Friday, December 28, 2007

Jiggedy Jog, 2007.

I've been home on PEI for almost a week and it's been a pretty busy time, although I haven't seen very many people yet.

Tonight is the annual Gingerbread House Building Party, which might be in its 10th year. Although I'm always afraid conversations will stray to mortgages and husbands and umbilical cords and so on, and all I'll have to contribute is how rad Zach Braff is, or that Sporty Spice looks so great with heavy bangs.

There was a guy using a snowblower to clear off the pond near my house. The kids from up the way play hockey there in the winter.

A lot of snow fell yesterday.

I got a couple of great books for the Christmas. I got this one from my brother-in-law,

and this one from my sister, which I think is ballsy to assume I didn't already have it. Anyhow, it has lots of great pictures (and isn't that all that counts?).It makes me want to get back into more and more designing.

I miss living here. I miss PEI and its pace. I miss being around my parents. I like the general sophistication (shopping, entertainment, transit...) of Toronto, but nothing compares to being home. I have one more week here, and I went to go to the north shore, the Gahan House, have a curry at the Churchill Arms, see my Confederation Centre people and some old friends.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Kids These Days...

I teach 16, 17, and 18 year olds.

Jesus Gad, some of them are thick.

I don't remember being a twit when I was in grade 11 and 12. Was I a twit?

(That I don't remember much from my youth worries me. It's general impressions and blurs of images, but no concrete emotions or lucid memories. Why can't I remember elation, shame, joy, embarassment, and so on? Granted, I don't remember much from last summer, let alone 10 years ago.)

Anyhow, if anyone can remember me at the time, please let me know if I was a twit.

Professional conscience prevents me from giving precice details right now, but understand that I often shake my head with incredulity at these kids. I also laugh bitterly, thinking about how they're going to react to true academia next semester when they get to Uni. What a kick in the pants it's going to be. I wish I could go and sadistically watch their shining faces when they don't get everything handed to them my mummy and daddy.

To be fair, which I rarely am, I have some awesome students. About half of them, I'd say, are high school grads who dicked around at their first school and now know the value of going to university, so they're back to upgrade. They take the classes very seriously. I just gave a 21-year-old an 87 as a final grade, and he deserved it - he worked very hard for it.

I often think, perhaps erroneously, that those 3 or 4 years between the teenage twits and the early-20s students make the difference cognitively. Their intellects are simply more mature than their younger classmates'.

Anyhow, I will soon start job hunting again, because I want out of this job before I become a bitter, burnt out old school marm. Pre-emptive strikes are rad, yo!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

J'Aime Les Festons et Les Gens Nues.

Horray! My housemate's sister's fiance is a computer guy, and he hooked up my Compy to Internet! Such a happy pair there never was!

This means I should be able to post a lot more, my voyeristic amigos! Sorry about the dearth of posts lately, but I don't like using work computers for blogging follies.

I went to give blood today, but, for the second time in a row, my iron was too low. It's so frustrating when that happens. So many people need blood! Oh, well, it's for my own good. To make myself feel better, I bought a camera today from Shopper's with points. It only cost me $50 plus le tax. Youppi!

The upshot is: here are some pics.

This is the big man B in front of our house. Big, huh? Yeah, it is...

I went to the One of a Kind Show last weekend and bought some art. Why? Because I'm a grown-up. I bought three gel transfers by an artist named Kelly Grace, and a large photo of a park in Prague by some artist I didn't know, and I can't read his signature.

This is a two-fer called "The Conversation" The girl is the artist, Kelly, and the guy is her husband. I asked what his name was and she said, "His stage name was Jett Black." I didn't ask questions.

The two together:

I also bought this little study of their friend Bradley. I like this one a lot. You can see my sister in the frame behind him. A handsome couple.

This is the photo. Excuse the glare from the glass.

Oh! And a new Linque du Jour!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My Neighbourhood.

I live in the west of Toronto, along Lansdowne Avenue. It’s a nice place. Or not bad, anyway.

I keep being told that Toronto is a city of communities. More and more I think I understand what “they” mean. I can tell people I live on Lansdowne or I can say I live in Little Portugal, and people seem to know where I mean.

My street was narrowed the summer before we arrived. From what I can tell, it was an urban planning decision, to try to discourage traffic from using it as a thoroughfare. Residents on the street were pissed, and still are, since they are still displaying their “Giambrone, Don’t Narrow Lansdowne” signs, in a pitiful too-little-too-late gesture of defiance. There’s a new sidewalk where a parking lane was replaced, and there’s a bike lane along side, but it’s really just a stencil bike in the regular street with no extra lane. Giambrone is the TTC commissioner, and by the looks of things, he won’t be garnering many votes from my neighbours.

My house is off the street. Think 12 Grimmauld Place, but without a clandestine cabal. If you walk along Lansdowne, you’d think our house isn’t there, but you have to walk down a lane between two other houses to find ours, kinda in the backyard of the rows of houses. I like this. We’re hidden from the street, which may cut down on JWs, drunks stumbling onto our porch, or random shankings.

About a two minute walk from us is the streetcar line along College. I like taking the streetcar, mostly because it’s above ground. The subway stop is about a 10 minute walk north of me, and it’s ok for getting to work a little bit faster, but on days when I have a few extra minutes, I take the streetcar.

Up on Bloor, Wally is retiring. Wally owns the mom-and-pop hardware store that’s been in that location for 61 years. In November, a sign went up in the window saying, “50% off Everything! Wally’s Retiring!” A month ago, I went in and bought about $240 worth of stuff, and only had to give Wally $120. Sweet! I went back in on Friday to get some finishing nails and Wally said, “You left your notebook here last time. I saved it on a shelf for you.” I had a little notepad which had a list of things I had hoped to buy, and in the frenzy, I forgot it. I can’t believe they kept it for me. I guess they don’t get too many 6-foot blondes excited about half-price plumb bobs, linseed oil, and nail sets.

Across from Wally’s is a Capoeira studio! I don’t know if I’ll sign up for lessons again (I’m not as young as I used to be), but I think I might try to buy a berimbau and learn how to play.

Next to Wally’s is the “Queen of Patties,” a Caribbean food place that boasts jerk chicken and oxtail gravy. Most nights I get home hungry and I have to stop myself from going in and bringing home Styrofoam. Some day I have to go up with a reusable container to bring my food home in. I love jerk chicken, and I think some oxtail gravy would be a worthy way to break my red meat fast.

There is some curious graffiti on the lamp poles along Lansdowne. Someone has scribbled hearts on one, and another simply states, “I heart TO.” Yet another has a smiley face in a hand flashing the peace symbol. It reminds me of the graffiti in Hamilton that read, “Pushin’ Niceness.” (see bottom of this page.)

For weeks, I had considered buying a gorgeous antique chest of drawers that I saw up in a shop on Queen Street West, but it was $900. One night I was walking home from the subway and saw a chest of drawers abandoned in an alley. I rang the closest doorbell and Caesar told me to take it – “It’s yours, and if anyone has a problem with that, tell them to come talk to Caesar.” Old men love me. Anyhow, after about an hour with some finishing nails, the chest of drawers fits my room perfectly. (B helped me clean my room Saturday night, and now it’s immaculate – I love it.)

About a 20 minute walk from us is Mitzi’s, a cafĂ© that has the most amazing food. They don’t have a set menu, but make up a different one every day on a chalkboard according to what ingredients are available. It gives its guests about 8 options every day. It seats about two dozen, and there is often a line outside. It’s one of those cute little holes-in-the-wall that I love.

It’s not bad here. I even have moments of affection for our little nook of Toronto. Is that the best thing I can say about this place? Maybe. I’ll be home in 18 days, and all of this will be forgotten. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I don’t want to settle down here. Some people move to Upper Canada “to get their feet on the ground,” and they end up being on the PTA here. I hope that doesn’t happen to me.