Coming Soon …

imag0681.jpgHey, kids!

Sorry for the lack of posts. But this time, I have a reeeally good reason.

See the photo?

YEP. Thaaat’s riiiight. I went to Cuba!

When I originally wrote this post in January, I had said I’d like to visit. To be honest, though? The idea was already firmly wedged in my mind. It wasn’t until the morning of my birthday that I decided to stop thinking and start doing.

And I had to move fast.

So many other people had the same idea — to get there before things changed drastically — that nearly all the dates for tours I was interested in, were already booked.

I snagged the very last spot on a G Adventures tour that started over Easter long weekend (a fact I didn’t realize until I booked the trip). It was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but I thought it’d be worth it.

And, in the end, it was. *smiles*

I only returned to Toronto a few days ago, so I’m re-adjusting to the god-awful weather I thought would’ve been gone by now (what the backside, April), and sort out the reflections and observations I didn’t have the chance to write down along the way.

But when I do, I’ll be blogging like a fiend. Hopefully I can entertain, inform and perhaps encourage you to consider adding Cuba to your travel plans, if you haven’t already.

So keep watching this space — I hope to have the first installment up here within the next week.

Ciao for now!

 

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Shopping While Brown, Sizeism and … Downton Abbey?

Hey kids!

Just a brief check-in to let you know I’m still alive …

But ALSO … to let you know about the new episode of Sip & Bitch, the podcast I make with my friends bi-weekly.

Here, my friend Renée talks about what happened when she visited the perfume department at Saks Fifth Avenue’s Toronto location; our frustrations with finding clothes that fit (the never-ending struggle for women the world over), and Kath’s fond farewell to Downton Abbey (which aired its last episode March 6).

It’ll be up on iTunes for downloading on Wednesday night, but if you can stream, you can find it here:

 

Happy listening, y’all!

 

Whoops. Again.

So I was on a roll with on those blog posts a couple of months ago, hey?

And then – as usual – I stopped.

Sorry about that. Part of it was due to my lack of topics to blog about.

Part of it was that mid-winter lack of motivation that sets in – like clockwork.

And part of it was due to my busy schedule trying to record and edit Sip & Bitch – the podcast I do with my friends.

On top of which, I’m getting ready to take a short trip at the end of March (which I will happily blog about in April).

In the meantime, if you have a chance this weekend, feel free to have a listen to the most recent episode of Sip & Bitch, where Kath, Renée (and me, but not much) interview YA novelist Leah Bobet!

There will be a brand-new episode up on SoundCloud next Tuesday night/Wednesday morning (and on iTunes a little bit after that).

If you have a SoundCloud account, please feel free to leave comments on our recordings. And iTunes listeners, we’d love some reviews, please and thanks!

Give It. A SECOND.

Times are changing. And so, it elevatorwould seem, are people’s manners.

From sidewalks to subways, it’s as if the unsaid rules of courtesy towards strangers are evaporating.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still people out there who hold the door for others, wait for people to pass if there’s a small bottleneck on a pathway, or help people with carts or strollers off buses and up or down stairways. I have no quarrel with them.

It’s the others. Specifically, those who apparently have forgotten basic elevator etiquette. You may have encountered them yourself.

Imagine this: You’re at work, and decide to go downstairs for lunch or a snack break.

Perhaps you’re the only person in the elevator car, so you have half a moment of peace and quiet to yourself.

The elevator reaches the ground floor. As you prepare to exit and the doors open, someone waiting on the outside bursts in before you even have a chance to set foot outside. Maybe they’re paying more attention to their phone than to what’s in front of them. Or maybe they’re not.

And although they don’t say anything as you try to get around them, sometimes they just look at you – or through you – as if you’re the one who committed the faux pas.

This is something I’ve been noticing more and more.

Once in a while, it might be because I’m tucked away from the entrance and the person just doesn’t see me. But in other cases, it’s someone (in my experience, it’s usually been a man) who just charges onto the elevator.

Once, while waiting for an elevator at work, I was almost knocked over by a dude rushing out … wearing a hot dog costume. (Long story. Insert obnoxious joke here.)

Usually, by the time I want to say something, the elevator’s gone, and the moment has passed.

But since I don’t have the powers to stop or suspend time, I’ve got a little public service announcement to those repeat offenders:

Hey. YOU.

What’s goin’ on?

Someone chasin’ you?

Are you secretly a super-hero who needs to change into your costume?

Are your feet literally on fire?

No?

THEN WHY CAN’T YOU WAIT FOR PEOPLE TO VACATE ELEVATORS?

Who exactly are you?

How long do you think it takes for one or two people to exit an otherwise empty elevator? (Answer: Maybe a few seconds.)

And, question number nine: Why, when people try to get around you to leave said elevator, do you give them dirty looks?

YOU’RE THE ONE WHO’S GETTING IN THEIR WAY.

Look, I know how annoying and inconvenient it must be for you. I knooow. So here’s a couple of tips to making the experience much less so:

(1) When the elevator doors open (and it’s obvious there’s someone inside), STAND TO THE SIDE.

(2) Wait for people to leave the elevator before boarding it yourself.

(2a) GIVE IT. A SECOND.

Seem clear enough?

If not, repeat steps (1) through (2a) until it sinks in. I assure you, once it does, it will make things more pleasant and efficient for everyone involved.

 

 

Haggis, Anyone?

Scotland_HaggisThe first time I heard the name “Robbie Burns”, I was eight years old, and my parents were signing me up for piano lessons at a local music school.

I guess it came up when the head of the school – testing my aptitude – was chatting with my folks, and they mentioned when I was born.

“Oh!” he said. “Do you know who else shares your birthday? Robbie Burns!”

As a little black girl growing up in the 1980s, the only Burns I’d heard of was George. I can only imagine what facial expression I wore as this man told me about this guy I was clearly supposed to recognize.

Through the years, I came to learn bits and pieces about the man whose birthday I happened to share, and the little nerd in me found it interesting.

So to simply say Robert Burns is A Big Deal for people of Scottish descent, is a wee bit of an understatement.

In several days’ time, dinners (all over Canada and abroad) will be held in honour of the Scottish bard, filled with music and poetry. There will be scotch, even whiskey tastings. But it won’t be a Rabbie Burns night without one signature dish served:

Haggis.

Yep, that most Scottish of dishes, consisting of lamb or sheep parts, oats, and spices, mixed together in a type of pudding (not the dessert kind), and encased in a sheep’s stomach.

(There are even vegetarian and vegan versions out there, for a different spin. And these lovely folks are hosting a vegan Robbie Burns Day here in Toronto – they’re just about sold out!)

For people like me who’ve never had haggis (the meat-filled version, at least), that doesn’t sound — or look — all that appetizing.

But yesterday, I came across this article by writer Andrea Chiu, in defence of the dish.

She makes a valid point:

“We will pay high prices to taste rich and creamy foie gras, but wrap some lamb liver and hearts with a sheep’s stomach and diners of all ages are finding ways to politely decline the dish.”

I mean, if I can try a camel burger or freshly-caught-and-prepared conch salad (with comically terrible results, in the case of the latter), surely I should give haggis a try?

It’s probably too late this time ’round, but maybe I can give haggis a go at a later date, or perhaps on one of my future birthdays.

It’s the least I could do for Robbie.

 

Shameless Plug!

Sorry I didn’t have a post for you yesterday! My brain failed me in that regard.

BUT, the other reason I didn’t have a post for you is because I was busy recording the small podcast I do with my friends Renée and Kath!

It’s called Sip & Bitch, and we put out an episode every two weeks. Each episode, we pick three topics (or usually, it’s two topics, plus a movie review, or something TV- or movie-related) and have a casual chat … usually while drinking wine.

In fact, we just finished editing our latest episode, which you can check out via SoundCloud:

In this episode, we talk about turning 39 (based on my post last week), our dislike of “to-do” listicles, and The Awards That Kath Shall Not Name. Have a listen, like our episode or comment on the timeline (especially if you have a SoundCloud account)!

If you prefer to download episodes so you can listen at our leisure, you can find us on iTunes – our episodes usually upload about 24 hours after we load onto SoundCloud.

We’re a low-cost operation (translation: basic), so we’re still learning as we go along. But I hope you’ll listen to the above featured episode, as well as our previous ones!

You can now find us on Twitter. Or, if you’d rather send us a note, you can email us at sippers.bottlereturn@gmail.com.

Happy listening!

P.S.: Despite my absence, I’m still part of a one-month blogging challenge with Renée and Kath, who are churning out some great posts, so please feel free to stop by their blogs and read their awesome work!