Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The City of Lights Part 2: Versailles

Seeing this place first-hand, I no longer question why the French killed their royal family!

The front gate: pure gold

Imagine walking up to this place thinking 'this is my house'

Hall of Mirrors
The Queen's Bedroom

The King's Meeting Room--the famous globe is in the pic

The Gardens

Monday, December 22, 2008

They bring out the Best and the Worst of us...

That's what the holidays do.

Each and every year since I was a child, I wondered what the holidays were all about. I wondered why we do what we do this time of year--what's it all for? Is it simply a celebration of Jesus' birth? Or is it all about that fat guy in the red suit?
I thought I would have found the answer by now (it's been almost 20 years since I've started looking!) but I'm still searching. I'm still trying to figure out why we all run around picking up gifts for people that, more than likely, do not need more 'things' in their life.

Really, when I think back to Christmas' past, I remember the one's that included good friends (and sometimes family) and good food--simple as that. Christmas' that didn't have a ton of hype surrounding them--one's that were planned last-minute. What don't I remember from Christmas' past? Things. Material Things. For instance, Christmas 1996 was one of my fondest memories--I don't recall what presents I got that year, though. (Actually, I probably didn't get much of anything that year because most of my friend back then were starving artists)

I was on the subway yesterday, minding my own business, listening to my ipod. There was an older, attractive woman sitting across from me. At one point when I looked up, she was wiping tears from her eyes. Like a trainwreck, I couldn't help but watch her. She then began to ball, tears flowing like a faucet. I felt bad for her--I wanted to comfort her but she's a complete stranger and I didn't want to make her feel worse. I wondered what she was crying about. Did she lose a loved-one recently? Is her best friend dying of Cancer? Or, because of the holiday pychosis we all suffer from, was she simply crying because her husband invited two more people to Christmas dinner?
Food for thought.

In the world we live in right now, where celebrities rule and enough is never enough, it's hard to find the true meaning of Christmas. So, no matter what your plans are for the holidays, keep in mind one thing: just when you think you have it bad, there's someone else who has it worse than you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The City of Lights

God, I love Paris. There's no other place like it on earth. It's magical.
I spent 10 glorious days there in November--below is just a sampling of photos from my journey.

(I know! It's taken me long enough to post these!)

A view from Notre Dame

Pont Alexandre Bridge--an iconic Paris image

Hotel Du Louvre

The Venus de Milo--she's exquisite
Place de la Concorde (King Louis XVIwas beheaded here!)

'She' is the piece de la resistance, n'est pas?

Notre Dame

A view of the Left Bank

The famous Arc

Thursday, October 23, 2008

If she breaks up with America, who keeps the clothes?

Poor Sarah Palin. It seems like she can't do anything right. Her every move and every word is scrutinized and basically made fun of. She's every Saturday Night Live's dream, isn't she?
I'm not a fan of Sarah Palin by any means but I think the media has gone too far this time: they now have the nerve to question Sarah's 'lavish' spending on clothing since she became McCain's 'chosen one'.

Now, let's just imagine how disappointing it would be if Sarah showed up to her one and only debate (with Joe Biden, not Joe the Plummer) wearing a suit from Sears:

Don't get me wrong, we need places like Sears, Walmart & Target to shop for great deals but America should draw the line at dressing a Vice Presidential candidate in something an average Soccer Mom would wear. Let's get real here, people! We don't want Sarah to look like the average Soccer Mom she claims to be! We want her to look hot! We want her to look polished. A suit like the one about (63% polyester/37% rayon) does not do so well under all those unforgiving lights, not to mention the heat. In case you're lucky enough to have never felt polyester on your skin, let me explain to you how it feels: it feels like shit. It feels like you are sweating your ass off, even in minus 20 degree weather. For you see, polyester doesn't breath--it suffucates. AND if you wear it long enough, you'll stink. This is probably why people living through the seventies wanted to be naked and celebrate 'free love' every day. Forget sex, drugs and Rock&Roll--they couldn't take the heat of polyester.

Sarah showed up to the debate looking lovely--not sweaty. She also probably smelled a lot better since the heat of all those lights (and the pressure) must of made her sweat buckets.
Look how great she looks! (Isn't Joe cute? I have such a crush on him! Don't ask..)

So, it turns out that Sarah likes to shop at Neiman Marcus & Saks; likes it sooo much, she's racked up $150,000 worth of clothes. Really? A woman likes to shop at these places? You don't say! Anyway, it was first reported that she bought her Armani suit the night before the big debate but this suit is not Armani--it's Tahari. And it's a steal! $498!

Surely America can forgive her for this. I mean, she saved them $1,500 when she decided against the Armani.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

True Love Is Both Sticky AND Sweet

Now, most people that know me know that I am a Madonna fan. A big Madonna fan. Just ask my iPod; out of 1000 songs, about 800 of them belong to my idol, Madge.
I've seen her in concert numerous times. I've watched ALL of her (painful) movies and I've even supported her hand at fashion design by buying a bunch of crap that didn't fit me at H&M a few years back.
Again, last night I supported my idol by attending the Hard Candy/Sticky & Sweet concert here in Toronto.
It was no Confessions Tour but it was still Madge at her very best; singing & dancing in four-inch platform boots, giving her twenty-something dancers a run for their money.
I don't know how this woman does it. She can't be human. But I love her anyway and true love lasts forever.

Looking forward to her next tour which will probably be called the Post-Divorce Tour!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Tick, Tock

I was checking my email on MSN earlier today and stumbled upon an interesting article about the highs, lows and truths of parenthood.
As it turns out, studies are now showing that childless marriages are happier marriages.
I didn't need an article to tell me that. But am I alone?

It seems that more and more people are popping out kids like bottomless Pez dispensers. Everywhere I look, I see one designer baby carriage after another. In fact, my neighbourhood is most definately going through a baby boom. It doesn't matter what restaurant or store you walk into, you're sure to find the $1200 carriage--most likely a Bugaboo in the infamous red colour.
Gone are the days of quiet booths in fancy restaurants. Now, they're all replaced with open tables, ten feet between them for the carriages and high chairs.
Have babies become the cool accessory? It seems so. However, I would rather carry a purse.

I guess I should thank my family for forcing me to babysit my younger cousins as a teenager because those evening and weekends reiterated the fact that I despise taking care of miniature humans. I despise listening to kids whine. I depsise changing diapers. I despise allowing kids to decide what they want to watch on tv; Barney or Sesame Street. They should either watch what I want to watch or just go to bed. You see, I come from a time when children were 'seen and not heard'.

I often sit and ponder; will my biological clock ever start ticking? I mean, I'm not getting any younger--I'm in my mid-thirties. Shouldn't the clock have started by now?
I should be cooing over cute little babies when I see them but all I think is 'damn, that's a lot of work!'.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

SATC Movie Review ~spoilers~

My friend Laura had a Sex and the City party last night. All us gals met at her place for martinis then we were off to the theater for the much anticipated SATC movie.
Really, how many women did the same thing this weekend? It's like being invited to a party that every woman in the world is invited to, no matter how old you are.

SATC was always a smart show. It was always true to the characters and it was always hilarious. Now, let me just say that the movie was good--it was entertaining if you just 'went with it'. Meaning, if you didn't have any pre-conceived notions and any built-up expectations that this was going to be a great ending to the perfect tv show for women.
I tried to really love it all in the end. I tried my best to look past all the details that bothered me. However, here I am a day later trying to figure out why I'm so mad at this film.
I've come up with three reasons why this movie didn't sit well with me:

1. In the opening sequence, narrator Carrie says "Every year, thousands of twenty-something women move to Manahattan for two things; labels and love"
Why does this bother me? Because it's not true. Women move to Manhattan for career opportunities, mostly. The same reason why Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha are Manhanites. Remember when these women talked about their careers?
So, labels--yes. Love--no. Why would women move to a city like Manahattan for love? The women to men ratio is 2:1.

2. Charlotte, the happily married stay-at-home Mom was the only woman that was truly happy. Her life was perfect.
I'm surprised the writers did this. Is it because SJP is now a Mom and assumes that the rest of the women in this world want to raise children and make dinner for their hard-working men? Give me a break. I thought Hollywood was beyond this.

3. Carries gave into Big--again. Whatever Mr. Big wants, Carrie gives him without thinking about what she wants.
In the end they get married but it's on his terms--again. If he really loved her, why couldn't he give her the wedding she truly wanted? Why couldn't he let her have her fantasy day? After all, it's her first marriage--unlike him, working on his third.

If you loved the show, go see the movie. The fashion is great, there are a ton of great lines (Kim Catrall is a joy) and it really is a special treat to see the gals together again. They have some wonderful chemistry together.
I just hope there's not a SATC II.
Or maybe I'm just cynical. ;)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Who Created the Food Network?

Because I would like to hurt them!
The Food Network is not fun for me anymore because I'm 'watching what I eat'. I hate that saying. Who really 'watches' their food? Don't we all just shovel the stuff in? I know I do. And I suspect that is one of my problems. Duh.
Last night before bed I was watching tv, doing my usual channel surfing. I was starving. I had most of my points too early in the day so my last 'meal' was at 5:30pm. Not good. And I won't even tell you what that meal consisted of--you would feel sorry for me. ;)
Anyway, the food channel comes on and instead of sitting there, enjoying the show (s) as I normally do, I had to quickly change the channel. My stomach was growling so loud I thought it would wake up Simon, my four-legged son.

I received an email from a potential book club organizer this morning. I've been wanting to join her book club as the meetings will be close to my home and her taste in books seems to fit mine. I think this will be good for me. I love to read but I get sad when I finish a great book because I don't have anyone to talk about it with. Well, accept here on my blog but my blog doesn't talk back--yet.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

25 Points? That's it?

Last night, I had a brisk walk with a friend around a track near my house. I was so mad at myself when on the second lap, I wanted to give up. I kept thinking about how much I use to run and how great it made me feel. Now, five years later, I can barely walk up a flight of stairs without feeling like my heart is pushing its' way out of my chest.
So, I've taken my Doc's advice and I have joined Weight Watchers. I wrote about my yearly physical awhile back--around Christmas. My Doc used the 'O' word on me and told me Weight Watchers is the best way to lose the weight and to keep it off.
I joined the online community this morning as I refuse to be weighed in front of strangers every week at a Weight Watchers near me. ;) My target points: 25 per day. It's 1pm right now and I've already devoured 8 of the points--maybe even more than that as I can't figure out how many points are in my giant coffee each morning.
Let's hope Weight Watchers can help me overcome my love affair with food!

As far as my writing goes, I haven't written anything decent in a few weeks. I think my writing space is kinda boring me. I need a change. I think I may try to start writing at Starbuck's again. The only reason why I stopped was my laptop battery only lasts like two hours! I hate having to carry around the big, silly plug so I usually opt to stay home and write.
The good news is, my friend Peter really helped me out with the plot of my novel. It's so great to have someone read your writing and give helpful, critical advice--and it's free of charge!
I have just one problem right now with an event in the novel. It looks like I have to do even more research on the Holocaust of WWII. Just when I thought I was done, here I am again.
To be honest, the research part is easy. The writing, well that's a whole other thing.

Employment Update:
I have an interview on Thursday morning. The position sounds promising so I hope it works out--I gotta pay some bills!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Blanket of White

Anyone living north of Florida has felt the pain and anguish this winter. The blistey winds, the piles and piles of snow being dumped on us every day during Feb & March and the dirty, greyish-coloured stain the salt leaves behind on your newly dry cleaned trousers.
I haven't seen a winter with this much snow since I was a child. However, when you're a child you can handle it better. When you're a child, you don't have to dig your car out of the snow plows aftermath every morning. The snow is a pain in the butt. And it's still falling as I write this. Global Warming my ass!
In about four months, I'm going to be complaining about the heat, lol.

Employment update:
I'm still unemployed and I'm still happy. I'm living in the now. I highly recommend it.

Warning: I'm about to gloat about my Idol so to those (really weird) folks that don't like Madonna, stop reading.
On March 10, 2008 My Idol was inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Can you believe that this woman has been around for 25 years? And I've been a fan since day one. I was a fan (and just a wide-eyed little girl) the very first time I saw the Lucky Star video. I actually did a danse to that song in a talent show when I was in the 4th grade--LOL. It was a disaster.

Congratulations Madge!
Love your oldest (?) fan!


Monday, February 25, 2008

The Little Gold Man

Another Oscar Night has gone by without the glitz and the glamour. There was something missing last night. I don't know if it was the big names (Leo DiCaprio, Brangelina, Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, Jude Law, etc., etc.) missing from the Red Carpet or the lackluster fashion choices. Or could it just be that the movies nominated were not seen by most people?
I like to consider myself a movie buff, but there were more than a few movies I didn't see. For instance, There Will Be Blood: it only grossed 35 million while Fool's Gold has grossed 52 million. But don't even get me started on that.

I think a lot of people will have some serious questions after last night. Here are the top five:

1. Javier Bardem is this sexy? Good lord! Can hair really make that much of a difference?

2. Tilda Swinton: who is it, what is it and what kind of dumbass speech is that?

3. Even Daniel Day-Lewis wants to kiss George Clooney? Can someone please explain the appeal?

4. Why is Collin Ferrel still invited to the Oscars? Remember Alexander? I do! I'll never get those two excruciating hours back.

5. Where the hell is Billy Crystal????

This year I have only seen a handful of the movies nominated:
La Vie en Rose : one of my new favourite movies, btw. It was simply fantastic and I'm so glad Marion won
Juno: cute movie but hardly worth all the Oscar buzz
Elizabeth: The Golden Age: the first one was better. Great costume's though and my Cate was amazing, as usual
Eastern Promises: fantastic movie. Viggo really did deserve the nomination although I'm surprised it was the only nom for this movie
Atonement: a simply gorgeous film. It was a bit boring at times for me but that's just because I dislike war scenes.
Ratatouille: I LOVED this movie. The win for best animated film was a no-brainer.
American Gangster: your typical Denzel film. Well-acted and worth the $11.95.

I have to mention my favourite moment last night. It was the winner for best song. Let me set the stage for those of you that missed it:
Enchanted was a cute movie. It's a Disney movie. It's a musical. It was nominated for best song three times over this year. The other two nominees; a song from August Rush (a movie most people did not see or even hear of) and a song from the movie Once, even fewer people saw or heard of Once.
These two little films were up against an entertainment conglomerate. An entertainment empire, if you will. The odds were stacked against them. But guess what; Once won the Best Song Oscar for Falling Slowly!
Below is the speech one of the musicians made after Jon Stewart let her come back out to say something as the orchestra cut her off! This is one of the best speeches in Oscar history, imho. Her name is Marketa Irglova.

“Hi everyone. I just want to thank you so much. This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all other independent musicians and artists that spend most of their time struggling, and this, the fact that we’re standing here tonight, the fact that we’re able to hold this, it’s just to prove no matter how far out your dreams are, it’s possible. And, you know, fair play to those who dare to dream and don’t give up. And this song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are. And so thank you so much, who helped us along way. Thank you.”

Below is the actual speech thanks to YouTube


Thursday, January 31, 2008

Benedict Arnold--the Pioneer

Have you ever known a backstabber? Chances are, you probably have no idea as backstabbers (aka Traitors like Mr. Arnold) are notorious manipulators. They gain your trust and indulge you with their great ability to listen and understand your plight, whatever it may be. They are everyone's best friend.
While out in the real world, I think most of us are aware of these beings. Most people (with even a small amount of street smarts) can detect a phony a mile away, especially in a social setting. These backstabbers are not as harmful, imo. However, be aware of the corporate backstabber for they are the most cunning backstabbers of all.
I recently left a company that was both horrendous and hedonistic. Yes, I just wrote hedonistic.
I had two great assistants that I treated very well. I am not a micromanager. I am not a stickler for minute details like coming in late once in awhile. I think I'm pretty lenient. All I expect of people that report to me is to do their job to the best of their abilities. Finish their projects on time and avoid gossiping with other departments. I don't know, maybe that doesn't make for good manager material but I respect every single person that I have ever worked with and for.
Anyway, one of my former assistants has been talking smack about me since I left. This was the same woman that was encouraging me to quit because she witnessed first hand the abuse my VP placed upon me. She was kind, sweet, empathetic and a very good worker. She is the ultimate backstabber.

Since learning of her betrayal, I started to think about how it must feel to live life as a backstabber. Are they able to sleep at night? Are they able to look at themselves in the mirror? Do they even have close friends? Are they straight up with anyone in their lives?
The only positive thing that has come out of all of this is that I will be more aware of the corporate backstabber in the future. You can usually spot them at the water cooler gossiping about the person they just had lunch with.

Benedict Arnold
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Benedict Arnold V (January 14, 1741 [O.S. January 3, 1740][1][2]June 14, 1801) originally fought for American independence from the British Empire as a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War until he obtained command of the American fort at West Point, New York and, switching sides, plotted unsuccessfully to surrender it to the British.
Arnold was considered by many to be the best general and most accomplished leader in the Continental Army. In fact, without Arnold's earlier contributions to the American cause, the American Revolution might well have been lost; but after he switched sides, his name, like those of several other prominent traitors throughout history, has become a byword for treason in the United States.[3][4]

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A New Year and a Familiar Problem

Another Christmas and New Year's have passed and I'm left wondering what's it all for. When I say 'all' I mean the entire holiday season. Are we still under the impression that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ? Are we still living under the illusion that as soon as the year goes up, things in our life will get a whole lot better?
The great thing about New Year's resolutions is that most people know they will fail at them so they don't look down on others when they fail at theirs. ;)
My New Year's resolution is to lose weight. Original, right?
Just before Christmas I had my yearly physical. I knew I would get a lecture from my Doc about my weight but I wasn't prepared to hear what she had to say. She used the 'O' word on me. Yes, obese. There! I wrote it! Not only did she use the 'O' word, she also politely handed me a voucher for a Weight Watchers membership. Oh, did I mention that my Doc is about 110 pounds? I pictured myself shoving donuts down her throat. That was fun.
Anyway, I know I'm fat but I didn't think I was obese. Afterall, isn't obese a word to describe those fat people that are at least 100 pounds overweight living naked in their beds? Well, I'm wrong.
According to our BMI (a simple and widely used method for estimating body fat which calculates your weight by your height) below are the classifactions of 'fatism':
A BMI less than 18.5 is underweight
A BMI of 18.5–24.9 is normal weight
A BMI of 25.0–29.9 is overweight (this is where I am but I'm creeping up to the next level!)
A BMI of 30.0–39.9 is obese
A BMI of 40.0 or higher is severely (or morbidly) obese
A BMI of 35.0 or higher in the presence of at least one other significant comorbidity is also classified by some bodies as morbid obesity (this is where the naked people living in their beds fit)

It's funny how some people (like me) struggle with food their whole lives while others couldn't care less about food. They are the morons that stay thin forever without having to workout or cut out the good stuff. I'm sure we all have had a friend or family member in our lives that are like one of these skinny assholes.
I once had a roomate that was tall, skinny, blonde and stupid--the guys loved her. She could eat and eat and eat and didn't gain an ounce. She wasn't bulimic either. Trust me, I watched her closely as I was completely mesmerized by her eating (not to mention drinking) habits. Now, that was a skinny asshole.
Below is a photo of us (circa 1996) from the Sears portrait studio.