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By Katherine Kiang
KaTsZoNe Newsletters > KaTsZoNe - Issue 107 - Circle of Friends

1 Dec 2013

Hi everyone,

I hope you've had a fabulous November also known as Movember for those who have tried to raise awareness of men's health issues by growing a moustache.  For me, the 91st Royal Agricultural Winter Fair at the Direct Energy Centre at the Exhibition Place, November is also known as Moooovember! 


This year, I attended "The Royal" the day the dairy cows arrived.  For years, the beef cattle will arrive at the beginning of the event.  Then, they leave and the dairy cows arrive.  It's nice to see different kinds of cows each year.  This year, I picked up another jacket from Holstein Canada as well as a small sports bag just to show my appreciation of the dairy cow farmers. 

This year, I really wanted to see poultry again - living, breathing, quacking, cockle-doodle do-ing poultry!  I have only seen poultry once before, four years ago, and I've missed them!  One thing I've noticed is that for 2-3 days of their lives, different breeds of poultry are put together and they've got to somehow get along.  They're all kept in cages and may be placed from those from the same farm as them or they will be placed with poultry from other farms.  Imagine being at a convention with different fowl - some are pretty, some are loud, some are nicely combed and seriously, none look like they've just fallen out of bed because they are all competing for a prize!  Judges go around, take them out of their cage, turn them around and upside down, inside out, round and round.  Well ... maybe not inside out!  Wish I could read the minds of those poultry as they see a "red coat" come around.  I wonder if it's almost the same as when humans see doctors and some have "white coat syndrome" -  the blood pressure goes up and the feathers fly all over the place?  I also wondered if and how the chickens, ducks, goose, and turkeys can communicate with each other.  Do they understand each other?  Reminds me of something my mom use to say when we could not understand each other - she'd yell, "It's like a chicken talking to a duck!"  That usually spelled trouble!  I don't think verbal communication is the only way they communicate just as it's not that way with humans.  Maybe Mrs. Goose seldom had contact with Mr. Rooster but here they were, on the same table in a cage, and Mrs. Goose might wonder if Mr. Rooster  constantly scratching the sand/dirt with one foot is normal or is does he have an obsessive personality?  The turkeys might be wondering where they'll be invited for Christmas dinner.  Hmm... I have to ask, "Who's bringing the gravy?"  It is amusing to wander amongst them and wonder if circles of friends are being formed amongst the poultry, even if they are short-lived.  I think humans should also enjoy the opportunities to form circles of friends - no matter how long or short they may last.  If we wait to long, we could miss some good experiences in life. 

I took several photos of amusing and beautiful poultry and other animals at The Royal.  For those of you who are signed up on Facebook, you can check out my photos from the 2013 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair photo album.  If you are not on Facebook, I will put the link to my album at the bottom of my email, however, it will not be displayed on my website.  If you cannot access Facebook from your computer, you will not be able to open the link.

I did not attend a show this year at The Royal, but, I always enjoy speaking to farmers, exhibitors and vendors and this year is no different.  As strange as it may sound, this year, I discovered one of the most delicious kosher dill pickles I've ever tasted -- my mouth is watering even now as I think about it!  The vendor who made the dill pickles also gave me a taste of camel mini pepperoni, which is made by Carmichael's.  I bought a package of bison and water buffalo mini pepperoni as Larry likes mini pepperoni or pepperettes.  We both realized that we preferred the mini pepperoni/pepperettes from a vendor at the North American International Motorcycle Show better, so, I guess we will go for some in January -- coming up real soon!  I also had a nice chat with a young woman about ginseng and I told her about a research paper I wrote in undergrad on Chinese and Western medicine, and discovered Canadian ginseng.  We learned from each other over a cup of "Zico" coconut water (now in my fridge) and a tasty yogurt -- nice!  Food sampling is a great pastime, and at The Royal, there is no shortage of food sampling -- enjoyable wholesome food!  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that I purchased some delicious curry chicken pies and steak pies from the British Baked Goods and had a nice chat with the owner.  I told him that I was at his store located in Simcoe, Ontario, this past August.  He assumed I had met his wife and daughter.  Indeed, I did!  So, by the time I left (and thank goodness I drove and parked right under the Direct Energy Centre for shopping convenience), I went home with a Holstein Canada jacket and sports bag, mini pepperoni sticks, a huge kosher dill pickle (which took 2 days to eat!) and pies!  No long term friendships made, but, some great interactions with poultry, cows, goats, sheep, rabbits, alpacas, pigs and humans!  Another fun trip to the Royal was over!

As I had mentioned last month, I am looking forward to an annual tradition of Christmas Afternoon Tea at The Omni King Edward Hotel (formerly Le Meridien King Edward).  There has been a management change since August 1, 2013 which I did not know about last month.  My friends and I still refer to it as just the King Eddy or the King Edward Hotel in spite of the change in management and names throughout the years.  My friend, Marleen, and I, started a tradition about 15 or more years ago.  We would do Christmas shopping or attend an event in downtown Toronto in the morning and then take a nice break for afternoon tea, which is a meal in itself!  Marleen and I are both Sagittarius gals, so, what better way to celebrate our birthdays and exchange Christmas gifts than hanging out at the King Eddy?  Walking into the front entrance into the hotel lobby with its large Christmas tree at the centre and hearing Christmas music is just the beginning of something warm and joyful.  We enter into a warm, familiar and supportive circle of friends who have been anticipating this annual event all year round.  We all have busy schedules and it is not easy for so many of us to gather at the same time.  So, it is really special to gather for Afternoon Tea.  Many people do not understand the significance of gathering for a meal or a tradition like Afternoon Tea.  I hope everyone can form such special circle(s) of friends!

I love hanging out with my girlfriends and going to shows like The Royal by myself, but, I am thrilled that I have a great friend to attend auto and motorcycle shows with.  Larry and I are planning to attend the The North American International Motorcycle Supershow (January 3-5, 2014) again which takes place at the International Centre in Brampton.  It is North America's largest motorcycle show. 
Another motorcycle show called the Toronto Motorcycle Show which usually took place in December has now moved to February.  We have been attending motorcycle shows since 2007 and I always have a fantastic time!  You don't have to be a rider to enjoy these shows!

Another favourite show of mine is the upcoming Canadian International Autoshow will be held from February 14 to 23, 2014 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  I don't attend the auto show because I am shopping for a new car -- I just pretend...just kidding.  Dealers will approach Larry and me, as though we are potential customers.  If these dealers remember our faces, they might think we shop for new cars every year!  As a former student of psychology and an avid "people watcher", attending the auto show is really amusing.  I see people, especially men, drool and fall at the feet (or tires) of beautifully put together pieces of metal and tires.  Not sure how many women would envy such behaviour - to have men drool and fall at their feet.  I have said, I never want to feel possessed or obsessed when it comes to a man or things -- and then, I see something black, sleek and sporty, spinning on stage, showing off large tires with gorgeous rims -- YIKES!  One year at the Autoshow, I could not convince Larry to skip a few cars and just go to the exotic cars area which is the highlight of my Autoshow visits.  If I went by myself, I would have started with exotic cars first.  There was less than half an hour left before the show closed.  My face was flushed red and my blood pressure was rising.  My heart was racing and I thought I would burst into tears.  In my mind, I thought, I am breaking up with Larry if I miss my Lamborghinis!  Who does that to a girl???!!!  Okay, me, not possessed or obsessed - really?  Poor Larry!  Anyway, those of you who may be looking for a little February distraction INDOORS, it's a really nice opportunity to meet some new friends like a Ford Fusion, VW Passat, Audi R8, Hyundai Genesis and LAMBOS!  Of course, there are hundreds more metallic friends to ogle at - no strings attached.  There's no other place to see the cleanest and shiniest vehicles in Toronto on a wintry February!

I am planning or am hoping to attend the One of a Kind Christmas Show at the Direct Energy Centre (November 28 - December 8, 2013) and the Toronto Christmas Show at the Distillery District (November 29 - December 15, 2013).

The One of a Kind Show features many independent retailers under one roof which includes clothing, art, jewellery, food, toys and so much more.  The Christmas Show & Sale gives shoppers a great opportunity to discover talented people and unique products which can turn out to be an awesome Christmas shopping adventure.  Throughout the years, I have discovered yummy chocolate covered berries at Tickleberry's and Fantasy soap from the Elora Soap Company, just to name two items which I will try and pick up whenever I attend.  My friends will also help me pick up the Tickleberry's and Elora soaps when I cannot attend.  I am definitely looking forward to attending this year with two friends on two visits!  There is also a One of a Kind Spring Show every year, but on a smaller scale.  If you have never attended the One of a Kind Show, I would suggest that you start with the Christmas Show.  Put on your comfy shoes - on your mark, get set, GO!!! [www.oneofakindshow.com/toronto/]

The Lowe's Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District is based on a German tradition which began in the early 1400's.  It celebrates the sights, sounds and scents of Christmas, taking place in the weeks before Christmas.  The Distillery District is busy all year round with its art galleries, unique boutiques and restaurants, but, during the Christmas Market, one can hear carolers, bands and Santa's elves singing.  I've seen reindeers in the past - not sure if they're there this year - there's only one way to find out....BE THERE!  I don't know if I can make it this year but will try my best.  [www.torontochristmasmarket.com/]

Thanks for taking time to read another episode of KaTsZoNe.  It's been nine years since I first writing the monthly blogs.  If you have misplaced my emails or sometimes, I may have inadvertently missed you (which does happen), or if you are new to KaTsZoNe, you can find all issues going back to December 10, 2004 at www.katszone.com/newsletter.html. 

With our busy schedules and sometimes separated by distances, it is always nice to connect with friends and family from time to time.  Writing KaTsZoNe has given me the opportunity to connect with all of you at least on a monthly basis.  You are part of my circle of friends.  Circles are neverending and when it comes to friendships, I am grateful that there is no shortage of good friends to be added to my great circle. I could never live a hermit's life -- yes, I said "hermit" not "Kermit".  Kermit the Frog would not agree with a hermit's life either.  Sorry for getting random, and, I think that's just my cue to stop now!  

I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  I'll be back in the new year with more KaTsZoNe -- YAY!!!

Take care and God Bless,


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