Tag Archive | friends

Wrap-up: a busy weekend!

May really starts to ramp up stuff to do in Toronto – and although the weather hasn’t been as Spring-y as we’ve all expected it was still great to get out to be in the city for things. With TCAF coming up next weekend, and Doors Open later in the month, I don’t think I’ll be having the lazy weekends I’ve been rocking all winter inside much longer.

ROM Revealed! The Royal Ontario Museum is running a lot of excellent programming for its 100 year anniversary. They offered a unique look behind the scenes this past weekend with their free-of-charge “ROM Revealed” tours – you could select their cultural or natural history collections to visit and wander through the back-of-house collection areas. My friends and I had booked tickets nice and early and went pretty much first thing – we had a wee wander around the museum first (admission that weekend was free of charge also) checking out the geology and paleontology galleries. Then we hopped into line for the ‘Epic Civilizations’ tour. It was fascinating for me to see the collection areas as someone who’s worked as a collection manager/assistant before – and the range of things we were able to wander by to see was great! New World Archaeology, the Porcelain & Glass Collections, the Egyptian/Middle Eastern/Asian collections – plus, the conservation labs! They had staff on hand in all sections to chat about the objects being highlighted from the collections, and the conservators were talking about their technique and the objects they are working on right now. (We saw the painting conservator in action, working on a really sooty painting – fascinating stuff.) It was a great experience, even though it made me sad to have fallen out of that type of museum work (it seems to be a tough industry to crack back into if you’ve been out for a number of years like I have).

Standing on the moon.

Standing on the moon. (Geology Gallery)

View towards the Chinese galleries, from up near the entrance to the Epic Civilizations tour. Royal Ontario Museum.

View towards the Chinese galleries, from up near the entrance to the Epic Civilizations tour.

Bampot Bohemian House of Tea and Board GamesAfter our wandering, some of us went to this new little cafe at Bathurst and Harboard in the South Annex. It’s charming and lovely! I hope if I move out of the neighbourhood that I can get back here often. It’s a small and cozy tea cafe that also has a decently sized board game collection – but we just decided to sip tea and do some knitting/crafting. (Which one of the owners was enthusiastic about, as they have a knitting night on Mondays!). There are lots of little nooks, and some tables, plus raised up platform seating littered with cushions and rugs. A vegan-friendly menu, too! Looking forward to my next visit, perhaps for games. I wonder if they need a vegan baking / board game nerd on staff.. Hmm.

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Tea and craft and snacks! @ Bampot.

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Front counter at Bampot - their logo & sign, and menus

Front counter at Bampot – their logo & sign, and menus

Delightful one-person nook seating with foldout table

Delightful one-person nook seating with foldout table

Some of the board game collection

Some of the board game collection

*cue montage of board game playing at a friend’s house plus not much sleeping*

Vegan Bake Sale day! Star Wars Day! I got up bright and early to whip up some GF vegan cake donuts to contribute to a Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale event coordinated by MeShell & her beau JC. The sale raised over $700 for Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary, and I’m happy I was able to contribute to that. Plus, there was some Star Wars day action – May the Fourth was with all of us.

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May the Fourth be with you! #starwarsday

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Hot Docs! I had two screenings on Sunday to finish up my Hot-Doccing (reviews soon!). After the first, and then dropping by very briefly to Adam’s boss’ birthday party, I killed a little time reading in the soon-to-close Chapters at John and Richmond – I found there was a real actual fireplace up on the top floor, so I grabbed a chair & read for a while until heading to see Vessel at the Scotiabank cinema.

My Hot Docs ticket for Vessel

My Hot Docs ticket for Vessel

Not to mention I totally missed Free Comic Book Day, and the Jane’s Walks! PHEW. So much. Time to gird my loins for TCAF this weekend.


Things I love – and I’m managing to post on Thursday!

What a week! After the first weekend of the Gathering I came home to Toronto for work and my friend Amy being in town. Tomorrow I’m back to the Gathering for the last weekend! I love it.

I also loved having Amy here. What top notch company she is! Plus, we ate the delicious foods. We got to lunch at Hogtown Vegan while I caught up with another of my English friends who’s in town periodically. Then a very civilised grown up dinner at Grasslands last night before she scooted home today! Company and food = win.

My work week has been highs and lows of busy, sometimes to the extreme. Today was long, but worthwhile. Many things to be fond of. Leftovers from meeting food, my boss telling me I’m great, plus getting to sit in on a trans*/gender ID informational training session!

I love that chill out feeling, getting to catch up in shows while hanging out and crafting in the couch. I watched a terrific show on Netflix called the Bletchley Circle, which I highly recommend. Plus I caught up on SHIELD in the wake of Captain America 2.

And I love the feeling of total physical satisfaction when flopping into bed at the end of a long day/week. Which is the blissful state in which I am now going to slip out of and into slumber. Onward into Friday, dear readers! Onward into a weekend of friends and fun and games!

Things I Love Last Minute Thursday

Oh gosh, has this week felt long. Big days, and tonight has been my first catch up/try to laze day – I’ve been watching a lot of Agents of SHIELD that I’ve missed, because I went to see Captain America: Winter Solider last night. Which I loved! Which ties into…

..how I love taking dumb selfies of myself in front of things I know my friends love. For instance, here I am in front of a Cap poster at the cinema tonight to share with my Cap-o-phile friend Katy in London.

Me and Cap, y'know.

I did a quick bit of errand-running in my neighbourhood after work, and I dropped into Apiecalypse Now! bakery (which I love) and ran into Ashley from Bunners, who is lovely! (And who has a cookbook imminent, which everyone should love). All of that plus delicious treats like chocolate sauce and a PB & chocolate cookie sammich? LOVE UP IN THIS BUSINESS.

Photo credit: Apiecalypse Now (click to see their page and DROOL).

Tomorrow I bundle into a car with Adam & our friend Kris and head to beautiful downtown Niagara Falls NY to hole up in a hotel and play a sweet motherload of board games. This is our second year attending the ‘Gathering of Friends’ convention, run by Alan Moon (he of Ticket to Ride fame). So many great folks, gaming opportunities, fun, chances to play prototypes and generally nerd out for days. I can only go on the weekends, but I’m gonna squeeze fun out like nobody’s business. Last year I got to try one of my now-favourite party games, Pick a Pig! I hope I come away with many more faves this year.

And in between those weekends my friend Amy will be in town for London! Hangouts and gorging on vegan food is imminent! YAY! I am so fond of having friends come to stay. (You may have noticed my fondness for friends earlier in the week).

Lastly, I have been loving my new wallet for a while now. I found it randomly at a store called Outer Layer on Bloor in my ‘hood, the brand is Shiraleah. I’d been looking for a smaller wallet to scale down to (in my attempt to use smaller/no purses) and this has been perfect! I keep the few cards I need plus a wee bit of money in there and i’m good. It’s pretty similar to this; I noticed it on the shelf because it was clearly marked as vegan!

A Farewell (or how I have too many friends spread out all over the world, damnit).

Fiona, Candice & Me. Those faces.

Fiona, Candice & Me. Those faces.

Having been temporarily living in places that aren’t my home country since 2007, I’ve had to say more than my fair share of goodbyes to friends. I have a lot of wonderful people in my life outside where I’ve now settled down (and great folks here too!) – keeping in touch can be tough, but I know everyone that matters to me makes an effort, as I do. Sometimes there’ll be visits, no matter how fleeting. I haven’t seen my BFF since I was living in London in, but he’s still a part of my life & will always be – as much as the time difference between here & Australia is a pain. When you have people in your life whose company puts you at ease, who you feel comfortable around and who you love, they are your family and the distance can be a pain in the butt, but isn’t the end of the world.

But knowing this doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to a dear friend when you’re not sure when you’ll see them next. Brains and hearts are strange in that way. I’ve known Candice for a couple of years now – we met doing baking magic at a board game cafe and got along like a house on fire. A new friend at work slowly became a fast friend in life, seemingly effortlessly. That’s the kind of thing that makes you know you’ll know someone for many years. Through the board game nights, hanging out on patios, mutually experienced work woes/good times/dancing in the kitchen, playing Talisman and drinking with our friend Fiona, talking nonsense on the couch at the end of a party to the bemusement of onlookers, how wonderful it was to see the art she made, shouting Lemongrab-ian quotes at each other, and all of the times she would listen when I needed her to – that’s a damn fine friend. Without question.

After a few bar stops at her farewell last night, we ended up at the Victory Cafe in the Annex – a frequent home for our patio jaunts the last couple of years. It was about time for me to pumpkin & get to bed for work, and as I was getting my shit together I realised something. In that packed room, with about 20 or so people – we were all there because we have these wonderful memories and feelings for our friend, she means so much to all of us that we had to see her off with a rambunctious showing of love and drinking. It was so nice to be in that moment and see tangibly how awesome a person is by the outpouring of love and farewells for them! It made me recall my Australian / London goodbyes quite fondly, I’ll be honest.

So while the goodbye was inevitable, and kinda sucks, I look forward to the day where Candice and I will be in the same place again – I know it’ll happen. We can grab a pint and sit down to catch up on life, how much Adventure Time we’ve both been watching lately, and how she’ll probably be a famous artist and shit by then. It’s going to be awesome, just like it is whenever I get to see/hear from the rest of my friends sprinkled around the globe. What a wonderful bunch of folks I am lucky to know.

And bud, I’m gonna miss you. Give the motherland hell.

Things Making Me Happy/I Love Thursday

I hear that today is the UN International Day of Happiness. How fortuituous that it falls on a Things I Love Thursday. It’s also a nice reminder that sometimes it can be hard to be happy, and to find happiness in your life. I think doing TILT (almost) every week helps me do that to a certain degree, and remember how lucky I am, too. The Action For Happiness folks who are behind a lot of the International Day of Happiness have a good list of actions to pick from to help foster happiness in yourself and others, too. In addition, they have a resource page if you’re unhappy, which is helpful too (barring the UK-specific contact stuff).

So, what I am I happy about today? What makes me happy, how do I make others happy?

I love making people laugh. I’m not professional comedian funny, but I can throw out a joke/bad pun/goofy face to good results. Seeing my sense of humour light someone’s face up is something I love, and it definitely makes me happy – and it’s something that I need to focus on more often because it’s a good indicator of how my general mood is.

I love Pop Culture Happy Hour. They’re generally always talking about all sorts of interesting things, and the most recent episode I listened to – The Naked and the Nerds – was really great! Plus, the host Linda Holmes does a round-up at the end of every episode for the segment “What’s Making Us Happy” – which is always a varied and entertaining bunch of stuff, and it’s a good source of things to seek out, pop culturally! This week the graphic novel The Shadow Hero was mentioned, and the way Glen Weldon was talking about it made me add it to my list of ‘to read’ stuff right away!

At the end of April I’ll be finishing up my temp job, so I’m starting to find the nerve to look for something else. My friends helping me out with looking over job applications, and sending positions of interest my way! I am super freaked out about/terrible at job hunting, so it’s nice to have the support there to help me along. Plus my current boss looking over the applications too means a lot! What lovely people in my life.

Speaking of lovely people, I really must point out once again that I dearly love Adam, and I’m so happy that he’s in my life. When I’m finding it hard to push through the sads, he’s there for me – understanding and supportive. Things I Love Thursday isn’t something that follows me naturally throughout every day, but Adam can help me toward that a little more. That guy is the best guy.

I hope, dear reader, that you have happiness today, and every day!

Things I Love Thursday Time!

Well, with the stupidly weird “10c one day, -17c the next” sort of business the weather is pulling here, it’s hard to be happy about much. Don’t get me wrong, I love the cold weather – it’s just the flip flopping it keeps doing that is disheartening! However, there are always some shiny things to be happy about despite that – and even if it takes a little effort to think of them, it’s really worth it.

  • Even though it was super brisk this morning, Adam & Jake walked me to work. It’s so much nicer than trudging in on my own!
  • Tonight Adam and I are going to see the Veronica Mars movie! We failed utterly in getting the rewatch (or first time around watch for Adam) done, but we did the highlights of season 2 and have watched about 1/3 of season 3. I am super excited to see the movie, much more than I realised!
  • I’ve been having a good social media week. Lots of good discussion, interaction and generally lovely people. Which I don’t feel happens much for me now on Twitter.
  • Getting excited to attend some of the Gathering of Friends game con next month – I can’t be there as much as last year, so I’ll have to squeeze in lots of fun and games for the weekends I do go.
  • Hosting game nights, or taking games to friends’ places for gatherings. It’s been a very gamey couple of weeks for us! I love it.
  • QUIZ UP!! This trivia app is now available on Android, and I can’t stop playing it! There are so many categories it’s hard to stop swinging about them all, but I’ve been really enjoying the Parks & Rec category, and actually kicking butt in both the Canada and Australia categories! Woo! I urge you to give it a go if you have a compatible device.
    Quiz Up banner - Android is Here! Four coloured Android logos.





And after the last couple of quite busy weeks/weekends of social gatherings and whatnot, I love that this weekend I actually have nothing planned. Oh my gosh introvert fuel cells, we’ll fill you up by golly. Enjoy your weekends, folks!

It’s time to love up all on Thursday.

My skin’s been drier this winter than any before it, so I’m particularly in love with Lush’s Charity Pot moisturizing lotion right now. It smells so good, it’s not heavy on my skin, it keeps my skin nice (when I remember to use it enough!) plus the proceeds go to “small, grassroots charities and projects working on behalf of the environment and conservation, animal protection, and for human rights.” Win win win win.

I love that my friend Liz is coming to town tomorrow with her mister, James. YAY. Last time she was here was a couple of years ago, and although we’ve seen her & James when visiting London, it’s always nice to have my London pals come here. I miss ’em all. Here are our faces from when she visited last. We are adorable. I can’t wait to smush Canada all over James! WELCOME TO MAPLE LAND!!

Recently we tinkered with our Netflix which means we can watch the USA stuff. Which means that Adam and I have been rabidly inhaling Parks & Recreation (we just finished season 3!) and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I am fairly particular about what comedy I enjoy, and a lot of stuff like the Office, 30 Rock etc doesn’t actually make me laugh out loud, or much at all. But everything about Parks & Rec has been a wonderful and amusing ride so far. The hilarity of everyone’s comic timing, facial expressions, goofy things. I LOVE IT. Oh man. I want to be watching it always.

I love the Simpsons – up to a point. The older stuff is so genius. I will still pepper conversations with random quotes to this day, I can sing along with all the musical numbers. It’s become one with my brain. I was randomly browsing screenshots yesterday, and this came up in a social network feed today, just reminding me what a gem of comedy it is. One of my all-time favourite Homer/Homer’s brain exchanges: