Archive | January, 2011

Repair Pal

28 Jan

2004 Ford ExpeditionRepairPal gives you independent and unbiased repair estimates, user
ratings and reviews, plus advice you can’t get anywhere else. Auto Repair Houston: Hot, humid air in the summer can adversely affect your vehicle and its drivability. Because of the high level of moisture in the air, problems with electrical connections, fuse panels, and relays are common.

Find out more information about your vehicle here, comments from other owners and write your own comment. There are tabs: Recalls, Ratings & Reviews, Questions & Answers, and Problem Reports.

Find out what your mechanic is doing under the hood of your car. For most of us, the word Timing Belt sounds like something from the movie Back to the Future. Get detailed decriptions  of Water Pumps, for example, at Repairpal.



the monogamists…sort of…

20 Jan

“I’ve done the merry-go-round, I’ve been through the revolving door, I feel like I’ve met somebody that I can stand still with for a minute. Don’t you want to stand still with me?” – Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City, Season 1 episode 7.

Toronto is no different from any other big city on this huge planet. People keep their distance. We introduce ourselves like we’re selling real estate. I’ll Facebook you is the new ‘I’ll call you’. And being thirty is apparently the new twenty…at least this is what I’m told.

In this vast space of a city you would think that an attractive, young thirty-something guy could meet another young thirty-something fella. After all, there’s plenty of fish dot com, gay dot com, and we now have Grindr, a gay GPS to track where all the beautiful men are. Meeting men at your fingertips. Easy right?

True, part of my new year’s resolution is to not date for one year. 365 days of single. I deleted my online dating profiles. Stop making eye contact with cute guys. And stop pretending to be interested in conversations that I’m not really part of anyway. Time to invest in me. My life. I made this decision after a break up…a ditch? Still not sure exactly what to call what happened (he told me he never loved me that I was only a sexual experiment) but it’s over now. As a result, I have all this regret (shut up bitch, there is such a thing as regret. If it doesn’t exist I wouldn’t have any). I learned that I put myself, my life, on hold for my ex and as a result I almost lost myself completely. So I figure one year spent losing myself requires one year gaining an identity.

Am I over thinking? Most Libras would say yes. Thankfully I’m a Capricorn and over thinking is what I do best. But this time I think I bit off more than I can chew. Quitting smoking is easier (another new year’s resolution). I’m keeping distracted with Self-help books, enrolling in a second career program and connecting with friends…well, the ones I have left.

2010 wasn’t the best year, but it wasn’t the worst. When it was good it was great. After all I did fall in love. But when it got bad it was a nightmare. I lost more jobs in one year than I had in my entire career of working. I lost myself completely.

Where’s the balance? Why does it feel like the world has shifted on its axel, knocking some of us on our asses? The world is in a recession and despite the reports on the news that it’s over, more people are still getting laid off. So in the middle of all this chaos why am I writing about finding the one? Insane?

To be honest, part of me screams there’s no such thing as love. That it’s a hallmark greeting to sell a piece of paper. But the young, naive, hopeless romantic in me silently whispers: it does. Don’t give up.

A really hot guy in the television industry once said to me at a trendy club in the Film District, “You can’t find love if your heart’s not open” He said this as he massaged my bottom lip with his finger after sliding his cigar in my mouth for a taste. His words echo in my head like a bad dream after I wake. Is my heart frozen? If so, when did I become this cold person who runs from love instead of toward it?

It reflects like a ray of light off a mirror. People see it, I guess or he wouldn’t have said it. I want to be open. I want to be ready. But every time I try to take a step outside of the refrigerator some idiot will say something completely out of line. First words from a douche bag who didn’t bother to say hi first said, “Are you a top or bottom?” This is the gay introduction. Whether we’ll get along or not. Another snot rag off POF sent me a message before I deleted my profile, “I’ll be single in a month, want to hook up?” Are you for real? And when I refuge to my safe place, my bookstore on Yonge Street, the manager – a 62-year-old plumber, and a scholar in sexually transmitted decreases told me for new year’s he celebrated by hiring a hooker and never wears a condom because he’s a top. What kind of world am I living in?

My hooker friend, yes I have a friend who is a prostitute. But the agreement to our friendship is that he stay in school or the deal is off. He’s getting his PhD in sexuality and in my eyes justifies what he is doing. If it weren’t for school he’d just be a whore…not cool. Anyhow, we smoked a joint after a beer and told me more about his life. He has three boyfriends, five booty-calls and 10-clients. His life is literally a merry-go-round of sex. How he doesn’t shit himself when he sneezes is beyond me. But I don’t judge. It’s his life. However I am part of it.When we’re together we sneak off to the dark corners of earth and laugh and pretend we ‘get’ each other. In a way I do get him. Sex is a game. It’s a job. It’s fun. It’s dirty. It’s fascinating.

If this real life or am I dreaming? When did I become so out of touch with reality that people shock me? And when did I make myself so forgettable?

I use shopping as therapy. I downloaded songs and movies as a rebellious attempt to screw the system but all I’m left with are CD’s with scratched words with black marker. My friend, the Hooker, says that I shouldn’t think about love because it doesn’t exist. In Montreal, where he’s from, people don’t bother to look for love that it apparently lands on their laps. Sex he says is a Toronto thing and if I’m looking for more I need to look else where.

So I shop and wear fancy clothes in my apartment in downtown Toronto. Turned off. Single. And I watch Sex and the City off a burned DVD. People say I’m Carrie Bradshaw but I think it’s only because I’m a writer. I’m not as cool or as smooth or even as cute as she is. In her own dysfunction she knows who she is. What she wants. I don’t. Not anymore. I’m so dizzy from 2010 that 2011 is about making sure I don’t throw up all over it.

If my friend Laura was reading this she’d probably say, “You’re so dramatic sweety, have a drink.” But I don’t want to drink. I don’t want to get drunk. I want to stand still with someone at 3am and as the January chill blows past but not be cold. I’d smile back at Laura and say, “Sure where do you want to meet?” I ignore my wants and agree because this is what I do. It’s company. It’s a Toronto thing to be out and about and not be captive at home because you never who you might meet.

“In a city with infinite options there’s no better feeling than knowing you only have one.” – Sex and the City.

Fashion Statement Swift Toronto Style

19 Jan

wish I could go out in public wearing this

I’m taking a study break from biology…honestly I have no idea what biology is but it’s something I have to take in order to become a Registered Practical Nurse.  My head hurts. It’s exhausting the amount of studying I’m doing. I’ve been running around all day. From the library to my apartment (so I can grab another notebook) to the coffee shop (that charged me $10 for a jasmine tea and chocolate chip cookie), to the bank (apparently a money order wasn’t cashed from 2008 and I’m being refunded the cash 🙂 ) However I continue. It’s wet and cold in Toronto, making my trek a miserable experience. But I continue. My Pea Coat is awesome for weather like this. It’s classic and I fit right into any trendy Toronto neighborhood…finally. Not that I was a sore thumb in the past but I definitely have my own style. I don’t conform. I don’t care. I look cute and girls in cute dresses check me out. If they only they knew – I mutter under my breath. I don’t care because I fit in.

Fashion is Toronto and Toronto is fashion…no joke. What you wear counts and every step you take feels like you’re on a runway in Milan…if you’re wearing the right outfit. Today however, it’s all about attitude. The weather sucks remember? It doesn’t help that I have a zit on my forehead which is sad that I’m still getting acne as an adult. Whatever. It’s my fashion statement.

I’m back home and Taylor Swift is on the radio. Normally I’m all about dance and trance but lately I’m seduced her voice. She’s pretty. She’s got style and nice hair. Her music is a great background distraction. I feel like a teenager listening to her music…like I’m fifteen again. God, to never think about being fifteen again. Talk again bad acne. But it’s nice to dream through someone else’ experience. She sings about bigger dreams than her own. She and someone else both cry. I listen. Objective. Seduce. In my pea coat and jasmine tea.

10 tips for healthy eating on a budget – Nutrition – Canadian Living

18 Jan

10 tips for healthy eating on a budget – Nutrition – Canadian Living.

Second Career Ontario Program

17 Jan

It’s a program for people who have been laid off work. Second Career is designed to provide laid-off workers with skills training to help them find jobs in high-demand occupations in Ontario. Its purpose is to provide training that helps laid-off workers move to better jobs than they could obtain without training, such as those with higher skills. The first step in the Second Career program is to visit Employment Ontario’s website. On this website the following information can be found:

What is Second Career?

Second Career provides laid-off workers with

  • skills training to help them find jobs in high-demand occupations in Ontario
  • financial support

Second Career is a cost-sharing grant provided on the basis of need, so you may be asked to contribute what you can to your training or education.

Second Career provides up to $28,000 for

  • tuition
  • books
  • other instruction costs such as manuals or workbooks
  • transportation
  • a basic living allowance

Additional support may be available to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities, dependent care, costs of living away from home and academic upgrading.

Find out more about recent changes to Second Career.

Ontario’s Second Career program is permanent and will continue to help laid-off workers train for new careers in high-demand fields.

As of June 8, Employment Ontario made changes to application guidelines that mean more laid-off Ontarians will be eligible for Second Career. Modifications have been made to the application guidelines for criteria including length of job search and unemployment, work history and skills. Talk to staff at an Employment Ontario assessment centre to see if Second Career is a good fit for you.

Launched in June 2008, Second Career exceeded its three-year goal of helping 20,000 laid-off workers after only 16 months.The program will continue to provide financial support for tuition, books, travel and other expenses to help workers participate in short- and long-term training programs.

How have guidelines for Second Career been changed?

  • As of June 8, Employment Ontario made changes to application guidelines that mean more laid-off Ontarians will be eligible for Second Career. Modifications have been made to the application guidelines for criteria including length of job search and unemployment, work history and skills. Talk to staff at an Employment Ontario assessment centre to see if Second Career is a good fit for you.

    You will need to provide the ministry with proof such as job ads in your local newspaper or a letter from an employer that intends to hire. Your Employment Ontario assessment centre can advise you on how to best gather this information.

    A survey conducted of Second Career students shows that 93 per cent of students have graduated, and over 61 per cent have found jobs within an average of three months.

    What will happen if you don’t qualify for Second Career?

Ontario continues to invest more than $1.2 billion annually in Employment Ontario programs designed to help Ontarians looking for work. Employment Ontario helps more than one million Ontarians every year through services such as:

  • Job placement services, such as résume writing and interview preparation
  • Literacy and basic skills upgrading
  • Ontario Job Creation PartnershipsSecond Career was always intended to be one option among many Employment Ontario program options, to help individuals recently laid-off and requiring training to begin different careers in the new economy.

    The length of the application process can be different for everyone and depends on how long it takes an applicant to complete and submit their Second Career application.

There are many high-demand careers to choose from, including:

  • Industrial electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Carpenters
  • Tilesetters
  • Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics
  • Truck drivers
  • Insurance adjusters
  • Customer service, information and related clerks
  • Architectural technologists and technicians
  • Telecommunications line and cable workers
  • User support technicians
  • Systems testing technicians
  • Medical radiation technicians
  • Medical sonographers
  • Paralegal and related occupations
  • Community and social service workers
  • Early childhood educators and assistants
  • Chefs
  • Hairstylists and barbers
  • Food and beverage serversYou can only apply for one training program at a time. Support for additional training is sometimes available; for example, to support the academic upgrading or a prerequisite you may need before entering a skills training program.

You are asked to include detailed financial information with your application for Second Career. Staff with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities will evaluate individual need and determine the amount of financial support the ministry will provide you through Second Career.

The new Second Career guidelines do not change this process and you may be asked to contribute more for your training.

The maximum support Second Career provides for tuition, books and other instructional costs, transportation, and basic living allowance is $28,000. Additional support may be available for: disability accommodation, dependent care, living away from home, and academic upgrading

In all cases, the ministry will work with you to determine a reasonable contribution to the total cost of training. The new guidelines do not change this process and you may be asked to contribute more towards your training.

you may take a temporary job while applying for Second Career, but be sure to talk to your Employment Ontario assessment centre about your plans and financial needs.A temporary job is one that pays less than $423 per week and requires a skill level of NOC D, as classified in the Statistics Canada NOC skills matrix.

Any earnings will be taken into account in determining your eligibility for Second Career and financial support for your training.

Books that’s changing my life

17 Jan

Aside from that I decided to devote this blog to health concentrating on the Mind, Body, and Spirit. These are things that I already research for myself and want to share with all of you. Part of my Bucket List for 2011 (yes I know that a Bucket List is a list of things you want to do before you die, however my list consist of things I want to do before the year is up) I decided to catch up on some reading so here’s my list of books that I’m currently reading that are actually improving my life!

January is a tough month for me. Not only do I have to think and write out my New Year’s Resolution for the year and my birthday, it’s also that time of year when the city of Toronto gets stuck under snow and my mood turns to bla. However, this year instead of falling into the dark corners of winter I’m fighting back with the help of Dr. David D. Burns books Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. With tools like Rational Response and lessons on building self-esteem and why we can angry, life seems a little brighter. Here’s a passage from the book:

“Learn to Endorse Yourself: So you frequently convince yourself that what you do doesn’t count? If you have this bad habit, you will naturally feel that you never do anything worthwhile. It won’t make any difference if you are a Nobel laureate  or a gardener – life will seem empty because your sour attitude will take the joy out of all your endeavors and defeat you before you even begin.”

Part of my New Year’s Resolution is to quit smoking. Like most smokers who want to quit but don’t want to endure the withdrawal of nicotine, I’m always on the lookout for something that is quick and painless. My good friend Heather gave me a gift certificate for Chapters and I totally took advantage and thought I’d try something totally new to me…Guided Hypnosis and let me be the first to say it works! Paul McKenna’s Quit Smoking Today without gaining weight is a fantastic tool in quitting smoking. It’s so good that I picked up his Change Your Life in 7 days, Supreme Self-Confidence, and I can make you rich books. But back to quitting smoking. He promises that if you follow everything he says you will become a non-smoker. I’ve been working on it for 5-days and I’ve seen almost smoke-free but I’m certain by next week I will be completely smoke-free.

Mama needs a new pair of shoes

14 Jan

After a couple of years of blogging I feel that it’s time to start generating some cash. Not to say that the experience hasn’t been awesome but as they say a chicken wing gets hot when you turn it on .

So I’m looking into ways of making money of this site. If any of you have any suggestions please leave a comment.