Being a Tourist in Your Own City – Part One

This past week my sister from Calgary and her husband spent five days with us. We had a wonderful time exploring different parts of the city and enjoying the food and drink that Toronto has to offer.

One of the places that my brother-in-law always wants to see is the Danforth, also known as Greek Town. Back in July this popular strip was rocked to it’s core with a mass shooting that injured 13 and killed two young girls. For days people walked around in disbelief with yellow police tape marking the three block area where the shooter took aim at innocent people enjoying a beautiful summer evening. Store windows were boarded up and make shift memorials quickly grew in front of the cafe where the girls were killed.

On Wednesday when we were there the only evidence that a tragedy had taken place was the banner ‘Danforth Strong’ that was erected in the park close to where the shootings started. All the yellow police tape had been removed, the boarded up windows were repaired and businesses and restaurants were once again busy.IMG_3734
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Next: Harbour Front

New Baby, an Anniversary, a Book Launch and a Pedicure with Dad

….what an exciting week

My middle sister became a grandmother for the first time. Her daughter had a little baby boy on August 15th. Mom, Dad and Baby Jale (pronounce Jah-lay) are all doing well. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’ll make the four hour drive to the farm to welcome the new little guy into our family.

On the 16th my husband and I celebrated our 42nd anniversary. We opted to celebrate with a special lunch. Being on a Wednesday we didn’t think that we’d need reservations but when we got to our first choice we couldn’t even find a place to park. We quickly decided to go to our second pick which was closer to home and luckily it wasn’t busy. We love this restaurant, Pulcinella, and the only reason it wasn’t our first choice was because we wanted something other than Italian food. In the end we decided that it was the perfect choice. We had wonderful service and the food was amazing.

The next day, quite by accident I discovered that a friend from long ago had written a book about the CNE and she was having a book launch in a bar just up the street from where I live. I was walking the dog at the time so I couldn’t go inside but I went home, dropped off the dog, grabbed my wallet and walked back up the street to support Lee. It was nice meeting some people that I had lost contact with and meeting some new people. One of the people that I met was a former editor of Canadian Living magazine. I knew of her and where she lived which surprised her. In the end we exchanged phone numbers and addresses and I should be getting a call in November to help with make-up for the Lakeshore Santa Claus parade. I guess this is how it starts. When people know you’re retired they quickly recruit you to do volunteer work.

Earlier that day Dad and I went to my favourite salon for nails and we both had pedicures done. It’s very interesting sitting next to your ninety year old father while having your feet worked on.  The owner of the salon worked on Dad and she was wonderful with him but we couldn’t convince him to paint his nails purple. Of course we were only teasing him. He laughed but firmly said no to colour.

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge 2016 – Week 31

….Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge can be any photo that doesn’t seem to fit into any other category

I have no idea what possessed my sister to kneel on the ground like this. I’m pretty sure she’s not praying. Her husband took this shot somewhere in Italy.

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This smiling face greeted people in front of the store in the town of Lucca.

A New Farmers’ Market in a New Home Town, a Visit From One Sister, Washing the Car and a Children’s Concert

…..needless to say it’s been a busy weekend

On Saturday my husband and I drove to Hamilton to return my daughter’s husband and dog (see yesterday’s post). It was probably the warmest day we’ve had this season. Both my husband and I were uncomfortable with the sudden heat. I’m not sure if Hamilton was warmer than Toronto but it certainly wasn’t that warm when we left the big city.

When we arrived our daughter was in the process of putting away dishes in the kitchen. There are still a lot of boxes that need to be unpacked. I really thought we were going to help with this massive job but G and B had other plans for us. B and I drove up the mountain to the paint store to pick up paint and G and her Dad walked up the street to pick up some lunch.

After lunch K and I walked to the end of the street to check out the Farmers’ Market. It was pretty big and there was a great selection of produce, meat, fish, cheese, baked goods, coffee and spices. There were also a number of vendors selling crafts.

When we returned B was already prepping for painting. I guess until the painting is done there isn’t much that can be done in the way of putting things away. We had a feeling that our help wasn’t really needed. We enjoyed a cup of coffee that we picked up at the market. It is literally only a five to ten minute walk from the house. When we left, B was well into painting the living room.

On Sunday, my sister from Chatham dropped by before heading back to the farm. She was in town to visit her two children. Her daughter was suppose to leave for Nepal this week for a three month co-op placement. She needs this in order to graduate. Fortunately for her the trip was cancelled because of the earthquake. Actually she was very disappointed but my sister was relieved. I’m sure the school will come up with another placement.

It was nice catching up with my sister. We didn’t even see each other at Christmas so one of the reasons for the visit was to pick up her Christmas gift which had been gathering dust in the corner of my living room.

I’m embarrassed to admit it but Sunday was the first time since the fall that I washed the car. It was also the first time that I took the car to one of those do-it-yourself car washes. It was the best $4.00 I ever spent. If I’d had more change I would have washed the floor mats and vacuumed the inside of the car. Next time!

On my way home from the car wash I got a phone call from my friend L and she reminded me of the children’s concert that we had talked about earlier in the week. I had completely forgotten about it but luckily it was being held in the neighbourhood at the Assembly Hall. I quickly fixed dinner and then I walked over to the college. The concert was put on by the Etobicoke Children’s Chorus. It was a special night because it was the farewell performance for the choir’s choral director.

As you can see it was a pretty busy weekend. In between all the fun things I’ve written about I also managed to do a little gardening, I cleaned up the kitchen, started cleaning the refrigerator, did some laundry and drove to Canadian Tire to pick up some household items.

A Good Friday at the Farm

…..visiting my sister and brother-in-law 

After checking into the hotel in Chatham, my husband and I drove to the farm. My brother-in-law was excited about showing off his new ‘man cave’. We were greeted by numerous cats, barking dogs and one sheep and the cows that were in the enclosed pen outside the barn. A few seconds later my sister stepped out of the barn and D approached us from the opposite side of the property.

The new ‘man cave’ isn’t finished inside but the structure is up and the water and electricity are hooked up and working. We listened to the plans as to how the space will be used and D hopes that he can have his ‘man cave warming party’ in the fall.

It was a warm, beautiful day so I decided to take a few pictures of the livestock in the yard. When we go back tomorrow we will check out the sheep and horses in the new barn. My sister’s place is a photographer’s delight….lots of old farm equipment, weathered knick knacks and yard ornaments and of course animals.

 

Daily Prompt: Quirk of Habit

Which quirky habit annoys you the most, and what quirky habit do you love — in yourself, or others.

 As a teacher I am painfully aware of overused expressions and words that people tack onto the end of their sentences. When I went to teachers college, eons ago, we were asked to do a lesson while being filmed. It was suppose to help us with our teaching style, voice projection and class management. The one thing that I was made aware of was my overuse of the the word ‘okay’. I was appalled at how often I used it. To this day I avoid using the word ‘okay’ at the end of my sentences whenever possible.

When I have student teachers in my classroom and I notice that they overuse a word, I will actually count how many times they’ve used that word in a 10 minute period. I’ve counted as high as 50 for some of my students when they’re in front of the class teaching. Trust me, students pick up on these quirky habits and can use them against you.

Sometimes it’s the quirky habits of our siblings that annoy us the most. A few years ago my middle sister constantly added the word ‘right?’ to the end of every other sentence. One day I just couldn’t take it any more and when she said ‘right?’, I immediately answered back and said, “Wrong!”. She looked at me puzzled, completely unaware of her quirky habit. When I told her what she was doing she tried very hard not to do it but she found it difficult and even cursed me when she’d catch herself falling back into that pattern.

The habit that I hate about myself is the one where I pick up on other people’s expressions even when I don’t like them. I find if I hear something too often I catch myself doing or saying the same thing. When I worked in Germany as a young adult the only English I heard all summer was from an American couple from New York. When I returned home I discovered that I had a bit of a New York accent. Bizarre!

Thinking of a quirky habit that I love is a little more difficult. I guess the little things that babies and very young children do when they first learn to speak and walk are very endearing to me. Unfortunately and I guess fortunately for them they do outgrow them.

Special thanks to http://www.someecards.com and http://www.jantoo.com

Persian Breakfast

….celebrating my oldest daughter’s birthday

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My daughter, A was away on her birthday last week, touring wine country in Prince Edward County. She did, however, want to celebrate with the family and she expressed an interest in having  brunch at a very trendy Persian restaurant in the west end of Toronto. Tavoos doesn’t take reservations so they suggested that we arrive at 10:00 when the restaurant opened on Sunday so that we wouldn’t have to wait.

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My sister was in town on the same day and she was hoping to spend some time with me so we invited her to join us at the restaurant. In total there were six of us in attendance. Arriving early turned out to be a very good idea because when we left the line-up went out the door.

This unique little restaurant is located on College Street just west of Dufferin. When you walk in you are greeted by a warm, inviting atmosphere with a very Persian decor. There are a couple of areas  that are covered with exotic carpets and cushions and you can enjoy your meal sitting cross legged on the floor. Luckily, A requested the small room at the back of the restaurant with regular tables and chairs. I’m not so sure I could get up gracefully from the floor after sitting for any length of time. P1030698 P1030697

The menu offered some very unusual breakfast selections. One of them was a soup made with a goats head and hoofs. We all passed on that item. A ordered the porridge with lamb which was quite delicious and surprisingly sweet. My sister played it safe and ordered a Mediterranean salad and the rest of us had Persian egg dishes. Traditionally the dishes are baked with the eggs sunny-side up on a spinach or onion potato base. With coffee and or tea and tip the total cost came in under $65.00 for our party of six. Pretty good for the city of Toronto.

After brunch we went back to A and J’s house. My sister hadn’t seen their home and it gave us more time together. Of course there was birthday cake and more coffee. We didn’t need to eat again until dinner time. P1030703 P1030707

My sister with 'my three girls'.

My sister with ‘my three girls’.