Thursday, September 10, 2009

thank you

Just wanted to take a minute to say a big thank you to my 3 sets of visitors in August... Matt came from LA, Juliet from London (UK, not the Ontario one, mind you) and my parents drove up from Indy. All 3 visits were amazing. I saw more of Toronto in those 2 weeks total than I had in the past 7 months. Not all of it I'd do again, but it was really wonderful to have you wonderful people here to explore with.

Will try to post some pics over the weekend.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

LA itinerary

For those of you who might be interested, here's the rough schedule for my very exciting, but very short, LA visit...
-Wednesday night I'll be staying Venice
-Thursday night we'll be down in Huntington Beach for a little vacay from my vacay
-Friday and Saturday nights back in Venice but roaming around Hollywood, the Valley and Mt. Washington at various times. Friday night Matt got us tickets to see Point Break Live! which I'm super psyched about. Saturday, we've got fabulous BBQs to attendy courtesy of Ms. Ulseth and the amazing Penn/Havel duo, so hopefully I'll see some of you and one of those.

Also - FYI - I had a really awesome Saturday in sunny, fun Toronto, which I will tell you about one day. But I will give you one clue - I did not spend the day in my office.

And in case you were wondering, I'm not too sad about traveling and missing Canada day celebrations tomorrow because: a) I have no BBQ, b) there is a garbage strike right now and it's getting a little smelly around town, c) it's supposed to rain, and d) they've canceled the fireworks displays due to the strike (in addition to garbage, it's also lots of other city employees). Woo hoo - festive.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Alert, alert!

I'll be in LA July 1st-5th! Huzzah!

Also, from now til the end of my work on this project, I will have one 4-day weekend per month. This means if you would like to visit me - because Toronto really is lovely, especially when it's above 0˚, let me know what month and I will schedule the long weekend to match up with your visit. Or if you would like me to come your way, I now have little blocks of time to make trips. I'm very excited about this new "arrangement" and hope that it allows me to reconnect with my various fabulous lives (LA, London, Indy, NY, etc). I'm not going to go into detail about how this came about but I'm guessing if you're reading this, you probably have a pretty good idea. =)


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mini Vacay

4 days off - in a row! Not sure what's going to happen to me with 4 straight days of not sitting at a computer, but I'm pretty excited to find out.

I'm going to Indy to see my parents over the weekend. I can't remember the last time I was with my dad for Father's Day so the timing is pretty awesome. I had already booked the trip before I knew I had the extra two days off, but unfortunately it would have cost $800 (!!!) to extend my trip at all. So I'll be sticking with my original flights and be back Sunday with the whole day Monday to explore the city I've been living in for nearly 5 months now. If it's nice, I want to go down to the lake, go for a run or even rent a bike. (please don't laugh - it could happen) ...Maybe even picnic on Toronto Island. I know, awfully big plans for a woman who's been running on fumes for over a week. But I figure 2 days of lounging around with the fam should fix me right up.

Before I head to the airport tomorrow I booked in a massage at Hammam - supposed to be really nice and my back desperately needs some kneading. Then the apartment could use a solid cleaning. Or maybe I should clean before the massage? Hmm. That would probably be a better plan. I'm also pretty excited to do a huge grocery run but will save that for Monday. My fridge currently contains: milk, ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, lime juice, butter, Bailey's, 1 Corona, 3 packets of string cheese, some tomato sauce which needs to be thrown out, and frozen broccoli. Slim pickings. But makes more sense when I tell you that I've eaten every single meal for the past 3 weeks in my office. I've had to throw out a lot of spoiled produce. Poor little carrots, spinach, cilantro and peppers.

Also, many many mucho thanks to those close to me (not necessarily physically) who've let me lean on them (again, not physically) pretty heavily lately. I'm lucky to have you and I know it. So, thanks.

Oh I saw "The Hangover" last night. Freakin' hilarious. Not sure if I'd recommend it to my parents but the four of us who went all loved it. So for the 20-40 year old set who aren't morally opposed to the city of Las Vegas - I highly recommend.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I will not write about work

I will not write about work
I will not write about work
I will not write about work
I will not write about work
I will not write about work
I will not write about work
I will not write about work

So... how are you?

Have I mentioned how great the years of 2007 and 2008 were? Really great. And 2004-2006 too.


I did have a very exciting phone call a couple days ago where someone (who I will keep anonymous so this person doesn't feel bad if they can't actually come after all) loosely said they may come for a visit in August. Which would be super amazing and I will be like the BEST host ever!!! We'll eat at tons of great restaurants, we can go see a baseball game or soccer or pro lacrosse or we could go to a cottage on a lake for a weekend or lots of other awesome things. But I'll try not to get my hopes up... =)

Last week, I did have a delicious dinner out with some peeps from work. We went to Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar, near work. It's tapas style - but not really Spanish influenced...maybe North American? International? Not really sure. But I do know that is was delicious! And I finally had some yummy poutine (official dish of Canada - not really). Basic poutine is french fries, with gravy (but thin not thick) an melted cheese curds. JKWB's version also had shredded corned beef on top. MMMmmmmm. But everything else we tried there was excellent too. Can't wait to go back. As their name suggests, they also have a pretty extensive wine list and recommend pairings for each dish. Even better, they offer small (3oz) glasses - in addition to 6oz, 500 ml and full bottles - so you could actually try the ones that were recommended for each plate and still walk out on your own two feet.

Also, on Sunday I got out of work before the shops closed and went for a little walk. There's this cool silver shop, The Devil's Workshop, where they actually offer silversmithing classes. I took a jewelry class in high school, which i loved (though i wasn't really very good) - but I'm thinking I might sign up for a course. Provided I can get permission to leave at 5:30 one night a week - what do we think the chances are?

Not much else to report, I'm afraid. Hard to believe I've been here 5 months and a couple baseball games, a few dinners and one day trip to Niagara Falls is all I have to show for it. Oh well.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Visiting Hours

By the by, if any of you lovely folk were thinking of popping up (or over) to tour Toronto, it looks like my next best time for visitors is mid-August - any time after the 11th - through mid-September.

Just putting it out there.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Answer the question!

Ok, I realized that I didn't really answer the question of my last blog post...

I think it's a little early to say I actually heart Toronto. But I'm definitely keeping busy, trying to get to know the city, go to as big a variety of places as possible and discovering that there is a lot to do here....even if I don't want to do it all.

When Sarah was here she asked me what I liked about Toronto and I really struggled to answer. I've been thinking about it a lot and here's what I've got. I love the location of my apartment. It's an easy ride to work in the morning and 9 times out of 10 when people are going out to a bar or club (at least the few people that i know) they're coming to my neighborhood or within a 10 minute walk. That never happened in London. Or maybe like once, but at any rate, it's kind of awesome to be right in the heart of things. So that's one big thing.

Second, there are a ton of events - like craft fairs, book readings, special screenings, charity functions, tons of live music...I know these go on in every major city but they seem really accessible here. Maybe that's because, again, they're pretty near where I live and this is kind of a small city, but it seems like if I start going to these community things, it could get pretty interesting.

People are friendly. It's cliche to say and it is a kind of surface friendly, but I feel completely confident that if I got lost or needed help in some way, a stranger would assist the best they could. It's kind of a little thing, but when Beth and I were trying to rent a car, all the car rental places at the train station were sold out for the day (we didn't exactly plan ahead - a rarity for me, I know). Anyway, so we were going to explore the option of a bus and the lady we asked had been the same one an hour before who had directed us downstairs to the rental car offices. She asked what happened and when we told her they were sold out, she told us about another car rental place, one building over, that was open on Sundays but didn't get as much business because it wasn't in the train station. And voila, a car was ours! I guess that's a pretty minor incident, and could happen anywhere, but it was really appreciated.

Lastly, again back to location, it's great to be able to walk from my apartment to all the touristy things (CN Tower, St. Lawrence Market, Hockey Museum) and most sporting events (Rogers Centre, Air Canada Centre). My street car runs 24 hours a day. It's super easy to get a cab almost anywhere anytime. So anyone who wants to come VISIT me will have a very easy time getting around.

Hmm, what else...I'll keep you posted, but that's a start, right?

Things I don't like, aside from the surprising number of (to quote Sarah) cracked-out hobos...equally hard to pinpoint. It's more expensive than I expected, is probably the biggest one. I mean if I ride the street car to work both ways (which I usually do) that's $5.50 in tokens per DAY. It just seems a little crazy when I could get to and from work in London for £2 on the bus. And, I'm really craving an evening at a pub where we can just sit around and chat and drink and chat and drink...but I think that's just because the crowd I've fallen into seems to favor clubs and cocktails over a beer and talk. It's just not really my style, but they're all so fun and such good people, I'm trying to open up to it.

Oh but if anyone has tips for great things to talk about over really really really loud music that are both easy to communicate and make me seem charming and hilarious, pass those along.

I Heart TO? aka Ginormous Catch Up, part 2

Well since I was asked not to bring any infectious diseases into work, I've decided to rest today and then go in the rest of the weekend instead. Another day of sleeping at will and not needing to be productive will do me a world of good, I hope.

So anyway, back in Toronto, I've been kinda busy and not just with work....

I took a one off cooking class (Intro to Spices) and made four different dishes, plus learned some knife skills, which have been coming in handy. I just re-made the Chicken curry the other night and it turned out pretty well. Need to crank up the spice a little bit for myself though.

For 4 weeks, just ending this past week, I took a beginner's crochet class. I'm sure all the boys are rolling their eyes, but it was something I'd always wanted to learn, I got to meet 6 women who I don't work with (something I'm deseperate to do more often), and one night a week I was guaranteed to leave work at 6:15. A big thank you to my boss for being so encouraging about scheduling something one night a week.
Here are two of my crocheting acheivements, a cool (and easy) green hat, and a little white rosette. I'm still working on a red beret we start in week 3. If you'd like to place an order, just let me know. =)

Julio and I went to go see Flight of the Conchords in concert. I was so excited about this show - I actually bought the tickets the first day I arrived to work in Toronto. And it totally lived up to all my expectations. If you guys ever have the opportunity to see them live, you will not be disappointed!
They came on stage dressed as robots:

And it only got better from there. =)

I've been to two Blue Jays games at the Rogers Centre, one against the Oakland A's with Julio and Stew. Julio bought a foam finger, which was pretty awesome.

The second game was with Jason, fellow Dartmouth alum and husband to the lovely Katey, who was in Niagara-on-the Lake for business. Annoyingly I didn't take any pics from that game, but it was against the Yankees, which was amazing. A-Rod and the new Yankees pitcher, AJ, were booed so loudly every time they played, it was hilarious. And the Blue Jays killed 'em 5-1, so it was a lot of fun. Sadly the roof was closed both times, but one day I'll get to see it open. It's weird to me being in an indoor baseball stadium. All the hallways are carpeted, which really freaks me out for some reason.

My friend Sarah, also from Dartmouth, was in town for a couple days for a work conference. We went out to dinner at Terroni, which has amazing pizza, and then went out with some of my friends from work to the Drake the next night. The Drake gets pretty sceney on the weekends, but it feels very Chicago/NY/even a darker LA, had a great upstairs patio and AMAZING macaroni and cheese, so it's quickly becoming one of my top spots. It's also a cool hotel, there's a club/dancefloor in the basement, and they have community events there too. Plus a photobooth! Disappointingly the last time I went (with Sarah) the photobooth was working but the photos printed so dark, the only things you could make out were our teeth and the shiny spot on my forehead. Lovely. But, if Farrar is reading this, I'll make sure we give it another try when you come to visit.

The past 3 weeks (she just left Friday), Beth from our London office was over to help out. It was awesome having her here, she wanted to go out and see the sights and do lots of stuff and I was more than happy to go with her.

We rented a car for the day, went to Niagara Falls and rode the Maid of the Mist (this comes only a few weeks after my marathon viewing of Wonderfalls, so I was pretty psyched for this road trip)...

The actual town of Niagara is pretty ridiculous. It's got this gorgeous natural wonder, a pretty park and then a main street that has all the blinking lights and tacky-ness of Atlantic City. Ick. But Niagara-on-the-Lake, a town nearby, is absolutely adorable - very small town touristy USA (despite being in Canada) with most stores selling sweaters, fudge, syrup or some combination there of. And there are lots of wineries along the way, so another trip may be in order.

We also went up to CN Tower one night.
Here's the CN tower during the day, en route to Rogers Centre...

At night, from the viewing area and bar...(you can even see the bar reflected in one of the pics)...

A view of the Rogers Centre from above...

And in other exciting news, the terribly ugly bruise on my finger is almost healed. I hit my thumb with a hammer (a la Tom from Tom and Jerry or Elmer Fudd or Coyote) the week I moved into my apartment, so mid February. Unfortunately I hit it right at the bottom of the nail, so I've been monitoring the terribly slow progress as the nail (and bruise grew out). It's finally almost over...

Now is this the most exciting blog in the world or what? =p
Alright, cold meds are wearing off, time for another dose and a nap. xoxo

UK Intermission

I never really put up much about my last weeks in the UK, which were - as they say - brilliant. So to travel back in time a little bit, here are some picks from my very last week in LA. Most of the crew left a week before I did, so I had a cush final week there, fitting in lots of lunches, dinners, and of course, boozing. Had dins at my favorite London Mexican spot with Kat and Steph, Fleurski stopped by with little Rosie, and a few of us from work even went to a Michelin starred restaurant for lunch one day!
And of course, I had to spend my final night in London pubbin' it up...

Miss you all very much!

Ginormous Catch Up, part 1

Hello, long lost friends...I came home sick from work yesterday, fell asleep at 7pm and woke up ridiculously early today, so thought I'd take this time to catch up on the ol' least until I figure out if I should go into work today or rest up and go in Sunday.

I think part 1 will be all the trips I've taken since the screening. I've gotten to go back to LA twice and home to my parents' in Indy over the long Easter weekend. The only trip I'm missing is one back to London, but that'll have to wait for a little bit. Besides, I just left at the beginning of February so I need to give the UK time to miss me more.

The first trip to LA was for a whole week, which was fantastic.

My first night in LA actually overlapped with Stew's visit there for work, so he came out to a party with us:

The next day Matt, Melinda, Gary and I played beach bocce, in Venice:

I had drinks with friends at the Cat and Fiddle - my favorite patio in LA and site of countless birthday parties (including the one where the entire Daily Show cast came after the Emmys and I tipsily harrassed Jon Stewart into taking a photo with me):

I took a hike in Runyon Canyon - my favorite regular loops right in the heart of Hollywood, full of free running puppies, with a pretty great view of the famous sign and houses I'll never be able to afford:

Unfortunately, for that first visit Carrie was out of town, which was a big bummer. BUT if there was an upshot, it was that I got to stay in my condo for a few nights and it was a pretty great feeling to be home. See, look how happy I am:

I got to have dinner at one of my fave Mexican spots, El Compadre. We sipped on flaming maragaritas with the dynamic duo of Kara and Brandon:

One day I had lunch at a place I used to work (sorry there are lots of photos from that lunch and all these other things, but I'm trying to be brief). It was awesome to see everyone there. I definitely miss all the wonderful people, and the free food isn't so bad either. Kate, on the left, just happens to be the reason for my second trip to LA...

We got to have brunch with Katey, Jason and the lovely little Maia (pictured below) at the Rose Cafe in Venice. Somehow I'd never been there, but it was delicious and had a fantastic patio. And Maia is growing up so fast (of course, it had been nearly a year since I'd seen her), so cute. A big thank you to my favorite OC family for making the long drive:

And on the very last night of my visit, Matt's work had a "smashing party" where you could bring in old electronics, step into a cage and choose anything from a bowling ball to sledgehammer to an axe and smash it up. There was also an open bar, bands was a pretty awesome work party. I didn't do any smashing, but Matt opened up the show, demolishing an old scanner that had given him lots of grief...

There were lots of other visits and stops around town that week, but I admit I wasn't the best photographer. It was awesome to just run around LA catching up with all my friends. And being out and about during the day in LA with all the out of work actors is always amusing. I even saw Jamie Lee Curtis at Jamba Juice one day, so that was a pretty good sighting.

The very next weekend I went home to Indy since it was the 3 day Easter weekend. It also overlapped with Passover this year, so it was nice to have a family seder for the first time in a while. My brother even came home and I got to meet his partner, Jeremy, who is adorable and went to the trouble of making a Passover-friendly chocolate cake and driving it down. Mom went all out and cooked for an army (we were actually just a party of 5). But as always it was a relaxing weekend in Indy, lounging with the fam, doing some shopping with mom, and playing with the dogs. (2 out of 3 pictured below)...

Then just a couple a weeks ago, I got to go back to LA for a quick trip to celebrate Kate and Mike's wedding at Calamigos Ranch, near Malibu. It was a gorgeous event, and lots of fun. The best group of DW people (with one notable exception, Mr. Carr) - really, a mini "Over the Hedge" reunion - which was such a wonderful time for me, personally and professionally. Here's a pic from the ceremony and the awesome table 10 (the best table in the place! - aside from the bride and groom's of course, hee hee)...

Of course there's always time for a trip to the beach (especially when someone lives just a block away), so I got a little time in the sun too even though it wasn't bikini weather...

And in between and ever since, back in Toronto....