Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My boys

It's not what you were thinking, I'm talking about the cars I've had the pleasure to call mine, over my driving lifetime. I heard a commercial for the Toronto Auto Show on the radio this morning as I was driving in to work, and it got me to thinking about my past boys. Yes, my cars, contrary to popular thought, have all been boys.

Bob, my first beaut, was a Cortez Gold 1971 Pontiac Grand Prix, with a 455 motor, which seemed to impress, most men, but all I knew was he sure was peppy. Bob had a nose on him that wouldn't quit. He was stylish, had door handles that the likes have, we will not see again. I learned to drive with Bob, learned how to park in any spot, thanks to my brother, be it parallel, back in, drive in, you name it. He had lovely dulcet tones, that there was no way I could sneak in late at night.

 My next boy was an '84 RX7, that I adored, and he was simply my babe. He was a stick shift. This is where my love affair with the standard transmission began. I have been unable to be charmed by the lure of an automatic transmission since. He had brown leather interior and a moon roof that popped out. There was nothing better than driving on a country road on a summer evening with the roof off, and U2's rhythmic Mysterious Ways, or rockin Desire, blaring from my surround sound cassette deck. Bliss. Gearing down as I approached a four way stop on a lonely deserted road, I felt I was waking up the cows in the fields.

My next boy remained nameless. We never bonded. It was my shortest relationship, and not noteworthy, exept to say that he was a magnet for scrapes, bangs and dings.

Toto, was made in Kansas, so it only seemed appropriate, I named him after one of my favorite characters. Toto sits tall and proud, a Mazda Tribute, again a stick model, and after ten years, I still enjoy driving him. No, he doesn't have the luster of the earlier boys or the same cache, but he's practical, has a four doors, something I hadn't experienced before, is stable and has never let me down.

Now I've learned, to be prepared for, "just in case" scenarios. When my babe died unexpectedly, and his terminal rust on the undercarriage didn't allow me to get a new motor, I hadn't given any thought as to what car would replace him, so went with the first thing someone recommended. Hence the lack of bonding. I now have taken the time to plan, for, "just in case". He will have to have a stick, so I am limited, to high end or cool lower end vehicles. Alas, I hope that day doesn't come too soon, but, I do have my eye on a cute little Fiat 500 cabriolet.

No, I would not call myself a car person, but, for all the time we seem to spend in our vehicles, I sure want to enjoy what I'm in.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Not sure what it is, but I've been thinking about these happy smiling faces I came to know, when I was in Kathmandu two years ago, doing volunteer work at the Swayanbhunath Temple, aka The Sacred Monkey Temple.

I just can't email them to see how they are doing. Snail mail is so ineffective there, it's just not worth doing. But I'm curious as to how they are doing, and what they have been up to in the past couple of  years.

It's difficult to divorce yourself from something that has had an affect on you. As someone recently pointed out to me, it's not the length of time you spent with them, it's the quality of time and profound affect they had on me. At the time, I knew my young monks, and all the people I encountered in Nepal were being imprinted on me, but just didn't realize how strongly, until some time has passed. I miss Nepal, oh, not the squatty toilets or smoke filled streets, but I miss the people, and the generosity of spirit that came so naturally to them,  that I encountered daily.

Every time I hear Bob Seger's Kathmandu, I long for another place, truly.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pining for Tucson

It's February, and that means it is time for the huge Gem and Mineral show in Tucson. It is a massive show with over forty venues and thousands of dealers from around the world. You name it, from glorious diamonds to colourful agates by the bucket load,  it will all be for sale.

I really liked Tucson when I was there two years ago for the show, and after the snowfall we had yesterday, have an inkling to be there now. I'm reading all sorts of postings from friends that are at the show, shopping, taking courses, mingling and having fun. Like minded individuals sharing their love for designing, creating and enthusiasm for jewellery.

Oh to be in the desert. There is something restorative about it, at least for me — it is very calming.

 I mean, where else can you see Doc Holliday strolling down the street, but in Tombstone?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

WYSIWYG with George

Last night I had the pleasure of briefly meeting George Stroumboulopoulos at the Diamond Jubilee Gala, one of the well deserving recipients of the Diamond Jubilee medal.

In those few moments we spent having a photo op, I found George to be just as I experience him when I watch him each night —  patient, unassuming, playful, genuine, a listener, a nice guy — and how refreshing was that. Often when you finally meet someone, who you've watched for years, you find a completely different person, and wonder why you liked that person in the first place.

George is everyone's boyfriend, and I like that about him. He doesn't discriminate, he just wants to be everyone's bud.

Thank you George for making me smile, bring a twinkle to my eye and a spring in my step. Alas, if only for the evening...

WYSIWYG with George.

What a who's who event!

Tonight I was invited to attend the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Gala, at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto.

What a who's who of Canadian talent! The attendees, were a combination of those that had received the diamond Jubilee medal, the Order of Canada, Order of Ontario and any combination there of. There were a cross section of sports heroes, Paul Henderson, Elizabeth Manley, Ken Dryden and George Chuvalo, musicians, Liona Boyd, Bruce Cockburn and Tom Cochrane, politicians, James Bartleman and Jean Augustine, many people I reckognized, but couldn't think of their names, until I passed them.

It was exciting. I had my photo taken with a very cordial Dan Aykroyd, tried to talk to Tommy Hunter, who had a steadfast group around him, nabbed a photo with my boyfriend George Strombo, who swore we had met before, seriously, spoke to Ken Dryden about the perfect Christmas tree our family bought from his family's Christmas tree farm when I was a kid, and celebrated in all the good so many people of this fine province have done.

Peter Mansbridge hosted the event, and showed a clip of Paul Henderson's winning goal of the '72 Canada Russia series.  I mean, what Canadian born pre -1965, doesn't know where they were when that winning goal of '72 was scored — I was sitting in my grade 5 classroom on the floor watching it on a raised black and white set that was rolled in from the AV department.

Tonight was about acknowledging volunteerism, about making things better, about leaving things better than when you found it, no matter how big or how small, and celebrating in it. It is about making a difference, be it full time or part time. I must say, I was inspired.

My friend Vicki produced the event, and a fine job she did. Vicki too is a recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal.

Congratulations Queen's Diamond Jubilee recipients — job well done.

Me and my boyfriend George.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

It's hockey night in Canada!

Go Leaf's Go!

What can I say my true patriotism comes out when I go to watch a Leaf's game live. While the NHL was on strike, I didn't care one way or another what happened, though I did feel bad for the small businesses that suffered from the lack of customers due to their lack of play. I just got home from a Leaf's vs Bruins game. These teams were part of the original six, before any kind of expansion was even thought of. How exciting is that? These teams have history, they have rivalry, they have passion. Truth be known, I think I lost my interest at the second expansion in the 1970's when so many teams came on board. But tonight's game was one of those classic meetings, you have to experience, at least once.

There is nothing like going to a game live. I wouldn't make the effort to watch it on TV, even though there is a Leaf's game on every Saturday night. I think the feeling I get when I'm in the stands, feeling the chill from the ice, the roar of the fans chanting, watching those Zamboni's clean the ice in zippy time — I get caught up in the excitement. It is Canada's game.

Now unfortunately we lost to Boston tonight 1-0, but we didn't deserve to win either. We played  a sloppy game, without any kind of focus. It was like watching a baseball game, in that they rarely getting exciting before the seventh inning stretch, and this game didn't come alive, really, till the third period. Suddenly it was as if the team woke up, noticed they were losing and thought, "hey, we better start playing as a team instead of just shooting the puck to no one". You could hear the audience get louder, chanting "go Leaf's go" faster and with more enthusiasm, until it was obvious that we were going to lose.

But for a few shining moments there, a few close calls, I felt extra Canadian, proud that hockey is our game, as I sat next to two Boston fans tonight. The Americans may have their football, and the Superbowl tomorrow, but hockey is our game.

My name is Kathi, and I am Canadian. Thanks for asking me to the game Belin.