Archive for December, 2004

Canadian Embassy

I was listening to the news this morning as they were interviewing Canadian survivors who were vacationing in Phuket, Thailand during the quake and tsunami.

Apparently, a certain embassy of the Canadian kind isn’t being all that helpful to our fellow Canadians.

The survivors are without money or personal indentification of any sort. It will most likely take them at least ten days to process new passports. Understandable.

What isn’t understandable is the fact that they are peniless and the embassy is asking charging them for said passports.

A fee? You have GOT to be kidding me.

People have died. Over 55,000 where 1/3rd of the deceased are children. Children for crying out loud. Death will not stop just yet as the aftermath will take it’s toll on those living and/or stuck in such areas.

The only thing money should be of any concern are the money going towards donations in relief of this emergency situation.

It’s incredibly mind-bloggling. And embarrassing to say the least.

In Support of Southeast Asia

My philosophy… we are all connected in this world. I don’t think I am the person I am today without some influence, at the least, from others. From those who live next door to those that live across the world.

I understand that this blog is meant for Toronto. People, events and other interpretations of our city.

Yet, as our blog is connected with that of other Metblogs around the world, I’d like to speak out in support of our fellow members in Thailand after being hit by the disaster of the earth quake. While I am thankful that some friends such as Bangkok Metblog writers Paul, Rasee and Teaz0r are safe, their friends and family whom have been affected by this disaster will be in my prayers tonight.

For those who wish to make a donation to the Canadian Red Cross, you can donate online:

https://secure.csfm.com/redcross/

My family carpooled to go have dinner at my sister’s house in Eastern Toronto yesterday. My father told me that as they drove over the Bloor viaduct, my 10-year-old cousin had asked about the barricading built along either side of it. He told her it was for catching birds. He figured she wasn’t ready to find out it was really for catching people, to ruin the happiness of her Christmas day with the true explanation.

Solitude Before Christmas

Come this time of year, I always make it a point to find some solitude before all the holiday festivities. The energy in the air feels as if the entire city breathes rapidly like one whole being during the frenzy right before the holidays.

Having completed my shopping, I realized that with only just a few days away from Christmas, I needed to fill in some alone time in my hectic schedule. This tradition must be kept. If not just for my sanity, but a chance to reflect on this past year, to ask myself where I am in life and to question my own happiness.

Luckily, my husband had the day off. He graciously took over taking care of our baby and shooed me out of the house. “Get out,” he said, “go pick up your book at the library and get your Starbuck’s gingerbread latte! Go! Shoo!”
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Dollarama

After taking my baby to her music and movement class, I found myself, once again, at the Dollarama store adjacent to the Scarborough East Family Centre.

It’s amazing what parenthood does to some one like me. A few years ago, had Metroblog existed then (or blogging in general), it would have been extremely probable that I would be typing away about nothing that didn’t involve clubbing.

Now, a new mom, I find myself only being able to offer my excitement about a franchised dollar store.

But wait… hear me out. Everything is just for a dollar. A mere loonie. Yet, unlike other dollar stores that came and went, I’m amazed at the quality of their merchandise. I have successfully bought all my Christmas decorations and stocking stuffers just at this place.

Best of all, a month ago, I participated in our yearly tradition known as the Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child.

In just one store, I was able to buy toilettries, school supples, toys and much, much more, to be packed away in a shoe box and sent away to a child or two from a third world country.

Tis the season to give.

Christmas Tree 911

We went to Home Depot in our area to pick up a Christmas tree for this year. To our horror, they were sold out. And not only were they sold out, but other places were either sold out, or asking anywhere from $50-70 for each tree.

$50-70? Forget that!

After two days of dragging our baby around, looking for a tree just so we could experience our first Christmas with her the right way, we finally found an independent seller on the corner of Hwy 7 and McCowan.

Honestly… we were completely caught off guard with how fast the trees went this year. I decided to do some research on out of town tree farms just in case we ever find ourselves in this situation again.

For those who are having trouble tracking down a tree for a reasonable price, here’s a link from Toronto.com that features a list of Christmas tree providers:

www.toronto.com/feature/13162/trees.html.

I did skim through this list and found myself visiting websites to tree farms up in Stouffville, where my family and I will most likely drive up to for next year’s tree.

My take on tree farms… what a great excuse to spend the day with one’s family and/or friends outside in the crisp, cold winter air. Some places provide tobogganing, free hot chocolate or hot cider and a fire place.

fundraising dinner

Last night I attended a fundraising dinner put on by one of my sister’s friends. Rahul Singh is raising money for a charity to fund a hospital in Cambodia, this hospital receives no funding from the country’s government, and doctors from elsewhere volunteer their time there. As soon as I got there, I was asked, “so, are you a paramedic too?” It was a start to a couple of animated conversations; it was a fun night. The organization’s website is www.dmgf.org, check it out and see what they are doing. I was struck by their energy and how far-reaching their projects are.

Sushi BONG!!!

I’m a huge fan of hidden gems in Toronto. Especially when it comes to food. After all, food is such a great way to celebrate life!

My best friends came over with take-out sushi (my request) this past Sunday. The quick email a few days before to solidify the plans had given me a chance to crunch this crave of mine.

“Sushi! From where ever is most convenient… I trust your judgement. Just bring lots of it over. Beer’s on us…” was all I had to say.

Come Sunday, our dining table was covered with different types of sushi. All for a very reasonable price, and all seafood ingredients were fresh and of high quality.

I asked, “Where did you get this take out?”

The answer… ‘Sushi BONG!’ And I type the second word in capitals because whoever decided to name their restaurant with the word ‘BONG!’ in it right after the word ‘sushi’ can only be described as groovy and cool (and I mean that in the most complimenting way).

Apparently, the owner’s last name is named ‘BONG!’ At least that’s what I’ve been told…

www.toronto.com/profile/807266/

Tip: Their maki rolls are stuffed with different goodies. Take heed that it doesn’t take much to fill up the stomach. Each tray comes with more wasabi then you need. Needless to say, I was in heaven.

Who doesn’t like a party?

Every year I make the religious trek south to Buffalo to take in a Bills game. In fact, that’s an understatement. I’ve been to Cleveland, Green Bay, Atlanta, Detroit, and New York for games too. Last night, I was in DC and headed over to the Redskins game. I don’t go because I love football. I don’t go because I love the teams. I go because I love a party. So what gives, Canada?
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Toronto Zoo: The 29th Annual Christmas Treats Walk

Back in September, where Toronto was gifted with warm and sunny days, my husband and I took our daughter to the zoo (click on photo).

We’re very lucky to live so close to one of the third largest zoos of North America. Not only is it one of the largest zoos but has an excellent research and education program about endangered and vanishing species.

Visit the zoo on December 26th. Bring a non-perishable food item for the food bank to the main entrance at 10am and enjoy free admission. Visit www.torontozoo.com for more information.

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