Monday, February 28, 2011

Tib in the Bag

It's been too long since we've had a Tibby reportage. So here is the latest.

He's a little too chunky to actually get in the bag.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yesterday's Bounty

... music, after the enthralling Met HD transmission of Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride at the cinema, with Susan Graham. This music bears returning to time and again, so much emotion and beauty. We can return this fall when the Canadian Opera Company will feature the same great mezzo in the same role.

... food, with a delicious picnic, featuring sugar snap peas wrapped in goat cheese and prosciutto...

... more food as the Armenians hosted yet another wonderful feast. Many dishes, so much laughter, the decibel level through the ceiling.

Today is quiet, and that's just perfect.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Return to Cherry Beach

It's been an age since I was at Cherry Beach, as the ice and cold have kept me from venturing down there. Today the sun was out, and, although the mild spell was ending, it was only a few degrees below freezing with the wind chill factor, so out we went.

The canal was frozen.

Hang in there, little buds... a few weeks to go yet.

I don't know how much longer this tree will survive. I mean, really, with all those exposed roots? Any experts out there who can venture an opinion?

At first the wave shapes looked as though the water was moving.

But no, it's all frozen. Some idiots were out there on it. Okay, I was just jealous because I didn't have the guts to try it myself. Hee hee!

Mmmmmmmmm... Saturday

We had dim sum today on Baldwin Street, followed by a visit to Bau Xi photo gallery, which is situated on Dundas Street West, just across from the Art Gallery of Ontario. Bau Xi were showcasing the stunning large-format opera house photographs by David Leventi. I urge you to click on his name and see his amazing images, some taken from the stage into the auditorium, some from the back of the auditorium towards the stage.

Later, it was a cup of tea, and even though the cafe didn't offer pure peppermint tea, they happened to have some fresh mint leaves for their black-tea-based Moroccan tea, and made me a large mug with just fresh mint leaves. I was very happy.

And how we enjoyed the warm spell... but it's over now: I look out my window and that wonderful melt now been transformed into snowy streets.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Riverdale Farm: Foliage

The last post of pictures from last fall. I'll pay a visit again this spring to get more.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Riverdale Farm: Inhabitants

There are some happy animals here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Riverdale Farm: Structures

On that happy fall visit to Riverdale Farm, I took a lot more pictures.

Riverdale Farm was once the Toronto Zoo, which is hard to imagine, as it's not a big place. Of course since then the Toronto Zoo has opened and it's a great, big place on the outskirts of the city. Riverdale Farm then came into being, an opportunity for city kids to see how a 19th-century farm might be run. It's a little haven in the city, and one of my favourite places to escape to.

I love the farm house, the sort of building I'd love to own, but in the country!

The gardens are full of fragrant herbs.

Approaching the main barn, where you'll find goats and sheep, when they're not outside.

One of the attractive, slopey enclosures where the sheep enjoy laying about, being woolly.

The smaller barn where the chickens hang out. If you're there at the right time, you can purchase some very free-range eggs, usually a small carton featuring eggs of very different sizes.

Two more buildings in the complex. Do you see why I treasure such a spot right in the city?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Got my Purple Groove Back.

Where have you been, Purple? Seems I've got you back.

A few years ago I was all about the purple, then I sort of let it go a bit. Recently I've noticed when I've been shopping that it's taken over my conciousness again. At least five items of late have been purple. It makes me happy and I think it suits me.

Thanks red and blue!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wishing You...

lots of love today... from whatever quarter.

And, for some if they so choose, something resplendent with chocolate and lashings of whipped cream.

Here's Nigella's chocolate-cherry trifle, a favourite of this blog... It is basically this: very rich chocolate sponge sandwiched with black cherry jam, topped with drained sour cherries, doused in cherry brandy, topped with chocolate custard (8 eggs, dark choc, cocoa and sugar), and then lashings of fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings, or - in this case - Godiva's dark chocolate pearls.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bulbs in February

Whoever came up with this one, thanks! I love a bit of spring in my home while outside is all grey and wintery.

But relief is in sight... today we`re above freezing and all week things will be gently warming up. I`m too old a hand at being Canadian to fall for this one, but it will be nice while it lasts.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Coff Coff

Some time ago I shared on my blog my ritual for killing a cold before it gets a chance to take a hold. But this past week, when the symptoms arose I got lazy and didn't follow my own instructions. I paid for that with a really bad cold, full of cough and awfulness.

I did all the stuff on the list and I'm on the mend. But at its worst I felt so awful that there was no old film, no silly tv show, no talking or sleeping or anything that would distract me from how sore my throat was or how much my head was pounding.

Since childhood there has been only one activity that really soothes me when ill: the Tintin books. I have them all, and they're so well-loved, they're falling apart. I read everyone this past week, sometimes at 3 a.m. when I thought I would go mad with lack of sleep and discomfort. They looked comforting even just stacked on the chair next to my bed.

From the delicious 1930s esthetic to the clever details of every frame, these illustrated books were my first taste of what a graphic novel should be.

Thank you, Hergé.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thanks HD... No Really... Thanks

More HD live broadcast brilliance as I caught the wonderful goofiness of the Met`s La Fanciulla del West, one of my favourite operas ever, a spaghetti western of unabashed romance. Minnie is a rare Puccini heroine who lives at the end. Deborah Voigt, Marcello Giordani and Lucio Gallo sang up a snow storm.

Then a couple of weeks ago was the pounding FELA! (part of the National Theatre Live programming from London), which was a heated treat on a very cold Toronto night. I had never heard of Fela Kuti and his Afrobeat legacy before but I`ll never forget him now! Then, just this past week, the National Theatre Live season continued with a Donmar Warehouse production with Derek Jacobi in his amazing Lear. Theatrical lucidity from confused senility... powerful stuff and it`s touring Britain next before, I believe, heading to New York.

I`ve said it here before: get thee to an HD live broadcast... stat!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chicken and Sage

During my visit to Riverdale Farm, on the last stunning fall day of 2010, I met a chicken in the sage. Yum.

It was lovely to see her pecking around. And look at her lovely, fluffy bottom!

Something caught her attention.

Probably her master`s voice. He was quite the handsome fellow.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Newly Discovered Treat

Roasted chestnuts... buy then in their natural state, score a cross into them with a small sharp knife (carefully!), and roast at 400F or so till the tough skins are curled back and they smell done. Oh, you`ll know!

Sit by candle light with someone you love (solo is fine too), and peel them while hot... er, I mean the chestnuts... but you do whatever feels good. Yetis love them too.

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Mais, mon Dieu, quel ennui"

Mon Dieu, was there ever a more irrestible snob than Eugene Onegin? What a vain puss he is. The opera was on TFO last night. TFO is the French version of TVOntario, our advertisement-free public broadcasting station. It was interesting to see a Russian opera with French subtitles, and it made Onegin even more insufferably wonderful. Thank you, Pushkin, for your delicious irony. Thank you, Tchaikovsky, for your aching romanticism. And now... for a small piece of post-dinner dark chocolate. Thanks, Aztecs.

Red Leaves

As I continue sifting through unblogged photographs from last fall, I am gobsmacked by how much I love to be in nature, and how much effort I take to be in it, while in the city. I`ll be moving out of it ... one day!

The red leaves below aren`t the stunners you see on the sugar maples, but their deep, dark red had me in its thrall. I took these pictures while waiting for the Riverdale Farmers Market to set up.