Archives for the month of: June, 2012

And then, you have those days that you struggle to get out of bed on time, get dressed, look reasonably presentable and think yourself “I will regret today at the end.”

Today was not one of those days.

I did struggle to get out of bed, strange dreams kept me a bit toss-y and turn-y, but I managed to only sleep in 15 minutes. 15 whole minutes, which is 15 minutes better than yesterday, ok?

And it was Team Meeting day as well, which always means some amount of herding cats and making sure people get to where they need to go and that the tasks I pick up during the meeting get done in ok time. It also usually means that lunch is delayed and strange currents are in the air.

Surprise! Right in the morning, before the meeting a friend/colleague’s mum comes to her desk¬† – where I am getting in a morning visit – and drops off a cake. In the shape of a giant cupcake! It is crazy beautiful!¬† Chocolate with cream cheese icing with tonnes of colourful sprinkles on top!

But, no time to slice and serve and eat now! I’m off to a team meeting!

Team meeting starts with the presentation of a…cake! It is beautiful, slice strawberries, light white cake, with custard filling, white icing with pink and orange flowers, the sides are air-brushed with pinks and oranges and blues near the bottom.

We cut the cake exactly in half and eat one half, the remaining half goes in the fridge for later, after the meeting.

After the meeting I run around a bit, finding things, greet the friend who I haven’t seen since I went on vacation and exchange a few words about not emailing and etc.

During these exchanges another colleague suddenly asks if I want cheesecake.

I’m not one to turn down cake. Not ever.

She gives me a plate and fork and a generous slice, she asks “You want a full slice right? None of this half slice business?” Yeah, full slice, bring it on!

This is one of the loveliest cheese cakes I’ve ever had…it is light and fluffy and the graham cracker crust is fresh and tasty. I forgo the cherry topping, but this is so heavenly. She said it was whipped cream and cream cheese. Seriously, what is that?

I get back to my desk with my cheese cake-y prize and the surprises don’t stop.

I’m gifted a large, clear, cylindrical vase. The vase gets put on the front of my desk and into the vase goes paper cranes, right to the top. Umm, there are still more that don’t fit inside, but it is filled up, to the bring with colourful origami cranes. And it is beautiful.

For lunch I have a orzo chicken salad and it all good.

Soon it is time for the 3rd cake.

I find some plates and forks and do the slices. We share as best we can – deliver slices to some, have others come along and get them. It is tasty and chocolate-y and so very lovely. Everyone who gets a piece is surprised and happy and, I figure, will have good luck.

‘cuz I figure sharing birthday cake is good luck, right?

So, yes, cake gets delivered, people eat and it is all good.

For a moment I considered skipping the gym and simply – doing something else.

I re-group and get to the gym. One hour on the treadmill, then home for a pot of green tea.

So, yes, there are days that you regret not staying in bed.

Today was not one.

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Slept like it was the first day of the fall term – unformed anxieties kept the subconscious occupied, restless with malformed nightmares. Temperature was first too hot, then too cold. Woke too many times. The unexpected waiting for me upon the return to work.

I don’t know why I have these fears – I’d get to work and my desk would have moved, my job changed, my friends wouldn’t remember me or recognize me, my password – expired. I’d forget the way to work, my pass-card would not longer work, they fired me and forgot to tell me…It was a mistake, I really booked 2 weeks vacation rather than 1 week!

Not that any of that has even happened.

Nope.

Just low-level anxieties keeping me awake.

So, I change my alarm and sleep in for an additional half and hour.

Ok?

I still don’t have to rush and end up leaving 5 minutes early – my hair down, shoes shiny, make-up on and in a nice dress etc.

And start seeking out those connections and people who I’ve been missing.

Nothing much happened while I was away on vacation and yet, it feels like I was gone for ages.

Went over and placed some finger puppets from the ROM on a friend’s desk – one was a bat and the other a butterfly, Blue Morpho!, for her grandchildren. She wasn’t in yet, so I placed them on the keyboard for her to find.

She found them, then came to find me and welcome me back – with bran bars and cookies – lime coconut sugar cookies if you can believe! We got caught up and she wanted to know how I knew the her grand-daughter’s fav colour was blue and she loves butterflies and how I knew her grand-son loves bats.

Well, I didn’t.

But, you know, when I’m buying things for children, I think about what I would like and go from there.

And yes, the Blue Morpho butterfly was a lucky guess – it was between that one and a Monarch. Monarchs are my favourite – they remind me of…summer and first love. The orange and yellow of the Monarch, the way the Monarch migrates, yes, Monarchs are my favourite – tough, beautiful butterflies.

But, the one time I met her grand-daughter, she seemed like a Blue Morpho kind of girl to me, much like my niece…

So, yes, lucky guess. Very lucky guess…she was thrilled and is very excited to give them to her grand-kids.

Some people, with absence, you can fall right back into.

Others though, you require some kind of an impetus, a prime mover.

One of my friends, I saw very briefly, but we didn’t pick-up our conversation. Later, we passed one another in the hall and as I passed by, he beckoned me over and told me…he is reading “50 Shades of Grey”.

I really couldn’t leave things there! So we chatted when I was back at my desk and found out that he was given a goal by another mutual friend to read the book. Now, I approve of goal-setting behaviour, but…

I laughed my brains out and trolled him the best I was able – reminding him on every sentence, he is reading a chick book. Seriously, what is up with that. He admitted it, though, it being a chick book, chick-lit and explained why he was reading it and you know what? Good for him. For reading at least. I mean, there are worse things that a person can do, right?

I’m still going to troll the hell out of him.

 

 

 

 

In retrospect, I mean.

Last day of vacation and I opted out – I slept in, ate a light breakfast, read garbage, avoided writing, hung out and had a few drinks in the afternoon. I just went along with a different kind of flow.

The week-end was the same – not doing my hair, ignoring that I own make-up and, aside from climbing on Saturday, did a whole lot of nothing.

This thing of being idle, without purpose, aimless idling, if you will, is, occasionally good for the soul. Being off-schedule, being unscheduled and I mean, even if the schedule is largely self-imposed – there is a certain kind of –

I kept thinking of that line in that song “Plea from a Cat Named Virtue“, about “letting your loses dangle off the sharp edge of the century”. About learning to, if not set free these losses, but to let them down, give them up to time itself. And this was a weight off my little shoulders.

It gave me a certain, specific space in a way that I don’t know that I’ve been able to find my way to for a while. Head-space, I guess is what they call it. I think of it as room to breath.

So I did that, I took the space and I breathed. I gorged myself on air, oxygen and just spent some time with it in my lungs.

Yep, heck of a vacation. Traveled distances in my mind.

 

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is directed and written by Lorene Scafaria.

So, what is this new genre called anyway?

Sci-rom? Rom-fi? Chick sci-fi? The ultimate date-core movie?

The characters and relationship play like a rom-com or chick-flick while the premise is all sci-fi – this time round it is the end of the world courtesy of a giant asteroid about to smack into the earth, killing everyone. With elements from a road-trip/buddy movie thrown in for good measure.

A man sets out to reunite with his high school sweetheart accompanied by a woman who lives in his building who he promises he can get her home to England.

I’m not sure exactly what it is about the end of the world that prompts people to imagine that people would do something different with their lives – re-connect, meet someone new, fall-in love, get a dog. But, this film doesn’t miss a beat in terms of showing how some people react.

The central characters, played by Steve Carell and Keira Knightly, mostly watch the quirky things others do and deal with some pretty odd situations in their trip to get where they are going.

I liked that the film never told you exactly what was going on and dealt far less with the problem solving of saving the world from an asteroid and more with the human relationships and how people connect with other people.

The trailers for this film are misleading – it looks like a screwball comedy or a send-up of every “this is the end of the world” film ever made, but it isn’t either of these things.

This film is a love story, plain and simple. That the world is ending is only the jump point, while the central theme is how to connect with someone in a real way, to fall in love, to find the love of our lives.

I used my free movie pass from a previous movie to see this movie for free and I’m also more patient with films that I see for free. I am glad that I didn’t pay for this movie as it is probably the closest to a chick-flick that I would bother with.

It was fun and thoughtful and yes, romantic in unexpected ways. It makes you think about the person you are with now and what you would for love, who the love of your life really is and how no matter how much time you have with them, it is never enough.

I think this movie is marketed as a comedy, but it isn’t a comedy, it is a romance, so don’t believe the hype.

Must see? Nope, but if you have a date coming up then this would actually be a good choice – just funny enough to keep both people amused, a backdrop of a sci-fi premise and the relationships of a romance movie.

Nice job.

I took all the plans I had for Thursday – going to the top of the CN Tower, going for lunch at one of my fav restaurants, doing some wandering around downtown, going to Casa Loma – and threw them out.

I slept in – in my world “sleeping in” means staying in bed an extra half an hour, sat in the comfy armchair, read, ate chips, drank water, watched the Portugal vs. Czech Republic, read some more and watched some “On Demand” TV.

I didn’t do my hair and stayed in my most comfy cloths.

I didn’t check email or logon to FB and when my phone rang and I picked it up, I was totally relieved that it was an automated recording.

Yep, unproductive and unsocial.

But.

This is my vacation, my way.

No Complaints Thursday.

Vacation continues…

Up at a reasonable time, ‘cuz while on vacation I still try to be reasonable. Pack the knapsack and reorganized things – mindful of the blisters, I wear my most comfy shoes for this weather and bring along the new ones…I was over hasty in my judgement I fear, I think the blisters were cause by the other shoes as the new ones are far, far too comfy to do this kind of damage. Right?

Train to downtown is cool, calm and civilized – how I love the train!

While waiting in the garden at Osgoode Hall get into a conversation with a guy who is over here from Japan working and has been tasked by his boss to speak to people about if they speak other languages and the importance of speaking other languages. We have a lively discussion until his pen can’t keep up with my babbling and others start arriving that he moves on to engage in conversation. I watched, I think he did very well getting people to speak with him.

At five minutes after the meet-up time, I panic and leave a very odd message for my lunch companion – who shows up right after I hang up. Oops!

We have reservations for the Osgoode Hall Restaurant and I’m ready! I went over the menu, I know what questions to ask.

We head around to the entrance my companion knows and as she signs in, I am subject to a search of my bag.

I am denied entry.

You know, on my key chain, I have a Swiss Army knife. I use it for cutting cheese or chocolate when I’m rock climbing or having a snack with friends somewhere spontaneous. I don’t carry it becuz it is a knife, I carry it becuz it is a Useful Tool.

I don’t explain all this to the security guard, but I do apologize from bringing it and ask if I can leave it there with them – I can’t.

The guard invites me to go outside and hide it somewhere and go find it after we are done lunch – like in the bushes or on a hidden, hard-to-find ledge or loose brick or something.

My companion asks if she is allowed to bring it – but the answer is also “No”.

My companion cuts through red tape and nonsense and we are out of there and on our way to find somewhere else to eat.

I’m mortified – had I known, I would have left it at home, and if it were less sentimental, I would have just thrown it out.

Unfortunately, it is highly sentimental.

And yes, I know it is a Swiss Army knife, you get sentimental about what you want and I’ll get sentimental about what I want, ok?

We end up at Bannock, which is like contemporary takes on traditional Canadian faves.

Yum!

I have a shrimp roll with salad and my companion has a BLT bannock which she really enjoys.

We dessert with a scoop of pistachio ice cream, a scoop of raspberry ice and a scoop of lemon-sour cream sorbet. Yum!

Grab a cab after we linger for too long and I’m dropped off a couple of blocks away from the AGO, my next destination.

Yes, it is finally time for me to see the Picasso exhibit. This is the one from his private collection and supposedly, pretty incredible.

The full reveal – I am not a huge Picasso fan. Actually when I see something of his that I like, I’m always slightly mortified and ashamed to admit it.

You can just ahead and believe the hype about this exhibit – it is wonderful. And interesting. And very revealing about his personal life and insights and processes.

If you are in TO, make some time and see this exhibit.

Seriously. Go.

But, as always, with Picasso, he leaves me a bit…bewildered. Does he hate women? Does he love them? Is he one of those men who loves them but hates them? Does he go through phases with them?

I don’t know. But, what I do that, as a woman, I sometimes find his stuff hard to take.

I don’t mess around in the collection today, I’m trying my best to fit in a movie (I do, review below!), so I’m off!

Get tics to the movie and it seems that not do I have some time, but I’m also hungry. This weather kills the appetite when outside, but it is so cold with the AC that you burn through calories like crazy and get so hungry. You can’t win…

I have dinner at the Bloor Street Diner, where, I feel like I’m becoming a regular.

I celebrate by trying things I’ve never had before – except a glass of Cook’s sparkling. And oh yes, please offer prosecco by the glass, the dryness would be perfect for anything on menu.

Dinner is delightful – Margherita pizza, glass of Cook’s and some yummy lemon cake thingy that had the name of a cheese. I still don’t know exactly what the server called it…ooops!

Movie – yes, review below – which had a larger attendance than I expected and then home!

Fire off some emails, write the posts and you know what?

I’m so tired.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring…

Safety Not Guaranteed is directed by Colin Trevorrow and written by Derek Connolly.

Premise: A magazine writer takes 2 unpaid interns to investigate a personal ad listing about looking for a partner to go back in time, one of the interns gets chosen as the time-travel partner while the writer re-connects with a former love and the other intern tries to live life.

About mid-way through the film I thought that maybe it was a love story rather than wacky comedy ‘cuz it sure wasn’t a sci-fi flick about serious time travel…but I have to tell you, I’m not sure about this assessment.

The film delivers few laughs, the audience I saw it with was quite lively, but I didn’t find it so funny, it was more…awkward and I mean that in a true-to-life way not that the film felt awkward, the laughs come from clever and often uncomfortable moments rather than slap-stick, wit or nicer forms of humour. The characters are largely uncomfortable and unhappy and as this gives rise to humour, it also gives the film its heart-felt core.

Haven’t we all wanted to go back and change just one thing to make our lives now better? To fix that thing that lead to it all going wrong?

This film invites us to explore that possibility – be nicer before someone we love died, get back with an ex, safe a life…endless ways to make things right. Righter?

And along the way the characters find things that make their lives here and now worthwhile.

But, see, this isn’t all that is going on in this movie. On top of this intriguing inquiry, there is this layer of “What the heck is happening?” there are two shadowy figures following the erstwhile time travel and his new partner, there is theft and allegations and there are lies.

The sweetness of the film is cut with an underlying sense of danger and confusion that are just enough to get the audience slightly off-balance and the characters wondering what is going on – can this guy really time travel? No, really, can he really time travel?

It isn’t a technically brilliant film and as I said before, I didn’t find it hilarious or anything, but I did enjoy it and if you see it with someone who likes to talk about the film they just saw, this one would be a fun on to go see – I think we will be talking about for a while to come.

Vacation!

Day 1 – I decided to succumb to the weather and stay near home, did some shopping, got new pair of shoes, tried on a pile of clothing and ended up with two new cardigans, took myself to a film (review below, yikes!) and lunch, yum!

And failed to do a post. Oops?

Anyway, Day 2…

Met up with a dear friend that I have known for many, many years – we do a late breakfast/early lunch/almost, not quite brunch, reconnect and get caught up. Wow, what a great time.

There is some amount of comfort and security with a friend like this – who remembers when you wore your hair in pony-tails, then braids, then down, when you have a friend that worked with you in various plays and shows and ate lunch together all through high school. It is like…family. Ok?

After the morning meal, we take a walk over to his work for a meeting, hot, sweaty streets and there is nothing I want more than to go inside and take refuge from this summer.

We say our farewells for the day, with promises to meet-up soon for an upcoming film and as he is back to work, I’m off to the ROM.

When was the last time I was here?

Over a year ago, not since I got back from the trip in any case.

And you know, it feels more like homecoming, still homecoming…reconnecting seems to the theme of the day.

Lunch is late and in one of the ROM’s restaurants, which I’ve never tried, C5. I opt for the smoked salmon with potato and leak tart with a side of truffled potato chips. I also opt in to a glass of Mike Weir’s sparkling ‘cuz I’m feeling a bit for Canadian Content (CanCon), why, yes, dessert too, why not, I’m mostly good…Chocolate Pavlova with fresh berries and vanilla cream and, of course, a pot of green tea. We find our indulgences where we find them, right?

It was very good green tea.

After a lingering lunch, I’m back to meandering through the galleries – dinosaurs and the bat cave ‘cuz you know I get a kick out of telling people I hang out in the Batcave.

And whoa! They have some awesome stuff for kiddies in the gift shop – I end up with a pair of “Blue Morpho” plushie wings, two bat finger puppets, one Blue Morpho finger puppet, one monarch butterfly finger puppet and a tiny brown bat plushie…uh, this last is for me. Ok?

My brain = filled, so it is time to brave the outside and I’m feeling like I could see a movie, so start the walk.

By this time, my feet = tired in my shoes, no worries, I plan! So pull a quick switch and put on the new shoes that I brought along with me! I’m totally prepared for this heat and the walks!

Go me!

Bad plan.

The new, comfy shoes quickly give me blisters and I call the evening off. Get a bit caught up in rush hour coming home, but get a chance to see my parents before they leave for the night and, I’m not hungry, but feeling like a couple of cocktails – today I indulge. Aperol with prosecco, yum!

Return phone calls, emails and FB posts.

Excellent day. Excellent.

 

 

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is directed by John Madden, written by Ol Parker (screenplay) and Deborah Moggach (novel).

Starring Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, Maggie Smith, Ronald Pickup, Celia Imrie and Dev Patel.

You know, usually I don’t mention the cast, but this time, I felt like I had to, so you would understand why I saw this movie.

Out of the people I know who saw this film, about half of them loved it while the other half thought it was boring.

This film is boring.

There is no way that actors of this talent and caliber should be acting in a film that is this trite, predictable and just…boring. I get why the film was made, I understand the potential of the film, messages, where the film should have tugged at the heartstrings, where it should have illuminated…but the film doesn’t do any of that – it is boring and predictable.

If you must see this film, due to the cast or some other reason, then see it on a rainy Sunday afternoon when it is on the TV and put it on while you do housework or while making an interesting dinner for people you love – this is the only way this film could possibly be at all interesting.

Shame on the director for putting this film into market and shame on the actors’ agents for allowing them to make such a boring, boring film.

“Barrymore” is directed by Erik Canuel, screenplay by Erik Canuel, adapted from a play by William Luce, originally directed by Gene Saks, starring Christopher Plummer.

This is it.

This is the film to see of 2012. Do not miss this. See it on the large screen or the small. Be blown away.

One actor carrying a film and riveting the audience is unheard of, Christopher Plummer does it. This film is amazing – Plummer doesn’t offer up an impression of John Barrymore nor does he do a caricature, he inhabits the character and goes further – he does John Barrymore during different ages and even in different of his roles both on-stage on- screen.

Wow.

See this film. At the end, you will be amazed that one person, one actor could hold your attention and keep you on the edge of your seat.

Wow.