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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Can't Escape the Mullet

First, a quick note to my Canadian friends.  Thank you all for trying to soothe me with references to Ringolos.  Ringolos are BBQ in flavour, and although they are quite scrumptious, they compare not to the mighty Hula Hoop.  Now, Hula Hoops do come in various flavours like BBQ Beef, Cheese and Onion and Salt and Vingear but it is the Original flavoured pack in its beautiful red coat that makes me so happy. It's a Ringolo dressed down, beautiful and suicidal when near me... 

Covered a lot of ground on Tuesday!  I took the train from Basingstoke into London and met my cousin Shireen there.  We hopped on the tube and went to Baker Street for some sushi at Nambu-Tei with my other cousin Faizal.  (I have 16 cousins on my Mom's side and 14 on my Dad's side.  This doesn't include their spouses and kids. So if you think I write about my cousins a lot, you are correct!)  While perusing the sushi menu, I saw this! I can't seem to escape mullets in London...
We ordered some Futo Maki which apparently was created for the giants that live amongst Londoners.  The table sort of went silent when these came out of the kitchen.

(Picture is 100% to scale!)

After a yummy lunch, it started raining and it hasn't stopped yet.  Despite the water falling from the sky, I hopped on a double decker bus and managed to get some shopping done in Oxford Circus. I also had a most delicious lemonade with ANOTHER cousin - the lovely Jamila and finally had a leisurely dinner with Shireen before taking a bus, the tube and a train back to Croydon where her mom picked us up and drove us home. My feet were so happy to be indoors and dry!

Jamila asked me how my trip was going to which I replied, "Everyday with Aneez and Vanessa is like living in a big hug!"  And so goes my vacation...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Heart Hula Hoops!

Words cannot accurately describe how my heart goes all a flutter when I see a bag of Hula Hoops.  They are made from my love - the potato.  They are molded into the most perfect shape - a circle.  Why they don't exist in Canada, I will never ever understand...

I had my first bag Sunday on the way to Croydon.  Aneez and I settled into the PieShaker on our way to meet our cousins Shireen and Rehaana for lunch.  We happily discovered that there was a game on the back of each tasty bag.  Considering our foray into the world of Jenga Extreme from the night before, it was fun to see this:

I sense a rematch on the horizon.

We met up with our cousins and headed to the town centre.  As we walked over to MISO Noodle House for lunch, we passed a British Heart Foundation Charity Shop.  I love treasure hunting at various British charity shops and came away with two great finds.  First, was this book entitled, "The Ants Are My Friends: Misheard Lyrics, Malapropisms, Eggcorns and Other Linguistic Gaffes." 

Oddly enough, I had just been telling Vanessa that I thought that TLC's "Chasing Waterfalls" was about a boy named "Jason Waterfall."  There is no mention of Jason Waterfall in my charity shop book but I know what I heard...

I also found this amazing travel pouch for jewellery.  I had packed in a bit of a rush and relegated my accessories to this Ziploc below:  

Post purchase - VOILA!

Sunday night, Vanessa kindly offered me her ticket to Dave Goreman's  "Sit Down, Pedal, Pedal, Stop and Stand Up (Only Without the Pedal, Pedal Bit) Tour" at The Anvil Theatre in Basingstoke.    It was one of the funniest, most intelligent and brilliant comedy shows I have ever seen.  Thanks Vanessa!  And as a bonus to the night, Aneez and I discovered what Billy Ocean has been up to.
Looking good Billy!

On Monday, I spent the day with me!  I slept in, went into the town centre, engaged in some retail therapy and went for a walk with my iPod.  When I was in the town centre, my phone ran out of juice.  I kept asking strangers for the time.  Everyone I asked seemed overly happy to be able to provide me with the time.  The people of Basingstoke are a kind bunch.  Just as I was heading out of the town centre, I looked up and saw the clock tower that had been there the whole time!  
Monday ended with a lovely Green Curry Chicken dinner prepared by yours truly.  There was enough curry for the three of us and enough rice for a baseball team.  I'm not sure what happened there but it was delicious!

I wonder if rice would make a good side dish for Hula Hoops?

Monday, March 29, 2010

P315 HKR

Arrived in England safe and sound very early Saturday morning after a very comfortable and friendly night flight.   I had the whole row to myself and although the arms rests didn't go up between seats, I enjoyed the privacy.  I passed the time on the flight by watching the 2009 version of Fame and listening to a radio channel that was all Queen.  I'm pretty sure that I will never get sick of their music. 

Aneez met me at the airport and on the drive to Basingstoke, we saw this guy on the motorway...

A funny thing happens to me in England (other than the fact that I seem to think in an English accent.) Whenever I'm in the car, I have this habit of looking for words and hidden meanings in license plates.  Pictured below, the PieShaker, Aneez and Vanessa's car.

Aneez, Vanessa and I spent the day in Guildford's town centre.  Vanessa treated me to my first Fanta Orange.  (I'm still trying to polish it off.)  I also bought a book on shadow puppets and a cute purse pack of mini-markers - perfect for snail mail on the go.  We made a quick pitstop at ASDA on our way home when Aneez made his first cheesy joke...he loves to play on words and is the King of Puns.  He saw the two cars below and said to me,

"Look at those two nerdy cars, USB and PDF."    
GROAN!!   Kudos to my sister-in-law Vanessa who has been putting up with these jokes for 13 years!

Saturday night, we took the train into London to celebrate Laura's birthday.  At Waterloo station, I saw this modern version of a mullet.  Besides, losing my family, my biggest fear is going to the hairdresser and leaving with a mullet...does this qualify as a mullet?

After a riveting game of Jenga Extreme (Aneez won and he would want me to note that) and drinks with a mostly Australian crowd (such a friendly people) we headed home.  A perfect first day of vacation!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour Tonight!

Hope you can partake...

Friday, March 26, 2010

exit row (a haiku)

bon voyage to me!
my feets stretched out, window-side
in the exit row.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

suitcase in waiting (a haiku)

impedes efforts to pack a
mere 20 kgs

Monday, March 22, 2010

Recommending - Fit 4 Life NYC

I am excited to announce that my friend Emil launched his new website and blog today!

Emil is the Founder of Fit 4 Life NYC and the creator Fit 4 Life Kids. He offers an array of results-based programs perfectly tailored to fit the lifestyle of the busy, everyday person.  I've worked with Emil on some of my personal goals and have hired him to faciliate some workshops in my professional life as well.  Emil cares about setting you up for success and will work with you to help you whatever the task at hand, whatever the goal may be.

But, don't take my word for it.  If you are in the Toronto or New York City area and are looking to add someone to your entourage who can help you achieve your health and fitness goals, make some time to meet Emil in person. Contact him at

If you aren't that close by, you can always follow his blog and get great advice on living a healthy lifestyle. 

Wishing you all the best Emil and thankful today for your support and guidance in all areas of my life!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Navroz Mubarak

Happy New Year and Navroz Mubarak 
to those who are celebrating today.
What is Navroz?  Read about it here.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

afternoon nap (a haiku)

hail!  the button snooze!
gifts I give myself, seven
minutes at a time.

(Inspired by the haiku of Elissa at Cerebral Excrement.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My mailbox runneth over...

Have you ever missed someone's face?

Not their voice or their company. Not their embrace nor their words of comfort. Quite simply their face and the happiness it brings you?  Lately, I've been feeling that way about a few people.  I haven't seen my Tez in awhile.  This is nothing new seeing as she lives as far away as she possibly can from Auckland, New Zealand.  Tez actually lives in the future.  She's TGIFing already and I am wrapping up Thursday.

I haven't seen Sheba in what feels like forever.  She is a part of my daily life on the phone, email and BBM.  It hasn't been enough, I miss her face.

Today was a beautiful, sunny, green day in Toronto.  As I was soaking it up and giving thanks for the heat from the sun, there was this cloudy little part of me that was missing some beautiful faces.

I arrived at home today and a concierge called out to me, "Hey luckiest girl in the world!"  He told me I had two packages at the front desk and a jammed packed mailbox.  He went on to say that all he got in the mail was a notice from Revenue Canada notifying him that he owes taxes this year.

Here's what reached out to me today...
 (Today's mail.  I had to sift through the normal Thursday junk mail to get to these.)

First, I opened a bright yellow envelope. It was covered in Easter themed stickers and inside there was a hilarious Easter card from Zaheera - my Ismaili Muslim friend.  Neither of us celebrates Easter but for the love of snail mail - she sent me a card anyway.  Loved it!   (To all of you who will be recognizing Easter, I hope that it is a day of reflection and love.)  Thank you for the laugh Z!

Next up, was a beautifully written letter and some colourful postcards from Bianca.  The envelope was a re-purposed page from an astrology book.  There was a retro looking astronaut on the front and a great zodiac print on the back. So excited to write back to her!

These red envelopes always put a smile on my face. Here we have my latest movie!  I just finished reading Lori's bookclub pick for April, James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia.  I decided I'd watch the movie as well and it arrived today!

A perfect postcard to welcome spring this weekend.  Thanks Megan!  With daylight savings and springing forward, its dark outside when I wake up and go to work.  I'm putting this postcard on my bedside table.  When I wake up, I can be reminded of the sunshine that is awaiting me later in the day.

Someone dropped these books off for me at my concierge's desk.  They didn't leave a note or their name.  I have no idea who you are but THANK YOU!  (Anyone read either of these books?)

And then I received Meghan's Stationery Swap package.  Let me start by saying that she didn't even have to send me anything.  Getting her as a partner in the swap has been more than enough for me.  Here is what I know about Meghan:
  • She's hilarious!  
  • She loves her family and friends and finds genuine joy in their triumphs.  
  • Meghan has one of the most important jobs on earth - high school teacher - in Chicago.  
  • She is crafty and creative and I'm pretty sure that she must dream in colour.

The first thing I found in the package was a set of Hallmark Inspirational Messages.  The first card in the deck read,  "The world is conspiring in your favour."

I burst into happy tears when I read that.  Everything I had been feeling today washed away and I felt so very taken care of.

If that wasn't enough, the next thing I found were these Confetti Garden Sticky Notes. I am going to have so much fun with these!

Another cool set of sticky notes, smiley face stickers, vintage style "telegrams" and great postcards showcasing Chicago.

Thank you cards!  These are going to come in handy very soon!

A super cool set of magnets, a travel diary and four awesome gel pens.  How timely!  I start my vacation and travels in just 8 days! This diary is coming with me!

Perfect double sided paper for letter writing.   

Thank you everyone for the swell of today's mailbox!

Meghan - Your package arrived at the perfect time and I can't wait to share all these goodies! I'm so overwhelmed by your generosity and kindness.  With gratitude...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Snail Mail Tale - Outgoing

Had to get some things mailed out this week and decided to try my hand at making envelopes.   Sheba had shown me how she took a Rainbow Brite picture book and made beautiful bright envelopes.  The two of us went to our local Dollarama where I found a Strawberry Shortcake book.  I actually have some of the original scented dolls from the 80s.  My Farida Aunty used to buy them for me one at a time.

Here's what I was able to do with my book.

I dropped the letters off at the post office by work.  The two ladies working there told me how the Peculiar Purple Pie Man used to scare them when they were kids.  I have his doll.  He's still kinda creepy...

I had to send something baseball related to Riaz so I printed the sheet music to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and created an envelope out of that.

Also found a Care Bears Easter book and was able to create these envelopes for my cousins Fatima and Farah.

Happy snail mailing!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Post Olympic Passion!

On the eve of the 2010 Paralympic Games in Vancouver, Canadians are still celebrating the many golden moments that made for an exciting 2010 Winter Olympics.

My nephew Kahzmir, who turns 4 this weekend, is feeling it too.  Thanks to the athletes who brought Canada 14 gold medals, Kahzmir seems to have learned our national anthem all by himself. 

My brother Karim says that neither he nor my sister-in-law Minaz have taught him any of it.   Check it out! 
(My favorite moment is the crescendo at 0:24)

Thanks to Karim for sharing this terrific video!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


This picture was taken while my nephew Kahzmir yelled with excitement, "Fui, there's a rainbow on your face!  A rainbow on your face!"

Sweetest. Moment. Of. Today.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Snail Mail Tale - Kristin

Kristin and I used to work together at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.  She is special to me in so many ways.  Kristin is one of the kindest, funniest, most intelligent and most organized people I know.  She is a great friend, a wonderful listener and she indulges my undercover Josh Groban fandom. One of her greatest talents beyond being a loyal friend, a loving mom, a kind wife (right Calbean?), only sister and favorite daughter is her penmanship.  I am fascinated by people's handwriting.  When writing, Kristin can switch between several of her very own fonts.  It's quite fascinating!  At work, I would recruit Kristin for these skills whether it be to create posters for volunteer parties, personalized holiday stockings or ornaments for the rest of our co-workers.  Today, this was waiting for me in my mailbox:
Inside, along with a beautiful picture of her family, were Kristin's custom made Postcrossing cards.  I've converted another person!  How fun would it be to get one of these in the mail?

I've been to four of these places so far. Thank you Nibs for making me and my mailbox happy today!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Time After Tea Stationery Swap

SPOILER ALERT - If this is you Meghan, PLEASE step away from the computer!  This post is all about your soon to be arriving Stationery Swap package.  I don't want to ruin the surprise... 
Are you gone yet?  :)

Megan, at Time After Tea, offered her readers a chance to participate in a stationery swap.  Megan has a beautiful, positive energy.  I enjoy how her heart pours out of her blog so I decided to participate. Lucky me, my swap partner is Meghan in Chicago.  Before deciding what to send her, I took a look at her blog The Perfect Compilation Tape.

The first post that I read was called 5 Reasons Why I Might Be Off My Rocker.  I was laughing out loud before she even got to her first reason.  Meghan is hilarious and I am looking forward to her future posts.  For the hearty laugh she gave me, I was thankful to be able to put together her envie for the swap.

These are the goodies that are making their way across the border:
Pics from left to right.
1. Notebook, magnets, mini gel pens, googly eyes and a cute pouch (perfect for storing stamps.)
2. Postcards!
3. Foam, scrapbook paper, notebooks, Origami paper, stickers, a bookmark and a DIY card kit.

 More pics from left to right:
4. Stickers, stickers and stickers!
5. Cards for many occasions.
6. Stationary and Wonder Woman Fold and Stick envelopes!

And now I am turning this envelope, my version of a hug and high five for Meghan, over to the postman.
Thanks for putting together a wonderful swap Megan!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Snail Mail Tale - Patty and Melanie

I got some wonderful surprises in the mail!  First was a lovely letter and cheerful envelope from my blogging neighbour and new pen pal Patty at Just Letter Rip.

Patty is a snail mail enthusiast like me and she carefully crafted this gorgeous envelope from the cover of the USA Philatelic catalog.  She blogs about her snail mail adventures and is constantly sharing her creativity.  One of her goals this year is to write 365 letters.  I was the lucky recipient of letter #54!  I so appreciate her crafty effort and her letter.  I can't wait to write back to her.  Patty is American and in her letter she asked me about the Olympics and even wrote "Go Canada!"  I thought about her during the 2010 Men's Gold Medal Hockey game on Sunday.

I also got this postcard in the mail from my workmate and blogosphere neighbour Melanie.

Melanie read about my Postcrossing adventures and signed herself up.  She created this postcard to send out all over the world.  I love the message on the front.  I feel so empowered when I think about what it means to me.  She's about 50 steps away from me at work and took the time and energy to mail me a postcard with the kindest words written on the back.

Thank you Patty.  Thank you Melanie.