Last week, I reconnected with my friend Megan. She and I met in grade two and were in the same schools together until we both went to university. Her mom still lives in the house she grew up just a few blocks away from my parents home - where I grew up. I hadn't seen her in about 5 years and it felt so easy to be around her again. We caught up, talked about books, bookclubs, work and travel. I also introduced her to the Hot Smoothie from Tim Horton's. If you have one close to you, order it with a shot of mint. YUMMY!
Megan and I met up to hear one of our favourite authors at the Toronto Reference Library. Jodi Picoult (pronounce pee-ku, not p-colt as I had thought or pee-co as Jodi said Americans liked to pronouce it) was in Toronto promoting her newest novel Sing You Home.
Before reading an excerpt from her book, Jodi spoke to an audience of about 300 who braved chilly wet weather and a very strict security guard - he asked Megan and I to keep it quiet while waiting in line for the event to start. I was mortified!
The book deals with gay rights in America, a topic Jodi said she had been wanting to write about for years. Interestingly enough, as she was researching and writing the book, her 19 year old son who is an Egyptology major at Yale, came out to her and her husband.
Accompanying the book is a CD. There is a track to accompany each chapter. The main character in the book is a music therapist named Zoe. Zoe is coming out of a marriage where she and her ex-husband struggled to have kids. After trying various fertility methods and miscarrying many times, they finally carry a pregnancy to seven months only to lose their baby. Their marriage doesn't survive and Zoe and Max each move on to a new life. Zoe falls in love with one of the women she works with and they get married. Max, a recovering alcoholic, finds comfort post divorce in an evangelical church. Personally, they couldn't be further apart. Zoe wants Max's support to use one of the frozen embryos from their marriage so that she and her new wife Vanessa can raise their own child.
I am halfway through the book and enjoying it though it is challenging hearing the evangelical viewpoint portrayed. It is very different from my belief that people love whomever they love. Any form of love is a beautiful, sacred, honourable and treasured thing.
One of my favourite parts of the evening was when Jodi took questions. A 13 year old girl had the floor and said, "I adore you and have read all your books. All my friends will be talking about the newest Justin Bieber song and I will telling them about the newest Jodi Picoult book." So cute!
This first Snail Mail Tale of 2011 is brought to you by the hilarious, hardworking and generous Steph. She is so inspiring and the best thing about her is that she has no idea how much her friends admire her for her unwavering faith, the hard choices she makes every day, the amazing job she does as a single mom and her sense of humour.
I received her package last night at the exact moment that I was procrastinating on writing some snail mail responses. I decided that I would use the package as an incentive and that I wouldn't open it until I had written at least two letters. Having completed the task at hand, I tore into said package! (For those of you expecting a letter from me...stay tuned! I'm back!)
This is the super fun package that Steph sent!
I loved that Justin Bieber was staring out at me! And let's not forget the Happy Days font stickers!
Steph is so creative. I love how she used the stalkerish (in the cute way) cut out magazine words to foreshadow what was inside the package...
The anticipation builds...
Under a layer of wrapping, there was this note from Steph.
This lovely drawing from her son Zackary. I love the flowers with the happy face sticker heads.
Zackary's Christmas tree in March. I think the ornaments might be Easter eggs.
Another note from Steph.
VOILA! Behold the gems inside. Hot Fries! Hot Fries for me!
Steph talks about Hot Fries all the time. They are her breakfast of choice. Any edible item with the word fries in the title is desirable in my book! (Even if the prime ingredient in this treat was corn...) Steph was so wonderful to send two large bags all for moi!
And now my mouth is on fire...but it was so worth it!
Happy Birthday Kahzmir! Today you are 5 years old plus a day! I remember watching you being born and thinking that my life would never be the same. Now I know way too much about Thomas the Tank Engine, I can speak in many voices to keep you entertained and sometimes I find myself reading my own books out loud forgetting that you are not around to hear. Happy Birthday my mango! I crazy love you!
Kahzmir's mom (my sister-in-law Minaz) throws a fabulous birthday party! Every year, she picks out a theme for Kahzmir's birthday and does an AMAZING job with the decor, games, loot bags etc. This year was no exception. The theme was The Cat in the Hat and I can now proudly brag that I have eaten red fish, pizza and delicious cake amongst a vast Truffla tree forest. My inner camp counsellor came out in full force as I led some pretty competitive games of Duck-Duck-Goose (renamed Cat-Cat-Hat by request from the birthday boy), Musical Chairs and the Freeze game.
Kahzmir's Cat in the Hat birthday cake!
It was beautiful inside and out. It was so yummy that I was eating it with my hands. Who needs a fork at a time like that?
The candy table was a hit with all the kids. Sheba would have loved the Swedish fish bowl!
We are good Muslims so behold the Green Eggs and (chicken) Ham table! Don't worry Mom, there is no pork here. Karim and Minaz made green egg salad sandwiches. There were lots of green eggs (M&Ms, green Mini-Eggs and green Skittles.) I was so excited to paw some green Skittles but they were all gone once the candy table got into full swing.
I have developed a little bit of a fascination for SkyMall. The first time I heard about it was during a marathon of Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. (Were you crushed like me that they didn't make it?) Nick bought Jessica a jewelry cleaner that she had seen in the SkyMall catalog. She was so excited about it that for a moment there she didn't notice the tennis bracelet inside. Seriously. Why didn't they make it? And another thing...why is it called a tennis bracelet? I know of no other sports that include diamond accessories as part of their apparel.
Anywho, my bestie Shafik and I were flying to Vegas and there in front of us was the SkyMall catalog. We knew we were going to be hitting some outlet malls as part of our mini vacay and the shopper in me was on high alert! With my heart palpitating, I flipped through the same catalog for each of our four flights. I was mesmerized. Take these gems below as an example. They were described as Sky Mall Classics. I would like to meet just one of the multitude of folks who have found themselves on a plane, have flipped through the catalog, seen one of these items and then purchased them therefore turning them into a SkyMall Classic.
Behold the Big Foot Garden Yeti. If you own this, I want to talk to you. I want to know when you knew you had to own this piece of art and I want to know where it sits now. You fascinate me.
I know one person who might own the Zombie of Montclaire Moors.Steph likes to be spooked but she's one of a kind and I can't see how volume purchasing of this item has made it a classic.
Last but not least is this very comfortable and plush seating accessory. King Tut's Egyptian Throne sells for $1000 (plus shipping.) Who has this in their house?
Now I am not being fair to SkyMall. The kind folks over there also sell products to help make your life easier, more comfortable, more relaxing.
Doesn't this Head and Eye Massager look so inviting and soothing? I especially like the arch that fits over the skull. Now imagine yourself slipping this on and falling into a Zen like state while you congratulate yourself for the best $200 you ever spent.
These Men's Ballistic Athletic Shoes are supposed to give your feet great stamina during a workout. That's great but why oh why is there a little sperm like thing along the side of them? The graphic artist who cooked this up didn't make a mistake. They come in black and grey too.
Last night, Sheba and I worked off our delicious Thai dinner while perusing my favourite used bookstore BMV. I love to browse the bargain bin out front and buy books from my childhood. The bin is single handedly responsible for bringing Ramona Quimby and Judy Blume back into my life. Yesterday I came across some real treasures!
Living Somewhere Between Estrogen and Death
Is this title for real? I might not be the target demographic for this book but...really?
Angels Don't Know Karate
And why are these kids gawking in awe instead of protecting their eyes from the shards of broken wood heading their way?
Embracing Your Big Fat Ass
If I emerged from a shiny white stretch limo in the middle of Manhattan with those legs, that dress and those shoes, I'd be embracing my big fat ass too.
When Love Gets Tough: The Nursing Home Decision
Not to make light of what is a very serious situation but this cover art is hilarity. The prominent rose in the foreground and dated photo in the background really bring it home don't they?
Werewolf chick-lit-romance! This genre is so often over looked. Thank goodness for the furry foot in the sexy red pumps on Sparkle Hayter's book cover to pull a book lover in! Love the pen name!
Here are some things I heard my friend Munira saying during the movie...
"Look at his Mom! Who said teenage pregnancy is bad?"
"It would never be right between us. I'll always be 20 years older than him."
"I have a bit of an inappropriate crush on him."
"Look at Demi and Ashton, it could work." "I'm older than his Mom and I find him so appealing."
"He's so likeable. I want to be his babysitter."