Saturday, January 31, 2009


Last night was the start of Toronto's Winterlicious event, where over a hundred restaurants in the city offer discounted pre-fix three course meals. As a person who loves eating out and trying new restaurants, I look forward to this event every winter.

Last night I met up with five girlfriends to try the Moroccan fare of 93 Harbord, it's their street address as well as their name. I started with an arugula salad, with goat cheese, walnuts and a pomegranate vinaigrette. It was very tasty and a fair size starter salad. For my entree I had fesenjan chicken, in a pomegranate-walnut sauce with steamed couscous, again, another delicious dish, and I cleaned my plate. For dessert I had the walnut and pear stuffed phyllo with honey date syrup. This was the perfect ending to a lovely meal as it wasn't too heavy. Highlights of this restaurant for me were; having one of my favorite Rieslings on the wine list, Angels Gate, as well as the pita bread and olive dip for the table.

During this event you sometimes get the feeling that the restaurant isn't too thrilled to be taking part, not so here. Our waiter was very friendly, the service and food were excellent, as well as the portion sizes and we weren't rushed, spending over 2 hours at our table. The $25 pre-fix price was more then reasonable. It was a lovely evening out and I would definitely go back. My one complaint, we weren't offered coffee with our dessert, but that may of kept us lingering longer, and they did have another party coming in for our table.

I will be visiting three more restaurant while this events runs, and look forward to sharing my review.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I was 16 years old the first time I had a migraine. We we're at at my grandmothers and we were getting ready to head back home, a two hour drive. It was horrible. I held my head against the side of the window the whole way, because it was cool, and hoped the pain would stop. That was the longest drive I ever took, and was the beginning of my migraine history.

Telling people you suffer from migraines is tricky. If your lucky, they have experienced them before or know someone close who has and really understand what you experience. In most cases though, people just think it's a bad headache and to "suck it up".

I can't suck it up, I've tried. My migraines can sometimes literally bring me to my knees. I've had them so bad on a few occasions I'm sick to my stomach and I've gone to the hospital more then once because of them.

I didn't get a lot of migraines as a teenager, maybe one or two a year, and some of my mothers Tylenol 3's usually took care of it, along with spending the day in bed. My migraine madness really started in my late 20's and early 30's. I was having them weekly, and they were getting worse.

My boss's wife at that time also suffered from migraines, and he really understood what I was going through. So much so, that he had me exempt from our sick day policy at work. Other words, I have unlimited sick days.

I've had lots of tests done, and tried "beta blockers" to stop them, no luck. I was however given a new pain medication to try. Imitrex was specifically made to target the nerves and blood vessels that are believed to trigger a total migraine. It not only deals with the pain, but the nausea, sensitivity to light and sound as well. They work well, and if I can catch my migraine when it's just coming on my day won't be a right off. Unfortunately for me, they 99% of the time come on in the middle of the night, and are full blown by the time the pain wakes me up.

They are not cheap, one prescription of just 6 pills is over $100, and I go through 2 prescriptions every month. I'm very grateful for my drug plan at work.

I've had to cancel many social events due to them, and I hate that most of all. It's hard to tell someone you can't make the movie, dinner or party because you have a migraine, it always sounds like a lame excuse, because your wondering if they really understand or think your just blowing them off. I've gotten better at figuring out when I'm migraine sensitive and avoid planning social events during this time.

I had a migraine wake me up at 4AM this morning. It was full blown and the nausea was horrible. I got out of bed and took a 100mg Imitrex ( I have 50mg ones as well, that work if I catch it early enough). Rob got me a cold cloth for my forehead. Neither one of us slept very well after. I stayed home from work today. Even after the pain is gone, the effects on my body last another 8-10 hours, I'm drained. I have no energy to do anything. It's like the migraine sucks the life out of you. It's not fun.

I tell people I have a great life, and I do, but my life includes migraines and I do my best to deal with them the best I can.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


We all have them in our lives, people we don't know, maybe not even their names, but expect to see at certain places and sometimes share a few friendly words with. Could be your favorite cashier at your local grocery store, the UPS guy at work, or the people you wait with every morning at the bus stop.

I lived in the Manulife apartments for thirteen years, and had a lot of these people in my life. The people who worked the front desk, the cashiers at Valu-Mart and Pharma-Plus, even the other residents of the building I got to know just by riding the elevator every day. All these "stranger friends" gave me a sense of community and my area a neighborhood feeling. Sometimes these people were the only human contact I had throughout the day, and a meaningful hello or smile meant more to me then they even know.

It's been five months now since I moved in with Rob to another part of the city, and I'm starting to make some stranger friends around here now too. Some of the staff at Loblaws recognize Rob and I on our weekly shopping trips, the bus drivers, and the crossing guard at the end of the street. She makes me feel like a child again, crossing the street with me. Today she started waving her arms at me when she saw me walking up the street, knowing I'd miss the bus that was coming if I didn't run to catch it. ( I ran, and I caught it, saving me a 15 minute wait til the next one)

These small interactions we have on a sometimes daily basis can really make your day, and a simple act of kindness can mean more to someone then you'll ever know.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I think today is one of those days when you will remember exactly where you were at a certain time, the moment Barack Obama became President of the United States of America, the first black man to do so. It was an historic moment, and one I was glad to see come to pass.

I was at work, sitting at my desk watching it live on CNN, but my computer doesn't have speakers, so I turned my radio to 680 news and listened to it on that. They were about 45 seconds apart, but I didn't care, I could see it, hear it, and I felt part of the moment.

The world is in a mess right now; war, the economy, global warming. Other countries look up to the United States, and that has been hard to do for the past few years. With this new leader who is all about unity and hard work, I believe that may be able to happen again, and that will be good for the world as a whole.

I would of been proud to be an American today.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I finished reading Harper Lee's Pulitzer prize winning "To Kill a Mockingbird" yesterday, and wasn't disappointed.

Having an older brother of three years, the relationship between Scout and Jem was of special interest to me and I found the relationship they had with their father special. The innocence of a child is so prevalent in this book, but so is their special wisdom, which came across as instinct to me.

I spend most of my time reading light or chick lit books, but found this book very engaging and couldn't put it down. It's also opened my eyes to a whole other category of books to read and I hope I find something else as special as this.

I'm going to pick up the movie to watch this week, while it's still fresh in my mind. I don't expect the movie to be as great as the book, as it was Scout's thoughts that really captured my attention, and well, it's difficult to get those kind of thoughts across on screen.

I'll end this posting with one of my favorite lines from the book,
" Naw Jem, I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks."

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Five years ago today Rob and I met for the first time. We met for a coffee close to my apartment at the time early in the afternoon on Saturday, Jan. 17th, 2004. The weather was much like it is today, cold and windy.

I remember sitting by the window watching for him (it was a blind date, but I had seen a picture) and being very nervous. When I saw him crossing the street I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest, and when he walked through the door I stuck my head even closer into my Chatelaine magazine, to catch my breath, I couldn't believe this hot rocker was meeting me!

Our first date for coffee lasted nine hours. We ended up going for dinner and then back to his house to watch a movie before he drove me home. Falling asleep that night I had the strangest sensation that my life had changed forever, and it has, in the best way.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Toronto has been in the middle of a deep freeze the last couple days. The temperature has been close to minus 30 with the wind chill.

If your going to be home sick, like I have, this is a good week to do so. I haven't had to deal with the freezing temperature, I just hear about on the news every night as its been the top story.

Rob's been putting out extra food for the birds, letting the car warm up longer, and we're leaving the hot water tap drip in the bathroom so it doesn't freeze. Our cat, Meadow is starting to get a little cabin feverish, as she hasn't been taken outside on her leash for some fresh air in the past couple days.

I've been snuggled up on the couch the last 3 days, either reading, sleeping or watching TV. I hear it's going to warm up a little for the weekend. I think I feel better already.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I started seeing a nutritionist/registered dietitian in the beginning of Oct. 2008. My weight has slowly creeped up 40lbs since entering my 30's, and after ignoring it, wishing it away, and trying and failing at Weight Watchers for over a year, I decided to try this.

It was a good move. I like Susan and her no nonsense approach to weight loss and getting fit. She focuses more on what you should eat daily, instead of what not too. I have my guidelines to follow, and the more I work with her, the more I find following them is becoming a habit and not something I'm constantly thinking about. It's real life eating and moderate exercise with no gimmicks. I still eat bread, I still drink, I eat well, and even have a weekly indulgence meal. It's really all common sense; watch portion sizes, eat healthier foods, move more, etc. I think the key for me this time is having that bi-weekly one on one time. Having someone to report too and helping you along with expert advice and tips.

I lost 10lbs before Christmas, but as expected gained a little of that back over the holidays. It's a new year, and I'm climbing back up on that weight loss wagon. I turn 40 this coming June 10th, and it's my goal to look and feel better in my 40's then I did in my 30's. No more wishing and hoping, I realize it's the doing that's going to get me there. I've committed to seeing Susan til my birthday, and have also purchased a good quality exercise bike to help me reach my goal,"Fit & Fabulous by Forty!"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I thought my first blog post should be about something I'm passionate about, and it is, birdwatching. Rob and I have been birding for 4 years, attracting birds to our backyard and going on day trips to parks and conservation areas to enjoy the birds. Our hobby really is a labour of love. This past Sunday, we spent an enjoyable hour in the backyard with our feathered friends, both new and old.

I'm ready to feed the birds!

A pair of Northern Cardinals. We're lucky that these beautiful creatures are almost daily visitors, and were the first birds to ever visit our feeders.

A new visitor to the yard, a Pine Siskin.

A Blue Jay way up in the tree.

More Pine Siskins.

Ending the day by making a snow angel.