Monday, June 28, 2010

The war zone that isn't

Chaos managed to descend after all on Toronto's hosting of the G20. Cop cars burned, windows smashed, tons of arrests, peaceful protesters detained for no reason except mass confusion. Good times. I was out of town at the time at my sister's place.

The news images were shocking. The black bloc people smashing windows and torching police cars. And there was damage - the Starbucks where I had a particularly delicious non-fat no-whip tall two-pump mocha had all the windows smashed. I saw that on the news. What was the worst part was that in a heart-stopping moment I realized that my beloved Fluevogs, shoe store which has sucked up more than one of my pay cheques, was RIGHT NEXT DOOR. However, it was left untouched. The anarchists were only targetting multinationals. Whew.

Anyhow, by the time I walked home on Monday, Starbucks was open for business, windows were replaced, and the street was spotless. There were a few windows boarded up, but it looked like any major street in a city. I also read the stat that 3 cop cars were torched at the G20 protest, but 16 cop cars were torched after the last win from the Montreal Canadiens. That made me take a new view of how news is presented. Honestly, from my sister's place the news made it seem like babies were being sacrificed.

Meanwhile our idiotic prime minister spent 1 billion dollars on the week-end for hosting and security. The man is such an ass. I hope that Canadians wake up and vote him out.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's a buffet!

The city has been largely deserted all week. It's G8/G20 protest time and we are in lockdown. My organization, in complete paranoia, allowed us all to work from home this week. Personally I hate working from home so apart from Thursday when I did work from home, I went into the office I normally work from on Tuesdays only. Its a bit more removed from security and protest sites so there was no problem there. I think the organization acted prudently, but it makes me laugh how paranoid Canadians are (because some people were genuinely frightened about coming into the office, as opposed to some who have decent office set-ups at home and were glad for the excuse to avoid the commute). One of the other people who was in the office was originally from Colombia. Meanwhile, my parents lived through WWII as children. Not that either of us want to see that level of violence in Canada, but good god, people were terrified of protests before they even started.

Don't get me wrong - there is a reason to avoid G8/G20 protests. Usually about 1% show up just to cause mayhem and even if you are peacefully protesting you can get caught up in a lot of violence. The protests are starting to get more intense - we'll see how it all unfolds. Earlier in the week the protests were cute and quintessentially Canadian. One of the head activists, a guy from a town outside of Toronto, lead the first protest of the week. You can tell from interviews with him that this is his moment in the sun. He wants to be seen as King Activist. Anyhow, he lead a group and wanted to occupy a building downtown. As the group was turned back by police, they then occupied a gas station briefly. Kudos to the protesters - they did not steal anything and were calm - but really, taking over a gas station convenience store? They weren't intimidating ESSO, they were no doubt harassing whatever immigrant/woman/marginalized person was staffing the cash. But again, I have to love the fact that it was a small march that was peaceful.

Back to the title of the post... a lot of people are upset about the intense security leading up to the G8/G20, but sweet Mary, mother of Christ, I'm in heaven. My walk home from work brought me near the security zone and there were so many motorcycle and bicycle cops. The hot ones have been imported for extra security. I also have a complete weakness for cops in riot gear. I don't like the larger picture of peaceful protesters being hurt, but as a pure fantasy, the big boots and guns just do it for me (I also have a special perv-on for photos of women with guns).

Then I get to watch hot fit men running around for FIFA. Sweaty, hot men. Oh, and can we even mention the amount of rain that some of the games have had? Yum.

And finally, I'm still a newlywed so coming home to my guy makes me thrilled too. So all in all, I'm enjoying a visual feast this week.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Coffee, step aside

There's a new addiction now. FIFA! FIFA! FIFA!

I'm watching Portugal right now play North Korea and it's pouring. Poor players - I mean, everything is soaked. I am kind of cheering for North Korea as they are the completely hidden team, but I also adore Portugal and they just scored, so yay Portugal! Toronto's streets will be going wild. Its not raining here.

This has been such a tournament of surprises. Apart from Brazil and Argentina which remain as powerhouses, so many top ranked teams have had surprising losses or nothing more than draws with teams that weren't expected to do much. England may not advance, Italy can't seem to score, the Spanish team lost to Switzerland - all making for an extremely exciting football tournament (Yes, football - not talking about north amercan football here).

And on the topic of drama, the French team is off the rails. One of the top strikers sent home for refusing to apologize after telling he coach, "Va te faire enculer sale fils de pute". Then the rest of the team refusing to leave the team bus for a training session as a protest. This is crazy. Not only is France not playing well, but this whole extra dimension is making for opera-level excitement.

USA is playing surprisingly well, but I can't stand their uniforms (as pictured above). I think it's meant to be historical or something but they look like Miss America contestants. I would get behind the look if they came out for one game in Speedos and the next in evening gowns, but as it is, the look is laughable. Perhaps they will at least ask for world peace during half time.

Anyhow, due to the G8/G20 chaos I'll be working from home Thursday/Friday so I'll have my laptop in front of me and the tv on in the background. Bliss! Alas, now I am off to the office where my FIFA viewing is limited to once in a while Internet updates.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Controlling my addiction

As much as I love coffee, I no longer keep any in the house. I only buy some for when I'm having people over. The reason is that I'm a complete addict and drink too much when I have it around.

I now control my addiction like someone on methadone maintenance therapy: each morning when walking the dog, I go to the local Starbucks and get my doppio espresso. There is no temptation to 'have another cup' once I come home, which is what used to happen when I made a delicious french press full of coffee.

So far it's working. The rest of the day I tend to drink tea which gives me less jitters. In methadone maintenance therapy if you don't miss days and are keeping off whatever addiction you had you are allowed 'carries' - meaning you get a dose or two to take home. I don't think I'm at the point where I can be trusted with carries yet. I'll still rely on going to the 'bucks each day for my controlled fix.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Life going on

How did I end up married to a milk drinker? We are going through 4 litres of milk a week. Yeesh! Still, I almost never see him drinking the stuff so life is good and we are still in a honeymoon phase.

Apart from that the city is going mental preparing for the G8/G20. Right now they are removing all the saplings from the security zone. Police are worried that protesters will use those poor little trees as weapons. I'm okay if it's some sort of 'save our trees' effort - as long as they are just housing the saplings for the duration of the summit and bring them back. I hope they don't just kill the little guys. Poor little trees. Victims of globalization.

Other summit news involves news stories freaking out about the fact that they are building a $57,000 fake lake in the news building. However, I think it's fabulous! I mean, the reporters in Toronto won't be able to run around and visit the beautiful lakes of northern Ontario, so why not a fake setting? It's called event planning and I think it's marvellous. No really - I do. Besides, I don't care if 57,000 is going towards a reporter pavillion. I do resent the insanely massive cost of security at the summit, but one fake lake? Bring it on! I hope the reporters can at least wade in it.

But of course the bean counters that make up much of the population are complaining that it's not a real lake. Please. As if the reporters are going to be able to work dockside in a secure zone at a lake in cottage country. Also, what the hell else would we do with $57,000? Yes, it's a huge amount for most of us, but really, for hosting an international press corps, the cost of the lake is not a big deal. And I'm sure it will be spectacular. It's not even like $57,000 would keep the local food bank running for that long.

And now, I must return to ironing my husband's clothes like the good little wife I am. And finishing the nice bottle of wine from his collection.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Love conquers all (eventually!)

Although my parents never once were verbally hostile to my sister nor threatened to disown her when she announced her transition, I would be lying if I said that none of us had our own issues to deal with. When a close family member radically changes their identity (or at least what we thought their identity was), it causes everyone to rethink their own identity.

In my case, I was fine with my sister's transition, but I did have a moment of identity crisis realizing that in my family, although I was still the youngest, I was no longer the only daughter. In fact the first thing I said to my sister when she told me about her true self (as at that time I was still looking at the person I had known as one of my brothers), after a sincere "that's great!" was, "I still get the jewellery!!!"

I'm over that now. At my wedding I specifically gave my sister the ring I had inherited from an aunt, and I kept the matching bracelet. My aunt had never realized that she had two nieces, so I figured that it was only right for my sister to also have a tangible memory of our aunt.

Enough about me though. This is to say how proud I am of my parents tonight. My mother believes that there is likely a genetic part to both sexual orientation and gender identity. She said that if people are judging her child, then she would just let them know that they were judging her because her child was a product of both her and my father's genetics. Anyhow, it wasn't said like, "Oh well, your sister can't *help* it, she was born like that" - it was more a celebration.

It's important to me having just gone through a wedding as it's nice to know that there is love in all forms. My parents also noted how touched they were to hear my father-in-law introduce his daughter and her wife to everyone when we were announcing guests from far away. Not that my in-laws ever had a problem with their daughter and her partner - everyone was at that wedding last year - but it's so nice that the public recognition wasn't an issue at all.

TM and I often laugh realizing that if either of our paternal grandfathers were still alive, they would not even have approved of our marriage. My Italian grandfather would have been horrified by the fact that TM has Chinese heritage, and equally, his grandfather would have been equally horrified that his beloved grandson was marrying a caucasian.

Here's to all the love in the world!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Meme from IDV

1. What's your earliest memory?

I don't really remember anything before school. Vague memories of eating a cheese sandwich in my friend's treehouse. There were three of us and she had a peanut butter sandwich and our friend Alistair had a banana sandwich. We all were showing what each looked like chewed up.

2. What was the last thing you ate?
Sweet potato biscuits, fried plantain, and blackened catfish. Damn good meal. I will be back at that restaurant.

3. Would you support a comeback by Steps?
Perhaps if I knew who they were...

4. What is your dream car?
A Smart car sitting in a used lot nearby. Ah, if only I could justify us having a third car...

5. How tall are you?
5'9". Okay, not really, but if I were my weight would be in a healthier range.

6. Margaret Thatcher vs Queen Elizabeth II: Who would win and why/how?
QEII of course. All those people singing to send her victorious - well, surely some higher power is listening?

7. Mama Cass died choking on a sandwich. What sandwich filling would you happily choke on?
Cheddar Cheese and Branston pickle.

8. Has a pick-up line ever worked for you? If so, what was it? If not, what was the worst reaction?
It didn't start out as a pick-up line, but on an exchange to Quebec we had to take a French test upon arrival, and then six weeks later when leaving. Both times I scored 69 despite my French having improved considerably. Anyhow, I was saying to a group, "69! I can't believe I got 69 again". Then I noticed the incredibly sexy local guy nearby and added, "Mais j'aime le 69". We ended up making out as my train arrived.

One pick-up line that didn't work on me, and I remember it even 20 years later was some guy who made me guess how much he made. When I had no interest in his income he said, "Jesus Christ I hate chicks like you. You don't know how well I'm doing." I looked at him and stated, "I said I'm happy for you. If you think I'm going to suck your cock because of it. You're wrong." I think then he realized what an ass he sounded like.

9. You find yourself inexplicably cloned, barely wearing something sexy, and gagging for it. You would, wouldn't you?! Just out of curiosity, or maybe for some other reason?
You added to this didn't you? I knew what you were getting at the first time and yes, of course I would. Mind you, I'm often such a lazy lay that it might end up being a cuddle session. Still, I do have spectacular breasts. I would like to nuzzle them at least.

10. How did you find this blog? Go on, indulge me!
This is making me want to cry as I think I found you via UK bloggers who don't blog anymore: Imogen, Tickers, Clare and her love of cake... but probably originally via Glittering Lee (who still blogs) and him via Mainja who I now know in real life, and who lives in Toronto - but who doesn't blog anymore either!!!!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Living with a doggy

As everyone predicted, my little zoo is happy now. The cats and the dog all have figured out how to share space. I would say that over-all I am still a cat person, but I do completely adore our dog, and I see how people get so addicted to the instant feedback and enthusiasm that dogs give.

I am the morning dog walker as TM is not a morning person. Each morning the dog and I do a circle route: we leave the condo, go around the corner to Starbucks where I tie her outside and go in and get a double espresso, and then we continue on to the nearby parkette where she has her morning poop and pee.

This morning however, I was not fully awake, and neither was the dog. I was chatting on my cell phone with a friend (before 7am, but she has a toddler so I knew she'd be up) and as I was telling her that I had to go and walk the dog, I realized that I had my espresso cup in hand, the leash, was opening the door to outside - but there was no dog. That would have been an interesting walk. It's odd because I really wasn't cognizant of the fact that Zoe was missing. I knew that something was wrong, but it was only as I was stepping out the door that I realized that I was carrying an empty leash. I do love our morning walks together though. It's a nice way to start the day, although I did also enjoy my routine with the cats which was to let them outside first thing in the morning to have a morning run.

I think that over-all though there aren't many differences between having cats or dogs. They both need a ton of love and attention. Also, for everyone who thinks cats are moody - try living with Zoe. She is a constant source of love, but if she thinks that she has suffered on the attention scale (ie I spend too much time cuddling the cats), she pees on our bed. There's no point in getting mad at her as we never catch her in the act. It's more that at night we'll be getting into bed and realize that the sheets are damp. It doesn't happen often so we tend to laugh about our moody little dog. That and as I type this I am getting every toy thrown at me. Bear is her favourite - she stands there squeaking Bear until I pay attention to her. Honestly, between Zoe and the Fur Snake, I'm not sure who the bigger attention suck is.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Slowly returning to normal

Last night I was so tired that I fell asleep in my work clothes. Woke up that way as well. The deep sleep helped though - I feel back to myself today.

As I noted, the wedding went well. Very well. It was the perfect size and style for us, but that doesn't mean it was not without its problems. I think this is why I avoided blogging for the past month or so. I didn't want to write endlessly about the wedding, and I didn't want to complain especially when at the end of the day, the man (TM) and I had nothing but love and support from everyone. That doesn't mean that people (including me) didn't from time to time descend into insanity during the planning process, but over-all, the people were great.

However, the following gave me great lessons in meditation and stress control...

Event #1: three weeks before the wedding (when TM and I were already behind on what we needed to get done) our toilet broke and flooded our condo. Luckily TM was home so he shut the water off right away thus saving all of our possessions. However, even in the short time that the water was spurting out of the broken pipe, it managed to destroy our upstairs floor, seep through the downstairs bathroom ceiling, and spread its joy under our downstairs flooring. We had thought that we had caught it in time, but when the insurance adjuster arrived that night, he told us that we had to leave for four days while people came in, packed our stuff, ripped up all the floorboards, and installed huge dryers. When I burst into tears, the guy said that they could wait until morning.

So, I was off to my parents' place with the cats, TM went off to his parents' place with the dog, and we spent the next four days apart and with no way to really continue with wedding progress. In the grand scheme of things the flood was not a big deal. The insurance people did a great job and were able to rip up everything while leaving most of our stuff intact. TM and I both had places to stay at. We had enough spare cash to tide us over for meals, etc. when suddenly having to uproot - we saved receipts and will claim them later, but at least we didn't have to worry about getting cash upfront. Also, a flood is never great timing. Yes, it was at a time when we had to kick into high gear for the wedding, but at least it wasn't mid-winter!

Event #2: That moronic volcano in Iceland. My aunt and cousin were flying from Scotland and their original flight was cancelled. TM's sister and her wife were also flying over from Europe and their flights were in question as well. It all worked out, but it wasn't until the last few days that we knew our nearest and dearest would make it.

Event #3: Aunt Flo arrived during the rehearsal dinner. In a big way. Again, what can you do? In my case, grab the Diva cup and then grab another glass of wine.

Other little things happened along the way. TM had stayed up late the night before the wedding loading music onto his Ipod, but then forgot it in our hotel. But again, not worth stressing over. We didn't have a first dance and I didn't have a dance with my father, but it wasn't necessary. There was no specific dance area set up so no one noted anything was missing. As for TM and I - we were having too much fun already. In fact, he really showed his strength in helping me through all the stress of wedding planning.