Monday, January 30, 2012

Meet Margie!

Ann_Margaret aka Margie is my new foster cat.  I decided not too long ago that I wanted to help out with cat fostering, after seeing so many homeless and at risk cats at my local shelter.  The animal control in our city sometimes can only keep cats for 3 days, and then they euthanize them depending on how many are homeless that week.  Margie is lucky, because she never made it to the shelter.  But, she was living outside since the summer, camping out in someone's backyard.  They were feeding her and made her a little shelter, but were worried about her survival and called Forever Homes Cat Rescue.  This happened in the nick of time, because we started to get a ton of snow finally this weekend.  I picked little Margie up at another foster's house on saturday afternoon. 

She's a very petite little girl, with a funny raspy meow.  She's around 2 apparently, spayed, and needled.  Margie loves climbing and exploring the house.  She's been pretty good with the dogs, but has been a bit of a growler towards my cats.  I don't know if it's because she just doesn't like cats, or if it's an adjustment thing.  My cats have been pretty good.  Some minor hisses, and the dogs are doing better know.  They were very excited when she first arrived, and sometimes don't give her enough space (especially Willow).  I find her adorable though, and am trying to convince myself that I cannot adopt her myself!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Okay, let's cut straight to the chase.  Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Rocks.  I spent two days at Universal (with a park to park jump pass), and HP was my favourite aspect of both parks.  I felt so excited as we walked and caught of glimpse of the train Hogwart's Express and train conductor and then heard the mystical music playing in the streets.  I loved the snow tipped roof tops and weathered looking stores.  I looked in the window of every shop.  Most shops are for viewing only, and you can't go in.  But some, like Ollivanders, Owl Post, Zonkos, Dervish and Banges, and Honeydukes are open for business.  I had a list of mandatory items I needed to buy which included; wand (Luna Lovegood replica), butterbeer, and Ravenclaw scarf.  I managed to get these the first day we were there, and then I also included a Hogwart's Express 9 3/4 t-shirt, Dumbledore's Army mug, house mittens, and a Ravenclaw patch.  I really had to keep myself in check, because I also contemplated a HP robe, Ravenclaw wall hanging, and other merch. 

The first thing V and I did at HP world was hit up the ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  We had a wait of about 20 minutes, which wasn't too bad because it gave me time to absorb everything inside the castle.  I loved the talking paintings, the huge statue of Fawkes, and seeing Dumbledore talking.  At one point in the line you come across images of Ron, Hermione and Harry, who are telling you about the ride.  Hermione directs you to your seats (benches) and places a spell on you so you can watch a Quidditch match.  As we stood in line, fake snow came tumbling down on people waiting!  So cool.  Before you get on the ride, we also passed the Fat Lady portrait, and the sorting hat.  The ride itself is pretty visually pleasing.  It's a combination of a simulator (looking at a huge screen that takes you through a crazy flying adventure), and then objects like the whomping willow that tries to bash you, dementors that blow on you, spider that spits on you (yes, you get wet), a dragon that breathes fire (you feel the heat), and a skeleton of a dragon.  The simulation made me want to pick up my feet and I curled my toes, not wanting to hit things that weren't even there.  I had a huge chuckle at the point when you get to the quidditch match, and Draco Malfoy barks at Harry, "Showing off for your muggle friends again 'eh Potter?!"  I went on the ride 4 times when I was there-the longest wait was maybe 30 minutes, and two other times we just walked right on the ride!  We were so lucky, because we went on the off season (3rd week in January) on a wednesday, and it rained!  The rain was fabulous because it made everyone go home, and the lineups were down to nothing!

Other things I loved about HP was the fact that there were people dressed up like they belonged in the town itself, and they would refer to you as 'muggles.'  I found all the staff so pleasant.  After my first ride on the Forbidden Journey, V and I went and bought our first butterbeers at a street vendor and went picture taking of the store fronts. I loved the butterbeer, it basically tasted like rootbeer with a very non-vegan topping on it.  Oh, the things I do for devotion to HP.  The only other ride I went on was the Ride of the Hippogriff which was simple and fun.

After the downpour of rain, we headed to the Three Broomsticks for dinner.  It was alright.  It smelled bad, like stinky feet.  I think because of the vinegar and fish people were consuming.  I got a salad, fries and butterbeer.  When I was nice and full, we hopped in a shorter line for Ollivanders.  The line never seemed to die down for the little wand shop, but it was worth it.  We waited maybe 20 minutes, and then we shuffled into a small, dark room and had piles of wands in boxes along the wall.  Ollivander sat on the stairs, and when we were settled he walked down and picked out a young boy named Santio.  He gave Santio a wand to try out, but it made his flowers wilt.  The second wand only wiggled the ladder, but the third was a fit.  A bright light came down, illuminating Santio illustrating the wand to boy match.  They then ushered us into the next room where you could purchase a wand or other HP merch.  Luckily, I asked about a Luna Lovegood wand, because I didn't see one on their web store.  But they do have a replica of her second wand which I purchased. 

So,  how to end this post...  I was sad to leave the park.  I adored it, and was happy that I was able to do everything I had planned.  I even saw the Triwizard Tournament performances on the last day and got my picture taken with them as well.  Other highlights are the screeching mandrake and Moaning Myrtle in the bathroom.  If you're a fan of Harry Potter, you need to put this on your to-see list.  They are even expanding the park!  I can't wait to see what expansions happen.  Perhaps they will have a Knockturn Alley, or a flying car ride...  I would love to see even more performances and people dressed up in costume.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I forgot to mention...

That in one week today I will be here!!!

Okay, okay, I know I have been on a lot of vacations in the past 12 months!  But this one is probably going to be the last one for a while.  With 3 months of unemployment coming up, and being close to having student loans paid off-money will need to be saved.  Anyway... back to Harry Potter!  I can't wait! 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Goals and Plans

The new year is upon us, and it's time to think about new goals and plans.  I don't think I will be traveling as much as I did in 2011, although I do have a trip planned in 2 weeks to Florida!  My bf and I are going to hit up Universal Studios and Magic Kingdom, as well as lounge and relax at a condo on the beach at Daytona. I am so, so excited to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!

I am currently counting down until my 3 month yearly leave from work begins in March.  I am excited to be free of my stressful oppressive job for 3 months, and I have already begun to brainstorm some ideas.  These include;

daily yoga practice,
take a Restorative Yoga Teaching Course,
take swimming lessons,
Toronto Yoga Conference,
starting a board game group (or joining the local one),
try suspension yoga,
volunteering at an animal shelter or rescue,
more analogue photography,
teaching free yoga classes,
playing ukulele,
indulging in video games (SWTOR),
watching all of the New Doctor Who series,
and reading (finishing Game of Thrones and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Books, reread all Harry Potter Books)
I also hope to do some snow shoeing (if we ever get some snow!) with my new snow shoes.

There are some other things I would like to accomplish, like fixing up the downstairs bathroom and recreational space, and improve the garden.  I hope to make it a more mentally healthy year, and I am desperate to be away from work!

2011 Photo Montage

Wow-I didn't realize how much I did in 2011!  It was definitely one of my more busiest years, if that is even possible.  Aside from working full time, I managed to fit in:

  •  200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Program (in which I taught my very own class!)
  • Went to various yoga workshops with Simon Park and David Swenson
  • Took a Yoga trip to Jamaica with Jamie Lee (Ashtanga teacher from Montreal)
  • Snorkeled for the first time in Jamaica (and a 2nd time in Mexico)
  • Cut my hair off (monumental for me!)
  • Did my virgin burn with both my fire hoop and poi
  • Went to 4 weddings
  • Trip to Canmore Alberta for my sister's wedding
  • Mexico, Cancun for my bf's sister's wedding
  • Took an online photography course
  • Took a Poi course in Toronto with Nick Woolsey!
  • Wrote a 50,000 word novel in the month of November for Nanowrimo

I cannot believe that all of this happened in one year!  2012 is going to be a lot different I think.