Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Book List

  • Moby Dick
    Herman Melville 2009.11.04

  • Don Quixote
    Cervantes Stopped at page 270 of 982

  • Frankenstein
    Mary Shelley 2009.08.21

  • Rise of the Creative Class
    Richard Florida 2009.05.31

  • Hot, Flat, and Crowded
    Thomas Friedman 2009.01.01
  • Sunday, December 13, 2009

    It's a dreary December afternoon. If it was a few degrees colder it would be more Christmas-like, but right now it's about 2C and drizzly.

    Yesterday Mom and Dad were over to decorate the tree. Maricar got us a nice Fraser fir, 7.5' tall, and perfectly shaped. One of the decorations broke, as per Christmas tradition. We're still looking for a better decoration for the top of the tree. We have an angel that we bought when we first moved in, but it's a bit small for the tree.

    We won our hockey game 4-2 on Thursday. We only had eight skaters, so there was lots of ice time, and on the big ice on Rink A. I got an assist, but they haven't posted the game sheet yet so I don't know if the scorekeeper gave it to me.

    Our Ultimate teams aren't doing as well. There's a few people on both teams that I've never got in sync with on the field. Oh well, at least it's a good workout because they're both speed point.

    Heather's friends Fed and Darlene came into Leslieville on Friday night. We had dinner at Gio Rana's, and then headed to Ceilidh Cottage for a drink. It was standing room only, not good for Heather's back, so instead went to Curzon's. It was freezing outside, about -7C, which was about a 10 degree drop from a couple days earlier.

    Google released Chrome for Mac last week. Unfortunately it's just for Intel Macs, just like Picasa. The hard drive on my Mac has been making whirring noises recently. I may try to get the hard drive upgraded -- it's only a 60GB, and almost full. Depending on what it costs, it may be more worthwhile to just get a new Mac.

    My game tonight is at 9pm, so I'll have time to eat beforehand. We're having fajitas. Mmm good.

    Sunday, December 06, 2009

    Finally, a place to hang my hat

    After much debate about the style of the coat rack, we finally decided on a white backing and black metal hooks:

    We weren't sure at first what the coat rack should match (e.g. the style of the kitchen cabinets) but settled on cast iron hooks (like the stair railing) and white-painted wood for the back (like the house trim).

    We lost our hockey game on Thursday, 4-3 in overtime. We had 11 skaters, which made it hard to get an flow going on offense (nine or ten is best, because there's two full forward lines, otherwise it's messed up). However, it was still a good game with fast line changes, and I got a good workout.

    I re-posted my ad on kijiji to sell our old table. I lowered the price to $50 (from $75) and I've got way more hits. If it doesn't sell soon I'm just going to give it to Goodwill, to clear it out of the basement.

    Heather got an email from aeroplan that her account was going to expire soon. Apparently if you have no activity (ie get more miles, or use some), within a year, they expire your account. I would have got the email too, except I had a really old email account listed. So we looked for the best dollar value for points, and got $150 Esso gift cards each. It's not that exciting, but seeing as I use gas anyways, I'll use the gift cards, and then we'll use the money to go out for dinner or something. (It was better value then getting restaurant gift cards from Aeroplan).

    Two of our bigger plants died a few weeks ago. I didn't have them in double pots to allow drainage, and I suspect overwatering caused the roots to rot. We've seen some nice plants at Quince Flowers, but figured we'll wait until after Christmas when the tree is down, before we replace them.

    Wednesday, December 02, 2009

    Yesterday was the IT department Christmas party, at Sharkey's in Bloor West Village. This year, Ram and Rob A organized it, and it was a lot of fun. There was a good turn out -- about 120 people, which is the maximum capacity of Sharkey's for dinner. Most people stayed well past the end of dinner, a good sign, as often people leave as soon as dinner is done.

    I always plan a vacation day after events such as this, and so ran a few errands today. Heather had read some good reviews about Gale's Snack Bar, so we decided to try it out for lunch. I drive by the place (on the SW corner of Eastern and Carlaw) twice a day, and never realized it was still open! Check out the prices:

    I had a cheeseburger with fries and gravy, and a can of Coke; Heather had a turkey club (with real actual turkey!) with a can of Diet Coke. Total bill for the two of us, including taxes, was $7.25! I was tempted to try the sardine sandwich for a whopping $1.25, just to see what it was about; but the fries and gravy filled me up.

    The place was full when we arrived, and so had to wait a few minutes to get seats. However, once we placed our order (she only takes the order when they're ready to cook), it was fairly quick.

    Definitely one of the cheapest places around Toronto.

    The winter Ultimate season started up last week on Sunday, speed point at the newly domed Lamport stadium. Speed point is much more of a workout than regular point. I was sweating and pretty tired at the end of the game. We lost the game. We had a couple new players, and some subs and so it was hard to get a good flow going.

    Last Thursday I scored a goal! We won 5-1, I was in the slot and one-timed a pass from Craig into the top corner. It was my first goal in a while, and at least they marked it as my goal (the scorekeeper doesn't always get the goals and assists right, I have four assists this season but only two on the stats).

    I've been trying to go cashless the past few months, and I've been able to go two to three weeks at a time using just my credit card. There's just a few places downtown that don't take credit card (and Tim Hortons which doesn't take Visa, so I don't go there anymore). Today I was at three (!) cash-only places -- Leslieville Diner for breakfast, Gale's Snack Bar for lunch, and Pho Pasteur for dinner.

    I bought my Olympic red mittens from Zellers today. Supposedly these are always selling out and hard to get, so I was surprised to see them in stock.

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    We lost the finals at Sunday Ultimate yesterday. We were down 7-3, then came back up 9-7, and then lost 16-12. We had two full lines and so Craig and I were only on the field half the time, and our other line wasn't that good. Craig and I got off to a slow start, but it's hard to get into the game when you're not on the field a lot. In the winter we're playing speed point and so we can stay on more.

    This week's a yard waste (it stays bi-weekly this year) so I cleaned up the leaves around the yard on Saturday. It's much easier now that the backyard is mostly complete -- I just swept them up (this was part of the design). Filled up ten bags between the front and back. Also cut down the perennials in the front. I stored the bags on the front porch in case it rains. (I should have thought about that before.) This year has been one of the best for raking leaves -- it hasn't rained in a couple weeks, and the leaves are all light and dry.

    I was planning to take my Mac into work today to backup my pics but I forgot. I was going to switch from iPhoto to Picasa, but my Mac is too old to run Picasa (it only runs on Intel Macs). So I'll just copy all my pics to Picasa to create backup, and then I'll upload all my future pics, and create new albums only in Picasa.

    Well I should go start dinner.

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    The hard drive on my Mac has been making lots of funny noises lately. We were a bit worried because all our photos are on the Mac, and it's not backed up. I was going to buy an external drive, but then I read that Google sells storage really cheaply. I signed up for 20GB for $5 / year. So now we'll store all our photos in the cloud, using Picasa. Next step is to figure out an easy way to transfer from iPhoto to Picasa.

    I have hockey tonight at 9:30pm, so I should get ready.

    Sunday, November 01, 2009

    We are more than full from a multi-course dinner:

    1 bruchetta
    2 carmelized onion / balsamic reduction / goat cheese on flatbread
    3 stuffed mushroom caps with tomato cream cheese pesto
    4 mini pitas with lobster mushrooms garlic shallots parsley and fennel fronds
    5 ceviche scallop with fennel / carrot / leek
    6 scallop with soya sauce / molasses
    7 bacon-wrapped scallops
    8 raw oysters in half shell
    9 parsley / butter / fennel frond oysters
    10 oysters with fennel / cream sauce


    Buttercup squash soup with sour cream and chives
    (Bonus course)Scallops with fennel / carrot / leek
    Pecan crusted halibut with apple slaw / wilted garlic spinach and mango sweet potatoes
    Homemade pumpkin ice cream with nutmeg and spiced rum, with apple strudel with almonds

    Each paired with wine

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Heather and I went for a walk on Saturday, up to the Danforth and over to the DVP. We were trying to do one of the Discovery Walks, but couldn't find how to get into the valley from Bloor (I think you have to start a bit further south). We ended up walking a bit north, where there is a cool vantage point overlooking the Don Valley.

    Along the Danforth we stopped into a few shops. There's a cool kitchen place on the Danforth near Carlaw (IQ Living), where we bought a replacement for our automatic soap dispenser. I had bought a cheap one last year from Kitchen Stuff Plus, but it was cheaply made. The new one from simplehuman works great. Trishia and Maricar both have the same one. Now we just have to get dish soap that matches the kitchen (we currently have a green Palmolive soap).

    Last week we checked out the new McCleary Playground on McGee St near Queen. They've done a great job in designing the park, and re-using the old tree that had to be cut done because it had Dutch elm disease. Here's a pic of Heather and me regally holding court:

    We finally decided to try out the self-cleaning feature on our oven on the weekend. Based on the warnings in the manual, Heather was expecting huge flames and smoke to appear (part of the "normal cleaning process"). Instead, there was just a bit of a smell. It was all rather easy.

    I have officially decided not to return to The Roy. I went there with my Ultimate team on Sunday, around 4pm. They don't allow sports on the TV, so no NFL football. It wasn't that so much as the attitude that the owners felt that they knew what was better for the bar, and not the customers. I guess it's their right to run their bar as they want to, but it'll be without me as a customer (which maybe is the intent, to not target my demographic).

    Well I should start getting ready for bed.

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    Heather had a craving for poached eggs this morning, and I figured they couldn't be too hard to make -- water, eggs, done like dinner. I googled around, and ended up cracking the egg into Saran wrap, dropping into almost boiling water, and cooking for five minutes. It turned out really well. It sounds a bit weird, and I was concerned about the Saran wrap melting to the pot, but it worked out -- no vinegary taste, and no mess in the pot.

    I just had hard boiled eggs: cover the eggs in cold water, bring to boil, take off heat, cover with lid and let sit for twelve minutes.

    It's been really cold at night the past few days. There was a frost warning for Toronto last night, our outdoor thermometer registered a low of 1.4C. It was cold enough yesterday evening that we dug out our winter boots and gloves to go for a walk after dinner. Most places were closed for Sunday or Thanksgiving. We ended up stopping in at The Roy. The place is somewhat growing on me. It still looks like an Irish-pub-in-a-box, but I guess the space is a box, so it would be hard to end up with much else.

    It's been a pretty busy weekend. On Friday night we got together with Heather's friends Darlene and Fed after work at the Elephant and Castle. We had a couple drinks, and then walked over to Chinatown for dinner.

    On Saturday night we drove to St Catharines for dinner with Shelley and Geron. It was excellent, Geron's a really good chef. We had appetizers of scallops, with orange, sundried tomatoes and fennel. (Shelley and Heather are rather particular about scallops, but Geron cooked them perfectly). The main was pastry-wrapped salmon with asparagus, dill and mushrooms. Both were matched with wines from the Niagara region. Mmmm good.

    This afternoon we're heading to my parents for Thanksgiving dinner.

    I'm hoping that it will warm up one last weekend before winter. One of the sub-projects in the backyard was to fix the siding at the back window. There's a 4"x4" gap in the siding (from the previous owners), and it's always cold near that corner inside the house in the winter. I'd like to take off the siding, put in some insulation around the window, and put the siding back on. I have an extra length of siding to fix the gap.

    Saw that Six Shooter is moving -- although nothing on their storefront or website says where they're going.

    The new flower store beside Te Aro (the coffee shop) has made a nice cosy corner between the two. You'd never guess that a few months ago it was a dry cleaner and an auto body shop.

    The new bar where Carlaw Carburetors used to be is still under construction. They've covered up the front with wood, presumably changing the windows. They've saved the old sign, I wonder if they will put it back up when they're done.

    Well I should go make lunch.

    Monday, October 05, 2009

    My Ultimate teams this fall are pretty good. We're 3-0 on both Wednesdays and Sundays, and leading the league in both. I don't think we've played the best teams yet, so it's hard to say if we have a chance to win in either. I missed the first two hockey games, but I'm hoping to make it this week.

    We've had some problems trying to find a good place to go out after the games on Wednesday. All our games are at St Michael's College at St Clair and Bathurst. We've tried a place near St Clair and Bathurst which was sort of a dive; and then tried a place near St Clair and Dufferin which was a pain to get go with all the streetcar construction on St Clair. Next week we're going to try The Pour House near Dupont and Spadina Rd.

    Went to see Zombieland after yesterday's game with Craig, Maricar and Trishia. It took us a while to decide on a movie; Craig was the only one who wanted to see it, but all the other movies were vetoed by someone. It turned out to be pretty funny, much better than I expected.

    Heather and I went for a walk around Lakeshore to Coxwell on Sunday. We checked out the new skateboard park. There were lots of kids using it which was great to see. There's also a nice natural parkland around a pond just east of Coxwell. We were rained on a bit walking back home, but not too soaked.

    There's quite a few new places in Leslieville that opened up this summer. We've been to Lady Marmalade a couple times, on weekdays after Heather's appointments. It's way too popular to get into on a weekend.

    Also went to Swirl a couple weekends ago. It's a nice cosy place, so small they don't have a kitchen and instead serve picnic-type food (cheeses, spreads, charcuterie). It was great, although next time I don't think we'd make a meal of it, as it's all really rich food. Very reasonably priced, plus they have BYOW on Sundays.

    Well I should get ready for bed.

    Friday, September 18, 2009

    I took the day off today and finished up the benches around the firepit:

    I have to let the pressure-treated wood dry out over the winter, and then next spring I can stain the benches a dark brown. Also, we're looking for some outdoor throw cushions. So the backyard is almost complete!

    Heather's been weaning off the medication she was taking for her back. I called her a weaner (wean·er n pl -S one that weans). Heather put a quick moratorium on that.

    The fall Ultimate seasons started last Sunday. Our Sunday team has a lot of the original team (me, Craig, Cindy, Maricar, Trishia, Helen), and a couple new guys. I don't think we're as good as the summer team but we'll see. The Wednesday team has a lot of new players on it, and everyone had fun the first game. We ended up tying 8-8, scoring the last point about ten seconds before the whistle went to end the game. Wednesday's league is more competitive, so we may not win too many games.

    We're about to go out to Hanoi 3 Seasons for dinner (a little Vietnamese restaurant near us on Queen E), I should get ready.

    Monday, August 31, 2009

    We had a really good dinner on Saturday, with a couple new recipes from nibbledish. For the pasta course we had Tagliatelle of Mushroom. I used cremini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms (and some leftover king mushrooms). Cooking the mushrooms in a really hot pan works great -- the mushrooms fry rather than boiling, and so come out nicely browned. For the meat course we had Argentinean Strip Steak. I still prefer steak with just Montreal Steak Spice, but this was pretty good for variety. Our favourite LCBO guy (Grant) recommended a malbec from Argentina, Alegoría, which went really well with both courses.

    On Sunday I re-did the flagstone that runs beside the house. We had a lot of rain on Friday night, with predictions of up to 50mm. The weather station in Leslieville doesn't show any actual data for rain (maybe it was off the chart?). Anyways, I originally built the flagstone beside the house (the downspout empties into this) (it's 3' wide), in a "V" shape, with the mid-point about 2" lower than the sides. When it's raining hard, the water was running over the edges, and eroding the limestone screening. I re-lay the flagstone so that there's now about a 4" difference. I was trying to figure out the water volume based on the roof size and rain peaks, but there were too many variables I couldn't estimate.

    Well I should start making dinner. We're having grilled lamb (it's my own recipe, so I can take a picture and post it to

    Friday, August 28, 2009

    I have a new favourite website for recipes, I found it while looking for a recipe that included king mushrooms (we had some leftover). Ended up making basil chicken that didn't even have king mushrooms, but it came out pretty good. I really like the pictures with the recipes -- looks like most posters are into photography as well.

    Yesterday we made tacos, sort of based on one of the recipes. I didn't realize how easy it is to make the meat mixture -- I just used tomato paste, along with cumin, paprika and chili powder. I was going to make the tortilla shells too, but ended up buying some from Loblaws. Next time I think I'll make the shells.

    We won our playoff game last Sunday in Ultimate, so we're in the finals this weekend.

    Well I should start making dinner.

    Saturday, August 22, 2009

    Heather's back has been flaring up the past couple weeks and I've been working from home about half the time to help her out.

    On Thursday there was a big storm that blew through. A couple branches (about as thick as my leg) broke off the tree at the entrance to our street, one of them falling on a parked car. The other branch took out an electrical wire, so we had an emergency vehicle outside for a while. The clean-up crew came around midnight, and in about five minutes had wood chipped all the branches, fixed up the wire, and moved onto their next job. They were very efficient.

    I barbecued chicken on Thursday for dinner, and so had to wait for the storm to finish. Heather suggested using the cornmeal to coat the chicken pieces, so I made up my own recipe of five herbs and spices (cayenne pepper, garlic salt, paprika, cumin and pepper, plus the cornmeal). It turned out pretty good.

    We had some chocolates from Ambiance Chocolat again. They have some new flavours, my new favourite is the caramel and jalapeño truffle. Mmmm good. Heather's favourite is still the caramel and fleur de sel.

    With Heather's back sometimes keeping her in bed, I was surfing around for audio books for Heather, so that she could listen to them on her iPod. I found out that the Toronto Public Library allows you to download audio books for free! First I had to actually go in person to a library to renew my card, which was pretty quick. The audiobooks have DRM on them so they "expire" after a set period of time, and you can have a maximum of 10 books checked out at a time, which is pretty reasonable.

    It wasn't too hard to download a book, but I had to manually import it into my iTunes library. It wasn't that complicated, but now that I'm used to the iTunes Store, moving files around manually seems a bit archaic. Also, it's downloaded in a mp3 format which iTunes 7 doesn't recognize as a book (time for me to upgrade to iTunes 8?). Some googling showed there's an option in iTunes for each track to remember playback position, so if you start playing a book, it will remember where you left off. Anyways, Heather selected some books and now they're on her iPod.

    I finally gave up on trying to finish Don Quixote. It's taken me six months to get a quarter of the way through. It's way too repetitive, like a Saturday Night Live skit where the same joke is used over and over again. Craig said the second half of the book is even worse, because the author just criticizes other people who have copied his format, and shows why his is the real thing. Maybe I'll come back to it one day, but for now it's back on the shelf along with Catch 22, another book I struggled with and never finished.

    Monday, August 03, 2009

    I went golfing with Doaner, Craig and Chris on Saturday at Dragon's Fire, about an hour west of Toronto. The course is only a year old, but looks great. It was also a great day, sunny and 27C, one of the warmest days this summer. The course had the best greens I've played on this year. I was erratic, shooting over 100, but with a couple pars. I almost birdied the par-5 18th, I had a 10-foot putt that I missed. It took a while to get back home, I had to drop Craig off in King West, with Caribana going on.

    Yesterday and today I worked a bit more on the backyard:

    The gate's attached to the old fence post between us and our neighbour. I'm not sure yet if it will hold the gate, but I'm hoping the crossbeam above the gate will help support the weight. I still have to attach the lock (I need to borrow Maricar's circle drill bit), so for now I've jammed a piece of wood underneath.

    I was shopping for groceries yesterday at Loblaws, and tried a sampling that I liked, so made it for dinner, pan-fried catfish with arugula-orange salad, with rice tossed with toasted pecans, broccoli and garlic. It turned out pretty good. The catfish was dredged with a mixture of cornmeal, salt and cayenne. I hadn't used cornmeal before, it's pretty good coating for fish (instead of say breadcrumbs).

    We've been using the firepit the last couple nights. It's actually quite nice in the backyard, with the fire going, and music and the big trees in the backyard. Next is figuring out the patio furniture. We want to get a sectional, but the ones we like cost around $7000. I'll probably end up building one.

    We're having pork and shrimp steamed dumplings for dinner, I should start cooking.

    Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    I was calling around about extending and burying the hose from the propane tank to the PatioFlame. It looks like it's a job for a professional gas fitter, that will cost about $300. I didn't search too much, but I suspect it's also required by code in Ontario. So for now the propane tank will sit as far as the existing hose will allow (about 6'), and maybe build a little table over it. I didn't know this before, but propane is heavier than air.

    Last week I had a flat tire at work (at least, the tire was flat after work) (the front passenger side tire had a nail). I didn't want to wait around for roadside assistance to put on the donut tire, and I was in my suit, so I left the car at work and TTC'd it home. The next morning I went in in jeans and changed the tire, and drove over to the new Audi dealership (I had made an appointment first thing in the morning). The service was excellent. They washed the car, packed away all the tire tools properly in the trunk, had free beverages and WiFi access. I had taken my laptop and so just worked away while they put on a new tire. They also did the maintenance that was due in 900km, and checked the other tires (there was a nail in the driver-side front tire which they were able to remove). I was very impressed by the whole process.

    It was my birthday yesterday and so I took the day off. My parents had everyone over for dinner (it's my birthday tradition). It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately Heather couldn't make it, she re-injured her back last week. It was the coolest July 20th that I can remember, but quite comfortable. We always have the same dinner: samosas, then Dad's caesar salad, then masala chicken wings, rice, lentils, tomato curry, and Mom's potato dish, and then apple pie and upside-down-pineapple cake for dessert. Mmmm good. Maricar and Robin brought some of their red wine that they made (and had just bottled on Sunday).

    We won at Ultimate on Sunday, one of the best games we've played as a team. The offense was working really well. We have some set plays, which if we run them properly are very hard to defend. Our plays rely on us all reading the play the same, and on the Sunday team everyone sees the game the same. It's pretty cool when it works, although maybe not for the other team.

    I went to the Home Depot at 427 & QEW to see if they had double-cylinder locks from Weiser. They did have one, but it was a polished brass colour. I had to ask a sales person to help find it, and then had quite the discussion about whether it would fit on a 2'x4'. The specs on the back of the lock said it fit door widths between 1 3/8" and 1 3/4"; and I spent about five minutes trying to convince the two sales folks that 1 1/2" (the width of a 2'x4') was in fact between 1 3/8" and 1 3/4". I gave up.

    Well I should get ready for bed. I have to be out in Hamilton tomorrow morning for 9am.

    Sunday, July 19, 2009

    The backyard is coming along. I finished the fence, and the firepit is nearly done.

    I'm looking for a double-cylinder lock before I build the gate, preferably a Weiser so I can key it the same as the back door. Our little Home Depot doesn't carry any, and neither does the Canadian Tire on Leslie. Also, I'm trying to find a 15' hose extension for a propane tank so I can put the tank behind the fence. I don't even know if such a thing exists. Ideally I'd like to bury the hose under the flagstone encased in cement.

    We had breakfast last weekend at Lady Marmalade. There were eight of us, and we were fortunate to get two tables of four beside each other (which the staff then pushed together). It was quite busy at 10am on a Saturday. Heather and I just missed getting soaked in the rain, it came down in buckets a couple minutes after we arrived. (It's the 2nd time it's rained hard since I disconnected the downspout, and both times I've been out of the house, so I haven't seen how the water flow works. Heather was home the 1st time and said it worked great.)

    The breakfast was pretty good at Lady Marmalade. I had the eggs benedict, which they make with bacon. I still prefer the eggs benedict at Leslieville Diner, where they use peameal bacon. They do have a number of healthy options though at Lady Marmalade which Heather liked.

    I took a vacation day last Monday and went golfing with Craig, and Jim and Scott from hockey. Jim's a member at Carry Place, a private course up the 400. It was a pretty windy day, which didn't help my driver. I ended up shooting an inconsistent 103, parring a few holes and blowing up on others. After we went back to Jim's place and had dinner. It was a fun day.

    I should get ready for Ultimate.

    Thursday, July 02, 2009

    I framed in the fence yesterday. Here's a pic from the office window:

    If it doesn't rain this weekend, I'll put up the fence boards.

    We decided to stain the fence a darker colour, so that it contrasts with the deck and flagstone. Both the deck and flagstone are / will fade to a washed-out grey / beige, which is what we wanted. However we thought it would look too dull if the fence was also faded. The Home Depot folks said I need to wait till next season to stain the fence, to give the pressure-treated wood a chance to dry out.

    We dropped into The Ceili Cottage a few days ago to check it out. It has one of the better street-side patios in Leslieville (on my list, Strat's and B-Side are one and two). The inside has warm ambience -- whoever designed it did a great job. It feels like the place has been there for a hundred years (unlike The Roy which looks too forced). Tried a few things from the menu (they'd only been open for less than a week and didn't have everything yet).

    Came up with a new standard joke, to be used on all statutory holidays "I need a holiday, stat".

    Anyways I should get ready for hockey. We have a late game tonight, 10:30pm.

    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    Glenn Simmonds' retirement party was this evening, at a restaurant out in Vaughan. I was impressed by the turnout, including John Honderich, David Holland, John Cruickshank, Jagoda Pike, and quite a few retirees. The food was great, the speeches were okay (Al McArthur did a really good job as emcee). Glenn listed some of his mentors during his speech, of which I recognized only a couple names. I have heard lots of stories about the old days at the Star, so was surprised that I didn't know of so many people. They must have been the managers back when Glenn started in the early 70s.

    Lloyd and Mina came up to Toronto for this past weekend. It was great to see them, as Heather and I haven't seen much of them since we met. They were here from Saturday to Monday, and most of the time focused on food. We went to Little India for lunch on Sunday, and had far too much to eat at Lahore Tikka. My Sunday Ultimate team had our championship game later that evening, and I was rather full for the game. (We won 19-10!) The four of us had planned to have dinner at Table 17 (they have BYOW with no corkage fee on Sundays), but we were still full from lunch, so instead went to B-side at Joy Bistro. We had enough of an appetite the next morning to try the eggs benedict at Leslieville Diner, but then didn't have room for lunch.

    The weather finally got hot on the first day of summer while they were here. We turned on our air conditioner on June 19th, which is a record for me. It's the longest spring I can remember. Usually it goes from winter to spring for a week, and then straight into summer. I much prefer the cooler spring days.

    The Ceili Cottage is almost open! I dropped in on Monday evening (their planned opening night). Talked to Patrick McMurray (the owner), and he said they were just waiting for some paperwork from the city (I guess affected by the strike). I haven't been there since so don't know if it's open yet.

    One of my cousins in India (who I may have met when I was little, but don't remember) found this old picture of me and scanned and emailed it:

    It looks to be from my First Communion. Check out the cool bow tie and the funky shoes!

    Anyways I should get ready for bed.

    Sunday, June 14, 2009

    I finally finished the flagstone yesterday. Good thing too, because I was just about getting tired of it. Here's a before and after from last year and now (from the office window):

    I'm about to head out for our Ultimate game. Tonight's the semi-finals.

    Sunday, May 31, 2009

    It was nice weather again this weekend so I was able to work a bit more on the backyard:

    I need a couple more loads of flagstone to finish it. The last part is trickier to make all the flagstone fit.

    On Saturday was Leslieville Stomp. A lot of stores had sidewalk sales, and there were a number of yard sales. I had forgotten about it, but I had made an appointment with a massage therapist at Advanced Therapeutics for my back, and so walked through the street sales on the way there and back.

    The massage therapist was pretty good (I forget which one I had). I think my back problem was related to my legs being tight, especially my IT band. She showed me some stretches to help.

    The massage place is right across the street from East End Garden Centre (who I'm surprised have a nice little website). We needed some more annuals for the potters on the front deck, so I bought a variety.

    There's a whole bunch of places opening up east of Leslie St. There's another Irish bar opening soon, Ceili Cottage, by Patrick McMurray (owner of Starfish). There's a nice large front patio (right now just a vision), which he's stuck sea shells in the concrete.

    Also saw that Pulp Kitchen is opening up in a new location, one of the three renovated spots where All Most Antiques used to be. They're just waiting for their license and then they'll be open.

    Meating on Queen (a butcher) was barbecuing sausages, which smelled great so I bought one. It was amazing. Even Heather liked it! We went and bought a couple more today (although we had to barbecue them ourselves, as Stomp was just the one day).

    I was at box seats for the Jays game on Friday, for a project we worked on. A couple weeks ago it was looking good, with the Jays in front and the game against Boston. However a nine game losing streak killed a bit of the excitement. Still it was a good time.

    Well I should go get ready for my Ultimate game tonight. Hopefully it won't be too windy. It looks like the wind has died down a bit, it was pretty gusty earlier this afternoon.

    Monday, May 25, 2009

    I had big plans on Sunday to work on the patio and gardens, but tweaked a muscle in my back Sunday morning and have been stuck mostly to the couch since then. Too bad because it was a really nice day yesterday (20C, sunny) to work outside.

    Under Heather's care, I felt good enough this evening to try for a short walk down Queen E to Logan. Saw a liquor application at 996 Queen St E (where the former Carlaw Carburations used to be). It's nice to see, as the stretch of Queen between Carlaw and Pape hasn't had the same level of gentrification as the rest of Leslieville. According to the application, it's a bar and lounge that will be called "What are you looking at?". Not my first choice for a name, but what do I know.

    Then on the way back, we saw Te Aro, a new coffee shop that opened up (just east of Baby on the Hip) right under our noses! I didn't even see it under renovation! Te Aro has mostly good reviews on Chowhound and BlogTO. It's in an old garage; it's the type of conversion project that Heather and I would like to do one day to live in.

    With my back out, we've been getting take-out from the local restaurants. Yesterday had dinner from Spring Rolls; and today had fish'n'chips from B&B for lunch (the guy has fish'n'chips down perfectly) and The Real Jerk for dinner. It's nice to have this amount of variety within walking distance.

    On Saturday Heather needed a short break, so we had a little day trip down to see UofWaterloo, where I did my undergrad. Took a long cut down King St through downtown Kitchener and Waterloo. There's a lot of nice old industrial buildings that are undergoing loft conversions; the downtowns will look really nice in a few years. Tried to have lunch at the Bomb Shelter, (the campus pub where I spent a lot of time), but it wasn't open till 5pm. Instead went to McGinnis.

    After lunch walked through the DC (Davis Centre) and MC (math & computer) building, showed Heather the C&D (coffee and donut lounge). By fluke saw the old pictures of the graduating classes on the wall near the C&D; searched around for the 1993 math/business class and found me, Roach, Kirk, Doaner, Alain, Mayra and Heaney. Didn't see Panko's pic. Outside, looked around for my tree. Every year, there's a tree planted for the graduating class. Found ours -- it's a big horse chestnut tree. I thought every year had a unique genus or species, but I guess not, as 1981 and 1994 are the same. Walked down to V2 (1st year residences, now called Ron Eydt). Looked at the campus a bit differently; I didn't really remember the stream that flows by the residence being as photogenic as it is. There's plenty of newer buildings on campus, which I've seen in the alumni magazine. The business parks around Phillip St are now all full of RIM buildings.


    I've hooked up our Dell 1710 laser printer to the USB port on the Airport Extreme. Printing works great from my Mac; but I've been having trouble connecting to it from Heather's PC. I've tried using Windows Printer Setup, and Bonjour for Windows, but neither work. (Both ways allowed me to set up the printer. Print jobs spool somewhere, but where I have no idea). The next step is try to connect the printer to the USB port on the PC and print; and then re-try through the Airport Extreme.

    Well I should get ready for bed. Hopefully my back will be okay enough for me to get into work tomorrow.

    Monday, May 18, 2009

    It's nearing the end of the May 2-4 weekend. The weather's been pretty good for working in the backyard, about 18C. There was a frost warning last night, good thing I didn't plant my annuals yet!

    I finished a bit more of the flagstone in front of the deck (left side in the picture), and almost finished putting down flagstone all the way down the side of the house. One of the goals is to disconnect the downspout (it's in the corner in the top right of the pic), but I need to finish the flagstone first. The idea is to have the water run down the middle of the flagstone down the side of the house, and then between the walkway and the flagstone patio once past the deck. I'll have to see how effective it is when it rains the next time.

    We had a bit of flooding last weekend. Hopefully disconnecting the downspout will fix that problem.

    We've also had a few scout ants in the kitchen this past week. The ants were around the window in the kitchen, so we thought they might be coming in through the window frame somehow. I put up plastic sheeting over the window, and taped up the electric outlets (our kitchen is built over a crawl space and so I thought maybe the ants were coming up through the wiring). The combination fixed the problem (we haven't seen any ants since); now I need to remove the stuff one-by-one to see which part actually fixed the problem, and then fix it permanently.

    I planted a maple tree (Acer rubrum) on Heather's birthday. There's big hundred-year-old tree in our neighbour's yard, that I think has maybe 5 - 10 years left to live. There's a number of 30 - 40 year old trees around our backyard neighbours; this little tree will hopefully fill out the space when the old tree dies. It fits perfectly according to the suggested distances from other trees, and it's quite far from the basement (as mentioned the kitchen's over a crawl space and not a basement).

    We played Ultimate last night at Sunnybrook. It's nice to play on grass again; this was the first game of summer on grass. We've been playing outdoors in spring, but on turf at BMO Field and Downsview Park. It was a bit windy at the start of the game, but the wind died down towards the end. We have a pretty good team. We've played a couple of weaker teams (it's an intermediate league, we're at the upper end of intermediate), it will be interesting when we play a stronger team. We won 19-8 yesterday. Went out to Originals for some food after.

    I've been on a points-scoring streak in hockey, I've got a point in each of our three games this season. We're playing quite well as a team.

    Well we're about to have dinner. We may go out to Prohibition later on for a beer; it's a nice evening to go for a walk.

    Monday, May 11, 2009

    We just had out final game of spring Ultimate.  I'm out for a drink showing Bernice how I can update my blog from a BlackBerry.

    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    On Friday Heather and I couldn't figure out what to make for dinner, so instead we walked down Queen E looking at menus for something that appealed to us. Saw that Pulp Kitchen is closed. There's a sign that a restaurant called Lady Marmalade is opening up soon.

    We ended up at Prohibition, which was pretty busy (we even had to wait for a table!) The place is definitely growing on me. For the first time that I've been there, they weren't out of Sapporo on tap. (I think that's why I was iffy in the past -- I don't like any of the other beers they have). There's a nice atmosphere in the place. We passed by The Roy on the way over. There's something about The Roy that we couldn't put our finger on that we just didn't like. Maybe it was the bright lights or carpetting or lack of music. In any case, it looks like I've had a pub (Prohibition) all along and just didn't know it.

    Well I'm off to make dinner. We're having t-bone steaks (on sale at Loblaws, only $5 per steak!) with grilled vegetables and baked potato. Mmmm.

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    The bench is finally finished. Here's a pic:

    Friday, April 17, 2009

    Just bought some chocolates from Leonidas, which is a new place on Coady (just opened Wednesday) where Z-line used to be

    Sunday, April 12, 2009

    I've almost finished the pew. This weekend I completed the sanding, patched up a few holes & glued on a couple chips that came off when I took it apart. I'm not using all of the original pew, so I sanded down a leftover piece and took it to Home Depot where they applied sample stains, so that we could see how they looked on the actual wood in the house under different light conditions. Decided on Dark Walnut for the bench, and Jacobean for the headboard on the bed. I stained all of the headboard, and most of the bench, while it was still in separate pieces. I've left the outside sides of the bench unstained until after it's put together, so that I can fill in the holes for the screws that will hold the bench together.

    Watched the Masters in between working on the bench and cleaning the house. I thought Tiger Woods didn't have a chance and then suddenly on 16 he was one shot out of the lead, before he bogeyed 17 and 18. I guess it didn't matter with the leaders coming in at -12.

    My parents came over for Easter dinner today. We had lamb, with a bottle of wine from Scott (a 2004 Stratus cabernet sauvignon), which went really well. My mom made cake for dessert, which we pretty much finished.

    Spring season for sports starts up again this week, with Ultimate on Monday. It's outside at BMO, and I don't think it's going to be too warm.

    I finally connected the Airport Extreme as our wireless router. It's much faster than the Airport Express, at least on my Mac. I still need to hook up the Netgear router as a wireless access point in the office, and then Heather should see faster speeds too. I wonder if we've been paying for ultra fast high speed (or whatever Rogers calls it) all this time, and then not been able to access it because our router couldn't handle the speed. At least now the router's not the bottleneck.

    Tuesday, April 07, 2009

    Go Tarheels!

    This past weekend (back when it was spring-like outside) I worked on the church pew. Here's a before-and-after:

    I took a small piece (that had chipped off when I took the pew apart) to the friendly folks at Home Depot. They suggested that I could probably remove the varnish with just sandpaper. I was a bit disappointed at first, because from googling I thought I'd be using chemicals with fancy names like methylene chloride and trisodium phosphate, while wearing neoprene gloves. But instead I returned home with a $1.29 sanding block.

    The sanding block worked well on the curved parts of the pew, but it would have taken a lot of elbow grease to remove the varnish from the large flat surfaces. So I bought a Ryobi 1/4 sheet pad sander, on sale for $30 at Home Depot. It was the best $30 I've spent on power tools in a while. (Is there ever a bad way to spend money on power tools?)

    I sanded the 5' piece which will become the headboard on our bed, and about 90% of the bench. It was getting late (and cold) on Sunday evening so I called it a day. I'll complete the sanding on Friday and then maybe stain on Saturday. There's all sorts of opinions on the web on how to stain oak. I think I'll ask the Home Depot folks again.

    This past Tuesday we went up north to Yonge and Eglinton to buy a stationary bike from Fitness Depot. It's one the exercises Heather can do without harming her back. They delivered it last week, and it's now nicely set up in the basement.

    On Thursday we had a playoff game in hockey. We needed to win (a tie was no good) to move on. We actually scored the first goal, but then were down 3-1 with a couple minutes remaining. We pulled the goalie (needing to score three goals to move on) and they scored a couple empty-nets to make the score look a bit lopsided. So we're done for winter. It was one of the more fun seasons in recent Rocket history; we started passing the puck around and scored more than a goal a game. Summer hockey starts up in a couple weeks.

    I was out with a vendor tonight for dinner. I had suggested either Nota Bene or Biff's (to give a more traditional option). We ended up at Biff's, which was also a convenient walk from One Yonge. It was okay; the reviews on sounded better. The wine was pretty good.

    Well that's it for now.

    Wednesday, April 01, 2009

    Heather was telling me about a quote from Jane Jacobs that she may use in her dissertation "this is both a gloomy and a hopeful book". I suggested a working title for her dissertation: A Tale of Three Cities. I don't think Heather will go for it.

    (for those not familiar with Heather's dissertation, she is comparing the driving forces behind the new deal for cities in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Toronto)

    Sunday, March 29, 2009

    Tried not to cringe too much reading about Earth Hour events this morning. Take for example pic #9 from, with the nice bonfire. Hey, what a great idea. Turn off the lights, and burn some wood! Yay for Earth Day!


    Got out to Deerfield on Saturday, on one of the nicest golf days in March that I can remember. It was about 12C, with just a slight wind. Craig and I both shot 95, which is good for me but not so good for Craig. I was at the driving range on Thursday (we had a bye in hockey), and figured out I wasn't straightening out my left arm in my downswing. I think that helped my driver too, as I was actually hitting my driver consistently.

    Also picked up the church pew earlier on Saturday morning. Craig gave me a hand. It mostly fit in Craig's car (hanging about three feet out the back), and we drove straight down Bayview from Sheppard. The traffic was pretty light at 9:30am in the morning.

    After dropping off the pew, we went for breakfast, joined by Heather and Maricar. Tried out Leslieville Diner, a new place near Curzon. I had the eggs benedict, which was excellent. The crowd was a mix of long-time residents and new people, which was nice.

    Today it poured rain for most of the morning, but by 3pm the sun was breaking out. I used the opportunity to cut the pew to size. It's now in several pieces, ready for refinishing. The original pew was 9'3" long; I'm going to turn it into a bench 4' long, and use the seat backing of the 5' piece as a headboard for the bed.

    Well I better get started on dinner. We're having roasted halibut with a ragout of morels, fava beans and white asparagus (an LCBO recipe). I haven't been able to find morels (even dried), so I'm using black trumpet mushrooms; and green asparagus instead of white.

    Sunday, March 22, 2009

    I just bought a 4-port switch to reconfigure the networking in our house (the wireless signal is pretty weak in the office). So we're going off the net for a few minutes (!) If you don't hear from us within the hour, someone call Rogers. We won't be able to, as our phone is VOIP.

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    I was looking on Craigslist for old church pews that I could turn into a bench. Found this one for $50:

    It's 9'3" long, which is way too big; but it looks like it should be easy enough to take off an end, cut to size, and reattach the end. I think I'll need to sand it down and stain it a different colour too.

    First I have to figure out how to get it from the church (up at Bayview and Steeles) to our place.

    Sunday, March 15, 2009

    I'm looking to make a bench for the back door. With Heather's back she has to bring a chair over to put on her shoes, so I figured a bench would look good. Found a couple that I liked, one called a Basque Bench and the other an Ethan Bench. The Ethan looks nicer, but the Basque is a bit easier to make. Probably I'll make the Basque for now.

    Most of the snow is now melted around the house, there's still a bit in the front yard (which faces north). I want to plant a tree (a red maple) in the backyard this season. We were trying to remember when the city planted our pear tree in the front yard; I didn't blog about it, but we think it was around the start of May.

    Heather and I went for a short walk down Queen St today. There was a lot of street traffic, which bodes well for the businesses. Looks like a ice cream place may be coming in where the cajun place used to be.

    We lost at hockey on Thursday 3-2, but it was a good game. We're starting to string passes together (historically a problem for the Rockets). I got a nice assist on Laurie's goal, passing it out from the corner to Laurie in front of the net who one-timed in. It was a relatively early game (8:15) so we went up for pizza and wings after.

    Anyways I have to get ready for my Ultimate game.

    Monday, March 09, 2009

    It was nice to leave work this evening and still have it bright outside. I like having daylight savings time start earlier in the year.

    We did get a new car last week, with the lease ending on our old car. We were looking at a Jetta, Prius and Mercedes B200, but ended up with an Audi A3. We got a really good deal, it's a good time to be a buyer in the car market. It all happened really fast once we signed with Audi. On the Monday morning, I dropped off the BMW, signed the lease-end stuff and got my plates (the license plate contains my initials so I like it). Was in-and-out of BMW in about 15 minutes. They even gave me a courtesy ride to the subway. Back in the office, faxed the details to my insurance company. They were quick and efficient; and at 5pm an Audi courtesy car came by the office to pick me up. Signed some more papers, and by 6pm I was driving home in the new car. I've had it for a week, it's pretty zippy. I really like the bluetooth connection for my BlackBerry, although I'm having problems trying to sync my address book.

    Two of our house plants have been growing nicely, well enough that they needed repotting. I ended up getting two big pots from Canadian Tire, and a big bag of potting soil. They look really nice, I'll have to take a picture.

    The Roy opens up today! I see they have updated their website, and there it is, on page 4 of the menu, Keiths!! I also see they have "Coronation Street" Sunday afternoon specials (! for Heather). It's not good for Heather's back for her to be standing around for long, so we may try to check it out on Wednesday (avoiding the opening night).

    There was an article in this month's Toronto Life about people who bought industrial sites and converted them to residential. (The old firehall on Boston Av is a good example). So now we're looking around for a good site in Leslieville (or maybe Corktown) that we could buy and do the same thing.

    Heather and I both signed up for organ and tissue donation. It's a bit of a process, but the ministry was pretty quick to send us back confirmation, and little stickers for our health cards. I still have one of the old original red and white cards without a picture. I wonder how long before they have everyone convert to the new photo ids.

    Well we're having grilled pork chops with garlic lime sauce and tomato and black bean quinoa, I better get cooking if we're to eat today!

    Sunday, February 22, 2009

    Ended up in 6th place, so out of the trophy running, but a respectable finish.  I ended up with 7 points, at my career average.  Oddly I got points from tug-of-war, log saw, euchre and poker (usually my weaker events), and nothing from darts or ping pong (where I normally rack up points). 

    The pingpong final was Kirk & Alain against Craig and Paul.  People were expecting a close game (Alain usually dominates), but C&P had an amazing game and won 21-10.  Chuck looked a bit stunned.

    Oh yah, Alain took charge of the steaks today, and I had a rare steak done perfectly for the first time at WB.  He also brought a bottle of wine (as normal) and so dinner was quite good.

    Kirk won for the 3rd time, and also the first back-to-back winner.  Everyone's now on Guitar Hero, which I don't get (if you're going to spend hours practising something, how about an actual guitar?).  I may head off to bed.

    Saturday, February 21, 2009

    Up early this morning at 830, for some strange reason.  People slowly waking up.  Played crib with Roach, we didn't have a board so we used a laptop.  Debated on how to set up Excel, getting all fancy with macros.  But ended just using the cells marked with the score and put x's for pegging.  Worked okay.  Tug of war starts in 40 minutes.

    Wonderboy weekend 2009

    Well there's 22 of us this year at Kirk's.  Craig and I were the last to arrive, around 7pm.  I actually drew decent partners for pingpong and darts;  unfortunately the round robin divisions were stacked in both events.  It was almost like the top 6 players in each were teamed up and all in the same division.  In a normal year my teaming probably would have gone 3-0 in our division;  but because of the competition I went 1-2 in both.  As a result I'm out of the playoffs in both.  This seriously hampers my chances of winning Wonderboy this year. 

    On a side note,  I won at poker tonight (a side game, not part of the official Wonderboy) and a couple other games, so far I'm up a bit.

    It's been a relatively quiet WB so far.  I don't think we'll be setting any records for kegs this year.

    Well I'm off to bed.

    Monday, February 16, 2009

    The basement's now a bit more organized. I was getting tired of the boxes piled on top of one another against the wall. A couple weeks ago bought some IKEA shelving off craigslist (about $10 a set, compared to $45 in IKEA). Putting up the shelves was easy; the hard part was cleaning up and reorganizing all the boxes.

    Now we can actually find candles and twine and burlap and other stuff.


    Our lease on the BMW ends in April so we went out on Saturday to look at a couple cars. We were deciding betwen a Jetta, Prius, or Mercedes B200 (they're all priced under $30K). The Mercedes dealership was great, they sent us out on a test drive without any hassle. Even gave Heather some chocolates as we left (it was Valentine's Day). The Toyota dealership was just the opposite. The sales guy was like a caricature of a used car salesman. The Prius is backordered, and we just wanted to know if we would be able to get one before our lease is up. The sales guy hemmed and hawed and disappeared into his manager's office at least three times. I still don't know if we could get one by mid-April because we got fed up and left the place.


    Our Sunday Ultimate team is pretty good this year, at least on paper. We had our 3rd game yesterday and we still haven't had out the full team due to various injuries. There's only 8 games in this season (because that's when the bubble comes down at BMO), so hopefully we'll be able to get a few games in as a team before the playoffs. We won yesterday 16-15, scoring our last point with about 20 seconds left in the game. The game was at 8pm so we headed out after to Brazen Head for a drink or two.

    It's a short week for me this week, as today's Family Day (our new holiday in Ontario), and I'm taking Friday off for the annual Wonderboy weekend (the site hasn't been updated since last year, but it has the rules etc). It was odd to see the mail delivered today on a holiday (federal employees didn't get the provincial holiday).

    Monday, February 02, 2009

    Here's some before and after pics of the bedroom makeover:

    Before (actually during) (check out the various shades of faux wood!)

    The reveal:

    The bedroom looks a bit empty because I had moved most stuff out while painting. Plus the bedding is mismatched so I took the pic with just the mattress.


    We both needed to wash our fleece jackets, so figured it was a good night to eat at Lahore Tikka and then come home and do laundry. It was great as usual. Had the lamb kebabs and kahari chicken, a few chilies, and butter naan. Mmmm good.


    On Saturday there was a snowplow (a little Bobcat skid loader) in the back laneway again. The Bobcat kept on going around and around the alley and front. It reminded us of WALL*E. We both cracked up.

    The other day Heather noticed that Kubo Radio was papered over, and a sign that said Roy Public House. Maybe a pub? After the long wait for the bar at Curzon to open, I was a bit disappointed. The atmosphere is a bit cold at Curzon if it's not crowded (unlike, say, Barrio, which is great whether it's full or you're the only two people there). And I wish they'd serve Keiths (or at least Mill St Organic).

    I got decent numbers in the SuperBowl squares pool at work: (Pittsburgh-Arizona) 3-0, 3-3, 3-4, 3-7. I won the 1st quarter!


    I was wondering why CIBC was charging me service fees on my chequing account the last few months. I have a grandfathered account that gives me free unlimited transactions as long as I maintain a minimum balance of $1000. I called CIBC today and found out a few months ago they changed the minimum balance to $1500.

    Well that's it for now.

    Sunday, January 25, 2009

    It's a lazy Sunday afternoon. We had guests in town for the weekend, and last night we had a big dinner at home. Started with a caesar salad, then had gnocchi with a gorgonzola cream sauce, then steak with mushrooms and asparagus, and crème brûlée for dessert. Mmm good.

    They're flying out later this evening, and depending on Heather's back, we're planning on having dinner at Lee Garden before going to the airport. Then we realized that tomorrow is the Chinese New Year, and the chinese restaurants could be pretty busy. We'll be there at 5pm so hopefully we'll beat the crowds.

    I linked up my Twitter and Facebook accounts, so my Twitter updates will change my Facebook status (and also appear in the sidebar on my blog).

    Tony (our electrician) came over on Thursday and fixed a couple of the lights that were out. He replaced the transformer on the low-voltage lights over the dining table, and the undermount lights in ktichen. Supposedly the undermount lights aren't sold in Canada, so whenever they go he has to replace them. As usual he wouldn't let Heather pay him anything, so I'll have to get him at the Superbowl party.

    The city picked up the snow piles on our street on Saturday morning. Loud beep-beep-beeps from the little front loader picking up the snow and reversing to the dump truck woke us up. They also plowed through the back alleys, which I found surprising. I don't remember the city taking care of the alley in the past (although streetsweepers sometimes make it back there).

    I bought some edging for the platform bed I made last week. Not sure how to attach it to the edge of the particle board (maybe glue?) but I'm sure Google has some suggestions. Also picked up paint chips of various dark browns from our local paint store. We've sort of settled on Night Shade. I'm going to paint the platform bed, Heather's old dresser, and my valet. At least I won't mind posting a picture at that point.

    Sunday, January 18, 2009

    I made the bed today, literally. We had the TempurPedic mattress sitting on the ground, which works fine for sleeping. However it was a bit difficult to get out of in the morning (especially for Heather with her back), and dust would have gathered against it.

    I found this platform bed on the web, and thought it looked easy to make.

    So on Saturday I bought some 2x10s for the base, and particle board for the platform. The bed is 80"x60" and the boards are sold in 4'x8' so I had to buy two and get them cut to 40"x60". Got everything cut at Home Depot, so there was no mess and the cuts were straight. I took all the lumber to my car, only to realize that 40"x60" didn't fit in my car. So loaded the 2x10s into the car, locked it, and then carried the boards home. Luckily it wasn't too windy. (Home Depot is less than 1km north of us). Dropped the boards off, walked back to Home Depot, and drove home.

    Today I screwed everything together. I covered the particle boards with an old sheet, very similar to reframing a canvas painting. (In fact the whole project was like building a deck, with two canvases on top). The frame looks quite good, with a total cost of about $30 for the materials. I thought about taking a pic, but we're not too keen on the colour scheme currently going on in the bedroom. It's perfect for a "before" picture -- medium beige walls, off-white comforter, lime green sheets, beige blanket. When Heather's done her dissertation we'll be shopping for furniture and bedding, but for now what we have works. Just not in a picture on the web.

    I haven't yet built the moulding; and the wood is just unfinished pine. I may decide to paint or stain the whole thing when it gets warmer.

    We also got rid of our old mattress. I posted it on craigslist on Thursday night, got a few responses on Friday, and I arranged with the first responder to pick it up on Saturday. I gave him the metal frame as well. We were going to give it to Goodwill, but this worked out just as well.

    Saturday night was my highschool friends Christmas party. We all got together at Tanya and Tony's (TnT's) for dinner and the kris kringle gift exchange. This year was one of the best for gifts (our limit is $30). I got a three-tiered server, and Heather got a cool Christmas ornament that shows pics (you can load up to 50), and a bottle of Frangelico.

    This morning I went out for brunch at Brazenhead with my Ultimate team, except it was only me, Trishia and Craig that showed up. I had the eggs benedict (my usual order for brunch). It wasn't very good -- I wouldn't order it again there. The eggs weren't that runny, the peameal was bland, the muffin was undertoasted and the hollandaise was weak. The potatoes weren't too bad though.

    Well I should be getting to bed.

    Thursday, January 15, 2009

    Our new TempurPedic mattress was delivered this morning! I bought queen sheets from Home Sense on the way home from work. We're just waiting for the sheets to dry. They're a bit loose-fitting on the mattress, not sure if that's normal.

    My hockey game was at 11:30pm tonight so I just skipped it.

    So my rack of lamb turned out pretty good the other day. I only bought one rack (two seemed like too much food for Heather and I), and it wasn't quite enough. The sauce turned out really well too. I was worried at first because my stock turned out gelatinous, but then I googled around and it looks like that's a good thing. The rack of lamb is first seared in a frying pan in oil for five minutes, which made a big mess of my stove. I think the clean up took longer than the cooking!

    The TempurPedic website site was very nice to use to register the warranty on the mattress and pillows. I was surprised though that there was no confirmation email. Maybe it's a batch process at night (which would be dumb, but I've seen dumber).

    It's been freezing cold the last couple days. It was -21C yesterday morning when I went to work. Later it warmed up to -13C. I know it gets much colder elsewhere, but that's pretty cold for Toronto.

    Well the dryer just whistled a little tune that the sheets are dry, time to go to bed.

    Saturday, January 10, 2009

    Last night Heather went out for dinner with Nadine and Sue so I went out for a drink with Craig at the new Bier Markt (at King W and Portland, in the old Amsterdam location)

    It took me forever to get out. I dropped off Heather at Sue's around 7:30pm, and got stuck in the AC/DC traffic getting back home. My flat tire indicator went off; at first I was excited because they're under warranty and a free replacement (my tires are getting worn and I'll probably have to pay for new ones when the lease is up in April -- the warranty doesn't cover wear-and-tear). I was also low on gas, so stopped in at the gas station at Lakeshore & Carlaw. They were out of regular and so were selling premium at regular prices (my car requires premium so it was a bonus for me). Next checked the tires, which were just low on air (most likely because I hadn't inflated them for winter). Got home and turned on the barbecue for my steak, except it was out of propane. So went and got that filled up. Finally had dinner, cleaned up and caught the streetcar.

    It was almost 11pm by the time I got to the Bier Markt. We had a few pints & chatted away. Ran into Paul McGeachy who was there with friends. A little bit after midnight, headed up to Tattoo to meet up with Heather et al who had ended up there after their own little adventures. There was a $10 cover charge, which we didn't want to pay at that hour. I just walked in, showing my wrist stamp the Bier Markt, and it worked! Craig tried a couple minutes later but got busted, and Sue had to go get him in. Saw Marissa who was also there with some of her friends. Streetcarred it back home a little after 2am.

    All the excitement was a little too much for Heather's back; she was in a lot of pain today. We'll be sticking with just dinners in the future.


    Went up to my suit place (Testa Uomo) with Trishia and Dave this afternoon. Dave was looking to get a couple suits and so I went with them as a referral, so he'd get the 50% discount. After went to Kitchen Stuff Plus to get a spatula (my old one broke over Christmas), and tongs. Bought an automatic soap dispenser (we've been looking for one). I'm not too impressed with it though -- the sensor part doesn't work very well, and there's no way to manual trigger it to dispense.

    While we were in PEI, Jonathan hired a chef to cook dinner for 8 of us as a wedding anniversary gift for Janet, including showing us how to make the recipes. The dinner was excellent. We had appetizers of bacon-wrapped scallops, oysters three ways, mussels; main of rack of lamb, and sticky date pudding for dessert. Mmmm good.

    I was going to make the rack of lamb for dinner today, but with Heather's back out, we decided to wait a couple days. There's a sauce that goes with the lamb, and I was googling around on how to make my own chicken stock as a base for the sauce. Tomorrow's my first attempt at the chicken stock.

    When I got back to work after the holidays, I was telling a couple other directors about the chef. They both had said one of the best team building exercises they had done in previous jobs was a cooking class. Well as luck would have it, we have an offsite coming up at the end of January, and by coincidence the team building is at dish cooking studio! We're voting on the menu right now.

    I created a twitter account a few months ago but have never used it, but I've started recently. The idea is to use it when I have something brief but not enough time for a proper blog entry.

    We bought a TempurPedic mattress last week to replace my old doublebed. We looked at a few places, and Shoppers HomeHealthCare had the lowest price by far, and then took another 20% off because we asked about the senior's discount! Bargoon. It's supposed to be delivered in the next 5-10 days.

    Also got another PC Green Box for free from Loblaws. They're pretty handy carrying cases -- I use it for my tools, to carry my stuff to Ultimate etc.

    Anyways I should get ready for bed.