Exploring One’s City

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Toronto Harbourfront

When I was in my 20’s, I was constantly downtown. I lived in the far Eastern and worked in the North-East suburbs of Toronto but I was still downtown as much as 4 times a week.

Even then. I hadn’t even come close to exploring all the wonderful gems the city had to offer.

Now, what with career advancements and being a parent, it takes a lot of effort to go downtown. Normally, we need a reason to go. And it’s not because I don’t enjoy going – I love our city and everything it has to offer! I know there’s so much to do in our own city – we actually could do a stay-cation and not have any luck covering all there is to see and do in a week.

Still, I always tell Doug, “We should go more often!” It’s true – we really should make an effort. Parts of the city has changed and we really had no idea. The waterfront, for example, is simply gorgeous now. It always was but the additional work the city has worked on for the past 10 years is all very new to us.

For example, I had no idea they are playing free concerts at the Toronto Music Garden all summer long. All summer long! For FREE! Come on – how much better can it get?

It just goes to show you – never underestimate how many gems one can find right in their own city.

I Lied

Earlier today I posted about how we were going to have a nothing-day.

I’m obviously a big fat liar.

But with the weather the way it was, I just could not pass up an opportunity to hit the trails. Plus, Hobbes the Dog needed his exercise.

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Blue sky, green trails

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Hobbes the Dog on the look out for squirrels

Confessions No. 13 – Hockey

Oh… I am going to admit something so very, very taboo.

I hate hockey.

There, I said it. Yes, I, a Canadian, who does a lot of Canadian stuff like camping, hiking and apologizes a lot even if I’m not in the wrong, does NOT like hockey. Which, as a Canadian stereotype, is very un-Canadian-like and is something I would never admit at any sports bar or pub for fear of being chased out, hunted down and stripped of my Canadian citizenship.

This is not something new. Growing up, I actually thought I was just weird. That maybe I’ll grow out of it. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll learn to love it. Years passed by and I still can’t stand the sport.

I think this realization really was brought out when I was down in Phoenix for my first business trip with the new parent company. They took us to a really high-end bowling ally. Until then, I didn’t think “high-end” and “bowling ally” could be used in conjunction with each other. But this place was NICE! Too bad I can’t bowl.

Anyway, they made sure the TVs were on the hockey game. It was the play-offs. Toronto Maple Leafs were not in it – Montreal Canadians were, though. And as most of us were from Toronto, they said, “Hey, you guys must all be happy to see a Canadian team in the playoffs!”

Now, the Americans from my company, are not big into hockey, either. Even though the NHL is pretty huge, from what I gather, in the states. But they have more options in sports than we do – especially when they are much more supportive of their college sports. I wish we were more into our college sports teams. Seriously – they put our school spirit to shame!

Anyway, I did know one thing I was really proud of… what is worse as a Canadian to admit not liking hockey, is no where near as bad if I were to support my rival team. I know that being a Torontorian, if I’m going to cheer for a team, it had better be The Leafs. And NOT the Canadians. Unless I want to be chased, hunted down, stripped of my Canadian citizenship AND skinned alive.

I then admitted to them, the Americans, that I am not really into hockey. I felt, at least, it was safe to say this to them. They really didn’t care, right?

They looked at me dumbfounded. They said, “Well, you’re an anomaly!”

Am I? Am I really an anomaly JUST because I do not like hockey? Honestly, it wasn’t until the Americans pointed this out, that I really felt like I was out of place. I mean all my friends like hockey. ALL of them. My husband’s family, too. Not so much my family but they are excused since they immigrated over to Canada.

There must be other Canadian-born people out there who do not like hockey. Seriously!

Maybe I should form some type of support group or something.

[On the side note, while on a whole I’m not a very big sports fan overall – I mean, I’d rather go to the museum or art gallery than watch most sports – I am an Olympics fan and will watch both men and women’s hockey during the winter games. I also have a list of other sports I would much rather watch over hockey and they are, in the following order: baseball (I’m actually quite dedicated to The Jays), curling (yes, I like curling, okay? and that can be argued as being very Canadian), soccer and basketball. I’ll even watch lacrosse and rugby before hockey. Oh – and this sport called Hurling. Yes, I’ll even watch hurling over hockey!)]

Being Chased by Evolved Zombies

Most Mondays are pretty torturous for me. Monday mornings being the worst part of the day.

As most will agree, it starts Sunday afternoon. By 4pm, I’m starting to do that mental countdown to the inevitable. You see, 4pm marks that time for me… That time where I know there are only a couple of hours before Sunday dinner and having to clean up and prepare everything for the start of our weekly grind… That time where I know the weekend is pretty much coming to an end.

The saving grace for Sunday nights is me looking forward to my AMC shows which includes The Walking Dead, Into the Badlands (currently overlapping with the end of the season for The Walking Dead), and Fear the Walking Dead (which will take place of both first two shows in the summer). I thank AMC for continuing my TV show addictions. Because there’s also Better Call Saul (starting soon) and Preacher (sometimes this summer). All year long violence at its best! High Five!

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Rick Grimes and a bunch of zombie from The Walking Dead

Of course, these shows also give me weird dreams. Last night I dreamt I was running around with Rick Grimes – we were swinging through the forest top trying to escape these evolved zombies whom were pissed off at us for killing a zombie friend of theirs named, Joe. They were grunting, “Joe! Jooooeeeee!!! AAUUUUGGRRHH!” as they gained speed to catch up to us.

I then wake up in the morning, partially relieved it was just a dream, but also partially upset to NOT be in the dream anymore because: a) my life is nowhere near that exciting and adventurous and I’m worried I am running out of time to be adventurous; and b) I was with RICK GRIMES FOR CRYIN’ OUT LOUD! I love him. In that alternate reality, I would like to have his baby. Though maybe not in a zombie-apocalypse because babies cry and make a lot of noise. Noise attracts zombies like fire to a moth. Scratch that off my want-list.

The real painful part, though, is getting to work. As I walk into the office, I am dreading the ‘good mornings’. I am dreading the same faces I see every single day here. And I dread having any conversation I have to have with most of the people I work with.

Why? They are weird. I mean, I’m weird, too. But these people are both weird and not afraid to share it. And frankly, I don’t want to have them share their weirdness with me. I really don’t! You don’t see me sharing my weirdness with them, after all. That’s why I keep a blog. So I can anonymously share my weirdness to the unfortunate souls whom stumble upon my little space on the internet and are brave enough to venture through my posts. At least they can choose to participate with my weirdness at their own convenience.

I have examples. I have so many examples of why these people are weird. But it’s Monday morning and I’m too tired for examples. Maybe another time…

Random Confessions No. 12

My husband and I have been living together as a married couple in the same house we currently reside in for over 13 years. And when we first came together, like many families starting their first home together, we brought forth a shit load of hand-me-downs. And I mean a shit load! I’m thinking back to everything we owned. There was an old TV which Doug acquired on his own after moving out of his home town and into the big city. And with it came some really cheap furniture – a TV stand, a cabinet, an old box spring and mattress. Most have been tossed now.

Minus the lovely crystal wine glass set and some silverware we received as wedding presents, everything else was a hand-me down.

We finally had to buy a new dining table set. Only because our cheap kitchen table, which was starting to wobble, had to go. And the then dining room table was the hand-me down of my parents’ kitchen table. It’s now where it belongs, in our kitchen. It is also peach. An ugly peach. PEACH!!! Can you imagine? For several years that was our dining table. Where we would host dinner parties. We used a peach kitchen table for our dinner parties! I pathetically tried to cover it with a table cloth but there was no way to hide the matching peach chairs.

These past two to three years, we’ve been bad hostesses to our friends. We’ve hosted my family over a fair bit. But family is different. They, especially my parents, are nothing but thrilled to see their hand-me-downs put to good use. And if you have a typical Asian mother like I do, it avoids any argument of, “What was wrong with your old table and chair? Why spend money? That table and chair was still working!” That’s what we had to go through the first day they came over to have Easter dinner with our new dining set.

This past Saturday, we had a couple of our best friends over for dinner. And I was just mortified with the dishes we had available. I’m not exaggerating when I say that we had very ugly collections (that’s plural) of dishes. One was this ‘Asian’ set I bought to use as our temporary ‘good dishes’ to replace the embarrassing hand-me-downs – which were a mix-match of incomplete sets because over the years, our families had broken a plate here or a bowl there. Of course, these ‘temporary’ dishes lasted the next decade.

The hand-me-downs were something. One set, from my husband’s side, were brown plates. Brown. Not cool, earthy brown. But like a very, very off-white sort of brown. Imagine serving food to guests on very, very off-white sort of brown plates? And the other full set was from my aunt. They are white with flowers. Not pretty at all but what was worse, the side looked like it got burnt some how. I don’t know if she had a pile of it stacked near an open flame but that’s the best way I can describe it. Burnt. Though Doug says it might be stained with rust. Which is even worse. Serving food to guests on plates that have rust stains on the side. How appetizing.

Anyway – the whole point of this post was just a chance to show-off our new Ikea dinnerware. I decided to purchase from Ikea because I have come to realize I do not have the energy to go looking for clean designs where I can create that purposely matched eclectic look without trying too hard. Ikea has it planned already for me to do just that.

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Ikea dinnerware mix and match

And yes, just like that Easter dinner we had several years ago where we unveiled our new dining table to my family, the first time my mom will see these dishes is at this year’s Easter dinner we are yet again hosting.

No doubt there will be a comment or two typically pointing out how we spend our money. After all, the rust stain from my aunt’s old set was on the side of the plate, no where near touching any food. Believe me, I am grateful for all the help our families gave us to start out when we were making less money and our focus then was to save and save and save.

I hope for her sake, she will one day understand her daughter has worked very hard and deserves some nice things.

As for me, I am happy with my new plates! It’s the little things that help me move from day to day. But the new plates signifies something greater than just having new, pretty things. It’s not in spite of my mom, either. I mean, I like to poke fun at my mom since I can not change her attitude, I can certainly be entertained by her attitude. It shows how I’m letting go of some of my fears and worries. I think part of the real reason why I hadn’t replaced those dishes in all these years was simply because I felt I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t deserve good things.