Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Shopping Road Trip

Every once in a while my fellow scrapbooker Keitha invites me along to a shopping road trip to purchase scrapbooking supplies.  On Tuesday December 29 she picked me up in front of my building at about 9:45am.  We headed west and our first stop was Michaels at the Dixie Value Mall.  I was very excited because I had seen the flyer and they had Cricut cartridges on sale and I was ready to buy at least two, perhaps more.  Unfortunately when I saw them I was confused as to why they were priced at $119.95.  I was told by the sales associate that the sale ended the day before.  CRUSHED!  I managed to spend $18 on this and that, thanks to a 50% off one item coupon I found online.

We drove further west looking for Angela's Craft Centre at 37 King St in Dundas.  Somehow we ended up in Stoney Creek at the same address!  So on our way to the correct address we stopped off at The Memory Keeper in Hamilton on 1119 Fennell Av.  I had seen them at the CreativFestival earlier in the year, and had even ordered a Scorpal from their website.  When we got to the store, I was really impressed.  There was a class going on in the back and I felt as though I wanted to sit down and join in.  The store itself carried lots of current and new items including the Hero Art's stamps.  We spent a long time here.  I picked up a deep cut blade and housing for my Cricut at a great price.  They had some great page kits that I picked up and I added a few more Copic markers to my collection.  Their Cuttlebug folders were really inexpensive and I picked up the Diamond Plate.

We were getting hungry at this time and stopped off at Tim Horton's for lunch.  I was successful in getting them to make an egg salad sandwich on my gluten-free bread, unlike the Tim Horton's in Toronto.

We received  better directions to Angela's and eventually arrived there!  This store has some amazing cards on display and taking photos of them is encouraged.  I bought myself a light box, because I usually use a battery operated touch light under a clear plastic shoebox.  I also picked up a couple of packages of clear acrylic stamps.

From Angela's we headed to Forever Scrapbooks in Burlington.  As we entered we were told that everything in the store was 20% off.  I only found an acrylic block for a new stamp, but Keitha had more luck than me.

Finally we decided to drop off at another Michaels in Oakville.  I picked up some Stickles, 2 packs of card stock and an amazing box from storing photos in but I'll use for other storage.

We headed back to Toronto and arrived at my apartment at about 7pm.  A great day hanging out with a friend who enjoys shopping for scrapbook stuff as much as I do!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Love, Infatuation or Stalking?

A recent date I had was with a man I met on Plenty of Fish. He looked pretty good on his profile picture, even for a 53 year old man! We agreed to meet at the coffee shop, Balzac’s in the Distillery District on a Sunday. I arrived to see him standing outside the shop. He seemed like a good guy who really did look like the picture on his profile. I found a place to sit and the date began.

He liked to talk a lot about himself. He was an editor of videos as well as some sort of musician. He had been recently separated from his 2nd wife. He had a couple of kids who were amazing. He told me of his 2nd wife, that they met in September and were married by November. The warning bells should have sounded at this point, but I was enjoying the company of an interesting man, (I thought). We spent some time walking around the area looking in shops and galleries. He then walked me home and we made plans to meet again the following weekend. We also exchanged numbers. I thought that this could potentially be the beginning of a good friendship and perhaps more. We had spent perhaps 2 1/2 hours together.

Later that night I sent him a text to let him know I enjoyed meeting him that day. The next day he called while I was working at school and when I checked my phone, I text him and told him I couldn’t have him calling while I was working in the classroom or on the playground. He texted me right back even though I was still working. He ended up calling or texting 3 times that Monday. The following day he did the same, he either texted or called me 3 times. After the 2nd call I had told him I was extremely tired and was going to bed early because I thought I was coming down with something. An hour later he called me again, “just to hear your voice”. I was so tired and he had called after knowing I was going to bed. The next day, Wednesday I decided to take off work because I had a fever and was feeling pretty awful I knew that I’d have to turn off my phone because I suspected he would keep calling if he knew I was not working. At the end of the day I turned the phone on and alas, there were 3 messages from him! I sent him an email explaining how this was too much for me, having only spent just over 2 hours together. I was feeling overwhelmed by these calls and I asked him not to contact me again until we met later on the weekend. He emailed me and agreed, saying that he was only doing that because he liked me so much.

We met up near my place and we drove to High Park where he wanted to eat. I had already eaten and so I just had tea. The whole time he talked about himself, his kids, his job, his band, him, him, him. I was pretty bored around this time. But I had to give him the benefit of doubt, to ensure I wasn’t mistaken. I should have gone with my gut instinct, and I should have listened better while he was telling me that he met and married his 2nd wife within 2 months! We went for a walk in High Park. The weather was very cold, and so we cut it short and we drove around trying to decide what to do. I suggested he take me to the Magic Oven, a favourite restaurant of mine, so that I could eat. Whilst at the restaurant he continued to dominate the conversation with talk of himself. I made my decision then and there that I was not interested in this man. He drove me home and that was the last I saw of him.

Garrison Creek Gang

I used to work at a daycare centre called Garrison Creek.  Some of the women I work with still stay in touch with me.  Some of us decided to meet up last night for dinner.  We ate at my favourite restaurant, (in fact I've eaten there 3 times this week!) The Hot House.  The actually serve gluten-free pasta and pizza. 

When I walked in I saw Susy first.  She had a lot to tell me because even though we are in contact through Facebook, I hadn't seen her in about 10 years.  She told me of her dissolving relationship with her husband and some major crap in her life.  But she looked amazing and is out giving her 2nd life a good work out!

Then Debbie and Louisa came in.  I had seen Debbie at my birthday party and Louisa in the summer.  We sat and talked and talked, to the point that the waitress told us to wave her over when we were ready to order!  The food was good, the company amazing and the mood happy.

We left the restaurant and went on to The Bier Markt and bar close to my apartment.  Since we were early we had no problems getting a seat and a table were all the action would be later in the evening.  The place got crowded after the Toronto Maple Leafs game ended, (they lost).  Some of us drank and some of us didn't but we all had a really good time regardless.  Susy fell down some steps from the table, I'm sure the beer she had was safe though!  We left sometime after midnight. 

It's always reassuring that when you get together with friends that you seldom see, you still hold that bond and it's like time melts away.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday fun

Well I am way behind on my annual newsletter that I send out to family and friends, perhaps I can work on that this afternoon.

School ended on Friday December 18, and the holiday began.  I made a few plans, but most of them were canceled.  I was planning on working out more often, but my back problems have limited me somewhat.  I was going to go for a back massage, but my masseuse canceled as she was sick.  I was going to have lunch with 2 friends, but one was sick so we canceled until next week.

However, I did manage to host 3 couchsurfers who are going to University in Washington State, 2 from Japan and 1 from Poland.  Lovely women who spent 3 days in Toronto.  We enjoyed a lovely dinner together their last night here.

I also got in a Dr.s appointment and got a couple of prescriptions.

I have managed to get to the gym once this past week, even though it should have been more often. 

On Christmas Eve I got my hair done and am a little unsure of the results.  I usually get high lights and I decided to try just colouring all of it.  I think it's a big mistake, but I'll give it a few days to get used to and if I still am not happy with it I will change it.

I got 2 phone calls on Christmas day.  One from my son in South Korea and one from my dad in England.  Thomas chose this coat for his Christmas present from me.

My very good friend Beatriz came over for dinner in the evening of Christmas day and I served a vegetarian shepherds pie with salad and focaccia bread.  Beatriz brought a fruit tray along for dessert and we added a few chocolates with it.

Today I have planned to meet 3 friends that I worked with over 12 years ago, to have dinner with and then perhaps a comedy show.

I am hoping to go to Ikea on Sunday to have a look around, perhaps spend some money.

I have plans on Monday to get fitted for new orthotics, get to the gym and work out with my trainer, and go to get that massage I missed last week.

On Tuesday I will be hanging out with my friend Keitha showing her my new Cricut machine and the Sure Cuts A Lot program my son gave me for Christmas, and perhaps hitting some craft stores to see if there are any deals.

I will also be hanging out with a couple of teacher friends some time this coming week.

Only a week left of my holidays and I have a few other things I'd like to get done, like some scrapbooking and cleaning up.  I also want to spend some time just relaxing and reading and drinking tea!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Party

My first Christmas party was spent with Maria and Mehmet, whom I only see a few times a year.

Maria is George's sister.  She survive breast cancer, and is on the mend.

 Her daughter Meggie was there, and her boyfriend, as well as Tanya another family member.

I got a ride with other friends of Maria's as they now live too far away to take the TTC.  Tom and Carrie picked me up from the subway and also brought me back to the city.

Maria's home is absolutely beautiful, however in a few months they will be moving into a smaller home not far from where they live now.  Their neighbourhood was filled with homes that went all out on decorations for the holiday.  Lights everywhere.

When it came to the food, it was the first time I've ever been somewhere to eat where I didn't have to worry about what was in the food.  Maria is also sensitive to wheat and is vegetarian!  So I ate to my heart's content.

It was great to catch up, with my 'sister' and to meet new people.  We even did some Greek dancing!

Thanks again Maria for sharing the holidays with me in your home.  It means a lot.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Shoes

I was home one afternoon a couple of weeks ago watching an Oprah show when it was announced that for the rest of that day and the following day there was coupon on the Oprah website that allowed 50% off anything at Payless shoes.  And wonder of wonders, it was good here in Canada too!

So  I printed up a copy and added it to my facebook so that other friends could take advantage of it too.

I went the following day and found 2 pairs of shoes, just like the ones I bought in the summer, as well as a pair of boots.

It was like paying the price of the boots at regular price, and getting the shoes free!  Not a bad deal.

Thanks Oprah!

Friday, October 30, 2009


Here we are, the 3 staff in my classroom.  Myself, the Black Widow Spider, the teacher the Hippy and the educational assistant, the pumpkin woman.

My costume is missing the extra legs I made.  When I sewed them all together, I didn't realise that I wouldn't be able to move my arms around very much, so I was restricted.  Therefore after only an hour I took them off.  The dress is hard to see like this, it is a very fine black lace type of material.  I am also wearing a black veil which I had originally wore over my face, (the widow bit), but turned it around to the back while I was working.  Some of the kids thought I had dyed my hair black.  NEVER!  It makes me look really old!!  I have really long fake eye lashes on, that fascinated the kids.  The best comment I had all day was from the non verbal autistic boy I work with, when he got off the school bus he said, "Mary's new eyelashes", then about 2 minutes later he said, "Butterfly kisses, please!"  So of course I had to give him some.

Below is my son's very first Halloween costume.  He is 18 months old.  I cut the feet off an old yellow sleeper that was too small, put on an old red hat I found at Goodwill along with his red rubber boots, and added a little make up.  The intention was for him to be a clown, but the kids who came Trick or Treating at our door thought he was Ronald McDonald!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I am at a loss as to some people's actions.  I work in a school, where we are supposed to be examples for the children we work for.  Today I experienced something quite unbelievable and incredibly unprofessional. 

I have been sick with the 'flu for about a week now, with a wicked sore throat, fever and sneezing as well as feeling totally exhausted. 

When I picked up my mail at home today there was a brown envelope, addressed to me, without a return address.  When I opened it I found 4 pages of information on hypochondria.  There were a few paragraphs high lighted.  The high lighted sentences were about depression, how people thought they had something wrong with them, when there is nothing wrong with them, about how they bring it on to themselves.  Someone from my school sent this to me, because no one else knows that I have been sick, other than my doctor.  She would not send me information from Wikipedia, and would not send it anonymously. 

We have all heard about cyber bullying but this is another sort of bullying.  I find it incredible that someone that I work with would get such pleasure out of sending this to me.  Do they think they are trying to be helpful?  No.  Do they think they are offering me advice?  No.  It is sheer meanness, harassment, attempt at intimidation, and an attempt to push me over the edge.

I was shocked when I got this, but the gloves are off, and although I can't prove who sent this to me, (because they have chosen to be cowardly in not taking responsibility for it), I will have the last say.  I plan on taking this to the superintendent, and the board of education and show that my human rights have been attacked.  So be ready, whoever you are, because I don't allow ANYONE to attack me in such a way.

And remember, what goes around, comes around.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Thanksgiving in Canada

Well here we are again, another long weekend holiday.

I don't celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday as such, although I do have things that I am thankful for.

Usually these holidays are focused around food, and I am not much of a lover of food. Also I don't have any family here in Canada, so I don't do the whole family get together thing. So I think I miss out somewhat.

In the past I have invited others who also don't have family locally, to join me in a potluck and last year I was invited to join others for their Thanksgiving celebration.

As it turned out, it was more than a meal with friends, I discovered that the hosts knew an old friend of mine from many years ago, so we got to catch up on our lives.

But as I mentioned I do have things that I am thankful for.

Unfortunately over the past few days I have been a bit down so I have only been thinking 'poor me'!

I am not enjoying my job much lately as I am not being used to my potential. Nothing worse than being bored sitting doing little or nothing when you have so much to offer.
I have had disagreements with a co worker who sort of broke the code of ethics according to the union rules, and I am tempted to do something about that.
I also got a telling off by the administration at work, who pointed out something that I did that was unacceptable. He repeated it at least 3 times, and so as you can imagine I had to retaliate, and I reminded him of an occasion when he did something that was way worse. He tried extremely hard to remain calm, but I could see in his eyes that he was furious!

I refuse to have people try to put me down, when I know that they are threatened by my strength. So that being said, I really feel that a change is about to happen. Perhaps I need to find a new job, perhaps I need to let others know what is going on. Not sure what direction I will end up going, but it is only a matter of time.

I am spending my evenings in front of the tv, wishing I had a partner to share my daily comings and goings with, and sometimes feeling a little sorry for myself. No partner, no family, no happiness at work, and seemingly not much to be thankful for.

But I do have things to be thankful for.

I seldom get phone calls from my family in England. Out of sight, out of mind I guess.

I am always the one who calls. It gets to me sometimes. I feel like I don't matter to them.

My son does call a couple of times a month, and one of my sisters will send an email once in a while.

But I really do have things to be thankful for.

For example, today at work, the child I am responsible for was away, so I got to spend time with other teachers. I even had a recess break, AND a lunch break with other adults!

I have an amazing apartment that I can afford to keep. And the view is pretty spectacular.

I have nutritious and delicious foods in my fridge, that is delivered by Front Door Organics, and I can afford to have that option.

I have a few very good friends that I can call up when I am feeling low, and they know the right things to say to me, to reassure me that I am a wonderful person, and I am worthwhile.

My family have a huge responsibility back home in England with my dad, who lives alone in a 3 bedroom house, and is in the throws of Alzheimer's disease. I am thousands of miles away and I don't have to worry about that sort of thing. I call a few times a month and talk to him, and that really is all I have to do. Well that's all I can do. I do go home usually once a year to spend a few weeks with him, so that my sisters can have stress-free time to themselves.

I do have a job that provides money for me to treat myself to things on occasion. Like the $2000 I just spent to pay for a trainer who will help me get my body in shape, which in turn will help my mind.

I get enjoyment from my paper crafts. People love to receive the things that I make for them, and I get satisfaction when I complete a project.

I have a $500 blender that makes amazing smoothies for breakfast.

My son is independent enough to spend months and years at a time in another country teaching children English.

So I do have things that I am thankful for.

It's just sometimes I need to be reminded! I guess Thanksgiving is good for that.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


This morning I got up early and did some chores that were piling up: laundry, compost, recycling and dishes.

After they were done I decided I needed a hearty breakfast and decided on pancakes.

I haven't really been able to find a tasty gluten free pancake, so as long as I added lots of fruits to the ones I made this morning, they tasted good.

3 strawberries, 1/2 pear, a few raspberries, a small banana with 2 gluten free pancakes.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wild and Wonderful Weekend

Last weekend made up for my crappy uneventful summer vacation.

It began with my monthly Board Games Night. I usually invite the Meetin group and sometimes the couchsurfing group. This time I invited both groups, plus the MeetUp games group. I had a fantastic turn out of over 30 people. We had great food, drinks, fun and socializing. The best ever to date.

It continued with me dressing in Red and White for a Flash Mob especially for TIFF. Check out the You Tube video, I am at 1:20 on the left side. It was so funny, people stopped to try to get a glimpse of someone famous.

I followed that with a ride down to Harbourfront where I partook of delicious foods at the Vegetarian Food Festival. I ate at Govinda's the Hare Krishna food stand. Delicious and only $6. I sampled other foods, and bought some Hemp milk. I found a lovely hair accessory that was made in South Africa. I also signed up for Front Door Organics, and will expect my first order of fresh organic fruits and vegetables grown in Ontario to be delivered on September 23.

Then at 5pm I called a friend who surfed my couch last year for TIFF. He is a screen writer, and although he wasn't staying with me this year, he mentioned that he'd like to take me out for a vegetarian meal. He told me that he had been really busy, and wanted to know if I might be available to attend an after party for a movie that he was seeing. Of course I said yes. He said that he was waiting to hear from a couple of other guests that he had invited, but if he didn't hear from them in the next hour, then he'd call back and tell me where the event was taking place. He said I'd need some sort of cocktail dress. So after hanging up, I ran up the street to Winners and bought myself a great dress and got back just in time for his 6pm phone call telling me where to meet him.

The movie he saw was "Get Low". As I waited for him to arrive at Atelier I watched the cars arrive and out of the first one was Sissy Spacek. She was followed by Robert Duvall and then a young star I wasn't familiar with, Lucas Black. And finally Bill Murray showed up. Eventually my friend Martin showed up and we went in. What a great night. I met some cute young guys who took an interest in me, and I spent the majority of the night with them. Martin left after an hour as he said he had other stuff to do. The 2 young guys took me to another club after, and we danced the night away.

Sunday arrived and I was feeling excited about the day. I met up with some couchsurfing friends at the corner of Yonge and Dundas for a 'Free Hugs' event. I made a sign earlier and held it above my head and gave out hundreds of hugs. It was so energizing and made me feel so good. I had a number of people comment that I gave great hugs. One person went as far as to say I gave out 'Mom' hugs! One group of friend were leaving, but I just wanted to keep going! I stayed and then another group joined me. I actually met a few people that I knew, and 2 of them hugged me before they even realized it was me! When it was time to stop, again I felt that I wanted to go on hugging people. But since everyone was leaving it wouldn't have been safe to do it by myself. I did have a few propositions whilst hugging some guys, as well as a couple of sneaky kisses and a bum smack!

So that was my amazing weekend, full of excitement and fun.

Unfortunately this weekend will be nothing to compare as I have a sore throat, and all I want to do is sleep.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Double Date?

Another date I had was with a guy who owned a motorbike shop. That should be fun, right?
I had taken a day off from work, just to chill out when he called and suggested that we go for a ride in his car. I agreed and he picked me up. Little did I realize that the ride was to pick up equipment and supplies for his shop? He seemed to revel in showing me off to his suppliers.
This wasn’t my idea of a date.
He said we would go out for lunch after we dropped off the stuff at his shop. At the shop introduced me to his staff.
This is when he told me that one of his staff had also received my name and profile in the mail, because he was also a member of the same introductory service. So he thought it would be a good idea for all three of us to have lunch together.
As it was, they talked shop the whole time and I was virtually ignored. I couldn’t wait to get home, and was annoyed with myself having wasted my precious day off.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Speed Dating

My first experience with Speed Dating was an eye opener. It was 12 five minute dates in a coffee shop in Downtown Toronto with a group of very professional looking gorgeous people. I just didn’t fit in somehow. The top I had chosen to wear was a little too tight, and it made me very uncomfortable. I didn’t figure out until about the 3rd or 4th date that I was talking too much, and not listening to what the guys had to tell me. I know I was not making much of an impression on anyone.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of speed dating, the way it works is like this. You sit and talk with a man for about 5 minutes, then a whistle/bell/gong sounds, and it’s time for the men to move to the next table. You have all of 15 seconds to jot down on your score card if you felt a connection with the previous guy. If he also felt a connection he records that too, and at the end of the evening you hand in your cards, and the following day or two you get an email with the names and email addresses of the people who mutually connected.

So the next time I tried it, about a year later, I went with a sure-fire plan to get lots of connections.

I went off to the local florist and bought a bunch of carnations and a roll of florist tape. At home I cut off all the flowering buds, stood them in water, and then wrapped the ends in floral tape. I made sure I had enough button holes for all the dates I would have. This time the venue was a bar. I bought myself a drink and sat down and waited for the event to begin.

Each man that sat at my table was surprised at receiving a flower. I knew this time I had made an impression, and wouldn’t easily be forgotten. All the men I had recorded on my card also recorded me on theirs. So of the 15 potential dates, I chose and got 12 emails addresses.

More recently I got an invitation to do a Speed Dating event with at no cost, but the catch this time was that it was being filmed for an upcoming reality TV show. The theme of the dates was, “Toy Boy”. Basically the women were older and the men were between 25 and 35. When I joined this group I had lowered my age by 5 years, because all the invitations I was getting was for really old men! I said I was 48.

I arrived at the event where there were men and woman standing around while the crew got things organized. I chatted to a few people at the bar, and already had an idea of who I was interested in.

We were told that we would be interviewed and asked why we were interested in dating younger/older people. When it came to my turn, they asked my age and told them my real age without thinking! Fortunately they didn’t kick me out.

The dates began and one of two cameras was close to me with the boom just above my head. I chatted, listened, laughed and had a fun time, but realized pretty quickly that there really wasn’t much there that I was interested in.

After about the 6th date I had to comment to the camera guy. He had spent a lot of time filming me and my dates. So I asked him if there were any other interesting people around. He ignored me! When the following date sat at my table the camera was again in my face.

“Really guys?” I asked?

They took the hint and moved to another couple. As it turned out the guy at the table was the most interesting and attractive. He said that in fact he had lied about his age and was older. So we had something in common. Our short conversation ended up being quite risqué. I recorded him as a yes, and waited for the next date. The camera guy came back, and I toyed with him saying that he missed the best date yet!

The next day I received my email address and after contacting him, he seemed to have lost interest.

Look out for the show, Love Inc., it airs sometime in 2010 on Slice