Sunday, December 19, 2010

Off to China

This is the first Christmas I won't be with my family - as I'm heading out to China tomorrow for 3 weeks. I'll be doing a volunteer bit with Habitat for Humanity, as well as touring around Beijing and Hong Kong.
I'll try to post a couple of times to share what's happening.

And see everyone in 2011.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Rockefeller 2010

The tree is UP! I love that in NYC you only need to make the smallest of references to "The tree" and everyone knows exactly what you're talking about.

This year it's a 74ft Norway Spruce from Mahopac, NY. It will be lit up until the week after New Years, when it will be taken down and recycled. Last year the wood was used towards a Habitat for Humanity construction.

There were tons of people out on Sunday night, enjoying the crisp air and lights around Rockefeller Centre. There were people skating, and people shopping, and people just taking it all in.

I was there with my very pregnant friend Sherry and her husband Bryan. I really appreciate that this is a simple pleasure many can do to kick off the season. Not all NY Christmas traditions need to be expensive.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Random Musing

I used to write this blog with frequency. Then about 8 months ago I suddenly got it into my head that people weren't that interested in what I was writing, as they didn't really care that I hated my new hair cut, or that I went to Newport CT. What changed 8 months ago that made me think that I was suddenly so uninteresting?? I didn't become un-interesting overnight. I was the same level of interesting/non-interesting (depending on your POV) as before.

So why the reluctance to share my ruminations? I mean it's not as though I was writing for you dear reader, as much as I was writing for me.

I don't know what changed but I do know that I miss it...

Perhaps a goal for 2011 will be to start writing again.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Judging the People's Choice Judgey awards

I have long been aware of the "People's Choice" awards though have paid them little regard. These are the awards that are revealed ahead of time, voted on by the masses, and have no real artistic merit.

However the recipients like to say they are the most important because they are the "people's voice".

I just went online to see the voting (and participate for the first time since I have an American IP address) and I would like to know 2 things:

1. Who the heck are these "people"???? Because the nominees are TERRIBLE! I'm a people. But I'm not these people. I wouldn't classify myself as a people that's the same people who is voting for those people. Each category I reviewed was more or less a vote by process of elimination.
Really- what would you choose between 'best actresses' : Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, and four other equally forgettable and one dimensional actresses (Kristen Stewart anyone? She played a really deep and introspective "Bella"). No one of any actual talent or skill. Tell me: "Would you prefer to have a hunchback for the rest of your life, or a permanent Beiber haircut" (just kidding- I love that kid)


2. Who the heck comes up with these categories?! Did you know you could vote on your favourite crime TV Drama main character? Hmm... that's not too specific at all. I'm surprised there aren't 567 categories based upon that level of detail and specificity. I didn't know I could have a favourite "TV doctor in a TV drama" (I'm not joking- that's one of the categories).

So I bow out. I'm not part of the people's choice. I'm not choosing. I'm not a 'people'. I will stick with the Oscars. Though that's also a popularity contest, it's at least voted on by others in the industry- instead of tweens who will vote 40,000 times for Tayler Lautner of "Twilight" in an effort to best "Robert Downey Jr" in the category of "yummiest superhero in a movie adaptation of book or comic featuring supernatural beings born after 1950".

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The People Have Spoken

I haven't lived in Toronto for a couple of years now but I still consider it one of my homes especially as I still have many good friends and family there.

Recently there was a mayoral election and some guy named "Rob Ford" won. I heard him talk on CBC radio the other day and he sounded fairly ignorant. Of course I was influenced by the fact that EVERY SINGLE ONE of the people I know in Toronto voted against him. Never before have I seen such a universal loathing and banding together over said loathing of a politician. (at least at this local of a level).

I wondered how such a universally disliked person could be elected. Then a friend of mine posted a link to an article that showed a map of how each ward voted.

The suburbanites seem to love Ford. The urbanites not so much. All of my friends are the latter.

It's interesting to see such a clear divide. But I guess no different than the blue and red states, but at a micro level.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Do I have a drinking problem?

I went to see my doctor tonight (her name is "Princess" - how awesome is that?) for a long overdue routine check-up. Part of a check-up is the Q&A so she can understand my habits as they relate to my health:
- Do you smoke ? (no)
- Do you do have allergies ? (yes. Morphine and sulfa)
- Do you drink ? (WELL....)

So I shared that I drink usually only on weekends (and Wed/Thurs last week) and I might have a few if I go out with my friends.

She was pretty laid back about it and just said "well Sarah, for your optimal health you should really just limit it to one..." I interrupted her (just picture me nodding my head in a resigned sort of way) and said "...per hour. Yes I know. I usually do."

And she laughed and said "No. Per night. One per night."

One per night? Was she kidding me? What kind of Princess Doctor was she?!?!

So. Well then. Perhaps some of us need to start re-evaluating her drinking habits.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dogs Days of Fall

Once again I'm reminded of how lucky I am to be living in New York City- and all of the opportunities I'm exposed to. Yes it can be expensive, as my bank account can attest to, but it's also stuff I wouldn't get to do anywhere else and as such I take advantage...

A few weeks ago I went to a pre-season NFL game between the Giants and the New England Patriots. We had VIP passes so we were able to be on field for the warm up.

We were close.
Tom Brady needs to cut his hair.

A few weeks ago I went to an EPIC concert at Yankee Stadium. I can say without hyperbole that it was probably the best concert I'll ever see in my life. Or anyone, ever, will ever see. In addition to the headliners Jay-Z and Eminem, they brought on 5- Cent, Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Drake (Degrassi!), some other rappers I don't know,Chris Martin, and... Beyonce. It was awesome. Though I did leave early to beat the rush on the subway.

I managed to see two Yankee games this fall- including one where they beat the Red Sox. I saw two Broadway shows (thanks Big Al!) including my favourite: Rock of Ages.

Some friends and I also went Apple picking. Ironic that I seem to do the more outdoorsy and nature-y things the further I move away from nature.

Finally I managed to get out to the US Open. It was about 75C and we melted through a tournie where the #4 men's player, Andy Murray, won his game as well as a close match between French player Gael Monfils and some loser. It was some great tennis.

And a great Fall.

Now we head into Winter where I will begin to hibernate. I've already put on the requisite 10lbs to keep me warm... damn Peanut M&Ms...

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Business of Volunteering

Every couple of years I try to do a volunteer stint in another country so that I can a) ease my conscious about how incredibly selfish and lazy I am the other 51 weeks of the year and
b) see a new part of the world while doing it! (and hence being selfish in my efforts to be not selfish.. but I am selfish... ah- nevermind!)

Anyhow- doing it again this year and I'm going to CHINA with Habitat for Humanity. I put that in all caps because those that know me know that it's not somewhere I'd normally go. I've never expressed an interest in going to China before. But people change. Times change. And the Nepal trip was full.

It's my first year not going home for Christmas, which is sad. But it's going to be an amazing experience, which is exciting.

The reason I'm posting about it is because there is an opportunity for you, my family and friends, to support me in this. Not just emotionally but with $$. Honestly though I'm thinking of those that I normally exchange Christmas prezzies with- maybe this is something you could do instead? I would really appreciate it because even though I'm working I still have to pay for the privilege.

It's easy to donate and any amount helps.

And then you TOO can feel warm fuzzies about yourself, for doing something selfless this season. This season of giving.

Have I laid it on thick enough yet?

Regardless of contributing or not, expect to be subjected to the pictures and stories in the new year !!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Business of Medicine

I had my first experience with the American medical system this week and like everything else in this country it's ruled by the almighty dollar. I had suspicions of what I was in for, with the doctor fulfilling my expectations by offering up the most expensive test possible for a swollen knee. I can tell you what's wrong: I'm old. And I ran too hard last week and so my knee protested by swelling up. Take a needle to it- drain it- and let's get on with our day. But no. He suggested I get an MRI- which according to my sister-in-law is the gold standard of x-rays. Yes he'll get an indepth look at my knee issues, but to the tune of $750. But since my insurance covers it- why not?!

Well there is the little matter of unnecessary exposure to intense radiation. UPDATE: There is apparently no ionized radiation with MRIs and they are quite safe. YAY. And spending on my HSA should a real emergency come up (quick: knock on wood).

So we'll see how it goes. I'm talking to the doctor again on Tuesday and I'll try to withstand his aggressive sales pitch (believe me- he was smoother than a car salesman).

Friday, October 01, 2010

I am my Mother part 1

Yesterday a friend said to me "Sarah you are just like your Mother"- which I took to mean a compliment as I think my Mom is great. However she was referring to my tendency to pretend like everything is fine even when it's not. And in this case it was about my health.
My Mom is notorious about insisting she's "great" even though she's coughing like she has the black lung. The same as I have been protesting "I"m fine" when I'm clearly hobbling on my now 'expanded to two times its normal size' knee.
So I'm going to go and get it examined. And in America that means finding a doctor that accepts my health care and is in my system so I don't have to pay $400 for a consultation.
*Deep breath* It's not fine. I need to be looked at. But I'm sure it WILL be fine. (are you listening Mom?!)

Monday, August 09, 2010

Generation Gap : Are cookies enough to bring us together?

Here's a question for the masses. We all know that there are several distinct generations fully entrenched in the workforce these days. We have the millenials, Generation X, Baby Boomers... And we all have to work together. Even though we all very different ways and approaches of working. And sometimes, though we may have a common interest, there is conflict.

Here is an example of one such situation.

The setting: A boardroom at an advertising agency in NYC. The room is floor to ceiling glass walls with a sliding door.

The Background: A big work session to develop a 2011 digital strategy with a few senior members of the team. Lunch was brought in so that work could progress through the lunch hour and be efficient/productive etc....

Once the work session ended two members of the team decided to stay in the room and continue working on another project.

The story:

Betty and Harold (not their real names) were sitting at the boardroom hunched over papers deliberating all the intricacies of mayo communication. They are surrounded by the remnants of lunch and have papers spread out everywhere.

The door slides open.

Kip, the intern, pops his head in.

Kip: Hey there! I'm Kip. I just started working here as an intern. I work on x. Who are you and what do you do?

Betty & Harold stop working and look at each other puzzedly before responding.

Harold: Um... I'm a senior planner working on mayo
Betty: And I'm a client. *full stop*

Kip doesn't miss a beat: Oh that's great. Well listen- I'm just going to grab a cookie here. You guys aren't going to eat it are you??

Betty: Uh... no. Help yourself.

Kip: Thanks! Nice to meet you both!

Kip takes his cookie and leaves.

End scene.

Now... Let's debate this. IS THIS APPROPRIATE?!?! Is it suitable for an intern to barge in on a closed door meeting with people he doesn't know so that he can help himself to an afternoon snack?!??!

I I say I would like to find Kip and teach him what's appropriate and what's not in a professional workplace. But I suspect that Kip would tell me to relax and it's just a cookie.

What say you- good folks of the interweb??

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Spot for WWF

Here is a wonderful spot that won an award at Cannes recently. It's for the WWF- and features a great song by Ben Lee

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Eat for Real. For real.

Having recently packed on the freshman 15 - given that I was new to ... uh... the year 2010 and was eating my way through the first couple of months- I decided to explore some non-traditional weight loss methods. (Only because the idea of 'eating less and moving more' didn't really appeal.)

A good friend of mine, a friend I trust and who has similar tastes and point of view as me, suggested nutrisystem. In fact more than just mentioning it- she was a die hard brand advocate one person selling machine. She also lost loads of lbs and looked great.

Well.. with some research (I grilled her for details) and a craftily placed banner ad that enticed me with "FINAL SALE ON NOW NOW NOW" I decided to check it out.

My reasoning was sound: It's pre-packaged food but so are the lean cusines I frequently consume. I'm not a foodie. I always joke that I wait for the day when we just eat pills... I don't really care about food.

Well guess what I learned about myself? I do care about food. I care about food alot. A considerable amount in fact.

Why is that? Let me tell you. You would care about food too when suddenly your entire diet consisted of a box of 28 days worth of pre-packaged meals you get ALL AT ONCE.

Did I need worry about room in my freezer? oh no friend- not at all. My fridge then - I'm sure I could move stuff around... Nope- NO NEED.

It's 84 MEALS THAT CAN SIT ON YOUR COUNTER FOR 28 DAYS. And I'm not talking about cereal. I'm talking about meat and eggs and cheese!!

When you can joke to your friends that for the 'girls weekend' at the end of July you will bring a bunch of nutrisystem meals, and you could fully bring the food you have right now, on a plane for 8 hours, and it would still be 'edible', that's when you start to care about food.

When the food you're eating is "meat/beans/rice" and the ingredient list on the box is about 37 items long, that's when you start to really care about what you put into your mouth.

When you put the 'meals' you have into the refrigerator not because you have to, but in order to psychologically feel like you're eating something 'fresh', that's a problem.

Little tip for you: "Meatlets" are not real meat.

I think the real reason that people lose weight with nutrisystem is that they have spent so much money on this crap food that they are broke, can't buy real food, don't eat the "food" they instead begin using to fill holes in the walls, and they just starve off the weight.

And so that's where I am now. Drinking wine (I have to stay hydrated) and picking my way through the dry goods in the box. Cereal is cereal... uh... right???

Thursday, May 27, 2010

'Lost' Explained by Cats

I don't even like cats but this made me laugh.

'Lost' Explained by Cats

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Want some answers to Lost??

I love the TV show Lost. Love it. *spoiler alert David* And I'm one of the few that loved the finale- because it tugged at my heart strings- even if it didn't answer ALL of the questions posed throughout the series.... though I didn't realize how many of the (mostly small) questions until I saw this clever little video (which doesn't- btw- even cover everything!)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

West Jet Loveliness

The Canadian airline West Jet seasonally flies out of & into Newark from May - Sept. I recently flew on this airline to Vancouver.

I love the relaxed casual approach to flying West Jet has. I used to think that flying was serious business and no place for silliness or games. I mean this is our lives we're talking about here!

But given that anyone of us could die at any moments- walking across the street for example- I've realized there is always room for levity and enjoyment.

Another GREAT thing that West Jet offered this time around (aside from their conviviality) was noise reducing ear phones. I have bought $90 NR earphones before- to be bitterly heartbreakingly disappointed. These ones were $10 so I was skeptical.

They are BRILLIANT. I've realized that I'm not actually deaf and am able to reduce the volume by half when walking down the streets of NYC. My iphone earphones just let out too much sound.

The secret to these are that the bud part is made of wood. Literally- it's wood. It's so weird. But the wood absorbs the sound vibrations (insert bad dirty joke here) or something. I don't know how it works. The lady on the plane didn't either. But it does.

One more reason to fly the friendly skies with West Jet. (not their slogan)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Iron Man Poo

I saw the sequel to Iron Man a week ago.

It. was. terrible.

And if you liked it then you are a terrible person.

(For the record- I loved the first one).

I was with a group of friends, and we all thought it was awful. The acting was wooden and forced. The editing was tres horrific. The music was bad. The action sequences were either TOO unbelievable and mostly squashed together in one section. And the writing was ... well poo.

I would recommend AGAINST going to see it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Better than the Original

Here is a link to a video of a kid called Greyson Chance (he was on the Ellen Show yesterday) playing a song originally done by Lady Gaga. And he's awesome. He has mad skills on the piano (do people still say that?!)and can sing. I'd rather listen to this than LG- who is train wreck that assaults my eyes to such a degree that my ears can't hear.

Honestly- why isn't there talent like this on American Idol? What are those producers thinking?!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Nothing Tastes As Good As Skinny Feels

That's a quote from Posh Spice- or maybe Kate Moss (not sure). Regardless- neither of them eat so what do they know about how things taste?

But I keep searching. I keep trying to find something that tastes better.

And I'm not going to give up. I'll find it.

So far Skor blizzards from Dairy Queen are close.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Things I love - or don't

One of the sub-plots of the TV Show "Sex in the City" was Carrie Bradshaw's obsession with shoes. eg. One episode episode was about how she spent $40,000 on the shoes in her closet. This, in part, spawned an entire generation of people being proud of their 'love' of shoes and desire to spend hundreds, if not thousands of $$$ on footwear.

I will put this on the table right now: just to be controversial. I hate shoes. I just hate them. I wish that I could walk around barefoot or wear the same pair of shoes every single day. Wait- that IS what I do...

What's wrong with me? What girl gene am I missing that I don't labor and obsess over what decorates my feet?! I don't have such 'weaknesses...' (though my closet is still somehow bursting). I guess I do like my converse running shoes... and someone told me today that I can go to their site ( to build a custom pair.

So maybe I do like shoes. I just prefer the name Chuck Taylor over Jimmy Choo.

Monday, May 03, 2010

I'm back

April was a weak month. It was a busy month but also a quiet one. By quiet I mean there were not storms of words greg manago swimming around in my head aching to get out. I was quite content to simply observe the world, instead of vocalizing those observations.

The fact that I had a family emergency is also a good excuse for me to not have been writing up a storm.

But now it's the summer greg manago, and the patios are full, the sun is out, the AC is on full blast and the words are starting to pile up.

The only purpose of this post was to give a shout out to greg (oh so subtly) and to mention my friend was walking down Central Park West with Russel Crowe today. Not a bad walk to take.

Excited about the summer...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thank you

Recently I was home for a family emergency. My Mom was unexpectedly sick and in the hospital with bacterial pneumonia. (If you are sick and it's been more than a week and you can't breath - GO TO THE DOCTOR!).

It was quite scary as the first couple of days my Mom was sedated, unresponsive, hooked up to a ventilator and in the ICU.

However I have an amazing support system- for which I am very thankful. My work was immediately put on hold- with everyone taking the reigns on my projects so I could focus my attention on my family.

My friends and family rallied around, whether they were in Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, NY, UK, Hong Kong, Australia, Korea... prayers, thoughts, love were being sent and expressed from everywhere. I really did appreciate every note, phone call, email, text and message.

And of course the immediate family came together to provide support to each other in a way we hadn't before. (I guess because we'd never needed to).

It's times like this that you really understand the power of humanity.

It's interesting to me, how so much positive can come out of something initially so terrible.

Oh and my Mom is doing much better now- she's out of the ICU and waiting impatiently to get out of the hospital (a great sign!). I think the worst part, the scary part, is over and now we get into the recovery.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The start of a good post but not the finish of one.

I've been doing a lot of work lately looking for insights into family and the experiences that bring us together. Is it over family dinners? Change: such as the arrival of a new member? The loss of one? Tragedy and triumph? When you have good or exciting news to share?

These are all reasons to rally together, to reach out, to share and celebrate or support.

Here's one of those reasons. I spent Easter with her. She was tons of fun.

Ok- I know this post was lacklustre. It was lacking lust. I'm sorry. I want to keep the doors of communication open but I'm just not feeling the inspiration lately.

Maybe I need some thought starters on things I could write about...

Monday, April 05, 2010

Happy Easter Canada

Updates to come on my trip to Calgary. I've just been lax on updates because I've been out of town.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Memphis + Graceland = I'm all shook up

I'd never been to Graceland, or Memphis for that matter. But my Mom is/was a huge fan of Elvis and when I was in Memphis for research recently I decided to extend my stay and drop by. I remember when I was a young girl we went to visit a friend of hers- she had a hat or some sort of something that a friend of a friend had gotten from an Elvis concert- that Elvis himself had worn/owned/touched (I was reaeeealy young- hence the fuzzy memories).

This is the sort of passion that this man incites. I didn't appreciate his impact. The breadth of his work. How he has influenced and shaped modern day music and pop culture. For a man that never toured off of US soil- it's phenomenal he is one of the top selling artists- right behind the Beatles and ahead of Michael Jackson with hundreds of million albums sold. Keeping in mind a record goes gold when it has sold 1,000,000 copies. He has 100's of those. On top of this he did about 30 hit movies. A point of comparison? Leo DiCaprio has less than 30 under his belt.

Let's tour his home shall we?

The one thing that struck me about the main house is how small it was. We weren't allowed upstairs as that was Elvis' private area when he was alive. The main level was 5 main rooms, with the basement housing 3- with very low ceilings. He lived in the house for 22 years. I have to tell you- from the outside it was a stately southern colonial home, from the inside it was hideous. Like really seriously ugly. This was a house decorated by a man with a lot of money at the peak of the disastrous decade known as the 70s. Fascinating.

You're greeted at the entrance by what once was a grand lobby and staircase- I'm not lying when I say that I have a friend in Calgary, Alberta who has a house with a grander front entrance.

Next to the foyer is the main living room- in all of it's white and gaudy glory.

Beside his fancy dining room was the home's 'hotbed' - the kitchen.

"Down in the jungle room"- you had to go up a stairway that was wall/ceiling/floor green shag carpet to get to the jungle room.

The room where he used to play pool with his buddies was in the basement. It was literally covered floor/ceiling and wall with this pink/red paisley fabric. Where does the couch start and the ceiling/floor end?

He has a couple of gold and platinum records. TCB indeed.

I didn't really give Elvis much thought before seeing his home & estate. But now I count myself among the millions who call themselves fans. I'm going to have to ask my Mom again what sort of garment/thing we saw when I was younger.

Friday, March 19, 2010

This will change your life

A little tip :
When you go to hi-five someone else you should look at their elbow. And they should look at yours. And you will NEVER MISS.

Think of it- never again will you have the embarrassment of by passing that waiting hand, and slapping dead air. The blush that creeps up when you both look away and laugh about it -then try to forget it ever happened.

You will be hi-fiving everyone. Your friends, your colleagues, strangers on the street. You'll be hosting hi-fiving parties (ok- maybe not and if you are then you are a loser).

But really- for this little portion of your life this tip will be very helpful.

Go on, spread the word.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Purple Rain

When I was in Guatemala it was the rainy season. It would rain everyday at around 2pm- a torrential downpour that would flood the streets. It was like the heavens opened up and poured buckets of water down- for about 20 minutes- and then it would stop. Like a dam in the sky had slammed shut. The gutters would be full and people would be drenched. But then in an hours time under the hot sun things would dry up.

It's raining like that in New York city. Only we're into day 2. Accompanied by gale force winds that rattle cars as they're driving. I walked 6 blocks to the gym today and my pants were soaked from the sideways rain.

I suppose this is what it's like in Hurricane territory. But I kind of love the weather extremes, because I'm fortunate enough to still have power, not drive a car, and be able to stay in my cozy, sturdy, little apartment.

If anything it's the perfect excuse to stay home and read or watch movies. So maybe I don't want it to stop. I'd like it to stay until Monday morning. Then please clear up so that I can walk to work wearing my purple hunter rainboots and splash in the puddles like I'm 6.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Making a Difference

I've recently learned about an organization in Canada that provides scholarships to disadvantaged people for professional post-secondary education (such as engineering, law, medicine etc).

It was a very interesting concept to me, as I'd never thought about assistance for minority or low income students beyond University. I felt like that in itself was an accomplishment. Here's someone who overcame obstacles, worked hard, and triumphed. They have a degree- well done. It's still a story of success and who wants more than that right?

But why? Why couldn't or shouldn't that person go on to even higher education? Just because I never had such aspirations (sorry Mom!) doesn't mean that everyone shouldn't have the opportunity to realize their ultimate potential. And if the desire is there I'd hate to think of someone not being able to pursue it.

Maybe you feel the same way. And maybe you want to learn more about this organization. And maybe you want to contribute to their scholarship fund.

Maybe. (I'm going to make it easier for you to learn/read/donate by putting a link right here. Just click through. See how easy that was?)

Cape Scholarship

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Meet Monty

Every year for Christmas my stepDad gets my Mom a piece of folk art. It's my favourite part of the morning as you never know what crazy thing he's going to come up with. We've got polar bears, penguins, ducks and one year a giraffe. His name is Jerome.

When Jerome first arrived we were all a bit shocked- he was 5 feet tall and carved of wood. But he soon found a home in the kitchen nook and has been there ever since. He's a great talking piece.

Yesterday I went to Pier 1 for an area rug- but instead fell in love with my own 5ft tall giraffe. My home is far too small to have a piece of art like this- I barely have enough floor space for furniture- but he came home with me anyway. He's black instead of brown. He's metal instead of wood. And his name is Monty.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Burning the Midnight Oil

It was my second year at Ogilvy. I was a fresh young innocent who had my whole life in front of me. I remember working late with my colleagues (and now good friends) Leigh and Eric. We were clustered around my desk laughing about something when my boss strolled in. She paused, and adopted a very proud expression: "Look at you guys... burning the midnight oil!".

It was 6:30PM.

Fast forward a few years (no need to call out how many) and I find myself again at the office, surrounded by take out boxes of poorly prepared Thai. I'm in a new city, a little less innocent, but with the same company, and again sitting with a bunch of colleagues, "burning the midnight oil".

Only it's nearing 10pm. And we'll be here later still.

Maybe I should move back to Calgary...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Go Canada - UPDATE

Today I'm reminded of a Sunday 8 years ago... in 2002. I met a friend at a bar called "Shanks" in the West side of Calgary- to watch the gold medal game between the US and Canada. We were there at 9am for a 12pm game. And we had to wait in line for an hour to get in.

We watched the game on screens that covered the entire wall, surrounded by hundreds of people wearing red. Every time we scored the place would erupt in cheers. There was so much passion and love in the room. Especially when we won 5-3. I remember singing the National anthem with 300 of my newest closest friends and being so proud.

I'd imagine it's no different today as Canada once again goes up against the US for the gold medal. Only this time we're on home soil- in Vancouver.

The difference for me is that I'm not. I'm in the states. In a country where hockey is a second rated sport. But it's the Olympics- and the Americans will still want to win. Luckily I'll be watching the game at a bar in the Lower East Side that caters to Canadians. So there'll be a mix of cheering. I'm sure it'll be tense and heated. And I'm hopeful that the outcome will be the same- with the bar coming together to sing the CANADIAN national anthem, bound together by our love for our home and native land.

UPDATE: We won. : )

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's my birthday

Cupcakes, friends, phone calls, Olympic hockey, more out of town friends, singing and balloons. Finished off with dinner at Rosa Mexicana.

It was a wonderful birthday.

I would write something more insightful or clever but am not feeling that inspired lately.

But I will say that I very much felt loved on my birthday- so was and am very thankful.

In this picture I'm wearing the Olympic mittens that my friends Barb and Olga gave me- which was an AWESOME surprise!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Old Spice Commercial

This is a GOOD AD. Good casting. Good copy. Good branding. It's appealing. It's engaging and entertaining and memorable. Brilliant.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

LOST Theories

I think that the TV show Lost is like the book "Life of Pi" . The island is actually a metaphor representing the story of loss and redemption.

Season 6 is now going to be like the last chapter of Pi where we are shown the events we've just read/watched on the island- in real life- through the 'sideways' storyline.

We'll see how the characters are actually brought together, evolve and how they find redemption.

There is also an interesting theory I've been told- about how life will only truly happen once- with a bunch of other iterations being incomplete and imperfect progress. And the sideways story is the perfect iteration and thus final stage of life for the main characters.

ahhhh- so much to think about !!!!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

One Week of Sun & Snow

This past week was a busy one as I spent the first part in LA for a photo shoot, the middle part in NY and the last part in Utah for a skiing trip.

I'd never been to LA before and while it was a good experience, I really think I'm not a West Coast person. Everything feels kind of washed out and bland. Everything looks the same, and is covered in stucco. Having said that, I'll admit that it was nice to go biking along Venice beach and to run outside in capris in January.

What was interesting was Venice Beach. In addition to the crazies that we saw along the boardwalk, we walked along the beautiful canals in the neighbourhood. I didn't know they existed, but it makes sense that's where the name "Venice Beach" came from.

After a quick trip home I headed to Park City, Utah with my friends Rose and Esther for a ski weekend.

I'd never been before, and thus far had been underwhelmed with the skiing in the states. This, of course, being that I grew up an hour outside of the Rockie Mountains and some of the best skiing in the world.

Well these were the same mountains, just farther south, and I was not disappointed. I preferred Park City to the Canyons (for anyone venturing out there) but that might be because we had fresh snow and the conditions were awesome.

The trip was not without fault though, as Rose seemed to be a beacon for tragedy. She started out the trip with a bout of random stomach flu and missed the first day on the hill. She was ready for the second day, and about 2 hours in she caught an edge and fell hard. She broke her clavicle in two places- seriously broke it.

The plus side to this is that for Apres Ski (she was bandaged up and pumped full of drugs by then) she was a hot target and the guys were literally stopping by our table all night.

Both experiences fun. Both very different. I am glad to have gone, but also happy to be home.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

On-line all the time

I'm glad that I'm still not so cynical and jaded as to not get excited or amazed by the thought of being online 39000ft in the air.

Which I am right now. (Right above Kansas)

It's a bit of a mixed bag as the plane was the only place left really where one was completely cut off from communicating with the outside world (other than the deep wilds of Algonquin Park!) and now that has been taken away.

BUT the upside is that I can use my time productively and instead of watching bad movies, finish some work that is desperately needed before heading off to Utah tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

LA Bound

Off to LA this morning. I've never been. Last time I was in California was just before Christmas and unfortunately I was sick when I was traveling. This time though- I'm sick again and it sucks. I want to curl up in a ball and sleep for the next two days.

I know - poor me. At least I'm leaving -12C and heading to 20C.

Not sure what to do when I'm there. Venice beach? Rodeo drive? Curl up in a ball in my hotel room and sleep for two days? Ah yes- that last one sounds delightful.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What am I running from?

Early winter a friend of mine asked a bunch of us to join her for a half marathon in Miami next weekend. I started to train for it but took on too much too soon and ended up hurting my back.

After a few weeks off I started up again but not as intense, and not enough to be able to run next Sunday.

However I am still in 'training' and trying to push myself within reasonable boundaries. So on Sunday I decided to tackle a 10k and run the perimeter of Central Park.

It was hard.

I'm not going to lie to you.

And I stopped every couple of kilometers to walk for a minute.

And at one point I think I saw a child who was taking his first steps pass me I was going so slowly.

But I did it. And next time it won't be so hard. And I might even run more than 10k.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekend Update

I had a busy fun filled and packed long weekend. Friday was my friend John's birthday, Saturday was a productive trip to Target followed by Korean food in New Jersey. Sunday found me at a brunch, a dinner and the movie "It's Complicated" (good) and then the Golden Globes at a friend's.

Today I watched Avatar in 3D IMAX. I'd seen it with Stefan in Winnipeg in 2D and I have to say having seen both- I don't know why they even produced it in 2D (I mean I know logically why) but the movie jumps from a 7/10 in 2D to an amazing spectacular 15/10 in 3D. It's awesome.

Then I went for a run out in Central Park - thought I ran a 5 min kilometer for 5K until I went to '" - my newest favourite site. It dispelled my notions that I suddenly was back up to my peak running speed by letting me know I'd only run 4.5km. Still- a 5.5min/km is not bad.

Back to work tomorrow.

This is Rose on the rooftop- it was pitch black out (2am) but for some reason the sky looked dawn-y. I got this new camera for Christmas (thanks Mom and Cliff!) but it's a new version of my old camera... and I have no idea how to use it!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Invictus vs garbage not worth seeing

I have a question for the world (or "People of Earth" as Conan would say).

WHY in the world would a movie like "The Ugly Truth" starring a no talent hack like Katherine Heigel, make $89 million in it's domestic gross, while a movie like "Invictus" - starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon in brilliant performances, made only $34 million?

I went to see it last night with a friend (She's the BEST person to go to movies with because she just gets into it and you enjoy the movie that much more), with relatively low expectations as I'd heard not such great things. However I was, while not blown away, thoroughly moved. I would even hazard to say that I loved it. I'd even recommend it.

But what does that say about our society that a movie telling a touching story of a country coming together before the world- triumphing over the WORST adversity - does so badly, while a movie about a stupid girl acting stupidly makes almost $100 million.

It's shameful.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Black is White. Up is Down.

What the eff is going on?

Recently there have been a barrage of break-ups in the relationships surrounding me. And these aren't dating relationships, but serious ones. Marriages, long-term partnerships, co-habitations. Long term relationships imploding. Or dissolving quietly away.

The one thing in common is that they were all shocking and unexpected. Solid, strong, real relationships between two mature wonderful people- that just didn't end up working out. Heartbreaking.

And reinforcing the belief that you just never know what goes on behind closed doors. You just don't know.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monkeys Monkeys Monkeys!

Before Olivia was born I gave her a little stuffed monkey. It was small and cute and super soft.

This quickly became her favourite toy- and it's now permanently attached to her. She actually gets upset if they take it away to 'bath'- which gets done quite often.

I love that my little contribution to her childhood will prove to be a pivotal one (much like my own childhood toy "rascal") and I don't want to lose that. The family was a bit worried that Monkey wouldn't make it through O's childhood as he's already a bit ragged so auntie Sarah went online to find more.

Though I do think O is a genius child I'm pretty sure she can't read yet- so feel confident writing about having to come up with 'back up' monkeys should anything happen to the original.

Deceptive? Yes. Necessary? Perhaps. Although I wonder if I would have been able to tell the difference to Rascal if anyone had tried to pull the old switcharoo on me back in the day...

So I guess she is a genius baby. Apparently my sister-in-law was reading my post on the computer and O climbed into her lap to see what she was looking at. She saw the picture of the monkeys and pointed at it- the climbed down to look for the original. Such a clever little girl.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Human Contact

A good friend of mine made a keen observation the other day. An observation that, while I didn't like, I agree with.

She and her husband had called me to meet up with them to go to a movie. I didn't answer the phone- because I hate using the phone. He didn't leave a message as I openly pride myself on not listening to voicemail (case in point: I just listened to a message on Sunday from my brother that had been recorded Dec 15th).
I found out later that they'd gone to a movie and had wanted me to come.

"Why didn't you text?" I asked. "Why didn't you answer your phone or call us back?" they answered. (trying to prove a point)

However I'd text them to get together after the movie at a local pub. She replied at 1am saying she hadn't checked her phone. She later made the comment : "I was out with a bunch of friends having fun. Why would I check my phone to see if there are other things happening? I was paying attention to the people I was with."

And while I don't like it, that's the comment I agree with. She had chosen to be present in her immediate surroundings and not pay attention to that elusive "other" friend reaching out via bb/email/text/insert social media option here. And while there are those (me) that say technology helps people communicate better or more often I do recognize there are limitations or drawbacks.

How many times have you been affronted that your current company keeps a blackberry on the table during dinner? Or they check their text while you're talking to them? Is your company not good enough? Are you not engaging/entertaining enough? What is so freaking important that they can't put their bb down for an hour or two- and enjoy the company in front of them? Or sometimes when you do communicate via text, the correct meaning doesn't come across?

Now the counter argument is that we have these new methods of communication- which create new habits and behaviours. There is a large (maybe younger?) percentage of the population who are bred on these new methods and for whom it is the new norm to talk via twitter. To converse only via text.

And who is to say that the earlier adopter (me) is the one who should change her behaviour (stop texting) because others are holding onto the 'old ways' and not willing to jump on the train?! Does it come down to who is the most stubborn?

But maybe there is a halfway to meet? I can't give up texting altogether, nor do I want to. But perhaps I can pick up the phone a bit more often. And perhaps I can put away the blackberry when I'm out with friends- showing them that I value their company just as much as the person on the other end of the text.

I made one of my resolutions/goals to reach out via phone more. Though it's form of contact some may perceive as archaic, I admit that it still trumps the electronic contact in many ways. Though I'm still not listening to voicemail.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Movie Reviews

I've been to a few movies this holiday season. And have some thoughts about movies I haven't seen. Here they are:

- go and see it in 3D. As a 2D movie it's visually stunning but not blow your mind unbelievable. And the storyline is just so-so.

The Blindside - Sandra Bullock steps into the skin of a southern woman and she's fantastic. You even manage to forget it's Sandra Bullock. The story is heart warming and thoughtful and well told.

Sherlock Holmes - Guy Ritchie is a very, very good storyteller. The movie is visually rich and interesting. The acting interaction is fun to watch. The mystery is mildly captivating. But I forgot about the movie 5 minutes after walking out of the theatre.

Up in the Air - review to come

New Moon - soooo bad. But Team Jacob all the way.

Nine - Heard it's really good and want to see it. I loved "Chicago" which bodes well.

Invictus - I really wanted to see it. But I heard so many bad reviews that I ended up not going. I was disappointed at the thought of it being bad and didn't want those fears to become realized.

It's Complicated - Does anyone else feel like they saw the entire movie in the trailers?

Resolutions Schmesolutions. Let's talk goals.

I've never been much of a resolutions person, which is a complete and total lie as I like to make resolutions, and break resolutions, all the time. Not just for the new year, but on my birthday, on anniversaries, on random Tuesdays. I like to write lists in my journal and forget about them five minutes later only to make the same resolutions a month later in some new format.

This year I thought I'd cleverly disguise my resolutions as 'goals' and that I'd publish them in order to create some semblance of accountability. The three people that read my blog can keep me honest and ask me how I'm doing on accomplishing my goals. I'm going to categorize them in terms of professional, personal, and financial.
Here we go.

--> I would like to make peace with Mrs. P. For some reason she doesn't love me and I need to sort that out.
--> Take a digital course & ramp up those skills
--> Establish a track record of pre-8:30am start time at least 3x a week

--> Save 15% of my net pay in a savings account
--> Save 10% of my net pay in long term investment
--> Be eligible for a credit card in this freaking country

--> Go on one date a month (how this gets set up I HAVE NO IDEA- WOULD LOVE SOME IDEAS PLEASE!!) And yes I do realize that this might seem pathetically small to some, it's still a giant leap from where I am currently
--> Do I dare say lose that last 10lbs?
--> Run a half marathon sometime in the year
--> Make PHONE CALLS and stop relying so much on text/email

Alright 2010. I'm ready for you. Let's play ball.

New Year Celebrations

Most who know me know that I'm not a big fan of New Year's Eve parties. I've come home from dinner and a movie before midnight before. I've booked flights so that I celebrate in the air.

To be honest- my best new years where when I was a kid with my parents and brothers. We would listen to the top 100 on the radio, eat cheese & crackers plates and stay up til just past midnight. At midnight we would stand on the front door and shout out Happy New Year to all of our neighbours who were doing the same. We were kids, it was simple, and it was fun.

Now that I live in NYC people have asked if I would stay here and go to Times Square. I've heard it's much like everything else in NYC where there are a million people and you need to show up hours in advance in order to get a good view. Given I don't care all that much I was just as content to stay in Toronto and catch up with some old friends.

Here we are trying to do model pose but I couldn't keep a straight face.

This time I nailed the model pose, right down to the wan pale look. (I actually had a guy come up to me at the end of the night - I'd just met him- and tell me that "for the record I preferred you with your hair down." Looking at this picture I can kind of see why!!)

I then continued the celebrations in NYC Jan 2 with a dinner out with some new(er) friends.

Both a bit lower key and both lots of fun. It was more about catching up and sharing stories than getting drunk and being ridiculous (because let's face it, I do that most of the year anyhow!).