Sunday, February 28, 2010


It's been years since I spent all day in bed, while healthy. I did that today. It felt good... damn good.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Recent Walk through my 'Hood

Late afternoon in St. James' Cathedral Gardens.

Cute, and, of course, as they stalk you, slightly creepy.

On the way home, St. Lawrence Hall all lit up.

Big, orange bears in the sculpture garden. (Bear Hunt, by Dean Drever)

And home at last. I was not dressed for winter. It felt wonderful to get warm and dry.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Grateful for the Week That was

Friday night is here at last, and it feels so good. Snow finally hit Toronto, and we have about six inches of it visible. Much of it quickly turned to slush.

I'm having a most delicious evening, not alone: indeed I have kept most wonderful company with a great anise-seed marinaded pork chop, some chardonnay, twinkly lights, vanilla-scented candles, and Bruce the Bat.

Tonight I'm grateful for:

~ Crying as the Canadian women's hockey team took the Olympic gold medal. Crying over Joannie Rochette and her bronze medal win after the hardest week of her life. Crying over the Tim Horton's commercial where the African-Canadian gentleman welcomes his family to Canada at the airport. Yes, just crying over the Olympics and its associated features and commercials in general.

~ The sale of one photograph from the camera show. Just one, but its new owner was so enthusiastic, she made my entire month!

~ A month-long bout of long work hours is coming to an end tomorrow night, and I am making plans with friends I haven't seen in a while and getting excited at the prospect.

~ The blessing of feeling love (slightly overtakes feeling loved in my book, but best when shared mutually).

~ Being of use to a friend who is very far away, but in need of a familiar voice.

~ Bruised shins from the affectionate headbutting of a certain ginger tabby.

~ Not missing chocolate! Can you believe it? I can't!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm Sticking to it... but

What a long month this short February has been. Toronto hasn't even been particularly wintery, but nonetheless I'm sick of it and longing for the heat and sunshine of a steaming Ontario summer.

I'm sticking to my Lenten promise to give up chocolate... but I keep buying it nonetheless. It's a most pleasing process, as is the anticipation of this cherry/chili combination with a truffley centre. Oh my. No worries, it will still be there on Easter Sunday.

To chase away the grey days we're experiencing right now, I purchased some paperwhites and they're looking very sweet and demure, which is more than I can say for their scent, or their owner.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Recent Pantry Finds

Red fig jam! A fine-looking jar and a wonderful fruity interior, not too sweet, and wonderful on scones. I am thinking it might come into play with the buttercream filling between the cake layers for the next big cake project.

My tin of Fry's cocoa (below right) was nearly gone. My local supermarket was out of Fry's and foolishly I bought a tin of their brand name version. Luckily it went unused. Then, on a more recent pre-Lenten trip to Soma, I found their Dutched cocoa powder (centre) which I quickly swooped up. A friend and I did a sniff test. We were astounded at the difference. The Compliments brand had almost no odour to speak of. In comparison, Fry's was heady and deep. But after a sniff of the Soma, the Fry's seemed quite bland. Soma has done it again. I cannot wait to make a batch of truffles and roll them in this wonderful powder. For mass baking it will still be Fry's. The Soma cocoa was pretty pricey.

Of course there will be pictures of those truffles. And of course, this will be after Lent. Maybe I'll make them for Easter sunday.

Love Me, Love my Blog

I'm not putting as much energy into my blog as I was a couple of years ago, but it still goes some way in representing me and my activities. So it's with some curiosity that I have witnessed the following: Two gentlemen, one I was getting to know several months ago, one I am getting to know now, professed a particular interest in me. It was not many meetings in with both situations that I mentioned my blog in passing. Both took a first look. One - this was several months ago, and that connection is long over - looked at it once, but was uninterested in it, while professing powerful feelings for me. The other, just recently, has taken a decided interest in it.

I don't see how, if I was becoming attached to someone, that I could overlook something like a blog as I felt that desire to know them grow. I don't bare my soul on here, but my blog covers most of my interests, and the tone I use to create my posts surely says something about me.

Obviously Man #1 is no more. Man #2 has endeared himself to me for many reasons, not the least of which is his interest in my little blog.

For someone women it's cats, or their children, or their predilection for motorcycle parts. For me, it's love me, love my blog.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's Official

I'm giving up chocolate for Lent.

I won't eat it again till Sunday, April 4, AKA Easter Sunday. Let me know what you're giving up for Lent, or what you're taking on!

Monday, February 15, 2010

I Love This Bit...

... when I'm very close to a creative deadline, and I wonder if I've put all that I can into project, and if I should just chuck it all... and then it's just a frenzy of final ideas and tweaking. I love the rush.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lovers' Day

Heart’s Burden

I don’t know how this spark was born,
I felt it deep within me glow,
And with your voice and with your words,
It caught and burned, I feel it grow.
And now this spark becomes a flame,
A spell that holds me close and tight,
It climbs and licks and will consume me,
I’m yours by day and through the night.
No other light glows within me,
But this one that you have planted,
All else is ashes by your pyre,
My other joys you have supplanted.

This heart so lately safe from burning,
Now for you is ever yearning.

(Photograph of Bruce the Bat at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Grateful for the Week That Was

Each time I approach a blog post about gratitude I decide I haven't got much to say. And I decide this in quite a sulky mood; how's that for ungrateful? Then I take a few minutes to sit and ponder. And of course the ideas start to flow. These posts do the job to snap me out of my selfish worries and cast an aura of blessing over my present state of affairs.

~ My appetite is shrinking. The hope is that the rest of me will follow.

~ Catsitting duties take me to Tibby's home each day. There I enjoy his purr, more like the revving of an outboard motor, as he lovingly makes puddings on my lap, smiling sweetly as his nails dig in to my thighs. Saturday he's getting a manicure.

~ I was told that there is a certain laugh I have, that happens at certain times, that is very sexy. Damn, I wish I knew which it was so I could recreate it at will. Hee hee! (No, that's definitely not it).

~ "Too much happiness" is the report from San Miguel de Allende, where my folks and friends are spending two months, as they do each year.

~ It was mid-week before I remembered that next Monday is a statutory holiday in Ontario. A day off is very treasured right now and the anticipation is delicious.

~ I remembered the joy of Bill Bryson; reading his "Lost Continent" about travels in small-town America, I lay in bed and laughed out loud... a lot. And no, it wasn't the sexy laugh.

~ A photograph I took is hanging in a local art show. I'm very excited to see it tomorrow evening.

~ A surfeit of creative pleasure, as I watched a talented photographer friend take shots of a talented musician friend. They both did what they do so well.

~ Semi-freddi followed by Baci. Yum yum!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Single Man

I'm eating a dark chocolate Godiva pearl. And thinking of movies.

I was complimented today on my movie memory. But that's it, as I pointed out; I only really remember things about subjects I'm passionate about. Everything else... meh.

You probably remember Nicholas Hoult: he was Marcus, the endearingly quirky adolescent in 2002's About a Boy, in which he shows up on Hugh Grant's doorstep and refuses to be cast aside. (About Hugh Grant, I don't know about you, but I much prefer him in slightly caddish roles; he's just more interesting in them). About a Boy also featured my secret girlfriend, Rachel Weisz.

Anyway, Hoult has grown into his eyebrows and lost the puppy fact. Chris Weitz, who co-wrote About a Boy (based on Nick Hornby's novel), produced A Single Man, in which Hoult plays a plays a mohair-sweater-wearing beautiful youth who turns up on Colin Firth's doorstep and refuses to be cast aside. Well this I understand, as Colin Firth is one of my favourite secret boyfriends.

In A Single Man Nicholas Hoult does a great American accent, as does Matthew Goode (who was compelling and strange in last year's Watchmen.) Going the other way, Julianne Moore did a surprisingly bad English accent, but she was wonderful - as usual - in every other respect.

And yes, that is Jon Hamm, uncredited, as the voice of Hank Ackerley on the telephone. And yes, that's Tom Ford, Mr. Fashion, as director and financier of the film, which was based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood.

Colin Firth gave a magnificent performance. For me, in second place, is his house. That was built in 1949, was designed by John Lautner and resides just a short distance from Los Angeles. It's stunning, compact, and worth the price of admission alone. An architectural tour of California is on my to-do list.

A Single Man might be on your to-do list. Ooh, saucy pun. Nice.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

When All Else Fails...

... bake.

That's how I counteract stress, which has me in its limpet grip.

Cookies were baked (see them in their jar?). And how could baking not be fun with these cheery new bowls, as gorgeous and fun as my friend Barbara, who gave them to me.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cake Time

I thought that title might attract attention.

Long time readers will know that once a year, my friend L and I tackle a big William Morris (or an associate)-inspired cake project. Here are a few from the past, with the inspiration on the top row, the finished cakes in the middle, and a detail of each cake on the bottom.

Here was 2008's.

Last year I took a break from blogging, so never got around to showing the cake we made. Here it is, a big slab of a book:

Today we pondered the next cake, due in about six weeks. We discussed how this cake never happens at a good time of year for either of us, but - as it happens - this year's timing looks good for me and I might be able to take some vacation the week of, and so I think we're in good shape to do something interesting. We're both very taken with 2008's tiled cake. We might do something similar but in very different colours.

Stay tuned, cake lovers.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Quote of the Day

"And one by one the nights between our separated cities
are joined to the night that unites us."

Pablo Neruda

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Song of the Day

The Nightingale
(Badalamenti / Lynch)

The nightingale
It said to me
There is a love
Meant for me
The nightingale
It flew to me
And told me
That it found my love.

He said one day
I’ll meet you
Our hearts will fly
With the nightingale.

The nightingale
He told me
One day
You will be with me.

The nightingale
Said he knew
That your love
Would find my love one day

My heart flies
With the nightingale
Through the night
All across the world.

I long to see you
To touch you
To love you
Forever more.

From the television series Twin Peaks, sung by Julee Cruise. One of my favourite songs... ever.

I Like it Sparkly

I was walking home from work, laden down with groceries. (I wish soy milk didn't weigh so much and I didn't consume so much of it.)

It began snowing, and it was beautiful. I wish I could have taken pictures that did justice to the myriad of soft diamonds falling on and around me. Captivated, I shrugged off my bags and took a photograph. Here's a stretch of soft, twinkly pavement.