Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I guess this is goodbye

I guess this is goodbye, old pal
You've been a perfect friend.

I've been thinking of ending this blog for a while now and I've decided that it's time to finally say goodbye. There are many reasons why but the most compelling is this -- the things I most want to write about right now are not the things I feel comfortable posting on a public space. I am well aware that words posted to the internet can (and probably will) come back to haunt me for years to come and thus, this site, which started off being a very important form of self-expression, has become stiffling.

The end of this site doesn't mean the end of me writing. In fact, I'll probably be writing much more extensively when I don't feel the need to censor myself so much. Maybe I won't feel this way forever but it's how I feel right now and instead of leaving my page blank for months and months, I thought I'd at least say goodbye to those of you who come here on a regular basis.

It's been nice to have an audience to write to and I've certainly appreciated your thoughtful comments.

Until we meet again...


Friday, April 27, 2007

There's No Place Like Home

I am finally home from my geographic profiling course. It was only two weeks (and even had a trip home in between) but if felt like a really long two weeks! What is geographic profiling? It's a method to help track down serial offenders by using the areas where they commit crimes to help identify where they might reside (or work). It's pretty neat and really effective when you apply it to cases that meet the criteria. I now have six months to complete a real case using the techniques that I've learned and then can be certified as a geographic profiling analyst.

It's nice to be back home with no immediate plans to go anywhere for a little while. Although I've been away for four weeks already this year, my job normally doesn't involve much travel. I don't know how some people do it on a regular basis. Work travel is very different from personal travel, especially if you go with other coworkers because even in your 'off' times, you end up talking about work a lot and that can get really tiring. I usually retreated to my room in the evenings because I found myself needing some time to myself at the end of the day.

The plan for the weekend is to relax, dance to reggae, eat yummy food, and spend time with everyone in Toronto who I've been missing.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Orphan Ache

Your shoulders do not brush my shoulders,
Not even on a streetcar by accident.
And now I cannot recall whether your brown eyes
Were chocolate or spiced copper or sable.
Year after year more details vanish.

Seventeen years later
I am reminded of you regularly
But I do not remember.
Oh, the perplexing irony
and the resulting shades of the truth.

Yesterday a sweet perfume
Was swept by the wind into my nostrils.
Instinctively, I looked around for you,
And instead saw a grandmother step into a cab.
It still stings every single time.

Will it take a lifetime
To heal all of my wounds?
The scars are precious --
A tangible proof that you really did exist
In flesh and not just in a child's mind's eye.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Sun Poured Down like Honey

Last week I was away on a course for the week in a small town southwest of Toronto. I came home for the weekend and am now back for the second half of the course. I always miss home when I'm away but it gives me a lot of thinking time and it makes me appreciate all the good things that I now associate with "home".

The weekend was warm and filled with sunshine. It felt like the first real days of spring and I tried to spend as much time as possible outside. I walked my bike down to the local bike shop and got some minor repairs done and filled the tires with air. Then, I went for a short bike ride and remembered how much I like biking. I rode while Eli skated beside me and we explored some streets in our neighborhood that we'd never been down before. It was wonderful seeing all the people on the street with smiles on their faces. It felt like people were emerging from their winter cocoons and were feeling the same elation that we were.

This will be my first spring/summer in Ontario and I have a really good feeling about it. It already feels like a friendlier, more vibrant city than the one that greeted us when we arrived in the winter. Our normally quiet neighbourhood was bustling with energy and I've been told that it only increases as the weather gets nicer. It's hard to not be affected by the palpable anticipation and excitement that floats through the air.

On Friday night I was really excited to see Soulwax performing at the Opera House. We got there early and were looking forward to a night of dancing and fun. I didn't really like the music playing when we got there but I was sure that it would get better as the night went didn't. By 1:30am, Soulwax had still not hit the stage even though all of their instruments were set up and looked ready to go. We sensed that something was amiss. A few moments later, a tall, thin girl started gyrating on the stage, very much like a stripper, and was working hard to rev up the crowd. She then walked to the microphone and announced that there was an emergency and unfortunately Soulwax wouldn't be able to perform but that we should all have fun anyways. We waited another ten minutes and then decided to call it a night. How disappointing! $20 to hear mediocre DJs playing less than mediocre music. I don't know exactly what happened or why Soulwax wasn't able to perform but I HATE when headliners cancel at the last minute like that with no real explanation or apology.

Despite that small setback, the weekend was lovely and I was really glad to have been able to come home from my course. It's grey and rainy out here today so I don't feel so bad being holed up in the middle of nowhere.

I hope the sun is shining wherever in the world you happen to be...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde

Does this look like the face of a vicious, aggressive cat to you?

No? Well, you should see her behaviour this week then. Our lovely, cat-loving friend, Laura, came to visit us from Vancouver and Reese is very unhappy about it. This behaviour started when I still lived in Edmonton but has become progressively worse lately and is very distressing and concerning.

How scary can a cat be, you ask? Very scary. More than one person has phoned in tears, locked in a room, afraid to come out because of her. At first I thought that these people were over-reacting but then I saw it first-hand and was horrified. She hisses, growls, and threatens people. In addition, and far more concerning is the fact that she stalks strangers and attacks when unprovoked. She gets so upset that even I am not safe when she gets herself that worked up.

I called a couple veterinarians today to get some advice and both advised that this is very serious and needs to be dealt with as soon as possible or it will escalate. Apparently, every time people cower at her aggressiveness it is providing positive reinforcement and lessens the likelihood of being able to break the behaviour. The veterinarian is going to refer her to a cat behavioural therapist (yes, my cat requires a kitty psychologist) where they will evaluate whether this is something fixable or not. She outlined quite clearly, however, that some animals have untreatable problems with aggression and need to be put down.

I know that some of you reading this are probably thinking "it's just a cat" and wonder why I would invest time or money into an aggressive animal. Without wanting to sound like a 'crazy cat lady', all I can say is that I am devastated at the idea of possibly having to part ways with Reese. She is part of my family. She is my loyal companion and makes me happy in ways that are tough to express. I brought her home from the SPCA during an incredibly dark and dreary time in my life and she was a loving, always-there-for-me friend to come home to each day. In her kittenhood, she was playful and happy, mischievous and smart, and irresistibly cuddly.

On a day-to-day basis she is a beautiful creature and I love sharing my home with her. She makes us all laugh with her antics. It is only when strangers come over (and only certain strangers) that she transforms into her vicious alter-ego. We love Reese but we also love having friends over to our home and would ideally not have these things be mutually exclusive.

I called Eli in tears today and he reassured me that we'd try the behaviour modification before we made any decisions about Reese's future. Always the optimist, he told me that although there are *some* cats that it doesn't work for, there are also *some* cats that it does. As silly as it sounds to type this, we will take our cat to therapy and hope that we can address her issues. In the meantime, we're going to keep her separated from strangers - it's all we can do.

Meow for now.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Love Nest

Last time I updated we had just lost out on bidding for a condo and I was mildly disappointed. I knew that eventually we'd find something just as nice but didn't expect that it would happen right away. It did! We saw a condo (on Craigslist of all places) in the morning and made an appointment to go view it that evening and upon setting foot in it, knew immediately that it was the place for us. It was much, much larger than any of the other condos we looked at and had more character. The building itself was built in 1908 and was converted to condos around 2003 which gave it the best of both worlds - old retro charm with all of the newer conveniences we wanted.

The building from the outside:

The kitchen that we plan to paint when we move in:

The breakfast bar/dining room area:

A bay window in the living room!

So many windows!

We put in an offer that evening and were thrilled when it was accepted. We take possession on June 29th and are both incredibly excited! The condo is on the tip of the gay village which means that we are steps from shops, restaurants, clubs, and anything else we could possibly want. It is skateboard/biking distance to Eli's work and provides for a much more direct route to work for me. I think I'll even get to leave my car at home and commute by subway/train. There are parks in close vicinity and the lake is a short bike ride away. It feels like the perfect place for us.

I feel so grateful these days to have so much going 'right' in my life.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


...we didn't get the condo. 4 offers came in and ours wasn't the one they chose. The hunt continues!

If anyone knows the location of a totally awesome condo that no one else in Toronto knows about, let me know!

Home Sweet Home

Ever since we arrived in Toronto, Eli and I have toyed with the idea of buying a condo. A number of months ago we did, in fact, purchase a property but after giving it serious thought during the ten day "cooling off period", we decided to not go through with it. The property was nice but construction hadn't started yet and wouldn't be completed until 2009 (at the earliest) and we both realized that we had no idea where our lives would be in 2009 so committing to a future property just didn't sit right with us. In addition, we realized that moving into an area under development would mean construction around us for the next 8-10 years and neither of us was excited about that.

After calling off that deal we both agreed to take a break from looking and decided that we would just rent until we had a better idea of what exactly we wanted.

The current place that we rent is big and lovely and we both like living with our roommate, Caitlin, but neither of us likes how far we are away from our workplaces. In the last month or so, the commute has really started to wear on me and I fantasize more often than is probably healthy about how nice a week would be without 10+ hours of sitting in my car. We started looking at places to rent but I quickly realized that we could pay virtually the same amount and own a place so the real estate hunt began again.

The ideal place of our dreams was:
- a house (hahahaha - to think we could afford such a thing in Toronto!)
- with a yard (for the puppy that we dream about having one day!)
- close to both of our workplaces (we work about 50km away from each other so not sure how this would even be possible!)
- close to shops/grocery stores/banks
- funky and unique (i.e. not a cookie-cutter drone home)
- NOT in the suburbs

Place of our dreams, yes, but there is nothing in reality that meets all of those criteria in this city. We then lowered our expectations...a LOT. We wanted something unique and cozy. A love nest built for two (and a cat). We were willing to compromise on size but weren't willing to compromise on location or price. We looked at lots of funky lofts and warehouse conversions but every time we saw one we liked we were told that the property was sold before we even had a chance to put in an offer. This is one of the universal truths to living in a big city: anything remotely good attracts LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of people.

Then, last week, I met with our realtor and saw a cute one-bedroom place that I fell in love with at first sight. It was small but well-designed and used the space very efficiently. It had luxurious finishes that reminded me of a boutique hotel and I could easily imagine us living there. It was one streetcar ride for Eli to get to his work and was very close to the train station so that I could get to my workplace without driving. I came home and excitedly called Eli who was in Edmonton and swooned about the place. We learned that offers would be accepted on Tuesday (today!) which was perfect because Eli would be back in Toronto and could come take a look at it. Last night we went to see the place and he, too, fell in love with it. After a long conversation our minds were made up -- we decided to try to make it ours.

A few moments ago our offer was faxed in and now the waiting game begins! We know that there are at least two other offers going in on the property tonight so we definitely aren't guaranteed to get it but we're hoping! I am anticipating my stomach flip-flopping all night until our realtor calls to let us know.

Will we have a new home?!?!

Stay tuned...update to come!