Friday, March 31, 2006

Sunday March 25, 2006

I set up an event with MeetIn Toronto to go for breakfast and then to Allan Garden's Conservatory to take pictures of the flowers. I had enjoyed my trek there so much during March Break, I thought others would benefit from the amazing environment too.

I had booked for 12 people to meet for breakfast at
Frans Restaurant, but because I was at another event the night before word got around and many more people showed up! 17 in fact. So we ordered our breakfast, eventhough it was already passed midday, which ranged from pancakes, eggs, steak, and even ice cream! We had been separated into 3 tables, so we didn't all get to meet each other, but that was no problem.

We left the restaurant and walked east along Carlton to Jarvis and came upon the
greenhouse. The majority of the group had never been there before so they were quite shocked at how warm it was inside. But we soon acclimatized!

We spent a good deal of time walking around in awe, and snapping pictures. We congregated outside and since it was such a beautiful day we decided to take a walk to the
Toronto Necropolis Cemetery near Riverdale Farm.

As we walked we got a chance to meet people we hadn't talked to yet. They were a very interesting bunch of people. I bumped into my son's friend
Jason on the way and said a very quick hello.

After walking around the cemetery we went and had a peek at the
Farm. Then as were enjoying each others company so much we decided to take the bridge over the Don Valley Parkway. On the other side we walked up the hill and then realised that we were thirsty and needed to find a place for a coffee. We walked along side Withrow Park and made our way to Dimitri's Desserts where coffee, tea and desserts were ordered. I shared a "Split Personality" with Andy as it was way too much for him to eat alone!!

It was a most pleasant day of adventures that I hope we can do again.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

St. Patricks Day Celebration

The plan was to meet Kat and her friends at Fionn McCools to celebrate St. Patty's Day. Kat said to bring along friends, so I listed it on the board, and told them to meet me in the line at 7 pm. Kat called me before I left to let me know she would be at least an hour late!

I left my apartment at 7. It was cold out there! I waited for 45 minutes and started talking to 2 women waiting along side me. I told them that I was waiting for others to join me, but didn't know who they were. After a while Jackie said to me that if I didn't find these friends, then I could join them. They introduced themselves, and the other woman's name was Becky.
"Kat's friend Becky?" I asked.
"Yes!" she said.
"Then you are the people I am waiting for! I'm Mary.
On hearing this, one of the guys standing behind me said, "Are you the Mary from MeetIn?"
"That's me."
And the guy standing beside him said, "I am supposed to meet someone from MeetIn whose name is John."
"I'm John!" said the first guy.

WOW! Talk about wierd.

There we were, all standing together not knowing each other, but supposed to be meeting each other!

After waiting in line for 2 hours and 15 minutes, and no Kat in sight, we finally got inside only to have to pay a $5 cover charge! Well that's not too bad I suppose. Although I think they made us wait till after 9 pm just to get the money out of us. Another friend of Becky's, Natalie, showed up shortly after.

We got in before the band started so we were well lubricated enough to sing along and dance to Celtic music, (I'm not usually a lover of this genre!) We stood along the stage area and met a bunch of people some of which were line buddies of ours. My camera was passed around and I ended up with photos of people I know nothing about. One of them begged me not to email the pictures, but I have no clue who she was! The Guinness flowed along with the Kilkenny. We danced along to music that was foot stompin' and side slappin'! And we posed for the Global News t.v cameras, as we became "famous!"

I left at 11:45 as I was hungry and needed to eat something! But a fun time was had, meeting new friends.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Allen Gardens, Toronto

I spent an hour in the tropics today! Not really, just walked to the local green house and immersed my senses in the wonderful surroundings. When I arrived there were hoards of people, which annoyed me, as I like to go there and for the quiet and imagine myself somewhere hot and exotic.

So I went to the other end, my favourite end where the cactus plants are. They fascinate me, not sure why, but they just do. I tend to see more than the plant, I see people and objects in them.

Every time I go to the green house there are artists there. There was just 1 when I arrived, but 5 when I left. I wish I had the ability to paint those wonderful visions, but I did take lots of photos. Click on my title for a link to see them.

After the cactus plants I made my way to the east end, and most of the noisy families had left. I couldn't see any fish today, and the fountain pond was so murky that I couldn't see anything in there either.

The water wheel turned effortlessly as the noise of the constant rush of the water fell. Two kids ran past me as I was attempting to get this shot. One yelled "sorry" as he almost knocked me over. "I doubt it," I said. But then they were gone and tranquility returned.

An hour spent filling my nostrils with the tantalizing scents of the flowers, and my eyes and heart with the beauty of this place was just what I needed.

If you have never visited this little bit of paradise in Toronto, make time to go there. If you have been before, it's time to reimmerse yourself in this amazing environment.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Birthday Present

I got a birthday present today from my son in Korea. I picked up the package from the post office and hurried home to open it.

Inside were 5 presents and an envelope containing a card with special message on the front. I opened the first one and to my delight was a lovely notebook, with lovely textured pages inside. The next gifts were dvds of the new movie The Pink Panther, then Tim Buton's Corpse Bride and finally RENT. I was just saying that I would watch some movies this March Break, and now I can. The last little package had a cute little key ring in it. It flashes a picture of what looks like a little Korean cartoon girl. There are some Korean words, but I've no idea what it says! The card that was inside the envelope was so cute with a bear and star jewels on it.

What a great surprise. And it arrived at a great time, too.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

March Break

March Break begins.

I am grateful that the school includes March Break for the children and the staff, as usually by this time we are all ready for a break!

Fortunately this winter has been a mild one, but in past years with the dreary February days, our spirits start to decline as we dream of the spring buds and flowers. Winter here in Toronto is long and tiresome, and to have a break in March gives us a chance to rejuvenate and revitalise.

I generally don’t go anywhere at this time, not because I don’t want to, but because I can’t afford to. For teachers our breaks come at high season, Christmas, March break and summer so we seldom get a good deal on a getaway.

So it tends to be a good time for me to do Spring cleaning: out with the old, in with the new. I get the opportunity to go through my closets, and storage area, and purge again. This is sometimes very difficult as I am something of a packrat, and find throwing out perfectly good stuff that I might need at any time a challenge.

I will also get some shopping time in to replace all the junk that I have thrown out! I want to buy a new camera as the old one won’t flash any longer. I did purchase
one already but returned it as the video element on it didn’t record sound. So any suggestions of a reasonably priced digital camera are welcome.

I plan on getting more
scrapbook pages done. Perhaps even a book of my 50th birthday. I have so many old photos that I brought back from my last trip to England, I want to get them organised and put into layouts. Procrastination!

I will go to a couple of movies and perhaps rent a few as well. If the weather stays nice I will take walks around the city to explore a few sites that I’ve not been to in a while. I used to go to
Allen Gardens every March just to get the smell of the tropics in my memory again. It is an amazing greenhouse with beautiful flowers, plants, trees and cactus. There is also a small stream that runs though with a waterwheel and a wishing pond with beautiful goldfish.

I will spend some time in the kitchen trying out a few more recipes from the
cookbook my son gave me as a Christmas gift. I hate cooking, but usually because I don’t like standing in the kitchen at the end of the day. Therefore I have no excuse over the break.

So hopefully I will have lots to report during this break.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Some samples of the fun I had on my 50th birthday.

Me and Bruce

Beatriz and Mona

With my birthday drink. (no cake for this birthday!)

Having fun showing off my new body!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Hurry Up and Be Patient!

There is great benefit in learning to wait calmly and creatively. Here is a "waiting checklist" to test your waiting skills:

  • Do you expect delays, or do they catch you unawares? Do you anticipate those times when you are likely to have to wait?
  • Do you calmly let your inner motor idle though others around you may be stripping their gears?
  • Do you welcome unexpected delays as a gift of time, which can be used creatively? Do you use the free time to plan ahead or quietly meditate (to get in touch with your soul)?
  • Do you prepare for delays? Do you have work or entertainment handy when forced to wait?

How did you do on the exercise? Are you making the most of your waiting time? We will never escape delays, but we can use them creatively. Now is the time to hurry up and be patient!

Excerpt from Steve Goodier's book Touching Moments

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

So this is what 50 looks like!

Pretty fantastic, don't you think?

I went to my hairdresser who curled my hair within an inch of it's life, very sexy! It made me look great. I was going to get someone to do makeup for me, but since I already looked pretty good, I figured I only needed mascara and lipstick, and I can do that!

Beatriz came over around 5 pm and we took a cab to the Oasis and set up the room with some decorations. I also set up the Karaoke machine and the t.v. I had brought along bubbles, funny glasses, leis, necklaces, bracelets, and some party poppers that I placed on the tables. Francesca said they would serve the food at around 10 pm. We left to go home and get ready.

After dressing and applying the makeup, (I was thinking now that I am older I should learn how to use the stuff, but quickly changed my mind!) I took the subway and streetcar to College St and arrived at about 9 pm. I met Dan our waiter and placed the birthday book on the table along with the money pot and play money.

The guests arrived shortly after, and after placing their $10 in the pot I gave them $25 play money. My guests included: Alex and Mona, Anna and Art, Kathryn and Robert, Bruce and Oscar, Beatriz, Kat, Blair, Vanessa and Sharon, Maria, Mehmet, Meggie and Marina and Louisa and Debby.

It took a while before anyone would think of a dare, but I began by daring Bruce to sing karaoke for $5. Pretty safe as I knew that he could sing well! Before long people were daring each other to chug-a-lug, sing karaoke, dance, take items of clothing off, massage, and other silly things. In general everyone had a great time. The tapas was amazing with lots of compliments going to the cook.

Kat then took the microphone and said some kind words, and had everyone sing Happy Birthday to me. They gave me a fruit punch with pineapple and a strawberry on top with a candle sticking out of the strawberry. Very nice.

The night continued with dancing, eating, and socializing. At midnight everyone counted their money and Kathryn's table had the most, (they did the removal of clothing, so no surprise there!). I awarded them half of the money in the pot $100, which they promptly gave back. I wasn't expecting that! But it was great as all the money collected ($200) paid for the food.

At the end of the night Beatriz helped me pack up the stuff and we got into a cab and returned home. I then had the time to open gifts that people had given me: p.j's from Louisa, chocolates from Alex and Mona, a gift certificate for scrapbook supplies from Sharon, a gift certificate for Winners from Anna and Art, a necklace and aroma candles from Kat, a facial spa from Maria and family, dipping oils and decanter from Vanessa and Blair and a gift certificate for a facial and makeup application from Beatriz.

After Beatriz left I went through the birthday book to read some of the comments people had written. It was so warming to have these people share in the celebration of this milestone in my life.

All in all it was a great party with wonderful friends and now I look forward to the second half of my life!