Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Summery Sunday

Today promised to be another warm, summer like day, so Mr.T and I decided to go for an early walk to the Stockyards. We walked north on Bathurst Street to Dupont then walked west along Dupont until we crossed under the West Toronto RailPath. We then cut through a couple of back streets ending up on Keele Street before heading north again to St.Clair Street. 
After checking out the Old Navy, we stopped for a light snack at Nations. I had an order of har gow, while Mr.T had some of their beef stew and goulash. Sated after our long walk, we checked out the Winners and the Home Sense before heading back south to the Home Depot. There we picked up a 15" round LED light by Feit for our furnace room at home. Over the years we have replaced most of the ceiling lights in the house with low profile LED light fixtures and I have been wanting to replace an old fluorescent fixture we had with a low profiled LED fixture. 

Not surprisingly, once we pulled the fluorescent fixture down we were in for a surprise, leading to our renovation reality. The box in the ceiling was a jumble of electrical wires and the bracket that held it to the floor joists was a little too close to a plumbing line. While we wanted to move the bracket, it was nailed into the joists securely making it difficult to pull out the nails allowing us to move it an inch or so away from the pipes. No matter what we did we couldn't release the nails so instead we opted to install the light where it was, it didn't touch the pipes directly, and hope that in the future we could return with an electrician to clean everything up. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

What I've learned...

...from Antiques Roadshow, both the original British show and its American counterpart, is never buy furniture, only buy art (especially art that you like) and jewelry made with platinum (it is always beautiful and is an investment). Watching the shows on PBS has been a Saturday evening ritual for me for years. I love the shows, primarily because of the stories about the objects that everyone brings. Often the stories about the pieces, their relationship to the owners or how the object came to them are really interesting. You are given a glimpse into their family histories and their past. It is also fascinating in how the shows differ. In the British shows, the stories are paramount, while in the American show, it is all about the value and far too often focused on weapons and Civil War memorabilia. A subtle commentary on the difference between the two Atlantic cultures. 

A Muggy Walk

Today we awoke to a muggy day that was heavy with the anticipation of rain. After Mr.T and I made our way to Kensington Market and watched Ask This Old House, we decided to go for a short walk. Walking down to Spadina, we checked out the Home Sense then walked south through the towers of City Place to Dan Leckie Way. We then walked south to Queen's Quay following the Waterfront Trail westward towards Ontario Place. 

Reaching William B. Davis Park we took the high path through the park finding ourselves a little tired from the walk. Making our way to the west side of the island we crossed through the retro-pods built above the water back to Ontario Place, then from there across a footbridge to the grounds of the C.N.E. Walking to the north end of the grounds we were able to catch the Bathurst Street car back home. 

I have always loved the pods at Ontario Place that are connected by bridges that sit over the water. They were designed by Eb Zeidler way back in 1971 when Ontario Place was created and for me capture that sense of retro-futurism that was so popular at the time. While the buildings never realized their full potential and are sadly in poor shape I would love to see them used as a living laboratory for small businesses and a showcase for small conventions and shows focused on futurism. They are such a beautiful venue. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Beautiful Day

Today promised to be another summer-like day, so I went for a bike ride in the morning along the Lakeshore trail but was home just after lunch. Our handyman called to make sure I was in, as he was sending over his plumber to replace the spigot located on the front of our house. 

Not only did the original spigot which was one of those old-time valves leak, it was also not attached to the wall, which meant it was always moving around. I wanted a new ball valve that matched the one we had in the backyard, which meant a toggle rather than a crank valve. I mentioned this to our handyman when he came by to fix the fence destroyed by the downed tree, so it was nice to finally have a new spigot, with a toggle rather than a valve, allowing us to water out front without worrying about the hose leaking everywhere. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Lovely Summery Wednesday

Here you can see what the planters will look like when everything grows in, 
with the impatients and sweet potato vines. You can also see the dracaenas in the pot by the steps. This photo is from a couple of years ago

After yoga this morning I had to bike back home because I forgot my phone at home. Mr.T, who stayed home for the morning had just finished meeting with the claims adjuster, who finally showed up after almost two weeks to assess all the damage in the backyard. Mr.T left for work, and I biked over to Fiesta Gardens to pick up some sweet potato vines that I wanted to plant out front. Every year we plant the boxes that sit between us and our neighbour with a combination of impatients and sweet potato vine which creates flowers and a dangling vine at the end of each box. 

After dropping of the six plants I bought from Fiesta Gardens, I then biked up to Loblaws to pick up a couple of dracaenas, lovely spikey plants for a big pot that sits beside our front stairs. I like how the dracaenas give not only a little height, but also a little drama to the front steps. 

For dinner, I wanted something light and after searching through the fridge I discovered I had a zucchini, a box of cherry tomatoes and an eggplant, so I decided to make some babaganoush and a zucchini and tomato salad I found in a cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi, Jerusalem: A Cookbook. I substituted the yogurt dressing with a tahini dressing that I think was a little lighter. 

  • 8 Zucchini
  • 5 Large Tomatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 ½ Cups Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
  • 2 Red Chiles, Seeded & Chopped
  • 1 Medium Lemon Zest
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Date Syrup
  • 2 Cups Walnuts, Chopped
  •  Ounces Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
1.Preheat oven to 425˚ and place a pan in the oven to heat.
Trim the zucchini and cut them in half lengthwise.
Half the tomatoes as well.
Brush the zucchini & tomatoes with olive oil, salt & pepper. 
2.Once the oven pan is hot, place the zucchini on the pan cut side down and roast for 5 minutes.
Removed the zucchini once charred then add the tomatoes for another 5 minutes.
Add the zucchini back and roast everything for 20 minutes. 
3.Remove the pan from the oven and allow the vegetables to cool.
Chop coarsely and allow to drain in a colander for 15 minutes. 
4.Whisk together the yogurt, lemon zest, juice, garlic and chill.
Add to the chopped vegetables.
Add the chopped walnuts, parsley and stir well, season with salt & pepper.
Before serving dress with date syrup & olive oil.

Monday, May 21, 2018


While today was a holiday, Mr.T had to head north for a family funeral, meaning that I had the day to myself. After going for a bike ride and puttering around the garden and the house I decided to watch a film on Hoopla, an e-library that I discovered a week ago while searching for copies of films at the Toronto Public Library. 

I had always wanted to see the film, Keep the Lights On, a film that chronicles the relationship between a young filmmaker in New York and his off and on boyfriend who was an addict that drifted in and out of his life. A semi-autobiographical film I knew it would evoke strong feelings in me about the relationship I had with Chris, before I met Mr.T way back in 1999-2000. At the time I was on the rebound from another relationship that ended after 4 years and the fun that Chris brought into my life, which included stimulants seemed just like the tonic I needed. Sadly, while it was fun for me, and I could take or leave the stimulants, they were a part of his life, something that I came to recognize the longer I knew him. It was hard being in a relationship with someone who had a relationship to addiction. I only learned that through a lot of pain and angst.

As I have aged I have also discovered that these addictions are much more common in the LGBTQ community than I ever expected and as the drugs have become destructive and addictive they reek more havoc on our lives. Surprisingly, there seems to be a lot of use among those living HIV, something I have always known about, but which continues to be ignored in media representations. We need to find a way to address these issues, either through documentaries or feature films, like . 

Over the past week I have made a collection of films I want to watch on Hoopla, and discovered tonight another e-library offered by the TPL called Kanopy that offers even more films for downloading and viewing. It is so exciting to see films available online, allowing us access whenever we want, giving us the freedom to discard the idea that we need to "own" everything. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Sunday Film

This morning Mr.T and I walked over to the Varsity Cinema to catch the early showing of the second Deadpool film, Deadpool 2. Like the first film, it plays with the genre while breaking the forth wall, but didn't seem as interesting or original as the first film. Ryan Reynolds continues with the quips and pop culture references and the soundtrack uses the music not only to set the mood for each scene but also as part of the comedy, but the story was kind of disjointed. Because they wanted to bring Deadpool and Cable together along with a bunch of new characters (and one, Domino, that I really liked) to flesh out a new team, X-Force, the narrative was a little forced and didn't real flow nicely. 

After the film, Mr.T and I walked up to the Canadian Tire at Yonge and Church Streets to pick up a new iron and a new ironing board before walking back through Yorkville. On the way home we stopped at the Winners and Home Sense on Bloor having a look to see what was available. We then made our way home for a rest. 

Because the afternoon warmed up we decided to head over to Fiesta Gardens on Christie street to buy another blackberry bush, the one we planted last year is doing really well, some more cucumber pickles for Mr.T, some more sage and some parsley and cilantro seeds. After walking back home I made a really simple sweet and sour tofu dish on rice for dinner. I barbecued the pineapple and tofu on the grill then added this to some pan-fried onions, red peppers, garlic and dressed this with soy sauce, molasses, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar. It turned out really nice for an on the fly dish and was the perfect light meal for a bright, sunny night.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Drizzly Saturday

This morning after finally getting our television and internet back, Mr.T and I made our way to Kensington Market later than we usually like. Because it was damp and drizzly the market wasn't as busy as it usually gets later in the day, but we still had to navigate through people out for an early walk. We picked up our dry goods and veggies and some more vegetable plants for the garden. 

After Mr.T picked the rest of our groceries on Bloor Street, the rain stopped so we planted some strawberries in a strawberry pot, some cucumbers along the back of the fence (so they can climb), some red peppers between the tomato plants and some leeks between the peppers filling out more of the garden. We still need a few more plants but it is nice to see the garden coming along nicely in time for the usual planting of the 24 weekend. Because of all the stress of the morning and because it is so grey outside we decided to just veg inside for the rest of the day. 

After lounging around for most of the day, Mr.T and I walked up to Bloor Street for AYCE Japanese at Sakura. While their sushi isn't very good, their cooked and hot food is ok for the price, especially since they have one of our favourite nibbles, tataki. Ironically, while eating the sun came out so after dinner we decided to walk west on Bloor Street to Crawford Street, then we walked south to College and then back east to Lippincott before heading back home. It was nice to have a little walk, a constitutional after dinner. 


When I arrived home yesterday I discovered that the utility pole that was downed by the tree two weeks ago was finally back up in the driveway behind the house. The guys who put it up from Aecon were just getting ready to leave when I also discovered that our internet and cable was out again. Frustrated, I confronted them asking why our internet and television was not working again. Their response was telling. They asked if I was a Bell customer, when I said no, that I was a Rogers customer they explained they had to cut the wire because it was too short, with a smirk on his face. 

After two weeks of dealing with late tradesmen, late Rogers technicians and endless waiting around to fix up the garden I was tired and frustrated but I needed to call Rogers to come and hook things up again. Of course that turned into a 20 minute phone call in which I had to explain everything over and over again, finally to a manager, who booked me an appointment for Saturday morning between 8-10 but promised me, yes promised me that he would escalate the situation so that a technician would come that night. 

No surprise, that while we waited all night, a technician never showed. The next step is to wait around again on Saturday morning to see if anyone actually shows up to reconnect our television and internet. 

So the Rogers guy finally arrived this morning after I contacted Rogers again because his arrival time sat outside of our allotted window. Given all the frustration I have experienced over the past two weeks with Rogers I didn't have a lot of faith that the technician was going to show up when promised. In the end, he did, and he was able to string a new line to the finally erect utility pole, tying it off on both ends by crimping the cable like a real professional. Finally, after weeks of cable frustration we have a stable line, that will hopefully mean the end of our cable woes.