Tag Archives: Toronto

Just Beyond the Stones

When I was a little kid, I was often curious about the white stone signage you’d see on the side of the Gardiner Expressway.  I wondered who made those things?  How did they do it?  How did they access the side of the highway like that?  And what was on the other side of that hill?  Who were the people that lived there?

Flash forward, 30 some odd years, almost every morning, I walk down to King Street, and look over to the Gardiner, and see those white stone marquees peaking up at me from under the snow as I wait for the streetcar.  It brings me so much joy, knowing those little white stones are there.  I look down at the frustrated folks stuck in their cars commuting into downtown and feel gross satisfaction that I am where I am, overlooking that highway just above those pretty little rocks.

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Lake Ontario, beyond the Gardiner

A few months ago I thought that it might be time to end my love affair with Toronto.  Living in the city with two kids definitely has its challenges.  And sometimes, those challenges are enough to make you throw up your hands and consider high tailing it out of here. There’s no space!  There’s no time!  It’s dirty, and it’s noisy and traffic is always a nightmare.  I have no lawn, and my front yard is a receptacle for the neighbourhood garbage. My yard also acts as a toilet for some hard pressed folks.

 People poop in my driveway, my friends.  Poop.

Even at it’s grimiest, Toronto is expensive and everything is  always busy.  The transit overcrowding is unbearable.  Furthermore, owning property is an unattainable pipe dream, with the most recent studies saying that the average (AVERAGE!) price of a detached home in Toronto is ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

It’s easy to wonder: “WHY WOULD ANYONE LIVE HERE?????  I certainly started to wonder, and then I started to consider the alternative.  I visited other places, I did some research, I talked to friends who live that alternative and I thought maybe we could make it work somewhere else.  I had started to feel like living in Toronto wasn’t working anymore and that me, and my family, just didn’t fit in.

After all that I had my feelings resolved and the logistics worked out.  I had started to plan our departure.  Then I stepped outside and I heard a dinging streetcar.  A pigeon shat on my hand as I pushed the double stroller down Queen street.  I smiled at my fortune and a lady asked me for money.  The same lady asks me a second time when I pass her again later.  And now I see the people, the traffic, the aging retro storefront signs.  I see a new Kizmet piece, or a KPS tag or manage to spot a new Lovebot.  I smile and wave at my neighbours, I talk to the independent shop-keeps and I slink by the abandoned mattresses that abound on the streets of Parkdale.  And though I’m a teensy bit sad about the sacrifices Marigold and Alice will have to make by growing up in the city, I’m  excited for the life and electricity and culture they will experience by growing up here.  And in it all I realize I can’t leave.  Not now, and maybe not ever.

 

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Nine years, this March , I’ve been here in this city and I still have no idea who looks after those little rock signs.  I still get excited to see those white stone marquees lining the Gardiner Expressway, just as I did when I was a kid,    Only now,  when I look up, I know my home is there, just beyond the stones….Where I still belong.

 

Happy Anniversary, Toronto.

CN Tower

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Just Me and My Parkdale

Every once in a while, all things align to make for a great day. A really special day. The best day even.

A day where plans are loose, some freedom is in sight, and your best pal is in town.

People on the streets are happy and the air is light. No where to be, no one’s schedule to follow and the day just unfolds itself for you with almost no effort.

And at the end of the day you just can’t seem to fire your way into the number one spot for all time galactic hero, but it doesn’t matter because there’s still the walk home. It’s quiet and oddly bright and it feels like you have the night all to yourself. Just you and your Parkdale.

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Songs on Repeat: The Wanderer

There are few things in life (aside from my children and husband) that make me happier than making mixed cds, wandering the streets of Toronto or cooking brunch for friends.  I seem to easily forget that this holy trinity is the simplest way to get me out of any sort of funk, and remind me that there is so much in life to love–no matter how much this child screams in my face.

I was reminded of these things a few weekends ago when I managed to pull off said trifecta.  I went for long stroll, heading west along Queen, from Bathurst to Beaconsfield, while wearing, and sometimes nursing my baby.  Martin and MG were at the soccer game so I had the afternoon alone with Alice.  It had been quite a long week, with a lot of face screaming and pacing and gripe water.  Baby Alice is quite different from Marigold, who slept constantly and barely cried.  However, Alice sleeps at night, and is usually only fussy in the evenings so I will try my best not to complain.  Anyways, a long walk was much needed therapy for my tired soul.

Tiny TFC Fan

Marigold ready to support the TFC

Man with an Orange Balloon in Trinity Bellwoods

Man with an Orange Balloon in Trinity Bellwoods

Toronto Graffiti

Some graffiti I spotted while wandering

The next day, my old pal AQP came over for a delicious brunch (sadly, no pictures!) and I was reminded of the magic that is a home cooked Sunday brunch.  I used to pull off amazing brunch feats back in the day, almost every weekend, when I wasn’t too hungover or craving a traditional from Sneak’s.  Still high from the brunch success, later that night  I busted out the old laptop that hosts all of my music.  I haven’t yet transferred my iTunes library to my new machine, so I sadly spend most of my time listening to internet radio these days. Every time I get out that old machine, open up iTunes and hit play, it’s like I’ve taken drugs.  Really awesome drugs.

I was reminded while out on my Saturday stroll, that a friend’s birthday was just around the corner. This chum really appreciates my handmade efforts–I usually go above and beyond to ensure her gifts, for whatever occasion, are out of this world.  I also know that she really appreciates a good mixed cd and making a mix makes me insanely happy!  It’s the only opportunity I have to play DJ in this life-piling the songs into the playlist, to curate and organize once I’ve made my way through the entire library.  Sometimes the cd’s have a theme or constraint, making it tricky to deliver, but this time, all I needed were songs I liked.

For this project, it was tough to narrow it down to 80 minutes of music, but I managed to cram some ska, reggae, soul, grunge and 50’s/60’s oldies into the mix.  I think there’s even some 90’s alternative on there.  I typically arrange the cd like sets and I listen to the beginnings and endings of songs over and over to make sure it all jives.  And then, once I’m satisfied, I give it a full listen from beginning to end, to make sure it’s perfect.

The songs on that cd entitled “Songs I like, Cuz I Like You” include some of my all time favourites that still hold up today.  The recipient, I’m sure, won’t love it all, but I know for certain that she will love hearing the opening beats of the Wanderer, by Dion.  Everyone loves hearing it.  If you know someone who doesn’t love it, I would like to hear about it–because I find that hard to believe.

I am sure that I first heard Dion when sleeping over at my friends house as a kid.  We’ve been friends since the day I was born and we’re still friends today!  She lived with her mom and older sister, and her step dad.   I remember the sisters rolling their eyes to me when I would sleep over about how their step dad would probably come home later that night, a few sheets to the wind, and start playing his records really loud.  He had been known to do that, and while I’m sure it annoyed the fuck out of them, whenever I slept over I secretly hoped he would come home, wasted, and blast his records.  It was the mid 80’s but he was listening to that classic pop music from the 50’s and early 60’s and I thought it was awesome.  My parents were really into 8 tracks and country, and I was more into records and rock and roll.  I’m pretty sure we were awakened by him playing Dion on many occasions, though typically he was more fond of “I Wonder Why” and “Runaround Sue”.

Several years ago, I was going through a 50’s/60’s music phase right along side my burgeoning interest in Jackie Kennedy.  I listened to a lot of 1050 CHUM in those days, and my iTunes library started to fill up with the Chiffons, Ricky Nelson and Sam Cooke.  And of course Dion.  And the song the Wanderer became one of many theme songs in my life.

The Jackie K Phase

The Jackie K Phase

The song itself is about a transient guy with lots of lady friends and he travels all around never looking to settle down.  While my life at the time wasn’t quite that exciting–there was a lot of dudes around, I liked to party a lot and I did roam the streets ALL THE  TIME.  I would wake up (late) on the weekends, pack my bag with some smokes, some cash, maybe my flask, do a little paper work and head out the door for the day, sometimes not returning until late in the evening.  I wouldn’t have a destination planned, or a rendezvous arranged, I would just wander for hours.  And sometimes I would meet up with my sweet chum in the park to watch the dogs, who was also spending her Saturday, just walking around.

I had my own lyrics–replacing the girls names in the song with the dudes that we all knew.  I’d sing it in the streets, I’d dance to it at bars, and sweet djs would dedicate the song to me because they knew of my love for the song.  And it is the only way I can tolerate the saxophone.  I hate the saxophone, but the sax solo at about 1:45 gives me goosebumps every time.

These days, my solo walks along Queen are few and far between, and I’ve traded my cigarettes and flask for a baby sling, but I’m still wandering.  And I still listen to the Wanderer by Dion.  Over and over again.

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Brown Eyed Ram

I don’t really believe in astrology, but historically I’ve found myself to be more friendly with capricorns, aquarius’ and tauruses.  Never really found myself close to an Aries, and as such I think of her as quite the an unlikely friend.  Not only is she an Aries, but she’s also 9 years my junior and I met her only because I hired her way back in 2010.  Unlikely a friendship as it may seem, she’s pretty much been by my side since then.

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Slightly more casual than her interview outfit

I remember what she wore for her interview–it was quite formal, a white blouse and a high waisted black skirt.  I don’t think she was wearing heels though–she wasn’t able to really pull off heels until about 2012.  I was looking for someone at the time to be part of the department I was building in my previous company, and between her, and one other girl, I knew I had found the right people to take on the job.

Both girls were cheery, with great personalities and teachable spirits.  Their experience was limited, but I knew I had found a couple of gems, so I snatched them up, not a moment too soon.  When I changed jobs in 2012, I had stumbled on a company primed for growth, and I felt like a mountain of work was just around the corner and I could never face it alone.  So I called on Smash.

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AKA the Dude

She had kept the ship a-sail for me while I was maternity leave the first time–she is smart, dependable, reliable, creative with a lot of really great, though sometimes zany, ideas.  We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, since she came to work with me again, more ups than downs though.  We’ve had a lot of laughs and good times, but the work pace was much slower than what we were used to, and sometimes our frustrations with work and our desires to move more quickly drove distance between us.

There were times where I felt like she was judging me.  There were times where I felt like she hated me.  There were times I felt utterly, totally and weirdly responsible for any unhappiness she felt in life.    And I can only begin to imagine what she felt about me–Picky, bossy, fussy, know it all Peattie.  I am fairly certain she wanted to tear my head off at times, but fortunately we got through it….all body parts in tact.  While it sounds crazy, it might do you some good to understand that we literally spend at least 40 hours a week together, face to face, less than three feet apart–and have for close to two straight years.

A good laugh usually cures what ails ya

Friends through the bad times

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And friends through the good times (photo credit Smashing Through Life)

We were open with each other on almost every subject and we trusted each other in more ways that we had trusted other friends in our lives.  And now as I start my maternity leave, I am trusting her again–with my job.  Finally, after waiting patiently, things are starting to happen.  She’s been promoted into the role she came on board to do–at a critical time in the company’s history.  She’s taking on significant projects and has some key objectives she’ll have to deliver on this year.  And it’s a lot.  It’s a lot for anyone.  But I know she can handle it.  I am excited to see what this year brings for her because I know it’s going to be amazing.  She’s surrounded by some really awesome people at the office, who I know she can count on to make things happen.  She’s gonna do great!

On Friday night, after my last day of work, she helped me carry my things to my car and what we thought was going to be an emotional goodbye, didn’t really turn in that direction at all.  I had cried earlier saying goodbye  to even the most pesky co-workers, and there wasn’t a tear in my eyes saying farewell to my long time side kick, pal and protege.  She made a joke about me missing her the least, but the reality is–I will miss her the least.  Because I’m not going to miss her.  Sure I’ll miss seeing her beautiful face every day, I’ll miss  the sound of her laughter, and I will definitely miss the poor nutritional choices we made on a daily basis (guilt free).  But I’m not going to miss her.  She will continue to be a huge part of my life, filling up a special place in my heart while I’m at home with my babies–our relationship runs much deeper than 9-5, Monday to Friday.  We don’t need to be three feet apart to maintain our friendship–it’s going to last for a long, long time…no matter our proximity.

I certainly got a lot more than I had ever bargained for the day I hired that brown-eyed ram, Smash.  I thought I was simply getting a recent graduate for a product specialist.  Instead, I got a life long friend.  A lady who is truly awesome in every way.

I love you, chum.

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And just like that, Toronto got a little less sweeter

Laugh if you want to, but my favourite book is Anne of Green Gables.  I’ve read the entire series a few times, and some particular installments in the series,  more times that I can even remember.  Lucy Maude is a great story teller.  And if you’ll remember back to when you read Anne, or even if you didn’t read the story, you probably can probably recall bits of the tv movie that aired on the CBC or you took a class trip to some high school performance of the play.  You might even remember Anne’ bosom chum, Diana.  On January 1st, my bosom chum got on a plane.  And just like that, Toronto got a little less sweeter.

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It hasn’t been such a sweet place as of late–the political storms, the weather issues, and the transit follies.  Surprisingly to me, I find myself sometimes wondering why we continue to live here.  Though today, I drove through the city, and I’m happy to report that it was easy to find all my old loving feelings for the city.

I took the long way home and remembered that there are so many places around with so many great memories attached.  Memories of me and my bosom chum–the things we did, and the places we met up, the places we took pictures.  I’ll sure miss her while she’s gone.

Magical Adventures

Magical Adventures

I had already lost her earlier this year.  A result of  the time and space and the things happening in our lives that began to naturally separate us.  An undesired side affect of desirable life changes, I suppose.

I met her in December 2005, at my kindred’s birthday party on Robert.  She was wearing mauve, and I knew instantly I wanted to be friends with her.   Later, I saw her kitchen and wondered even more about how we were going to become friends. And then, months later, after having moved to Toronto, I found myself meeting her at Spadina and Dundas on our way to see Final Fantasy at the Music Gallery.  I’m sure you’ve heard this before.

After watching Owen Pallett perform incredible magic on his violin, we headed back to my apartment on Robert for leftovers of the food I had made earlier in the day.  There was souvlaki, spanokopita, dolmades and tzaziki–probably the most elaborate Greek meal I had ever prepared.  I played her all my favourites from the latest Belle and Sebastian album.  We danced around my apartment, smoked a bit and I’m sure had some drinks all before exiting the back door to make our way to the Cloak.  There was nothing unusual about the path we took on our way over to see the Gospel Sundays, but AJ’s keen eye noticed a weird lumpy case sitting on top of a postal box.  After stopping and inspecting the case, we revealed the contents.  A violin.

We found a fucking violin on the side of the road after having just attended a concert featuring the violin!  

There was no one to be seen in the immediate proximity of the violin, and we left a note on the post box for the owner to contact us.  We never found it’s rightful owner.  AJ still has it today.  I don’t think she brought it on the plane though, but one day, she’ll learn to play.

It’s a special and unique friendship story that I will carry in my heart forever….re-telling it at whatever chance I get. A cosmic beginning to the friendship I had been looking for all my life.  I don’t know how else to describe it–our friendship that is.  I have a lot of people I really truly love in my life that are special to me in a lot of different ways.  Friends for greater than 30 years, some.  Others I’ve known only for a short time, and others still, who I never see or talk to, yet they continue to reside deeply in my heart.

What developed with AJ is a cosmic friendship with a bosom chum.  And I’m sure she feels the same way too.

Bosom Chums

Bosom Chums

I miss her, I do.  But I already missed her.  In a lot of ways I feel alone without her, and I have for the last while.  I’ve shared some of the most incredible moments of my life with her.   She has this ability to make any event, situation or circumstance magical.  At times I wonder if she IS in fact some magical and mystical creature like Loch Ness or Big Foot.  But she photographs well and I’ve seen her reflection in the mirror with my own eyes.

I have three biological sisters, and I am not close with any of them, and speak to them very little, if at all.  There’s a myriad of reasons for this I suppose…distance, age gaps, lack of common ground.  I haven’t thought about it enough to really understand why…but we’ve never been close, so I’ve never felt that that sister connection was missing in my life nor was I even aware that there even is such a thing as a sisterly connection.

As AJ and I grew closer over time, I grew to love her immensely and care about her in a way that was unfamiliar to me.  The only way I can describe it is that I must love her the way that sister’s love each other.  And it is a love that will never die.

The second time one of your very best friends moves away in a matter of months isn’t fun/  It is, in fact,  exponentially lonelier.  I don’t think I have fully accepted the fact that she is gone, and I’ll probably become drastically more aware, when she is not here when this little baby arrives.  I know for certain, though, that her pursuits are noble and I’m excited for the chapters that will unfold for her after her short stint away at school in Northern Alberta.

So I wait for her return, and I think of her fondly.  My magical, amazing and lovely bosom chum.  Sweet, sweet Alana.

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My 30th birthday sleep over

foggy alley in Toronto

In the Alley by the Pie

Giant Guinness

A stroll after Saturday Afternoon high tea

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Turkey Coma on her favourite holiday

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Straight from the bottle

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On our way to see Mates of State

Anniversary Traditions

I just looked it up.  It was actually March 5th.  Turns out that’s actually my pal’s Parks’ birthday…funny coincidence.  I didn’t even know there was a Park’s when I moved to Toronto.

In 2006, I made a pretty significant life decision.  I quit my job, packed up my shit and moved here.  I had exactly 4 friends on the north shore of Lake Ontario.  And now, this is my life.  Lake Ontario at the bottom  of my street, and Queen Street is just steps to the north.  I listen to Parkdale sounds as I fall asleep at night, and I wake to Parkdale sounds in the morning.  Deep in the throbbing heart of Parkdale, I am at home in my Parkdale House Of Dreams.  Until 2006, I didn’t even know what a Parkdale was.

West Queen West upon entering Parkdale  “You’ve Changed”

Coming to the decision to move away from my friends, my family, my love, was actually easier than I thought it was at the time.  I had been to visit my dear Kindred on several occasions, and cried whenever I left.  So I moved, and my life changed. Of course I miss my friends, and it was challenging to make new ones, so that part wasn’t easy. But the rest really was pretty simple.  It didn’t matter that I was surrounded by tons of really rad people who I really really really  love a whole lot, I always felt lonely in the Cath.  I knew that if I stayed in Niagara I would live a sad lonely life.  I needed things to change.  I needed to be alone to end the loneliness.

I had some ideas about what I was walking into by leaving, but I can assure you that those ideas are so vastly different than what I found once I arrived. There was this thing that was happening when I moved here, and I’ve realized that time was standing still for me then.  It was standing still for all of us. I really wish that I could actually paint more than just paint by numbers, because I would paint it all as a giant mural.  And it’s a big fucking party mural.  A really fun party.  The one night only affair that lasted for years, that still finds itself revived in a pub or on a deck, or in a kitchen–over a hot stove here and there.

The Cloak
The cove children

I don’t actually believe that things happen for a reason, and I don’t really believe in fate or pre-destination.  It doesn’t actually matter, fate or no fate,  when you’re too busy living.  Sometimes the universe owes you a favour–you simply accept its kind offer of amazing and be thankful.  So, thank you, universe, for this, and all the other things that have followed.
There hasn’t been much else in my life more right than that move I made in ’06.  A few things, but not many. Anyways, I’m big on anniversaries, and starting annual traditions and reflecting on special times in my life.  It’s all very special and amazing.  I do love it when there are things to celebrate.  Birthdays, New Years Day, Thanksgiving, Mondays.  Celebrations truly are some of the best times of our lives, wouldn’t you say?

There I was yesterday.  Here I am now and where I’ll be tomorrow–ever so much to celebrate!  I know March 5th, 2013 has come and gone, but each year I try, at the very least, to remember the time with celebratory thoughts.  I try to remember how I felt then, and how it feels more right every day.  

From Rancho Relaxo, to the Starbank, The Market, Neutral, Maggie’s, the Cloak and Dagger, the backdoor of 106, Croft, Sneaky Dees, The Magpie, The Press Club, Euclid, Roxton,  to the corner of Grace and Harbord.  

The Dakota, Lakeview, The Gypsy, The Park, 909 and my dress, the dog bowl, Squirrelys, The Paper Place, Preloved, Queen and Dovercourt, The Cock and Tail, The Gladstone.  The Dufferin jog, the now bricked up stairway under the GO overpass. Streetcars, Lamport, the amphitheatre, the Caddy, Salvador, the Rhino, Meher’s deck, Capital, Not my dog, The Village of Parkdale mural, Thrift Town.  Mezzrows and Tibetan protests.  The CN Tower. Going Steady.  The Golden Dogs, White Cowbell Oklahoma, and the Wednesday night residency at the Cameron. Bikes. The people.  The people on bikes. The transit.  The vibe.  The sounds.  The weather.  The fresh flowers on the street corners.  I look around me at the city and I am in love.  In love with the people and the places.  I have never in my life felt more at home.

On the sunny Sunday afternoon that Cindy and Juliee drove me into town, this song by Bjork came on.  Just as it was supposed to–this song played and I laid eyes on the city that had become my new home just at the moment where Bjork says “this is where I’m staying.  this is my home.”  In March 2006 I came home for the first time. Happy anniversary, Toronto.

Roommates Ruling Supreme

Every spring I used to plan a party with Gord to celebrate another year of us ruling supreme as roommates.   This spring, I’m planning a different kindof party.  A party that I’ll surely celebrate for the rest of my life.  I look forward to the traditions that will follow.

Fires, Love and Dishes Done

I met Christine Delay in 2005 at a housewarming party for her and some other people I didn’t know at the time (Gord).  In time, I came to know her and her “delayservision” well at 106 and beyond.  And though she’d likely deny it, she has grown to become one of the most influential people in my life.  There isn’t enough space on the entirety of internet to describe it all, but I can tell you, she was by my side as I explored the new world around me.  She was there as I began to discover who I really and truly was during a pretty siginficant era.  Christine Delay has helped me to reflect on where I’ve come from, enabled me to live and enjoy life freely, supported me in my dreams, and has created ridiculous amounts of laughter in my life.  We are musically and cosmically connected, and when I’m with her, I feel like I’m on fucking steroids.  She was, and is, the Lungsy, to my Ballsy. 

A few nights ago I asked Delay this:

I write this blog, not sure if you’ve read it. Thought you might be interested in doing a guest post about something I would want to remember. It would be subject to me as an editor and likely writing a preface…. 

The purpose of my blog is so that I don’t forget any of it, and I would love one day to remember a piece of my life through your eyes.”

And this is what she wrote:

Endings — by Christine Delay

I seem to be swimming in them lately. Years ago, our beginning was born from an epic one at that. You ask me what I remember of that time, those places, these people we still know who have grown their limbs in subtle ways. I can tell you that I am still sitting by that window in that grungy apartment on Robert Street, having dinner for the first time speaking in excited spurts, like comic book bubbles bursting with idealistic hope. I can tell you that my hope was spotty at best but my idealism big and true, strong like a submarine. I remember my surprise when weeks later we were neighbours and together we muddled through, in the prime of our lives, and anxious to see what was up ahead just beyond the scope of our reach. I remember mistakes, but they are not so important unless we see them for the bricks they really were. I remember loud, reckless weekends followed by sullen Sundays spent aimlessly roaming the streets in packs, just happy to have each other. And then Mondays.

Chain smoking. We did a lot of that. Fires, and love, dishes done together, children and then adults, near misses, long shots… and now babies and jobs. I don’t remember crossing that bridge. 

Mostly I don’t know what I remember from those days. As I sit and rummage through the snippets of fractured memory made blurry by time’s passage, I hear the buzz of many conversations, and feel the anticipation of the night’s beginning. Yet it is done and I am done with it, for there is not enough room in the past for me. But let me say this. I remember you, and I miss you. I remember you, and I do… I miss you. 

That time, just like a river. It is a beast, this creature that breathes and pulses full of currents of blood. Like the hair in the mane, mostly unaware that it is a part of something larger. 

I remember that it happened and I hope that it mattered. Mostly I remember that we were children then adults, near misses, long shots…. fires, love, and dishes done – together.

The Night We Met , totally money.

We didn’t have a clue what was in store for us.

Peattie’s Parkdale Top Five Today

Image Source :  chuckmanothercollection.blogspot.ca
I love living in Parkdale.  My heart is here–I’m sure I’ve mentioned if before.  There’s a million and one great things about my hood, and everyday I can think of something new that is my favourite.  My memory is not always the greatest, so I thought I’d start writing it down.  Here are the top five favourite things in Parkdale that I can think of right now. 

1)  The Workroom–I really really really want to learn to sew.  And to sew well enough to make my own clothes and house things.  I have a sewing machine and I know how it works, I even have a gift certificate to the Workroom to take a sewing class.  I just don’t have the time.  But I will do it.  I swear I will.

Image Credit http://www.makesomething.ca

Regardless of the sewing skills I may or may not have, I still love going into the Workroom.  It has such beautiful fabric. The most beautiful fabric I’ve ever seen, in fact!  They also have books and patterns and accessories and sundries, and a row of sewing machines where you can sew by the hour!  Lots of projects also lying around to appeal to anyone’s crafty side!  The offer a ton of classes, but the browsing is an amazing experience on its own–especially for a such a small shop.  I love the Workroom.  And I think you probably would too.

2)  Meher Steinberg and Parkdale Live–My good pal and chum, Meher, lives right up the street from me.  I go past his place at least twice a day, and when I think of him inside, it makes me smile.  I know that if there ever was some sort of coffee apocalypse, me and my little family could take refuge at his and find a sweet cup of stove top coffee waiting for us upon our arrival.  He’d surely also have some new music to show me, some new mix for me to listen to or some cut of a live video recording he’d recently done.  He might even have a few drops of the sweet gold jimi stowed up and away on a high shelf for just such an occasion.

The Parkdale Vigoda Himself

Aside from just being awesome, he hosts and produces this great show in his space featuring live musical acts that he records and mixes and later posts the videos online.  The best part is that the live recordings are actually really awesome–and I say this as someone who typically hates live recordings.  Check it out–it’s pretty great and if you’re interested in knowing more–drop me a comment below.  I can put you in touch the old Vigoda himself. Who doesn’t loves them some Steins, right?

You can check out this video of the band Heavy Generator performing on the show.

3)  The Oatmeal Pancakes at Mitzi’s the Sister–De. Lic. Ious. Seriously the very best pancake I’ve ever had in my entire life.  It’s crunchy and buttery and drenched in light maple syrup.  It’s got a caramelized crust in all the right places.  I’m not super crazy about the entire brunch, since a standard bacon/sausage and egg isn’t on the menu, but the “Huevos”  is great, and the frigging pancake is just too god damn much.  I dream of it and it’s little side of whipped cream all the time and I can almost taste it in my mouth RIGHT NOW!

Yum.

4) The 501 Street Car–Anyone that takes the Queen Street Car complains about it.  It really is the worst.  But it’s also the absolute BEST!  It’s a double streetcar and you can board through any doors provided you have a pass or some other proof of payment.  If you’re lucky enough to get a window seat, or even a seat at all because it’s packed all the time, the scenery between Ronces and downtown are just stunning.  The people are total dicks, but its fine because at least they’re aware of their total dick status.  For the most part they move out of the way, scrunch themselves up in a corner until it’s their time to get off and they manage to still look pretty great while doing it.  It’s a fashionable and stylish brood that ride the Queen car, and I really do love being around good looking people.

TTC 501 Queen Late Night Drive By

It doesn’t stop at style–there’s eccentrics, and there’s drunks, there’s hipsters and just all walks of people and you never know what’s going to happen.  I think I’ve seen more chick fights than anything, but I haven’t actually been keeping an exact tally.  Meow.

I can hear the 501 when I lie in bed at night, I can hear it as I wake up in the morning, and I do believe I can hear it just now.  The 501 Queen feels like a semi-reliable old friend, you know?  Sometimes it flakes out on you, and it doesn’t come around often enough, but when it does you sure do have a good time and you get to where you need to go.  For the most part.

5)  Crown Flora Studio-This little shop opened up in January and I’d been meaning to go in the first time I had the chance.  I go by it every day and just hadn’t been by at a time where the doors were open and the lights were on.

Image credit to  crownflorastudio.blogspot.ca/

Finally last week, the shop must’ve been open late, and the timing worked out and I was able to pop in for a quick look around.  I started chatting with shop owner, Adam, and found in him a fellow Parkdale enthusiast.

The little shop sells handmade things by Adam and his partner, terrariums and handbags to be more specifc.  While it sounds like an unlikely combo, their wares are beautiful, the space is lovely and the spirit is kind.  It’s great to have friendlies in the neighbourhood and it’s great to know your neighbours.

My little chat with Adam really brightened up an otherwise bummer day.  It’s always great to see people who do what they love.  It’s really what I aspire to.

And that, my friends, is a list of the things I can think of right now that I love about Parkdale.  Don’t worry.  There will be more.

Late night Sparkle looking East on Queen
Queen Street looking west at the old parkdale hydro station?

Just another Saturday at King and Dufferin

Your turn:  Top five favourite things about your neighbourhood that you can think of right now…..add your comment below!

It sounds thin.

So Sunday was like a super bonus day.  It was so beautiful–warm and sunny and breezy.  It. was. great.

We got up and did the usual morning stuff, then we went to Sneaky Dee’s for brunch!  Marigold has never been to Sneaky Dee’s before, and I don’t care what anyone says.  I fucking love the brunch there.

I’ll have a grilled cheese.

We sat in one of the back booths on the right hand side, which is like my favourite place to sit.  Then I started thinking about the first time I had brunch there, And then I started thinking about what Toronto was like when I first moved here and all the things I felt.  I really do love Toronto.  In fact, just this morning I was sitting on the street car riding along Queen looking up at all the 3 floors of all the old buildings  The faded signs, the graffiti.  The shops and the restaurants and even the grimy Queen and Bathurst.  And I absolutely love the feelings I have about Toronto.

Recently a friend asked me if I would ever move back to Niagara… St. Catharines to be specific.  And actually I think she may have even slightly implied that I would be moving back there someday.  The thought has never even crossed my mind.  Not even when I retire.  I can’t imagine living anywhere other than right here.

I am terrified, though, that this house will get sold and I will have to move again.  It’s such a terrible thing.  I do love this apartment.

Ugh–today I just felt so wretched.  Slowly though, as I think about the things that I love, I’m beginning to cheer up.  My little rascal-face is sleeping upstairs, and so is her dad.  I can hear the cat snoring from here, just slightly louder than The Breeders.

The more time that I spending loving things (people, places, times, things), the happier I am.  I have not spent a considerable amount of time loving in the last couple of days, and I feel like that MUST have played a significant role in my foul mood earlier.

I love Martin
I love Marigold
I love my apartment
I love my cat
I love my blog
I love my commute to work
I love my friends
I love the city
I love my street
I love my boss
I love my coworkers
I love streetcars
I love the Paper Place
I love that poster of Trinity Bellwoods that you can see/get at the Type bookstore
I love Andrew McCarthy, circa 1986
I love the Smiths
I love my perfume
I love friendships
I love walking
I love makeup
I love my hair
I love my skin
I love pyrex
I love food, oh god HOW COULD I FORGET THAT I LOVE FOOD.
I LOVE MUSIC. I almost forgot that too!

Anyways, how can anyone feel bad after so much love?

Literally this song just came on at random.  Have a listen while you check out the pictures.

 
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