Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Book list

Op Center: Balance of Power
Tom Clancy 2007.06.08

Robinson Crusoe
Daniel Defoe 2007.06.08

Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic
Tom Holland 2007.06.07

James Clavell 2007.06.01

The Black Tulip
Alexandre Dumas 2007.04.20

The Odyssey
Homer 2007.03.30

The Iliad
Homer 2007.01.30

Sunday, December 30, 2007

So I've realized that one of the reasons I don't blog as much now is that I feel I have to have enough time to catch up from the previous entry.  So I'm going to start writing more about what's currently going on, abetted by my Blackberry.

We're home again from our trip to Ottawa, and are cooking up mussels with tomatoes, onions and celery.  I used white cooking wine (last time I was out and used some sort of gourmet vinegar to a not-so-good effect).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It was a very snowy day in Toronto. I like walking in snowstorms, so we bundled up and walked over to Loblaws to buy groceries. I took a few pics along the way. Here's some of the stores near us -- Eye Spy, Wild Thyme, B&B Fish & Chips, Six Shooters, ok ok.

(one sec, I have to start our stew for dinner...)

It's snowed over a foot today. There's barely enough room to put the snow piles! The last time I remember this much snow was when Mel Lastman called in the army in January 2000.

I was thinking of getting snow tires this fall, but didn't, because most winters we have maybe 1 or 2 days that you need snow tires in Toronto. So far we've had 3 days this winter, and it's not even officially winter yet!

The VPC Christmas party was yesterday, at the Hilton in Vaughan. It had already started snowing when we went to the party. Good thing I decided not to drink, and drive back last night (other people at the party stayed at the Hilton). The roads were bad last night, but they were even worse this morning. The party was pretty good. It changed venues from italian place it's been at in previous years. The venue and sound system was better, but the food was definitely better at the last place. Last year we had the porcini risotto and veal picatta that we liked so much, we looked up recipes and now have it on a regular basis. This year was standard banquet hall food -- well-done steaks and chicken breast, with over-cooked vegetables. However, the party is still one of the better work parties I attend.

I've been playing around with my Blackberry quite a bit. It's really cool. It's pretty intuitive to use. Bought a 1GB micro SD card yesterday, so now I can download pics and songs. The GPS is really cool. I wonder if I can use it to track my next vacation? There seem to be a milion and one things you can do with it.

Well dinner is almost ready...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Well I got a BlackBerry 8800 for work (took forever for my cell phone number to be transferred from Telus to Bell).  I've had it for only 6 hours and already I don't see how I could be without one.
Sent using BlackBerry

Sunday, November 25, 2007

We had a really good dinner on Friday night. I was surfing around (it's a Torstar site that my group supports), and saw a restaurant review that had chanterelle risotto on the menu. Sounded good so I found a recipe on the web. For the main I found a recipe for veal tenderloin with carmelized shallots and onions on the LCBO. Both turned out really well. It was the first time either of us had tried chanterelle mushrooms -- they are sort of nutty, like walnuts. There's a few varities of mushrooms at Loblaws so we may try another kind next week.

Heaney was in town this past week for training, so we got together on Tuesday for a drink or two at Fionn MacCools. It was pretty busy there at first, but it was a pre-game crowd for the Leafs game. We split three pounds of wings, which I think is a record for Heaney and I. (In university we would be lucky to get through two pounds between the two of us -- we like wings, but could never eat a whole lot).

Wednesday was Ultimate, and we were playing the second-last team. We won, although their pseudo-zone defense threw us off a bit. Went back to Fionn MacCools for a quick drink.

Our hockey game on Thursday was early (6:30), so I planned to work the afternoon at VPC. (It's only a five-minute drive from the rink). Good thing I did, as traffic was a mess. There were two serious accidents on the 400, shutting down all lanes both northbound and southbound. Traffic around the press centre was a mess. (In fact the press centre was in the background of the MTO camera that was showing the scene). Plus it was the first snowstorm of the season. We still had a good turnout with 11 skaters, but lost. The other team had good breakout patterns and generally passed the puck well, something we can't seem to do. Got upstairs for pizza and a beer just in time to catch the first half of the Colts game.

Well that's it for now.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Watching the Patriots toying with Buffalo, (it's 35-7 at the half with 4 TDs for Moss), which is a good opportunity to catch up in my blog. (Heather's working on her chapter).

I decided to start working out again, to strengthen my shoulders. They still feel sore after a physical hockey game, so I'm hoping this will help. I used to work out 2 - 3 times a week until I first hurt my rotator cuff in 2004, and have never got back into it. So today I set up my bench in the basement and dusted off the weights. I didn't use much weight today, we'll see how I feel tomorrow.

Tried another LCBO recipe, Lemon risotto with grilled tiger shrimp. It was very lemony, almost too lemony. Still, it wasn't too bad and we'll try it again (with less lemon).

We had a late Friday night at Celine's little celebration at the completion of her PhD, and were feeling a bit out of sorts on Saturday morning. Went for a walk around the neighbourhood, which turned into a two hour walk up to the Danforth and back. The leaves have finally started falling in bunches and it was beautiful with the ground covered in yellow leaves everywhere. We had lunch at Queen Pita (a Lebanese restaurant on Queen just east of Leslie). We had tried it out last weekend and it was pretty good.

We started Friday night at Baldini's. Tony (the owner) had given us a gift certificate as a wedding gift so we used it for dinner. It was excellent as usual. The restaurant was pretty busy which is good to see.

Raccoons had started to get into the roof above the front porch so I closed it up today. As part of the rebuilding of the front porch this summer, the plan was to have Tony (our electrician) install pot lights, and then I was going to finish the ceiling. However, Tony broke a couple ribs playing football and hasn't been able to make it over here yet. I'll finish the roof properly next spring, for now I just put up plywood.

Our green bin went missing after garbage day last Wednesday. I thought about putting up some posters on light posts but Heather didn't think it was such a great idea. It turned out our neighbour had accidentally picked it up (the garbage folks sometimes throw them on the neighbour's side of the fence).

We tied at Ultimate last week, and lost at hockey. The Ultimate game was fun. I dropped a couple passes that I would normally catch. I think playing only once a week is affecting my timing. In hockey we got burnt by the other team's speed. We held the play in their end for most of the game, but then they'd end up on a 3-1 and score. It was a bit frustrating.

Well I should get ready for bed.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Are you in a gouda mood?

Usually I go grocery shopping after work (the Queen's Quay Loblaws is right beside the Star), and give Heather a call to decide what we're having for dinner. If Heather doesn't want something that night, she'll say e.g. "hmm, I'm not in a steak mood". I was picking out a cheese to have with a baguette before dinner, so I asked if Heather if she wanted gouda. Of course she answered "I'm not in a gouda mood" which I found funny for the next few hours.

We won our Ultimate game 33-8 yesterday. The other team wasn't that good, and we played good fundamentally. A lot of short passes, and our junk d was pretty good. (Junk d is when we're on defense and there's someone assigned to take the first guy cutting in, and everyone else switches off). My timing is back on catching which is good.

After we went to Fionn MacCool's for a quick drink and a game of Wizard. It's hard to believe that the last few weeks we sat on the patio, and yesterday it was only 3C or so.

Oh yah, I registered my name as a web address! Right now it's just pointing to this blog, but at some point in the future if I'm running a consulting company or whatever, at least I'll have my name as a website. The cost of registering a name has really come down compared to a few years ago -- it's only about $10 a year now.

Even more restaurants and shops have opened up in Leslieville. There's a Thai restaurant (one of the few chains on Queen E) opening next to Tomi Kro, a knitting store opening soon near Jones, and a couple others I forget.

We tried to eat at Tomi Kro's a couple weeks ago with Chris and Roseanne, but couldn't get in. Chris and Roseanne couldn't make it to the wedding because of Chris' health, so we got together for dinner. I called on a Thursday to reserve for Saturday but they were fully booked already! (This is after they've doubled the size of the restaurant!) It looks like they're expanding again, possibly to the location on their east. It's now painted the same colours and the renovations inside seems very similar. ...We ended up at Baldini's, which was really good as usual.

We wrote and mailed out our thank-you cards for the wedding. That took quite a bit of time. We created our own stamps at which turned out pretty good, and are only twice the cost of a regular stamp. Although it was odd to see ourselves on a stamp. I think more people would create their own stamps if they knew about it.

We tried a new recipe from the LCBO website last week that was really good, roasted sea bass with braised lentils and aioli. We had it again last night. I made my own aioli from scratch, which is actually quite easy. Although, I didn't know what aioli was until this recipe.

Went to Doaner's last Saturday. Heather's been on a roll and so stayed home to work. Last time I saw Doaner was at the wedding when he was (accidentally) running off with my car key. Jenn and Doaner are now moved in together! She's spruced up the place, it now has plants and other knick knacks.

Wonderboy now has a digital media subcommittee. Roach's brother (Roach Jr) has put together the start of the website. The more obvious websites were already taken, so we've registered Hopefully it will be done before next Wonderboy.

Almost forgot, some of the web guys at work started up a little contest. You have to put up a web page, whose primary use is to echo the user's IP address. The winner is the web page with the most hits from outside Ontario. Please visit my site if you are! It's also a useful site if, say, you're lost somewhere in the world and stumble into an internet cafe -- you can find out where you are.

Well I should go start dinner before it gets too late. I have hockey at 9:30, which is too late to eat after.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Yesterday was our one month anniversary! It hardly seems like a month ago we were at Dalvay.

Kevin and Jean (Heather's parents) were in Toronto this past weekend. We had a good visit on Friday. We had dinner at our place, and then went to OverJoy for dessert. They were in town to see Heather's uncle who's ill. It was short visit as they had to be back in PEI for Monday, but it was fun to have them over.

Sunday was a really nice day (sunny, 22C -- just like our wedding day) so Craig and I went golfing at Deerfield. I had a really good day of putting and chipping -- I one-putted the first 3 holes! On the front nine I shot 43 with only 13 putts. I then parred 10 and 11, and was thinking of breaking 90 again. However I then went triple-bogey triple-bogey quintuple-bogey to mess up a perfectly good round. Parred 15 though, a long 443-yard par-4. Ended up with a 96 for the day.

We actually won both our games last week! On Wednesday we won our Ultimate game 26-14. We were better than the other team, but we also played really well. Our defense was strong and we made good decisions on offense. We're also getting to know each other a bit better on the field. We could probably beat the previous week's team if we play the same way.

Hockey was a bit more dramatic. We were up 3-2 late in the game. The other team pulled their goalie, and they scored with 12 seconds left in regulation. It went into overtime (3 on 3 for five minutes, run time). Craig got the puck off the draw, went down the wing, drove for the net and scored! It was a fun game.

Well it's getting late and I should get to bed.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

It was a quiet weekend. Completed a bunch of odd jobs around the house -- filled up the yard waste bag with the end of season plant remains; cleaned up the green bin which had been raided by raccoons; cleaned up the rock borders on the front walk; touched up the limestone screening between the flagstone.

I also finally repainted the inside of the front door, unfortunately the colour doesn't match. There's three colours in the house -- two shades of brown on the walls, and an off-white on the trim. (My interior decorating theory is neutral colours on things that are hard to change like walls and floors, and colour on things that are easy to change, such as pillow coverings and placemats). The painters had left behind two paint cans, with the two browns. I took the paint cans to the paint store on Queen St E where it was purchased, and they were able to trace the order and identify the off-white. I bought a quart, and painted the door. But it looks like the painter ran out of paint, and only used our local store to finish off painting -- because the white doesn't match. So I'm just calling it a base coat.

We walked down to the Real Jerk on Saturday for lunch. There's a lot of new storefronts -- almost all of Queen St E is now gentrified. Checked out the bakery on Logan north of the Starbucks. It was around 3pm and it was full of people but empty of baked goods. Heard the baker explaining to someone else that you need to be there at 8am to get bread.

We had a couple of good bottles of wine this weekend. On Friday I tried to make the portabello agnolotti like at Alice Fazooli's. I made the pasta from scratch. It was pretty easy -- it's just flour (durum and semolina) and egg -- but I didn't roll it thin enough, and so it came out a bit chewy. Had a ripasa that was recommended by Mike at the LCBO. It went great with the caesar salad, beef carpaccio, and agnolotti.

Last night was had steak with baked potato and whipped spinach. We've been getting in the habit of buying one large new york steak (about 425g) instead of trying to finish one each. Same for the potatoes. But when I was grocery shopping it looked like I was going to have dinner by myself with the single steak and potato in my basket. We had the bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape from our mystery benefactor. (Someone anonymously gave us a wedding gift at Dalvay -- we think it was the couple that celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary at Dalvay on the Friday before our wedding). We figured a Saturday night was a special occasion enough to have the bottle. It was really good as well.

Lost both Ultimate and hockey last week, although both were competitive games. We should have won Ultimate, up 6-2, but then we got a bit complacent and lost 26-22. Went for all-you-can-eat ribs at Shoeless Joe's at King and Spadina. The ribs weren't too bad. Went rack-for-rack with Craig, I think we had two full racks each.

Thurdsay we lost at hockey 3-1, but at least we carried the play on occasion. We're getting new jerseys this season, powder blue with a capital R (for Rockets, our team name) on the front.

Well that's it for now!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Wedding pics! Wedding pics! Wedding pics!

Finally, some wedding pics! These are pics from JP and Maricar, two of our amazing photographers. There's more to come from Tanya, which I'll post as well.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

We're going to be posting pics very soon from our wedding. We met with JP and Maricar this past Tuesday to look at their pictures, which look amazing. I haven't yet talked with Tanya about the ones she took.

We got back from PEI last Friday. I was planning to relax on the weekend before starting work, but squirrels had got into the soffits on the 2nd floor. (My summer project was to replace those before the wedding, but then the front walk project interrupted.) So last weekend I rebuilt the soffit and fascia, and painted because the weather was good and I wasn't sure if I'd get another chance to paint before winter.

This weekend I finally put up the gutters and downspouts. This is what started the whole project -- the old gutters were brown and in bad shape. A day earlier would have been better as it rained off-and-on most of yesterday. I've posted before and after pics on my Facebook. (I can restrict access to photos on Facebook, e.g. for pics that identify where we live). In the "after" pic you can see that the ceiling is yet to be done. I'm waiting for my electrician (Tony) to wire pot lights over the porch, and then I'll put up pine paneling.

It was a bad week for my sports. We lost both games badly. On Wednesday was my first game back in Ultimate. Our old team is back together, which is fun. However our opponents were mostly very tall, and they used their height. A lot of passes were hammers over our heads to receivers who caught the disc above what we could defend. After we went to Fionn MacCool's for half-price Keiths' and appetizers.

Thursday was hockey, and we lost 7-1. The other team was better all-around. There's 12 teams in our division, and I'm hoping they split them into two groups of 6, so that we're playing teams at our skill level. Otherwise it's not much fun. I did manage to get an assist, and I was seeing the ice better.

We have a new butcher in our neighbourhood, about a four minute walk from our place. They have duck, so I decided to surf for a duck recipe for Friday. Found this on the LCBO website. It was so-so, I liked it more than Heather. Plus I overcooked the duck (it gets tough beyond medium-rare).

I'm golfing tomorrow with Craig at BraeBen. I think it will be the last time out this season. Let's hope that my putting comes back after PEI.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Does this mattress smell of pea?

On Saturday I was working on the roof over the deck. I have a 16' ladder that folds down to 4' high, but it's a bit difficult to raise and lower when it's extended the full 16'. It jarred my shoulder when I was lowering it, which only started hurting in the middle of the night. (I think I irritated my rotator cuff). Anyways, Heather suggested icing my shoulder, and grabbed a bag of frozen peas from the freezer for me. It made it feel better, and I fell asleep.

When I woke up, the bag of peas was pretty much defrosted. There was a tiny leak, and some liquid from the bag had seeped into the mattress. At which point, we wondered, just how do you get a pea smell out of a mattress? (Heather washed it with hand soap and a wet towel and it was fine).

My shoulder was okay in the morning, which was fortunate because I had a tee time at 1:44pm at Crosswinds. It's out in the boonies, about 45 minutes west of Toronto. Craig's friend (Pete -- originally from PEI -- last name Rogers) had an expired raincheck for $166, which he talked the clubhouse into accepting. So the round cost us $25 each! My putting wasn't good and my chipping was bad, but I still somehow managed a 93!

Heather and I are the proud new owners of an iPod, which is charging and syncing as I type. It's our wedding gift to each other. (A guy at work bought an iMac, and Apple has a special where if you buy an iMac and an iPod you get $260 off -- so we split the difference and I got the iPod for very cheap). So instead of selecting our favourite CDs for our drive to PEI, we will have our full collection. We feel very modern.

Last Wednesday we went to LeeAnn's dentist (Stephen Diana) to get moulds made so we can whiten our teeth before the wedding. (LeeAnn's a dental hygenist and it's her wedding gift for us). Bernice and Marissa actually are patients of Stephen, so they hitched a ride and the four of us had a road trip to Georgetown in rush hour. It took no time at all for LeeAnn to take the impressions. Later Stephen came out to talk with us, because he grew up in Malton and was in my sister's grade. We talked about how there's an instant bond between people who grew up in Malton, moreso than what we've seen in other neighbourhoods in the GTA.

It was getting late by the time we drove back to Toronto. I had been hankering for Dupont Chicken, my favourite rotisserie chicken place which is near Marissa's house. We drove down Dupont but didn't see it. Made a u-turn, and then saw a fenced-off area cleared for condo development. Oh no!!! my favourite place was gone! We resigned ourselves to try another restaurant in the area. There was another Portuguese restaurant nearby (Eduarda's Kitchen) that looked busy, so we tried it out. It turned out that it was the same place, they had just moved (and changed their name...) It was excellent chicken and we stuffed ourselves. Then Bernice bought some custard tarts for dessert, which were also amazing but after which we were more than full.

This weekend I'm hoping to finish (& start!) the front walk. I've bought flagstone and limestone screening from Rock Valley in Vaughan, and have spent a grand total of $71. It's a really good place for rocks. It looks like it should be pretty easy to lay out.

Anyways the iPod finished syncing and I'm now listening to Arcade Fire and singing out loud. Heather's laughing because my singing isn't that good. In fact I don't even know if I should be using my singing and good in the same sentence.

I should go cook dinner.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Our street was a large construction lot today. Apparently our street is fairly flat east of us, so the city's decided to raise the street 2" in front of our house, gradually sloping towards the east to allow drainage. That means that the sidewalk needs to be raised, which means our front walk also needs raising.

The city sent a crew that ripped up the sidewalk and our front walk this afternoon. Fortunately for me, I was also planning to rip up the front walk at some point to replace it with flagstone. Also fortunate was that Heather was home to see the notice from the city (nice advance warning...) and so we called the crew supervisor to ask them not to replace the front walk. (But still having them do the harder part of ripping up the old walk and disposing of the waste).

So now I have two house projects on the go.

The crew was really fast -- they started on our street around noon, and by 6pm they had torn up the sidewalk and affected people's front walks, put down the forms for the concrete (except ours :) ), and poured concrete for most of the sidewalk. If only I could complete my projects that quickly. (Although they do have much cooler tools).

My stag was this past Saturday. It was really fun. Most of my university friends came out (mostly from out of town). We started off at Deerfield at 1:30pm, playing best ball because there were a lot of non-golfers. I had Craig and Ram in my group, and we won, finishing one under! It was a perfect day for golf, about 22C and a bit of a breeze. It was a really slow day on the golf course, though -- it took almost seven (! ) hours to finish the round. I thought it was our mini-tournament that slowed everyone down, but it was the groups in front of us. After Doaner had organized poker at his condo's party room. I crashed in Doaner's condo (along with most everyone else) around 5am, a long day of drinking.

Sunday I took it easy (Heather had gone out with Sue and Nadine on Saturday and wasn't doing too well herself).

Last night our Ultimate game was against a group of high school kids (judging by the ???? '07 on the backs of their tshirt) (actually it said the name of their high school but I've forgotten that detail). We could have beaten them, but didn't play a very smart game on offense. I also haven't learnt to judge Ki's throws very well yet -- he throws it harder than Craig, and I usually slow up expecting to then catch up on a deep throw, but I can't catch up to his throws. Next week is the last game of the season.

My previous team is getting back together in the fall, minus Robin. He's a really nice guy off the field, but I've never enjoyed playing with him, and neither did a few other people on the team. Anyways, for the fall it looks like I'll be playing Ultimate on Wednesdays, and hockey on Thursdays. So I may not run into cousin John until next summer.

We've been getting a lot of RSVPs for our wedding! According to our handy-dandy little spreadsheet on Google, we've received 32 out of 59 invites. The invite asked for an RSVP by August 20th, so we're expecting a few more this week.

We're still getting used to our garbage day switching to Wednesday mornings. We were cleaning up after dinner this evening (Heather has a bit of a sniffle so I made my tom yum goong shrimp soup) when we remembered by accident. What with the whole sidewalk being freshly poured, I wasn't quite sure where to put the garbage. I opted for in front of our neighbour's house across the street (Freda's house).

Thursday, August 09, 2007

It's a late hockey game tonight (10:15pm) so I'm just home having dinner & chatting with Heather.

The deck renovations are turning out pretty good. I've redone all the woodwork and soffit; there's just the fascia and decoratives parts to put up, and then I can paint everything, and finally replace the gutters. Replacing the gutters is what started all this -- the original gutters were brown with white paint from poor painting jobs. Next thing you know I'd removed the aluminum siding, found the rotting wood, removed that... It does look quite good already, being nice and square set.

We've knocked a few things off our wedding list. Last Friday we went up to Becker's and bought shoes for Heather (ballet flats that she's getting dyed). Then we went over to Bloor W, and bought our wedding bands. We found mine at Tiffany's -- a pretty standard plain band, but that's what I like. Unfortunately we couldn't find anything to match Heather's engagement ring, and so had to go back to Birk's to get the matching band. This was a different Birk's store than where we had our very poor Birk's experience, from which we swore we'd never buy Birk's again. This store was better, but it's still the last thing we'll buy from Birk's. It's too bad we couldn't find a matching style elsewhere.

Our wedding invites have started coming back. We realized when Maricar wrote out the return that we didn't make it obvious about stating your name on the return. We were worried that we would get all our returns indicating the number of steak and salmon meals, but no names. However everyone's written their name so far.

Leslieville was listed as one of the five "next hot neighbourhoods" in the most recent issue off Toronto Life! It said some nice things about the area -- "they come for brunch and stay to renovate the long-forgotten Victorian gems", "Converts swear they'll never head west again" -- hmm, sound familiar?

Joy Bistro has expanded with a really nice patio bar, called b-side. (The bar above is called OverJoy). Heather and I went for a walk after dinner on Saturday and ended up stopping there for a drink.

The Brickworks Bakery is moving into the vacant store beside Starbuck's -- that's great, because we needed a bakery in the neighbourhood. All I'm waiting for is a butcher, and fresh pasta store, (maybe a fishmonger as well) and then I'll be able to do all my grocery shopping on Queen E! very cool.

We had a minor flooding incident a couple weeks ago. There was a freak set of storms that day -- it absolutely poured for an hour at 7am, and then around 2pm it came down in sheets. The ground was saturated and had nowhere to go down -- and so it started to leak around the rear basement window. Heather was home and did a great job mopping and moving all the stuff away from the puddling which reached about an inch at its deepest. I had planned for some water in the basement when I built the shelving last winter, and so nothing was damaged. We haven't put everything back, because we're waiting for another storm just to make sure it's not a more serious problem. There was no water damage when I bought the house, and it hasn't leaked since we moved in, so I think we'll be okay.

I went golfing at Deerfield a couple Tuesdays ago, with Doaner, Craig and Chris. One of the reasons was to introduce Doaner and Craig, who are both coming down early to PEI (Tuesday before the wedding) to golf. The other reason was to tune up for my stag, which starts with a tournament at Deerfield. I shot a very respectable 44 on the front, had a terrible 14th (took a 10), and ended up shooting 96. I was very happy with my game -- Craig pointed out I wasn't transfering my weight to my forward foot, and once I fixed that, my driver started going straight! I was making great ball contact all day, and parred six holes (a record for me). We were all shooting well -- we were 40, 43, 43 and 44 after 9. Craig had a chance at breaking 80 for the first time, needing a bogey on 18, but put his tee shot on the 18th in the pond (although he didn't know he needed a bogey until afterwards). He ended up shooting 82.

Well I should get ready for hockey.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I had a busy couple of weeks, between wedding preparations, turning a year older, home renovations, and of course, reading Harry Potter.

We just got back from my godparents, Lionel and Veronica, who live up in Newmarket. It's been over 20 years since I last saw them. We had a nice visit, along with my mom and dad. They still live in the same house, but I didn't remember much of the layout. We had invited them to the wedding, but unfortunately they can't make it.

We mailed out our wedding invitations on Monday night, and on Friday we received our first reply! (from TnT). It was then that we realized that there's no obvious place on the return for the guests to write their name -- so we're hoping that most people will write in their names on the invite, or put a return address on the envelope.

We're really happy with how the invites turned out. Maricar's friend Myrtle did our invites (she runs her own company, Heart to Heart Designs). We picked them up a week and a half ago, and spent a couple hours last Sunday addressing. There was some debate at Canada Post about the cost to mail the invite -- we had three answers from three different Canada Posts. We took the middle number. There's not a whole lot of choice for stamps (in fact only one stamp at 91 cents). Later I found on that you can create your own stamps -- just send a jpeg to them, and 4-6 weeks later you have stamps. We may try to use a wedding pic of us for the thank-you cards.

We've been winning at Ultimate on Mondays, and losing at hockey on Thursdays. Both are fun teams to play on.

It was my birthday last Friday. We celebrated by going to William Ashley to pick out stuff for our registry. (Actually, we were planning to do that on Saturday, but we had to be home for my Harry Potter to be delivered, so we went Friday instead). It was pretty quick -- Heather and I are fortunate enough to have similar tastes.

For my birthday we went out for dinner at Fare, a new restaurant in Leslieville (where Verveine used to be). It was really good, although a little pricey. It was also a bit empty, but it's still fairly new (it's only been open two months). It should become more popular as people discover it.

Harry Potter arrived on Saturday as promised by However, it was also a nice day, so I spent most of it working on the deck. I only got around to reading HP on Tuesday and finished it on Wednesday. I really enjoyed it, (although I had guessed most of the endings).

The deck renovations are coming along. I've removed all the old rotting wood, and replaced all the framing. There's a bit of work to be done, which I'm hoping to complete before we leave for PEI.

Well it's getting late and there's only six minutes left on my battery. Later!

Monday, July 16, 2007

I surfed around about the wood boring insect, and it's definitely NOT termites. This link had some good pics. The pics for the damage caused by a wood-boring weevil and the furniture beetle were very similar to what I saw. I didn't see any actual bugs, so I just have the damage to go by.

We played Ultimate tonight, and won 17-15. It was a good game; we had two full lines, and I was on a line with Craig, and another guy Ki (sp?). Both are very good handlers who can throw deep, and the game turned into a bit of a Ki-and-Eric show. I don't mind, but I think the rest of the team find it not so interesting, because they don't get involved in the play. So I'll have to not go deep as much in the future.

There's been a bad odour in the neighbourhood over the last couple weeks. There's a lot of talk on the Leslieville Yahoo group. Heather called the Ontario Ministry of the Environment to file a report today. (And so did about 25 other people on Yahoo after Heather's posting to the group). So we'll see what comes of this.

Well it's time for bed.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Well the project to fix the roof over the front porch (I was informed at work that it's the back deck and front porch) got larger as I took down the layers of old alumimum and wood. A lot of the wood (except the rafters) was rotted which I've since removed. Part of it looks like it could be termites, but I have to do some research on that. (The wood had tiny tunnels and wood dust and broke apart very easily). Fortunately the roof only connects to the brick of the house, and so there's nowhere else for the alleged termites to go.

I had to build a temporary support column so that I could remove the cross beams. The whole job has been rather awkward given the position of the roof structure. I've been using my 16' ladder from the ground, and my 6' ladder from the porch. It would be easier with scaffolding, but much more expensive.

Anyways, I've finished gutting everything as of today. I've called Tony (our electrician) about putting in pot lights (which is easier while it's gutted), and I may end up getting professional advice about the supposed termites. Then I can start rebuilding the whole thing.

We got a few things done for the wedding this weekend. Heather's dress came in, so we picked it up and called the seamstress to arrange for adjustments. Then we went to my suit guy (a friend of Craig's who works at a men's store near Yonge and Eglinton), and picked out and bought my suit. It's a Hugo Boss suit, with accented stitching that makes it look not like a work suit. We both really liked it.

We also booked our honeymoon at the Inn at Bay Fortune. We'll be staying there for a couple nights after the wedding.

It was a really busy week last week. Monday was Ultimate (we won 17-10). Maricar and Robin had their game at the same set of fields, but their opposition didn't show; and so they subbed with us. We stayed out quite late after the game, having a few beers (MC drove my car home and then I walked her home).

Wednesday I got out golfing for the first time since my rotator cuff was hurt. Went with Craig and one of his co-workers to Lakeview. I didn't do too badly -- shot 51-55, but was hitting the ball cleanly with my irons. My short game sucked -- I need to practise my pitching to get my touch back.

Tuesday was a big fiasco. I wanted to go to the driving range at the Docks, (to prepare for Lakeview), but couldn't find my golf shoes. I think I either had them stolen from my trunk, or threw them out because they were falling apart. Anyways, I decided to quickly drop in at GolfTown (on King W), and then to the Docks. Found a pair that fit, but then realized I had forgotten my credit cards. So went back home, picked up my Visa, back to GolfTown, bought the shoes, onto the Docks, hit a bucket, to Loblaws to buy groceries for dinner, and then home. We had the salmon planking away on the barbecue, and then we ran out of propane. Fortunately there's three 24-hour gas stations that fill propane within 2 minutes of us; so filled the tank and continued cooking.

Thursday was the annual United Way soccer tournament at work. All the departments enter a team, and it's held up at VPC. The IT team has not fared well in recent years (we hadn't scored a goal in the last two tournaments), and we didn't do too well this year. However, we did finally score! It was off a corner kick, which nicely arced over the defense and hit my head and bounced into the net. Yes, I scored on a header! I have never headed a ball before in my life, and was had closed my eyes and was cringing in case it hurt. But it didn't hurt at all, very odd. Apparently the goal looked pretty cool according to the specators. We stuck around to watch the rest of the tournament (the Mailing Room team won). (At the Star, the Mailing Room is where the papers get flyers inserted, and bundled into skids and organized onto the trucks).

Well it's quite late and I hear Heather puttering about (sounds like she's done writing for the night), so I think I'll call it a night.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I've started on the next project on the outside front of the house -- fixing up the roof over the deck. Today I ripped out the old fascia and soffit, and the eavestrough and downspout. It looks like a squirrel built a nest in the roof years ago, and a previous owner just covered up everything with aluminum siding. At least the rafters look like they're in good condition. I'll actually get to use my reciprocating saw, to remove the wooden planks in the ceiling.

I also started cleaning the paint off the corners of the wall. Last year I spent most of the summer removing the bulk of the red paint from the bricks. I didn't get into all the nooks and crannies at the time, so I'm fixing that this year. It looks great when the bricks are completely clean. I'll try to post some before and after pics.

I'm finally getting back into sports, after quite some time off between hurting my rotator cuff, then vacation, then being sick. I had definitely lost my endurance. On Monday Ultimate we have a lot of guys (last Monday we had two full lines), so there's not too much running. Thursday hockey is a nice workout though. This past week we went 1-1 in sports -- winning Monday but losing Thursday.

Well it's almost time for dinner -- we're having ribs (that I bought at Loblaws a few weeks ago for $5 per full rack of ribs). Mmmm.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

So Friday night's dinner didn't turn out too well, but oh well. The pasta with smoked oysters, spinach and enoki was okay -- enoki mushrooms taste similar to regular white mushrooms, except there's more crunch because they're so small.

For a main I surfed around restaurant menus with smoked oysters, figuring the menu would have matches. Found a menu with veal with pancetta and sage, served with turnip/potato mash, baby root vegetables and a shiraz demi-glace. I prepared the veal by rolling thinly sliced pancetta and a few leaves of sage, then roasting. I nuked the turnip and potato and then mashed them together. The "root" vegetables were carrot and parsnip. It was all a big experiment which went mostly wrong. Used too much sage (one leaf per roll would have done), I overcooked the veal, my demi glace separated, there were too many root vegetables.

Last night we tried another new recipe, going Greek. Heather and I made up a greek salad, along with lamb kebabs, a yoghurt & mint dip, and greek pitas. It all tasted amazing. As well, Mike from the LCBO recommended a zinfadel that was a great match.

We finished our marriage course today -- one more thing to check of the list!

Friday, June 22, 2007

It's Friday afternoon and I'm trying to decide what to cook for dinner. I have a hankering to try enoki mushrooms (I'm not sure where this urge came from), and found a recipe for pasta with smoked oysters, spinach and enoki that could be the pasta course. Now I'm surfing around for the meat course.

Yesterday we had our department summer party, which returned to its roots as a boat cruise. It was a fun time, with most of my group showing up. They only had four types of beer (Keith's, Blue, Bud, Bud Light), so as you can imagine, the Keith's went rather quickly. They ran out of cold Keith's before the boat even left the dock. I had one Blue, before deciding that a warm Keith's was better than a cold Blue. After the cruise, about 15 of us had some drinks at a nearby bar on Queen's Quay, and then five of us made it to the Drake to close out the night. At the Drake, the people drinking beside us turned out to be members of the royal family! (There's five families that own most of the voting shares of the Star (see May 27, 1958), and at the Star we call them the "royal families"). I think she said she was the granddaughter of Ruth Hindmarsh.

I'm almost over the cold that I picked up at the end of our vacation. It was getting to be quite a nuisance.

On Wednesday evening I rearranged some of the plants in our front garden. I moved the larger plants with height to the back corner, although it's now too busy and I may remove the tall grass altogether. I'm hoping if I leave the grass at the foot of the sidewalk with a "free" sign that someone will take it to a better home. I also moved the dwarf evergreen to the front corner, and replanted the hens and chicks around it. Maricar's going to help me prune the pear tree tomorrow (some lower branches are too heavy and leaning downwards). Overall the garden's looking pretty good.

I also (finally) fixed the screens on the 1st floor windows, and there's a nice cross-breeze flowing through the floor now. It's the perfect weather for this.

Heather and I updated our list of things-to-do for the wedding, using Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Google Docs is really convenient for sharing and updating files between multiple people. Plus it's accessible on the web, so I don't need to save the list on a particular computer, or email it back-and-forth. We've also used it for the guest list and other wedding documents.

One of things-to-do is confirming our wedding favours. We're going to have js bonbons, one each of the corriander & lime, and sea-salted caramel. Heather brought a box of js bonbons for our 2nd date (I cooked dinner), and they've been our favourite chocolate ever since. We have a tasting appointment tomorrow, after the marriage course. We don't really need to have the tasting because we already know what we want, but why would anyone skip a chocolate tasting at js bonbons?

Well it's getting later and I should figure out dinner.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Heather and I have been on vacation. We were in Morocco for four weeks, a pre-wedding honeymoon of sorts. We arrived back in Toronto a week ago, and have been getting back into life.

The flowers and plants in our front yard grew like weeds while we were gone:

Unfortunately so did the weeds, and we spent most of Sunday evening pulling up weeds. Some were almost three feet high! -- not looking very neighbourly at all. ...I can't believe how big our pear tree has grown. It was only planted last year by the city!

We're in the middle of our marriage preparation course. It's two weekends, for three hours each Saturday & Sunday. There's about 30 couples in the course, taking place at the Catholic Family Services centre at Yonge and Summerhill. The course is okay. Heather and I have previously talked about most of the topics, which is good.

My right shoulder improved over the vacation. I now have full mobility without pain, and I'm able to sleep on my right side. However, it was sore after my hockey game on Thursday (we won 2-0), so I went to see the physiotherapist today. He did some tests, and said I just needed to build up strength, but otherwise was okay.

Oh yah, the big news is that I'm playing on the same Ultimate team as cousin John! I joined a new team this summer (with Craig and Maricar) after last season's team fell apart, and John (Fred and Bernice's son) is on the team! I played my first game yesterday, and was looking at the roster before the game. Heather noticed John Callaghan on the list, and because of the 'g' in his name, asked me to ask John if he had relatives in PEI. Turns out he is cousin John!

Our Ultimate team is less skilled than my last team, but it's a lot more fun, which was the main thing I was looking for in a team. Many people are new to the team, and we're still learning how we all play, so we should improve as the season goes on.

Well that's it for now!

Monday, May 07, 2007

I wore my pedometer at work on Friday, and I took 6179 steps. It wasn't a particularly busy day for meetings, so I think I may walk more than that on average. I've only tried it on Fridays because it's casual and I can hide the pedometer under my tshirt, and carry my cell in my pant pocket. When wearing a suit, I have my cell attached to my belt, and if I add the pedometer it's too many gadgets (I'm trying to avoid IT stereotypes).

It was a perfect weekend for painting, and I managed to finish painting the posts and railing on the front porch. I stripped the centre post and primed on Saturday, and painted on Sunday. The railing took forever to prime and paint. We were worried about Leo (the neighbour's cat) coming around and taking his customary watch lying on the railing. Fortunately he had a busy schedule and didn't have time for us. He did come by for a brief visit (we let him in before he brushed up against the paint), and we let him out quickly through the back door.

So it was two years ago today that Heather and I met. It took us another month to go out on our first date. Two years ago! Who'd have thought? Apparently not Marissa... (That's the standard joke between Heather and me. When Marissa (our common friend who introduced us) first found out we were dating, she said 'Eric and Heather? Who'd have thought? But then when you think about it, it makes sense'. We've laughed about that ever since).

Anyways it was two years ago today that Heather's friends (including Marissa and Bernice) took Heather out for her birthday. Marissa, Bernice and I would go out drinking most Saturday nights. I called up Marissa that Saturday and asked her what was up for the night. Marissa told me that she was going out with some girl friends, and that I probably wouldn't be interested. (I was single and was thinking, hello!). Heather et al started drinking at Eat My Martini, and I met them at the Supermarket (where Heather and I met for the first time). Later that night we moved onto the Velvet Underground. I asked Heather out for a date (in a month, because I was going to Norway for a conference and vacation, and then Heather was on conference). Two years later here we are!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

We had cedar-planked salmon for dinner this evening:

Loblaws was out of cedar planks (either they've stopped stocking them, or more likely they're out of stock), so I had a side trip to Home Depot. Home Depot carries a different brand, and the paper insert with the cedar had a nice picture including the onion, rosemary, lemon and tomato on the side of the cedar. So I threw some on, and it tasted pretty good. The barbecue was around 300F (normally I do salmon around 375F), and it came out a little undercooked at the thickest part of the fish. I suspect that at the lower temperature, the cedar doesn't get hot enough to cook the fish from the underneath.

Myrtle sent us proofs of the wedding invitations, and they look really good. There's a couple minor things we want to change. We'd like to sign off before we leave for vacation.

I was trying to get my Visa paid automatically from my chequing, and called CIBC. Turns out I'm supposed to call Visa. But while CIBC had me on the phone, they talked me into replacing my CIBC line of credit with a secured line of credit. I have a secured line of credit with TD Canada Trust (I used it extensively when the house was being renovated), but it will be more convenient with everything at one bank. As part of the approval, they'll get an appraisal of our house. It will be interesting to see what they think it's worth.

Last night Heather and I met up with JP at the Flatiron for dinner (and some Keiths). I haven't seen JP often because we haven't played sports together recently (he's recovering from surgery on his ACL). It was a fun night. The bar was full with Raptors fans watching the playoff game against the Nets. The Raptors won in a close finish.

My friend Chris (from work) had another heart attack over the weekend. He had one a year or so ago (caused by a virus). Heather and I went to see him at Peel Memorial on Sunday. He's doing much better, and should be sent home tomorrow.

Tomorrow there's a couple people visiting from the Winnipeg Free Press. I found it surprising when I first started at the Star that the operations groups at the various papers are very co-operative. The WFP folks are flying in just for the day, and we're starting with lunch. My favourite lunches around VPC are pizza at Fortino's (a grocery store), and a veal sandwich at California Sandwiches. Neither are very business oriented, and I don't know of any restaurants in the area. We'll probably end up at Kelsey's or East Side Mario's. When in 905 do as the 905ers...

Monday, April 30, 2007

It was a really long week last week, because NEXPO was on the Saturday & Sunday, and it felt like I had worked from the previous Monday.

Saturday was a dull rainy day, so Heather and I finished most of our shopping for our little trip to Morocco. Bought a few more things from Mountain Equipment Co-op, and then onto the Eaton Centre. I don't normally spend that much time shopping (I'm more of an in-and-out-quick-no-one-gets-hurt kind of shopper), and was pretty tired at the end of the day.

We barbecued up some steak for dinner, and then headed out for a quick beer. Tried to get into OverJoy, but yet again it was closed for a private party. I can't remember the last time we had a drink there! Instead had a pint of Mill St Organic at Barrio. I noticed the background in their signboard is a map of Leslieville, kinda cool:

Although I can't figure out if there's significance to the underlined "o".

Sunday was a really nice day. Cleaned up the garden. Bought a few more plants from the Loblaws garden centre. I'm trying to get more ground cover in place of the wood chips. I planted four new varieties: coral stonecrop, spiral bellflower, snow-in-summer and Lewis' yarrow. Last year, it was already June by the time I got to working on the garden, and so I bought plants that flowered later in the season. That plan worked great last summer and fall, except that meant we had no flowers this spring. So I also bought some plants that flower in spring, to give us flowers throughout the season.

George (from work) has a bunch of rocks in his garden that he wanted to get rid of, and I wanted rocks, so every day he brings in a couple rocks, and I take them home. They've been piling in the backyard. I wanted to set some in the front garden, but the wheelbarrow wheel is broken (the only access from front to back of the house is around the alley a couple houses down, requiring a wheelbarrow to move soil, rocks etc). The wheel is off the rim, and I'll have to get that sealed (there's no inner tube).

Myrtle sent us a prototype of the wedding invite. She gave us two options for the inside spread. Heather and I both liked the same one.

This week's Economist has some really interesting articles. The special report is on the wireless revolution. I better get reading...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It was mostly an uneventful flight back from Orlando, until we were about ten minutes from landing in Toronto. But then the storm that hit Toronto prevented us from landing, so we circled over the lake for about 45 minutes. Then our captain announced that we were being diverted to Ottawa.

We flew to Ottawa, just ahead of the storm. It was a pretty turbulent landing, enough so that one passenger had medical problems and had to be taken off the plane. We were international arrivals, and so the rest of us had to remain on the plane, with Canada Customs vehicles surrounding us.

I called Nalini, and Gerry, just to say hi, in case they heard (or read) that I was in Ottawa and didn't call them.

Our plane was refueled, and our pilot filed a flight plan back to Toronto. They had to remove the luggage of the ill passenger (and his two family members that also disembarked). We took off again after about an hour on the tarmac. I was impressed with how the WestJet flight staff handled the situation. They handed out extra juicepacks and cookies, and kept us informed the whole time.

We arrived in Toronto shortly after 8pm, about three hours later than scheduled. That wasn't too bad, considering we flew to Ottawa, had a passenger and his luggage removed, refueled, and flew back to Toronto.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

It was a beautiful weekend in Toronto, unfortunately I spent it in Orlando.

The annual NEXPO conference was in Orlando this year. Mike R. and I were asked to attend about a week ago. Normally I would be excited about the travel, but I missed the perfect weather in Toronto, and Orlando doesn't appeal much to me.

We flew down on Friday, spent Saturday and Sunday at the conference, and we'll fly home tomorrow afternoon. It was a worthwhile trip; there were three or four things I picked up that each alone would have made the trip. Wasn't too impressed with Orlando. I haven't seen anything except for chain stores, chain restaurants and chain hotels. (DisneyWorld is out here somewhere too).

Included in the swag was a pedometer. I wore it today at the conference, and it reported that I walked 3,400 steps. (I snagged a 2nd pedometer, and want to wear both some day to compare).

I finished The Black Tulip on the flight down. Next is The Epic of Gilgamesh, and then I'll finally have caught up with my backlog of books caused by Dostoyevsky.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

We had a couple of pretty good dinners last week.

On Wednesday, I felt like steak so bought a couple of tbone steaks at the Loblaws. It was a pretty windy day, and I had trouble lighting the barbecue (the push-button ignitor broke, which didn't help). We had sides of whipped spinach and butter-cooked mushrooms. Everything turned out really really well. I grill my steaks on really high, about 500F, and I've started using the pressure test to tell when they're done (I'm getting better at it). We also had the bottle of wine that Scott gave us for Christmas.

That put pressure on the Friday dinner, because I couldn't have it outdone by a weekday meal. Looked at the LCBO site, and picked a couple of their new east-meets-west recipes. The wasabi crusted shrimp with ginger dip sounded much better than it tasted. The crust fell off half the shrimp while frying; so it also looked much better in the recipe. One of the few misses on the LCBO site so far. Fortunately, the miso black cod turned out amazing. I didn't fully follow the recipe (it suggests basting for 48 hours, and I only had 48 minutes). I also reserved the basting sauce and reduced it to a syrupy consistency, and drizzling it on the side of the plate along with sesame seeds and green onions. Next time I'll skip the basting altogether. Heather julienned the cucumber for the salad, which worked well as a side.

Work's been pretty busy over the last couple weeks. The big project is reducing the web width, of which word is now out. My group is heavily involved with the project.

We've got a lot of wedding stuff done recently. We've met with Myrtle and picked out our wedding invitations; talked with the Manorfield Quartet about the song selection for the wedding; looked into hair salons for September 22nd; and looked at sites for a mini-honeymoon (a couple days on the Island). So far things are going well with the planning.

My rotator cuff is slowly getting better, mostly because I've taken time off from sports. The Star has a physiotherapist on-site, so I've been going there twice a week. It should be better by the time we go on vacation.

I'm hoping it will warm up before we leave. I stripped the paint on the front deck posts just in time for winter, and I've been waiting for the spring so that I can repaint. Hopefully that will also happen before we head out.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

We had a consultation with the person who's doing our wedding invitations (a friend of Maricar's).

Front cover:

Inside spread:

Back page:

It's a booklet that opens up, and the back page has a pocket for return envelope etc.

Well our dinner is almost ready...

Saturday, March 31, 2007

It's been a week of recovery for Heather and me. Heather's right trapezius seized up on her on Monday night, and she's been out of commission since then. I finally went to a physiotherapist about my upper arm (turns out we have one on-site at work!), and he said I have most likely injured my right rotator cuff. (I hurt my left rotator cuff a couple years ago, but it's recovered). So I'm taking a break from sports until we get back from vacation.

Tuesday night I was out for dinner with one of our vendors, CCI, at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. I've eaten there a handful of times, and I've never been very impressed. I find the steak doneness erratic, and the service so-so. We had two bottles of wine to start dinner (Amarone Valpolicella), and the server had someone taste the first bottle. However, when that was empty, the server then just poured the second bottle without having anyone taste it! The point of tasting it is make sure that the wine hasn't soured because of a bad cork. Adnan (my manager) noticed that too.


I decided not to insulate the entire wall in the basement, but instead just insulate around the window and in the joist spaces. I ripped out the old filling around the window, and replaced with spray foam. A previous owner had stuffed newspaper (in 1970 according to the folio), and covered it with a thin layer of concrete. I'm going to reframe it with cedar 2x4s for cosmetic purposes. I bought some extruded polystyrene to fill in the joist spaces. Between the two little projects I should cut down on the drafts that came into the basement.


It's a nice day today so I'm hoping to remove the burlap from my evergreens in the front yard. I wonder how many of our perennials will come up this year? I'm also hoping to paint the front posts before we leave for Morocco. The paint project was interrupted last fall because it rained for a month and then got too cold.

We were up pretty early for a Saturday. I was out of bed before 8:30am! The all-request breakfast (song requests on CFNY) hadn't even started. I may be able to get some stuff done with all this extra time...

Heather and I went for a walk westwards on Queen E a couple days ago. I was amazed at how many new restaurants have opened up. A couple that we'd like to visit are The Comrade, and the Burger Shoppe.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

For some reason, back ribs were only $4.39/kg at Loblaws on Friday (vacuum sealed too!), so I bought five packages of 2 full racks each. Normally it would cost about $25 - $30 for 2 full racks; on Friday it was only $5.

However on Friday nights Heather and I like to make a nice dinner with a bottle of wine, and ribs didn't cut it. The pork tenderloin looked good (I grabbed a sandwich at Loblaws for lunch on Friday and checked out the meats), and Heather found a great recipe on the LCBO website, spinach and bacon-stuffed pork loin with white wine and rosemary cream sauce. It turned out excellent. Lately if a recipe calls for chopped pancetta, I've finely chopped almost to a minced consistency. It makes the stuffing smoother and I find it tastes better. Sherry from the LCBO recommended a valpolicella, which went well. We've been having a lot of valpolicellas recently, although pinot noir is still my favourite.

We're having a couple rack of ribs tonight. It's an all-pork weekend!! I'm trying to talk Heather into having bacon for breakfast tomorrow, but it doesn't look good. Heather said she'll have to eat tofu for a week...

The past week was really busy at work. I took the team out for a quick beer on Friday afternoon to give everyone a chance to breathe.

Had a 2-1 week in sports -- lost Sunday Ultimate, but then won Wednesday Ultimate and Thursday hockey. Thursday was the first game of the playoffs for hockey. It's a two-game series, total points. If we win the series, then we're in a two-game final (I think). Ultimate playoffs start this week.

Well the ribs are almost done so I should go.

Monday, March 19, 2007

This past Valentine's Day, Heather and I agreed to get just one Big Box of Love:

These are our favourite chocolates, from js bonbons. Last year we both bought a box for each other as a surprise. It takes us a while to eat chocolate (this box lasted a month), so we agreed in advance this year to just get the one.


On Sunday one of the overhead lights on the stove went, so I walked down to Home Depot to get a replacement. Heather decided to join me so she could browse around Winners. We ended up buying a huge mirror for the bedroom:

We carried it back home walking along the street, just the two of us and our brand new $99 mirror from Winners. $99!

That's Heather trying out a new scarf, with Mr Giraffe (my souvenir from Kenya) overlooking her shoulder. I'm in my new suit, courtesy of Craig and his contact at the men's store with the 70% off suit sale.

Anyways, it's getting a bit late so I should get ready for bed.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Our Ultimate teams are finally starting to play as a team, just in time for the season to end :( We lost tonight, 24-22, but it was against the top-ranked team, and we had the lead with about ten minutes to go. Our offense has started to run patterns (finally!), although we had a brief breakdown around mid-game which probably cost us the game. I had fun though, and it was a good run.

We actually won on Sunday (our first win on Sundays :S), and Craig and I thought we had a chance for a 3-0 week (winning at Ultimate on Sunday and Wednesday, and hockey on Thursday)(Craig and I both play on all three teams). It was a similar game, our offense finally started to click. Both Ultimate teams have the same core of people.

I've been reading my book, The Odyssey, which has been taking up most of my free time in the evenings. There's a lot of talk about eating lamb, which gave me a big hankering for lamb. We had too much lamb over the summer, so Heather's a bit out-lambed. The book also mentions heady and honeyed wine quite a bit. (Fortunately Heather's not out-wined, although we did have a bit of wine over the summer).

We had grilled steak on Saturday, and I had forgotten that the propane tank was almost done. I rushed over to Home Depot to get there before 7pm, only to find out they closed at 6pm. So I went to the 24hr gas station at Dundas and Carlaw (about a four minute walk from our place, less because I was driving), and filled it up. Should've gone there in the first place. Heather and I usually lament the number of 24hr gas stations in our area, but this one came in handy.

Shopping at Loblaws makes me feel like how it must have been in Soviet Russia. Their supply management is terrible. Almost every shopping trip (which is about every day), there's some very common item that they are out-of-stock (e.g. Tropicana Orange Juice pulp-free, or Diet Coke fridge mate, or Heather's yoghurt). When we see an item that we like, we feel like we should buy three or four, because we don't know when it will be in stock again. I don't know how they stay in business. If it wasn't conveniently located I'd definitely shop elsewhere.

My next little home improvement project is to insulate the back wall in the basement. Ideally I'd put up extruded polystyrene panels, but the walls are brick with concrete patches, and not very even. I'm still trying to figure out the best way. That basement wall is the biggest source of heat loss in the house. (Next is the front door, which I'm still trying to figure out how to de-warp).

Well I think I'm going to get ready for bed, and maybe read a bit.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Monday, March 05, 2007

Last Thursday was quite the evening. Heather had narrowed her choice of wedding dress down to two, and had made appointments for us at both stores, first one at 6pm. A big storm hit Toronto and dumped about a foot of snow just in time for rush hour home. It took me about ten minutes to brush the snow off my car. A quick stop at Loblaws, at which point I realized I was without my cell, presumably forgotten at work. Back to the office, but no cell. Figured it dropped out of my belt clip when I was brushing snow off my car. Back to the parking lot to sift through snow in a blizzard. No cell. Drove back to Loblaws but still no cell.

Gave up on the cell and went home to meet Heather. The roads were terrible, but the stores were only five minutes north of us. Got to the first place around 6:30pm, Heather had called so they were expecting us late. Saw both dresses, we both liked the same one, and Heather bought it (yay!!).

Drove back to the Star parking lot to look for my phone. I keep it on vibrate, but the screen glows when it's ringing, so called from Heather's cell, hoping to see the glow through the snow. Two minutes later, my cell phone called me back! A cab driver had found my cell in the snow (at Loblaws), and picked it up for safe keeping! He offered to meet us, but because of the blizzard he had fares all night. So we gave him our address, and went home for dinner. We had felt like having a beer to celebrate the dress purchase, but felt bad about asking Frank (the cab driver) to meet us at a bar.

We had dinner around 9pm, and then I got ready for hockey. (My game was scheduled for 11:30pm). Heather suggested I call someone to see if the game was still on (due to the storm), but without my cell I was also directory-less. Fortunately I found our captain's number in an email, so called him, to find out that the other team wasn't going to show, so I stayed home.

We watched a couple CSI reruns waiting for Frank (I wanted to thank him personally). At midnight, no Frank, so I left a thank-you card & a reward in our mailbox. (Good thing Heather has a supply of nice-looking thank-you cards on hand!)

Friday morning (I had taken the day off anticipating a late return from hockey) Heather checked the mail and my cell phone was there!!


We got together for Bernice's birthday. There's four of us from high school (Bernice, LeeAnn, Tanya and me) who still hang out, although with Tanya and LeeAnn having kids it's just birthdays and Christmas. We went for dinner at Tomi-Kro's (Heather and I love the place). They've recently expanded, doubling their space. The food was great, but not as amazing as previous visits. I wonder if it's because our expectations are higher, or because they've doubled the staff and diluted the quality.


My shopping list the other day was PB, OJ, TP and K. K is my short form for bananas (nutritionist fans of the periodic table may get the reference). Heather doesn't find it as funny as I do... Also bought honey to ruin my alphabet list, but we were out of honey.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Another Wonderboy weekend and another year that I didn't win the trophy. I was 2nd in ping pong (KJ & I lost to Alain & Alex in the final), but wasn't playing well at darts, and couldn't draw cards worth a bean in euchre and poker. Colin won, the first repeat winner in nine years of Wonderboy.

There was more drinking than usual on both nights, and so it was a bit of a struggle to keep the events on schedule. We try to finish the round robins of darts and pingpong on Friday night (42 ping pong games and 30 dart games), but it's hard to get someone to pay attention to a schedule when they've been talking to the Captain*. Saturday was no different, and we didn't get around to dinner until midnight, and crowning the winner around 3am.

(* rum reference)

Saturday we played hockey out on the lake. It's my favourite part of the weekend. There was about 2 feet of snow, but Kirk has a plow hooked up to an ATV, which helped. This year was the best ice conditions we've had. We played in boots, although we could have played in skates.

I drove up with Panko, who's now working out of Chicago. We missed the Hwy 115/35 cutoff from the 401, so took a different route straight north through Peterborough. It would have been faster except my provincial map doesn't have a detailed blow up of Peterborough, so we had to fudge our way through looking for the exit highway. On the way back we again unsuccessfully tried to find the Peterborough bypass. After driving through downtown, I mentioned to Panko that I was going to look it up on GoogleMaps when I got home. Only then did he remember that he can access the web on his Blackberry.

Between Peterborough and Gooderham is Hwy 507 -- which is now my favourite driving road.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Today's been a pretty lazy day. We took a bunch of stuff to Goodwill (I spent most of yesterday going through boxes in the basement, and filled four large boxes of stuff. One box was already packed -- it contained odd glasses and mugs that were extra when Heather and I moved in together, and it sat in the basement for a year). We had dimsum at the Grand Restaurant in chinatown for lunch. Normally we go there for dinner (it's all-day dim sum), and there's only a handful of other customers, but on Sundays it's packed at lunch. Then we came home and took a nap.

Last night we went to the Firkin and Flatiron for wings and beer. Met up with Marissa (she lives close to the Flatiron). We had a few Keiths and cabbed it home around 1am. We hadn't been out for a while because Heather's been working on her chapter late into the evenings most nights. It was a fun night.

Last Wednesday I almost missed my Ultimate game. I thought the game was at 9:30pm. I got home a little late from work, but still with enough time to make porcini risotto (I wanted to finish the leeks in the fridge). I always underestimate how long it takes to cook, but we were eating by 8:15pm, and gulped it down, leaving an hour before my game. However, when I checked my email to confirm the game time, I discovered the game actually started at 8:15pm. Heather helped me rush out the door, and I managed to get there for 8:45pm (so I only missed half the game). The other team wasn't that great and we won pretty easily. I scored a callahan, my first one ever.

Thursday I made sure that I had the right time for hockey. We scored one goal yet again, but this time we won!! 1-0. I got an assist on the goal (Craig scored on the rebound from my shot), so we're still tied for the team lead in points. Craig and I had a beer after the game and mostly talked about Ultimate.

I finished the Iliad the other week, and was supposed to start reading the Odyssey today but instead had the above-mentioned nap. Well I should get ready for Ultimate.

Monday, February 05, 2007

I was a little hungover today from Superbowl partying last night. I woke up feeling okay, got to work and started to feel not-so-good, and called it a day around 1pm. I came home, had take-out lunch from B&B Fish'n'chips and took a nap, and felt much better.

Ram organized the Superbowl party at Harbour Sports Grille (across the street from work). It was a pretty exciting game, with all the turnovers in the first quarter. I won the 4th quarter square in the pool at work, and a number of side bets. Overall I was up about $40. The Superbowl's one of the few things I bet on, it makes watching the game more fun. I won a couple prop bets with Ram -- whether Manning would throw an interception or touchdown first, and whether the Colts would score a touchdown the first time in the red zone. Bernice was there too, but with a different group (I think her poker friends).

My hockey game was on Friday last week (two games a season are on Fridays because there's too many teams, not enough ice team). We haven't won since we were bumped up a division -- and we've only scored one goal a game (we lost 8-1 on Friday). I thought I might get the 2nd assist on our goal, but they just gave a single assist.

Heather and I had our dinner on Saturday. Because I had more time to cook, I thought I'd give the cornish hen recipe a try. The cornish hens at Loblaws seemed a bit large (800g), but I wasn't sure how much meat was on the hen, and the meat guy said one wouldn't be enough for two people, so I bought two of them.

Heather cleaned the hens and I cooked up a storm. It took quite a bit of time (over two hours), and at one point we wondered if it was going to be worth the effort, but it came out really really good. Plus, the wine (a Malbec) recommended by Sheri at the LCBO matched everything. The stuffing was my favourite part. ...It was almost like a Christmas dinner, with cornish hen instead of turkey, plum sauce instead of cranberry, and lots of leftovers (one cornish hen was enough for the two of us).

We won our Ultimate game last Wednesday, and we're now 4-0. I think we stand a pretty good chance of going unbeaten, if we can win against our nemesis, Ultimatuum. For some reason we've always played poorly against them in previous seasons. We're the better team, but seem to tie or lose by a point when we play them.

Wonderboy is coming up on February 23-24-25. That's the annual guys tournament that Kirk started in 1998 with our university friends as the core. There's about 24 guys every year, and we have a mini-Olympics of darts, ping pong, euchre, poker, 2-man log saw, and tug-of-war. All the event are two-person teams to even out the teams, with the exception of poker (everyone for themselves), and tug-of-war (two teams). It's very competitive: statistics are kept year-over-year, there's a trophy and even opening ceremonies (when we draw for partners for each event, and re-crown the previous year's Wonderboy). My favourite part is on Saturday afternoon when we play pick-up hockey on the ice. The ice usually has pressure cracks which makes it dangerous for skating, so we play in our boots. Here's some pics from the 2005 Wonderboy:

Discussing tug-of-war strategy on the lake on Saturday morning

Two-man log saw. Winning time was 45.3 seconds

Shoveling the snow for hockey. Kirk's place is in the background

The guys. The clip-on purple tie that the 3rd guy from the left (front row) is wearing is a la the Masters and the green jacket. There's also a green tie that the current leader wears a la the Tour de France and the yellow jersey

Well that's it for now.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

It's a quiet winter day. We were up early (for a weekend) around 8am. Had blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and fruit salad of strawberries, blueberries and bananas. The berries have been strangely fresh this winter. I make the pancakes with half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour, which tastes pretty good. I had tried it 100% whole wheat flour but they came out very heavy.

Most of morning we've heard the sounds of various neighbours shoveling snow. I suppose I should get out there shortly, but right now I'm comfortable lying down on the couch with the laptop on my lap (on top of my lap oddly enough).

Almost forgot about my big news! I'm going to the Leaf-Canadiens game tonight in the Star box! Cool, eh? We were having a beer or two in Cafe Eric yesterday afternoon. Cafe Eric is my office at One Yonge, but I have a fridge now and it turns out that you can put beer in it to keep cool! Instead of going across the street for a beer, most people at work drop by my office, sometimes with a six-pack (it's handy that the the LCBO across the street sells beer). I put on iTunes, and move my portable table outside my office with a couple chairs (the "patio").

So we were having a beer, when someone from Circ walked by looking for Circ Support, because he had a couple 9th row tickets to the Raptors game to give away. Circ Support had all gone home for the day, so he offered them to us! Ryan was pretty happy to take them (he's a big fan). We were just getting over the excitement when I got a call from Sarkis at VPC asking if I wanted to go the Leaf game on Saturday (tonight)!

We've booked a couple bands for the wedding. The Manorfield String Quartet will be playing at the church, and the Boys in the Kitchen at the reception (they're one of the house bands at the Olde Dublin Pub in Charlottetown). We still have to confirm the details but at least we have the dates reserved.

I think I may get off the couch and go shovel the sidewalk.

Monday, January 22, 2007


I've heard this expression a couple times over the last week. When we took the cab back to One Yonge on Friday, Ryan had the taxi chits and we had to remind him, and he said Oh snap! I forgot I had the taxi chit. And on Saturday on the radio, Barry Taylor used it similarly. I figured it meant oops! I asked my Ultimate friends and Craig said it was an acknowledgement of an insult. Urban Dictionary gives a number of definitions, some with more swear words than others. I think #7, the new oops! is the closest to how I've heard it used.


We lost at Ultimate yesterday, again by a point. However, our offense was looking good (except when we got close to the end zone), and our defense was great. We just have to take our time near the end zone and we'll start winning. After went to the Bedford Academy for a drink.

Unfortunately our game was at 9:30pm, so I missed the end of the Colts-Patriots game. I saw the opening drive by Manning in the 2nd half, and then left for Ultimate. Go Colts!


On Saturday I finally met Heather's friend Shelley. We went out for lunch at Cafe Verte, and then for a coffee at Tango Palace. Later that night, I went out with Marissa for a drink at Mill St Brew Pub.

Sunday I went over to Marissa's to help her hang her new hi-def TV on her wall. She lives in a condo, with drywall and metal studs, so I wasn't sure about the best way to hang the TV. Ended up putting a 2'x 1' piece of wood on the outside of the drywall across two studs, and then screwed the mounting bracket to the wood. The TV's only about 50 pounds so it should be good.

Anyways, I should get to cooking. We're trying out Braised Sea Bass with Moroccan Spiced Sauce from the LCBO recipes.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Just got back from hockey, we had a very early game at 6:15pm. Unfortunately I had meetings at One Yonge in the afternoon, so I had to rush up from downtown instead of working at VPC and easing my way across. Took the South Kingway / Jane route, and the going was good until I got to Lawrence. There was an accident on Jane just south of the on-ramp to the 400, and it took me 30 minutes to get through it.

I ended up missing half the 1st period. We also had 13 guys (unusual for a 6:15pm game), so I hardly had any ice time. We lost 2-0, but I think we would have won with fewer guys on the bench. Ten guys made it up for a beer after, which is more than we usually get for a game.

Last night was much better for sports. Our Ultimate game was also an early game (6:15pm), but the game was at Waterside instead of way up north at YorkU. We won 39-16, our biggest margin of victory that I can remember. We played really well, and stuck to the fundamentals even after we had a big lead. My catching is back (Craig even took time to comment), but that's because it's speed point and I'm getting enough playing time to get into the game. (In the fall we had too many guys and it was regular point, so I didn't get much playing time and my catching was terrible). Craig's sister (also our real estate agent) just had her 2nd baby, so we stayed at Waterside for a quick beer so that Craig and Jen could get to Saint Jo's before visiting hours closed. Unfortunately we decided to eat at Waterside in addition to the quick beers. The food there is really bad, but I somehow get optimistic once I'm settled in having a beer. They had some new items on the menu, but I didn't make the connection that it was the same kitchen, and thought, oh, maybe this will be better. It wasn't.

On Sunday we played at the new field at Varsity at UofT (or, the UofT as Heather calls it with the article). It's now my favourite field downtown. The turf is great, the bubble is huge and doesn't come into play (unlike Sportsworld at the Docks). We lost by a point, but there's a number of new players on the team and it was our first game, so I wasn't disappointed. We went to the Bedford Academy afterwards. I really like the atmosphere there.

Well I think I will read some more of The Iliad. It's a page-turner.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

It was snowing this morning when we woke up, it looked very pretty. It's the first time this year I had to brush snow off my car. It's been a slow day today, I've been watching the football games and Heather's been working on her chapter.

Winter season for sports started this week. On Wednesday we had our first game, which we won easily. It was freezing inside the bubble at Waterside, and my hands didn't warm up until the end of the game. The team voted to wear green, but most people (including me) hadn't picked up a green shirt yet, so we wore lights instead. There's a big spectrum within green, so we may have to be more specific about the green so we all look the same. I voted for green so that I could use my $25 gift certificate from Lululemon. After the game we went for a quick drink at Fionn's (the game was at 10:15pm so it had to be a quick drink).

Thursday our hockey game was at 10:15pm as well. 10:15pm is an odd time, because it's too late to eat after the game, and I feel lethargic if I eat before the game. We lost 2-1, I scored our goal on a deflection. It's the 3rd or 4th game in a row that we've only scored one goal. There were hardly any whistles (the only one in the first period was for a goal), so the game finished pretty quickly (we play 12-10-10 minute periods).

Our Ultimate game today is at the newly-opened facility at Varsity Stadium. We're allowed to wear cleats, which I prefer. (The newer places have artifcial turf with little granules which prevent rug burn, on which you can use cleats; the older places such as Waterside have old turf which is carpet-like and cause bad rug burns if you fall, and you can only use running shoes which don't grip well on the turf). It'll be harder to find parking at Varsity, but there'll be more places to go out after the game.

I should go get ready for the game.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The weather got colder today so we decided to have a barbecue. We bundled up in our toques and Grammy Vera scarves and gloves, grabbed a couple Mill St tankhouse ales and barbecued some wings. I used a combination of Diana sauce and a hot sauce from the farmer's market in Ottawa. We tasted a sample when we were in Ottawa over the summer, but for some reason didn't buy any. But my sister bought us some for Christmas so it all worked out. The combination tasted really good.

We read in the Star over the weekend that the Gypsy Co-op has closed :( Heather and I went there on our first date. We had dinner at Czehoski's and then went to the Gypsy for drinks. That's too bad it's closed, it was a cool place. I used to go there with Bernice on Monday nights when I lived in King W, before Heather and I met.

We're both getting more excited about the wedding because we've been doing more of the planning. We sent out an email to everyone with the details (we'll be sending out formal invitations later on, but there's a lot of people planning trips and we wanted to get out the details). We also registered for the marriage preparation course (in June).

Anyways, I should get to bed.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

It was a quiet week at work -- school kids were still on vacation, and so most people took the week off as well. I got through a few things on my task list that had been sitting there for a while.

Thursday played hockey, the first time in two weeks that I'd done anything aerobic. Felt pretty good, although by the 2nd period I was losing my legs. The league has done funny things with the schedule this year, and we played the 2nd place team in the division above us. They came out strong, but then played down to our level the rest of the game. We played a good game defensively and ended up losing 2-1. I got an assist.

On Saturday Heather and I had the porcini risotto and veal piccatta yet again (I wanted to use up the leeks). Had a different pinot noir, which wasn't as earthy and so not as great a match (but still good). The porcini mushrooms are very earthy and the Sonoma Creek pinot noir we had the first time we made the dish were a much better match. I use dried porcini mushrooms, but I wonder if I can get fresh ones somewhere? I didn't use enough lemon in the sauce, and so we squeezed some lemon on after it was served. The pinot noir really picked up with the lemon juice -- it needed the acidity to bring out the taste.

After we met up with Maricar and Robin and a couple of her friends at OverJoy. It's been a while since we've been there (it's often booked for private parties). Had a couple Keiths and were home by midnight.

Got some more chores done in the house this weekend. I'm a big fan of maximizing the use of kitchen cupboard space, and one big waste is empty space between shelves. I installed an extra shelf (they're readily available at Home Depot etc) in the cupboard with dry foods -- so now our pasta and rice is all nicely arranged and accessible.

(You may also notice that the backsplash is finally grouted!)

I also got around to checking the humidifier. There's a label on the humidifier that says I should check it annually, so I dug up the instruction manual. The water dispenser comes out and I ran it under the tap to clear out mineral deposits. The humidifier is designed so that it cleans out most of the deposits automatically with the water drainage, so it wasn't clogged at all.

The winter Ultimate season starts up this week, with games on both Wednesday and Sunday. Both are speed point so I will start to get back into shape :)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Some more pics from New Year's eve...

Dinner at our place. From left: Robin, Maricar, Bernice, Nadine, Marissa, Heather, me.

Dinner at our place. The flowers are from Wild Thyme and the candle holders are from We!, both local stores in Leslieville.

Ringing in the new year!

No looking back!