Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Today is July 4 so - I hope all of you in the U.S. are having a wonderful day!  (and the rest of us too, of course.)  Here in Canada we celebrated on Saturday both being a county and also, being one for 150 years.  Over the last few days there have been lots of events and fireworks to mark the date.  And in Toronto, a really big yellow duckling.

Everybody seemed to want to come down to visit this controversial (its short stay cost taxpayers $200K) and tall duck, and to take pictures both of and with it, and apparently after we went on Friday there was an un-Canadian degree of garbage all over Harbourfront as well because there were so many more people than normally head down there - which is saying something.  Harbourfront is always very busy but I guess this year was something special.  Plus, the flooding we had in May is still posing problems and as a result, the rides and restaurants on the Toronto Islands are not open for visitors.  People gotta go somewhere!

This picture is nice enough, but doesn't properly illustrate just how crazy high the water level is, even now.

Off on the left, there is a long boardwalk that is completely under water and shouldn't be.

This area is less well known to tourists - it's east even of the ferry docks.  I hadn't enjoyed the full extent of it before but this weekend we explored and I admired this sculpture, which apparently you can climb into from the other side.

I love how many weeping willows are planted down along the shoreline in Toronto.  We had one in my back yard growing up and to the not-yet-homeowning me it was the ultimate tree.  If you know anything about weeping willows though, you will not be surprised to hear that ours had to be cut down because its roots were growing into the foundation of our neighbours' house, SIGH

At the lake, you don't need to worry about that sort of thing so much.

On another walk, we got a sneak peek at the new bridge that will connect the Eaton Centre shopping mall to the Queen Street location of The Bay and Saks 5th Avenue:

The two buildings have been connected for many years by a second floor bridge that was taken down a couple of months ago and OH how I have missed it.  This old one was a smooth-sided tube; this new one seems like it will be a more interesting shape but with fewer windows to let in natural light.  And that's sort of disappointing, don't you think?  But I'll reserve judgement till it's actually in place and walk-through-able.

I have a small update on the park with the dog fountain: most people love it.

It's been packed there the last few days, with adults sitting on the grassy hills, and children climbing onto the dog statues and/or splashing at the water said dogs spew, and owners of real dogs posing them on the bottom level of the fountain so as to take pictures of them with the dog statues.  Last time I was there almost everybody was managing to walk successfully around the 'little present' one of the real dogs left on the concrete and loads of people were taking selfies.  So: a success?

We considered going to Ottawa so we could hear the concert on Parliament Hill but it seemed like a lot of work so we stayed home and watched it on TV instead.  At one point a singer came out dressed very innocuously, alongside a girl in a bright red outfit carrying a red ball, who proceed to do amazing gymnastics with the ball and later with a bright red hula hoop.  We were completely enthralled with every move she made and were only barely aware of the song or the singer... until much later, when we realized it was on a continuous loop in our heads.  Finally Pete was forced to look it up so we could buy it to replay at will.  Clearly it will kick off our road trip music, all summer long.  Here it is on YouTube, in case you're intrigued - very different concept from a gymnast with a shiny red ball but still good:

Some of the fireworks were visible from the roof terrace in our building, which made it a fun place to get together.  The ones set off at the base of the CN Tower on Saturday rose very high and, from our vantage point, appeared to be bursting out of the sides of the Toronto-Dominion tower.  Lots of moon, too!  It looked very cool.

Over the weekend Pete and I reminisced about some of our early Canada Days together... especially when we first owned our house.  I was always struggling to use those precious three warm-weather days off work for some huge house project or other, and his friends were always dropping by and wanting to barbecue something or just sit on the porch catching up.  They had the right idea and I knew it but I kept on staining deck chairs or cutting wood for bookshelves anyway - my loss, doubly so because the chairs have since rotted out and the bookshelves went when we took out the walls, and we lost touch with those particular friends for many years, too.  I should have enjoyed the downtime when I had it.

This year I did nothing much more than live in the moment.  I kept looking at some sock yarn skeins I want to wind into cakes for imminent knitting, but I didn't actually pick them up.  I didn't pack anything to go back to the house and I didn't, ultimately, decide on a desk or a source for new porch columns though I did stare at my computer screen for some time.  Technically, I did choose and pay for a pair of new mattresses for the smaller-than-twin beds at the cottage, but I was supposed to sort them out last summer, so I can't really count that as an achievement.

The only productive thing I did was to make a new-to-me recipe for linguine with a simple sauce made from cooking cream (35%, it looked terrifyingly thick as I poured it out from the carton) and lemon juice.  It was AMAZING.  And it came from the New York Times' cooking section.

A few months ago I bought subscriptions to The Washington Post and The New York Times and I have to say, the cooking section of the NYT is as transformative for me as my longtime subscription to The New Yorker has been.  Check out this column on berries, as an example.  The photographs are so beautiful!  and the recipes all sound so delicious!  It's the ultimate in vicarious cooking, and not bad on inspiration for cooking space style either.

(and oh yes, how I still wish I had some marble in the new kitchen at the house.  I am angling for a marble top to rest over our kitchen table, and it may happen some day because the longing is strong.)

Today is a busier day and I am grateful to have the lemon pasta recipe nailed down because the whole thing whips up in the time it takes to boil the noodles.  Thank you, New York Times!

* * * * *

okay I did do one other productive thing.  I bought the huggable ice cream sandwich I have been wanting for a few weeks. I didn't need it, and it was a little expensive, and it doesn't go with anything in the house so it's not going to look effortlessly stylish sitting out on a chair, but...

.... I have no regrets.

Would you?

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