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Monday, May 31, 2010

Snail Mail Tale - Conspiring with the Postal Clerk...

So much fun with the mail lately!  My last two outgoing pieces will illustrate why I love my local post office...

INCOMING - Robin
Thank you Robin for my wonderful package as part of the No Spending Swap through swap-bot.  Everything is terrific!  From the bookmark, which I'm already using, to the Wizard of Oz card, to the stickers and stationery, to the lip balm (which one can never have enough of.)  I loooooove lemonade and can't wait to sip some of this on a hot summer day.  Thank you so much!

INCOMING - Micaela
I got such a thoughtful package from Micaela.  She is such a believer in all forms of love.  It really resonates with me.  You can feel her spirit through her thoughtful gifts and words.  She sent some Willy Wonka chocolate which reminded me of my second grade teacher reading a little bit of James and the Giant Peach to our class each day.  I heart teachers.  There was also a wonderful pen/bookmark with the quote "Love is friendship set on fire." I couldn't agree more!  Micaela also sent me a cute letter written on a card from a local artisan.  I love that she stamped by name and added an Italian postage stamp (a land she loves) on her envelope as well.  The two beautifully wrapped packages contained some terrific Goat's Milk soap that is perfect for my sensitive skin and a notebook that will so so well on the go!  Gratitude always. 

OUTGOING - Ameera
A little googly-ness for my dear friend in the 905.

OUTGOING - Megan
A snail mail high five for Megan who has been working so hard at school.  I got this envelope from Felicity.  I love it and was so happy to send it to Megan.  You can get your own envelopes here.

OUTGOING - Meghan
Felt so weird without my snail mail tools but couldn't let that slow down the greetings.  I had my mini pack of markers in my purse, so I quickly decorated this envelope with a birthday card for Meghan while waiting for the bus.

OUTGOING - Margaret 
Here's my package for the Cute/Funky Sock Swap from swap-bot.  By now, I was on the bus and drawing in motion.  I think I was just outside City Hall when I scribbled this one.  I got socks in a few different sizes because I wasn't sure how our sizes would translate to the European sizes.  Margaret's profile mentioned she loved Disney so I threw in some fun stickers too.
 

OUTGOING - Jenni
Another bus ride design.  Passing on a book to Jenni at absentminded.  Jenni recently complete the American Cancer Society Relay For Life.  High five to you!

OUTGOING - Micaela
So I went to the post office near home ready to send this Texas inspired (from me, who has never been to Texas...ouch) envelope to Micaela.  I told the clerk that I didn't want the boring gray and white metered stamp.  I wanted real stamps!  He kinda laughed at me and said, "Fine, let's use as many stamps as we can."  Here are some goodies on their way to Virginia.
The before shot.
 
The after shot with 9 different stamps.
 
OUTGOING - Riesta
I sent a package to Riesta in Indonesia as part of Tillie's Simply Delightful Package Swap.   I had to send her at least three of my favorite things.   I sent one of my favorite books, my favorite snack right now, a burgundy wristlet (great for spring and summer when you don't have to worry about gloves and mittens on your hands), lip balm (I told you it was a fave) and an Akoha deck of cards.  A very basic way to explain Akoha would be to say that it a real live game of paying it forward.  Check it out.
 
Riesta's before.
 
Riesta's after.  11 stamps!
Snail mail makes me so happy! 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gluttony and the game

Here's a recap of a nearly perfect Sunday at the ballpark with Ameera.

The sun was present and golden and the roof wide open as the Jays took on the Baltimore Orioles who were  looking to avoid being swept!
Ameera and I bought tickets to the All You Can Eat section.

Branded with our wristbands.

Our view from Bautista's corner of the outfield.

Ameera and I before the gluttony.

Hot dogs waiting.  I was so tempted, but didn't give in.

The moment I decided that this box would be reincarnated as an envelope for one of my upcoming swaps.

All you can eat ballpark staples.

All the Miss Vickies you could eat.

 These were not on the All You Can Eat Menu.

These folks were at 60+ hot dogs eaten and I think this was only the 4th inning...

The bad news is that there will be no unfortunate photo today. 
I couldn't see the Jumbotron from where I was.  
The good news is that I did get to see Jackie's number instead. So inspiring!

The very kind John from The Jays Shop who refused my nickel when I asked for a plastic bag.

Ameera made it through 3 and 3/4 dogs. 
Her body started to reject this one so she stopped eating and we began to...

detox!

Gluttonous afterglow.

As soon as we stopped eating, this was the strike that gave Romero his 7th strikeout of the game and gave the entire Dome a free pizza slice tomorrow!

Seventh inning stretch!

After a complete game by Romero along with home runs from Overbay, Bautista and Gonzalez, the Jays win 6-1 and SWEEP the series!

Next game:  Jays versus the Yankees next weekend! Woot!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Loveliness - Sleep Statues

Kahzmir has been teaching us all a new game called Sleep Statues.  It's quite simple really.

Step One - Fake a yawn.  Below, Kahzmir hilariously fakes a yawn that lasts about 30-60 seconds.

Step Two - FREEZE!  Here you freeze, much like a statue, into a sleeping pose.  This is what Kahzmir thinks he looks like when he sleeps...
Didn't I say it was simple? This game makes Kahzmir laugh out loud and then louder and then louder!

Friday, May 28, 2010

"Love is an action you must repeat ceaselessly."

The Gargoyle The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson


My rating: 5 of 5 stars




If I haven't mentioned it already, I love my book club.  Three cheers to Naaz for this month's book club pick!  And another cheer for picking the perfect setting for our meeting:
No we didn't gather around this lamp post.  
We had a great dinner at The Butler's Pantry across the street.  

Hands down, this is my favorite book of 2010.  I am comfortable saying that even though we aren't even halfway to 2011.

When we first meet the narrator of The Gargoyle, he's a self obsessed abuser of many substances who survives a horrific car crash.  He is never given a name throughout the story which lends itself to the themes of self-discovery and self awareness that are prevalent throughout.  We continue on a journey with him while he gets used to life in his new body.  He goes from being a pornography star whose body was admired by many, to being someone living inside a shell of a body so horribly disfigured from the burns suffered in his car accident.  The burns should have killed him but he has survived. The narrator is socially and emotionally intelligent even though his self-awareness far outweighs his self-love most of the time.  Our narrator meets a woman who claims theirs is a romance that has spanned centuries.  She weaves into and out of his life telling him stories of their great romance and eventually influencing his entire outlook on life and love.

The Gargoyle is a story of discovering self-love, examining self-hatred, mental health and illness, letting go of vanity, believing in an unbelievable romance and trusting in the good of humanity. 

High five to the author, a fellow Canadian, Andrew Davidson.

Here are some passages from the book that spoke to me,

"Everyone's past, I try to rationalize, is nothing more than the collection of memories they choose to remember.  But in my heart, I know this is just a defense mechanism that I manufacture simply so I can go on living with myself."

"...because that is what God is - a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere."

"It's only after you get out of here that you'll finally realize that  a burn lasts forever.  It's a continual event, one that constantly reinvents itself.  You'll swoop from incredible highs when you're just glad to be alive, to those lows when you wish you were dead.  And just when you start thinking that you've accepted who you are, that changes, too.  Because who you are is not permanent."

"Love is an action you must repeat ceaselessly."


I love a book that can speak to my heart.  Thanks Marta, Naaz and Sheba for a great evening!
View all my reviews >>

The night didn't end there.  I bid adieu to the girls, and since the air had cooled down and people were still about, I decided on a 60 minute walk home accompanied by the moonlight.

I made it four blocks only to be distracted by my favorite bookstore, BMV.

Outside the store are huge bins filled with used books.  A couple by the bins was playing a game where they would ask a question to the books, close their eyes and touch a book at random.  The title of the book you touched was supposed to be your answer.  I of course eavesdropped.

The first question the woman asked was, "Books, what can you tell me about my life?"  She closed her eyes, ran her fingers across the books and picked, "How to Survive Breast Cancer."  Ouch.

I might have stopped right there but she wasn't gun shy.  Next she asked the books, "Tell me about my family."  Again, she closed her eyes and this time she selected, "The Killing Game."  She decided to stop playing the game.

I was curious so I went into the store and asked, "Books, what do you say about bookclub?"  I kid you not friends, this is the book I selected at random with my eyes closed:

I was kinda giddy after that response and the lovely vision that is Tom Selleck circa Magnum PI.  I thought long and hard about what my next question would be.  Aneez and Vanessa are expecting my next niece or nephew later this summer.  They don't know which it will be so I of course turned to the books, "Will I have a new niece or a new nephew this summer?"  I closed my eyes, touched way too many books and this is what I picked: 

I have no idea what that means other than whether I have a niece or nephew, perhaps s/he will be quite gassy?  My friend Rishma called me at that exact moment so I stopped playing the game...

I love a night like that!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Recommending - Laga Handbags

It's finally here!  I bought myself a birthday present back in April and it arrived today.   I discovered Laga Handbags for myself (along with millions of others) on an Oprah show.  Malaak Compton Rock, activist, author, mother, philanthropist, co-founder of StyleWorks and The Angel Rock Project and wife of comedian Chris Rock showcased these bags on a segment called "Companies that Give Back."

This is the Uang handmade wallet that I bought for myself in burgundy with cream thread.  It's lovely!
Laga products are all handmade by women who survived the Indonesian tsunami.  Read the story about a little piece of light that came out of this dark time in recent Indonesian history here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gratitude underground...

SUMMER IS HERE!  I have the heat rash to prove it!  Though my arms look red and angry, I am so thankful for the sun that greets me when I wake up.  I love the way it beats down upon my back all day beckoning me to come out and play and then sets slowly with an explosion of purples and oranges and blues over the Toronto skyline leaving me quenched with a Vitamin D overdose.

With the arrival of summer, I don't revert as much to going underground.  So as the days get longer and my ridership on the subway starts to dwindle, I thought I would tell you why I love my city's subway.
The streetcar that takes me to the subway at Union Station.

35 minutes.  This is time it takes me to get from the Southern most point of the subway line to the rest of my family WAY up NORTH and a little EAST of me. I love how quickly I can get to them.  The faster I get there, the more time we have to spend together.  I especially love seeing my nephew Kahzmir's face in his car seat whenever he accompanies anyone to pick me up at the subway.  He's always so happy to see me and it makes me feel like a bright star!  (Am counting down the 6 weeks that need to go by before I can see him, Karim and Minaz again.)

Grown men who play video games.  Everyone has a way to get ready for the day ahead.  I like to read a few pages on my short ride to work and others prepare by playing video games.  Whether it's a Game Boy, Nintendo DS or PSP (I wouldn't really know the difference,) I find it intriguing to watch grown men warm up to their days by playing video games with such energy and commitment.  Some of them actually sweat from the sheer force and exertion of their two massive thumbs repeatedly banging against the plastic console. Wow!
MJ's "Sore Thumbs" t-shirt design.
 
When someone is nearing the end of a book.  I am always trying to look like I am not looking at what other people are reading on their commute.  I just finished reading Heather O'Neill's Lullabies for Little Criminals. I decided to read this book after seeing four different women reading it over two days of riding the subway to and from work.  Sometimes when I am checking out what you are reading, I will notice that you only have a few pages left to go.  If I've read the book you are reading, I almost want to follow you in the hopes that you will finish your book, exhale and then look at me.  And then I imagine asking you what you think and you talking about the book with me.  Sigh.  Don't worry my fellow Metropass owners, I am not that creepy.  This is exactly why I always need to be in a book club.  Thank goodness I have kind literate friends who indulge me every month.

People doing the crossword in pen.  I see this a lot on the subway and love it!  One day I too will muster up the discipline and brain cells to tackle the crossword in pen..and when I do, I'll be sporting a glittery red gel pen, yes I will!
The Crossword 4-Function Pen from coolthings.com.
 
The ghost station.  Yup, we have a ghost station here in Toronto.  In fact, I think we might have more than one but the one called Lower Bay is what most people know about.  The station is rented out for filming and sound recording.  It has appeared in many films and is quite versatile having portrayed several American subway stations too.  It is rarely used or seen by the public but this past weekend, the subway detoured past Lower Bay.  It didn't stop there but you were able to catch a glimpse out the window.

When noise pollution is a lovely thing.  You know when someone gets on the subway car and you can hear the tinny sound of the bass from their ear buds?  The tension level on the car rises and eyes start to roll.  It doesn't actually bother me that much.  I think it's great when people rock out to whatever they like.  Last week, someone was listening to Bill Wither's Lovely Day at top volume!!  It was destiny that he walked onto MY subway car.  I listened in and was so happy for that little bit of noise pollution.
via cartoonstock.com
Giving up your seat for someone else.  As much as I love doing this for someone else, it's even more heartwarming to watch someone else do it.  The exchange of a few seconds of kindess between two strangers is a wonderful thing.

So to you my subway, I apologize for my upcoming inconsistency over the summer months.  

We'll be together again every day in the fall.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Swap-aholic

From the comments on my last post, it sounds like a lot of you are intrigued and excited by snail mail.  One of the things I love to particpate in are swaps.  It's a lot of fun to come up with creative, meaningful, colourful and fun packages for your swap partner.  Most times this is an absolute stranger.   If you are a dollarstore addict like me, there is so much you can buy, cut-up, repurpose and use for a swap that doesn't make it an expensive hobby.
So why not get in on the fun?  I thought I would quickly share with you three swaps that I am taking part in.  Please, please, please feel free to join in the fun.

1. Passion's New Friend Swap
Head on over to Passion's blog to check out the details for this swap.  Along the way, you might even make a new people and new friend.  Last day to sign up is May 26, 2010. 


2.  Cute/Funky Socks Swap. 
In this Swap-bot swap, you will send two pairs of socks to your partner.  This is an International swap so your partner could be anywhere in the world or right next door.  If you are new to Swap-bot you can join this swap without any previous ratings. Remember to sign up by May 23, 2010.  Can't wait to see what pretty things my partner sends me for my feets!

Sign up for this swap by May 31, 2010.  Tillie will send you a quick questionnaire to complete.  Your partner will get your answers and will use them to learn a little but about you and send you three of their favorite things. 


I hope you'll join in on the snail mail joy and join one of these swaps or send something fun to someone you love.  High five to Micaela for letting me know about Passion and Tillie's swaps.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Snail Mail Tale - Monday's Mailbox

I had a most enjoyable trip to the post office today.

OUTGOING - Angela
This is my swap-bot NO SPENDING SWAP #3 package to my partner Angela.  The rules of the swap were to send things you already had around the house in an envelope no smaller than 6 x 9.  You couldn't spend any money other than the postage needed to send the package to your partner.  This swap was fun.  The envelope is filled with crafting goodies, stationary, beads and sweets.


OUTGOING - Dione
Dione and I have much in common. 
a)  We share a love of jazz (she's a terrific vocalist and performer, check her out here.) 
b)  We both love Scrabble and have battled it out on Facebook.  (May the Q be with U my friends.)
c)  Dione and I both went to England this spring.  Not together.  She was on a honeymoon and I soaked up love and blessings from my family.
d) Every day for about an hour, we both escape to Genoa City to visit our scandalous friends on The Young and the Restless.  Dione even created a Facebook group so that we could dish about the show with about 100 other fans and...
e) Just this week I found out that Dione is also a lover of SNAIL MAIL!  Could she be more endearing?  I had to send her one of my handmade envelopes filled with some goodies.

OUTGOING - Felicity
I got such a sweet surprise from Felicity last week that I had to send something back.  She's one of my favorite blogger friends.  :)



via nataliedee

INCOMING - junemoon
My first quilted postcard!  This soft and creative piece was sent to me by junemoon through the swap-bot Handmade Postcard 2 swap.  I found out that she just turned 70 and has two blogs! How cool!  I LOVE the fact that I snail mailed with someone that I probably would never had crossed paths with in any other setting.  What a gift!