Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Halloween night

Gord and I are those nasty people who never stay home for Halloween. Trick or treaters ringing the doorbell just get KC barking and freaks Morgan out.

We met for supper at Tortilla Flats.

Then we saw a play called A Good Idea (In Theory) at the Theatre Passe Muraille. It's written by Emma Roberts, one of the trainers at the gym we go to.

It's the first time we'd seen a play there. It was in a cozy theatre called the Back Space.

Before the play starts, there is a singer on the stage. A CD of the singers involved is included in the cost of the play ($25).

Families can be pretty strange, but you'd have to search long and hard to find a bunch as weird as this lot. The patriarch is the inflexible Otto, who has written a once-influential political manifesto and who still rules the island commune that he set up years ago with his wife and a couple of like-minded friends. One daughter, the wispy Tricia, lives in a tree and hasn't been off the island since she was a kid. Elder sister, Juliette, is tough, works and drinks hard, and makes a habit of sleeping with supermarket security guards. Then in wanders the suicidal Blake who used to live on the island with his parents.

Yes, a strange story but it was good. Especially good were the actors playing Otto and Tricia.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Book ~ "When All You Have is Hope" - Frank O'Dea (2007)

From ~ For entrepreneur Frank O’Dea, it was a long road from street life to the high life. Born in Montreal to an upper-middle-class family, Frank’s life took a downturn as a young man when he was sexually assaulted by a priest. He began drinking at an early age, smashing up 17 cars. Soon he was destitute, living in degradation on the streets of Toronto. By way of a sympathetic employer and the Salvation Army, O’Dea quit drinking and started a small business that developed into the Second Cup coffee chain. Over the years, his philanthropic activities extended to AIDS fundraising, child literacy in the Third World, and landmine removal. His message is simple: HOPE, VISION, ACTION.

Interesting and honest story of how O'Dea realized he had to straighten out. He then went on to achieve so much. It's a quick read and not too heavy.

Ducts cleaning

We had our dryer vent cleaned today ... all the units in our condo corporation are getting them done. It should help to prevent a fire.

I had to jam the boys into their carriers (which didn't please them one bit!). We went upstairs to hang in Grant and Jasmine's while our place was being done. When it was Grant and Jasmine's turn, I took Nova to our place. The noise would have scared the animals.

The van with the huge vacuum:

Ion, our superintendent, was supervising:

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Book ~ "Lullabies for Little Criminals" - Heather O'Neill (2007)

From ~In her debut novel, O'Neill offers a narrator, Baby, coming of age in Montreal just before her 12th birthday. Her mother is long dead. Her father, Jules, is a junkie who shuttles her from crumbling hotels to rotting apartments, his short-term work or moneymaking schemes always undermined by his rage and paranoia. Baby tries to screen out the bad parts by hanging out at the community center and in other kids' apartments, by focusing on school when she can and by taking mushrooms and the like. Stints in foster care, family services and juvenile detention usually end in Jules's return and his increasingly erratic behavior. Baby's intelligence and self-awareness can't protect her from parental and kid-on-kid violence, or from the seductive power of being desired by Alphonse, a charismatic predator, on the one hand, and by Xavier, an idealistic classmate, on the other. When her lives collide, Baby faces choices she is not equipped to make.

Very powerful novel. I'd definitely recommend it!

Liberty Village Farmers' Market, Toronto, ON

KC and I went for our long morning walk and Gord came along.

We walked to the Liberty Village Farmers' Market, just south of us. Gord bought some buffalo pepperoni sticks.

Then we carried on and did a big loop back to our 'hood.

It was a brisk refreshing walk. The temperature is 8C but there feels like a wind chill.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Supper with Grant, Jasmine and Nova

Grant, Jasmine and Nova are our neighbours upstairs. They invited us for supper tonight. KC came along too.

Supper was delicious! Ribs, mashed potatoes and parsnips (Gord and I aren't veggie fans so passed on them) ... and apple pie and ice cream for dessert. Yum!

Grant, Jasmine and Gord (and Nova under the table)

KC, Gord and Nova

Jasmine is taking knitting classes
and is making a gorgeous scarf

KC, Gord, Nova and Grant

Jasmine and Nova

Byron was waiting up for us when we got home ...
looks like we missed our curfew!

Friday, 26 October 2007

Restoring the CAMH wall, Toronto, ON

We live near the CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health). It was known as Provincial Lunatic Asylum when it opened in 1850.

They are in the process of redeveloping it and repairing the 120 year old walls that surround the property. KC, Nova and I walked by on our way home from the park.

The part of wall still waiting to be repaired.

The part of the wall recently repaired.

Repaired versus old wall

Here's one of the workmen. I couldn't resist it!

Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, ON

KC, Nova and I walked over the Trinity Bellwoods Park this morning.

On our way over, we ran into the Barenaked Lady again. So we stalked ... er, I mean, followed him up Shaw Street and then east into an alley. Then he turned north into another alley with garages. It would have been obvious I was following him had I made that turn so we kept going to the park.

There were lots of dogs in the park. KC exchanged sniffs with a few of them.

KC had fun running around!

Nova is more cautious.

The leaves are changing colours.

Heading home with two tired dogs.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Book ~ Only in Canada You Say: A Treasury of Canadian Language - Katherine Barber (2007)

From ~ Ask any Canadian about a distinctly Canadian form of English and most will offer an enthusiastic Bob-and-Doug-McKenzie 'eh' in response. A passionate few might also bring up the colour vs. color debate or our pronunciations of 'out' and 'about'. And some may point to the ubiquitous Canadian toque as evidence of a language that is all our own. If this is your idea of Canadian English, then it might surprise you that Katherine Barber, Editor-in-Chief of the best-selling Canadian Oxford Dictionary and author of the best-selling Six Words You Never Knew Had Something to Do With Pigs, has written a new book filled with nothing but made-in-Canada vocabulary.

Only in Canada You Say highlights more than 1,200 words and phrases that are unique to our neck of the woods. Did you know, for example, that every time you ask for Gravol at the drug store, you're using a word that is unknown anywhere else? That those tasty butter tarts your mother used to make don't exist beyond our borders?

Organized thematically, Only in Canada, You Say covers Canadian English from coast to coast to coast, with sections dedicated to the things we love to do, where we live, how we get around, and what we wear. The entertaining and informative introductions to each section provide a fresh, often eye-opening, perspective on the reality of Canadian English from Canada's own 'Word Lady', Katherine Barber.

This was a fun book to read. I assumed that everyone knew what Gravol is.

I asked Gord if he knew what a scribbler is, assuming he'd know. I used them in school. He apparently didn't.

Do you know what it is?

How about blueberry grunt? Or a boiled dinner? Or pork pies (no, they aren't made with pork). Or a Burlington Bun?

This book brought back a lot of phrases I haven't heard or thought about since I moved to Toronto from Nova Scotia 20 years ago.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Book ~ "Tattoo Blues" - Michael McClelland (2005)

From ~ Tattoo Blues is a rollicking and playful comic-mystery, featuring runaway rich kid, Desiree Dean, who discovers her prized tattoo is a fraud - the Chinese character etched on her left breast says "with hot sauce", not "golden dragon" - and goes after the artist, and in the resulting confrontation accidentally, sets his tattoo parlor ablaze. That results in a mysterious explosion that destroys the parlor and leaves the injured Desiree in the care of a lesbian clam pirate and turns the sleepy Florida Gulf Coast fishing village of Cedar Key upside down.

This book grabbed me right from the start ... I liked the fast funny pace and odd characters. Then it fell apart towards the end, got predictable and wrapped up very quickly.

Still, I'd give the author another chance and will look for other books by him.

Universal Grill, Toronto, ON

The Boxing Babes met for supper tonight, something we do every couple of months.

We went to the Universal Grill at Ossington/Dupont, Susan's suggestion.

Beata and Susan

Yvette and Sonya

Teena and Yvette

Yvette, Beata and Susan

Yvette, Beata, Sonya and Susan

Gord and Minnie's roadtrip

Gord and Minnie went to Hamilton this afternoon to visit Ken, Gord's son.

Ken and Minnie ... aren't they cute?!

Then Gord and Minnie went to bingo here in Toronto afterwards. It sounds like they came close to winning .... but alas, didn't.

Friendly's, Toronto, ON

KC and I started our day with a long walk.

Then Gord, Minnie and I walked to Friendly's (Queen W/Dovercourt) for brunch.

We ran into Darlene and John there.

Gord and Minnie had breakfast ... four eggs, bacon, toast and coffee ($5 before 11:00; $6 after 11:00).

I had the 16 ounce burger and fries.

The food was good. The service was friendly. We'll be back! Thanks for suggesting it, Grant!

Friday, 19 October 2007

Minnie's here!

Gord's mom, Minnie, arrived a couple hours ago. She lives about 2.5 hours northeast of us and caught the bus (we picked her up at the bus station downtown).

They have big plans for tomorrow. They are heading down to spend the afternoon with Ken, Gord's son. Then Gord and Minnie are planning to go to bingo tomorrow evening. Alas, I have to pass as I'd made plans to have supper with the Boxing Babes.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

I just saw a barenaked lady!

No, it's not what you are thinking!

KC and I went for a long walk, including through the grounds of the CAMH.

That's where we saw Jim Creeggan who plays bass, stringed instruments and vocals for the Barenaked Ladies (the guy on the far left).

He was riding his bike towards me. He caught my eye, smiled and nodded. I smiled and nodded back. And then we passed and carried on.

Sister Sarah and I were fans when they first became known about 15 years ago and saw them in concert a couple times. I still have a few of their albums ... I should dig 'em out.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

"Oklahoma", Stratford Festival, Stratford, ON

Gord and I went to Stratford today to see Oklahoma, part of the Stratford Festival. As usual, we took the train down and back.

Raised in big-hearted turn-of-the century Oklahoma territory, spunky Laurey Williams spurns the affections of cowboy Curly McLain – only to fall into the hands of malevolent hired hand, Jud Fry. When unexpected tragedy strikes, farmers and cowmen alike must confront the untamed wilderness of the human heart.

Though the play was okay (I gave it 6/10, Gord gave it 7/10), we had a fun day!

After the play, we walked along the Avon River.

We stopped at Rheo Thompson Candies cuz LeeAnn recommended that we go there. I bought some chocolates but haven't tasted them yet.

We were going to have supper at Othello's ...

But because we stopped to take a picture, we ended up in a line-up for a table (the couple ahead of us got the last table) so we moved on to Sid's instead.

There's a bar we stop at every time we go to Stratford called Shenanigan's. It's been fighting for it's liquor license for the last three years and finally got it recently. So we had a couple drinks there. It's handy to the train station.
Teena outside of Shenanigan's
Gord on the train back to Toronto