Wednesday, December 30, 2009

endicott in december


strange fruit

we went to endicott, new york over andre's birthday weekend. we hit a snowstorm mid-drive but still made good time! while andre and petey participated in workshops, duke and i went exploring.

can you spot duke


after a day of exploring, sniffing, finding deer hoof prints and rabbit paw prints in the snow, duke was exhausted. thanks for exploring with me duke!


Friday, December 25, 2009

merry holidays!

happy holidays

happy holidays

happy holidays

merry christmas!

as seems to be the case with me since september, things have been crazy here and despite making my christmas cards, i didn't end up sending any out. the good thing is, i have a tonne ready for next year. yippy!

i hope everyone had a great christmas.

hopefully back to regular postings starting next week!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

i'm doing what you are asking

we're heading out to to endicott, new york again. this time for session two of andre's dog training course.

i can't wait to just hang out with duke all weekend - although i am planning on making my christmas cards in the motel - and just relax!

petey's progress has been so amazing these past few months. he actually has a bit inhibition now and neither andre nor i have gotten bit, let alone gotten open doggy bite wounds in the past 2 months. he's also quite desensitized to seeing dogs on the sidewalk now and can walk by other dogs without pulling and howling. on top of all this with the karen pryor academy work, he's learning a lot of cool tricks too!

random: the first snow fall in toronto is supposed to start tonight. this november toronto broke a record that was set in 1937 for no snow fall!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


cranky turtle

the dreaded streetcar tracks were my downfall (haha). last week i wiped out over the streetcard tracks on dundas st. riding to meet friends for dinner.

unfortunately due to watermain upgrade construction, cyclists need to merge over streetcar tracks into the left lane between shaw st. and dovercourt rd.

even after my close call on spadina and even after being told by the bicycle thief to always cross the tracks as close to 90 degrees as possible, in my rush to get to dinner, hopping back over to the right lane, i got a bit too cocky/lazy and crossed probably almost parallel to the tracks. big mistake.

i totally wiped out and slid onto construction gravel, hit both knees (skinned one) and banged up my left wrist. luckily for me, there weren't any cars right behind me. two concerned ladies rushed over to help me up.

today was the first day since my wipe out to ride my bike and now i get a bit panicky when crossing street car tracks. boooooo. i need to gain my confidence again by riding more, but with snow in the forecast it looks like i'll be putting my bike away for the winter.

oh well. i'll keep myself occupied with bike blogs.

i want to start a cupcake ride in toronto, perhaps in the spring!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

why i'm addicted to the internet - part quatre

what i wore - drawing

so many 'collection' websites are cropping up. here are some of my favourites for a good dose of daily giggles:
and then just some other sites that keep me hooked to the 'net:


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

house project update - kitchen part III

looking from the kitchen

looking from the dining room


my hydrangea

nail gun!

i keep on forgetting to post these photos. aside from a backsplash our kitchen has been completed for several months now and our hardwood floors are down as well. to think that just a year ago our kitchen looked like this and this.

this past weekend andre and i went to factory tile depot to pick out tiles for the bathroom. it is dry walled and painted!

our renovations are moving much faster than anticipated but there is still lots to do.... we're right on track to having a reno free house in 2012.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

some books that i've really loved reading the past several months. ...and just so you don't think i love everything, one that i absolutely detested:

The Thirteenth TaleThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

rating: 5 out of 5

A modern story written in the 'gothic' tradition, I loved The Thirteenth Tale because of the main character's love and adoration of books, the dark mystery and the lush descriptions. The story line plot twist is amazingly smart.

Apparently the 'properness' and reserved nature of Margaret, the main character, didn't sit well with British readers and this book finally did well over the pond becoming a NY Times best seller in 2006.

This is Diane Setterfield's debut novel and I look forward to her sophomore

A Thousand Splendid Suns
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

rating: 4 out of 5

Hosseini's second novel is by far, grittier and more heart wrenching than his first, which in my opinion had a story arch of a hollywood movie. This book made me rethink my position in Canada's involvement in Afghanistan.

What shines through, much like the Kite Runner, is his utter love of the Afghanistan people and what the country used to be before the many wars ravaged the landscape and cultures.

The RoadThe Road by Cormac McCarthy

rating: 5 out of 5

I bawled while turning the last few pages. BAWLED!! And I know that the movie, despite starring Viggo Mortenson will not even come close to how good this book is.

Like James Frey, this book is written without quotation marks, but unlike Frey, McCarthy writes in a way that makes quotation marks seem unnecessary.

The ShackThe Shack by William P. Young

rating: -200 out of 5

Awful, awful. The author tries to explain how a loving and fair God can allow bad things to happen to good people. Apparently this book, published independently, has a huge following because of the way it helps people understand this point. I didn't like this book at all and found the author's reliance on race generalizations to be extremely offensive. And in the end the book doesn't offer an answer to the question, instead asks people to just 'trust' God because everything that happens to you happens for a reason. So basically, if you trust and love God you don't have to take any responsibilities for things that happen to you because it all happens for a reason. Trust God and you don't have to be accountable for anything! yay!

The writing becomes really bland and repetitive near the end as well. I hate this book and pushes me towards becoming an atheist.

The Book Of NegroesThe Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

rating: 5 out of 5

The amazing tale of Aminata Diallo, a young girl abducted from Africa during the slave trade and well, I don't want to give anything away. It is beautifully written and is hard to imagine with all the details that it was written in the 20th century.

i need some book recommendations for the winter season. do you have any?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

endicott, ny

cider mill

cortland apple


the making of rose hips

binghamton university

over the weekend duke, petey, andre and i drove down to a small village in upstate new york: endicott. the reason? it was andre's first workshop for his course with the karen pryor academy.

while petey and andre attended the all day classroom session, duke and i wandered around the small city and visited parks. we stumbled upon a cute farmer's market and were stopped many times by old retirees telling me how they used beagles to hunt.

a big coup for us this weekend was when duke would stay howl free in the car waiting for us while we would dash into a super market.

the photos are from my excursions with duke.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

black dice cafe

black dice café

black dice café

black dice café

black dice café

our little neighbourhood is gentrifying at an alarming rate.

since we moved in last august, 2 hip cafés, a weekend brunch/weekday bar, a custom cake shop, a cheese shop and a cute clothing store selling only works by toronto designers have opened up along dundas west. not to mention my favourite health food store where i get my good food box and several galleries including a queen west transplant - things are changing fast in little portugal.

my favourite addition to our burgeoning neighbourhood, however, just opened up a month ago. it's the black dice cafe!

run by japanese ex-pat hidé, black dice cafe is a 50s themed bar with a jukebox that plays 45s. they even have an original beatles 45 in there.

the best thing about black dice, well aside from the fact that i can walk there in 30 seconds, is their extensive sake martinis and plum wine. mmmm umeshu how i love you!

but it's not all japanese drinks there, they have lots of beers on tap (if that's your thing. personally i don't know how people drink pee water...) and a full bar of the hard stuff.

if you decide to check it out, call me and i'll have a plum wine soda with you.

photo notes: the cafe is decked out in halloween decorations!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

we are a sad lot

cone head

sad paw part II

sad paw part II

duke broke a paw nail (again! argh) that had to be removed and i've come down with another stye (the 2nd in two years).

if misery loves company, i'm right where i belong!

i'm not sure how common styes are, but if you ever get one, apparently the best remedy is a hot compress applied several times a day since ointments and medicine don't work as well! for me, while working onsite, bringing a face cloth to the studio just didn't seem hygienic, so instead i just cupped my hands and repeatedly applied warm/hot water to the affected area.

please go away, please, please. i hate you, stye.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

the little boots report

i forgot my camera for the little boots concert, so i decided to draw a little report instead.

sadly her très cool tenori-on instrument malfunctioned and we couldn't see her use it live, but none the less the show was super fun.

what totally bugged me, though, is the number of people who insist on taking sh*tty photos with their iphones or use their flash with their point and shoot cameras. do they think that if they keep on trying to take photos without changing the setting of their camera, they'll magically get a different result the next time? excuse me, but you are totally obscuring the view for the vertically challenged!

i tried taking one photo with my cellphone and realized the futility of it:

anyway, i consider little boots an electronica genius of sorts. here is she is covering hot chip's 'ready for the floor' and recreating every element of the song except the vocals on her tenori-on:

and then!! check her out on jools holland, where she manages to play the baseline and other song elements all the while singing the melody of her song 'meddle' and play the piano. it's pretty amazing:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

a crisp autumn morning

fall colours


despite temperatures being lower than seasonal, we are enjoying the onset of this new season.

this long weekend was the first weekend where i didn't have days of work to catch up on and so i spent a wonderful morning with duke at the park. thankfully the ticketers were also enjoying their weekend and so we hung out illegally off-leash at dufferin grove park.

so while i was off being a busy bee, i accumulated a backlog of things to blog about! please check back often for new posts about our home renos, little boots and fun links.

in the meantime, i wanted to share a new blog i've started. it's called thanks for your cooperation and requires reader participation. i want it to be a place where funny, weird, crazy, psycho office notes and memos are shared.

won't you submit something?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

busy busy bee

lots of pollen

busy bee

sunflower close up

i've been working like a busy bee these past few weeks - onsite at a client's during the day and then coming home and doing my own client work until the wee hours.

this is one of my favourite clients that call me in to work at their studio. since i've been helping them out for the past 2 years, it's always nice to see all the familiar faces when i return.

last week, though, the onsite work became more than full time. on average i was onsite for 10 hours a day. being sleep deprived, i made some flubs (one was a miss cropping a panel for a showroom booth and the other was not sending some mockups to a client on the promised day, even though i had them done!!!) and the stress is starting to creep in.

there is an end in sight, though. can't wait to be able to sleep a full 8 hours! ... soon.

photo: my sunflowers in my tiny garden. sadly the seeds never matured because this happened again.

i'm going to have to devise some sort of cover or case for the sunflowers next year. i want to be able to plant the seeds at the off-leash park!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

shamrocks galore

a recent trip to ireland to visit the o'keefe's. photos courtesy dom.


kilkenny: kilkenny castle

the gardens behind the kilkenny arts centre -- a gorgeous complex of artists' studios, shops selling handcrafted goods designed and made in ireland, and galleries exhibiting local talent

galway: wind-swept and bohemian city, on the west coast of ireland

blarney castle in cork (i know it's incredibly unhygenic, but you can't go to ireland and not kiss the blarney stone!)

the young lad and the wee lass: our lovely hosts!