Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Eve

So its Christmas Eve and its not snowing. It would be nice if it was, but I look at Ida's pictures of -32 degrees and snow forever and I think - yes it is very pretty but also very very cold - so I'm good with not having the snow if it means I'm less cold - because it's still cold here.

My Mum and Dad rang from NZ, it was so lovely to hear their voices and I got to speak to my Uncle Ian (my dad's brother) and my Aunty Chris which was so nice - what a lovely treat for me! I'm really glad that my parents get to spend time with my Aunty and Uncle this Christmas. I think its been a long time since they have. I hope we all get to spend a Christmas together in the future! Maybe a hot Australian one with all my Petersen rellies.

I'm looking forward to Christmas tomorrow with my Aunty Tree, Uncle Lox and cousin Jazz. The tree is bearing up nicely and it is always so pretty with the presents underneath.

I bought some white rum to have with egg nog I've had to google how to drink it - I was going to try it warm but from what I can see on the internet - you should drink it cold.

Note - when did people start calling it the interweb? I have always called it the internet and suddenly I have started to hear it. I find it annoying. I don't know why I just do.

As I write this I am being very French, I am writing whilst drinking red wine - on a cold day and after two glasses (hearty glasses to be fair) my Asian side has kicked in and my face is rosy and warm. I would worry but then I think meh - its Christmas I've done a total of 3 plus hours of exercise today and I will sleep like a baby tonight.

Anyway I hope you all have had a super Christmas day, and have spent it with people you love. I love you all and I will update again soon xxxxx

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree!

And no I'm not referring to my aunty being seasonal. We've purchased the tree and I have now finally finished the decorating of it.

As we are in a condo we have a smaller tree and it sits up on the table - you have to say what type of tree you want here - not like in NZ where you just get what is there.

This is our actual tree
Ours is a Fraser Fir - its quite cool actually the branches are really stiff and it almost looks too perfect to be real expect for the fact that it was balding a little around the top, but they all were - we bought some extra bits and pieces and I think it filled in quite well.

This is an Instagram piccie of the baubles. I'm really learning about Instagram it is actually a lot of fun - read good time waster when you are bored.

I've been slack with the gifts this year - I'm still getting around to them. This will be the first year in MANY years where I am in a house that doesn't do stockings so I don't have run around like a maniac thinking about little gifts for everyone- although I actually like doing stockings I just haven't been as rushed this year so its a nice change.

It's about -1 degree at the moment - it will be cold for Christmas but we won't get snow in Toronto, mores the pity. We have the week in-between and then we head to New York for a few days. I bought a lovely pair of black leather gloves in preparation - again it will be cold but not snowing. I couldn't find my own black gloves which were all packed up before I left NZ. There is a leather shop here called Danier and honestly if I could buy everything in there I would.

Today (18 December) we went to see the movie the Life of Pi. Gosh you know I had a few tears in my eyes in that movie. What a beautiful concept, and what an interesting point that the movie makes on religion.

I have to say that it is much sadder for me to think of animals dying than humans. I don't know why, my friend Jen reckons that it is because humans can speak for themselves. I think this is true but I think its because I think we are here to watch over animals and look after them.

I won't ruin the storyline for anyone who hasn't seen it yet - but if you do get a chance to see it in 3D then do it - there was a couple of scenes (I saw it in 2D) that would have been amazing in 3D.

The next movie I want to see is Parental Guidance - one of those Billy Chrystal movies. I suppose I should be heading off to the see The Hobbit , but I'm just not sure about that one. My father used to read me The Hobbit when I was younger in order to help me to go to sleep. I am just not sure if I want to change the memory of The Hobbit that I have in my mind with one I see on the screen. It was like when I saw the Narnia movies, after reading them endlessly as a child. The screen adaption, while amazing, just never quite compared to what I saw when I read the stories to myself in my own head.

I have two more weeks at my landlords place. It will be nice not lugging food to and from my aunty's place - as I am usually at my aunt's for lunch and dinner. I will be just across the hallway house sitting for Taro's mum as she is away in Indonesia.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Wiarton Take 2

Headed back to Wiarton to see Jess - this time for about 12 days.

I came back in knowing people this time, and by people I mean the old fullas at the Legion which is the Canadian version of the RSA.

It was nice to see people again. I fell prey to the dreadful dreadful wine of the Legion and when you have a couple you think its ok and its really all downhill from there.  I think I shall treat myself to champagne for New Years but apart from that the race is on to get to a suitable health level for when I return to NZ. 

My poor body also got fed wheat so it is very happy to be back in Toronto on my wheat free diet. If you want to learn more about the benefits of a wheat free diet you need to check out the book Wheat Belly.

Since I cut out wheat my acid reflux has gone away, my wheeziness and the majority of my sinus issues. Amazing! And I realise I sound like an infomercial but it really has made all the difference! My skin, which on a good day is great, has become even better!

Also while in Wiarton I saw their Santa Parade, which DID container a million and one clubs with old men, but no Santa.

Go figure.

The Ham and Turkey spin at the Legion was also on our social calendar (Jess works there and is a member hence why we spent time there). I won a huge ham on the bone, so now I just need to find a diabetic friendly glaze and we'll be away laughing.

We also had the chance to head into Owen Sound where I just had to , had to , get my hair cut at Walmart. I actually thought it would be terrible but it isn't bad and now I can say I can be white trash with the best of them!

We also had a nommy dinner of Japanese, I've not had decent Japanese in so long so I was very excited. I got to have my regular teriyaki chicken bento box.

Jess and I DID go and see Twilight - we were the only ones laughing so I'm thinking we weren't there for the same reasons everyone else was. 

Jess , bless her, is a bit clumsy, the floor around us ended up looking like a popcorn machine had been attacked in it. I really wish I had taken a photo - it was EVERYWHERE.

Afterwards we headed off to the Festival of Northern Lights which was sooo pretty.

We also managed to dye our hair (and didn't ruin it), and attempt to put up her Christmas tree. You know when someone is so upset, and has been looking forward to something but the situation just goes from bad to comically tragic and you can't help but laugh. That's what happened here. 

She expected the tree to be about 4 ft taller, and for all the lights to work. They kind of stopped halfway up. Ever the optimist Jess says, ah well , at least we can put the decorations up half the tree and fix the lights the next day. Alas, the ornaments didn't have the hangry on parts to them so she couldn't even do that. I felt terrible but could NOT for the life of me stop giggling.

It was nice to be back in Toronto again though, with my little routines. Tomorrow I am heading back to the gym I've not been in over 2 weeks and no doubt I shall kill myself on the cycling machine but I'm going to go ahead and do it anyway!!!

Aunty T and I are heading out to buy a real Christmas tree this week and I'm looking forward to decorating it.

It appears that my Christmas cards have all made it around the world which is awesome. Now I just need to finish my Christmas shopping and prepare for a feast!

I can't believe it's nearly the end of the year - and what a year it has been.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Oh crap I think I'm over my title

I don't know if I like my blog name anymore. It was so cool when I thought about it and I was clearly going through a Latin phase but I'm not sure now.

Just like Cougar Town I too am rethinking my title.

Oh well I'm sure it will work out - maybe I can rework to be less poncy.

Meanwhile, I went to see David Clayton Thomas from Blood,Sweat and Tears. Now I'd not heard of him but he has worked with some of the top blues and rock stars of the 20 th century.

He was absolutely amazing- there is definitely something to be said about artists of today versus from  the 60s etc.

Look at Bieber, or Minogue or any of the other "voice edit" wonders and it is all about the show. Take all the whistles away and many of them have no musical substance whatsoever. Sadly I think Bieber actually has talent - not Minogue though bleh!

It reminded me why my favorite band is still The Beatles - all these years later there music is still relevant and used as inspiration today and they used to just perform no dancing or light shows or what not.

I'm so excited as the entire remastered Beatles collection is now available on LP.

I've been up again in Wiarton with Jess. I have been there for 12 days. It was snowing a bit while I was up there and I tell you it does make it seem more Christmassy with all the decorations and the snow.

I'll update on that shortly as I need to download photos.

Monday, 26 November 2012

No Mr. Bond I expect you to entertain me forever

There is something to be said for a James Bond movie- you can never really be dissatisfied from it - mainly because you know, and will get ,what you are expecting from it each time.

I have previously warmed to Daniel Craig as 007, but I have to say after watching Skyfall my thaw is easing. I think it might be because in this movie we see a return to the style which has made Bond great - babes, cars, and plenty of good action. The other Bond chick could have been better written as a character but at least she was a pretty piece of tail to fall for 007.

I have to say the scene in Shanghai with the assassin had to be one of my favourites. In a nod to the style of Asian action movies we see a fight scene in shadow backlit and to me, the choreography of this particular fight scene was divine. It was like watching two beautiful dancers complete a sublime pas-de-deux and it just worked in its simplicity.

But there is a sense of stability in Bond movies and as we move from female M back to male M and with a fabulous new Q - I am already looking forward to the next one.

Anyway its great - go see it. And Daniel Craig has now eased into top 3 spot for hottest Bond in my opinion - just ever so slightly behind Connery and Brosnan. Maybe number 1 one day.

What else is new - oh I have finally realised why people call marujuana - skunk - because when you smell skunk it totally smells like pot, for like the first few seconds and then it just stinks.

I'm off to another concert this Wednesday - it is David Clayton Thomas who was in Blood, Sweat and Tears - which I've never heard of but hey we shall see how it goes. Experiencing new things is the modus operandi of this adventure that I am on.

On Thursday I am off again to cause mischief up in Wiarton with Jess.This is Jess... I am really looking forward to seeing her again, and being around someone my own age who is just as mad and willing to do mad crazy things with me. Plus its snowing there and she lives right next to a hill so I'm thinking tobogganing in our future.

Also, the Festival of the Northern Lights is on up in Owen Sound and some beautiful hikes. I've figured out finally how to use Instagram so we will see if I can even get a photo out.

Oh AFTER I got absolutely raped by Rogers Wireless network here - god I miss NZ telco companies - people in NZ have NOOOOO idea how lucky they are with charges back home. I did one day roaming in the US and I barely used my wireless $280 USD BOOM! Rat fink bastards.

Aunty Tree is going to call them tomorrow for me - each month she does battle royale with Rogers and is really good at it - this is how BS their system is. Anyway I shall sign off for the night , and hopefully dream happy thoughts.

Talk to you soon xxx

Monday, 19 November 2012

Release the Kraccun

A weekend or so ago we all headed down to Ithaca in New York State to visit my cousin Jarred who attends Cornell University which is part of the Ivy League in the USA.

It is a beautiful drive down and we stopped off at some falls which freeze completely over in the height of winter.

Few gates open to get into the USA - many more back into Canada

 The Ivy League is an athletic conference composed of sports teams from eight private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States. The conference name is also commonly used to refer to those eight schools as a group. The eight institutions are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University. The term Ivy League also has connotations of academic excellence, selectivity in admissions, and social elitism.

Cornell University was founded on April 27, 1865 as the result of a New York State (NYS) Senate bill that named the university as the state's land grant institution. Senator Ezra Cornell offered his farm in Ithaca, New York as a site and $500,000 of his personal fortune as an initial endowment. Fellow senator and experienced educator Andrew Dickson White agreed to be the first president.

It was great fun! We wandered around the campus and took a look and it is just beautiful I have to say .

We wandered around sorority row as I wanted to see if the houses really were like in the movies. There are some MAMMOTH ones there. I did spot a couple of sorority sisters or pledges or what have you but I think only in the movies are they the blonde picture perfects.

As a freshman at Cornell you have to live on campus, which I think is a rather nice idea as it means you get the chance to bond.

As a student in Auckland you tend to stay with people you know already, or in my case, you worked so much you don't really get a full uni experience so to speak - although I wouldn't change my experience for anything.
Kappa Alpha something arather

Cornell basketball - we just snuck in whoops

Jazz and his BRIGHT blue sneakers

Honestly my family takes me to the nicest places. This is suicide bridge - apparently even alum come back to jump off it depressing yet committed I guess

Safety barriers to ward off jumpers

Ezra Cornell statue with a sweatband around his head. Quite funny - the statues in Albert Park , Auckland always get cones put on their heads.

Apparently this is some sort of love tree - you carve your initials and your beloved ones into the trunk. Poor tree

My top highlights were:

The Harry Potter Library:it has little nooks and crannies and special little lights and the book shelves are so ornate. Occulus reparo indeed!

The Steel Herakles - giving new meaning to balls of steel. You have to love such an ostentatious display of testosterone!!

Saw this and immediately thought oo I hope I don't meet them later!  Although I did.

No visit complete without American Football eh

Then we headed to get some booze for the evening thinking we would just chill and watch tv while eating Japanese and having a few.

There is this awesome spiced rum that my cousin drinks called Kraccun - so of course I had to buy it and keep saying "RELEASE THE KRACCUN" until I think Jarred was going to duct tape my mouth shut.

We also ended up going to a hip hop concert for a guy called Nas which was well awesome. I did find it hilarious as I think by far I was the oldest person there although no one would have known! All the kids were filming the concert on their phones and I can't help but think that they are missing out on the experience by doing so.

Fuelled on the illusion that I was young we headed out to a local bar (bear in mind the legal age to drink is 21) and if I thought I was young I was quickly brought back down to earth as I found myself debating the rights of murderers to have fair representation with two Cornell visiting lecturers who were also lawyers. When you get hit on by someone who is 50 you know you just aren't young anymore. Or they are really gross. In this case, both statements were true, bleh.

I ignored my wheat free diet for the evening and Jarred and I went to this awesome burger place (I'm pretty sure it was about 2am) and hoed into one of the best burgers I have had in since, forever - and its been about 2 months since I've had a burger.

Early morning, wine, Kraccun, and scotch. GIGGLES

I'm gonna eat you little burger nom nom

 So , I had, as my cousin said I had to , partied like I was in my 20s. However , the next morning was the horrible reminder that I am no longer in my 20s but in my 30s because I was just sooooo tired. Sooo sooo tired.

But hey, once every blue moon it's not bad to let loose :-)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

My first pumpkin...and Justin Hines

I have always wanted to carve a pumpkin - there is something so tween book about it - I used to read about carving in my Sweet Valley Twins books and Babysitters Club books and it always sounded like so much fun.

It was and it wasn't. The carving is fun, but the prep isn't really. I copied a design off a picture of one that I saw of another pumpkin and drew with washable black pen. But first you have to cut the top off and dig out all the seeds and clean the inside of the pumpkin.

Then following the design that has been drawn I got a super sharp knife and began carving away. There are special pumpkin carving knives, and IF I manage to find the right sort of pumpkin then I will buy one.

I managed to get the design cut out, and if I say so myself I love the outcome of my first ever pumpkin,  I popped a tea light inside and voila!

Aunty Tree, Uncle Lox and I also went to a Justin Hines concert. Now Justin Hines is an artist that I have purchased one of his songs off  iTunes without knowing who he was , I just liked the song.

The concert was held in Markham which is Justin's hometown. Uncle Lox actually used to know Justin when he was a little boy at school.

Now the thing about this artist is that his voice is amazing - but when you see him - you realise just what he had to overcome to be an artist -

It is very noticeable and I would be lying if I said I wasn't , not put off, but distracted by his physical appearance. Just thoughts in my head leading towards things like - how amazing it was how much he had accomplished and his attitude towards life, how if we were in Nazi Germany or even in the Middle Ages he would have been euthanised and then we wouldn't have had this music. Yes, its far fetched considering back then they probably didn't have the medications anyway.

Anyway , check out his music, the concert was amazing, he is amazing, his music is amazing.

Nightlights and John Key's comments

Recently I haven't enjoyed writing  my blog as much as I did in Sweden and I've realised why. I've been so focused on work, and other such stuff that my creative mojo has gone out the window, and I miss it.

I've made the decision to render myself poor and not find work, but enjoy being a tourist here in The Heartland Province a.k.a The Province of Opportunity (dated, official provincial slogan, formerly seen on provincial highway construction project signs).

So I have been wandering around the area alot more and once again making observations.

I love walking down Yonge Street after dark. Yonge Street is quite literally the longest street in North America - or so I have been told. I googled and confirmed it.

During the day it is not the best looking street, its businessy, and around my area it has a lot of Persian and Asian stores and rubbish which collects on the street and surrounds, a little slovenly in my honest opinion. At nighttime however it is like a different street.

As the less than fortunate in the looks department use make up to dress themselves up and sparkle, so Yonge Street uses the darkness in a similar way. With the lights, and the activity of people coming home, and going out for meals, the street takes on a fairytale quality and with the fine chill in the air walking down the street I feel like I am wandering in a music video, or movie montage. Particularly if I choose appropriate music.

Toronto has 3 million inhabitants, and many of them are immigrants. In fact, Toronto is the most ethnically diverse city in the world.

This has led to a couple of interesting things that I can note of, and again, these are my own observations, as I have to keep reminding people , things are different to each person.

I have noted that the food selection here is incredible. I have just started a new diet regime, actually I don't like the word diet, more because it sounds like a temporary thing to attempt to get into a bikini -for me this is a life change. I've been processed wheat free for about 2 weeks now and I have to say I would have done it earlier had I realised the impact it was having on me. But I digress and will get back to that in the future.

The food, there is, of course all manner of Asian food, of Persian food, and , one I definitely wish to try, Caribbean food. There is also an amazing selection of wheat-free, gluten free products, and include items like Ezekiel bread, which is now what I eat, which is not heavy like the selections we have in NZ and taste like normal bread, with the bonus of being less processed. It is made according to the Biblical recipe and in my humble opinion, I don't know how I could have survived on processed "normal" bread for so long.

There is nothing like a reformed "insert word here".

Click here to read a little on why Ezekiel bread is so healthy.

I've been keeping up with the news in New Zealand and the latest thing is apparently John Key saying something about a shirt being gay because it was red.

Now, because this is my personal blog and I can wax lyrical on what I like I shall say this. As a politician he probably should mind his words a little better, but I have to say that I use the word gay to describe something that is bad - like oh that's so gay that you split wine/vodka/milk (yeah right) on your shirt.

I am, by no means, a homophobe. Anyone who knows me knows this. However, when I was growing up , this was simply part of the slang that was there. Hell, I say it, then feel bad, then feel angry that I feel bad, then start an internal debate in my head about how the word gay originally was described as happy. Then I get annoyed at the PC bullshit of today, then I realise that without a bit of PC we would be stuck back in the 50s or earlier and I would hate for my gay friends to have to hide who they were or who they loved, etc. The place would also be rife with the likes of men like my ex Michael and no one wants that.

However it bothers me that people are so damn sensitive these days. It is just getting beyond the ridiculous,  and we are going to end up paying for it you mark my words. 

I like having a PM who is who he is. I would hate to have a constantly perfect political machine. That is not, what we as Kiwis, should be about. We need to learn to laugh a little more at who we are and just build a bridge and get over shit. I can't believe the amount of press this has gotten. Woopdef*ck 

Enough ranting. What else - oh I need to still put photos on about my pumpkin and I went to see Justin Hines - this is alot of words though so I'll tee that up for tomorrow.

Until then xxx

Monday, 5 November 2012

Barb visits Toronto and too much chocolate

I got a care package!!! From my lovely friends the Hui's and in it I got pineapple lumps (nom) and Whittakers chocolate, which is my favourite brand of chocolate in the world, as well as other goodies and NZ magazines. It was so nice to get a little taste of home and I have to say did make me miss home!

I am not proud to say I basically ate the chocolate in one sitting. It was so morish I just couldn't NOT eat it!
Last week it was Halloween, the Canadians do not go all out like the Americans do, but they definitely do more than us Kiwis. I'd quite like to start doing more decorations at home in NZ I think. I'm not sure if they make pumpkins the same in NZ as they do here so that is something I am going to have to investigate.

Here are a few snaps from some houses along my street and neighbourhood.

My friend Barb was in town, actually she is originally my mum's friend but is mine too, she was the original "second mother" as I've known here my entire life!

Anyway it was not the loveliest of days in Toronto - and in fact we've been having a few shockers recently, I think its the sideways of being near Sandy.

Anyway we walked around in the retail concourse underground. I should probably explain that - the weather gets so bad and so cold here in Toronto that the centre of the city's retail district is all connected underground by what is called the Retail Concourse - you can stay underground for hours like a fashion addicted mole, popping up only every now and again. The subway is down there as well so there is no need to go up , except to remind yourself that fresh air is indeed cold and awesome.

They even had maps, thank goodness because Barb and I got a little lost, mainly my fault as I'd not done the whole network before.

We also purchased some gorgeous Danier leather jackets - that shop will be my downfall and my saviour!!

We also hit the CN Tower which said it was the tallest tower in the world for 37 years - but I thought the Sky Tower was tallest for a while, anyway those years overlapped so I shall have to look into that for sure.
 It was great to see Barb and have an awesome day just wandering around, chatting, having a YUM steak up the tower for dinner and a couple of wines!
View from the Tower

My butt isn't actually that big that's the bears knee

Barb also brought over with her a Christmas cake from my mum which I carried around all day. It is bloody huge and heavy about 3 kgs and what a pain. It is so solid that it is currently sitting sideways in a cupboard and not dropping or moving an inch. It better be an awesome cake - considering I don't eat Christmas cake or wheat flour this is going to be an exception!

I've actually carved a pumpkin too for the first time but will explain more in my next update.

On a final note, Hurricane Sandy has been through and has caused more than a little devastation. I have to say that I hand it to the servicemen who guard the memorial to the unknown soldier - they stood their during the storm and he was not alone.

Of course I'm not sure what happened when the weather got worse and one would hope they would lead by example and not protect a monument over their own lives, but the initial thought was there.