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July 2013

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Best friends

I realized recently that Boyfriend is my best friend. I have many bests: there’s #BoyBestie and my Lemon, who I lovingly refer to as my heterosexual life partner; there’s Jen, Nus, Reg and Yaw and really too many amazing bests in my life to count; but the person who I call when I need someone, the person who I call when I want to share great news or moderately good news or just talk to about nothing and everything is Boyfriend. He’s my best friend.

I’m sure there’s a definition or a Thought Catalogue article somewhere that attempts to define what exactly a best friend is, something that uses big words or includes a list of the top bestie duos of all time; are you and best friend more like Monica and Rachel or Joey and Chandler or something along those lines. But for me it’s a little simpler and a lot less ‘90s.

Boyfriend is the only person who calls me a Wild Shannon because for some reason he thinks of me as a Pokemon. There’s literally no logic to this but it makes me laugh uncontrollably. He’s a terrible dancer but we have a dance move that no one else understands and sometimes we’ll do it at the same time. It’s embarrassing and only kind of adorable. We have shows that we watch and we never TV cheat, ever, no matter how hard Netflix makes it for us. We have our own language; we get each other, even if no one else really understands why we’re laughing or what it is we’re talking about.

When it comes down to it though Boyfriend is just the person I’d rather be with; hanging out and watching a movie with him is better than a night out with anyone else. I love my friends and I am so lucky to have them in my life but I had no idea what it felt like before this past (almost) year to be someone’s partner.

Boyfriend is my best friend and I had no idea it could all happen this quickly, I had no idea my life could change in so little time, but I can’t imagine a world where I don’t get random text messages that somehow light up my entire face even though most of the time they are just pictures of cats with silly comments.

What worries me most though are the what ifs. What if we break up? What will I do then? How will I handle that? I try not to think about it but every relationship before this ended; did they end so I could find Boyfriend or do relationships always end? And that’s the big difference between having best friends and being best friends with your boyfriend: My closest friends love me unconditionally, they don’t get to break up with me, but Boyfriend could if he wanted to.

So I’m hopeful, cautiously optimistic if you will. I’ve got nothing to worry about but the idea of losing someone who I love that much scares the hell out of me.

 

The crush

Last week I told you about the crush, the one keeping my thoughts from constantly straying to Country Boy. This week I’ve realized exactly why I’ve chosen this boy to crush on – because he’s completely inappropriate and nothing can ever happen there.

With Country Boy MIA for another 12 days I need someone to fantasize about, so that I don’t constantly wonder where Country Boy is, how he’s doing, and if I could be of more help as the supportive partner rather than the one giving him his space. The boy I’ve picked to fantasize about is one that I could never date.  He’s sweet and charming and he makes excuses to see me most days, but he’s not really available emotionally and he’s too in my life to ever be without drama – the perfect object of desire because, even if I wanted to act on my desires, the relationship would never work out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this and the way I see my crush is very much like the way I see a celebrity crush, nothing could ever happen so I can go ahead and fantasize without ever risking my existing relationship with Country Boy. But, I also feel like, if in 12 days things don’t work out, if the break was less of a break and more of a break-up, I’ll be ready to move on, I won’t feel so lonely and lost because I’ll have been thinking about other boys in the context of a relationship, like a nicotine patch for love.

I’ve always had difficulty moving on. I’ve always been the what-if girl, running all the possible scenarios in which a former relationship could have worked out through my head; in the end this results in more heartache and pain, when you’re thinking about the what-if it’s almost impossible to commit to someone new.

At this point I’m not looking to move on, but I do want to prepare myself for all the possibilities. I don’t want to walk into our next date with a naïve sense of hope; I want to be smart and practical and let my head take the lead from my heart.

Practicality and logic have never been my strong suits; I’m a dreamer and a hopeless romantic who desperately wants to believe in the all-consuming power of love.  But love doesn’t always happen the way we want it to; sometimes we fall in love with a man who can’t love us back, sometimes we fall in love at the wrong time or with the wrong man – it’s worse than finding a needle in a haystack; it’s finding a soul mate on a planet with billions of people.

So, this time I’m trying to be practical. I’m accepting that maybe things won’t work out and I have to be ready for that. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up on Country Boy, it just means that I’m planning for the best and preparing for the worst.

But in all honesty, 12 days from now I hope to have a sweaty, sloppy, kisses and butterflies kind of story to share with you.

 

Colour me inspired

Good people inspire you to be better; they push you to be the best version of yourself without ever being pushy. City Boy, unlike any boy that came before, inspires me to be the best version of myself.

With Country Boy I was always trying to be the version of myself that he wanted. I so desperately wanted to be what he wanted me to be that I lost what makes me great – my fire. City Boy likes that I’m feisty; he thinks my quirkiness is cute; and, he believes in me, and that is something worth holding on to.

We were talking over Facebook chat about three weeks ago and he told me that he thought I had an entrepreneurial spirit. He said that at heart he thinks I’m an entrepreneur; coming from a man who has developed several businesses, this is an incredible compliment.

Since that conversation I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I want from my life and my career. I love my job; if I could give it a big nerdy hug – I would. But in the long run, do I want to work for someone else? Probably not. Entrepreneurial women have always been my heroes; but, sometimes I forget that. I get caught up in the day to day and forget the long term goals. With City Boy in my life I don’t ever forget about my dreams, because he pushes me to go after them.

I’m finally going to finish my book; I’m going to look into more speaking engagements; I’m going to blog more and start video blogging my incredible rants and raves about life. I’m going to use the passion and fire that I am so often complimented on to follow my dreams, whatever they may be. All of this is thanks to City Boy and his place in my life.

Good relationships make you want to be better for each other, but great relationships make you want to be better for each other and yourselves. I want him to be proud of me, the way I am of him, but more than that, I want to be proud of myself.

Without his encouraging smile that somehow sets my heart on fire and makes everything else go away, I would still be dreaming of doing incredible things instead of going for them.

If after two years of sharing my loves with you, you have learned anything from me, I hope that it’s this: find someone who makes you smile; find someone who makes your heart skip a bea,t but most importantly, find someone who makes you want to be the best possible version of yourself.  Find someone who inspires you in new and exciting ways every single day.

 

REVIEW: Vitamix Professional Series 750 Blender

I heard about the Williams-Sonoma Vitamix Professional Series 750 Blender in my Occupational Health & Safety class and I knew that I had to try it. It is the quietest blender in its class with a 7 year warranty. This blender makes sorbet, peanut butter, and butter from scratch. It can handle ice cubes for frozen daiquiris and boiling liquids such as soup.

The Vitamix Professional Series 750 Blender is also a juicer. In addition, it can process cooked and raw meat for making patties and meatballs. The unique thing about this blender is that it only requires one blade to do all of these various things. All you have to do is change the settings and you never have to remove a blade or a part. It also has an easy cleaning process where it self-cleans for you by simply touching a button.

I couldn’t do a fair review without testing the Vitamix Professional Series 750 Blender. The first thing I noticed was the that the seal is excellent and the motor is super strong. I made mango sorbet which had a good consistency and it was creamy. My smoothies have improved tremendously since using this blender. My morning smoothies were creamy and the ingredients were pulverized so there were no seeds.

I tried a variety of different fruits in my smoothies. I also decided to make citrus butter which was chunky, yet creamy. The citrus fruit was broken into small pieces for an added kick to the butter. Also, I made thai pumpkin soup. The soup was rich without any chunks and the consistency was good. All of these occurred in seconds. Lastly, I chopped an onion.

Overall, I was very impressed with the Vitamix Professional Series 750 Blender. If you use your blender on a regular basis, it is a worthwhile investment. Although it is expensive, you’ll find yourself using this blender on a daily basis for sorbets and anything delicious that you make using a blender. This is a must have appliance for any kitchen.

 

 

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

#TOpoli with Sarah Thomson, Adam Vaughan, Andy Byford, and Travis Myers (July 22, 2013)

#TOpoli explores politics, transit, city building, and more more in the city of Toronto with a digital edge and a constant eye on the #TOpoli hashtag while live on the air.

#TOpoli with Sarah Thomson, Monday July 22:
Sarah welcomes guests Councillor Adam Vaughan, TTC CEO Andy Byford, in-studio guest Women’s Post editor Travis Myers to discuss the future on development on Bathurst with or without a Walmart, issues of funding transit, LRTs versus subways in Scarborough, the Downtown Relief Line, and much more.

 

 

Follow Sarah on Twitter at @ThomsonTO and Travis at @TravMyers.

Trinity Bellwoods Lake? This proposal shows us what it would look like

Now that we’ve all finished drying ourselves off from Toronto’s mini-flood, why not take a moment and extol the virtues of a little flooding?

For Mackenzie Keast, urban planner and member of Toronto based collective Distl, the flooding we saw through the city’s highways and valleys was inspiration for a lake in the middle of west end Trinity Bellwoods Park.

In Keast’s vision, complete with rich renderings, the pit area currently used as a dog park (and colloquially known as the Dog Bowl) would be flooded to create a lake in the centre of the park. The concept is reminiscent of New York City’s Central Park Lake and would add an entirely new dimension to activities and recreation for park goers.

“Aside from restoring one of Toronto’s lost aquatic resources and the wildlife that comes with it, a Trinity Bellwoods lake would redefine this already well-used park into a world-class public space,” says Keast. “Both the fun and beauty of water in an environment like this would take the park to the next level, and would bring people to enjoy the magnificence of the lake for themselves.”

A bird’s eye view of Trinity Bellwoods Park with the proposed lake. Click for full size.

Trinity Bellwoods hasn’t always been water-free. The park was once home to Garrison Creek and Crawford Street was once a bridge across it. The creek has long since been buried and now acts as a part of Toronto’s sewer system — but the underground water supply could possibly ease the creation of a man-made lake.

Although the designers and planners at Distl are quick to admit that this is only a preliminary concept and there would be much more work involved in the planning and execution of a dazzling plan like this, it is still worth noting that this is a remarkably fresh and visionary proposal in a city where development can seem to be constantly mired in politicking and city hall squabbles.

Check out the full gallery of renderings of a possible Trinity Bellwoods Lake by Keast below and let us know what you think.

 

A lake in Trinity Bellwoods Park could possibly be an outdoor swimming spot, almost certainly for pool hopping hipsters. Click for full size.

 

The topography of the Dog Bowl lends itself easily to the concept of a small lake. Click for full size.

 

A lake in Trinity Bellwoods would provide additional activities such as paddle boating. Click for full size.

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Making sacrifices

Making sacrifices for loved ones seems to be a part of human nature; a friend needs help moving, a family member needs a loan, the boy you’re dating is starting another business and needs you to be understanding and accommodating. In my case, no one needs help moving, or a loan, but City Boy needs me to be understanding, patient, and accommodating – all of which are incredibly hard for me to do.

Last week I talked about the moment I felt it all get real, the moment I realized that he was different, that I cared about him more than Country Boy, Waiting Man, and the Big Ex all combined. It’s not just butterflies this time, it’s more than that; it’s the knowledge that I want him in my life for a long, long time.

People tell you that when you meet the person you’re supposed to be with, you just know. This is it. Whatever trials and tribulations life brings your way, this person is the person you’re supposed to be with; and, if it’s a rocky road full of sacrifices, that doesn’t matter because the end result is being with someone you care deeply about.

I thought I was in love with the Big Ex, but his parting words to me were that I deserved someone who loved me beyond reason, someone who was crazy about me, someone who I was just as crazy about and as much as he hurt me – he was right. He understood that we were a temporary thing, there for each other when we both needed it, but I led him on the path to his bride, and he led me on the path to understanding myself.

But, it isn’t going to be easy with City Boy; I can’t be priority one in his life, he loves his work and he’s starting something amazing. Instead of being jealous I find myself being proud of him, incredibly inspired by his vision not just for himself but for me. City Boy challenges me, he wants more for me – he told me once that I have an entrepreneurial spirit, that he likes that about me. So, I’ve been thinking about finishing the book I’ve been writing for so long; I’ve been thinking about starting a business on the side; I’ve been thinking about doing more speaking engagements. The bottom line is that he doesn’t just make me a better person, he makes me a better version of myself.

I have to understand that I can’t be his first priority; I will come in second to the business he’s building and I will have to go stretches of time without seeing him while he creates this incredible thing. But, this is such a small sacrifice because he’s the first man in my life to push me to do more, bigger, better.

City Boy is the only man I’ve ever truly seen a future with. If it takes a while to get there, I won’t worry, because, when he looks at me, I melt.

 

GAYPOST: Terrifying threat letters sent to Kingston lesbian couple

In a disgusting display of the hatred for gay and lesbian people that still boils under the surface of many communities two letters to a lesbian couple in Kingston surfaced on image sharing website Imgur on Thursday. One would assume that in Canada, a country that has long since legalized sodomy and more recently gay marriage, this level of intolerance would have been all but stamped out — instead we see the same level of vitriol one might expect in Kill-the-Gays Uganda.

The letters include threats, slurs, and a menacing tone that is downright chilling. The letters demand that they [sic] “leave this city, before it is too late, for you” and informs them that this group has been “following” them for “several months.”

The first letter informs them that they will “strike” and that these are not “empty threats.”

Most terrifying of all is the assertion that the couple being harassed should not bring this matter to the police because the hate group has contacts within the Kingston Police.

As of press time the Kingston Police have not responded to our media inquiry on the matter.

The second letter contains explicit threats of chasing gay people with BB guns, lamenting the fact that real guns are difficult to acquire in Canada as they would prefer to use lethal force.

Below is a transcript of the two letters along with the photos of the originals sourced from Imgur. Be warned that these letters contain explicit language and disturbing depictions of hate-based violence.

 

“Lesbian bitches,

We are a small but dedicated group of Kingston residents devoted to removing the scourge of homosexuality in our city. We know you and have been following you for the past several weeks and we wish for you to leave this city, before it is too late, for you. This will be the first of many reminders, each escalating to higher and higher levels of harassment and derailment. Since we have nothing personal against you, only against your sexuality, we suggest you move to more conductive climes like Vancouver, or preferably San Francisco.

Our base, head office in Deep South, has been energized by the recent US Supreme Court decisions legalizing same sex marriage. We feel that unless homosexuals reconvert to heterosexuality that life under this planet, under the umbrella of our Lord Jesus Christ, will become unbearable. Having observed you, we feel that you are committed lesbians unlikely to convert, hence this (first and only) gentle attempt to make you move.

If you do not, and take this letter to police, as we expect, we will know about this, since we have contacts in Kingston Police. Our efforts to relocate you will escalate. We wish to avoid this scenario. We are primarily non-violent, but use violence surgically to persuade people. We hope you understand without us painting to lurid a picture.

In the last several years we have relocated a few people like you from the Kingston area, through a set of incentives and effective persuasion. Please join their ranks ASAP. We will watch and wait, and then strike, at home and office, as need arises. These are not empty threats. MOVE, or else!

Thank you for your attention. We await effective action on your part, ASAP> You are not going to be safe at home, office or anywhere else if you ignore this message! However if you take this seriously, and make attempts to move, someone from our organization will contact you to make your relocation easier financially. If, additionally, you persuade another couple like yourselves to move, we will provide them financial assistance and yourselves a bonus for your help. We are a committed bunch and come hell of high water, we will move you out. Best under congenial circumstances, don’t you think?

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, our saviour.”

 

The second letter:

“lesbos:

As a followup, we had a group meeting yesterday on how to best deal with you. Some of our younger members want to have some fun chasing “lesbos”. We have brought them some BB guns and today they are doing target practice, so that they can hunt you down. It is regrettable that in Canada, real guns are hard to find, so BB it shall be. I can assure you BB pellets hurt!!

This is thrilling for the youngsters not so much to older members who would rather see serious action rather than playing with BB guns. However youngsters also want to have their fun, and what better targets than you?

Take our previous letter seriously or fun and games will turn into deadly serious action.

Below are the photos of the original letters posted online, click for full size:

 

 

You can follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers for more information on this story as it becomes available.