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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Suffer The Children(less)

Seriously - has it been over two months since my last post?  I have been a bit preoccupied lately...but it feels pretty good to be back putting my thoughts on to virtual paper.

Those of you who know me are well aware of the fact that I have never had the desire to have children.  These feelings surfaced in my early teens when I would pick up baby sitting gigs for neighbourhood kids.    I couldn't stand the kids that I watched and did it solely as a means to an end...I was too young to get a part-time job and the desire for shoes was strong in me and I needed the cash to fund my budding habit.   People would advise me, "oh you will feel different when you are an adult -- kids are great".

So then I hit my twenties and my friends started having children.   I was now suppose to believe that kids were great.   If you are a parent you may want to stop reading here.  It turns out that some kids were tolerable but others, not so much.  To be perfectly frank, after attending  a kids show with my friend Marie, I came to the conclusion that some children are downright little ass holes.  (Parents, you were warned).  People would advise me, "oh it's different when they are your own".  That old adage that people have been telling themselves throughout time in order to keep the human race going.

As I reached my thirties I did start to have some maternal pangs. I got a Chihuahua and all was good.    People advised me "oh you haven't met the right man".  But in the modern world if you really want to have kids, you don't actually need a man, just access to his man juice.  So if I actually did want kids, I could have them.

As I mentioned earlier, I have been a little preoccupied lately.  I had a biopsy not to long ago which has been weighing on my mind.  I am beyond relieved to say that the results came back negative.  I thank my lucky stars today and from this day forward for being one of the lucky ones. Unfortunately I know way too many people who have not shared my good fortune. I in no way mean to undermine those who have received a prognosis as fortunate as mine, but I am still in shock about what transpired between me and my OB/GYN yesterday.

As I waited in his office my mind was racing.  The doctor came into the exam room and greeted me and said "So, do you want any more children?" 
My mind went into overdrive...OMG is this some bizarre way he is trying to tell me that I'm dying??? he trying to soften the blow???....hey wait a minute, what does he mean by any more children..????
"Um....I don't have any children...."
"I thought you had a little one?"
This set off a barrage of interrogation style questions about why I didn't have children, if I wanted children, did I ever want them, and why didn't I want them.  I was waiting for him to shine that little light they use in your cervix on my face a-la gestapo style.  After informing him that I did not only did I not have to justify my choice, it had nothing to do with the issue at hand, he said curtly  
"Well, your biopsy was negative."

I can't believe that I not only was being judged by a physician on my choice of lifestyle, but he had the audacity to delay my prognosis in order to push his own agenda.  Perhaps there is a slump in the baby business and this was his brand of cold calling to increase his output? 

I don't expect everyone to understand my choice.  Even my friends who are mothers who probably can't fathom my decision.  But they accept it, don't judge and support me right or wrong.  The same goes for them.  Although you would have to hold a gun to my head to ever get me to a Disney on Ice event, I listen to them talk about motherhood - the good and the bad - and although I can't totally understand what it like to walk in their shoes I accept them, don't judge and support them right or wrong. 

That's life.  Different strokes for different folks.  Some kids are great.  Some kids are ass holes.  Some of these ass hole kids even grow up to be OB/GYN's. 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

We Can Work It Out

I subscribe to the trite old adage that when a door closes a window opens.  In line with this theory, I can say that when a favourite, much frequented restaurants go pear-shaped, a new exciting eatery opens to tantalize you.

It is with much regret that I have to pan two of my all time favourite go-to restaurants - La Luna and The Capri.

I have been frequenting La Luna since the late 1980's.  My friend Terry took me there for the first time.  It was the first time that I had ever tried middle-eastern cuisine was hooked from the very first bite.  It was known as The Sheik back then and it was located on the corner of King & Victoria.  It eventually grew in popularity (I'm pretty sure thanks to Terry) and moved to a larger location on King between Caroline & Hess.  They eventually took over the building next door, expanding into an even larger restaurant, changed their name to La Luna and became one of the city's destination live music venues of the 1990's (I saw Carol Pope, Holly McNarland, Rufus Wainwright and not to mention countless local bands there).  La Luna continued to grow in the new millennium, moving to it's current location at King & Queen.  La Luna expanded the eating area once again and the live music branched off to the adjoining (but separately managed)  music venue The Casbah.   This past summer La Luna closed it's doors for a few weeks to renovate.  All the La-Luna-ites were a-buzz with wondering how it was going to reinvent itself for this decade.  It was a shock to all to hear that their philosophy was to no longer serve liquour--considering that La Luna has made a hefty profit from liquour sales for over 25 years.  I absolutely will still pop by for late work night take out, but no longer will this be a destination for our frequent girly dinners.  Sorry, but girl gotta have a little vino with her meal. 

Next on my reluctant hit list is The Capri.  A Hamilton institution since 1967 and another frequent girly dinner destination (1967 is when it opened, not when we began our girly dinners -- we are not THAT old), although the liquour license is intact, the shocking part is how badly the quality of their food has declined.  La Luna and The Capri are the only two restaurants in which I order the same thing all of the time.  At The Capri, my standard is the caprese salad and the spaghetti with tomato sauce.  Usually it so good I have to refrain myself from licking the plate (I don't know what stopped me because I tend to think that couth is over-rated).  The caprese, once drizzled with an amazing vinaigrette is now a plate of mushy tomatoes and boccaccini with a watered down white vinegar.  The sauce that now tops the pasta is best described as tomato water as opposed to tomato sauce as it so thin and runny.

OK - enough negativity and dwelling in the past.  Time to look forward.

Work is one of the latest additions to the gentrified James Street North is a hip eatery located beside This Ain't Hollywood.   It has a varied selection (no menus,  the changing items are written on a chalk board) with excellent craft beers on tap and an impressive local wine selection.  The Fella had the spaghetti and meatballs which put The Capri to shame.  I had the blackened sole (because you are what you eat) and we split an order of the avocado fries.  Everything was excellent.  There is nothing worse that going to a restaurant and being disappointed because you could have made a better meal at home.  This is not the case with Work.  I can't wait to go back and hoping that this will be the destination for our next girly dinner.  Walking down James North we also discovered a new rotisserie restaurant that had opened (Charred Rotisserie) and a "coming soon" new Italian restaurant and pizza bar.  Out with the old, in with the new...


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Don't You (Forget About Me)

I can't believe that next month marks the one year anniversary of writing this blog.  I never know what will inspire me next to jot down my daft musings.  Tonight I was the movie (and my 1,023,056 time seeing it) The Breakfast Club.

I love this movie.  I remember going to see it at The Centre Mall Theatre (yep, I'm that old - but I'm at least I am still here, The Centre Mall is now gone) with my friend Candy.  Like every other person from my generation, it touched a nerve with it's realistic portrayal of teen angst.  We identified with the movie's archetypes, and we could relate to the letter that is written by the cast (read at both the beginning and end of the movie) that illustrated that there was a little bit of all of them within ourselves.  Even watching the reruns ad nauseum all these years into adulthood, the message was never lost.

As I watched this movie tonight, it stirred a self realization that, to be honest, scares the living bejesus out of me.  I sympathize and empathize with the cast's growing pains, but tonight I have realized that I can also identify with something, or rather, someone else.  I can relate to Mr. Vernon - the dickhead principal.

Don't get me wrong - I have not turned into a vindictive bully, but I am certainly turning into one crotchety old cranky pants who is easily annoyed by others (primarily youngsters) -- a sure sign that as I stated above, yep, I'm old.

Middle-age (ok we definitely need a PR spin on this word to make it more hip) is very much like adolescence.  Our bodies change, our lives change, our priorities change, not unlike those angst filled teenage years.  Yet when we were in our teens, we desperately tried to distance ourselves from our childhood years and wanted to race towards our young adult lives.  In middle-age, we still are those young adults with the wisdom and life experience under our belt so that we can understand and cope with the changes that are happening to us, but we are desperately trying to distance ourselves from our senior/golden years. 

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I still rock out to The Ramones, I love live music shows and relate to The Breakfast Club.  But I get annoyed at twenty-somethings on my train who like talk?  Like every sentence?  Like is like a question?  I get annoyed when people on my train in the Quiet Zone talk and I turn around and glare at them like an old spinster librarian; not to mention the fact that I am even sitting in something called "the Quiet Zone".  I get annoyed at my upstairs neighbours  who sit on their balcony and start every phrase with "Dude" and end it with "Yo Bitch".  It's these moments in which the Principal Vernon in me awakens.  I need a modern, Lassie-esque twist on his phrase "You mess with the bull, you get the horns", because I am seriously this-close to saying some shit like that to these people. (Maybe, "you mess with the shoe you get the boot" -- OK I need to work on this).

In the meantime, perhaps I can re-write my own personal Breakfast Club letter to define who I am at this point in my life.  It would go something like this:

"...I see me as I want to see me: in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions.  But I found out that in me is a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, a criminal, and a middle-aged cranky pants.  I think that answers my question."

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Mambo Italiano

As we all know, we spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our friends and family.  A sign of the times in modern society, but I however, am truly lucky to have some pretty great coworkers at this point in my life (not always the case as for the majority of my working life I have worked with some effed-up characters).   I am even lucky enough to call some of these coworkers friends. 

So when you spend this much time with a group of people it is only natural that they have an influence on your life.  So, as per Audrey, Carlos and Peter, I am officially the "honorary scozzese italiano amico" - or honorary Scottish Italian friend. 

I prefer the term "Britalian" because our culture exchange works both ways.  Peter has introduced the phrases "mi piace" and "no mi piace" into my everyday vernacular.   I have introduced the phrase "blokey" into Carlos' vocabulary.  Audrey (after being horrified by the fact that I had never tried Nutella) promptly procured a jar for me to try (thanks for putting that delicious monkey on my back Audrey!).  I returned the favour by turning her on to the "proper" sour flavour of British pub-style pickled onions.

I am hooked on all things Italian.  Therefore a trip to Toronto's Little Italy was in order.  Little Italy is officially the area that borders around College Street between Bathurst and Ossington up to Harbord Street.  Although it cannot compare to Little Italy in Manhattan (there are now various Thai and shawarma restaurants scattered in the area), there are still some great gems to be found.

Bar Italia is one of these gems.  The staff are informative and friendly and the food is authentic.  Without exaggeration, it is probably the best Italian meal that I have had this year (and trust me - thanks to my work mates I have eaten at a LOT of Italian restaurants this year).

We started off with the Crostini Al Gorgonzola, served with roasted red peppers and marinated mushrooms.  Don't let the small portion fool you - it is super rich and it is just enough for two people.  I highly recommend pairing this with one of their fine red wine selections.

When in Rome (or a reasonable facsimile)...I had the Chianti...The Fella had the Moretti Forni beer.

I had the Bucatini Con Broccolini - fresh pasta with broccolini, roasted cipolini, roasted garlic, chili peppers, basil, olive oil and parmesan cheese.  It was out of this world delicious!

The Fella had the Spaghetti Bar Italia - fresh pasta with a home made tomato and basil sauce topped with locally made hot Italian sausage.  I could not help but to steal some of his meal.

"Britalian" at it's finest - the Italian Scooter a la British Mod chic!
A stop in little Italy is not complete without stopping at the legendary Sicilian cafĂ© for a scoop of gelato.   Mi piace my friends - mi piace!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Eat to the Beat

My friend Liz and I have shared many (many) birthdays together; all of which have always involved good food and drinks. 

For my birthday this year, I had the pleasure of being treated by Liz to a chef table event called "Go Cooking"- an evening of food prepared by a local chef, a sample plate of each course along with a wine tasting and education by a professional sommelier.  You had me at an evening of food....

Go Cooking is held at our local newspaper, The Hamilton Spectator building at 44 Frid Street in Hamilton.  They have a fully functioning kitchen and the chefs prepare their deliciousness in an interactive and entertaining style.

This evening's chefs were from West Plains Bistro in Burlington ( - a venue that I have wanted to try for some time.  Based on the yummy creations that were prepared, I am sure to plan a visit soon.

Appetizer - Wine Steamed Clams with lemon, dill & caper butter
Wine - UMA Coleccion Torrontes from Argentina (LCBO $9.95)

Main - Seared Sea Scallops with lemon and lavender glaze, Risotto with chives, green beans and golden beets
Wine - Fazi Battaglia Verdicchio from Italy (LCBO $11.20)

 Desert - Lemon Mouse with summer berries in phyllo pastry
Wine - Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut (LCBO $13.95)
The sommelier services were provided by Peter Bacchus from Bacchus Sommelier Services (  They are available for private parties and educational seminars - how great would it be to have a gathering of friends and have Bacchus provide an education session and sampling of wines!
For more information on the GO Cooking series, visit

Visit my friend Liz's blog -

Friday, 12 July 2013

In these shoes????

In my overly articulate life, rarely am I at a loss for something to say. However, sometimes there are just no words.

Well, maybe just three words: Christian. Louboutin. Exhibition. 

Forget the Louvre. These works of art are achingly beautiful. 

I wanted to strip naked an roll around on top of them. However,  given the security, this may have been frowned upon. 

The exhibit runs until September 15, 2013. For more information visit

Friday, 21 June 2013

Strawberry Fields

There are many occasions that call for a celebratory cocktail – anniversaries, birthdays, promotions, etc.  However, sometimes, when you are caught up in the weeds of life, you have to find reasons to celebrate – like, hey, it’s Thursday!  Let’s celebrate the upcoming weekend with a cocktail (ha-ha- yeah, “a” cocktail…).

And when you approach life with a positive mindset, the universe usually works with you.  Case in point, after deciding that Thursday evening was officially going to end with cocktails,  a farmers market miraculously (and by miraculously I mean that this event is held every Thursday) in the middle of the city… in the heart of strawberry season in Ontario.

Urban Market Versatile Cocktail Mix

1 quart of strawberries- washed and hulled
½ lemon – juiced
4 teaspoons sugar
½ cup water
Place in blender and puree until smooth.  Freeze any unused portion (as if..)

Strawberry Daiquiri
Urban Market Versatile Cocktail Mix (recipe above)
1 oz. rum

Strawberry Coconut Marguerita

Urban Market Versatile Cocktail Mix (recipe above)
1 oz. coconut infused tequila