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Friday, October 29, 2010

It's Gonna BEE a Lovely Day!

It was Halloween at work today.  This morning, the kids dressed up and trick or treated down the hallways.  Then the bigger kids got together and had a costume party.   A group of us decided to be a swarm of bees.  I was the Spelling Bee.

Let me introduce you to our swarm of bees, Bee-Witched, Queen Bee, Spelling Bee and Killer Bee. We won some lottery tickets as a prize for Best Group Costume.

Buzzzzzzzzzzzz!  Thankful for an amazing workplace and great co-workers!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dalai Lama in Toronto

Friday afternoon, I met my friend Rishma for another one of what she calls our "off the beaten path dates."  She pointed out that we never just go out for a simple lunch or dinner. Last time we met, we went to see a play and the time before that we went to hear Elizabeth Gilbert speak about her new book Committed.  It's a treat to experience these things with Rishma and through her eyes.

This time around we met up to hear His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama speak at the Dome.  His talk was entitled "Human Approaches to World Peace."

The stage.

A spiritual offering before HH the Dalai Lama comes out to speak.

Seamus O’Regan emcees.

Craig Kielburger introduces HH the Dalai Lama.

HH the Dalai Lama cracks a joke about the lights being too bright and puts on a visor. He followed that with his hearty laugh which made everyone else break into fits of giggles.

"The meaning of human approach is more compassion, and genuinely consider others as brother and sister.''

"In ancient times, through war, it was one side defeated, one side won. But the destruction of your neighbor is a destruction of yourself. So, the only way is through dialogue. We must respect other people and listen.”

“To those who show a positive attitude, you develop concern for their well-being. To those who show a negative attitude, you cannot extend your compassion. Now if that limited compassion is taken as a seed, through the help of human intelligence, it is possible to develop our compassion.”

Answering some questions submitted online he says, "Every human being has the right to be happy."

All smiles after the talk.

Thankful to live in a country and city where friends can meet for a date with the Dalai Lama.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Anona's Harem

A moon or two ago, my colleague Anona was telling me about her beautiful dog Nori who passed away this spring.  I was taken by the emotion in her voice for her beloved friend. We started talking about pets and I shared with her that never having grown up with pets, I was a little apprehensive about dogs in particular.

I'm not scared of dogs.  I just haven't spent enough time around them to feel comfortable with their movements and mannerisms.  When a dog is just trying to be friendly and jumps up on me, my reaction is to turn away and shield myself.  I've been feeling kind of guilty about inflicting this mild form of rejection on innocent and loving animals.  Anona, being the kind and nurturing woman that she is, invited me over for dinner and a play date with her dogs. We've had this plan for a few weeks now and as the day has been drawing closer, my nervousness has been mounting.  Today at work, while I was telling Frances how nervous I was, Anona was telling Terry that she hoped the dogs wouldn't embarrass her.

We arrived at Anona's house and she warned me that the dogs would be excited to see me and would jump up on me.  She was right.  They did.  Anona went into the kitchen to let the dogs outside to burn off some energy when she discovered this:
A half empty bag of dog treats...

All of a sudden Anona called out "Don't come in here!"  Well if that wasn't an invitation to come in, I really don't know what is - so in I went and discovered this:
Yes, that is what you think it is.

Upon further inspection, I also saw this:
Feeling bad for whomever has the upset tummy.

Anona was incredibly embarrassed while I thought that the whole thing was hilarity!  I'd like to believe that Seeky the Labradoodle and his Chihuahua pals Homer and Gaston gorged themselves on dog treats all day and then got sick all over the kitchen as a way to break the ice! 
Seeky looks so guilty in the back of his crate.

I quickly let go of whatever reservations I had while photographing Anona having to clean up the ice breaker of a mess.

While Anona got her mop on, I tried to lend a hand by gathering some intel from Bob Marley the canary.  We know he witnessed the massacre of gourmet doggy treats from his perch.  Bob Marley remained loyal under fire.  I got nothing out of him.
A prosecutor's worst nightmare.

Dinner was delicious!  Anona and Larry are a real culinary team in the kitchen.  Our meal began with a generous cheese and olive tray, followed by a hearty and toe warming winter soup and terrific tossed salad.  Larry served up a savoury salmon (best one I've had this year) with broccoli and onion rice.  Oh and it didn't stop there, we also had some rainbow sorbet for dessert!  YUM!

Then came the time for the play portion of this date!  I watched Gaston and Homer battle on the kitchen floor.
Gaston and Homer duke it out.  
When they play fight like this, their yapping comes out as what I can only describe as a Donald Duck accent.

As Anona bathed in cuddles whenever she could from her harem of dogs, I began to feel really comfortable.
A joyful Anona hugs Gaston as the loyal Bob Marley looks on thankful that the evening's earlier drama is long forgotten.

I watched to see how Anona picked the dogs up and decided to try it out for myself.
Success!  Gaston and I snuggle as he flirts with the camera. 

Thankful tonight for the dog hairs stuck to my chocolate brown cords.  Footprints from my new canine friends!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Guestbook Project - Part 1

High  fives to everyone who is collecting postcards for my friends Kushan and Naaz and their wedding guestbook!

The wedding, which takes place in August 2011, is travel themed.  Guests will be asked to write their messages to the happy couple on the back of postcards from all over the world and then will be placed into a mail box at the wedding.

As the postcards come in, I'll post them here to share with all of you.
Melanie and her hubby recently took a trip to New York and brought back these great finds!
Manhattan skyline.

Autumn in Central Park.

Zahida took a break from med school in Dublin to scour the city for these postcards.

Thankful for friends who help me help my friends!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Snail Mail Tale - Paper Cuts

When snail mailing is one of your hobbies, you cannot let the worst paper cut of your life get in the way!  I had to be a little lazy with my packaging and reverted to typing out letters.  Nothing could stand in the way of my contributing to the bottom line at Canada Post.


 From Micaela who always packages my snail mail in bright bold colours!!

 Inside Micaela's pink envie was this wonderful giraffe pillow!

 And giraffe knee socks!  Thank you sweet Micaela for your love and adding to my giraffes!
This super sweet letter from one of my dearest friends Sheba included a recent picture of her adorable boy Indio.

Postcard from a fellow postcrosser in France who wanted to do a private swap.

An American postcrosser in Florida sends me an image from her recent Disney Cruise.

Had so much fun writing typing this letter out to Felicity!

Love in the form of English on paper AND Crystal Light for my Suzie in Stuttgart.

For sweet Micaela.

Hope that Zoe will take a break from her books to read my letter.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Here's to the letter B!

I would formally like to dedicate this past Sunday to the letter B!  I started out the morning having brunch with my bestie Shafik at one of my favourite breakfast places, Over Easy.  Shafik was just coming down from what he called his best drag performance ever at the Boobyball. 

Next up was a basketball game with my friend Ameera.  The Raptors beat the Pheonix Suns in this exhibition game 121-100.  And for scoring more than 100 points, we all got a free slice of pizza!
Gratuitous bum shot of Grant Hill for Ameera. 

Ameera and I blissed out at the end of the game.

After the game, I headed uptown to my cousin Shelina's house. Her hubby Akhter was making a butter chicken feast!  First he made naan bread from scratch.
A contrapation that Akhter made so that he could slide the naan dough onto a stone plate in the oven. He's bit intense in the kitchen.

The bread rises and gets crispy.

Brushed with butter and ready to eat!

This is me creeping their spices.  I like to return the kindness of a good host by checking out their bookcases and spice racks.

As I mentioned, our chef was intense.  We were feeling a little left out of the cooking process and decided the time was right for some of our own culinary creativity!  We decided on an obvious item to compete with our chef's home made naan and butter chicken...and so we embarked on the creation of a rainbow array of ice cubes.
We used food colouring in primary colours, water, a straw and 45 minutes of time we will never get back to create this masterpiece of ice cubes.

We entrusted Nabeel to transport the cubes to the freezer. (In pig Latin, his name means,"He with the steady hands")

Someone graffitis the back of our chef with flour.  It had come to that.

My butter chicken dinner.  I gave it a 10 out of 10!

Random shot of the shoe area.  Have you ever had guests who arrange their shoes so neatly?

It was time for dessert and so we celebrated my niece Haseena's arrival into her 20s with this pink velvet birthday cake! It was delicious.  Kind of a cross between a red velvet and carrot cake.

I got to close out the night with a quick visit with my Mom, Dad and Maji.  While talking to my balding Dad, I noticed that one of his hairs had a split end.  A bald man with split ends!  I couldn't stop laughing!

Thankful for the letter b and that my family can laugh at themselves!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Just another Friday night at book club...

Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness was Makeda's pick for October's book club.  We planned to met in The Annex with hopes of a yummy dinner at Insomnia.   I happened upon the girls standing outside the restaurant where our dear Makeda was apologizing for the fact that this happened to be the one night that they had an 80 person reservation.  She loves her neighbourhood and wanted to show off this part of the city.

After a bit of a wander, we settled on Vietnamese and Thai food at Ginger.  What could be a more perfect venue to discuss a book about colonization in the Congo?

My shrimp and calamari!
Marta and Makeda both had this coconut mushroom tofu soup.

Judy's chicken and shrimp on pad thai.

As we ate, we settled into a discussion about the book.

Only 2.5 book club members admitted to actually reading this book.  Marta had made a valiant attempt by listening to the audio book.  The poor accents by the reader got the best of her and she was unable to finish it.

My review of the book went something like this, "If this was the first book I ever read, I would probably never read another book again."  I didn't think much of this book and had fun teasing Makeda about that fact.

She loved the book so much that she has read it TWICE.   Makeda had high praise for Conrad.  English was not his first language and yet he was able to write beautifully (in her opinion) in a narrative style.  She loved being told a story and felt as though she was there with the narrator.

Our conversation went from the book to Maxine's work to her baby (due any day now) to autism to child killers to serial killers to next month's book Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle.

John's phone.
I can't remeber why, but at some point, Marta put this phone on the table.   She's been carrying around her husband's cell phone for a while.  Makeda called it vintage.  I miss my old simple, uncomplicated Nokia.

Thankful for book club Fridays!