Wednesday, August 31, 2011

because I need a 10th post for the month

here is an update on the demolished and rebuilt house. things seem to have been moving slowly, but today I noticed that tools have been picked up.

the back view - 
note the 3-car garage
the front view - note the circular driveway
that goes nowhere near the garage doors

and remember when I did the little tour and showed you some houses you might be interested in buying?and there was this one that had been left sitting in this unfinished state for about 2 or 3 years? 
did one of you buy it?
because now it is gone!
yay another new house. this time, it will be better than what was there, though it is a shame that the other plans stalled. again, this will obviously be way bigger than the original.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Of all the household chores that need doing, laundry is probably the one I have the least objection to. Afterall, you don't really need to actually be there, doing anything, in order for it to get done. Oh yes, there is prep work, but that is minimal. If anything it is the clear up and folding and putting away (and possibly ironing?) of the laundry that poses a hint of an objection. And for me, the drying. Because I refuse to use a dryer. But I like that hanging up process.

When I was younger, I remember helping push the heavy wet clothes through the wringer washer. I was at once thrilled with the process and terrified of the wringer.

I also seem to remember that it would skitter across the uneven basement floor during the agitation phase. It was an all day event, this washday.

I always hang my clothes outside, even in winter sometimes, if there is enough of a breeze to keep them from freezing solid. And even sometimes if there wasn't. The air would give them a fresh scent if you hung things up after they were more than halfway dry.

Now, having only a balcony space, I need to use a variety of clothes horses for this chore and due to a some space issues, I tend to leave them outside folded up and behind a trellis when not in use.

My large wooden rack is perfect for hanging sheets. I found one that someone (likely someone cleaning out Mum's house...) had put out for garbage pick up.

Over the years, it has become less and less stable and has on many an occasion fallen over with the heavier breezes. It had broken bits and needed to be stabilized by the wall and chairs but would still list to one side and wobbled dreadfully. It owes me nothing. So I shed no tears, when I finally threw it out and replaced it with this brand new STURDY
one that I found at a market stall.
It has much thicker dowels that mean less crease in your sheets. 
And extra supports. And you can't tell in the picture, but it is also a bit wider. 
Now, I am waiting for that right breeze....

Friday, August 26, 2011


There were still thousands of people standing patiently in a line that wrapped right around City Hall this evening in order to pay their respects to Jack Layton. It was about 2 1/2 hours long.

Jack (he was always Jack, not Layton or Mr Layton - nothing so formal) was a city councillor and MP in Toronto who later became the leader of the New Democratic Party and then in last May's election, the leader of the opposition. He was a man of the people and even those people who did not - and perhaps never would - vote for him, have been deeply affected by his death. It was not completely unexpected, but shocking all the same. We all had hope...

I shook his hand once. Many years ago, when I lived almost but not quite in his riding on the Danforth, I was standing in line behind him in a bakery. Some other people came over to talk to him and somehow I was drawn into the conversation. I have no memory of what the talk was, but I do remember his laughter and those eyes that sparkled in their intensity when he looked at you. When he was ready to leave he shook hands with each of us and waved to the others sitting at tables nearby. He was not just going through the motions, he really cared about and knew so many people.

What other politician would spend his last days writing a letter to his fellow citizens [Canadians]?

It is long, so I won't repost it all but here are a few snippets from his letter to Canada dated two days before his death

All my life I have worked to make things better. Hope and optimism have defined my political career, and I continue to be hopeful and optimistic about Canada.
To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope.
And finally, to all Canadians: Canada is a great country, one of the hopes of the world. We can be a better one – a country of greater equality, justice, and opportunity. We can build a prosperous economy and a society that shares its benefits more fairly. We can look after our seniors. We can offer better futures for our children. We can do our part to save the world’s environment. We can restore our good name in the world. We can do all of these things because we finally have a party system at the national level where there are real choices; where your vote matters; where working for change can actually bring about change.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.
All my very best,
Jack Layton
Jazz has conveniently posted it in its entirety on her blog which you can read here.

'aspire to inspire'     'through these doors lies the body of a great man'
For several days, people have been leaving messages on the cement at City Hall, 
some of it has been washed off with the rain, but more is added...Olivia (his wife) made an appearance
'the best PM we never had'
You will be sorely missed, Jack.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

an escape

We drove for hours. To get away from the crowds. It almost didn't work. It seems Tobermory was very crowded. We couldn't even get into one area of the National Parks because the parking lots were all full! Most of the boats were fully booked, too, though we did manage to get on one glass bottomed boat to see the ship wrecks below. By then my memory card said it was full. Bollocks. I remember many a time on family trips, running into gas stations and drug stores to get another roll of film. You could find them everywhere. Not so with the memory cards. And certainly not in a place that is only open for business six months of the year. So they say. Though, I guess when film runs out after 36 shots and memory cards are reusable after hundreds (except my defective one, sigh) I can sort of understand it.

Still, I managed to get a shot of this to share with you.

It won't mean too much to most of you who are from so far away, but this ferry brings back those "oh, I remember" moments to many of us of a certain age.....

a boat going on a boat.

This is what takes you from the top of the Bruce Peninsula over to Manitoulin Island.

We didn't go on it because we didn't have enough time so we headed for a less crowded beach (which quickly got crowded as more people were directed here by the guide at the Cyprus Lake parking lot)

A rocky beach. (where I borrowed a camera...)

with the most indescribably stunning scenery
it takes your breath away every time

Friday, August 19, 2011

food fun?

Today is the day The Ex opens. The Canadian National Exhibition. A Toronto tradition since 1879. I haven't been going that long, but people around here seem to have long, fond memories of The Ex of old.  There have been many changes and evolutions at this venerable old fairground. The Ex itself is a little underwhelming and I am not a midway fan, but the one unifying memory seems to be the food. Specifically, The Food Building.  The Food Building was the place to go to get all those free samples. Back in the day, the stalls used to be geared towards manufacturers who would provide freebies or cheap samples of their new wares (some of them even cooked!) to entice you to later buy their product at your local supermarket. We would leave there a lot less hungry and arms laden with bags and bags of food and coupons and recipes. The last time I was there it had evolved into a glorified food court of fast food chains, many of which could be found at any mall. Where's the excitement in that?

Of course there is also the carnival food that is new and, erm, exciting. Though every year it seems to become more and more bizarre. And unhealthy. Truly unhealthy. Last year it was fried butter, this year it is the Krispy Kreme donut cheeseburger, coming in at a whopping 1500 calories. Also on offer are such things as deep fried cola, deep fried mac and cheese, deep fried kool ade, deep fried cheese curds, deep fried pop tarts. Noticing a trend here?

And to think I thought Tiny Tom Donuts were a wonderful novelty. And candy floss. All could only be gotten only at The Ex.

Then, today, in Shoppers Drug Mart I found this

Is nothing sacred anymore?

Where's the excitement in that?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

smart advice

This bit of advice that I am about to impart may seem so obvious to most of you, but, just in case some of you are like me and tempted to ignore certain envelopes that come through your mail, I am here to tell you to OPEN EVERY ENVELOPE. Even if it looks like it is junk mail. It might even be a good idea to READ the letters that are held within those envelopes. 

I have a tendency to file away those bills that get paid automatically from my account and to quickly glance through the ones that don't (like my Visa, etc) and toss all the extraneous bits of paper. This sometimes results in a misunderstanding of the "new" billing changes that are hidden in fine small print. And yes, I know, I am missing out on some exclusive, time sensitive opportunities to get in one some good insurance. or an extra card. or a contest for a fantastic trip if I reply in 10 days. or extra money if I convince my friends to join in saving at a particular bank. But I am not interested in any of that. It just complicates my life, all this extra information and bits of paper.

Then again, it seems, my credit card company wants to give me money for using their card. Yesterday, I almost threw out a cheque. A CHEQUE! From my credit card company! I have no idea why they want to do this, but yes, it does make me happy! I did actually wonder why I received this new card so soon after getting my replacement for the expired one and I even wondered that aloud to the person at the number I had to call to activate the card but was met with silence, so I just let it go and carried on. Then I promptly forgot the PIN I had to come up with that could not involve two consecutive numbers or repeats and had to be 6-digits. As a result, I can't use the chip so my use of the card has been limited. I obviously did not read the fine print that said I would be rewarded for using this newer (smart) card over my other older (stupid) card.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go on a $75 shopping spree. (right after I call the company to reset my PIN to something I can remember).

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Going out for coffee can turn into quite an adventure. Two weekends ago there was that traffic snarl when the skyway bridge was closed (which turned out to have a tragic story of a woman killed when she jumped out of a moving car).

Last weekend it was a parade along the streets in front of the cafe. After navigating the police car blocked off streets by the cafe, I parked and followed it for a bit, trying to guess what it was in aid of. It looked like some kind of saints parade that ended at the St Mary's Catholic Church.

The incense was a bit overpowering.

It may have been the heat, or the heavy clothes the participants were wearing, but none of them looked particularly happy to be walking. At one point I saw a queen flanked by two princesses (couldn't quite read the rest of the banner), the queen was too busy texting to wave to the bystanders.

The church was nicely decorated with strings of lights and I meant to go back to get better shots of it when the parade ended and I had finished my coffee, but I forgot.
There was a lot of finery and each group of women had on the same outfits (I guess the men did, too, but it was harder to differentiate) but the shiny, bright evening wear belied a certain insouciance. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe they had been marching for hours already and were just tired. But I found my initial excitement at seeing the little girls wearing garlands and angels wings, and the priests dressed in their robes with mitres and the marching band just vanished into a bit of ennui. (I suppose some Portuguese might have been more appropriate than French, but I don't know any.)

I can't wait to see what diversion this weekend will provide.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

SundayStills - sunrise

Working nights, I have become acutely aware that the sun is rising later and later. And we haven't had any spectacular views over the past couple of weeks, until last Friday at 5 am. I still had one building left to deliver, which would have taken less than 10 minutes, but I decided to make those early morning people wait a little longer for their newspaper while I ran down to the waterfront to capture this.
see more sunrise/sunsets at SundayStills

Friday, August 5, 2011

finding a dream home

So, by now you are all probably thinking it is a wonderful place where I live and wouldn't it be great if you, too, could have a house here. I am here to help you. I have sought out a few properties that are for sale. With a couple of exceptions these were found within a two mile walk along Lakeshore. So we are within a very specified area - after all I was walking and didn't go wandering all over town. Besides, this is where the most interesting architecture is to be found, as far as I am concerned. I may be biased, though. But if any of these appeal to you, you could be my neighbour and we could explore all those neat places for eating, drinking and shopping together.

these two are next door to each other and are still being extensively renovated

only the one on the right is for sale, but I rather like these two together, obviously by the same builder. they are rather close to the street, however
a little plain for my taste, but love the colour and the huge hydrangeas
 showing a little more curb appeal

this one comes with free sidewalk art

sadly this little one is already sold. it is across from a park where you can sit on your porch and watch the kids playing soccer and baseball

I love this house below. it doesn't show all that well in the photo, but look at that sunroom with the pyramid skylight! and it has a wheelchair ramp, which is handy even if you are not using a wheelchair. it faces a small lookout onto the lake where you can watch the geese and the ships.
not my taste, but that must be quite the attic suite!
getting bigger.....
 getting monstrous

a meandering driveway that must be hell to navigate in the snow....
maybe you would like a heritage property like this one above

or a custom build
this poor thing has been like this for about 3 years. it started of as a good proposition to renovate what was originally just that front portion, then I guess the owner got overwhelmed... it is not for sale, but it might be if you ask nicely.
or maybe you would prefer something with less maintenance, then an apartment in this building might be just the thing (although there are no balconies)
or you could have several balconies (more in the back) and get a live/work situation. and be next door to the Black Pearl Lingerie shop.