Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Great Day to Play Hooky

I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach while driving into work today.

You know that feeling I am talking about – the fluttering of the stomach, the strong desire to slam on the brakes, whip across four lanes of traffic to the next exit and head on home.

I am thinking the desire to be anywhere but here might be because the sun is shining with temperatures expected to climb to about 18 C (64 F). It might also because a long weekend is coming up with sunshine and a record-breaking 25 C (77).

It might simply be because I can’t take a day off. It’s deadline day. And I have five days that have to last the entire year.


It’s a great day to play hooky.

But here I am.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I am So Frustrated

Why? Why is it so hard to return a phone call?

I had a car accident on Jan. 28. I started to go for massage. For whatever reason, the massage therapist wasn’t being paid. Treatments were stopped, which I understand completely.

She needs to be paid.

I was told to look into it and I did. I called the therapist two weeks ago to tell her what she needed to do to get paid and offered to do it myself. I haven’t heard back.

At first I was OK with treatments stopping as it was affecting the amount of time I was spending with my son. However, my neck is getting more and more sore.

I am sure it’s my imagination, but I can feel my neck pushing on my spine, pushing on my back. I want to hold my neck up to relieve the pressure.

Actually, I just want it fixed.

I called the owner of the massage clinic as well as the man who was actually doing the massage today. Tonight, I will be calling my insurance company to let them know I will need another appraisal as I am going elsewhere.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A…Yah…I Have a Problem...

My 17-month-old loves the computer.

For his first birthday, my Dad (Popa) got him real keyboard, which he loved until he realized mine actually worked.

Now he will take his keyboard off the desk, drop it on the floor and point to mine, which I have put far out of his reach.

I would imagine he likes mine better because it actually does things– one button turns on the search function, another button pulls up the Internet and email. When he types and Word is up, characters appear on the page, and if you hold down a key long enough, it beeps.

It’s all quite exciting for a toddler.

The baby has done key commands that I didn’t know existed - and can’t repeat - such as locking the keyboard or, as happened last night, somehow changing the monitor setting.
Let me explain.

I have a wide-screen monitor. It’s fantastic. I can see the entire web page without having to scroll from side to side.

Not any longer.

My little guy has somehow made the page go in the opposite direction.

So instead of my page being more wide then long, it’s now more long then wide. It’s like my son has turned the screen so the top is shorter than the sides. But the physical screen is still wider than it is long so in order to see the page, you have to twist your.

The mouse is hard to use as well, likely because the screen is going in the wrong direction.

Does this make sense?

Can anyone tell me how to fix it?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sign Of Spring

Spring is here.

This was proven to me yesterday not by the bulbs popping out of the garden or the return of the robin, red-winged blackbird and Canada geese, but by the man towing his boat northbound.

Ah spring.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Picking On The City Of Toronto

I realized on my way home yesterday that I have been picking on the City of Toronto.

It’s just so easy.

The politicians are a laughable bunch, the mayor drives me crazy and, together, they do things that are just ridiculous. The City of Toronto claims to be world class and perhaps that is what drives me most crazy about the city – arrogance.

I hate arrogance. I hate people who think they are better than everyone else. The City of Toronto is not better than any other city or town in this country, just different. Each place offers a different way of life, different opportunities and different things that make it great.

However, picking on the City of Toronto is sort of like biting the hand that feeds me and for those who are reading my blog and who have never ventured to the city, I feel as thought I should also be talking about what makes it great.

So here are some of the reasons you should visit the City of Toronto:

The Ontario Science Centre.
This was my favourite place to visit as a kid because there are so many buttons to push and everything is hands-on and interactive. I haven’t been here since my now almost- 20-year-old stepdaughter was eight or nine – I took her for her birthday – but have read they now have activities for little ones as well.

Black Creek Pioneer Village.
This was also a favourite destination of mine. We would go here yearly on school trips. I still love to go through the village, and would do it weekly, to see how life was like in early Canada. They have a great restaurant now and their nighttime Christmas festival is wonderful.

Casa Loma.
For some reason I missed out on this as a school trip and went with a friend after college. It’s a beautiful building and many people get married on its grounds. If you saw Mike Myers movie Love Guru with Jessica Alba, you would have seen Casa Loma (Myer’s character’s home).

The Royal Ontario Museum.
You actually need more than a day to explore this museum.

The Bata Shoe Museum.
I am not a shoe fan but this was an interesting place. We took my stepdaughter’s friend here. The girls had a good time.

• Yonge Street, Queen Street and various neighbourhoods in the city.
My husband and I would actually love to grab a hotel in the city one night and just explore the city and its neighbourhoods. We have spent many days exploring the various streets, ‘towns’ that make up the city and historical sites. There are some beautiful buildings (old for us, new for European standards).

In May, Toronto hosts Doors Open, which is when buildings of historic or architecturally significant are open to the public free of charge. I would suggest coming to the city and checking it out.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It was Raining, It was Pouring

It was raining this morning so I sat in traffic for an extra half an hour.

However, I was thankful it was just rain.

Yesterday, the weather forecasters were predicting freezing rain north of the city, which is where I call home.

I don’t mind snowstorms. I can handle rain. But I hate freezing rain. As one local DJ commented on the radio last night, ‘What can you do with freezing rain?’

Slid, skid, loose control, crash. That is what you can do with freezing rain.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I received a parking ticket while downtown during an interview last week.

Five days later, I am still a tad put out and here is why:

• I didn’t notice a sign saying I couldn’t park on this small side street.
• I did notice the car behind me had a parking permit on its windshield. So I called the woman I was interviewing and asked if she knew if I could park on this residential street. She said the parking permit was so the resident could park overnight on his street and it was fine for me to be there.


So I interviewed this woman about pottery (fascinating, both the subject and the woman) and walked back to my car to find a yellow ticket flapping on my windshield.

According to the Toronto parking authority, you unable to park on this street Monday to Saturday from midnight to 7 p.m.

As I am terribly bad at directions, and I can’t parallel park, I always grab the first drive-in spot I can find.

In this case, it was pretty far down the road. As I was driving out, parking ticket beside me, I noticed the no parking sign at the top of the street.

I am paying the $30 ticket not because I think it’s right but because I am not driving back downtown to fight it.

It’s not worth it.

However, I did send a note along with my cheque with a suggestion to the City of Toronto.

Prior to hosting the 2015 Pan Am Games, the city needs to come up with some consistent parking rules and post multiple signs for the dos and don’ts of parking downtown.

I am not a mind reader. I don’t live in the City of Toronto so I do not know which streets allow parking on which side on which day. I don’t know which streets allow you to park without a permit and which ones require you to purchase the right to park.
I do not mind paying to park. In fact, I would rather just pay to avoid receiving a ticket.

So here is a suggestion for the money-hungry city – install ticketed parking metres on one side of every street.

That way people will know where to without having to read the City of Toronto parking manual.

On a side note, no matter how angry I was about receiving a ticket, I would not punch the parking person in the face, as one man is accused of doing in East York over the weekend.

Regardless, parking ticket people are just doing their jobs and the driver who is accused of the sucker punch should give his head a shake and get some help for his obvious anger issues.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Little of This and A Little of That

My son decided sleeping wasn’t necessary last night.

He was awake – and quite happy – between midnight and 3 a.m. He was chatting, singing, clapping, hitting himself in the face (why do they do that?) and attempting to scale the wall. He finally fell asleep and the alarm went off a short two hours later.

New Sickness

He woke up at midnight with another cold. The poor guy just got over the flu.

Fridays vs Sundays
People are always excited about Fridays.
Fridays are great; it signals the last day of the workweek but the problem with Fridays is you still have to make it through the day. And when it’s a lovely 18 degrees out there (64 F) and sunny, with the forecast turning cold on the weekend, it’s even harder to be inside.

I like Sundays best.
Even though it’s the last day of the weekend and you are starting to mentally prepare for Monday, Sundays have always been a family day for me.

Saturdays can be busy with running around or visiting, but Sundays are nice to just hang out with your loved ones and enjoy the last day of relaxing before work.

Happy weekend everyone.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It’s 18 C Today (AKA 64 F)

It’s going to be a warm one today.

The local meteorologist is saying the temperature is going to reach 18 C today, which is about 64 F for our American friends.

Apparently 18 degrees is close to breaking a record set in 1966, when the mercury reached 18.9.

Record breaking or not, it’s going to 18 degrees with sunshine.

Bring it on.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cloth diaper Users Take Note...

I discovered a new online cloth diaper store –

My freelance suggested a piece on cloth diapers and interviewed a mom who had started an online business after realizing cloth diapering, for her, was the way to go. Within the article she mentioned a diaper pail liner that could be thrown in the washing machine along with the diapers so there was no touching required.

Perfect, as I not only handled dirty diapers several times more than necessary, I was also using green garbage bags, which were smelly and would get moldy.

So I contacted the source my freelancer used in her story. About a month later, there was still no answer from her and while I appreciate she is a mom with a business, customer service is still customer service and I expect a phone call or an email back in a reasonable time.

So then I went on Google and simply typed in 'cloth diapers'. I checked out several online stores until I found

Also run by moms with young children, this business offered excellent customer service.

I ordered the diaper pail liner and four hemp inserts. According to, hemp inserts offer excellent protection for heavy wetters or to keep your baby dry overnight.

And anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows the issues I have had with a wet baby with both cloth and disposables.

So I ordered four. not only had the ordered processed in record time (and quickly corrected a mistake I made in ordering), the package arrived at my local post office within a week.

I still haven’t heard back from the original person.

So those who use cloth, or thinking of going that route, is a great source for all things cloth.

As a side note
, the hemp inserts work really well. My son was wet one night but I think it was because the diaper wrap I used was too big. If I use a smaller wrap, he is dry after a 12-hour sleep with drinking through the night.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Help! I am Lost Again

On Wednesday I had to drive to the Hospital for Sick Children in downtown Toronto.
My husband was supposed to go with me but he fell victim to the flu that my son brought home on the weekend and I had to fly solo.

I have driven to Sick Kids dozens of times yet I am one of those people who can’t retain directions.

Let’s just say if the police closed down my route to work, I would have to really think about how to get there another way.

It’s sad really.

So my husband gave me directions on how to get downtown, including what he said was the off-ramp from the Gardiner Expressway.

He lied.

OK, he didn’t lie per se, but he gave me lackadaisical directions including an off-ramp that didn’t exist.

We have been together for 10 years now. You would think one would know you can’t do that.

If you tell me to get off at say, York, I will get off at York or at least I will stay on until I find York, which in this case didn’t exist.

I knew I had missed my turnoff when I was past the Air Canada Centre and travelling west. I called him telling him I was getting of at Dunn Avenue and had no idea where I was or how to get back to where I was suppose to be.

He informed me he didn’t know where I was either and had no idea how to get me back to where I was suppose to be.


So I turned right and hoped I was heading at least in the correct direction. I had a lovely tour through Parkdale, one of the communities we cover in my job at a newspaper.

Eventually my husband called me and directed me to where I was suppose to go.

Unfortunately, the City of Toronto was against me. Everywhere I wanted to turn left, I couldn’t. If I wanted to turn right, I couldn’t. Eventually, my son and I made it to his appointment – minutes to spare.

I am happy to report we did not get lost getting back onto the Gardiner Expressway, or getting home.


Monday, March 15, 2010

As Promised …. Hummus Recipe

I have been promising Danielle from Humes, Party of Three this recipe for months now.

It’s been even longer for my freelancer, Maria Tzavaras.

I apologize to both of them for tempting them, Maria physically, with the goods and not delivering.

I wish I could take credit for this recipe but that goes to Canadian Living, a fantastic magazine that never fails to provide timely information and fantastic recipes.

Herbed hummus dip

Makes 2 cups
1 can (19 oz/540 ml) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp each lemon juice and water
2 tbsp light mayonnaise
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ tsp each dried dillweed and salt
pinch pepper
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced (it makes a good and hot, yummy)
1 green onion, chopped
In a food processor, blend chickpeas, lemon juice, water, mayonnaise, oil, dillweed, salt and pepper until smooth; stir in parsley, garlic and onion.
Make a head: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days.

Nutritional information:
Per 1 tbsp: about 23 calories; 1 g protein; 1 g total fat (trace saturated fat); 3 g carbs; 1 g fibre; 0 mg chol; 60 mg sodium.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Changing Canada’s National Anthem

I heard someone in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office is considering changing the words to Canada’s national anthem.

When I heard that on the news this morning, I swore.

I rarely swear.

Apparently, people are offended, or at least concerned, about the words: True patriot love in all thy ‘sons’ command.

According to local radio station 680News, in the 1990s, Toronto Council asked the federal government to change the lyrics to our anthem. In addition to taking offense to ‘sons’, they also wanted to change ‘Our home and native land,’ to ‘Our home and cherished land.’

Yes, that seems something Toronto council would worry about. This was likely the same group of people who attempted to change the words Christmas tree to Holiday tree.

Are people so sensitive they think Canada only supports its ‘sons’ and not its daughters? Are we still living in a world where we have to be politically correct? Who are the people who have so much time on their hands they have to worry about making everything equal? I appreciate equality. I appreciate the strides women have come in become equal. I believe we have, for the most part, achieved equality. I do not need some gender-neutral word inserted into our national anthem.

On behalf of the normal Canadians of the world, leave our anthem along.

O Canada lyrics
O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Visit for more information about Canada’s national anthem and to listen to the words.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Warren Cartwright Photography

I ordered some photos from my brother’s website yesterday.

My older brother, Warren Cartwright, is one of THOSE people. You know the type – the people who are good at everything.

My brother was the guy who went through high school believing his future held a career in marine biology, only to change his mind in his last year and decide to be a graphic designer instead.

Math, science AND art. Why is that fair?

A new venture for my brother is photography and you can see by his website – – he is really good at it.

I never tire looking through this site and encourage everyone to do the same. I ordered a few photos from his African collection to hang in my son’s room.

My absolute favourite picture is under the ‘underwater’ header and is of the jellyfish. It’s such a powerful image.

However, if I was diving and saw that in my path, I think I would be rapidly swimming up and away.

The black and whites are spectacular and the flowers are beautiful as well.

Take some time to poke around the site and order a picture or two for your walls.

Joanne Abrahams from Coconut Palm Designs conducted an interview with Warren about his photography. You can see it by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It’s Tuesday

How often are you excited about a Tuesday?

It’s not Wednesday, hump day, the mid-week point. It’s not Friday, the end of the long week. It’s Tuesday.

But it’s sunny outside. It’s warm. And the snow is melting.

Yah, Tuesday.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cracked under Pressure

I have watched a lot of hockey.

I come from a hockey family; both my brothers played, my Dad played and we watched Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night.

Hockey-watching newbies think the game is in the bag if the home team is up a goal or two with a couple of minutes left to play.

I don’t feel that way.

I have seen the home team loose with seconds left in the game.

Case in point, the Olympic gold medal game between Canada and the U.S.

We were up a goal with a couple of minutes left and while my husband was confident, I was holding our son a little more tightly than was necessary.

And at the 30-second left mark, what I fear will happened, happened.

The U.S. scored, tying the game and pushing us into overtime.

And then I cracked.

I don’t need that kind of stress in my life. So my son and I went home, played, had dinner and a bath.

When I heard the door open about a hour later, my heart sank.
‘Well?’ I asked.
We won.


Later, while watching the highlights, I remembered the other reason I don’t need to watch hockey any more.

The other goalie.

Perhaps because my older brother is a goalie, my heart goes out to those who play this position.

And when I watched the U.S. goalie fall to his knees after letting in Canada’s winning goal, my heart broke.

Hockey watching just isn’t for me.