kleinberg, nyc and kingston oh my

Posted on August 19, 2007. Filed under: The boy(s), Travelling |

It’s funny but August seems to be my traditional month of busy-ness. Last year was exciting because Brian moved home and we had a jam-packed week with a wedding, opera, and then I went to England for two weeks.

This week was so fun and crazy busy! I took Monday off and Brian and I went to Kleinberg for the day. I used to go there as a kid with my mom and grandma. We would get all dressed up and have a lovely day out for lunch, tea and shopping. It was always such a special place for us to spend time together and I loved how the village looked. I would always get a little treat from one of the stores. My grandma loved the McMichael Art Gallery and we always ate at The Doctor’s House. From when I was about four, I always wanted to get married in the church that was right beside the restaurant.

So I wanted to take Brian to this place that was important to me and we had a great time. We got tea and coffee and walked through the village to the gallery. We looked at the beautiful artwork and bought some prints. Then went to a fantastic pub for a late lunch (I had the best mussels I’ve had in Ontario!). It was simply a lovely, perfect day.

Then I went to NYC for the first time. It was my first business trip ever and I was so excited. I flew into the city early in the morning and went directly to our offices. I loved them! And I loved everyone there — I felt immediately comfortable in the city and with everyone I met. When I had a free bit of time I wandered up to Times Square and then went out for dinner. After dinner I crashed, then got up early and walked down Fifth Avenue and to Central Park. I loved it! Every bit of it! Then I headed out to Bloomingdales and felt poor, so I went across the street to urban outfitters and bought a couple of things (because you can’t not buy something on your first trip to New York). I got to the airport really early and asked to fly standby. Which turned out to be a fantastic decision because they had overbooked flights and there was weather causing a back up. I learned one important thing — standby isn’t all about first come first serve, it’s about how many points you have on your aeroplan card and how much your ticket was. Luckily I got on a flight ahead of when mine was supposed to leave which actually left after mine was supposed to — so who knows when mine finally did. Anyway, it was a fantastic experience and I can’t wait to go back.

Then I got home and after a quick nights sleep went to Kevin’s soccer game and then headed up to Kingston to meet Brian who was heading down from Ottawa. We went to his friends wedding and it was a lovely day. Ironically the wedding we went to last year was on the same date and that couple was there, spending their anniversary at another wedding. Kind of romantic. It was the first wedding ever that I didn’t get teary eyed at though. I wonder if I will ever walk down the aisle — until this past year I would have said never in a million years, but now I’m liking the idea. Don’t get me wrong, I’m nowhere near angling for a ring, but should the situation arise, I would contemplate accepting a proposal from the right person.

And now I’m back home and ready to head out for sales conference — I’m completely exhausted and love the whirlwind life. The other best part is that I didn’t get a B12 shot last week and I’m not feeling the affects despite the insanity of the week and the consistent lack of sleep. Here’s hoping that I can reduce the frequency of shots.

And the rambling concludes here.

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NYC trip!

Posted on August 6, 2007. Filed under: Candida, Travelling |

Work is sending me on my very first business trip to NYC. I’ll only be there one night, but will be right near Time’s Square — any tips on what to do with about an hour of free time? Or any candida-friendly restaurants that you know of nearby? I’m so excited — it’s going to be my first time in NYC ever and, since I’m condo poor, it will also double as a trip I couldn’t normally take.

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to ottawa and back

Posted on June 30, 2007. Filed under: The boy(s), Travelling |

I took the train up to Ottawa on Tuesday night and it was only about an hour late because we broke down just outside of Gananoque. Brian met me at the train and we wandered around the city, trying to find food.

I met my cousin and his wife the next day for lunch. We haven’t had an actual conversation probably for 20 some odd years, so it was nice to talk as grown ups. Then I met up with two of my old housemates from Queen’s for dinner. And I have not had that much fun or laughed that hard since we lived together four years ago. Seriously. That was the absolute best year and I really wish we could get together more often than once every four years or so.

Brian was up there for a two week session with the NAC. We went to the final concert on Thursday night — all young, accomplished conductors. And it was really neat to see 5 conductors perform pieces back-to-back. We then booted it out of town, and stayed in Kingston overnight. We found a cheap, local motel that was actually really nice. After a quick breakfast with Brian’s friend Sean we were back to Toronto.

At my parents, my other housemate from Queen’s, and one of my closest friends happened to call — completing the reunion 🙂

I then raced home to see if the fish was okay (I was fish sitting for Brian) and he did not look so hot. Kind of hovering near the top of the bowl and not really moving. I was really quite worried as I’ve already grown quite attached to the fish. But he’s in new water and right as rain now.

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rapid transit in toronto

Posted on June 15, 2007. Filed under: Climate Change, Environment, gta, public transit, Travelling |

I am SO excited at the potential prospect of my dream come through — rapid transit and more subways in the GTA! Here’s hoping it actually happens.

I am constantly frustrated with public transit (especially when I come home from London and wish that the tube could be superimposed over the GTA).  (I’ve talked about taking the train before) Not only does it take over an hour to get from the outer lines of the GO train into the downtown core, but most of the lines only run a few trains in the morning (4 usually) and in the rush-hour time. This is not acceptable. Also, I still have to drive to the station and, in Mississauga, there are no spots by 7:30. That’s right, all 770 spots are full by the time the second train has pulled out — what happens to those who want to take the next 3 trains? Ridiculous!

Everyone should live within 10 minutes walking distance from a train or subway station and trains should run all day and frequently.

I do take the train and subway as much as I can. I still have a 20 minute drive to the subway but only a 7 minute trip to the train station. I don’t take the busses, however, because I can drive anywhere they’re going to take me faster, so why would I?

This is one great step and I have my fingers crossed!

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our trip — part two — the coast

Posted on June 2, 2007. Filed under: The boy(s), Travelling |

After our first few days in San Francisco, with our rental car secured, Brian and I left the city and headed for the coast. We travelled down windy highway 1 where the cliffs gave way to the ocean and it was beautiful.

A few hours in we stopped at Big Sur and went into a little artsy store where Brian found a gorgeous painting.  Back in the car a few minutes later we spotted a sign for The Henry Miller Memorial Library. I didn’t know that Henry Miller had lived in Big Sur but the library was this cool little bookstore and outside was a stage with couches for concerts. It was right up my alley. We looked around inside for a bit and of course I couldn’t leave without buying a copy of Tropic of Cancer. We stopped in San Simeon for the night in a Motel 6 after having a lovely dinner overlooking the ocean. Our waitress actually apologized to us, when she brought the bill, for George Bush.

The next morning we stopped in a little down called Cambria and went into some galleries and did some shopping then it was on our way through Santa Barbara — we stopped just outside of the city for lunch and some important hat shopping then went through L.A. (we didn’t stop at all) and we made it to San Diego in the early evening where we stopped again for a couple of days.

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our trip — part one — san francisco

Posted on May 23, 2007. Filed under: The boy(s), Travelling |

After months of not seeing much of one another, Brian and I finally got to spend some quality vacation time together. We  flew to San Francisco about a week ago and checked into an old hotel called Nob Hill Hotel. It’s 100 years old and has so much character and charm. The staff were wonderful and the room was adorable and quaint. Definitely a hotel worth staying at. The first night we fought off jet lag by walking aimlessly around downtown. We meandered, looking for a restaurant that I could eat at, and stumbled upon a nice thai place near the Port of San Francisco.

Exhausted, we walked all the way back (uphill, I might remind you) and headed to bed. The next day was our touristy day. We went to Sears Fine Food for breakfast.  This is an adorable restaurant done up circa 1940. We actually had to line up outside, but the line moved quickly. From there we hiked across the city, visiting Coit Tower and it was a nice view of the city from the vantage point, but nothing spectacular. We stumbled across the Cable Car Museum on the way and it was very cool. You can actually see the cables being pulled and I had no idea that was how they worked — there’s actually a pulley/cable system beneath the streets that the car has to clamp onto.

From Coit Tower we managed to find our way to Fisherman’s Wharf and I had the best fresh crab ever at one of the oldest restaurants around.

Then, the main attraction: Alcatraz. We had been looking forward to this tour for a long time and were told that we had to book ahead through Alcatraz Tours to get a place and so we did. It cost about $90 Canadian for the two of us to get these tickets. We lined up with a few hundred other people and got seats on the top deck. The view of Alcatraz as we approached was eerie and cool. The view of the city was breathtaking. We couldn’t hear the audio in the boat because it was somewhat broken. But we managed to get over to the island in once piece. We got off the boat with the first 100 people and headed up 2 somewhat steep hills (or they seemed steep because our legs were wrecked from walking so much). The first thing the tour guide said to us was “does anyone have any questions?” Um, sure “what the hell is everything around us?”. He then talked about the movie The Rock and a Clint Eastwood movie for a bit before we continued up the hill. So far, we were both unimpressed.

But I was still excited.

We got inside and were given audios.

With 100 other people and a few hundred behind us we couldn’t really see much and the audio was very poorly recorded. I’m used to audio tours that either stop after they talk about the place you’ve been hearing about and then wait for you to press the button to continue, or are numbered. These were not. These tours seemed to be recorded by people who were not, nor ever had, walked through the things that they were talking about in the pace and time that they were speaking of them. Okay, it was neat to hear about everything in terms of the escape. But it was all that they really talked about and I was really looking for more than that. We didn’t learn any real history of the island. We kind of picked up the fact that it used to be a Military island, but that’s about it. All in all it was a terrible tour and really wasn’t worth the money. It’s cool to say that I’ve been there, but it was very disappointing all in all. I think the tour company needs to tweak a hell of a lot of it’s operations to give a quality experience. We decided that we’ve been spoiled by European tourist attractions, tours, and museums — they really have it right over there.

Absolutely knackered after the tour, we jumped on the Cable Car and made our way back to the hotel in no time. After walking across the entire city (also something I’m used to doing when on vacation, but it’s never this hilly nor this spread out) our legs hurt in places that we didn’t know we had. We ate at the Italian restaurant under the hotel and it was lovely.

The San Francisco portion of our trip came to a conclusion the next day when we tried to find a rental car, found one at Avis that was too expensive, left, and found that there were no other cars to be found in the city. So we rushed back to Avis only to find that the car was gone. BUT, they had a Suzuki Grand Vitara for way cheaper than the little car we were going to get stuck with. Not cool since gas was the most expensive it’s ever been in the US, but at least we had a way out. We also learned that Mondays are high car rental days. Who knew?

After briefly visiting Japantown, we fled the city and headed for the coast.

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whilst in stratford-upon-avon

Posted on April 26, 2007. Filed under: Books, Theatre, Travelling |

Last year when I was in Stratford-Upon-Avon I scribbled down a quote I liked that was written on the wall of the Shakespeare exhibit at the house beside where Shakespeare used to live when he returned from London. I just found the scrap of paper in my unpacking so I thought I’d put it up here so I can get rid of the scrap:

“Read him, therefore, and again, and again, and if then you do not like him, surely you are in some manifest danger not to understand him?”
-John Heminges & Henry Condell in their address to “the great variety of readers,” in the First Folio, 1622

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takin’ the train

Posted on April 24, 2007. Filed under: Travelling |

Whenever I’m in England I always get a rail pass and take the train. I love it so much. Everything about it. Catching the train seems so romantic. Being on the train, staring out the window: romantic. And always exciting and relaxing. But here, in the GTA and beyond,trains have always been nothing but a hassle.

The first time I took the train was in my first year travelling from Kingston to Georgetown. Now, you can’t do this easily or cheaply. As a student with an ISIC card you could do pretty well, but the VIA train was always late without fail and then I would have to navigate my way, running, through Union Station (I didn’t know it well back then). I would usually not have time to purchase a ticket and would hop on the GO train as it was pulling out of the station. Nothing romantic, exciting, or relaxing about that. Getting back to Kingston wasn’t as hectic, except for trying to get a cab from the train station, which was way out in the middle of nowhere compared to campus, and the fact that all of the cars were packed with students from Queen’s and McGill. Fun sometimes, but not at the end of a long weekend when you just want to catch up on studying or sleeping. I probably only came home 3 times all year as a result.

Then there was commuting every day from Georgetown to Toronto on the GO. On top of hating my job and he evil company I worked for at the time, I hated the commute and hated the fact that the train moved so painfully slowly. Or was late. Or was stuck…often for hours.

So I’m giving the train another chance and I’m really excited about it. Maybe it will be just like England. Brian’s going to be in Ottawa this summer for a couple of weeks and I’m going to join him for 2 days. I didn’t want to drive all the way up there, spending 5 hours or more in the car, and then have both of us drive all the way back so I thought I’d look into the train. They must be competing with airfares or something right now, because the ticket was only $59! For a four hour train ride! This is way cheaper than it used to be from Kingston to Toronto (a much shorter route). But, it will be uncharted territory and the train station in Ottawa is only 4 km from downtown Ottawa.  I can’t wait! The only catch is that I have to figure out how to get to Union Station for 5:00 pm without a car on the day I leave…this would be great if I worked along the subway line. Any suggestions? Anyone want to pick me up and take me to work and then downtown? I could try to figure out Mississauga Transit in the morning and then try to score a ride downtown… I guess I have time to figure it out.

I haven’t been to Ottawa for about 2 years, so I’m really looking forward to getting to the city again and to see my friends who make Ottawa their home.

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how did i not hear about the village near stonehenge?

Posted on February 1, 2007. Filed under: randomness, today i learned, Travelling |

Apparently this discovery is old news, but I just read about it today. And it’s pretty cool that they’ve found remains of an actual village that can date back to 2500 BC in England — and that it looks to be in a very well preserved state.

Have you been to Stonehenge? I made it there last summer, and it was really neat to be standing in the same place as so, so many people had before. Though I have no theories on what it was used for, it is fun to let your imagination try out different scenarios. I guess now it is whatever you believe it to be — do you have any ideas? Any stories you can create based on this place?

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trip booked!

Posted on January 13, 2007. Filed under: The boy(s), Travelling |

I found a great deal through Travelocity yesterday for tickets to San Francisco — $199 one way! So, Brian and I are now going to be flying into San Francisco for our trip and spending some time there before driving to Tucson for a wedding and then flying out of Tucson.

I’m so excited! It will be the first flight that we have been on together since we went to England in 2002!

So, if anyone out there has tips of places we should stay, or what we should see or do while we’re in the West, please let me know. I’ve only ever been to San Diego in California before, and I loved it there!

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