgeous sunny day and we took full advantage of the gorgeous morning to walk Bailey. See the lifeguard station in the background? That used to be my summer job office.

And now for my bigger news!!!
Drumroll please!!!

I've been tagged! Thank you to Anne at The City Sage for the nod :)


So here goes my seven things...

1. I have been employed, off and on, and in various capacities since I was 14. My first real part time job was as a table-wiper/ cashier at Lick's. (Yes I had to sing, no I didn't like it.) I was fired (yes, fired!) because one of the managers at the time had a crush on me, much to the chagrin of his girlfriend, the other manager. Within a week of her being transfered to our location she had accused me of stealing. This, of course was a complete fabrication of the truth. I never ever would steal from an employer- besides, anytime a till was short the difference would come off our paychecks anyway. Even though she had zero proof, (and why would she since she was lying) I still got fired. 

2. I am allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. Peanuts are in a separate family than tree nuts. They are a legume. I am not allergic to other legumes.

3. Somehow on my dad's side I am related to Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. I am not sure of the exact lineage but I have been told that this is true. 

4. I  am obsessed with cookbooks. I have an entire bookshelf full of them. The entire Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa series. A smattering of Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson and a plethora of books dedicated to every sub category of food one could thing of... summer picnics, coffee drinks, steamed vegetables???? (Not sure what I was thinking with the last one but in case you're wondering it's called Simply Steamed.)

5. I am pretty obsessed with Martha Stewart. I have most of her cookbooks and almost every magazine printed after 1999. I am less devoted to her show (mostly cause I do, on occasion, go to work and it's at 1 in the afternoon,) but it's still a good thing and I watch when I can.

6. I took ballet lessons when I was about 5 and was so terrible. I never got to move up to the next level, but still year after year my mom would sign me up. To this day it's the only physical activity I can recall her not saying a stern "don't do that, you'll hurt yourself." 

7. I've read every John Grisham book he's ever penned. Law School? scoff! I already know how to be a lawyer. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Better late than never eh?

Ok so in anticipation of having (getting) to don a bikini in about T minus 10 weeks or so I thought I'd get down to business of trimming the extra layer the summer patio season was so helpful with. Seeing as how Australia is enjoying summer at the moment, I will not be needing the extra warmth and so with that in mind I have decided to try to eat more healthily. (Is that a word?) My first challenge: Incorporate more veggies into my diet which is currently mostly dairy and carbs. So here was my first attempt. Baked salmon on a bed of sauteed eggplant, shallots, zucchini and mushrooms served over a bed of steamed kale and collard greens. It was mostly delish except for the greens which were very bitter. Not a bad start if I do say so myself!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Romeo and Juliet or Why I Hate Trucks

Jess goes to Stratford II took place this past weekend as my mom and I ventured to the Festival Theatre in Stratford for the second last night of Romeo And Juliet. In contrast to the consistently Elizabethan setting in the Taming of the Shrew, this edition of the Shakespeare classic opens surprisingly during modern times. After Act I the play drop-kicks us back in time to the traditional Elizabethan era until the end when we rocket back to the present day. This makes for an interesting juxtaposition of Shakespeare's brilliant dialogue spoken by vespa-riding, machine-gun wielding actors. 

While the costumes were nice, I couldn't seem to tear my eyes away from the massive technicolour sun/ moon globe thing hanging over and completely dominating the stage. My favourite character was the slightly bumbling Friar Laurence (for those of you possessing a less than passing memory of Grade 9 English class, he's the guy who helps Romeo after his banishment and is the mastermind behind the ploy to help Juliet fake her death.) Stratford veteran Peter Donaldson does an excellent job of making his character and his scenes endearingly funny and likable amidst the doom and gloom of the rest of the play. 

As memorable, if not more so than the play itself was the torrential downpour through which I had to drive to get there. Notwithstanding the lack of streetlamps on the single lane, non-divided highway or the omnipresent tailgating mack truck lights in my rear-view mirror, I was completely terrified by the lack of visibility out the front windshield. Driving old lady style; white knuckle death grip on, and my nose peering over the steering wheel, I realized the rain was coagulating on the window because it was covered in a thin film of grease!  A combination of squirting wiper fluid at short intervals and blasting heat on the window made it just about possible to see, but of course in the process I had no choice but to turn the car into a stifling, suffocating sauna. Things were further complicated by the 7 car pileup on the highway and without the benefit of a map, GPS or sense of direction (not to mention ability to see out the window,) my attempts to find an alternate route out of Kitchener were fruitless. After driving in circles for 20 minutes and a quick pit-stop at Tim Horton's we conceded defeat and got back on the arrested highway. Luckily time wasn't of the essence as we'd left early. We past the accident scene and found the turn-off for Stratford. On the narrow, dark highway I was sure that each time we were overtaken by one of the enormous mack trucks flying past, either the encroaching behemoth would hit us, or else the massive blinding wall of spray it kicked up would render us trapped in our hot dark metal deathtrap, skidding off the road and ending up crushed in a twisted metal wreckage. Nerves shot to hell we arrived in Stratford, mercifully in one piece. The excitement didn't end there though. As I turned into a strip mall and headed down what I thought was an alley leading to a parking lot of a restaurant, I was startled to discover that it was an UNMARKED exit to a drive through! Seriously there was absolutely no sign whatsoever. Luckily the driver of the SUV I almost drove into wasn't going very fast. Boy did I back out of there quickly! 

The way home was only slightly better. We spent about 30mins at the gas station trying to scrub the grease off the window (getting drenched in the rain and soaked in the puddles of course.) The windshield was slightly less opaque, however it was after midnight and I was really tired. Both my mom and I agreed that should we ever decide to undertake such an adventure again, we'd book a hotel room. Lesson learned!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pet Pics

Ok ok I know no one cares about other people's pets, mine or otherwise but I thought this was cute. A cat in a box. It would be even better if the cat's name was Jack...but it's not, it's just Puss. It's a thing in our house... despite any intentions or attempts to name otherwise, all of our pet felines have been called simply, "Puss." 

My Bailey on the other hand was named after my favourite liquor:  Bailey's Irish Creme! What do we think her new face-cut? Now if only I could find time to take her for a paw-i-cure...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote Vote Vote!

Will the sun rise with a new Democrat President?

No offence to our friends to the south, but this is the first time I have regretted not being American. Don't get me wrong, I'm no Anti-American... quite the contrary. I find Americans to be polite and friendly, they certainly have an enviable sense of patriotism and national solidarity and let's not forget Hollywood! Where would I be without my weekly gossip fix from the myriad gossip magazines? Even my bestest friend is American! Still, I've always felt very lucky to have been born in Canada. Today though I wish wish wish I could vote in what is sure to be a most historic election. Today either the first black president will be elected, or else the oldest first term president and women VP. I am by no means a political expert, quite the opposite in fact. Still, even I am aware of the plunge the USA has taken in the past 8 years in virtually all areas. I shudder to think what will happen to the USA if there is another Republican administration. Having said this, everyone is entitled to their own opinion so all I am saying is, if you are American and can vote then go! Get out there and exercise your Democratic right to vote. I agree with the Australians in that I think voting should be compulsory; however, it is a right in North America that many others in our world still to this day do not share. So please, take some time, even if you have to line up for a long time to vote. Your vote counts and it is worth it!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Taming of the Shrew

***Blonde moment alert*** The Taming of the Shrew: A Shakespeare play NOT about a small woodland creature but rather about the gender politics of marriage starring a bitter and angry young woman who's transformation we see in the context of a play within a play. Apparently not unusual for the time but a novel and interesting idea for me! Having studied a number of Shakespeare plays in high school I was familiar with the genre but not at all familiar with this play in particular. I had never been to the world famous Stratford Festival and I was lucky enough to be invited this weekend by some good friends with connections! Our complementary seats were in the lower area of the theatre which made for a good and close view of the stage. The costumes were phenomenal... talk about boot-ay on the women! On their rear ends one could easily put a doily and a vase or a few books and a pair of nice book ends. I guess Shakespearean men preferred their women with some junk in the trunk. My how times have changed... but that's a topic for another day. Back to the play- the singing was fantastic and once my fellow play watchers explained to me what the heck was going on during the intermission I was able to follow the second half very nicely. Subtitles wouldn't have gone unappreciated though... In any case the whole day was fantastic, culminating nicely with a dinner at a real farm! In fact I enjoyed myself so much that I am going back this week to see Romeo and Juliet. Thankfully this is one of the plays I studied in high school so I'm anticipating not feeling so lost this time. 

Musicians play the fanfare to let folks know that intermission is over. One of my favourite parts of live theatre is the live music... so captivating!