Thursday, November 29, 2007

I can we can safely assume that Winter has arrived here in Canada. Last Thursday I got to partake in the joy of standing on a commuter train platform in minus seven Celsius complete with freezing rain. Now, I like the cold, I really do- it gives one that "refreshed" sensation after mere seconds, but this was like nothing I had ever experienced. The problem may have been more to do with the fact that the train was 40 minutes late and that minus seven started to feel more like minus death, that the freezing rain was harshly exfoliating my face and that my hands would have successfully frozen a packet of peas in minutes with my feet providing back up. That said, I love it. Dreams of Winter get me through summer. I think summer is some sort of a trial for the afterlife along of the lines of "Can you take the heat?". Well, I can't, so, based on my theory, I cannot take the heat, therefore I cannot 'take' hell, leading me to assume I get first dibs at the pearly gates. Once inside the gates, it is white and fluffy much like snow which indicates I would be quite at home there. It's pretty obvious really.

This is the most disgusting thing I have come across in recent times. I cannot think of anything less appealing to the taste buds or more likely to induce a cardiac arrest after a few shovels. Plus it has corn. That's what parents should threaten their kids with if they don't eat their greens- corn... and from a tin, as that is the vile stuff.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I think I may be getting a little sniffle. My head and nose hurt and my eyes are starting to stream. This is bad news for Ian. I am a terrible patient. My idea of being a patient involves me lying on the sofa watching some trash TV, ringing my little ceramic bell to summon Ian for yet another demand while getting a sugary high off "Lemsip". I am rarely sick... as in I tend to only suffer at the claws of a virus maybe once a year, but that once off event makes up for all the other times I could have been sick. I doubt I will be forced to miss work simply due to the fact that afternoon TV is rubbish and I have watched all the DVD's we own.

Today I had a meeting near a large shopping mall in Toronto- the Yorkdale Mall
Now, don't get me wrong, it's a great mall- lots of stores, variety and comfortable surroundings. (Let's just forget for a moment that me and one of the girls from work got lost going to the meeting... NOTHING to do with us staring in all the store windows and missing our location... no. Not that it was essential for us to walk through the mall). However, after my meeting I decided to have a browse around some of the stores. Note browse. I did not get to do much browsing as I was faced with some of the most annoying floor staff of all time. The first store I went to I was greeted with "Welcome to xxxxx. We have a special on .xxx. Get xxx for xxx dollars". I chose to ignore the cretin yelling in my direction. Not to be deterred the cretin actually came after to me to repeat the above blurb. There are times when I wish I had laser eyes. I could rid the world of such ridiculous drains on our global energy- it takes a lot of hamsters to get the wheel of stupidity going. In the next store some bimbo stalked me around the store. I finally asked HER if I could help her. In the third store, the assistant was walking so close to me that when I turned around I actually smacked into her. In the Body Shop, the tip of my shoe wasn't even over the threshold before i got "Welcome to the Body Shop, today we have a special on blah blah blah". The rest of my shoe never made it into the store. Whatever happened to the simple act of just wandering around stores, looking at things you can't afford, spraying yourself with every perfume in the store or just trying things on for the hell of it? Such is the drive to sell, profit and outdo competitors, that store workers are now akin to the hated door-to-door salesman. They are pushy, intrusive and obnoxious, but dare to make them work for their commission and you are met with the real person. There have been times here when I have been in a changing room and need another size. I have asked the person that trailed me for 15 minutes to get me an alternative size and I have been met with the look a precocious child gives its weary mother when told to behave. However, forget their recent bad media run of late, "The Gap" gets a a gold star for its store staff- professional, unobtrusive, friendly and "line intelligent" ( as in they know what is hanging where and what it is supposed to look like on you).

I do miss the Irish approach to selling anything in a store. Ignore, ignore, ignore.

Although there is one GLARING difference between stores here and Ireland. Irish stores have a security guard at their doors. All of them regardless of size. Here, nothing. The malls have their own security teams, but the stores don't. Guaranteed the cousins will be over within the week of some five finger discounts..

I jest I jest. About my cousins. Not the security guard. Although security guard should be taken with a pinch of salt. It's not like these guys could ever stop a break in. They'd probably break out in a hive attack under any form of pressure.

And to think Christmas shopping is a weekend or two away! I shall be going armed with my best snotty face.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lady, comin' through.

This morning I was walking from the subway to the escalator at my stop. There are always throngs of people at this particular location due to large numbers of schools and offices in the area. There are always a few 'louts' present, dressed in school uniform, with no intention of actually making it to class. Anyway, as usual, there was the everyday jostling of people rushing to be first up the escalator. I, without any knowledge, walked between two school boys, no more than 13 years of age. I apolgised to the kid I bumped into to which he retorted, "Hey f*** you, lady". He got a dig of my oversized bag and a filthy look and I may have placed a curse upon him. It just warms the cockles of my heart knowing this is what Canada is nuturing to be its future.

However, it was very nice to come home from work on Tuesday evening to see that our apartment building has been decorated with lights, Christmas tree and candy can wrapping around the street lights. It is very pretty. It has now fueled Ian to get lights on our balcony. Some of you have heard tales of Ian's love of overdecorating ( read- extreme tinsel adoration), so I intriuged as to how he is going about Operation Christmas Balcony. It's going to turn into all out apartment lighting warfare.

We got a new TV this week. We are quite the happy campers. It's fandiddlyiastic.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


It's so depressing. The stupid clocks went back on hour. I am now getting home in the dark. Pitch black. Only headlights to guide the way. Cold. Rain. Sleet. Snow. And I don't have my Winter coat yet.

That said I am delighted that the heat of summer is gone. I hope it gets lost on its return journey next May.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Summary of past few weeks events

  • The 'rents (to quote the 12 year old gangs of children that gather on the subway day in day out to spend Daddy's money in the Gap) came to visit
  • Took the brother to Niagara where the volumes of 19 year old Americans in bars baffled me. How desperate are they for a beer that they drive across the border every Saturday and then stumble back across it the next day. Welcome Adolescent Americans.
  • Managed to fit in the Falls- wow. Nice to see them in plus 18 degrees as opposed to minus 18. Took the Maid of the Mist. That wiped all cobwebs off me. The water proof clothing provided ( read; ginormous plastic bag) was rather ineffective in the gale force winds resulting in me getting a free shower from the Falls. I should have brought my Herbal Essences with me. I was, however, quite the happy camper when one of the gazillion seagulls didn't poop on me
  • Parents toured around Toronto and then motored on up to the Nation's Capital... Ottawa, people! I believe they enjoyed themselves there, and really, who wouldn't.
  • Had a fantastic meal at a restaurant called .... neh I can't remember what it was called. King Street West, Toronto if you are in the area. Look for the dark, velvetesque joint. Super food and wonderful, incredible non annoying service from staff. None of that "Hi my name is Kyle and I'm super and really want to serve you and today's special is something the chef plucked from yesterday's garbage can". Instead it was professional and subtle.
  • I carved my very first pumpkin with Ian's family. Ian and his Dad created artistic wonders. Mine looks like a simple first grader was let loose with a blunt knife and told to create something that resembled, ( in that odd Picasso fashion) a quirky face. Carving pumpkins is a rather messy endeavour. I am still finding seeds in the carpet.
  • Seeing as it was Halloween, costumes were the talk of the town. Canadians are quite passionate about dressing up and put quite the hefty effort into them. None of that buying a witches hat from Pound City ( which is more than likely highly flammable, but, you rest in hope that the fake hair attached to said hat will tame the flames). One of Sarah's friends decided to go as a penis and she decided to construct the appendage in our kitchen. I have not seen photographic proof of the end result but there was a lampshade, a lot of flesh coloured spray paint and countless black wigs involved. I know there were many wigs due to the volumes of black fake hair I keep finding in the kitchen. I am intrigued as to how hair ended up IN the microwave.
  • I decided to go as a Deviled Egg. Anyone from Europe should not even bother reading this paragraph as they won't know what I am talking about. However, props to Mr. King for spray painting my sheet yellow and red and zero props to the wagon in Zellers who tried to charge me $35 for a single white sheet. That is one person off my Christmas list- the cashier, that is, not Mr. King.
  • Ian decided to secure his Dork status by partaking in a basketball fantasy league over the weekend. This was not just any league. It was a super league. People travelled from Ottawa and other far flung hamlets to take part in their draft that was held in downtown Toronto. The event was complete with bingo drum, laptops, deal room, enough beer to guarantee they all made ridiculous picks, and just a hint of paranoia- enough to make them all doubt themselves, doubt their draft opponents, doubt their players abilities but leaving them in no doubt that they were verging on nerd status.
  • Work is going well. I am being awarded more responsibility- expect to hear about a seismic crash in the Canadian banking industry in the coming weeks.
  • My commutes have been uneventful. That, or I am becoming immune to the pushing, shoving and stomping. Although, if I take a moment to reflect, I am the one inflicting bruises and broken limbs these days. I was quite proud of myself today. I stepped off the subway at 5.11 pm and managed to sprint through the thousands of people to make it onto the 5.13 train. Eileen fights back.
  • To pass the time on the train I am reading lots of books. I lie. I am not reading lots of books. I am carrying lots of reading material but I am indulging in far too much people STARING. Not gazing, staring. The same people get on the same carriage and sit on the same seats every day. I make up background bios about all of them ( its a BORING JOURNEY) to while the minutes away. I had one guy pegged as a vodka swilling, crazed, demented, Russian spy. I was disgusted when he answered his Blackberry in Italian. That squashed that story. I was also wrong about the woman I thought was one of those high powered man eating terrifying fabulously well dressed lawyers. She is in fact a nurses assistant. With really amazing clothes.
  • For those of you that know me, you will know that I have a very short fuse and tend to explode emotionally over the tiniest of incidents- take for example Ian and his insistence on creating a sock grotto on the bedroom floor. If my blood pressure is high, it is because of those blasted socks. Anyway, I went for lunch with one of the girls from work. She is an increible nice sweet girl with lots of positive things to say about everyone. While we were eating we got to talking about people and their emotions. She turned to me and said, "I could never imagine you being angry with anyone ever. You are always so nice to everyone". This PROVES I am schizophrenic.
  • For the Europeans reading I will offer a little insight into how popular trick-or-treating is here. In the lead up to Halloween night all I saw were people going to stores to stock up on bags and bags and bags of "candy" and chocolate and then rearranging said bags into smaller bags to give to the little beggars, I mean, kiddies knocking on their front door. So much for throwing a few raisins at the tots in the hope they might run away without egging your front door. One of the regulars on the GO train told me that his son came home with a pillowcase FULL of goodies. So impressed was the Dad with his son's loot that he whipped out the weigh scales. The pillowcase came in at a whopping 12 pounds. That is just plain ridiculous! I assume this is the time of year when dentists start sharpening their tooth picks and powering up the drills.