Ten Things I’ll Miss About the City

Guess how many boxes I packed yesterday? None. Not a single box. I did however spend the entire day with Aylu and The Noodle, and half the day with Hannu. We hit the playground, grabbed some tacos, and then Ayla and I hiked home from Bloor and Christie making a few shopping stops along the way.

I have totally taken for granted how easy it is to just pop the baby in the stroller and go and see things. Soon we’ll only be walking along our country road, looking for interesting road kill and wildflowers that I might not be allergic to. I’m really starting to realize how many things I’m going to miss about living in the city. Here’s an overview of the ten things I’ll miss most about living in Toronto.

elasador

  1. Tacos El Asador – This tiny, sweaty little joint is on the north side of Bloor just east of Christie. It’s so typical of Toronto that the best place for Mexican is in Little Korea. The food is cheap, the beer is cold, and the place is never empty. Also, Smokey who has worked there for 15 years is the only stranger who can currently grab Noah out of our arms and not make him scream. Check out the great blogTO review here.

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  1. Dufferin Grove Park – If you are easily offended by vegans who smell like garlic, women who don’t shave their armpits, or families with same-sex parents, DO NOT go to this park. If you would like to sit under the shade of massive old trees and watch your children frolic in an epic, community-run playground while you graze on healthy snacks prepared by the local volunteers you need this park. I will so miss being able to go to a playground where Ayla can yell, “They’re BOTH my mom, and that’s my DAD!” and nobody will raise an eyebrow. Also, did you know that patchouli is a natural insect repellent? It even repelled Daddy before he got used to it. This photo is from the darling and informative Neighbourhood Walks blog found here.

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  1. The Toronto Public Library – Sure there’s a lady who smells like cheese sitting under a pile of dubiously stained granny square afghans who always threatens to pinch my baby, and yes, the old Asian man is asleep and not dead on that stack of periodicals, but I will miss my local library. The St. Catharine’s Library branches might be pristine and filled with fresh flowers, but I doubt they will have the same kind of selection available in Toronto. I also doubt they will have anyone hiding in the back of the cookbooks stack talking softly to their pet ferret.
  1. Walks At Dusk – I love talking walks through city neighbourhoods just before sunset. This is a lovely thing to do any time of the year, but summer is my favourite because all of the gardens are in bloom and the fragrance is magical.
  1. Free Stuff to Do – There’s a seemingly endless stream of awesome and free summer events and festivals in Toronto. We didn’t take advantage of this nearly enough and now we’re stuck with the St. Catharine’s summer concert series which includes the Walter Ostanek Polka Band.
  1. Fiesta Farms – Long before Whole Foods farted up it’s quinoa scented obnoxiousness in Yorkville, there was Fiesta Farms, an independent grocery and nursery specializing in organic foods and healthy food choices. You can buy groceries for less than a month’s rent, and you can be sure to run into at least one of the families from the local Waldorf School.

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  1. Pride – True I haven’t gone to a Gay Pride event in years, but I love that our city has a massive week-long celebration of our LGBTQ community that has become a tourist attraction. Woah, wait! What’s this? PRIDE NIAGARA? Oh yessss!
  1. The Restaurants – There is a truly ridiculous number of great restaurants in Toronto, and an incredible variety of cuisine. Daddy assures me that there are some incredible restaurants in Niagara and Fort Erie, so I suppose I will look forward to the adventure of culinary exploration. If you can recommend anything, do let me know.
  1. Shops – I don’t shop in them, but I do like to browse. I’ll miss all of the quirky storefronts, particularly in Queen West. I really dislike shopping in the mall, and that’s basically all I’m left with in Niagara. I’ll have to sniff out all of the antiques markets and thrift shops in the area.
  1. Ethnicity – I know Niagara won’t necessarily be totally WASPy, but I will certainly miss having entire neighbourhoods of ethnic variety to enjoy. I can’t imagine a world without the PAT market in Little Korea, or the Mexican grocery store on Dufferin, or the Danforth, or…Oh god, what if they don’t have pho in Niagara?

Inside Kermit’s Lair

Respect the C*&K

Respect the C*&K

Dear readers; the following post contains language and content that may be offensive to some. Really offensive. Like a lot of it…

Yesterday was a supremely weird day. It began with my cat waking me at 7:00 am by biting the end of my nose as hard as he could. Later in the morning he peed all over me while I tried to fit him in his kitty cage to visit the vet. Then it cost me $300 to find out that he’s old, and that there’s something wrong with him. Finding out what is wrong will be more expensive, I fear.

Upon returning home I discovered the John Goodman equivalent in the raccoon world passed out cold on my patio. I fled my home at that point to enjoy brunch with the ever-lovely Lenni. She gave me a huge spoonful of chocolate mousse shortly after greeting me (a high point) and then we went for a beautiful stroll in search of nosh. The only place without an epic lineup for brunch was the Diplomatico, and though the patio and sunshine were grand, my French toast was burnt, and my sausages tasted like metal. Thank god the company was good.

College Street adventures concluded, I headed to the park where I enjoyed another stroll and a catch-up with my friend Marty. I went home from there (John Goodman still there, still unconscious) intending to nap before my evening plans, but instead ended up over-sleeping thus arriving late to meet my friend Carlos. We enjoyed a fantastic play at Harbourfront Centre (AfterImage – amazing!), and then I experienced the glory of the UFC for the first time, on pay-per-view in a sports bar. (This was a barter, or compromise of sorts. I want to be the girl who applies Vaseline to the fighters’ faces just before they step into the ring. Seriously.)

This blog entry is not about any of those things, however. What I would like to focus on is what happened between the over-sleeping and the evening’s entertainment.

First, it’s important to mention that I’m thinking (once again) of taking a dating break. My heart just isn’t in it (again). I feel so much more at ease and comfortable hanging out with friends. I spent a lot of time this weekend reflecting on this decision, and really feeling grateful for the quality “me time” I’ve been enjoying. I should note too that I’ve met some lovely members of the opposite sex. Really beautiful people, but I’m just not there right now…

Cue Pavel.

I’m rushing to Harbourfront Centre. I’m at Spadina station, plugged into my iPod, and generally obvlivious to anything but the streetcar that’s pulling in as I’m at the top of the stairs. Suddenly, someone grabs my arm. I stop in my tracks, whip my ear buds out of my head with my free hand and am face-to-face with a dude who looks about 45, is Eastern European, and is wearing a yellow shirt, a sports jacket, and a matching yellow pocket square. Still holding my arm he says: “You are one of the most elegant women I have ever seen in my life. I just couldn’t take my eyes off you. Please, take my card, and tell me when you might like to have coffee with me.”

As I look from him to the card, he releases my arm, and vanishes into the crowd.

The card is white. The front says:

Pavel

Pavelthelover@gmail.com

The back says:

When your man does not measure up

Member of TorontoRealMen.com

Certified Honors Graduate of Dimitri’s The Lovers Sexual Guru Program

I began to laugh. I assumed he was an actor, from a troupe performing Kamakaze improv. Then I vaguely remembered hearing about Dimitri the Lover. I couldn’t remember why…

I was impressed at his boldness, I will say that. He was well dressed, and seemed polite enough. I didn’t find him attractive, but he sparked my curiosity. Does this approach work? What are these affiliations? Who are these hilarious actors and what is the project they are promoting?

Tonight, home from rehearsal, I had some time to do some research.

First I visited “Toronto Real Men.”
http://www.torontorealmen.com

The Real Men website led me to this documentary:

Which led me to the Dimitri The Lover website:
http://dimitrithelover.com/

Which led me to these articles:
http://torontoist.com/2008/06/remember_dimitri_the_lover.php
http://www.eyeweekly.com/city/features/article/22843

And then, to this legendary moment, which I had heard before, but had no idea it was part of our rich Toronto history:

I could use the remaining space in this blog entry to tell you what I think about all of this, but frankly, I’m more curious to know what you, my dear readers have to say on this one.

I’ll be nailed into…

holed up in…

firmly ensconced…

nestled deep inside…

Enjoying my quiet alone time in the Fortress of Solitude, Pavel. You and your coffee can suck it.