Sunday, July 14, 2013

Quote of the Day

"With his hands clasped in his lap he let his eyes swim in the wideness of the sea, his gaze lose focus, blur, and grow vague in the misty immensity of space. His love of the ocean had profound sources: the hard-worked artists's longing for rest, his yearning to seek refuge from the thronging manifold shapes of his fancy in the bosom of the simple and vast; and another lure, for the unorganized, the immeasurable, the eternal -- in short, for nothingness. He whose preoccupation is with excellence longs fervently to find rest in perfection; and is not nothingness a form of perfection?"

From Death in Venice by Thomas Mann (translation by Helen Tracey Lowe-Porter) 

I'm not going to the ocean. But I am off to the lake.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Friday, July 12, 2013

Quote of the Day

"Passion is like crime: it does not thrive on the established order and the common round: it welcomes every blow dealt the bourgeois structure, every weakening of the social fabric, because therein it feels a sure hope of its own advantage."

From Death in Venice by Thomas Mann (translation by Helen Tracey Lowe-Porter) 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Quote of the Day

"To live with purpose,
To say the courageous thing,
To celebrate the simple gift,
To follow your dreams,
This is a happy life."

Wayland Henry

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Top images, left to right:

Wild boar bolognese at my 'hood's The Hot House. More delicious each time.

Spinach and feta pie chez the Armenians. A sinfully addictive wheel of doom.

Bottom images, left to right:

Omelette devoured on the patio of Le Papillon on Front Street. Deeeeelishus.

And "G" isn't just for "gorgeous" or "great" or "BPG", it's also for gelato as in G for Gelato and Espresso Bar which is a family-run business that's been in the gelato business since the 1950s in Italy, and more recently in Toronto. The location is wonderful, on Jarvis just across from St. James gardens, and a five minute walk north of the St. Lawrence market. On a hot day, this double scoop featured a fragrant "Pistachio" (with whole nuts in the mixture) and "London Fog," a soft, creamy and not too sweet mixture of Earl Grey and vanilla. Oh boy!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Wonderful Wychwood Park

We took an excellently guided architectural ROM walk through Wychwood Park on the wettest day of the summer so far. There is something very beautiful about taking pictures in the rain. The monsoon-like deluge was a relief from the thick, blanket-like humidity that had been dogging us all day. Everything was lush, green, tropical and dripping. I had shelter with my pink umbrella, and a small caterpillar took shelter under a leaf (illustrated below). Wychwood, an enclave of Arts and Crafts architecture, is a beautifully maintained private neighbourhood. Oh, if only all neighbourhoods had this magnificent foliage! Sometimes it makes it challenging to see the houses through the trees, but that's a small price to pay, and I'm sure the inhabitants like it that way.

Music in the Park

On Thursday evenings, in St. James Cathedral garden, there is free, live music in the lovely bandstand. Give it a go! Here's the link.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bit of a Blether, but Might Actually be Stoned, so... you Know, no Worries!

Could it get any wetter? I was handling some paper on my desk just now and it had got a bit soft. Everything feels damp, unless the airconditioning is on, and it's on a LOT. Such a muggy, wet July makes things very lush and green. It's tropical in Toronto, and as I sit through another monsoon storm, I'm refreshed by my lemon/raspberry water, and entertained (and probably stoned) from my neighbour's now almost hourly puffs of pot seeping its way into my home.

Quote of the Day

"A solitary, unused to speaking of what he sees and feels, has mental experiences which are at once more intense and less articulate than those of a gregarious man. They are sluggish, yet more wayward, and never without a melancholy tinge. Sights and impressions which others brush aside with a glance, a light comment, a smile, occupy him more than their due; they sink silently in, they take on meaning, they become experience, emotion, adventure. Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous - to poetry. But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd."

From Death in Venice by Thomas Mann (translation by Helen Tracey Lowe-Porter) 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Quote of the Day

"Unless you love, your life will flash by."

From The Tree of Life (2011)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Top Ten Things I Learnt From old Movies

10. Cigarettes smell and taste really good, especially when Paul Henreid lights two at a time and hands one to me.

9. My living room will always be two steps lower than the rest of my elegant home.

8. I should never try using a gun to defend myself. All I'll do is cry and tremble as evil Richard Widmark approaches me and takes it away with a contemptuous sneer. Then he'll probably kiss me and I'll be too frightened/in love to fight him off, except perhaps for a few weak blows of my fists on his shoulders before my hands slide around his back. clutching him to me passionately.

7. When I travel or move, one small cream-coloured valise is all I'll need to transport several evening gowns, a clutch of day outfits, eight pairs of shoes with matching purses, some smart hats, all my important documents and every other toiletry accoutrement you can imagine. If I need two cases, I can hold the handle of one in my hand, while the other sits easily under my arm - they're just so light! My matching train case will carry all else, including the secret government documents in the hidden bottom.

6. There will always be an available parking space for my enormous convertible, right in front of the building I'm about to enter.

5. If I become terminally ill, I will never look more beautiful, and my decline and death will be gentle and pain free.

4. 100% of the population will often feel gay and certainly look mighty swell.

3. Breaking into a pre-rehearsed song and dance routine, accompanied by full orchestra, will be a daily feature of my life.

2. I can walk in high heels forever and still smile like an angel.


1. All my dreams will come true, and I'll live in perfect bliss with Cary Grant in our cottage for ever and ever.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

New Pantry Find

Gee, thanks Soma. It's not enough that practically everything in your store is the most delicious thing in the whole world and now it's gelato season. Okay, that doesn't make sense, but in a way it does. But... you had to go ahead and make this, didn't you? It's like crack cocaine for chocolate addicts. It's called Majoun and a little googling reveals that the original Majoun consisted of cannabis mixed with dried fruits, nuts and spices. Sort of an old world pot brownie?

Majoun means "love potion" in Arabic.

Well, Soma's Majoun is hazelnut butter with cocoa nibs. Mmmmmmm. Tempted to crawl into bed with this... and a spoon.

Just kidding.

No I'm not.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sometimes Shopping is the Answer

It was the answer last week.

I smell like a large, pale coconut thanks to the Body Shop's line of coconut-scented body butter, eau de cologne and lip balm (which is also slightly sweet to the taste). Mmmm, scents of summer.

The Bay now has Canada's largest women's shoe store on its main floor. Oh boy. Okay, the black ones were from Browns, but they were both on sale! It's weird how three-inch heels don't look high like they used to. I suppose next to six-inch heels they wouldn't. I like my three inches and I'll stick with them, thank you very much. Besides which I'm quite tall enough.

I haven't bought a pencil pouch since I was 12! Here's my new one. Heh heh.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Little Oral Treat

I love my sensual/Biblical foods. Properly I suppose it's just an appreciation of Middle Eastern cuisine; figs, dates, pistachios, pomegranates, honey, rose water, etc.

At Saturday's Armenian barbeque, the evening ended with these soft, small, plump pillows of silky cheese (which might have been lightly sweetened with honey), infused with rose water, and sprinkled with pistachio crumbles and a little dollop of orange blossom jam. The mouth feel is so sensual and they give goosebump-inducing pleasure going down.

They look fairly ordinary, almost bland, but they're the most beautiful thing I've tasted in a long time.

I give you: halawa bil jebneh.

(It was purchased at Pâtisserie Royale, Toronto's foremost Middle Eastern bakery, but apparently they don't make it all the time. I'll find out more).

Monday, July 1, 2013

Now you can Follow me by E-mail!

I've heard comments that the Google Friends feed isn't working. So now, you can get notifications of new posts by following me by e-mail (see top right). Except that's Google feed I think. Oh dear. Now I'm confused. Oh well. I tried it and it seems to be working.

She Reigns Supreme

Is there anything Helen Mirren can't do? I say this about Meryl Streep too. Wow, can you imagine them in something together?

I saw the National Theatre Live in HD broadcast of The Audience. This starred Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II over several decades during her weekly private meetings with her prime ministers. The author of the play is Peter Morgan, who also wrote the screenplay for The Queen (2006), for which Mirren won the Oscar.

As predicted, the performance was fabulous. Mirren's quick changes of look, from 80-year-old monarch to 26-year-old monarch and so forth, got the audiences' approval. I was moved by the passage of time, the lessons learned, the characters that came and went. It's being repeated in cinemas around this time I believe, so there's still time to catch this show. Although I understand it's coming to Broadway too, so there you go!

Image "borrowed" from the National Theatre's site.